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FAQs on the Blue, Three-Spot, Gold/en, Opaline, Even Albino! Gouramis, Yes, The Same Species, Trichogaster trichopterus,  Disease/Health: Diagnosis   

FAQs on Trichogaster Disease: T. trichopterus Disease 1, T. trichopterus Disease 2, T. trichopterus Disease 3, T. trichopterus Disease 4,
FAQs on Trichogaster Disease by Category: Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Infectious, Parasitic, Trauma, Treatments

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

Related FAQs:  Trichogaster trichopterus 1, Trichogaster trichopterus 2, T. trichopterus ID, T. trichopterus Behavior, T. trichopterus Compatibility, T. trichopterus Selection, T. trichopterus Systems, T. trichopterus Feeding, T. trichopterus Reproduction, 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,

Trichogaster repro.? Constipation? What?      7/28/15
asking a question about my gold Gourami my female Gourami is pregnant and there is no male Gourami to build a bubble nest what to do .
asking a question about my gold Gourami my female Gourami is pregnant and there is no male Gourami to build a bubble nest what to do
<Female Gouramis don't get pregnant. Your Gourami is either constipated or has Dropsy. The former is caused by poor diet, typically too much flake and not enough fibre (fresh greens, frozen brine shrimp, that sort of thing).
Dropsy is a bacterial infection caused by a poor environment. Do read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/gldfshmalnut.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/dropsyfaqs.htm
Cheers, Neale.>
I checked and she has eggs     7/28/15

<How? How can you tell if a female Gourami has eggs inside her? True, females will appear a little more convex around the abdomen when 'ripe' and ready to spawn, but this isn't particularly noticeable. If she looks swollen, like she's swallowed a ball, then she has some other problem.
Constipation or else Dropsy, this latter characterised by the scales rising up from the body, very noticeable when viewed from above ('pine cone appearance'). 99 times out of 100, when casual fishkeepers say their egg-laying fish is pregnant, it's wishful thinking. Cheers, Neale.> do I use it properly? Pictures included below. Thank you.
<Bob may have some ideas. Cheers, Neale.>
<<Epsom salt. B>><<No pix anywhere>>

Female gouramis     2/10/13
I have a 2yo 29 gallon, very heavily planted, lots of drift wood, and gravel, 3 female blue gourami's and 1 male, a high fin plecostomus,
<Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps; needs a tank three times bigger than 29 gallons
. Surely it's pretty big by now… 20 cm/8 inches or more… should be if more than a year old, and adults get to some 50 cm/20 inches.>
an albino bristle nose plecostomus,
<Ancistrus sp.; a much better alternative.>
2 peppered Cory's and 2 albino Cory's, and 8 hatchet fish my tank has a 40gl submersible filter and is kept at 80 degrees,
<Slightly too warm for the Corydoras.>
I have not checked my ph in a VERY long time as everyone has seemed extremely healthy
<So what is the pH now…? Changes in pH can occur in tanks between water changes, and these can stress your fish.>
and lively and I do %20 water changes every other week with purified water. First let me say, I do not want fry!! I asked for 4 females at the pet store and at the purchase time they did in fact all look like females but were a lot smaller/younger, anyway to the point  my 3 females have looked FULL of eggs for about 2 months now and I had been hoping they would just eventually come out...obviously that's not the case, what do I do? Can this be dangerous? I have rationed food thinking they were just fat, and there was no change and wouldn't the male be fat also if that were the case? How do I help my females to get rid of their eggs without fertilizing them with the male? Should I get rid of my male would this stop this from happening again in the future? Would getting rid of my male immediately make the females drop their eggs? I don't want to loose all my gouramis!
~Erica~
<Gouramis don't get pregnant, they lay eggs, but is natural for females to seem slightly fuller than normal when they're holding the eggs anything up to a few days prior to spawning. If you have one or more females that appear dramatically swollen though, like they've swallowed a little ball, then they're either madly overfed or have Dropsy. If they've been overfed, then the male could be fat-looking too, as would other, random fish in the tank. If it is ONLY one or two fish that are swollen and the others are all naturally lean, then Dropsy is more likely. Other symptoms of Dropsy include a pinecone-like appearance when viewed from above, lethargy, a disinterest in food. Given your tank is likely overstocked, possibly severely, environmental stress would be the most likely reasons for Dropsy. Do read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/dropsyfaqs.htm
Treatment is possible; combine Epsom salt therapy with suitable antibacterial medication (like eSHa 2000) or antibiotic (Maracyn 2 seems as good as any). Do note regular salt won't help, and neither will doing nothing -- left alone, Dropsy is invariably fatal. It's a sign of organ failure, which clearly isn't welcome! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Female gouramis

First, I'm not completely ignorant (in fact i believe i never once in my first email sad "pregnant" i said eggs, many times)
<Ah, meant only in the general sense that female Gouramis may swell up with eggs for a few days prior to spawning but not for weeks, months at a time… so they shouldn't look "pregnant" for long, if at all.>
and have done a lot of research on the breeding habits and egg laying process of gourami fish (before getting them and decided i did not want to do it hence the asking for 4 females) I have not found anything on what to do if you don't want fry and the females became full of eggs!
<There's zero chance of Gourami fry surviving if you don't make an effort to rear them. They are tiny, need infusoria to feed upon.>
(you assumed my fish are sick and did NOT answer ANY of my questions)
<Oh, did try to. If three fish are all swollen up, and have been so for more than a couple days, and you're sure overfeeding and/or constipation aren't factors, then do assume Dropsy or something similar.>
The 3 females are the only "fat" fish in my tank,
<Worrying indeed.>
I have decreased feeding when I first noticed it and nothing changed in there appearance, they are still VERY active and interested in food as is the rest of my tank
<This is promising, and means treatment should work.>
and they do not look like pine cones,
<Which doesn't rule out Dropsy. In any case, something *is* amiss, and you should proceed from that. Egg-binding is possible, I suppose, but it's (extremely) rare in fish. Epsom salt can help here. But I'd be more toward something else being wrong. Are these Dwarf Gouramis? These are particularly prone to bacterial and viral infections.>
if I treated and nothing changed in their appearance would you then believe me that my fish are NOT sick?
<You don't need to convince me of anything. It's about working through the probabilities, from most to least likely explanations, and where you can't pin down exactly what's wrong, you can at least treat for things so you can "tick them off" the list.>
wouldn't the salt effect my Cory's?
<Do note I said Epsom Salt, not aquarium salt, and no, doesn't harm Corydoras.>
My pH looks to be just above 7, using a testing strip from a local pet store, which if I remember right and through all my reading, is good for every fish species In my tank.
<Ah now, don't fixate on pH. It actually doesn't matter much; Corydoras are fine between pH 6 and 8. What matters is hardness, that's the bit fish "feel". All that matters for the fish is that the pH is stable.>
On another note The plecostomus is not as old as the tank, I didn't buy the plecostomas's until recently, after there was plenty of Algae in the tank for them to eat
<Do need more to eat than algae. Hikari Algae Wafers are a good balanced diet, rich in both algae and shrimp meal.>
(I plan to upgrade as the tank grows, in about 6mo and both Plecos are currently about 3in)
<Cool. But do bear in mind how large Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps will get, and plan accordingly. Anything smaller than 75 US gallons would be pointless (and dirty and smelly). Gorgeous fish though; kept two in a 200-gallon aquarium at university. So if you have the space and prodigious filtration (they defecate like its an Olympic sport) they're excellent companions for large community fish.>
~Erica~
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Female gouramis

I have a 55 with a NASTY eel
<What kind of eel? Spiny Eels won't be mean enough to damage a Plec too large to swallow whole.>
in it and a feather fin catfish? the high fin plecostomus will eventually end up there when it's big enough that I don't feel my eel will harm it and it will only house those 3 fish and those alone…
<I agree, but 55 gallons is a push for this many large fish.>
When I move into a larger space (hopefully with the next year) they will be upgraded to a 240 Plexi glass i have in storage
<Ah, now you're cooking!>
and from there i will try to figure out what fish can be housed with the eel (that KILLS everything)
<Not an adult Pterygoplichthys…>
and the gourami tank will be transferred from the 30 to the 55...so in short I do have a plan for how large the Pleco will get.
<Cool.>
My fish get (what i think) is a very good diet I actually pride myself on how colorful and healthy my fish are and i get many compliments on my gouramis! My tanks get Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, omega one shrimp pellets, Tubifex worms, omega one veggie rounds, cucumber, peas, lettuce, blood worms, earth worms (cut up) live Molly babies I breed myself, of course not all at once every feeding. But they never get the same thing two days in a row. With the exception of the omega one veggie rounds (all the fish LOVE these and fight over them)
<Your fish eat better than mine. Better than me, even.>
Now regarding the Three spot gouramis
<A tough variety, rarely problematic.>
I've decided to try to breed them as I feel the females are in fact full of eggs, and I have had "egg binding" happen before with Bettas, (this is why I'm concerned it has happened to my gouramis being that there was no "safe place" for the male to make a bubble nest and for the females to expel her eggs) I've made a "dead spot" in my tank using plants where the current is almost nothing at the surface (my male is already showing interest within the 30min of me doing this) my plan (if they breed) is to collect the eggs and use them to feed my eel. Hopefully this works... I'd really like to not lose my gouramis...
<Epsom salt can really help with egg binding. It's a muscle relaxant among other things, around 1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres should do the trick.>
With the tank and gouramis being 2yo with no previous problems... Why would a problem arise from seemingly nowhere?
<Egg binding is difficult to predict. It's very rare in fish. So it's hard to predict what would cause it. Genetics may be a factor, or age, or diet, or some combination of factors. That all three females are exhibiting egg binding at the same time is VERY odd and to be honest I'm not convinced. Some slight fattening up as per sexual maturity and prior to spawning seems more likely… do need to see a photo of these fish if possible. Would settle my mind whether this is really a problem or not.>
Water changes have never bothered them or the water much, they get a good diet and I keep the filter clean (in fact just got the new 40gl submersible a few weeks ago) and they are kept at a consistent temp, the only thing that has changed recently is the brand new filter...
~Erica~
<Cheers, Neale.>
Female gourami

