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FAQs on Kissing Gouramis, Pink & Green

Related Articles: Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives, Genera Ctenopoma & Microctenopoma, Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish,

Related FAQs: Gouramis 1, Gouramis 2, Gourami Identification, Gourami Behavior, Gourami Compatibility, Gourami Selection, Gourami Systems, Gourami Feeding, Gourami Disease, Gourami Reproduction, Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish,

Help with Kissing Gourami; hlth., fdg.      6/15/14
Afternoon Guys,
<Yawnnn! G'morning Michael>
Have got a kissing gourami, for the past 5 years (Suspect he's aged approx 7).
<Mmm, could, should be much larger. I cropped your pix, but this specimen looks to be 3-4" long>
Recently he has become lethargic, started to look emaciated, fins have started to degrade and he has a swelling going towards his rear fin. I've seen another younger Kissing gourami I had go down the same route, which eventually ended up with his demise. This time Im hoping to save my favourite fish out of the tank.
<Well; this one looks way too thin to suit me... what do you feed your fishes? How much and how often?>
The tank is 450litre, and the water should be good - I've got a constant drip of freshwater going into the tank which replaces about 10 litres per day.
<Neat! Shades of the Monaco Aq... which drips water continuously (and Caulerpa years back) from the Med. How do you treat the incoming water? Oh; I see this below>
This is local tapwater which goes through a 3 stage carbon filter. I've recently cleaned the tank bottom out and changed the filter media. The Tank is heavily planted and I've just trimmed some back. Other than age related deaths, I've had no other illness in the tank for years.
The tank is a community one, and he's the 2nd largest fish in the tank (other one is a 5 barbed barb, a recent addition in the past 6 weeks). He doesn't appear to be getting bullied, and is still eating (albeit at a reduced rate).
I've attached the following pictures of the "bulge", I cant find similar pictures anywhere else. I am planning on adding some salts later on Today.
If you know what the bulge is and how I should respond, Id be forever in your debt.
Thank You.
Michael.
<I'd encourage you to supplement the diet with a good pelleted food. Hikari, New Life/Spectrum are two good ones... Their foods are very high  palatability and nutritious. Bob Fenner>


Gourami fish, Helostoma, no info. 1/14/12
Hello there.
I have a kissing Gourami fish and have had him/her for about a year and a half now. Just the other day I woke up to find him laying on the rocks at the bottom of the tank. I suspected he had died but after looking at him, I noticed he was still breathing. I got my net out and tried to see if I moved him around if I would get different results. I was able to get him off the rocks and attempting to swim around, but the right side of his body just sort of falls back down into the rocks. Is there something I can do to help him, or is he going to die. I don't want to take him out of his tank if maybe something is just wrong with his fin. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
<Mmm, only time can/will tell here... Need data re foods/feeding, maintenance, water quality, other tankmates, history... Read here for input and ideas of what we're looking for info-wise:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/helostomafaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sick kissing Gourami, RMF's go 11/20/11
Hi,
My kissing Gourami is about 6-7 years old, so I realize it may just be "his time,"
<Mmm, no... know of some Helostoma of more than two decades>
but if there is any way to help him, I'd like to try to make him healthy again.
Fred is very smart and interactive, and we keep his tank in the living room, where he can see people all day, because he seems much happier around people than in a bedroom or lower traffic area. About a month ago, my son and his girlfriend decided he might like non human friends, and went to the pet store to find fish friends for him. They put two other types of Gourami (I'm not sure which kinds, but the pet store fish person helped them decide what would work best) in the tank at that time, with no quarantine prior.
<Yikes... not smart. Many troubles come in w/ S.E. Asian imported Anabantids>
I watched them closely for a while, honestly more because Fred gets upset when anything is changed in his tank than for any other reason, and I thought other fish would upset him a lot, but he seemed to tolerate them fairly well. None of them appeared sick and I thought we got lucky.
Last night when I came home, Fred seemed to be unable to use the back half of his body. He sat slumped on the rocks, with his head upright and the rear of his body slumped to the side, not moving.
He would occasionally swim to the top of the tank, using his front half mostly, his back half would kind of flop around oddly, and then he would go right back to the bottom. He would still come to the side like he normally does when I called him and appeared to still be interactive and generally in a good mood, though he frequently looked like he was laboring to breathe.
I went to the pet shop and asked the fish person about it and got some general 7 day water treatment
<? What are the ingredients in this "treatment?">
and was told to fast him for a few days, since he may have air in his stomach.
<What?... these fish do gulp air as a means of auxiliary respiration...>
I started the treatment last night.
This morning, Fred was totally limp, on the bottom of the tank. He's still breathing, and when I call him to the side he looks at me, and appears to try to lift his head, but seems to be too weak to come. It's really heartbreaking to see him like this.
Thank you, I would really appreciate any ideas you may have.
<I wish I knew something specifically to relate to you... I would not add any further medication, would change out a good half of the water, vacuum the gravel... Otherwise, stay on your and Fred's regular routine of maintenance. Bob Fenner>
Sick kissing Gourami, Neale's go in a parallel universe 11/20/11
Hi,
My kissing Gourami is about 6-7 years old, so I realize it may just be "his time," but if there is any way to help him, I'd like to try to make him healthy again.
<Will try! Seven years isn't "old" for a Kissing Gourami; this species should easily live 10 years or even slightly more.>
Fred is very smart and interactive, and we keep his tank in the living room, where he can see people all day, because he seems much happier around people than in a bedroom or lower traffic area.
<Fair enough.>
About a month ago, my son and his girlfriend decided he might like non human friends, and went to the pet store to find fish friends for him.
They put two other types of Gourami (I'm not sure which kinds, but the pet store fish person helped them decide what would work best) in the tank at that time, with no quarantine prior.
<Oh dear. A couple problems here beyond the simple issue of not quarantining. The first is that farmed gouramis are notorious carriers of diseases, so it's easily possible that one of these carried something bad.
Secondly, not all gouramis get along. Some are very aggressive, most notably male Trichogaster trichopterus, a variable species available in yellow, blue, and some other colours too. Photos would help identify the gouramis you have.>
I watched them closely for a while, honestly more because Fred gets upset when anything is changed in his tank than for any other reason, and I thought other fish would upset him a lot, but he seemed to tolerate them fairly well. None of them appeared sick and I thought we got lucky.
Last night when I came home, Fred seemed to be unable to use the back half of his body. He sat slumped on the rocks, with his head upright and the rear of his body slumped to the side, not moving.
<Bad sign.>
He would occasionally swim to the top of the tank, using his front half mostly, his back half would kind of flop around oddly, and then he would go right back to the bottom. He would still come to the side like he normally does when I called him and appeared to still be interactive and generally in a good mood, though he frequently looked like he was laboring to breathe.
<Oh dear.>
I went to the pet shop and asked the fish person about it and got some general 7 day water treatment and was told to fast him for a few days, since he may have air in his stomach. I started the treatment last night.
<Not terribly helpful advice. Gouramis aren't likely to get "air in their stomach" and even if they did, at worst that'd cause the fish equivalent of flatulence! General treatments are almost always a bad idea for everyone except the retailer. Yes, you've bought something, but that doesn't make it helpful and the wrong medicine at the wrong time can make things worse. At best, you've wasted precious time trying something that probably won't help.>
This morning, Fred was totally limp, on the bottom of the tank. He's still breathing, and when I call him to the side he looks at me, and appears to try to lift his head, but seems to be too weak to come. It's really heartbreaking to see him like this.
<I bet.>
Thank you, I would really appreciate any ideas you may have.
<It's really difficult to offer specific advice here. Firstly, what's his environment like? Check at minimum nitrite (with an "I", not nitrate with an "a") and pH. Let me have those values if you want extra analysis, but essentially bear in mind nitrite needs to be zero and the pH should be steady, somewhere between 6 and 8. Secondly, do a couple of 25% water changes today, an hour or two apart. This will help flush out any possible poisons. If the fish perks up, that's a helpful sign of what might be wrong. Velvet and Whitespot both attack the gills and in doing so make breathing difficult. The use of salt at 2-3 grammes/litre can be useful for treating these and salt may also have a tonic effect on the rest of the fish. While using salt, up the temperature to 28-30 C/82-86 F. Measure the salt carefully, and if you do so, the risk of stressing fish and plants is minimal. If your fish got sick within a few days of adding new fish, my best guess would be velvet or possibly Whitespot. But do also prepare to euthanise the fish if these treatments don't help.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm
Hope this helps, Neale.>

Pink Gourami question 4/25/11
Good Morning
<Christine>
We have two pink Gouramis in our school aquarium that have developed a bacterial infection and now there are little black hairs popping out all over.
<?! All over?>
What can they be treated with? What are the hairs?
<Mmm, well, the only thing that comes to (my) mind is Anchor "worms",
Lernaea. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anchorwrmfaqs.htm
and see the pix there, on the Net period. Is this what your Gouramis appear to have? What vectored them to your system?
They are more/less easily treated w/ organophosphate remedies, w/ pulling out encysted forms w/ tweezers generally recommended.>
Thank you
Christine G. Gegg
<Do send along a well-resolved image if you can. Bob Fenner>

Need help with very sick Kissing Gourami. Env. 1/31/11
I sure hope someone here can help me. I have a large Pink Gourami Kissing fish. I bought her 4 years ago, when she was barely over an inch long and is now about 5 inches long. Due to stress from me going too long without cleaning the whole tank, she developed an illness. At first I thought it was ICK, but then after observation, not as sure. She developed a white cottony film over both eyes, wasn't eating and had small spots that looked like ICK. When I noticed her condition, I immediately did a 100% water change.
<Mmm... dangerous. Often "kills all biological filtration".>
I took photos and such with me, along with water sample to my local pet store and was told she had fin rot and eye cloud, along with the advance stages of ICK. They recommended Jungle Fungus Clear tank buddies and Quick Cure.
<This last will as well>
I have treated the tank twice for ICK (First treatment Friday evening, second treatment today after a 25% water change), and once (2.5 days ago with fungus clear), and have maintained a water temp of 80-82 degrees F. I also added aquarium salt, stress coat, stress zyme, and prime to the water. She is still very sick, and I have no idea what to do. I realize that she is not going to get 100% better overnight, but I am worried because I'm noticing areas around her gills looking raw. She still isn't eating. Is it safe to treat again with the fungus clear, before 4 days have passed, or wait it out?
<Do monitor (daily) water quality>
Large portions of the white cottony film over her
eyes detached within 24 hours or so of treating with the fungus clear, but her eyes still look cloudy, cottony and horrible. Please just supply me with any information that may help me to help her. She is the only fish in a ten gallon tank (has been for years),
<... trouble. Needs more room than this>
and has always been as healthy as can be until recently. Any information is greatly appreciated. Thank You.
<Am concerned as to root cause/s here. What brought on/triggered this trouble? New/diseased organism introduction? Loss of water quality? What re the system itself? Please read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/helostomafaqs.htm
for background and to grant you an idea of the sorts of information we're looking for to help you.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Need help with very sick Kissing Gourami. 1/31/11

