Colisa lalia, C. chuna... "Dwarf"
Gouramis of Many Names, Honey, Flames, Neon Blue, Sunset
Fire... Disease/Health 4
FAQs on Dwarf Gourami Disease:
Dwarf Gourami Disease
1, Dwarf Gourami
Disease 2, Dwarf
Gourami Disease 3,
Dwarf Gourami Disease 5,
Dwarf Gourami Disease 6,
FAQs on Dwarf Gourami Disease by Category:
(Virus, Bacterial, Fungal),
Relatives, Genera Ctenopoma
& Microctenopoma, Betta
splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish,
Related FAQs: Dwarf Gouramis,
Dwarf Gourami Identification,
Dwarf Gourami Behavior, Dwarf Gourami Compatibility, Dwarf Gourami Selection, Dwarf Gourami Systems, Dwarf Gourami Feeding, Dwarf Gourami Reproduction, & FAQs on:
Gouramis 1, Gouramis 2, Gourami Identification, Gourami Behavior, Gourami Compatibility, Gourami Selection, Gourami Systems, Gourami Feeding, Gourami Disease, Gourami Reproduction,
Dwarf Gourami Disease, and FW chem. issues
Hi, so I'm currently watching my Dwarf Powder Blue Gourami swim around
the tank shyly, weakly and with a bulge on his side with loss of scales
and a bloody looking sore.
Not the first Dwarf I've lost this way and I'm guessing I have 2 more to
go. My guess, based on what I've read, its the virus that kills so many
My question is, once my Dwarf Gouramis have passed on, how long will the
virus survive in the tank without a host?
<At least weeks... best to "nuke" (usually chlorine bleach) any system
that new ones are to be introduced to... Seek "local stock" (breeders)>
I would like to continue on with Dwarf's provided I can find a local
breeder, although, I most probably will do as you suggested and continue
to enjoy the other varieties. It just seems wrong to not have Dwarfs
represented in a Gourami tank. Thanks
Oh and one other question that is bugging the heck out of me, I
can't figure out why my water chemistry is off. My PH is 6.2,
<What units here?>
CHL 0, HRD 300, NitrItes 0, Nitrates 40.
<Too high by at least twice>
I use all RO water
<Should be 7.0 w/ time, aeration and 0.0 TDS/Alk.>
and the RO tests low on Hardness. My tank is gravel, drift wood and
I had a piece of coral in there and a few rocks but have removed them
all and replaced with drift.
<The gravel then most likely for source of carbonates, calcium... and
the low pH due to the driftwood>
The fish seem fine but not understanding what's causing this in my tank
is annoying. None of the local fish stores know and I want to start a
Discus tank so I really want to understand what's happening.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Balls on fish?? 11/29/13
I have a 150 gallon tank. I have 3 powder blue dwarf gourami.
One of them has what looks like round eggs all over it's top fin. I have
been to three pet stores to treat this, one was a fish store only and no
one knows what it is. They said to put fresh water salt in the tank and
see if that helped. They are just small round ball looking things only
on the top fin.
No other fish has it on them, it is no where else on the body. They are
in a perfect line all down the fin. I have thousands of dollars in this
Any help you could give me would be beyond appreciated.
<... perhaps Lymphocystis... search the net, WWM re... otherwise there
are Microsporidean cysts that can look like this. There are no specific
treatments for these growths on Colisa lalia... see WWM re this
problematic over-manipulated Anabantoid. Bob Fenner>
Dwarf Gourami disease 11/24/13
Greetings. I enjoy your most very informative forum. I've learned a lot
about fish-keeping from you guys.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
Anyway, I'm writing this since I have had yet another neon blue dwarf
Gourami die from this awful disease and I am resolved never to buy any
more Dwarf Gouramis.
<A wise approach.>
It's awful how human's greed has weakened the immune systems of this
beautiful little fish.
I have lost seven to this disease, including the one that passed away
I have three powder blue dwarf Gouramis left that came from a different
source from the others and they look really healthy but I suspect that
the entire tank must be infected.