They look full of eggs to me...these were just taken and he looks healthy (not fat) to me. I would imagine If it were over feeding he would look as plump as the females
~Erica~
<These fish do not look unusually fat or otherwise. I would do nothing more than increase fibre content of diet (brine shrimps are good) while using Epsom salt as described before. This won't harm any other fish, may do some good as a laxative. But provided fish remain active and interested in food,
I would consider these fish healthy. Cheers, Neale.>


Re: Female gourami, no reading, using WWM      2/10/13
How much Epsom salt would you suggest for a 30gl tank
<1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres. It's as well to assume your tank doesn't contain 30 gallons; knock 10-15% off for rocks and gravel, i.e., your tank likely holds 25.5-27 gallons. So calculate on the basis of these, more conservative figures.>
and how do I "administer" it (i.e.: just pour it in)
<Dissolve calculated quantity in a small jug of warm water. Pour into aquarium in stages, perhaps 5-6 portions across an hour.>
~Erica~
<Cheers, Neale.>

Lumps on 3 spotted gourami     7/19/12
Hi
<We ask that folks limit their graphics file sizes to hundreds of Kbytes... yours are seven megs...>
My female 3 spotted Gourami has developed some lumps in the last month or so. The one side is much bigger than the other, please see attached photos.
I have a male too, but he seems fine. They share the tank with Sword Tails, Clown Loaches, Kuhli Loaches, Cherry Barbs and Pleco's. All the other fish seems fine. She hasn't stopped eating and still swims around, though not as much as before.
Please help me to identify what is wrong with her and tell me how to fix it? Please let me know if you need any more information.
<Have seen these anomalous bumps several times; only read that they're attributed to "Sporozoan" infestations... and never seen successfully treated. You might try Metronidazole/Flagyl lacing foods; but I'm not hopeful. I don't consider that they're "catching" and don't seem to disimprove the overall health of their host fishes...>
Kind regards
Liezle van der Westhuizen
Hawkes Bay
New Zealand
<Welcome. Bob Fenner, San Diego, CA, US>

Re: Lumps on 3 spotted gourami    7/20/12
Hi
<Liez>
Thank you for the quick response and sorry about the size of the pics!
I'll try your suggestions and let you know if the outcome is positive.
Regards
Liezle
<I thank you. BobF>

Re: Sick Golden Opaline Gourami 1/20/12
Hi again!
<Alicia>
I think you may be right about the bacterial infection. I've started a treatment of Maracyn and Maracyn Two, to over the gram negative and gram positive bacteria.
<Good>
I gave them a dose last night, and so far, no one has kicked the bucket.
Oddly enough, the Quick Cure didn't seem to do much beyond turn the water blue. The gourami stayed the same through two courses of treatment. The biofilter seems to still be in working order, but I supplement it when I do my weekly water change with Safe Start.
<Thank goodness>
I'll keep you posted! Thank you for your advise and the articles. Your site is always very informative!
Alicia
<Thank you, BobF>

Gourami problem 1/2/12
I have stumbled across your excellent website late this evening and wondered if you could please give me some advice ?
<Surely.>
I was given 3 large gouramis
<Trichogaster trichopterus; males of this species can be extremely aggressive. Despite being widely sold, I don't recommend them.>
and 3 Corydoras
<By contrast, these are excellent fish, but do keep more than 5 of each species of Corydoras. Bronze and Peppered Corydoras are the two easiest to keep and widely sold. Prefer coolish conditions, 22-25 C/72-77 F, and don't do well overheated.>
in a bit of a rush when someone moved house and I wasn't really prepared.
As a novice to be honest the filter was too small and I hadn't realised that you needed to change the tank water so often
<What do you mean "so often"? When the tank is matured, so after 6 weeks of running with an ammonia source (such as small daily pinches of food) the aquarium only needs 20-25% of the water changed every week or two. Compared to a dog or cat, this is minimal effort pet-keeping. But no, you can't ignore a fish tank for months at a time.>
and the quality did go down even though there weren't many fish and it never looked dirty/cloudy. I took a water sample to our local aquatic centre and found out everything when one gourami got a ragged pectoral fin and bit of white rot and a clouded eye.
<Fighting and/or water quality issues. Finrot is common when you have non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels. Fighting creates wounds, and these make Finrot even more likely.>
When the stripey one got what looked like a bite in it's tail I decided to take action and invest properly in a new big tank as I really enjoyed this new hobby ! I read that the best therapy is to make sure the tank water is correct
<Yes; or rather, of water quality isn't right, any amount of medication won't help.>
so I have now set up a nice tank with a new filter and when I test the water with the tetra strips the water quality seems all fine.
<I need numbers!>
In total there are the 3 gouramis, 5 platy type live-bearing fish (?), 3 Corydoras and 1 Plecostomus in 120L tank.
<Would return the Plecostomus as soon as you can. It doesn't belong here and will reach at least 30 cm/12 inches in the first year and 45 cm/18 inches within two years. If you must have an algae-eater, get a Bristlenose Plec, Ancistrus spp., as these are small (10 cm/4 inches is typical) and very easy to look after. But do also be aware algae-eaters aren't essential and don't help that much. Snails (specifically, Nerite Snails) are much better, and fast-growing plants best of all.>
The stripey's tail bite took ages to heal up and when I decided to get the larger tank they all had places to hide and weed to hide in and all seem much happier now especially with the new 5 confident fish. (I've attached a pic as I'm not sure what they are !)
<The dumpy-looking things with the Mickey Mouse markings on their tails are Platies. Keep at least two females per male, or else just females. Males have a tube-like anal fin, whereas that of the female is triangular. Nice fish, and like the Corydoras, need to be kept slightly cooler than average.
Must have hard, alkaline water -- not soft, acidic water.>
Anyway, the tail has started to heal but the skin around it started to take on a black discolouration. The tail fin itself is still ragged. Also the black colouration is now spreading along the lower anal fin. However, strangely the fish has started to get back it's bright spots of orange within the black which is heartening and does eat OK (tropical fish flakes and frozen tropical food like blood worms or larvae). I thought it could be something like a black velvet disease but the skin isn't fluffy. I looks like the dark area might separate from the other and fact it's "spreading" is a bit worrying.
<A mix of Finrot and Fungus; treat for both. In the US, Seachem ParaGuard for example treats both; here in the UK, I use a product called eSHa 2000.
Otherwise use an antibiotic and an antifungal at the same time. Don't waste time with tea-tree oil products at this point (so no Melafix, Pimafix, etc.); while these might be worthwhile at preventing infection when a fish has been damaged but is otherwise fine, once symptoms of infection become apparent, you need to use something more reliable.>
It likes to hide more and I think it's a female. There is one other larger blue female (smaller rounded dorsal fin) and a large orange male (long pointed dorsal fin) both of which seem healthy now. The blue's pectoral fins have all repaired now that the new tank is clean and water quality good.
Please, please could you have a look at these pictures and tell me whether I should be treating the stripey gourami ? Is the reddish colouration a worry around the gill flap as it looks slightly sunken ? Or should I wait and see, given that the colouration is coming back ?
Many thanks
Amanda
<Treat now. Also review fish stocking, and add/remove fish as required.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Gourami problem -- 1/3/12
Neale, you are fantastic ! Thank you so much for your advice !
<Glad to help.>
There is so much information around and too many forums where everyone is having a guess and not much concrete info for a novice like me.
<There's much to be said for buying one or two really good books, and trusting that book, at least for the first year or two.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/bksfwbrneale.htm
I happen to like Baensch's Aquarium Atlas vol. 1 as a good primer, but there are other options as well, some written for absolute beginners, others for more ambitious starters.>
I'm really enjoying finding out about everything though... I do change about 20% of the water usually every week and check the strips (those Tetra 6 in 1 strips) against the bottle colours (NO3 25, NO2 0, GH 8, KH 6, pH6.8, Cl2 0.8); it's very hard water where I live).
<Which is fine, good even. Hard water tends to be very stable, so pH fluctuation can be something you can ignore. Merely choose fish species that like hard water. But looking at your aquarium readings above, 8 degrees dH for general hardness and 6 degrees KH for carbonate hardness aren't especially high, and your water should be fine for a wide variety of fish. I'd not go with livebearers (platies, guppies, etc.) because your pH is acidic for some reason, but barbs, tetras, gouramis, Corydoras, etc. should all be fine.>
When I said "large" Gouramis they are about 4.5" long nose to tip of tail. I now realise there are even bigger ones so I may have misled you'¦.
<No, I do know how big this species gets. Yours is about full grown.>
I think the snails are a good idea too but will wait to get these until after sorting out the stripey problem with the eSHa.
<Wise. Nerite snails are excellent algae eaters and don't breed in freshwater, but they are quickly killed by copper, so it's a good idea to settle in all your fish and make sure they're healthy before adding these snails. Same goes for shrimps and most other invertebrates.>
I'm enjoying the plant life as well as the fish so don't want to go in for loads of fish but I do want to keep the few I've got healthy and happy - good to know the Corydoras were a good hardy choice but they are getting quite big (around 2" but possibly stopped growing now).
<Depends on the species. Most get to between 5-8 cm, 2-3 inches.>
Thank you very much once again. It's so nice to get some positive advice that I can act upon. I've ordered the eSHa 2000 and just off to sex the platies and look up Bristlenose Plecs !!
<Cool.>
Thank you once again and I'm hopeful with a bit of TLC I can get the fish healed up.
Best wishes and Happy New Year !
Amanda Wright
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>