Thank You for the help. I suspect that the cause of all this was the condition of the tank.
<... I do as well>
I did fairly regular water changes, but rarely cleaned the tank as a whole. The water had become a bit murky and had lots of waste in the bottom of the tank.
<...>
I had been so busy that I just went too long without making time to take care of the tank. I went and bought new filters for the tank so that I could clean it, and the next day was when I found her in such bad shape. It happened very quickly...one day she was fine, and the next she wasn't. I suspect that the ammonia levels in the tank had been very high, but I did not take the time to test the water, because I thought she was dead, until I went to scoop her out and then realized she was still alive but barely hanging on. I suspected Ick at first, so this was the main reason I did a 100% water change. I did NOT clean the gravel or remove it from the tank, only stirred it up to remove as much of the waste as possible. I did not leave her in the tank while cleaning it. I also cleaned all the artificial plants and her cave, and put in a new filter. I removed the filter once I began treating the tank as I was instructed to do by my local pet store. I have monitored the ammonia levels and ph levels since the water change....ph was a bit alkaline so I adjusted that with my kit. I can take photos of my fish (Pearl), if it will help diagnose or help in any other way. I don't have a kit to test nitrates and nitrites, but I keep Prime in the tank to stabilize that and have treated the new water with it. I was unsuccessful at trying to upload photos this way, so I uploaded them to an album on my Facebook account and made it public for viewing. Please visit this URL so you can view these photos, in case it may help. The first several photos in the album were taken before treatment, and the last 6 were taken just minutes ago.
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=88344&id=1653993301&saved#!/album.php?
aid=88344&id=1653993301
I hope the link works and you are able to see the photos, and again Thank You so much for the help. I can't stand to see her so sick. :(
<... Make a commitment to care for the life in your care... B>
Re: Need help with very sick Kissing Gourami.
Ok, Thank You once again, but no suggestions as to what I can do, what is still wrong at this point or whether it is safe to treat before a full 4 days is up, to treat with fungus clear again?
<Really, all this fish needs is better/improved environmental conditions.
You may not know, but many to most all fish "med.s" are rather toxic, often add to, rather than alleviate symptoms, troubles. BobF>

Pink Gourami, hlth. 9/10/09
We have a pink Gourami that is several years old. He has had many problems the past year.
<Not an easy fish to maintain. For one thing, they get very big. Another problem is diet, these fish feed on algae and zooplankton, and need several meals of finely powdered food through the day, together with some sort of algae substitute such as strips of Sushi Nori or algae wafers.>
Fluke, fin rot and pop eye. We have successfully treated all of these problems. Now he has a bubble on each eye that I assume is pop eye that we can't seem to get rid of. About two weeks ago he developed some red spots. One about mid way down on the top of his body just below his top fin, one about ½ inch above his eye on both sides. The spots look like a sore. He is the only fish in a ten gallon tank.
<This is your problem. This tank should be 55 gallons, minimum, for this species. Any attempts to keep Kissing Gouramis in tanks as small as this will be doomed.>
We have treated with Mardel Maracide.
<Why? This medication is for Ick/Whitespot. Not Flukes, not Finrot, and not Popeye. Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfishmeds.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FWFinRot.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/popeyefaqs.htm
A good antibiotic like Maracyn, coupled with Epsom salt to reduce swelling, as well as much larger aquarium is what you need.>
I have not seen him eat in a very long time. We feed him TetraMin flakes and occasionally blood worms.
<Pretty depressing e-mail really. For gosh sakes, this fish needs a bigger tank, and what you're doing now will surely kill this fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Marble Veil Angelfish with reoccurring Fin Rot... Now Helostoma 6/25/09
Indeed Neale,
It looked like a thread of skin hanging, not a worm. What would cause this?
<Difficult to say.>
It has been two weeks since I noticed the Cory scratching, then another fish yesterday and now my Kissing Gourami (I forgot to tell you he was in this tank) that I have had for four years, has small red areas on outside of gill cover, under the mouth, and he flashed so bad yesterday, I thought he was going to jump out of the tank.
<Hmm... red patches are typically associated with Finrot, though simply irritation e.g., overdosing with medications can be to blame.>
Also the gill cover with the most red area seems held closer then the gill cover on opposite side. This redness just happened, it was not there yesterday. No excessive mucus on any fish, and no white spots! What up?
See picture attached.
<If this was my fish, I'd certainly be treating for Finrot.>
Also Neale, this fish, tends to get one cloudy eye, which goes away on its own, this has happened many times since I have owned this fish, also, I have noticed white stringy feces sometimes, along with grainy normal looking feces, with this Gourami. Sorry to discuss poop, but I am giving you the full scoop on this fish.
<Kissing Gouramis are actually quite difficult fish to maintain: they are big for one thing, but they're also plankton-feeders, and often starve under aquarium conditions. So review water quality of course, and check the fish isn't bumping into solid objects if alarmed, but also check the fish is getting enough to eat, and of a suitably varied diet: daphnia, herbivore flake, algae wafers, etc.>
The fact that I am having issues in my main tank that has been running for 7 months makes me wonder why I have bothered with a Quarantine tank! Of course, I do 20% water changes every week, change the Micron filter every other week, etc etc. No Ammonia, No Nitrite, 10 ppm Nitrate, PH 7.8, Temp 80. I check water chemistry once a week, etc.
Thanks again Neale
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Gourami Red Gill 54 Gallon 6/25/09
Okay, so Neale. I want to thank you so much for helping me. I feel like crying. I never put the salt into the 54 gallon, only Angelfish tank and Quarantine Tank. I was just worried to do so, it seemed like so much to
put in for the delicate Cory, Pleco, plants, and snails. Per what I have been reading, it seems most recommend 1/2 teaspoon per gallon for Cory cats.
<Half a teaspoon of salt per gallon of water won't do much of anything.>
Would that amount even touch the ick, if that is what I have? Please don't be upset that I ask for your advice, and don't follow it to the letter, you would not believe all of the different opinions on line, and I
am very stressed, and almost wish I never got into the fish hobby. I do love it when all goes well, but losing life of innocent fish, if I am doing something wrong bothers me.
<To treat Ick with salt, you need 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per gallon. By all means add the salty water in batches across one day. Add a quarter of the jug, and watch the fish. So long as your fishes seem happy and are swimming about normally, you can add some more, and so on.>
I did add the Prazi Pro, and shut UV as instructed, with 20% water change.
Would you opinion on whether I should carbon out the Prazi pro, since you don't think it is worms, or keep it as preventative?
<You should always remove carbon when using medications; carbon removes organic chemicals from the water, neutralising the medications you're adding!>
Maybe it is the way I am treating my water....I live in Florida...I use a 20 gallon black plastic garbage can, water from hose, I treat with 3 times the dosage needed with Prime (it says you can for high Nitrite)..and my
water is high in nitrite and ammonia. If I don't, there remains Ammonia and Nitrites with one to two dosage. I also put in one dose of Tetra Aqua Safe Tap Conditioner. I do this because the Prime does not specifically
say it eliminates toxic metals. Also, my house was built in 1960, so I assume I have copper pipes.
<My pipes are copper too; shouldn't cause any major problems if you draw water from the COLD drinking water tap, since this comes from the pipes in the ground, as opposed to the copper pipes in your house.>
I leave the water sit for one night to one week, mostly one week, before use. Have a pleasant day Neale, and I hope I have not bothered you to extreme exhaustion! Lueppie
<Happy to do my best, Neale.>

Re: Gourami Red Gill 54 Gallon 6/25/09
Hey Neale,
Hope you are well today.
<Actually, yes, a very nice day, so thanks for asking.>
Well on the Angelfish, no more medications. I will accept this fin issue, but it does make me sad for the fish. I think I figured out the Gourami thing...I have hair algae...even though I have a UV, maybe my flow through is too fast...any way...I think some hair algae got caught on him, which made him flash so bad he must have bumped his gillcasing under his mouth, because the redness showed up the day after, and now two days later, the redness is going away!
<Good.>
I did know that Kissing Gourami also siphoned water however...I read that this was secondary and if I gave him a variety of food, as you say, he should be okay. I have had him for four years, my very first fish,
adopted him from someone that did not want him any more. I feed all fish the same variety, a different one or two different ones once a day. I have colored flakes, round flakes with an algae center, Spirulina Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp, sinking Shrimp Pellets, Freeze Dried Blood Worms, and Spirulina Algae Discs. I don't like to feed live food, because they seem to waste most of it, and I don't want to put anything into the tank that can have any bad things along with it. Do you think I should purchase a plankton food for Gourami, or is all above okay?
<All sounds fine as it is. Provided the Kissing Gourami is nice and fat around the belly, then I wouldn't worry too much. Often though, you see them very underweight, and that's why I mention the issue.>
Yes, I am aware of the carbon cleaning out medications. I will use the salt then, because I still don't know why the other fish are itching occasionally. The ick fish are hanging in there and I see no signs of it, but will keep treating and changing water every other day. I still am afraid to add these fish into my main tank after a few more months of quarantine. The problem is I have white and black sand substrate in the center of tank for the Cory cats, and then plant substrate around edges.
When the Cory cats dig...they get the sand on them..so it would be impossible for me to figure out whether it is sand on them or ick, until it hit the fish that stay mid center and top, then it might be too late to treat them all.
<If one fish has Ick, they all are at risk and likely have it, so you need ALWAYS to treat the whole aquarium.>
It figures, right. Would you ever add fish that have had ick to your main tank, after quarantine, or would you be nervous like me?
<Once a fish is cured of the Ick, it is safe to put with other fish.>
Again, thanks for all your help...I hope I never have to bother you again!
Be well. Sincerely, Lueppie
<Happy to help, Neale.>