<Almost certainly true.>
I'm just hoping that maybe their immune system is stronger and they will
be able to fight it off.
<Wouldn't bet the house on it.>
I guess there is nothing you can really do to protect them from it,
except for good care and keeping the water quality as good as possible,
About 5 days ago, this male dwarf Gourami developed a white concave sore
on his head that looked similar to a canker sore in humans.
<Perhaps a wound, subsequently infected by bacteria. Treat as per
Finrot, and with luck, should heal. But could be a whole range of other
things, from viral infections through to Hexamita infection... without
microscopic examination, all these external wound diagnoses are, at
At first he was eating and behaving normally, so I wondered if one of
the other Gouramis bit him (probably not likely as they generally seem
to get along well and even when they do chase each other I have never
seen them try to bite another fish) or if it was simply a scrape or
injury of some sort.
Then yesterday, he wasn't eating and just hanging directly beneath the
surface of the water. I noticed that his chest/belly area had become so
swollen that the scales were sticking out in the area directly behind
his gill plates.
<Would remove, isolate from others; from there, choose to either
medicate or euthanise.>
I'm a vet tech and so I asked out veterinarian about it and he said it
was probably Iridovirus and the swelling was likely due to an enlarged
spleen. (He didn't see the fish but was going only on what told
him. Some vets don't know a whole lot about fish, but ours I think that
ours tries to do better than the average.)
I was considering euthanizing him today if he was no better, but when I
got up this morning he had passed on.
He was in a 55-gallon aquarium with the three other powder-blue dwarf
Gouramis. Their other tank mates are an albino bristle-nosed Pleco, 10
long-finned white and black skirt tetras and 15 various small tetras,
i.e. neons, cardinals, Glowlight and a couple of X-ray tetras, as well
as several Apple Snails and 5 Otocinclus. And all these other fish seem
to be just as healthy as they can possibly be.
The water parameters are ammonia=0, nitrite = 0, nitrate=30 and the tank
is heavily planted. It's a well-established tank. The pH = 7.5. I change
about 6 gallons of water every week and give them probiotics once in
awhile. I know you're not really big on additives such as that but the
vet recommended it.
<Fair enough. My understanding is that Probiotics (so far at least) have
very little unbiased, reliable scientific evidence behind them (though
to be fair that may be because they've not been widely tested in proper
trials). They probably do no harm, so in that sense, if you can afford
them, feel free to use them. But all the solid research in fish
healthcare underlines the crucial importance of good water quality,
appropriate environmental conditions and a healthy diet as the "holy
trinity" of dealmakers when it comes to success. Get these right and
most everything else takes care of itself. Modern fish foods for example
are extremely well balanced in terms of vitamins and minerals, and while
they may be lacking in fibre adequate for herbivorous fish, that's easy
to put right. Add to that the importance of selecting healthy fish to
begin with, and any minor impact things like Probiotics might have will
be very much secondary to the major factors just listed.>
So, oh well, I thought I would try it awhile and see how it goes as I'm
a huge believer in probiotics...my dogs and I take them too.
<Each to their own, I guess!>
Attached is a photo if the ulcer I took with our endoscope. Upon
examining the fish this morning, his abdomen was rather puffy. I was
just wondering if this sounds like Dwarf Gourami disease to you. Thanks
in advance for your answer.
<Could well be, and as stated, I would isolate and treat this fish away
from the healthy specimens if at all possible. If not, I'd remove and
euthanise. Cheers, Neale.>
Gourami with Dark Spots and Trouble Swimming
Hi, I have a male Dwarf Gourami who has lately been
staying at the bottom of the tank and has some odd discoloring.
His normal coloring is a pale blue almost the color of the sky but now
he has some spots that are odd.