Golden Gourami is acting paralyzed 9/17/11
I don't know what to do. I have searched for any kind of answer to explain what might be going on with my Golden Gourami. It was perfectly fine this morning, but tonight it has started acting as though it is paralyzed.
<Is it lying down on its side? Or the right way up but simply not swimming normally?>
It will not use its back fins for anything. It manages to get to the top of the tank and will attempt to eat but cannot stay up long. Besides all that the fish looks healthy. I haven't had a fish die on me in two or three years. All the other fish in this tank are perfectly fine, and I checked everything I could with the water and they all came back good. Can you please help me.
<This is a tough one. Fish lose the ability to swim normally for a variety of reasons. Do the usual things: Review water temperature, chemistry and quality. Check the social behaviour of the other fish. Think about toxins, including airborne ones like paint fumes. Physical damage like swimming into the hood when alarmed can cause damage to the spine. In the meantime, keep a close eye on the fish, but don't medicate unless you're sure there's a disease, and I'm not sure there is. Some details on the aquarium and tankmates would help with diagnosis. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Golden Gourami is acting paralyzed 9/19/11

It is not laying on its side , it keeps moving but when it tries to go toward the surface it will flip upside down or spin in circles. The other fish are two blue Gourami, two Opaline Gourami, a kissing Gourami and two brown knives. These are in a 55 gallon tank
<Does sound serious'¦ like the fish has been poisoned. Review environment, toxics as discussed before. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: re: Golden Gourami is acting paralyzed 9/19/11

Thanks for all your help. My golden Gourami ended up not making it, will keep an eye out on other fish though.
<Glad to help. Do review conditions in the aquarium, and hold off buying any more fish for at least 6 weeks. Cheers, Neale.

gold Gourami 9/15/11
Hello Neale, Chris here. Two quick questions for you. My Gold Gourami has red muscle near the front fins, is this natural or is there a problem here?
<It's not unusual for many fish to have a red band along the "join" between the body and the fin. Obviously inflammation indicates irritation, but if the fish is otherwise normal, and the red is the colour of the blood rather than inflammation, it's normal!>
Also when having live plants, is it necessary to use a Co2 system for them to thrive?
<Yes and no. There are many plants that will only grow under bright light, and most of these also need CO2 as well. The brighter the light, the more CO2 a plant needs, and above a certain light intensity, there isn't enough CO2 in the water coming from the fish alone. On the other hand, there are plenty of plants that can muddle through with just the ambient CO2 from your aquarium fish. These tend to be the low to middling light plants often recommended to beginners -- hardy Cryptocoryne species, some of the Amazon swords, Vallisneria, Java ferns, Anubias, etc. So yes, if you choose carefully, you can have a lush green aquarium without CO2, but the Amano-style tanks with the more demanding plants generally rely on CO2.>
thanks again, Chris.
<Cheers, Neale.>

3-spot Gouramis dying suddenly, tiny pinholes in their heads and losing weight.-- 9/5/09
I've already been looking for help on other forums for this problem for a few days, so here's a compilation of all the info I can think of.
<OK.>
I have a community tank (see info at bottom of email) which I recently (2 months ago) added 6 Gouramis. 2 adult Blue 3-spot gouramis. 2 juvenile blue 3-spots, and 2 juvenile gold variant 3-spots. They were quarantined for a month before adding them to the main tank. They've been in the main tank for 2 months now, with no apparent problems until this past week or so.
<Oh?>
I have just had two of my blue 3-spot gouramis die within a day of each other. (Sept 2nd) They had seemed a bit "off" for a couple days, so I was keeping an eye on them, and they were eating, but just kinda listless and a bit pale. One was an adult blue, and the other was a juvenile blue.
They didn't seem to exhibit any other symptoms before they just died -- just a bit "out of it" and pale. Appetites were fine, and there were no breathing problems. I started paying closer attention, checking for possible bullying, but was unable to see any signs of it - all is peaceful in that regard.
Now I have two other gouramis (one gold juvenile, one blue juvenile) exhibiting the same listlessness and slightly paler than normal. On closer examination, they both seem to have tiny pin-prick sized holes all over the tops of their heads above their eyes.
<The holes are similar to what we call "Hole in the Head" disease, a problem usually found among cichlids, so far as freshwater fish go. It's likely caused by the Hexamita parasite in most cases, though dietary issues may also be responsible.><<Agreed. RMF>>
There's no redness or fuzz or other signs of infection, their appetites are ok, they're not having breathing problems or spending inordinate amounts of time in any one area. One of them looks a bit thin. Their poo seems normal though, so I don't think it's an intestinal parasite.
<"Intestinal parasite" covers a lot of ground! It's a term bandied about by aquarists without any real understanding; in fact most fish have intestinal parasites of some sort, it's just that normally they don't cause problems. Among cichlids, it's now assumed Hexamita is ubiquitous, but only becomes problematic when things like water conditions or diet are wrong.>
This has happened very quickly. Within about a span of 2 - 4 days from onset of symptoms to death... Sudden weight loss, despite good appetites, then very pale coloring, (no - not excess slime). Then somewhat listless, just not as active as normal, then dead. However, I had not noticed the pinholes in their heads previously, so I don't know how long it is from when the holes happened until the other symptoms started. They don't turn into large pits or sores. They're not in any sort of line or particular pattern, just looks like someone pricked their heads all over with a needle or something, right through their scales and stuff. No inflammation or redness, just pin-pricks. It's very strange looking.
<Sounds very odd.>
My other gold juvenile looks ok so far, as does my other adult blue Gourami. (as of Sept 2nd)
Update Sept 5th: the above mentioned two have died - one last night, one today, about three days after I noticed them getting listless
Further update Sept 5th: The remaining two Gouramis, (one adult, one juvenile) appear healthy and active and properly colored at this time. The adult appears to have a single pin-hole above one eye. The juvenile has none so far.
None of the other fish in the tank are affected. This is only seeming to affect the gouramis.
<Could be viral, I suppose. Viruses are essentially untreatable among aquarium fish, and in many cases target very limited ranges of species, sometimes just one species. There aren't many in the hobby that are recognised, but doubtless there are numerous viruses out there we've not out names to.>
I had them in quarantine the first month I had them, and they've been in the tank for 2 months now, and just now showing symptoms this week.
None of the other fish in the tank (all other inhabitants are 3yrs old) are affected. No other fish losses in 2+ years from this tank.
<Very odd indeed.>
(Previous tank history: Fish losses over 2 years ago -- 2 angels and a handful of guppies over 2 years ago. We had 2 Angels in this tank a couple years back. They were pretty aggressive with all the other fish in the tank. The guppies just sort of disappeared, don't know if they were eaten or not.
<Will be eaten by Angels, given the chance, as well as things like Pimelodus pictus catfish.>
Both Angels passed away after about 4 months with similar symptoms as above, after having them for about 4 months. No apparent affect on any other tank inhabitants. We gave up on guppies because I was reading that they just aren't too healthy anymore when purchased from most fish stores, and because I think they were getting eaten anyhow, and got the tetras instead. We didn't replace the angels at the time, because we couldn't decide what else we liked, but didn't want more angels after seeing the aggression. I don't know if there's any connection, seeing as it's been several years, but the symptoms are just similar. )
Tank info:
55gal, 3+ years old established 2006.
Filtration: Eheim 2217 canister + Penguin 1140 powerhead w/sponge prefilter (sponge and ceramic media - no carbon.)
Decor: heavily planted, pea-gravel, driftwood and volcanic rock.
Feeding: Variety of flake, pellet, and frozen foods (Tetra flakes & granules, bottom feeder wafers, frozen veggie/algae, frozen brine shrimp, frozen krill, frozen bloodworms, cucumber chunks, peas, etc)
Water: 25% w/c weekly w/ Prime water conditioner dry ferts (PMDD & GH Booster) 2x's weekly for plants & pressurized co2
PO4: 5ppm Fe: 1ppm KH: 7 drops/120ppm GH: 10 drops/180ppm ph: 6.6ish (depending on time of day & co2) NitrAte: 5ppm-ish NitrIte: 0 Ammonia: 0
Inhabitants: 2 3-spot gouramis (was 6) (Purchased 3 months ago - 1 month QT, then 2 months in tank -- was 4 juvenile and 2 adult) (No other new additions of either fish or plants since that time.) 3 yoyo loaches (3 years old) 12 Serpae tetras (2+ years old) 2 pictus cats (3 years old) Malaysian Trumpet Snails. Red Ramshorn snails.
Any suggestions and ideas would be helpful. Thanks.
<Really, I'm drawing a blank here. There's nothing obviously wrong. Hexamita is the most likely cause of pits on the head, but it's triggered more often than not by high levels of nitrate, and that doesn't seem to be a problem here. A viral infection is a possibility, and if that's the case, there's nothing you can do beyond isolating sick fish and hoping for the best. You might consider possible external sources of poisons, e.g., paint fumes, given that Gouramis are air breathers and more sensitive to such things than your other fish. Have cc'ed Bob Fenner to see if he can think of anything that might be amiss. Cheers, Neale.> <<I suggest treating for general Protozoan and worm complaints here... a "cocktail" of one time use of Metronidazole/Flagyl, Levamisol, and likely Praziquantel. RMF>>
Re: More: re: 3-spot Gouramis dying suddenly, tiny pinholes in their heads and losing weight. (RMF?)  9/6/09