Re: Gourami with Red Gills 6/25/09
Hey Neale,
Well, you know what...that is it. I just read something that Melafix burns fins and gills.
<Never heard this. I'd be careful about "reading something" on the Internet. A lot of what's written isn't much good!>
I give up. I think nature will take its course...hopefully the fish will heal. I really don't think I can use any antibacterial in the main tank without killing natural biological bacteria, as well as what is good for
all inhabitants!
<Antibiotic medications such as Maracyn -- if used correctly -- won't harm your filter bacteria.>
I guess I am off to the store for yet another fish tank. I ten gallon to treat the Gourami...boy will my husband be thrilled! I start off with one tank and end up with four. Later Lueppie
<Good luck explaining the new aquarium! Neale.>

Re: Gourami Red Gill 54 Gallon 6/25/09
Hi Neale,
Since I can't move the Gourami to the quarantine (due to the ick). What can I treat my main tank with that won't kill shrimp, Pleco, plants, snails, cats?
<Are we talking about Ick or Finrot? If Ick, then salt/heat should be safe for everything. If Finrot, then antibiotics such as Maracyn are generally safe with all livestock.>
I don't really care so much about the snails, they came with the plants, but they are plenty and I don't want them dying and poisoning tank. I have Melafix and Pimafix, natural, some say they work, some say they don't.
<Sometimes they work, but they're unreliable. If you have them, by all means use them, and see what happens. If, a few days later, there's no sign of improvement, then you may need to switch to something else, like Maracyn.>
Thanks bunches. Cheers to you! Lueppie
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Gourami Red Gill 54 Gallon 6/25/09
Hey Neale,
You know what, my Gourami is thin...I have always noticed this and been concerned...when I see other pictures of other Kissers they look thin as well. He eats every day...but maybe I need to get him some plankton food, or feed him more than once a day?
<Certainly feed him more than once a day. Would also recommend offering a larger variety of foods, and make a point to include a top-quality, small-sized food that these fish can eat easily; Hikari Micro Pellets would be ideal, as would a finely powdered high-end flake food such as Tetra Min.
Blanched lettuce and sliced courgette (zucchini) are good, as are cooked peas. Live daphnia or brine shrimp once a week would be good.>
I have no idea how fat he should actually be?
<The "curve" of the belly area above the pelvic fins and anal fin shouldn't look hollow (concave).>
You always hear not to over feed. Will do on the Maracyn. Wonder if I can do salt and Maracyn together?
<Yes.>
Cause, I don't know still if ick is in this tank, still no visible white spots. I am sure you know...all knowing fish person!
Thanks Lueppie
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Gourami Red Gill 54 Gallon, hypochondria? 6/27/09
Oh Neale,
I feel so bad...check him out...I think a concaved belly?
<Looks about normal to me!>
His gills are not better now, have changed and now the edges of the gill covers are red and scales a little lifted in red area...maybe this is Septicemia?
<No; again, doesn't look obviously damaged or sick. It's normal for the gills to be red (they have a rich blood supply) and the membranes that surround them, the gill covers, and the throat area can look somewhat delicate even at the best of times. So I'd simply observe for now, and provided the fish was active and feeding, I'd not do perform any further treatment. Only if it was obvious that there was inflammation or dead tissue would I be concerned, and from your photo at least, I can't see either.>
Sorry blurry, he is moving. I bought Maracyn and Maracyn 2. I am gonna treat the entire tank..because this can spread to other fish, correct, if bacteria?
<No; the bacteria that cause Finrot are latent in all aquaria. Indeed, they're essential, doing a good job of breaking down organic matter into the molecules the biological filter bacteria can process.>
The live food bothers me because I am afraid of them carrying anything bad into my tank.
<Fair enough. Wet frozen food is by far the best balance between safety, cost, and palatability (to the fish, anyway). Freeze dried bloodworms and other animals are safe, but are wildly overpriced for how much food you get, and also have the risk of causing constipation if used too frequently.>
Like I don't have bad now! Will do on the other food and feeding schedule...he does like zucchini. Should I treat with both Maracyn and Maracyn 2 at the same time...Maracyn 2 is specifically for septicemia.
<Would hold off treating for now, unless you're convinced the fish has a bacterial infection.>
I hope my bio bacteria don't tank. Thanks Neale, hope your day is even better then yesterday!
<Pretty dull, actually.>
Lueppie
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Gourami Red Gill 54 Gallon 6/27/09
Dull, sorry to hear that, maybe bake something, then you get to eat it?
<Hah!>
LOL He looks normal, thank goodness. Starving poor defenseless fish, I would not have been able to live with myself! Will do Neale, no medications for now, yes he is eating fine, and acting his normal self.
The scales lifted seem to be tissue now that I look closer. I just look at him every day and never noticed so much redness. Will do on the food as well. I have only Hikari and Tetra food, and will purchase the finer texture for "Pucker", as I call him.
<Cool.>
What do you think of the "Seaweed" sheets you can buy?
<Sushi Nori; is indeed a good food for those fish that eat it. There's no particular reason to buy the brands sold in pet stores if the Sushi Nori sold in Asian food stores is cheaper -- it's the same stuff.>
Don't you think the Cory I saw scratch a week ago or more, would be dead by now if I had Ick in the tank?
<Varies...>
I have not seen any more scratching. Here is a better picture of my Angelfish, since you have helped with her so much, thought you might like to see her.
<Looks nice!>
Hope your day gets a little more exciting for you. Thanks again.
Sincerely, Lueppie
<You're welcome! Neale.>

Urgent problem with Gourami
A few days ago we added a new pink kissing Gourami to our tank, within a day or 2 we noticed his belly area had a "bulge" and it continued to get bigger to the point where it looked like he'd swallowed a b.b., it
protruded on the right side and the left seemed to "go down" some. We knew we needed to get back to the pet store & find out how to treat him, but haven't been able to make the one-hour one-way trip yet, and have tried to find answers online. Today when I got home from work & checked on him, the bulge seemed to have "burst"! There was basically a hole there and there was ...yuck... sticking out of it. While I've been on line attempting to find answers the "yuck" has come out and left just a hole there he looks like a b.b. shot out of the side of him! Meanwhile I've seen him eat a little and I've seen him poop... what do I do? what is this? will he make it? will all the other fish get "b.b. holes" in them too!? I need help, and would love to find answers before we take time off work tomorrow to make the trip to the pet store.
<Jennifer, to be honest, I've never heard of anything like this. It sounds like an ulcer of some sort, and consequently not likely to be contagious.
If the ulcer was in the muscle and/or skin tissue, then with the use of an antibiotic and very clean conditions, the fish may well recover. I'd recommend keeping the Gourami alone in a 10-20 gallon quarantine tank, if
you have one, so you can keep the water as clean as possible. However, if the ulcer was within one of the internal organs, I'd be much less optimistic. If there's no sign of healing, and indeed the fish shows signs
of getting weaker or less interested in food, then euthanasia may well be the kinder option.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm
Let me just make a general point about Kissing Gouramis, Helostoma temminckii; while commonly sold, it's a difficult aquarium fish. At up to 30 cm in length, and commonly more than 20 cm, even under home aquarium conditions, it needs a lot of space. It's a plankton feeder and often starves in aquaria; you need to make a special effort to provide it with finely powdered flake food and things like daphnia so that it can feed
comfortably. Algae wafers are also welcomed, because the fish is herbivorous too. The survival rate of this species in captivity isn't particularly good, even putting aside bizarre things like what you've experienced. Cheers, Neale.>

Kissing Gourami... beh. 3/21/08
had 2 [kissing gouramis] but one died, he was injured by another fish, the remaining one just rests down on the bottom most of the time. during feeding he swims around. i bought another one and that one is fine, however the other one still rests on the bottom most of the day. my question is, do they mate for life or ?
<No, they do not form pairs at all. They are simple egg-scatterers, and neither sex looks after the eggs (unlike the majority of Gouramis, as it happens).>
what can i do to get the poor guy out of his funk.
<Review general conditions in the aquarium, including water quality and water temperature. One particular issue is feeding: Kissing Gouramis (Helostoma temminckii) are plankton feeders, and they often starve in
captivity because their need for finely crumbled flake food is ignored.
They also need algae (that's what those lips are for!) so algae wafers help, and you certainly shouldn't scrape away green algae in the tank.
Another issue is aquarium size; by Gourami standards, they're big fish, and in anything less than, say, 200 litres/55 gallons they'll never really be happy. While "hardy" in the sense of being tolerant of a range of water
chemistry conditions as well as being able to breathe air, they're not suitable for small aquaria. Unfortunately, the majority of specimens die prematurely because they aren't given what they need to thrive. Do recognise these are really food fish, and without a big, well-filtered aquarium and the right food, they won't do well.>
Jeanie
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Extreme aggressive Gourami behavior 1/6/09 Hello, I have read through many of he questions posted on the website, and some somewhat pertained to the question I have but, if its ok, I'd like to get your opinion/advice. And sorry if it has been answered many times. Just set up: 55 gal tank (water parameters are checked on a weekly basis) 2 Pink Kissing Gouramis (PKG for short) 2 Opaline Gouramis (OG for short) 1 Dwarf Gourami 1 Gold Gourami (Sorry I'm not for sure which type, he's really pretty though) (GG for short And 1 Pleco Background info: So I bought all of my gouramis from PetSmart. I asked if I could get a variety of gouramis and they would live happily together. Well that's not the case. (I should have done more research) About a week ago I added one PKG and one OG. Before that my GG bullied the other gouramis into a corner, and had the whole tank to himself. I did some research and decided to get a couple of companions at a time to see if his aggression would die down. Now a week later that didn't happen now I have two bullies, who sometimes go to head to head (a PKG and GG). The only time they seem to be at peace is when I feed them, I don't know why, maybe they're preoccupied. Anyways sorry it took me so long to get to my question but, could my tank be over crowded? or is it just the fish's personality/behavior? Is there anything I can do without getting rid of them? I was thinking of adding more plants for more hiding places. Ultimately though if it continues I know I will have to give up the two fish (for the sake of my other fish), I do have someone who would gladly take them, but I want that to be my last option. If you could please help it would greatly appreciated Thank you Sincerely Ashlye <Hello Ashlye. Gouramis do tend to be aggressive, partly because it is the males that defend nests in which the eggs are places. So they view other fish as potential threats, and in particular other gouramis that might try to steal their nesting sites or females! So mixing gouramis is always difficult. So while your tank is not overcrowded at the moment (though adult Pink Kissers, Helostoma temminckii, will be sizeable fish, 30 cm/12 inches in length) social behaviours may well stop these fish getting along. In terms of aggression, Trichogaster trichopterus is by far the most unpredictable and sometimes aggressive species. There are several varieties traded, including the Opaline Gourami and a yellow form that I suspect is your Gold Gourami (Latin names are very useful with gouramis!). The females tend to be peaceful, but the males can be very short tempered. Males have longer dorsal fins than the females, so sexing isn't hard. It's always worth remembering when shopping for "companions" that social behaviour is generally organised around a fish's own species. Yes, keeping Trichogaster trichopterus in groups can help moderate aggression, but you have to keep them in groups of six or more Trichogaster trichopterus (though you can choose whatever colour variety you want). Keeping six different Gourami species won't work, because they're each as different from each other as humans are from chimps and baboons! The bottom line is that I'd review the list of gouramis, choose which species you'd like to keep most, and work around them. Keeping female Trichogaster trichopterus is a particularly sensible approach, since the females generally show no aggressive tendencies at all. There are lots of colour forms, and they're a perfect size for the tank you have. Six or more specimens, including the blue, violet and golden forms, would make quite a nice show. Cheers, Neale.>