One is on his tail and is nearly the color of a purple bruise fading out
to yellow near the edges. On the spots on the top of his
head they have a lighter muddy brown color. The same patches appear
throughout his body but are far more common on his front halve than
back. his front halve has become a white or quite pale blue where the
spots are not whereas on the back side he has normal coloring where the
spots are not he is standing nearly straight up and at a slight angle on
the bottom of the tank and only moves when frightened or by the prospect
of food. he is eating his fish flakes normally and his fins are normally
moving even though he is not swimming but his breathing seems to be that
he is taking more and more labored or larger breaths. About a month ago
we were having problems with nitrite but we have gotten that under
control. the test results from about 1 week ago are.
chlorine and chloramine 0.
Our tank has been set up since Christmas and have had trouble with ick,
swim bladder disorder, aggression, and mouth fungus on one fish.
We have 1 Dwarf Gourami, 1 Bumblebee Platy, 1 Adult Balloon Molly, 1
baby Balloon Molly (parents died from overaggressive fish we took back
to the store), 1 baby Guppy (was mistakenly given to us by PetSmart and
is in a baby net)1 Lyre-tail Guppy, 1Yellow Guppy, and 2 Mystery Snails
who recently died. We hope not to lose another fish so please
help. Thank You, Mary
Note: I had frightened him while taking the photo.
<Hello Mary, do read here:
The modern farmed Dwarf Gouramis are a sickly species to begin with, and
if you keep them in "liquid rock" hard water like yours, even the ones
that aren't sick at the time of purchase often fail to stay in good
condition for long. As a good rule of thumb, if your water is good for
livebearers, it's probably bad for Dwarf Gouramis as they need opposite
things. There's a limited amount you can do for an ailing Dwarf Gourami,
as the article will tell you. Possibly a course of antibiotics such as
Maracyn, but don't get your hopes up, especially if water chemistry is
wrong to begin with.
Ailing Gourami 1/18/2013
Hi. Hoping you can help me again, my Gourami has small white spots on he’s body almost
Ich looking but I don’t think it is Ich, I had Ich twice before from introducing infected fish into the tank (learnt that lesson) but this looks different.
<Such white "dots" can be a few things... parasitic to "just" accumulated body mucus>
It started about 4 weeks ago with the Gourami flashing then one of my Cory’s started flashing also, apart from the tiny white spots on the Gourami there are no other visible signs, the Gourami now has one eye swollen with a small white spot on it. The rest of the fish apart from the Cory flashing seem healthy, the tank is not overcrowded and the water parameters are all good, nitrate, nitrite and ammonia are all 0 ph7, temperature 25c. Tank has been running for about two years. I have treated with NT labs anti fluke and wormer which is Flubendazole based
<A good choice>
4 days ago but the situation hasn’t improved, as nothing new has been introduced to the tank for at least 3 months I think this may have been bad advice from the guy at the aquatic shop. I have also crept the temperature up to 29c just in case it is
Ich, but none of the other fish are showing any signs. I would appreciate any advice as to what to try next as I am clueless as to what this could be.
<I'd try lacing some foods w/ Metronidazole... as long as you're trying most
Almost forgot the Cory also has a problem with he’s dorsal fin, it’s not ragged but it almost looks like someone has cut it from top to bottom with a razor in several places, it doesn’t look infected just the membrane between the spiny bits is missing, I only noticed this when he started flashing so may be connected. Thanks in advance,
<As usual I urge caution, less treatment than any... I'd do what you can to boost immunity (HUFAs, vitamins soaked into food) and be patient. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Gourami. 1/21/13
Hi Bob. Thanks for the quick reply, unfortunately the Gourami has taken
a turn for the worse, he is now spending most of he’s time sort of
sitting on the bottom of the tank and has rapid gill movement.
The Ich like spots are now covering he’s entire body and he’s colour
seems to be fading, he’s head seems to be turning much greyer than it
<... I'd be sampling, or taking the fish somewhere to have them sample,
look under a scope...>
Some of how he looks is very similar to my other Gourami that died about
6 months ago, could this be velvet?
<Highly doubtful. Velvet is so deadly it kills w/in hours generally to a
Is it possible for velvet to stay dormant in the tank for months?