Thank you so much for your responses. I had looked at hole in the head in my searches, but it just didn't sound quite right, since they look like pin-pricks, and they don't look at all like the pictures I've been able to find of HITH.
----<...It's likely caused by the Hexamita parasite in most cases, though dietary issues may also be responsible.><<Agreed. RMF>>
Which part are you agreeing with? The Hexamita or the dietary issue?
<<<I assume Bob's agreeing with the relationship between diet and Hexamita. Do review, for example, Bob's comments on Hexamita and marine fish, where the case is fairly compelling that Hole-in-the-Head plagues marine fish because of the absence of fresh green foods.>>>
If it's the dietary issue, is there anything you can tell from my list below that I'm missing in their diets?
<<<Well, the thing to do is review the diet and think about whether your fish are getting enough a varied diet. Personally, I don't rate flake and pellets terribly highly, not because they're bad, but because people tend to rely on them too much. Once opened, they stale quite fast, at which point vitamin content is lost. About half the diet can be dried, the rest should be either fresh foods or good quality wet-frozen foods. You will find much on WWM re: this topic, so would suggest you browse these sections at your leisure.>>>
Regarding the "intestinal parasites", that is what I meant, is that I didn't think they were "causing problems". Sorry I wasn't more specific on that.
---<Really, I'm drawing a blank here. There's nothing obviously wrong. Hexamita is the most likely cause of pits on the head, but it's triggered more often than not by high levels of nitrate, and that doesn't seem to be a problem here. A viral infection is a possibility, and if that's the case, there's nothing you can do beyond isolating sick fish and hoping for the best. You might consider possible external sources of poisons, e.g., paint fumes, given that Gouramis are air breathers and more sensitive to such things than your other fish. Have cc'ed Bob Fenner to see if he can think of anything that might be amiss. Cheers, Neale.>
Yes, I was drawing a blank as well, and it's very frustrating. There's been no fumes or poisons of any sort that I am aware of -- I also am sensitive to those kinds of things, so I don't keep those kinds of things around. I can go ahead and do another water change to be sure, however I just did my weekly water change two days ago.
Also, as of this morning, one of the remaining two is starting to look pale and thin. Just since last night. The head and belly area are normal size, and it looks as if from the pectoral fins backwards has suddenly gotten emaciated. And there are more pinpricks over his head.
----<<I suggest treating for general Protozoan and worm complaints here... a "cocktail" of one time use of Metronidazole/Flagyl, Levamisol, and likely Praziquantel. RMF>>
Is this something I should treat the whole tank with?
<<<Yes.>>>
Is it possible the other fish, although seemingly unaffected, could carry and spread this if it is a parasite?
<<<Certainly fish can carry pathogens without developing symptoms, just as some people can carry viruses and bacteria and not get sick, but when they contact other people, they make them sick. So, a whole tank approach makes sense here. My gut feeling is that whatever is doing the rounds will kill all your Gouramis, in which case eschewing this family of fish for the next 6-12 months will be in order. But Bob's suggestion is a good one, though it will have little/no benefit against viruses, it will catch most worm and protozoan parasites.>>>
I appreciate the time you've taken with your responses. Thank you.
<<<Glad to offer such help as I can. Cheers, Neale.>>>
Re: More: re: 3-spot Gouramis dying suddenly, tiny pinholes in their heads and losing weight.  9/6/09

Thank you again for your quick response.
<No problem.>
I don't use flake/pellet foods frequently. They get these about once a week only. So that makes up about 1/7th of their diet. Otherwise they get a mix of frozen brine shrimp/bloodworms/veggie diet (spinach, romaine & red-leaf lettuce, Spirulina algae) daily. The frozen food is vitamin enriched. They also get chopped cucumber 2-3 x's weekly, which they and the loaches both love. They also munch on the wisteria and Anacharis and several other of the softer plants that I keep in the tank. Sometimes I add a lettuce leaf in there, or some peas, or chopped zucchini.
<Sounds like a fine diet. So, probably not the issue at fault here.>
Will do [the medications].
<Good.>
I have the same gut feeling [about impeding doom for Gouramis]. This is rotten. I will go ahead and treat the whole tank with the recommended "cocktail", and will avoid the Anabantoid family for a while. (On a side note, our other tank which houses a few Otos, a clown Pleco, and my Betta named Sammy, is doing just fine so far. I hope he doesn't get sick, since we've recently shared plants between tanks. I'm really attached to him, we've had him for almost 4 years.)
<I'd certainly encourage you to keep things like nets and buckets separate between the two tanks. At the least, use an equipment steriliser if you do need to share equipment (your retailer likely uses such products, and can recommend such). Mind you, 4 years is a GREAT age for Betta splendens, so well done there.>
Thank you again, for all your help. It is much appreciated.
<Good luck with your fishkeeping, and I hope this disease doesn't harm your remaining fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: More: re: 3-spot Gouramis dying suddenly, tiny pinholes in their heads and losing weight.  9/6/09

Neale and Bob,
<Grayce>
I just wanted to write again, separate from my inquiry, to let you know how much I appreciate what you are doing on this site. I know how hard it can be to deal with the frustrated, the willfully ignorant, and the just plain "newbies" in fishkeeping.
<Ahh, such is life itself. But on the other hand/end, what a joy to be able to share, experience through others, even if just vicariously, invidiously, their learning, enjoyment of themselves, the living world>
I've been in the hobby for 10 years, and I currently help out on a few fishkeeping boards, trying to help others not make the same mistakes I made when I started out. (It is tremendously amusing to read some of your replies in the FAQs because you say so many of the things that I have wanted to say to people but haven't... Maybe I should start. )
<Heeee! Try it and see>
I just recently (in the past year or so) branched out further into live plants (aside from the basic java fern, Anacharis, wisteria) and it's really increased the pleasure I get from the hobby. (Yeah, the basics are still pretty, but they weren't challenging anymore *grin* )
It's definitely been a challenge to play with some of the more difficult plant setups.
My first fish was a Betta that I purchased shortly after my daughter got the privilege of taking her classroom Betta home for the weekend to care for. It was in one of those tiny little hexagonal plastic things. I started researching to find out more about them, and soon found out that there's a lot more to taking care of them than I thought. I have been fortunate in that I tend to research first, then act, so I knew from the first that water quality is the most important thing.
The only sick fish I ever had out of all my tanks were the many Bettas from PetSmart or Wal-Mart that I purchased already knowing they were ill, and one shoal of clown loaches 9 years ago from PetSmart which
had Ich and taught me just how important having a QT tank was! And then those Angels 2 years ago, that seemed to die of the same symptoms my Gouramis are now experiencing.
<Mmm, I've read your last two corr.s with Neale... and have a favour to ask. Would you soak some of the terrestrial greens you mention in a glass of tapwater for a couple days... and measure the nitrate of the water? Actually, I want to go further now that I've become a bit more aware of your background and encourage you to give up on these greens (including the Spinach) entirely... they are a possible suspect here>
Many of the Bettas ended up living 3 or 4 more years, and one lived to be 5 and another 7 years old!
<Wowzah, the last is a world record!>
The 7 year old one was Sammy the 1st. He traveled with me from Arizona to Georgia 4 years ago, and passed away 6 months after the move.
Eventually, I ended up with about 17 various tanks (about half of them Betta tanks, the rest were a mix of species tanks and community tanks) and I was hooked for life.
Sadly, I had to give away most of them when I moved out of state 4 years ago. However, I'm back on track to rebuild my collection, albeit on a smaller scale now that I'm in a studio instead of a 3 bedroom.
<Easier to keep clean!>
So while I know a great deal about the care and keeping of fish in general, and I know how to treat the basic diseases (between treating the Bettas, and helping others on the fishkeeping forums), every so
often something comes along to stump me. I just didn't expect it to be in my own tank!
<Happens>
It may sound selfish, arrogant, and/or morbid of me, but I'm actually glad that I'm not the only one stumped on this. It makes me feel less "newbie-ish". I'll be the first to admit how much I don't know, even after 10 years. *grins*
<I am indeed an old-timer in the ornamental aquatics fields, and I encounter "stumpers" most every day...>
Thanks again for you advice and help. If I can ever be of assistance in answering any of the myriad "newbie" emails I'm sure you get every day, I'd be more than happy to help.
Thank you.
Grayce
<And you for sharing. Oh, I'll send this along to Neale as well. BobF>
Re: More: re: 3-spot Gouramis dying suddenly, tiny pinholes in their heads and losing weight.  9/6/09