Kissing Gourami skin problem 7/12/08 Hello, <Henk> I am currently looking after a small fish tank of a couple of friends who are on holiday. There are two pink kissing Gouramis in the tank, both have been dyed with bright pink color stripes on their flanks. <...> Personally I would not buy such fish, and I talked about it to my friends afterwards, but many people who like to keep fish really think everything you need to provide a fish with is water. <Too often the case> Anyways, one of the pink Gouramis had a superficial wound on its side with some skin hanging loose. It looked to me as if it had run against the filter, gravel, or something else, which I would think possible since this fish is sometimes chased by the other Gourami. The skin wound became bigger, so I took the fish out and put it in a separate tank and performed daily water changes (about 90% with water stored one day, since I have no filtration in this tank). <Needs this> The part of loose skin became bigger, and finally dropped off. Upon closer examination, dorsal fins and a small ridge of skin on the top of the other side are also affected. <Yes... likely bacterial> I have started medicating with an anti fungus product for already 5 days now (started medication about 2 days before the skin dropped off). The fish is not very active, but not lethargic either and occasionally eats, although less than normally. The place where the skin dropped off is now pink/fleshy in color, but it does not look like all skin tissue (if you can call it like this, no idea) on the wound has disappeared. I have a hard time verifying if the skin wound now is slowly increasing or has stopped increasing. So what I would like to know, should I have been medicating with antibiotics instead, <Yes, I would... a Furan compound is my first choice, Furacyn if you can find it... 250 mg./10 gal... protocol posted on WWM, the search tool...> or should I continue the anti fungus treatment, or is there any other treatment you can recommend? How long does it take to heal such problems, if it will heal at all that is. Many thanks, Henk Naert OKAY Beijing <And needs to be in a filtered system... Maybe a divider in the main tank... or even moving the healthy individual... Bob Fenner>

Helostoma, health, need better photo 4/23/08 Hello, I am in desperate need of help and information on a disease my Kissing Gourami has; I do not think she will make through the night. <Would tend to agree.> I have attached a photo of her in the hospital tank. She has gotten worse through the night, and I have no idea how and what to use. I noticed Saturday the Gourami had a reddish spot on her side closest to the gills; I observed it through out the weekend and Monday night it had not grown or protruded any, but yet she was laying around at the bottom of the tank and would come up to eat and go back down. Her activity slowed down to zero Tuesday night and now I assume I will loose her through out the night, but I also have another Kissing Gourami who appears to have started the same reddish spots today. <The picture is too blurry to see anything. Please send something sharper! My instinct when people mention "red spots" on their fish is bacterial infection, such as Finrot. These are essentially clots in the epidermis where bacteria have blocked the normal flow of blood. Very serious, and needs immediate attention. Most of the time Finrot follows on from water quality issues, so you can start by testing ammonia and/or nitrite. Detect any of either, and there's your problem.> I thought this was dropsy; but I am not for sure since the reddish patch appeared on both sides before the dropsy started. Can you help me so that I have some hopes in saving my other Gourami. <Please send a better picture and I will try. I will make the general point that Helostoma temminckii is not an easy species to maintain. Wild fish feed primarily on plankton, and in aquaria they easily starve, becoming progressively thinner and weaker until some opportunistic infection sets in. Helostoma must receive ample food of a small, particulate nature, such as finely powdered flake food. Algae and small frozen invertebrates such as bloodworms make a good supplement. I personally don't recommend this species for beginners or community tanks.> <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Helostoma, health, need better photo 4/23/08 Hi Neal; Thank you for taking time out for my dilemma. I have been monitoring the water clarity since this weekend and the harmful nitrates and ammonia check out to be in the safe zone. <Ah, the words "safe zone" always worry me. Let me explain. While there is a safe level of nitrate as far as community tropicals go, there is NO SAFE LEVEL OF NITRITE OR AMMONIA. Let's be crystal clear about this. So if you are detecting ANY nitrite or ammonia, you have a dangerous problem on your hands.> I have attached 3 more pictures of the Gourami, and you would not believe it, but I woke up this morning and the kissing Gourami is still hanging on. <Still can't see anything. Just looks like a sick fish. Please, make sure the photo is sharp and in focus. Use the "Macro" setting on your camera. Don't wobble. Use the flash, though angle the camera a bit so that you don't bounce flash light right into the lens.> I got a closer look at her today and it appears her eyes are sunken in and you can see almost right through her pearl body. <Sounds like emaciation to me. Very common with Helostoma simply because they are so incredibly difficult to keep properly fed with the plankton and vegetables they need.> It seems to be some kind of internal bacteria that is slowly running its course. <"Internal Bacteria" is the name aquarists give to problems they don't immediately recognise, so let's do better than that. Bacterial and protozoan infections within the body of a fish almost always stem from some bigger problem -- the wrong diet, wrong water chemistry, and most commonly poor water quality. So review all those things. While you may not be able to save this fish, you certainly can prevent a similar thing happening again.> If we do figure out what this "evil" disease is, <No disease is "evil". All diseases reveal is that we (the fishkeeper) have failed in some way. Consider disease to be an incorruptible referee. Do something wrong, and disease will blow the whistle on you. You can turn things around by treating the fish and then fixing the underlying problem, but don't blame the disease. I know this is a hard lesson to learn because we all like to think we're doing the right thing and our failures are because of disease that came out of nowhere. But very rarely is that the case. So, tell me what you [a] feed the fish; and [b] what the nitrite level is -- in numbers! From these, I might be able to offer some useful advice. In any case, the best that can be done for the fish right now is to use an antibiotic of the type mentioned before. After that, you have to ensure the environment is optimal so that the fish can recover. Will it recover? Can't promise that. But these are basically robust fish, and recovery is certainly possible.> should I treat my entire 55 gallon tank? <If the Gourami is in a hospital tank now, I'd treat it there. No need to treat the main tank. But if the Gourami is in the main tank, then yes, you could treat the whole tank. Do remember to remove carbon when treating fish. It is always a good idea to increase aeration when treating fish, too.> I have 3 paradise Gourami's, 2 Silver Dollars, 1 Pleco, 1 crawfish, and the other Kissing Gourami. Thank you again, Yolanda <Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Pink Kissing Gourami A friend recently gave me his a fish tank that had a very small fish and a Kissing Gourami. The fish sat in his office's lobby where almost nobody noticed them. I took them home and put them in the same tank they had lived in their entire lives, with the decorations exactly the same. The small fish is doing great and swimming all the time, the Gourami is sitting on the bottom of the tank with its fin and barely ever moves. When it does move, it swims around the tank once and goes up to the surface and shoots back down and sits on the bottom of the tank again. I first thought I had ICH, so I treated the water, but It didn't seem to help anything. What should I do? What's hurting my fish Thanks, Ryan <Mmm, well, Kissers do "sit about" quite a bit... If your tank is large enough (twenty or more gallons) and otherwise not overcrowded I would add another kisser... they're social... hard to "kiss yourself"... and this should stir the present one to be more active. Bob Fenner>