P.S Sorry I forgot to add the subject line in my last e-mail in my haste
for some help.
<No worries. BobF>
Re: Sick Gourami. Colisa lalia, Ich - 1/25/13
Hi Bob, Well my Gourami is still alive, so it doesn’t look like velvet the
fluke treatment doesn’t seem to be having an effect, but at least he’s still
He’s eyes have clouded over and I noticed he’s feeler type things are
getting shorter and starting to split at the ends.
I have attached a couple of pics and thought you might recognise or at least
have some idea of what might be happening.
P.S Great site.
<This Gourami has multiple things wrong with it. For a start, it's got
Whitespot, so treat accordingly. It also looks to have Finrot, an
opportunistic bacterial infection. If you're in the UK (which your e-mail
address suggests) then I'd use a combination of eSHa 2000 and eSHa EXIT,
widely sold in aquarium shops at around £5 a bottle. They're reliable, can
be used together, and don't harm other fish or filters. Make sure to remove
carbon from your filter though. Why your Gourami is suffering these problems
is a whole other question, and unless the Gourami was recently bought (the
most common reason for Whitespot) then some sort of stress is to be
suspected (ammonia spike, heater failure, etc). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Gourami. - 1/25/13
Hi Neale. Is there anything else you can think of that looks like white
spot, I do appreciate you taking the time to help me and I know it’s hard to
judge from a photo but I have my doubts about icy?
<Whitespot is very distinctive. Like salt grains on the fish. Velvet is
similar, but has a much finer grain so it's more like icing sugar. Often,
but not always, has a golden sheen to it, hence the "velvet" name. Finally,
there's Slime Disease (also known as Costia). This is another skin parasite,
but you don't normally see the parasites, just the dead white skin and
clumps of greyish slime as the fish reacts. It's trickier to cure, but can
be done using commercial medications (I've had success using eSHa 2000
alongside 2 to 20 minute seawater dips).>
I have had ich twice before in the tank both times through introducing
infected fish (stupid me) but this seems different.
There are 15 small fish in this tank none of the other fish show any sign of
ich, the last times I had ich most of the fish got it. I have upped the
temperature to 29c for the last four days which cured ich before where meds
failed, but to no effect.
<Do try the eSHa 2000; it should work against all three possibilities.>
This all started about three weeks ago and I would have thought that at
least some of the other fish would have been infected if it were ich. I
can’t think of any reason the fish would be stressed the water parameters
are spot on and I do a weekly 20% water change, the Gourami is the biggest
fish in the tank and very much in charge so bullying isn’t an issue and the
heater is fine, my tank maintenance routine hasn’t changed since I had the
Gourami, about 18 months now.
<Does sound weird.>
I have treated for fluke (Flubendazole) for a week and have just switched to
velvet and slime coat meds (Formaldehyde, copper EDTA) which I believe also
treats ich four day ago, but no improvement.
<Do bear in mind copper and formalin are both quite toxic, and can stress
your fish severely, making what was merely Whitespot to begin with something
much more serious.>
He is still eating well, and is moving about the tank but sometimes hides
for an hour or so. I know it’s not good practice to switch meds like I
have, but with no sign of improvement and the desire to help the fish I felt
I had to try something else.
Thanks again for your input. Chris.
<Hope this helps, Neale (who's been out of town a few days).>
Dwarf Gourami Possible Fungus - Opaline Starving?
My name is Jesse I have a 40 gallon tank with one male and female Dwarf,
one Opaline, one Pearl, ten Neon Tetras, one Bristlenose Pleco, and one
baby Swordtail (parents both died). Tank is Cycled water quality
Nitrite 0 Ammonia 0 Ph Varies 7.5 -8.0 temp 76f and its slightly hard .
<Sounds within the tolerances of the species being kept, so should
My Opaline I believe has not recovered from the stress of a larger
Opaline who beat him up to the point of almost death, the bully went
back to the store unfortunately the place I got him wouldn't take him
back so I had to drive an hour and a half to a place that would.