Ok, let me make sure I'm understanding your request:
<Mmm, I've read your last two corr.s with Neale... and have a favour to ask. Would you soak some of the terrestrial greens you mention in a glass of tapwater for a couple days... and measure the nitrate of the water? Actually, I want to go further now that I've become a bit more aware of your background and encourage you to give up on these greens (including the Spinach) entirely... they are a possible suspect here>
Are you talking about having me thaw and soak the frozen veggie diet?
<Mmm, no... the romaine and red lettuce. From your email below: BobF>
>>"Otherwise they get a mix of frozen brine shrimp/bloodworms/veggie diet (spinach, romaine & red-leaf lettuce, Spirulina algae) daily."<<
These are the commercial preparations in the frozen blister-packs. Sometimes I get San Francisco Bay brand, sometimes Hikari, sometimes Ocean Nutrition, and sometimes another brand that I can't think of the name of right now. I know the San Francisco Bay brand that I use a lot has the lettuce and spinach. The Hikari brand uses the Spirulina brine shrimp. There's one called Discus formula that has kelp and Spirulina and a lot of vitamins that I use sometimes. And another called Goldfish diet that I use a lot, that has Anacharis, romaine lettuce, krill hydroslate, zucchini, carrots, and bloodworms, along with a bunch of vitamins. I mix different formulas frequently, for variety and to try and make sure they're getting everything, considering the mix of fish I have.
I don't think I've ever seen any of it hit the bottom. Even the loaches and pictus cats are right up there at the top being greedy every day at feeding time, and they don't settle down until they've picked through all the plants and everything to make sure they didn't miss any yummies. They are not so enthusiastic, however, on their one day a week of dry food. Heh.
I'll usually get the "freshwater multipack" and then mix in one of the other formulas along with it each day. Any lettuce or other fresh food that I add is organic, and thoroughly rinsed before adding to the tank.
I'm not sure I'm following the thought process in soaking the frozen fish food for a couple days. After a couple days, it will start to decompose, releasing ammonia, right? Theoretically, in straight tap water, it shouldn't affect the nitrate reading in a couple days worth of decay, would it?
I have nitrates existing in my tap water at a level of 5ppm. I have to supplement the nitrates in my tank for my plants daily to keep it above 0, in addition to the PMDD and GH booster 2x's weekly. In so doing, I test daily for nitrates, to get an idea of how much I need to add each day.
I'm happy to do the test and see what happens, but I guess I'm confused as to what you are expecting the results to be?
Thanks!
Re: More: re: 3-spot Gouramis dying suddenly, tiny pinholes in their heads and losing weight.  9/6/09

<Mmm, no... the romaine and red lettuce. From your email below: BobF>
That's what is in the frozen San Francisco Bay brand veggie mix. See the following:
""Emerald Entree
Artemia franciscana, mysis, krill, plankton, spinach, romaine lettuce,
red leaf lettuce, Spirulina algae, menhaden oil, sodium alginate,
Vitamin premix: wheat flour, Vitamin A acetate, cholecalciferol (source
of vitamin D3), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, niacin, calcium
pantothenate, folic acid, Menadione sodium bisulfate complex,
pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine Mononitrate, biotin, inositol,
L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, betaine, d-alpha mixed tocopherols (source
of vitamin E)""
<Ahh, I see... there's likely very little pollution from this source. Am familiar with the co., owner... very competent and ethical folks. BobF>

Sick Gourami  12/7/08 Hi! First, I have to apologize for my English as it is not my mother language (I'm from Croatia, Europe). <No problems. Your English is certainly much better than my Croatian.> 3 months ago I bought 4 Trichogaster trichopterus. The Trichogaster that I want to ask a question about had a small white bump at the base of the dorsal fin which was damaged, but I didn't see it until I got home. I put it in quarantine and treated it with 2 cycles of a wide spectrum medicine called Medimor by Aquarium Muenster (combination of Ethacidrinlactat, Tertamethyl-thioninchlorid and Acraflavinchlorid). Didn't help. So I changed the water, waited a week or so, and tried with Sera's Baktopur (Acriflavine, Methylene blue, phenyglycol) and Mycopur (Acriflavine, cupric chloride, cupric sulfate). <These are various antiseptics, widely sold in Europe because antibiotics aren't available in pet stores. To be brutally frank, they only work up to a point, and aren't substitutes for antibiotics at all. While useful for external infections during the early stages, they won't cure everything, and won't fix serious problems.> No use. Then I tried salt baths which (I think) made the problem worse because those spots spread all over her body, but then it might be from the stress. The disease doesn't seem to be infectious, all other fish are fine (I put her back into the main aquarium, because the small quarantine surely wouldn't help, and was lucky, I know I shouldn't do that). She has a very good appetite, swims well, doesn't hide, doesn't scratch against objects, doesn't have clamped fins, her faeces are fine. The spots are between 1mm and 4 mm big, they look like white lumps sticking out of her body and there are about 15 of them (I hope the photos will help although they're not very good), the skin around them looks pinkish. Her skin on other parts of the body also looks a bit damaged, but her fins (apart from the dorsal which didn't grow back) are all ok. I read everything I could find, posted a question on forums but I can't seem to find anything that looks like this. Maybe Lymphocystis? <Could be; certainly, gouramis do contract Lymphocystis on occasion, though not commonly. It could be something else though. Perhaps another virus? It doesn't look exactly like Finrot, though I'd be treating for Finrot/Fungus before anything else. In Europe, I recommend a product called eSHa 2000 for this; it's economical and very effective, and seems to fix a lot of different problems, including Finrot, Fungus and Columnaris.> The aquarium is 10 months old Juwel Rio 180, 180 l. It has 2 big Ancistrus and a lot of their babies, 7 Kuhlii loaches, 4 Microgeophagus altispinosa, 2 Siamese algae eaters, 2 small Botia histrionica and those Trichogasters. Water properties are stabile at: temp 25 C; pH 7,5; KH 10; GH 15, nitrites 0; nitrates 25. <One thing I would consider is physical damage. Certain algae-eating fish will "suck" at the bodies of other fish. In doing so, they pull up the scales, exposing the flesh underneath. The skin becomes infected, often looking "bubbly". Isolating the injured fish and treating for Finrot/Fungus will help, but long term the fish causing the damage will need to be rehomed. I'd be watching your Ancistrus, Crossocheilus, and Botia in particular.> I do 15 % water change weekly, with water that was left for 24 hours and treated with Nutrafin's Aqua+. I feed the fish with Nutrafin's Staple food in flakes, frozen bloodworms and frozen daphnia and my own frozen food prepared from cooked peas, carrots, hardboiled egg, bloodworms, powdered Spirulina algae ( I plan to add some garlic next time), and gelatin powder, all squashed into a paste. Please help as I (and everybody else I asked) have no idea what to do. Thank you!
Morana
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: sick Gourami  12/9/08 Hi Neale, thanks for the quick response. Which antibiotic would you recommend? Because I can buy an antibiotic from my pharmacy if I say it is for my pet, or I can ask my vet to write a prescription. <In my fish medication book, a variety of antibiotics are recommended for ulcer-type infections: Furazolidone (20 mg/l), Nifurpinol (0.1-0.2 mg/l) and Oxytetracycline hydrochloride (20-100 mg/l). Use whichever, added to the aquarium water, and always remember to remove carbon from the filter while medicating fish. Use for 7-10 days, after which do a decent (25-50%) water change, and repeat medicating as required.> But if it is a virus, it won't help anyway. <Quite.> Oh, those Botia are in the aquarium since Saturday, so it couldn't be them, and I never saw either Ancistrus or Crossocheilus picking on her. <May happen at night, when you're at work... In any case, when I had Otocinclus catfish doing this to a large Awaous goby, it was many weeks after noticing the damage that I actually saw the fish "in the act"!> She is now in a 30 l quarantine tank, I'm treating her for fungus and Finrot, although not with eSHa because it is not available here, but I will try to buy it on the net. <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Three Spot Gourami Gold Variation, dis.  11/26/08
I have a 55 gallon tank with 6 Gourami (2 gold, 2 blue, and 2 Opaline).
A rainbow shark and a Pleco. All the Gourami are female and have appeared healthy until about 3 days ago. I first noticed then that the one of the gold Gourami was not eating. The fish appears thin now and almost bloated in the chest area. There are no other symptoms that are physically noticeable. The other 5 appear healthy still and eat voraciously. The rainbow and Pleco also appear healthy. The gold in question has been in the tank about 3 weeks. It is not gulping air or swimming odd other than swimming less than it used to. It just kind of sits in the middle of the tank and occasionally going to the surface for air. The other gouramis leave it alone and periodically chase each other. The ammonia and nitrate are zero and the nitrates are at about 10 ppm. I have tried feeding brine shrimp and normally feed tetra min tropical flakes. I have also done water changes and tried placing the fish in water with aquarium salt added for an hour all to no avail. Any help or ideas you can give me would be appreciated.
Dave
<Sad to state, but all these sports of Trichogaster trichopterus have/show periodic "breakdown" syndromes... as yours seem to be displaying... There are some records of effective treatments, involving the use of gram negative and positive antibiotics... In the West, the ingredients in Maracyn I and II esp.... I encourage either just simple waiting or treatment per your perusal here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/ttricdisf.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: Three Spot Gourami Gold Variation 11/26/08
Thank you for your response. If he makes it through the thanksgiving holiday I will get some Maracyn and hope for the best.
I find your site a great resource. Keep up the good work.
<Thank you David. Happy holidays to you and yours. BobF>