My Kissing Gourami is losing weight 03/04/2008 Hi, My pink kissing Gourami is loosing weight quickly. I have a 20 gallon aquarium with two kissing Gouramis (6 months), two gold Gouramis (3 months), one fire Gourami (3 months), a leopard bush fish (5 days), and a Chinese algae eater (three months) (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri). Everyone is under 2 inches except the algae eater he is about 2 1/2 inches. About a week ago I noticed one of my kissing Gouramis was loosing weight and yesterday I realized he was really skinny. Every so often he will go to the back corner of the aquarium and sit on the bottom. His eating habits haven't changed and I know that he eats well because he eats on a separate side of the tank than the other fish. He is not being picked on, and other than sitting on the bottom at times he's not lethargic. I have a 20 gallon Penguin 100 Bio-Wheel Power Filter, two 20 gallon AquaClear submersible heaters (it gets cold in my house and one was having trouble keeping up), and two aerators. It is pretty well planted with a big rock that has caves in it where the fire Gourami and bush fish like to hang out. I use API aquarium salt (1 tablespoon per 5 gallons), and one a week I use API Stress Coat and API Stress Zyme. My ammonia is 0, my nitrate is 0, my nitrite is 0, and my pH varies between 7 and 7.6. I clean my aquarium every other week and change 25% of the water using only distilled water. I alternate my feeding between TetraMin Tropical Flakes and frozen blood worms. I have had trouble with dwarf Gouramis in the past, but this seems to be a good group that gets along well with one another. I really love my aquarium and my fish and if I'm doing something well I want to know so I can fix it. Thank you for any help you can give me. Sorry if it's way to much information. Ryan <Hello Ryan. First let's be clear that your tank is overstocked with the wrong species. Gyrinocheilus aymonieri gets to about 25 cm and is a completely psychotic, non-community fish once mature. If there is a fish I would BAN from the trade, this would be it! Responsible for more terrified community fish than anything else I can think of. A nasty, nasty fish. The Pink Kissing Gourami Helostoma temminckii is another big fish, potentially reaching 30 cm, though 15-20 cm is more typical in captivity. While a tolerable community fish in jumbo systems, it simply isn't viable in a 20-gallon tank. It needs a tank something like 4 times bigger. Secondly, Helostoma temminckii is a very difficult fish to maintain in aquaria; it is at least partially a plankton feeder, and it needs to be fed a lot of food, more or less all the time. In big tanks this isn't so much a problem because there's enough filter capacity to compensate for that, as well as algae-covered surfaces for grazing. But in small tanks if you provide the fish enough food, you'll likely find water quality plummet. When kept in mixed communities they also tend to lose out at feeding time because they can't wolf down food as fast as the other fish. Seriously, they need to be getting 3-4 meals per day, and those meals need to be good quality algae-based flake foods. There must also be constant supply of green foods, such as blanched curly lettuce (not iceberg!) or Sushi Nori; tinned peas may be take, too. While it is possible your fish has some other "wasting disease", my gut feeling is that it is simply starving to death. You seem to be suggesting one specimen is fine but the other one is thin; because males are bullies, it is possible that the weaker fish doesn't get access to food as often as it needs. One last thing: why are you using distilled water in the aquarium? STOP! This is very bad for your fish. Just use plain vanilla tap water (not water from a domestic water softener) with suitable dechlorinator. There is no need to add salt. Cheers, Neale.>

Spots on my Kissing Gourami, likely Lernaeids -12/14/07 Hello, <Stephanie> I have had a kissing Gourami for a couple of years now but over the last few days it has developed about some spots which I put down to a bacterial infection <Mmmm> and so I've been treating with a fungus, Finrot and bacteria treatment. But the spots, which appear to be only on one side of it's body have turned a peachy/orange colour and each seems to have something like a black barb type thing sticking out of it - almost like a splinter. <Ahh!> There are approximately 5 of these spots and they are in different places on the body and one near the eye. The fish seems to be well enough at the moment it is eating and behaving as usual. Do you have any idea what this might be? <I do... most likely a Lernaeid, aka Anchorworm... Please see here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwcrustdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Had you recently added "something live" (new fish, FW food, plants) to this system? The parasite had to have been added some how... See Google Images for the common name as well... Cheers, Bob Fenner> Many thanks, Stephanie
Re: Spots on my Kissing Gourami -12/14/07
Bob, <Steph> Thanks so much for your response. Thanks for the link and "yuk" it looks like Anchorworm! I bought some new plants about a week ago. So, up go my sleeves! <Ahh!> I've pulled the things off with tweezers and now breathe a sigh of relief - so does my Gourami! <I'll say!> I've bought a bottle of parasiticide which I'll have to administer tomorrow as I have been treating the fish for a bacterial infection and it says to wait 48 hours before using. <Good> Thanks so much for you swift response and the link - much appreciated! Stephanie <Welcome my friend. BobF>

Sick Kissers 8/8/07 Hi, I have a 75 g. Sea Clear aquarium; I wrote when I was setting it up. Everything has been going well; ( following your advice, I disabled the SeaClear filtration & added a Magnum 350 Canister filter and a wall of bubbles.) My problem is that to my long term family of 3 large Kissers, 14" Pleco and 2 Clown Loaches, I added 6 Glow Light Tetras. They seemed to be acclimated after 2 weeks, but while I was away for 4 days, one of them died and the body was decaying when I got home. Then the Gouramis got sick; it looks like Septicemia. Their fins are very red and they are lying on the bottom. They are still eating, though. I've been using E.M. tabs for 2 days so far. Today, the eyes of one of them look cloudy. Is this fungus on top of the bacterial infection? Should I add salt to help with the cure, or will this bother the Pleco and Tetras? If so, how much? I feel so bad now, that I added fish. I did not use a hospital tank because I don't have one when I got the tetras, but I did dip them. Please help. I've been reading all about salt on your site, but am slightly confused by the conflicting opinions. Thanks so much! You guys are the best! Carol M. ;<) <Hello Carol. You'll get no conflicting opinions from me on this: unless you have a good reason to use salt while treating a specific disease, there's NO reason to add salt to a freshwater aquarium. So, unless the erythromycin tablets say "add salt" on them -- don't! Now, as for the red fins, let's get this clear as well: septicaemia is rare in fish, and it usually happens only after a more minor problem has been allowed to develop into something more serious. So, rather than supposing it came out of nowhere (it didn't) try and figure out what might have happened before. Finrot is the classic "precursor" to septicaemia in fish; indeed, many people confuse the two diseases, because Finrot isn't confined to fins. Finrot is very common in aquaria with marginal to poor water quality. It looks like reddish patches, usually with dead skin nearby, and on the fins at least you see the membranes decay and the fin spines remain. Finrot can spread onto the body, and after a while, into the body cavity, causing harm including septicaemia. You can treat Finrot with a variety of standard medications that your retailer will have. But you have to treat with a real medication promptly, and not mess about with cooking salt, Melafix, or sacrificing cockerels to Asklepios. I have no idea what "dipping" your fish means. You mean in salty water? Pointless. Who told you to do that? Dipping saltwater fish in freshwater can work well, and dipping freshwater fish in seawater can also work well. But these take several (to 30) minutes and are more "baths" than "dips". But I assume all you did was dunk the tetra for a moment in water with a teaspoon of cooking salt or some-such added. Utter and complete waste of time. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Sick Kissers -- 08/08/07 Thank you for your reply. <Happy to help.> I will give you more details. I have had aquariums for 40+ years. I am 61 now. <Then you probably know more than me!> I haven't used salt in my aquarium, but I have some Aquarium salt that came with the tank when I bought it 2nd hand. <Lots of people use aquarium salt. I still consider it "snake oil" and won't change my mind about that without scientific evidence to the contrary.> I had a pair of Kissers previously who lived 16 and 18 years. <Well, that's certainly a ripe old age for them. You must be doing something right.> I "dipped" the new Neons in QuickCure (10 drops into the store bag) and kept them in their bag for over an hour, since I don't have a QT. <Never heard of this stuff. Certainly can't do any harm, so sounds fine to me.> I gradually added aquarium water, although I know that I didn't quarantine them long enough. <Really, who does? It's something lots of us neglect, to our peril.> I bought 6 black Tetras one week, and 6 Glowlights the next week. I know. Too many new fish. The Gouramis are 5 years old and they are about 6 in. long. <I see them in the photo, very pretty!> My pH is 7.2, NH2 & NH3 are 0 ppm. <Good.> Tank has been cycled since June 6th. Water quality is good. The Kissers have bright red lines on all fins, mouths are clamped, today two of them have slightly cloudy eyes. They look a bit red under the eye too, and at least one has diarrhea. <I see. Very odd. Certainly, reddish fins on fish tend to be a sign of water quality issues, the inflammation often winding up as Finrot. I'd certainly assume an external bacterial infection and treat accordingly.> They are lying in a group on the bottom, upright, not swimming around. Mostly hanging in corners. They look somewhat improved today; they do come up and eat at feeding time. The tank is in its 3rd day of E.M. tabs and I added Maracide today as well. Do you have a diagnosis or any better ideas? <Nope, what you're doing sounds about right to me.> I am sending you a pic. Thank you so much for your time. Carol <Good luck, Neale>

Re: Sick Kissers 8/9/07 Thanks for your support, and for your excellent responses this time! I may know more than you about some things, but I get really nervous when my fish get sick, and I think you know more about fish. My clown loaches have been nursing the sick, and finally I can see that they have tiny white dots on them, and if I look very closely, I can see fine white spots on the Gouramis now too. So I think after all, it is a tank wide case of Ich caused by the newcomer tetras, of which there are only 5 survivors out of 9. I finished the E.M. treatment and did a 25% water change, then added Formalite II (Formalin, Copper & Nickel Sulfate) to the tank, 1 drop per g. So hopefully this will do the trick. I'll do it every other day. (Just FYI, the QuickCure I used for the bath is made by AP and is Formalin with Malachite Green. I don't think I bathed the black tetras long enough, so they are probably the culprits, all dead now.) My original question was about salt; your website says that it is not necessary except for extra support for specific conditions (which conditions?) . That's why I asked if it would be a good support along with real meds. So just out of curiosity, for future reference, are there any cases in which you WOULD use salt, and if so, what would they be? Carol ;<) P.S. All fish look better today; they are swimming around more and look like they're recovering. <Carol, do be careful treating tanks containing clown loaches. They are one of the fishes that react badly sometimes. Whitespot medication is one of the things that seems to upset them. Have a read of this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/clnlchdis.htm
Okay, as for when to use tonic salt, examples are to deal with temporarily high nitrite/nitrate levels; killing off external leeches and lice; alongside certain medications (e.g., Interpet #13 Swim bladder Treatment); and for saltwater dips for killing/cleaning up certain types of external infections. But these are all short term things. Unless your medication explicitly says "add salt" (as is the case with Interpet #13 Swim bladder Treatment) then DON'T add salt. Actually, salt plus high temperatures are often recommended as *alternatives* to Whitespot medications for certain fish, including Clown Loaches. Cheers, Neale.>

Kissing Gourami behavior I have three Kissing Gouramis and one of them continues to lay sort of side ways. It will swim, however when it is still it looks like it is laying on it's side. Do you know what the problem is. Thank You Cassandra <Mmm, some individual Kissers do "sit on the bottom" a great deal. If the fish is eating, appears fine otherwise, I would not be concerned. Bob Fenner>