<Ah yes, males of this species (and in fact all the Three-Spot Gouramis,
Trichopodus trichopterus) can be aggressive.>
The one Opaline still sits around only moving from shelf in tank to
breath air at surface, eating a bite here and there every other day and
it's been two weeks. The plan was with him to nurse him back to
health and re-home him because I don't want an fish notorious for
aggression, my fault for not reading up on them before purchase.
Any suggestions for him would be great.
<Time. So long as he's eating, he's probably okay. There's nothing you
can add to speed his recover, but do check water quality is good (seems
to be) and ensure there's a good variety of food. If he doesn't like one
thing, try something else. Make sure other fish aren't harassing or
My male Dwarf has a patch on his what you may call a chin that almost
looks like a feather. He also constantly rubs his head up and down
the side of the glass vigorously. His appetite is great and vary
energetic. I've read on your site a lot and it sounds like a possible
fungus. I would just like a little more info for proper treatment.
<If it's fluffy, often what people describe as "cotton wool", then
that's Fungus; various treatments, with Methylene Blue being the mildest
and safest, provided the fungal infection hasn't gone too far.>
Re: Dwarf Gourami Possible Fungus - Opaline Starving?
Thanks for the quick response the other day. It was unexpected for a
Sunday evening and in great timing. I work on the road a lot and pay the
neighbors kid to feed and watch the tank while away.
<Ah, well, unless you're gone more than a week, there's usually no need
to feed tropical fish. But if you trust these kids to at least do no
harm, then sure…>
The Opaline has proceeded to make a great comeback in the last week
another week and he may be ready to go. Ill keep him unless he becomes
The Dwarf has stopped rubbing against the wall but still has the spot
(cotton wool) however still appears healthy and strong. Should I
<Always complete a course of medication as instructed by the
manufacturer. If symptoms remain after medication, then do a 50% water
change, and start a second round of the medication the next day.>
Off the subject of the original email. I kept tropical fish for 10
years than went on a 10 year break. I've had my new tank for about 6
months and have got the itch all over again.
This time with a little more knowledge and patience. I love the
swordtails and would like to try another pair.
<Would not keep any Xiphophorus species in "pairs"… males are
aggressive, prone to pestering females. But by all means get a trio (one
male, two or more females). Swordtails are nice fish, though the males
are aggressive, and do bear in mind they prefer (do best in) water that
is hard, neutral to basic, and somewhat cool (22-25 C/72-77 F) and
fast-flowing. They are, after all, fish that came originally from
streams rather than ponds or sluggish rivers.>
Do you think with my current tank and stock it would be to much? I'm
thinking it might be boarder line.
<Can be good community fish, and perfectly suitable for lightly to
moderately stocked 40 gallon tanks with decent filtration (turnover at
least 6 times the volume of the tank per hour) and the right water
However I've been scoping out the 100 plus tanks since I have so much
room in my new place.
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Dwarf Gourami Possible Fungus - Opaline Starving? – 09/24/12
I do trust the neighbor kids care have a hard time sending him home when
I'm home. I am usually gone for a week or two at a time. Since I live
far north, lake superior and temp swings are the way of life it I think
is necessary unless I want to come home to a ice tank. I have two
heaters rated for 55+ gal working together during the fall months until
full winter heating season begins. Then I turn the house furnace on.
As far as flow I am over filtered. I have a magnum canister filter
(running foam outside of 1lb of carbon which I shut off during
medication) which is restricted from to much flow, and a penguin hang on
filter rated for 55 with just mechanical filtration.
Either way ill probably just wait tell I get a larger tank to get a
proper home for swordtails and the gourms. Along with the seemingly
indestructible group of neons.
<Good going! Neons aren't the easiest fish to keep, but that you have
success with them perhaps says something about your ambient water
chemistry. Maybe choose fish from similar environments, Corydoras for
example, and keep those.>
Again thanks for the advise.