Blue Gourami Sick? 10/05/08 I have had a 20 gallon tank for about a month and a half now. Since I've had it, it's included 2 blue Gourami, 1 Pleco, 2 African dwarf frogs, 1 angelfish, 5 zebra Danios and 2 apple snails...also 1 neon tetra (the other 4 went 'missing'). Over the past week I have noticed that one Gourami has turned VERY dark blue, doesn't seem to be eating, keeps its mouth open most of the time and is very inactive. The other Gourami is still light blue/white and is constantly harassing the dark blue one (nipping at it). Is the dark blue Gourami sick? Should we put them in separate tanks? If so, should they remain separate forever? I have tested tank levels (KH, pH, NO2 and NO3 are all ok), GH is high and we've had a very hard time trying it to lower... can't seem to change it. We've changed out some water, added dechlorinator.... Please advise. <Hello Tiana. I can't answer this question easily without numbers. That you say hardness, pH, nitrite and nitrate are "OK" means, I'm afraid, nothing to me. Lots and lots of aquarists have only the vaguest ideas about what these should be. One issue in this community is temperature. Neons and Danios and Apple snails need fairly cool conditions, around 22-24 C, whereas Angelfish and Gouramis will be better at between 26-28 C. A middle value of 25 C might work, but frankly at least one reason people experience such bad luck with Neons is they keep them far too warm. (It's also worth mentioning here that Neons are also known as Angelfish food, so that combo isn't one I'd put money on...) Next up, Trichogaster trichopterus Gourami can, do change colour. Sometimes its genetic, sometimes follows on from nerve damage (oddly enough), and sometimes it's a sign of stress or disease. The fact your Gourami is "gasping" concerns me; usually fish only do this when stressed somehow. There's no data here for me to diagnose the problem, but I'd recommend you review the needs of Trichogaster trichopterus and act accordingly. Give me some numbers and perhaps a photo, and I can perhaps comment further. Do recall that male Trichogaster trichopterus (which have longer dorsal fins than females) are territorial and will fight in small tanks like yours. It is possible the dark Trichogaster trichopterus is being bullied and trying to hide away from the dominant male. Do always read up on the social behaviour of fish PRIOR to purchase to avoid this sort of problem: it is well known that Trichogaster trichopterus is aggressive. Finally, unless you're an expert fishkeeper, LEAVE pH AND HARDNESS ALONE. It is incredibly easy to severely stress, even kill, your fish by manipulating water chemistry. All your fish will adapt to moderately hard water with a basic pH (say, up to pH 8.0, 20 degrees dH) though the Neons won't be thrilled about it. Inexperienced aquarists tend to have no idea about how to change water chemistry safely, and what kills their fish is CHANGES in pH and hardness happening rapidly. So, back away from that topic. Instead concentrate on water quality, diet, and social behaviour as the keys to successfully keeping your community healthy. Cheers, Neale.>

Gold and Blue Gourami's are acting odd.   8/13/08 Hello, I have 45 gallon tank and currently there are 10 fish in it. Two of them are Gourami's (gold and blue) and they are acting differently. I used to have two other Gourami's (both gold) but sadly one received TB (tuberculosis) and died, <Almost certainly didn't have TB... who told you this?> and the other one we suspected was pregnant but also soon died. <Gouramis don't get pregnant, and certainly didn't die because of it!> Now the last remaining gouramis are not eating as much, hiding in different places, and they keep rising to the top. I checked the water and everything is normal, but just in case I gave the water a 50% change. What surprises me the most is that the blue Gourami and the two deceased gouramis survived through a terrible case of Ick, where every fish but them died. So could you please tell me what is happening to my fish??Thanks,Scared4Gouramis <There's no information here to work with. You say the water is "normal". Meaning what? Let's review, you need 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and ideally less than 50 mg/l nitrate. The pH should be between 6 and 8, but must be stable whatever it is. The hardness is not critical, but 5-20 degrees dH is acceptable. Don't use salt, and don't use water from a domestic water softener. Almost certainly if you have a bunch of fish dying for no obvious reasons, or varying reasons, then your problem is WATER QUALITY. Review, get back to me with the water test results, and we can help further. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Gold and Blue Gourami's are acting odd.   8/14//08 Hi, Sorry about the lack of information, the nitrite and ammonia levels are at 0, pH is 7, and nitrate is low. As for how I know that the Gourami received TB is that it started to swim upright, stopped eating regularly, had a crooked spine, and kept trying to swim to the top( which I thought was for air, even though we have a curtain of bubbles flowing.) <No, that's not confirmation of Fish TB. For a start, Fish TB is mostly a marine fish problem. It's very scarce among freshwater fish. Back when I started keeping fish in the 80s people often blamed Fish TB for "mystery deaths" but we're now much wiser about things like viruses and other sources of infection among freshwater fish. Now, Trichogaster spp. gouramis are pretty robust, but you can be unlucky and get one with Hexamita or some other protozoan/bacterial infection. Happens to the best of us. All gouramis breathe air, and they do so all the time. Completely normal. In fact, making it difficult for them to breathe air, e.g., but too strong a water current, will kill them.> Also I would like to rephrase what I said about my other Gourami, she was growing larger in the midsection but she was still eating and swimming around. <Probably just fat! But they do swell up somewhat with eggs once mature. Do take care not to overfeed them, and these are omnivorous fish so some plant material (e.g., Sushi Nori, Spirulina flake, tinned peas) is essential to avoid constipation, a very common cause of sickness.> I had called a local specialty aquarium store and described the symptoms to them and they gave me the "verdicts". I was unsure about the diagnosis on my so called "pregnant" fish so I look up some things and I found out that the rotting eggs could usually float around on top as fuzzy white strips. <Never heard of this. Can't comment. Sounds unlikely though.> Also I found a small bubble nest. <Cool!> Now for the other fish (my surviving Gold and Blue), they are not coming out to eat and are hiding. <When fish become nervous, it's one of two things: there's something frightening them, like a predator or bully, or there's something wrong with the water. In the case of something scaring them, Trichogaster trichopterus is a bullying species. The dominant male WILL attack other males and unreceptive females. That's why I don't recommend them as community fish or fish for beginners. Your water quality sounds fine, assuming that it's always at the values you give. Do test at different times of the day just to be sure. Also be aware that extrinsic factors like paint vapours and cooking fumes can poison fish, especially air breathing species like Gouramis. Anything added to the tank should also be reviewed: I've poisoned fish by adding wood I thought was safe but had actually been recently sprayed with pesticide.> As for the water changes I change the water once a week 30-50% changes. <OK.> So with all the information now, can you tell me what is happening to all my Gourami's??~Scared4Gouramis <Not easily, no. My suggestions are above. I suppose you could treat with a broad spectrum antibiotic such as Maracyn, but beyond that observe, review living conditions and compare them with what you learn is appropriate for this species. Cheers, Neale.>