Killer Kisser? Hey Bob, <Walt> Thanks for your quick response. Unfortunately, I believe that my one Kissing Gourami may be heading into the "unholy terror" camp (especially at meal time). He is particularly fond of chasing one of my female sunburst mollies... but he does this only during feeding and the molly goes right back to eating after the chase. <Mmm, keep your eyes on that fish... and your others... for "hickeys"> However, he is being downright aggressive to his fellow Gourami at all times. As soon as he sees him he'll continue to chase him until his "victim" takes refuge among my plants. I am starting to get worried because for past two days I have noticed the "victim" sulking with clamped fins among my plants or hiding near my filter intake. This morning he refused to compete at all for the peas I fed them. I am not a big fan of exchanging fish once I bought them (I kind of feel like I'm bringing them to the pound) but I feel like I may have no choice. Any suggestions? Thanks again. Sincerely, Walt <There is some value in trying temporary isolation, floating the mean fish in a plastic "colander" (spaghetti strainer) or large-enough breeding trap/net in the tank... for a few to several days... This sometimes "takes the spit" out of the offender... Bob Fenner>

Helostoma kissingmaximusi I was planning on buying a breeding net anyway considering most of my females appear to be gravid. I'll run out and buy one and isolate the "killer kisser" and see what happens. I'll let you know in a week or so if there was any curb in his aggression. Thanks again! Sincerely, Walt <Real good. Bob Fenner>

Deceased Kisser Hello! Thank you for all your previous help. As you might have guessed, I have another question. I'll give you some background before I ask it. <Okay> Tank: 44 gal. pentagon, well planted with 20 small community fish (4 platies, 3 pairs of differing mollies, 2 beacon tetras, 2 diamond tetras, 2 Serpae tetras, 2 Botia dario, and 2 kissing Gouramis. Water: ammonia-0; nitrite-0; nitrate-20ppm; pH-between 7.7-7.9; total hardness 170ppm CaCO3; All tested regularly (including this morning). I woke up this morning to a dreadful sight. One of my kissers was deceased and wrapped around my external power filter's intake. Because he looked perfectly healthy before I went to bed, I cannot figure out what happened. I do, however, have some possibilities I would like to run by you. <Go ahead> I e-mailed you before about an aggressive kisser that was relentlessly chasing the now deceased kisser. I isolated the aggressive fish in a breeding net for five days. During that time the now deceased fish began to act much healthier... no more clamped fins, no more hiding, eating better, etc. Then I let the aggressive kisser out of jail and I honestly think his aggression got worse! <Ughhh> Naturally he took most of it out on his brother kisser. I read that adding a third kisser might calm down the aggressor so I went to my LFS and purchased one. No luck. So, I returned the bad fish to the LFS. This all took place in the last two days. Is that enough stress to have killed an otherwise healthy looking fish? <Yes... I wish I would have encourage you, in advance, that if the aggressive fish didn't "behave" on being re-introduced to trade it back in...> I feel I must add that I am not that adept at catching fish in my net. <Use two, take my advice, much, MUCH easier> When I was trying to catch the aggressive kisser, first to put him in jail, then to return him to the LFS, I may have caused far too much commotion for the fishes well being. Could this have been a factor? <Yes> Also, I recently added my monthly replenishment of Tetra Flora Pride to the tank. I only used half of the recommended dosage. Could this have stressed the fish? None of the others seemed to mind. <I don't think this would be much of a stressor, no> I mentioned that the fish was stuck to the filter intake. I have a Whisper Advanced Power Filter 30-60 with the extra sponge for increased bio-filtration. It supposedly filters up to 300 gallons per hour. I read that a proper unit will filter the entire volume of a tank four times in an hour, so I leave it on at full power. Could the fish have gotten stuck on the filter and unable to escape? Or is it more likely that the fish died and then got stuck to it? <Not likely at all... freshwater fishes are smart/er than folks give them credit for... and strong... think of how hard they are to catch!> Finally, I must mention (in case you haven't guessed) I am quite obsessive about my new hobby. I check the water regularly, reach in a couple of times a week to remove dead plant leaves and the occasional snail. Is it possible that I am overly involved and causing undue stress on my livestock? <Mmm, I would limit your in-tank sojourns to once weekly> Any help you can provide, as always, is greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Walt <Likely just a "bully" fish at play here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Deceased Kisser
Thanks again for the advice. I am sorry about all the questions. I honestly thought that I had everything figured out before I set up my tank. I took about eight books on freshwater aquaria out of the library and read them over like I was preparing for an exam. But, once again, I have found that real life does not mimic text, and I have a seemingly limitless number of questions. <This is so.> Anyway, I have permanently solved the "killer kisser" problem. I brought the original aggressor back only to find my other kissers becoming aggressive after he was gone. I brought them all back and I have decided never to invest in them again! I honestly do not know why they are listed as "peaceful" community fishes in so many books. <As with most bold statements, a few qualifiers should go along...> With the store credit I received from the kissers I have added to my collection of mollies, which brings me to my next question. How much salt is necessary in the water to keep mollies at optimal health? <A level teaspoon or so per ten gallons> In my 44 gallon, I have about 5 teaspoons, far below the recommended dosage for use as a "general tonic". I would increase it, but I am worried about the effect of aquarium salt on my live plants. How much salt is healthy for mollies, but not dangerous to plants? Thanks again! <I would not put anymore than the above in here. Bob Fenner>

Pink Kissing Gouramis not eating My kissing Gouramis which I purchased two days ago are not eating flake food or brine shrimp. The tetras and mollies I have in the tank with them eat fine. It is a 55 gallon tank and the temp is fine. What can I do to get them to eat? < Give them a few days to get use to their new surroundings. When they get hungry they will eat. There are actually very good algae eaters and are often seen "kissing" plants and rock when they are actually eating algae.-Chuck>
Re: Pink Kissing Gouramis not eating
I didn't' find any info helpful there, and they are still not eating. Please help. < With no external symptoms then I am going to assume that they may be in the early stages of an internal bacterial infection. The best way to treat this is with Metronidazole. Do a 30% water change and service the filter. Vacuum the gravel if it has not been done in awhile before treating the tank.-Chuck>

Sick kissing Gourami >Hi Bob, >>A minion by the name of Marina here. >I have a 3-4 inch kissing Gourami that is several years old. Last week he had a circular area on his side that was whitish in color. I changed 20% of the water and kept an eye on it. >>Do a larger water change. You've mentioned nothing about using carbon, filtration, or water parameters, so I'll assume that you know to remove carbon when medicating, and that you also know that some meds can "knock out" a good portion of your benthic bacterial colonies. This is another good reason to do larger water changes (50% identical, fresh water will help greatly). >This week it seems to have spread to the back 1/2 of his body on one side. He also has 1-2 raised bumps on his other side, about 2mm x4mm in size. He is eating and still "kissing" the other Gourami. He seems sluggish though and generally not too good. Two days ago I started a treatment of Maracyn II. So far this does not seem to be helping. >>We're really shooting in the dark, especially because I'm going by your description with no photos, and my book of fish diseases is in storage (curses!). Do both a Google and Dogpile search, as you'll be in a better position to determine what best matches your fish's symptoms. I would also, after doing that large water change, switch to Melafix, another broad spectrum antibiotic. If you do NOT have live plants in the tank, I would add 1 teaspoon of salt (Kosher or marine salt mix) per gallon of tank water. This will boost the effects of the antibiotic, as well as relieve a bit of the pressure on the fish's system (osmotic differences between fishy flesh and water). Also, please delve into our library here--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwinfectdisfaqs.htm >This fish has had previous bacterial infections that responded quickly to Maracyn II. What do you think? Jeff Hulett Hawkeye >>I would try the other broad spectrum antibiotic along with the salt. This is assuming that it's not a fungal infection (the Methylene blue would help address that), though I'm really not sure that's a possibility by your description. Keep up the water changes, if he takes any fresh foods do try to stimulate feeding this way (bloodworms, daphnia, mosquito larvae, et al). At this point it may be far too stressful for him to undergo a saltwater dip, so I don't recommend it. Let's keep our fingers crossed! Marina
Re: sick kissing Gourami
>Thanks Marina, I will do a larger water change and try to send you a photo. I do have live plants in the tank. I did do a search, but didn't turn up anything. >>Then you won't be able to use the salt. I did more searching, and the best I can find online is that it must be an infection, but at this point I can't even narrow down whether it's bacterial, fungal, or viral. If you can set up a hospital tank for this fish, I would advise it. This way you can help him with salt. If you believe that it would cause really undue stress on the fish, then don't move him. Other than that, my only other suggestions are to try different broad spectrums. Here's a link to fish meds, uses, dosing, etc. --> http://www.petswarehouse.com/Fishmed3.htm and here--> http://www.petswarehouse.com/Fishmed2.htm >>Good luck, and keep us posted. Marina
Re: sick kissing Gourami
>Thank you Marina, >>You're welcome. >I spent some time looking at the fish with a magnifying glass and I noticed some white tuft stuff on one of the site. It was very small. After seeing that, I treated the tank with Rid Ich+, which is mostly Malachite Green. I also removed a smaller kissing Gourami from the tank to reduce stress on the sick one. I did this because, even though he was sick, he still "kissed" the other one, and frequently chased it around the tank. I also added a tablespoon or so of salt. I did this last Thursday or Friday. Since then I've kept up the treatments once per day for both the Maracyn II and the Malachite Green. The fish improved dramatically with this treatment. >>FANTASTIC! Boy, that is great news. >After one day the 2x4mm spot had shrunk 50% and the tufts were gone. His motion seems better and he seems to be getting better every day. Since he really didn't respond to the Maracyn II, I can only guess that this must have been fungal. >>Me too. Again, let the happiness ensue! You've found the trouble, and are treating with good success. I have achieved my (the whole crew's, actually) goal. >I plan to discontinue you Maracyn II today and keep up the M. Green until he seems healed. >>Sounds like a good plan. >By the looks of his progress, this should only take a few more days. >>Could it get any better? >After that I'll reinsert the carbon in the filter. I've included photos of the fish in its original sick state. You can see the discoloration on the back half of his body. This spread from the original circular site which was about 8 mm wide. Thank you very much for your help with this. >>This is great, except that I can't seem to view the .jpg. Bob? Jason? Zo? Someone with more puter knowledge than me? Well, the point is that the fish is on his way back to good health. I'm very pleased with the news. Marina