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Colisa lalia... hlth. 8/10/12
Hi. Just found your site by accident and I am hoping you can help with
my dwarf Gourami problem I have two male dwarf Gourami's in a 180 litre
tank; the tank has been running successfully for about 18 months now.
One of the Gourami’s has developed a bloated stomach, it started about
two weeks ago and it increased in size for about seven days, for the
last seven days it has remained the same size he also has long stringy
white waste (see photo).
<Yes... evidence of a likely lumenal parasitic involvement>
He seems to be eating normally but hangs near the top of the tank and
doesn’t move about much except at feeding time he’s scales are not
sticking out and he seems normal apart from the above symptoms.
He has been in this tank for about a year and always seemed quite happy
I do a 20% water change with gravel vac every week the tank temperature
The tank is not overcrowded and the only recent additions were two
freshwater clams a six weeks ago, both alive and well.
<Rare... most of these clams starve in short order>
I did have a white spot problem a couple of months back which I treated
with WS3 (malachite green) for two weeks unsuccessfully, but eventually
eradicated the problem with heat alone as advised on another forum.
My water parameters are all good Ammonia, Nitrate and nitrite all 0’s
and Ph. 6.5.
<A bit low>
I have been to several aquatic shops and have been told the problem is.
Dropsy, Internal bacteria, Internal Parasite, Worms, Hexamita, with so
many conflicting diagnoses I don’t know how to treat this fish.
<A combination of Metronidazole and an anthelminthic (likely
Prazi/quantel)... laced in foods... you can buy it commercially prepared
or DIY... See WWM re... and the diseases of this species period on WWM.
Hope you can help. Chris.
P.S great site will be here often.
Re: Bloated Dwarf Gourami 8/11/12
Hi. Just big thanks for your help, I’m guessing you guys are USA based
and the problem I have is that the remedies suggested are not always
available here in the U.K,
<Ah yes. Neale Monks is in the U.K., and I know of no other place where
treatments are so available as the U.S.>
or if they are the guys at the aquatic centre look completely lost when
you ask for them.
<Mmm, yes... IF you consider the expense, general resource "worth it",
you might contact a veterinarian...>
Anyway on the positive side you have given me the information as to what
I am dealing with, a parasite.
<Likely so... A simple/r treatment is Epsom Salt, Magnesium Sulfate...
should be available from the drug store>
I decided to treat with a Flubendazole based treatment and after just 36
hours my Gourami is looking much less swollen, he still has the white
stringy waste but I am much more optimistic about he’s chance of
He is eating well which is a good sign, and moving about a bit more, in
he’s weakened state he is being bullied by the healthy Gourami a bit
more but I am not overly concerned as it doesn’t seem too serious, will
keep an eye on the situation.
Regarding the clams, yes I was aware they do tend to starve, so as an
experiment I tried them on finely crushed algae wafers and so far they
seem to be thriving.
Thanks again for a great site. Chris.
<Thank you for contributing to it, sharing. Bob Fenner>
DGIV? - 4/18/12
Hi Bob, sorry me again. As you know we lost a dwarf gourami a
month ago and think a second is heading in that direction. Can you
tell me if this virus is only contagious to gourami or to all fish? I
have read conflicting information and want to ensure all our other fish
are not going to be in any danger. We have Clown Loaches, Black Skirt
tetras, Boesemanni Rainbows, a Suckermouth and a butterfly ram.
Many thanks again Rebecca
<Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus is certainly contagious to
other Dwarf Gouramis, and there's a chance it can infect other Gouramis
as well, though I haven't read about this yet, and other Gouramis do at
least seem to be resistant to it, and viruses don't seem to be a
significant source of mortality. However, there *are* reports of the
virus infecting distantly related fish though, including one where DGIV
was (in the lab) used to infect an Australian fish called a Murray Cod.
So while it's unlikely your loaches, tetras and cichlids would be
infected, it's impossible to say for sure. They may well carry the virus
without getting sick, so could infect other Dwarf Gouramis. Cheers,
Re: DGIV? 4/19/12
Thank you Neale, I don't think we will be getting anymore Gourami's
after these two we have left.