Blue Gourami trouble swimming Hi Wet Crew, I have a 33 gal tank (3 yrs).  pH is around 7 and temp @ 74 degrees. Penguin dual BioWheel filter, plants etc.  I change about 1/3 of the water every three weeks. <Hello, Jorie here...sounds like your tank is well-established and stable - good deal.> Fish are 2x Blue Gourami, 1x Black Angel, 1x Chinese Algae Eater (who doesn't seem to eat algae), <LOL! I've got a Siamese Algae Eater who pretty much eats everything *except* algae!> and 1 or 2 glass shrimp.  All my fish seem to be fine except for one of the Gouramis.  It has trouble swimming and quite often just sits on the bottom with it's tail spread on the bottom of the tank.  It is eating, but struggles when swimming.  There are no abnormal spots or any visible fungus growth.  It's been doing this for about a week now. <First off, I'd suggest putting the affected fish into a QT tank just in case it has something capable of spreading to the others.  Also, if he's experiencing trouble swimming, a more peaceful environment without other fish to eat his food, potentially bully him, etc. would be good. Since there are no visible signs of illness except for the trouble swimming, could he have somehow injured himself...one of his pectoral fins, for instance? This once happened to a molly of mine and it rendered her pretty much incapable of swimming.  It could also potentially be constipation...is the fish pooping normally? You should be able to better determine this once the fish is in QT. Fasting and/or feeding a frozen, thawed pea works well for treating constipation, if that's the problem.  Finally, worst case scenario, it could be swim bladder disorder, which can be caused by bacterial or viral disease.  After you've ruled out the other ideas above, you may want to consider treating the fish with a broad-spectrum antibiotic (but only in the QT tank!)  I would resort to this as a "last ditch" effort...hopefully the fish is somehow injured and just needs some healing time in his own tank.  And, by the way, if you do notice that one or more fins are damaged, missing, once the fish is in QT, you could add MelaFix to the water to aid in the affected part's regeneration.> Thought the water change I did on the weekend might help, but I was wrong.  The tank does seem to be producing a lot of algae - water has a slight green tinge and b4 I changed the water and cleaned, there was algae visible on the glass. Any ideas? <With regards to the algae, I'd suggest cutting down on feeding and stepping up the water changes.  I have a 29 gal. tank and I change 5 gallons of the water every weekend.  When I have algae bloom problems, I'll even do 5 gal. twice per week. Also, is the tank in direct sunlight? This will cause algae outgrowths. Finally, what type of lighting is in this tank? Have the bulbs been switched recently? You could always add more plants (you mentioned this was a planed tank), as they'll use up more of the nutrients the algae needs to survive.> Thanks, Derek Horne <You're welcome. Good luck, Jorie.>

Re: Blue Gourami trouble swimming Hi Jorie, Thanks for the help.  I bought a small tank (5.5 gal) and half filled with fresh water and half with water from my existing tank (balanced up the salt as well, of course).  Put in a couple of peas - they are gone now. <Sounds good, Derek...glad to hear it.>   The Gourami didn't seem to be damaged at all, nor did he seem constipated - seemed a bit thin actually - and didn't appear to be eating much.  It seemed to be having trouble breathing, so I put in these drops for fungus.  I was told it wouldn't hurt him even if he didn't have fungus issues.  Anyway, he seems to be doing much better now.  Swimming a lot stronger etc.  I'll keep him separate for another few days to see what happens.\ <Glad to hear he's improved.  Please consider keeping him separated for at least a couple of weeks, more conservatively (and the choice I would opt for) a month. If all's still well, then it's definitely time to re-unite him with his fishy friends.> Thanks again for your help!!!! Sincerely, Derek <Glad I could help.  Best, Jorie.>

Happy aquarium with 1 sick golden Gourami  3/30/07 Hi I am Isabelle from Mauritius and I am quite new to fish keeping. <Hello Isabelle... I have never been, but intend to visit, dive the Mascarenes one of these years...> First of all thank you guys for the website!!!!!! I have downloaded recently the FAQs and I must admit that its really useful. Thanks again! I have a 200 litres fresh water tank. Bio sponge filter rock and plastic plants setting. No heater working cause we are in summer and it's warm. <Mmm, still a good idea to leave it in, and plugged in... set to a low temperature... Just "in case" the water gets too cold... Won't cost you any electricity if it doesn't...> The inhabitants are: 1 Black Angel (female and DOMINANT), 1 (Lace Angel female), 2 Blue Gourami (males), 3 Golden Gourami (2males and 1 female), 2 pairs of platys and a pair of white mollies. They all seem to be happy so far except that I have a problem with the little male golden Gourami of about 7cm I introduced along with a female about a month ago. The female is growing fast and seem to be cheerful with the other golden male Gourami (no babies so far). But the little male hasn't grown at all. <Mmm... well, males of the Trichogaster genus do tend to grow slower, stay smaller...> He is pretty thin and most of the time lay down on the gravel on one side. He can barely keep his body straight even when he tries to feed from the gravel. <Oh, this is not good> When he does his tail can touch his head, he is kind of folded. He goes time to time to the surface to eat micro pellets, I have bought for him and for some oxygen. Please can you tell me what's wrong with him and what should be done?   <I think this individual may be "defective"... perhaps genetically poorly endowed... does happen with fishes much more than the case with mammals... A good percent don't "make it" at a later stage of neuronal et al. development...> I would also like to have a piece of advice. I would like to introduce a male or two of Angels so as to experience breeding. I would appreciate to know the steps to follow as I fear to have a battlefield in my aquarium. <Mmm, really... to have a useful divider handy... to partition off the breeders from the rest of your fish livestock... or another system to move either set to> The dominant female has her tube down as well as the other one. She sometimes is mischievous and kind of bite the other female. And at times they are side by side as nothing. I plan to set a second tank for the breeding. <Oh, good> The third and last question is that I plan to leave the country for 2-3 weeks and would like to know if it's possible to leave the aquarium like this or if there is something I can do to prevent any disease breakout. <If all is fine, stable... no worries. I would train someone in your absence to do water changes, some minimal feeding... and have at least Net access... should they think something is awry> I have a person who can come to feed the fishes daily but doubt if he can do water change'¦'¦ Please advise if possible. Thanks in advance Kind regards, Isabelle <Merci, Bob Fenner>
Re: Happy aquarium with 1 sick golden Gourami  3/30/07
Hi Bob, <Isabelle/Alain> Many thanks for your reply. <Welcome my friend> Great to hear you want to come to this part of the planet. And who knows if you can get to Mauritius for vacation, but also get people here to know the wonderful work you guys are doing!!! Keep in touch! <Our dear friend, Peter... who has lived with us some fourteen years, had a farm implement (tractors...) business in Swaziland for some fifteen years... and used to get out to play soccer and rugby on Mauritius and Reunion... We have chatted many times re going there (and Rodriquez) to dive, tourist about... visit with folks at the new aquarium there...> If you think something can be done to get people to know your work here, etc would be happy to help. <Ahh, thank you... Mainly linking, doing your bit to help others...> In fact, I have started to talk about your website. Not much, but it might help some novice like me... sorry but it's even more work for you guys :-) <Heeeee! No worries> My LFS told me the same thing as regards the sick male Gourami. Still I didn't want to lose faith.... Well guess it should be so.... <Don't lose faith... Remember... very, make that VERY important... such negative thinking leads to closing of your mind to infinite possibilities... Do not allow yourself to sink, turn to such a waste of precious resources> I got the heater back in the tank just in case.... <Ah, good> Think I will try breeding Angels when I get back, they are my favourite. You are all doing a wonderful job and please keep this up because God knows it's hard when you feel helpless in front of the tank...... Kind regards, Isabelle <Mmm, do also search a bit re the use, application of Epsom Salt here... I do sense this might be useful. Bob Fenner>
Re: Happy aquarium with 1 sick golden Gourami   3/31/07
Bonjour Bob! <Isabelle!> So it won't be your first visit!!! <Mmm, will be mine, not Pete's> Well I do encourage you and your folks to come back anytime!! Let me know! <Ah, appreciate this> Thanks for your encouraging words. It's just that I wonder if the little guy is suffering. Don't have the courage to put him down. <I understand...> Don't worries I don't lose faith in fish keeping, these little guys help me a lot out of stress! I think all the fish keepers will agree at least when hooooooo trooooubles in the tank!!!!! Many thanks for the advice on the Epsom salt. In fact, I have started to collect maximum info from the FAQs on Fresh water Angels and doing some research work too. Actually anthemia for hatching the baby brine are not available on the market. My LFS guy suggested green water. I must first set the breeding tank I think before jumping with both feet in this adventure, especially if I have to leave the country for some weeks... <I see> But I will surely try to make either the Angels or Gouramis to spawn. I think I will like to watch them grow and turn into these amazing fishes. <Agreed> Anyway, I think you will here me sooner or later, especially when in trooooooubles..... Thanks again for your quick replies. Kind regards, Isabelle <Welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Dead Gourami   5/25/07 Hello, I have a 30 gallon tank it has been running for the better part of a year. In it I have 2 rainbow sharks (they are trying to spawn!), <Neat! Oh, they may be just playing... or fighting!> 3 adult mollies  (2 of which are very pregnant) 12 molly fry, 1 guppy, 5 cardinal tetras, 1 bulldog Pleco, five gold barbs, 1 Kuhli loach, 3 mystery snails, 1 female gold  Gourami (the male died this morning), some floating plants & a few that are rooted in gravel. I test the water quality every two days & do 25% water changes every 7-14 days. The water quality is good , although slightly acidic. I use a BioWheel filter. The temp is 78 degrees. About 2 weeks  ago I noticed that my male Gourami was looking a little fatter than usual,  so I decided to watch him & make sure he was alright. Over the next few  days he started having difficulty swimming & would lay at the bottom of the  tank. (he wasn't being bullied by any other fish) his stomach continued to get  bigger , he stopped eating , &  today I found him dead at the  bottom of my tank. My question is, is this a common occurrence with this type of  fish? <Actually, yes... Trichogaster and Colisa genera Gouramis are "not what they used to be"... and too often suffer such maladies...> I've never had any other problems with him. I had been feeding him tetra  flakes & once a week I give them dried baby shrimp. So nothing crazy  in his diet. I also was wondering if this could be something contagious? <I do hope not... In most cases, an individual will die as you relate here... For importers though, whole batches can go mysteriously... Bob Fenner> Thanks  in advance. -Jenni