Eat, Don't Kiss! Hello to all at WWM, <Hello! Ryan here> I bought 2 pink kissing Gourami's 4 days ago and have them in QT by themselves but they are not eating. I've tried reading over all the faq and am still at a loss. They are in an established tank and all my water parameters check out okay. I haven't noticed any white spots or any other obvious signs of illness only that they hang out on the bottom of the back of the tank. I've tried offering frozen blood worms and brine shrimp. Also I got some zooplankton all to no avail. Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Amy, are there adequate hiding places for them to feel safe? I like to keep a piece of PVC or some fake plants in my QT to reduce stress. Was the brine you offered live? If not, try that. Brine shrimp are a poor substitute for real food, but seem to get almost any fish eating. Small live worms may do the trick as well. These fish are generally very hardy with an appetite to match-could you contact the LFS which sold you the fish and find out what they were eating previously? Good luck!> Thank You, Amy

Pink kisser diet and general tank stuff. First things first, I don't have a digi. cam, so I'll describe Ivan's itchy patch in the best way I've thought of. Basically it looks like a patch of eczema on the outer 1/8 inch of his tail. Like this: <Unfortunately, the little diagram will not reproduce well for the FAQs, but with your new description and the diagram, I'm pretty sure you're dealing with fin rot. Fortunately, this is easily treatable.> He actually nibbles off little flakes of it. He sits under the filter intake a lot and I've noticed little bits of it flake away and get sucked into the filter or fall onto the bottom of the tank. Problem is, since he's a Pink Kisser, his fins are very light colored; in most places they're very light whitefish, not quite clear, and I can't tell if he has any spots or not. He could be completely covered with them and they aren't visible Black construction paper behind the tank didn't help much either (he was scared of it). <LOL! Ivan the Terrible? Or Ivan the Terrified?> I read the Ick page (thanks for the link) and I'm going to try getting a sample of his tail slime to take to the pet store or a fish vet (if I can find one). I'll take a water sample too, but the water here is different from the stuff I use at school. (Would the bottled "Betta Water" I've seen in pet stores help with changes any?) My biggest problem with diagnosis is, of all the Pink Kissers in the world and the hundreds of them turn that turn homicidal, I have to get the only one I've heard of yet that's a complete and utter coward. When I got him from the pet store he was in a 10 gal with about 40 other fry. He was one of the smallest in there and was getting chased around the tank (typical behavior for the kind). I took him specifically because he was little and needed out of there or he'd starve. Since then, he's been terrified of anything pinkish (including my hands), anything that looks like another fish (He saw a picture of a gold fish on a pet guide worksheet and hid until I moved it), and anything that moves quickly or reflects light (camera lenses, mirrors, watches, etc). <Ivan the Terrified, indeed!> I got a picture once from across the room with a zoom lens and hung it on my wall at school-- where its hanging now. I'll send a photo as soon as I can. <If it's possible, that'd be great, but again, I'm pretty confidant with the description you gave now. To treat the fin rot, I would use a good antibiotic, like Kanamycin (Available from Aquatronics as "Kanacyn" in a gray box). Use as directed, it should clear this up just fine.> He only sits (?) still in the open when he's curious about something (running water especially) or when he's hungry (which is any time he's not sleeping). The minute I move near the tank he hides behind his plants. <It might help to give him more hiding spaces. Perhaps a few rocks or a cave, maybe some more plants like the Anacharis/elodea for him to nibble on. The idea behind this is that the more opportunity they have to hide, the less they feel the need to. In my experience, this is almost invariably true.> Thanks for all your info and help. I appreciate it. <Sure thing - glad to be able to help!> Take care. Becky <You too. Wishing you (and Ivan) well, -Sabrina>

Kissing Gourami and plants (III, I think) We really must share a wave length or something because the day after I sent the last email I went to the petstore and bought more plants as Ivan the Terrified's Christmas present (Yes, I think the name is going to stick). <LMAO!> They're larger than the old ones and the tank now looks more like a jungle. He loves it. <Wonderful to hear.> I also started throwing a new slice of peeled cucumber in the tank every day <You can actually leave the peel on; it's probably the most nutritive part. It would also be a good idea to "blanch" (drop into boiling water for 10 seconds or so) this and other fresh veggies you give him. You can do a whole bunch ahead of time, then freeze them on a cookie sheet and put it all in a bag in the freezer, then you can just pull out a piece whenever you want.> and tried some spinach. Unfortunately, he thinks that the spinach should come in flake form; he won't eat it unless I chop it up for him. <Perhaps try frozen spinach? It's usually already in pretty small pieces. Might be easier.> Let it never be said that I don't spoil my fish. <I will not say that, I assure you!> Interestingly enough, the stuff on his tail has gone away. <With good water quality, mild cases of fin rot often clear up on their own.> I did full water tests per your questions about levels. Current standings: Nitrate: 20ppm; Nitrite: 0; Hardness: 300; Alkalinity: 180; Ph: 7.6. Temp is 78.6 F. <Not bad. What about ammonia?> We have a well heavy in iron, but I'm not sure how to soften the water without messing with the alkalinity, which is also a little higher than I think he needs. <Really, this isn't of major concern for him. Yes, it's a bit on the side of "liquid rock" (pretty hard), but that's not a huge issue for this tough species. If you really, really want to lower it, you could do so with peat moss in the filter; this will stain the water a yellow-brown color, but that's only an aesthetic issue. It will also lower the pH, but really, I think this is quite unnecessary.> Whatever the water conditions, the tail hasn't bothered him for 2 days or so now. <Excellent.> With different water at school, we'll see what happens with his condition later. <Is it at all possible to bring a couple of 5 gallon jugs of water with you, so you can make the change to school water a little more slowly? Just a thought.> For the moment he's chasing bubbles around his tank and making kissy faces at me, so I'm guessing he feels pretty good. <Certainly sounds good!> Pictures of my little monster are forthcoming as soon as the film is developed. I will email them as soon as I can. <Cool. Pics always make it easier to give a more accurate diagnosis, though I am pretty certain now that it is/was fin rot.> Until that time, thank you very much for all your help and happy holidays. Becky <And Happy Holidays to you and Ivan.... the Terrified.... I'm still giggling. -Sabrina>

Pucker Up! (Kissing Gourami) Hi. I'm a complete newbie to fishkeeping and I had a couple of questions. <Welcome to the hobby.> Here's my situation. My 2 year old Pink Kisser, Ivan the Terrible, <Ooh, what a fitting name!> is about 5" long. He lives by himself in a heated (80*F/ 27*C) 10 gal. tank with fluorescent light and external filtration system set up in my dorm room. He's an only child and will probably remain that way. <A good plan with this fish, which can potentially become a foot long terror. Until he's into a much large tank, he's best on his own.> I've got 5 or 6 plastic plants that he likes to hide behind and nibble on and a layer of natural gravel on the bottom so he can eat algae. <And eat algae he will - that's what those thick lips were designed for (among other things).> My first concern is diet. I feed Wardley brand tropical flake food as his main diet (a pinch 2-3 times a day), <Not my personal favorite, to be honest... and really, this fish should be fed much more in the way of greens than 'community' type flake foods. Frozen algae preparations, sushinori, romaine lettuce, blanched zucchini/cucumber, shelled peas.... Spirulina flakes, if necessary.> supplemented with 2-3 Wardley Betta pellets a day for color (pet store recommendation, but he doesn't seem to like it) <I think this is probably unnecessary, to be honest. Betta food is usually a high protein food to mimic the live goodies they would eat in the wild, whereas kissing Gourami feed primarily on algal matter and plants (and the occasional aquatic invertebrate). If you want him to "color up" a bit, perhaps a "color/red enhancing" cichlid food could be fed very sparingly. Again, unnecessary, IMO.> and the occasional fresh cucumber slice or spinach leaf. <Ahh, good. I would make this a lot more than occasional - these and the other greens above should be his staple. Be sure to blanch fresh veggies (drop into boiling water for 10 seconds or so), or he may possibly develop some internal disorders.> My main concerns are the balance between his flake food and what he needs nutritionally. The flakes are 46% protein, 5% fat, and 4% fiber; main ingredients are fish meal, wheat flour and soy protein. He's growing like a weed, so I don't think he's severely deficient in anything, but I'd like an expert opinion. <I really feel like he could do better with more greens in his diet, and less high protein foods. Better to match as closely as possible what these fish were designed to eat in nature.> Secondly, a health/disease issue. About 2.5 weeks ago, Ivan developed a white flaky condition on his tail and only on his tail, which led me to rule out fin rot. <Can you describe this in further detail? I'm having trouble picturing a white, flaky tail....> He also started rubbing on the filter intake nozzle in the tank. The rubbing I attributed to a breeding behavior since I turned up the heater when the weather got cold. (They cuddle with their mates when they're... um... *happy* and a swift change in temp. will cause that, or so I'm told.) <Though I don't know much about the breeding habits of this species, I would definitely be concerned with this scratching.> He didn't have the white spots associated with Ick, but I opted for Ick treatment and it went away after about 3 days. <Through most of its lifecycle, Ich is not visible. It could very well be that he had the very beginnings of an Ich infestation. More on Ich here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm .> I did a 1/3 water change and put in a new filter cartridge on Wednesday, then left him for 4 days with a vacation feeder while I went home for Thanksgiving. <Personally, I don't much like the slow-release feeders. They may alter the pH some, in some cases, and IMO, aren't terribly nutritious. Might want to invest in an automatic feeder, that you put flake/pellet food in, which will release the food you choose as often as you set it for.> When I came back Sunday, the white flaky stuff was back just as bad as it was before. I stopped filtration again, <You can leave the filter running (for circulation/physical filtration), just remove any carbon or cartridges containing carbon.> treated for Ick and it went completely away. Two weeks later, I'm home for Christmas and he came with me. I did a 50% water change, put in a new filter cartridge, vacuumed his gravel and wiped his plants to keep the algae from getting too thick. He's doing all his regular fishy things, but there's a tiny white flaky patch on his tail again. <I don't think we're quite on the same wavelength, here.... I really can't envision this flaky patch. Is it small? Large? How small/large? In spots? Opaque? Fuzzy? Flaky as in peeling, like a sunburn? Look kinda like cauliflower? Feel free to get very descriptive.> I think I've established that its not Ick or it wouldn't keep coming back after a full treatment and he'd have white spots elsewhere, which he doesn't. <Please do check out that link on Ich; the full life cycle of Ich is about two weeks (though this is dependant upon temperature), and for most of its life, is not treatable.> What the heck is this and how do I fix it? <Please do write back, and describe the heck out of this, if you can. I'm very sorry I'm not clearly picturing this. Ah, in fact, if you can email us a photo of the fish/flaky patch with your description, that'd be even better.> Would you suggest any changes in setup other than tank size, which I can't do anything about until I get a bigger living space? <Woah.... I said we're not on the same wavelength, but you read my mind! Okay, I won't say anything about tank size here, just that he'll end up topping out around twelve inches ;) You might want to think about giving him a constant supply of Anacharis/elodea to nibble on - in fact, that'd make a *perfect* weekend feeder for him when you're gone! More greens, as above. I also wonder at your water conditions (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH), as the only thing at all that I can think of as "flaky" is Lymphocystis, which is a viral condition, brought on by poor water quality (often prolonged exposure to high nitrates) and can be recurring.> Any feedback would be appreciated. <Here's something that you might enjoy: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anabantoids.htm .> Thanks! Becky <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Sick Pink Kissing Gourami A friend recently gave me his a fish tank that had a very small fish and a Kissing Gourami. The fish sat in his office's lobby where almost nobody noticed them. I took them home and put them in the same tank they had lived in their entire lives, with the decorations exactly the same. The small fish is doing great and swimming all the time, the Gourami is sitting on the bottom of the tank with its fin and barely ever moves. When it does move, it swims around the tank once and goes up to the surface and shoots back down and sits on the bottom of the tank again. I first thought I had ICH, so I treated the water, but It didn't seem to help anything. What should I do? What's hurting my fish Thanks, Ryan <Mmm, well, Kissers do "sit about" quite a bit... If your tank is large enough (twenty or more gallons) and otherwise not overcrowded I would add another kisser... they're social... hard to "kiss yourself"... and this should stir the present one to be more active. Bob Fenner>