Blue Gourami - fin trouble!   7/28/07 Hi there. My husband and I are quite new to keeping tropical freshwater fish, so a little help in diagnosing a problem with our blue Gourami would be appreciated. Have searched the net and have found your site and are hoping for some help. <OK, will do my best.> We have a 35 Gallon tank, have checked all water parameters and they are fine. In fact we have baby fish (in a baby net 2 weeks old) which are thriving at the moment, so the water is fine. <Can you define "fine"? You see, not all tropical fish want the same things. Some want warmer water, others cooler. Some want an acid pH, others a basic pH. Some want hard water, others soft. Some are intolerant of low levels of pollution, others will put up with it for a while. So we need numbers -- at the very least, pH, hardness, nitrite, and temperature. These 4 are usually pretty good indicators of conditions in the aquarium, and are the essential ones every aquarist should have to hand.> A couple of weeks ago we noticed our Blue Gourami had a small white (pin head) spot on its side fin. <Almost certainly Whitespot/ick. Treat on sight, because it is extremely contagious.> Its appetite and activity levels are normal. We asked the LFS and they said to keep an eye on it and that if it multiplied or the fishes behaviour changed we would possibly need to treat for White Spot. <Not brilliant advice.> Nothing changed for a week then another white spot appeared on the opposite side fin! <It's Whitespot. It spreads.> This one has since become red and inflamed. This fish had a red spot near the base of its tail a few weeks ago, but this disappeared after a couple of days. We have checked the red lump and it does not seem to be a parasite (nothing to remove) just a red small lumpy mass. Is it a tumour? The fish is absolutely fine in himself...eating fine and swimming normally. Tumours are rare in freshwater fish, though they happen. The red inflammation is unrelated to the Whitespot. Almost certainly you have water quality issues, and what you're seeing is the simultaneous appearance of Finrot (the red) and Whitespot. These are both extremely common in new aquaria. They must be treated immediately because both have the potential to cause fatalities.> He has been chasing my Gold Gourami about so is this maybe an injury sustained during courtship? They do get quite frisky! <No, he's not courting. He's fighting. Blue and gold Gouramis are the same species (Trichogaster trichopterus) and the males are legendarily aggressive and nasty fish. You would not believe the number of times I've been asked to help out where someone has an aquarium with this fish causing havoc. It's what they do. Males have orange pelvic fins (the "feelers") and extra-long dorsal fins, so are usually quite easy to sex.> No other fishes in the aquarium seem to be having any problems. We have 6 Danios, 2 goldfish, 1 Plec, 2 red Indian Gourami and a Japanese Weather loach who is a real character!! <An interesting selection of fish. I happen to be a great fan of weather loaches, so I'm sure he is fun to watch.> All the fish are non aggressive and we have a lovely pleasant tank. <Famous last words...> I am just worried about Bluey. I really hope that you can help us. <Done my best. Hope this helps.> Many thanks Louise & Ady <Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Blue Gourami - fin trouble!  7/29/07
Hi Neale, <Hello Louise,> Should I treat the Whitespot and the fin rot at the same time? Or give the tank chance to recover between the two medications? <This depends on the medication used. In general though you need to complete one treatment before doing another. In this case, I'd tend to treat the Whitespot first and then the Finrot. Between each "course" of treatment, do two 50% water changes (one one evening, the other the next morning) so that you flush out most of the first medication used. Oh, and one last thing: make sure you remove carbon before using any medication. To be honest, I'd recommend not using carbon at all unless you have a specific need for it. The space in the filter where carbon goes is better used by extra biological filter media.> Does this affect the filter, <No, not if you follow the instructions.> And are there any tips on what I should be looking for in the water chemistry, just in case I have missed a test kit? <Not really sure what you mean here. What you want are values within the range tolerated by the fish in question. So a blue Gourami is good between pH 6 and 8, so if you have pH 7.5, that's fine. Likewise they're good at medium hardness levels, around 5-15 dH being about right, so if you have hardness 12 dH, that's fine too.> Water temp is 27 degrees, ammonia within safe levels indicated on test tube kit, as was nitrate and nitrite levels. <Ah, now this is where things unwind. There is NO "safe" range of either ammonia or nitrite. For your fish to be healthy, both must be ZERO. While the test kit might suggest anything up to 0.5 mg/l ammonia and 1.0 mg/l nitrite is acceptable, this is only true during the cycling phase, and even then, it severely stresses the fish and can kill them. At the least, it makes them more vulnerable to ambient pathogens -- Whitespot and Finrot for example. So if your test kits show ANY nitrite or ammonia, then you have problems; likely the tank is either immature, overstocked, overfed, or under-filtered. Nitrate is the ONLY one of these things that has a safe range. In general, up to 50 mg/l is safe for standard tropical fish, though rather less, around 20 mg/l, for more delicate things like dwarf cichlids and discus. In other words, don't tell me you think the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are "safe", tell me what the exact numbers are. If they're not 0, 0, and <50 mg/l, then they're not safe.> All very low levels, water hardness is a problem in this area but the LFS said all the fish we have can deal with it. <Water chemistry is almost never the issue people think it is. Admittedly, there are some species than need either soft water or hard water. Mollies and other livebearers need hard water and are sickly when kept in soft water. But a lot of the standard stuff like Gouramis, barbs, Corydoras, Plecs, loaches, etc., adapt just fine to a wide range of conditions. Any aquarium book will suggest values for any given species, and it's always a good idea to choose your fish by selecting species that will do well in your local water conditions. If your water is very hard and has a high pH, then choosing things like Rainbowfish and livebearers is the way to go.> We condition any tap water we use and cycle regularly. 20% water change every 2 weeks. <OK. Conditioning the water is good. Adding Cycle (or any other bacteria supplement) is pointless. Once the filter is established, it is self-maintaining. Adding more bacteria is kind of like adding more grass seed every week to a lawn. All the filter bacteria want is to be left alone and that every month or so you gently clean the media in a bucket of aquarium water (not fresh water!) to dislodge some of the silt and detritus. But that's it. As for water changes, you need to raise your game. 50% a week is a good amount. Water changes cost almost nothing to do, but they make such a big difference to the health of the fish.> Gravel clean every 3/4 weeks. Plastic plants only, internal filter, 200w heater, kept lit for about 8 hours a day minimum. <All sounds fine.> Many thanks, Louise <Good luck! Cheers, Neale>

Is there hope for my Gourami   8/15/07 Help! First I have a 30 gallon tank and all the reading are where they are suppose to be. I have 3 angels and Gourami in this tank. I don't know if this has anything to do with it but 7 weeks ago I gave my fish some frozen blood worms, within a week my Gourami started to twist out of shape. <I... see this> I went to a local mom and pop fish store and they weren't exactly sure what was wrong and gave me some cure all capsules. <Were there but such things> The Gourami started to straighten back out during the treatment. About a week later he started twisting again. I went to a different pet store where the people were a little more knowledgeable about fish (or so I thought). When I told him about the Gourami becoming disfigured he said that I should put it out of its misery. I bought instead some antibiotic for the tank thinking this might help. It did but as soon as treatment ended he started to twist again. Help! I don't know what to do. He is still eating and swimming but I feel so bad for it. He is getting skinnier also and staying towards the top of the tank. None of the other fish are having symptoms. Can he be saved? Do you know what is wrong with him? <There are a few known "causes" of such spinal curvature... all are incurable at present as far as I'm aware... I would sacrifice (euthanize) this one animal (please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm ) and take care to wash your hands... as Mycobacteria may be involved here. Bob Fenner>

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