Whitish Slime on Gravel 2/27/07 Hi there, <Hi Casie, Pufferpunk here> I have a 38 gallon fresh water tank. I have 5 tetras, (not sure what kind of tetra), a kissing Gourami, a peppered loach and 2 angel fish. <Those pink "kissers" are quite aggressive & grow to a foot.> Yesterday both of my angel fish died =(. It looked like they had been getting picked on in the eyes. I believe the kissing Gourami is a little meaner than I thought. (I just added him last week). <Sure is!> This morning I woke up to this whitish/clear substance in some of the gravel. It almost looks "squishy". I didn't want to bother it not knowing what it was, (eggs or more likely bacteria maybe?) <Bacterial, caused probably by over-feeding & under-cleaning.> Some of it is now floating in the water and I did scoop that out. Could this of caused the angel fish to die? <An end result, I'm sure.> I should mention that I also have sand in the bottom of the tank along with gravel. It was from my saltwater tank that I no longer use. I bleached it and it's been in there some time now but maybe it's from the sand? <Depending on how deep the sand is, if you don't stir it weekly, anaerobic (toxic air pockets) can develop in the sand.> I've searched the internet for about an hour looking for it, everything I find refers to saltwater. Any clue as to what it is? <It sounds to me that you aren't doing enough regular weekly water changes or cleaning the substrate. Weekly 50% water changes are the very best thing you can do to insure healthy fish. Clean the gravel with a gravel cleaner, while removing the water. That should remove most of the "gunk". If you haven't done a water change in a while, then 2 consecutive 25% water changes within 2 days will be best, so you don't shock the fish. Be sure to match the water temperature 7 dechlorinate (I prefer using Prime)> Let me know if you believe it could be harmful. Sorry to drag on about what I think it could be, obviously I have no clue *smile*. Thank you for your help. <I'd find another home for the Gourami. It would have been best to leave your tank stocked as it was. Perfect balance of fish. ~PP> ~Casie L.

Bloated Kissing Gourami 2/16/07 Hi, i <... I> put 2 pink kissing Gourami's into a mixed community tank 3 weeks ago. <Spaces between your sentences...> One of them about 5 days ago started to become bloated and is now very big. <I see this> It doesn't seem very active and not feeding, also doesn't seem to go to the toilet and stays in the corner of the tank, the scales are not sticking out and it seems to have no other visual signs. The other one is active. The tank is 400 ltrs with Eheim bio filter. Water tests are all good, maybe a little hard but nothing abnormal. All other stock are ok. I have just noticed it is going, it has a thin cotton wool like stool. Thank you in advance for any help. <Your Helostoma very likely has either an internal bacterial complaint or a lumenal parasite (likely Hexamita)... Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GouramiDisFAQs.htm and the linked files at top. Bob Fenner>

Pink Gourami Losing It's Tail 2/3/07 Hi; Pinkie is losing her tail.. I took this picture before I realized what was happening. She? <No way to sex externally> Has been in a 10 gallon clear water filtered tank with a beautiful Otocinclus. He? lives on the bottom. I was told they will eat what fall's to the bottom <?> and never ate the algae wafer's. Could this catfish that is 1/5 the size be snipping the Gourami as it sleeps on the rocks at night? <Mmm, not likely, no... Otocinclus are not of this nature. Likely this appearance is due to bacterial involvement allowed by "poor water quality"... What do your water tests indicate? What is your maintenance routine? Have you read on WWM, elsewhere re the requirements of this Helostoma? Bob Fenner> Please Help!

Angry Pink Kissing Gourami 2/1/07 Hi, I have a 55 gallon tank with 1 Ropefish, 2 rainbow schoolers, 4 female swordtails, 1 male swordtail <tail...> , 2 blue Gouramis (one that's <that's> gold), 1 whiptail sucker fish, 1 Plec. sucker fish, and one large pink kissing Gourami. Now my problem is after feeding. Most of the fish are satisfied with frozen bloodworms, but the kisser never seems to eat them, so I feed her tropical flakes. after she finishes eating, she darts around the tank chasing anything that moves, and harasses them this way for about 30 minutes. She only does this after eating, and she gets more aggressive each time. its mostly just fin nipping, but its starting to worry me. Any suggestions? Thanks a lot! <You may have a "rogue" individual here, but Helostoma are social animals... should be kept in at least pairs. I would look into wafer-type food formats and getting at least another kisser of about the same size. Bob Fenner>
Re: Angry Pink Kissing Gourami 2/2/07
Thanks! She is roughly 4 years old. She's always been with blue Gouramis in a 10 gallon but recently she was added to the new 55 gallon tank. Ill look into getting a buddy for her. She is extremely large; about the size of my palm. I've just never seen be aggressive before so it worried me. <Unlikely to find such a large specimen... I'd opt for two more of the biggest you can find> This question is off the topic, but am curious. Im looking into getting a freshwater snowflake Eel, but am not sure if it will cope with my Ropefish or not. <Mmm, not real freshwater... not compatible... See WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Request help diagnosing sick kissing Gourami 1/14/07 Hi, <Hey Jack, JustinN with you today.> I have a 4.5??? kissing Gourami (picture attached) that began developing faint pink blotches on its body about two weeks ago. The blotches became progressively more intense in color (red) and larger, resembling large bloodshot areas. <Yes, I see this.> On its nose, one of these blotches appears to have a pinhole size open sore. These blotches are on one side of the body only. At the same time, the fish has become progressively more lifeless to the point that last night I thought it had died. It does not appear to be breathing underwater ??? it goes to the surface for air, but otherwise rests on the bottom of the tank with little or no gill or fin movement. <Gouramis are a species that is commonly known as "Labyrinthfish" which are known for exactly this, surface breathing. Bettas fall into this same category.> In addition, there seems to be some accompanying fin rot on its dorsal fin and caudal fin. <Yes, I see this as well.> The tank is a 35 gallon, filtered by an Eheim 2213 canister (in which I use a ChemiPure Ion filter medium bag) and an in-line UV sterilizer. <No biological filtration media in your canister filter?> Temperature is 82 degrees F. Water chemistry was pH ??? 6; nitrite ??? 0 ppm; ammonia ??? 0.5 ppm; nitrate ??? 40 ppm. <Aha, here's your problem... Any detectable ammonia is a major problem, and your nitrates should be maintained at or below 20ppm.> Other fish in the tank: 1 other kissing Gourami (sexes of both unknown); five red eyed tetras; one angelfish (4???); five neon tetras; two albino catfish. <Thoroughly packed tank, eh?> Based on the information I read tonight on your website, I have preliminarily diagnosed this to be a bacterial infection. <Mmm, no, environmental.> I began remediating the low pH; did a 30% water change; removed the ChemiPure bag from the filter; gave an initial dose of PimaFix (I only had on hand tonight PimaFix and MelaFix in the house). <The Pimafix and Melafix will likely not hurt anything, though neither will they help here. The problem is not bacterial, it is purely environmental. Get the ammonia and high nitrates out of your tank, and provide biological filtration to your canister filter, and you will likely see quick turnaround.> Should I discontinue the PimaFix, and obtain Nitrofuranace or something else? <No> Should I do anything regarding the high nitrate other than more frequent water changes? <You should not concern yourself as much with the semi-high nitrates, but instead with the existing traces of ammonia. In either case, the solution is the same. More biological filtration, and more water changes.> Thanks in advance for your advice, for your helpful website, and for your help in saving this sweet fish. Jack Abuhoff Montclair, NJ <No problem, mate. Is what we do. -JustinN in Texas>

Balloon kissing Gourami 1/21/06 Hey guys, I read your website all the time and now I have a question of my own. I have heard of a dwarf species of kissing Gouramis called "balloon kissing Gouramis," but I cannot find that much information on them. I was wondering if you know exactly how big these fish get compared to the regular kissers. <Smaller, slower growing> I have a long (36") 25g tank that I am ready to stock w/ freshwater fish. I was going to get a couple of pink kissers and keep them there until they outgrew the tank and I could move them to a larger size one. But now I am thinking that this dwarf balloon species might be a better and more permanent choice for my tank. <Agreed> I would like to keep them in the 25g with a small school of Corys (and maybe a pair of another type of Gourami?). <Should work> I would appreciate any info you have on the balloon kissers and any other suggestions for my tank. Thanks! -Jon <Please read here re: http://animal-world.com/encyclo/fresh/anabantoids/balkissinggour.php Bob Fenner>

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