<I certainly don't recommend Dwarf Gouramis or their hybrids (Robin,
Neon, etc. Gouramis). But Banded and Thick-Lipped Gouramis are still
pretty reliable, as are Trichogaster species like Lace and Moonlight
Hopefully it if it is DGIV it hasn't been passed on. We are still
unsure why the other died as he was fine one day dead the next, the
second one looks very pale in the head and chest area though eating and
swimming etc he is not spending anytime at the top in his plant like he
used to and hides down at the bottom behind a pot when resting.
<Do bear in mind that to the aquarist, Mycobacteria infections appear
identical to DGIV -- you absolutely cannot tell them apart! Mycobacteria
infections are caused by all sorts of stresses, but poor breeding,
factory farming, rampant use of antibiotics on fish farms, and
indifferent maintenance all along the supply chain as well as by
aquarists seem to be keys. Any fish can get Mycobacteria, but Dwarf
Gouramis are unusually prone.>
We will just keep an eye on him for the moment. Again thanks for
your reply. Regards Rebecca
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Gourami, Colisa lalia, no rdg.
I am inquiring as we have a sick little blue dwarf gourami and I think
our sunset platy isn't feeling well either.
<... have you read before writing us?>
We are very new at having fish (yes, I thought some water and a couple
of fish would be a nice easy pet for my kids who are allergic to
and the linked files above>
At any rate, we started with a 2-gallon Glo Fish
tank at Christmas which quickly turned into a disaster. After
several trips back to my local PetSmart they told us we had too small
of a tank. (Wish they would have told me that when they sold it to me!)
So, they suggested upgrading to a 5 gallon tank. That just seemed
silly, so I got a 10-gallon (had I done my own
research, I would have gone for a 20-gallon, but too
late!). We just started the tank about 6 days ago, and put fish
in on Day 2 (what is says on the instructions). We moved our poor
little gourami from the poisonous Glofish tank (the girl at the store
told me it was the WORST water she'd ever tested). Along with
him (or maybe her) we added a Sunburst Platy (female) to cycle
it. Our new 10-gallon tank has lots of plastic plants, a few real
plants, a filter, air bubbles, and a cave - plenty of cover. The
heater has been pretty consistent at 79 degrees. The two fish took a
couple of days to get used to each other but have seemed to get along
well the last couple of days. We have had the two fish in the
tank for a total of 5 days right now.
Last night, the Gourami was hovering near the heater/top corner/mouth
at the surface. He seemed to not be using one of his fins much
(clamped fin?), and wouldn't eat anything. I changed a couple
of gallons of water (using aquarium salt and water conditioner in our
hard AZ water). NOTE: I used RO water in our last tank and it was
super-acidic, so the pet store told me to use hard water from outside +
This morning both fish were hovering near the heater together (not
quite huddled up, but definitely within an inch of each other). The
platy swims around a bit, then comes back to the corner, but the
gourami has stayed there all day. This fish is named "Hunger"
because he eats all the time, but wouldn't even swim to snack on
bloodworms today, poor little guy.
Today, he has long strings hanging from him - does that mean
Poop didn't look like this before. He also looks a little darker in
I don't see anything that looks like Ich.
I had PetSmart test the water this morning and they said it was perfect
(it's hard/alkaline but they said these fish like it that way
instead of acidic/soft. Ammonia, Nitrates, Nitrites all in perfect
range.) So, what can I do to get these little guys better? My kids are
going to be heartbroken if we loose more fish (we lost a few in the
2-gallon "Glofish" tank) - What bad marketing to call that
thing a starter Glofish tank! But I digress.
Back to the new 10-gallon tank: I plan to continue to change a
bit of water daily while they are sick (using syphon), keep up the
aquarium salt (1 tbls per 5 gallons, just adding a proportionately to
new water, not to existing), I upped the temp just a bit to 80, and got
him some bloodworms to entice him to eat, as well as a home water test
kit (although that isn't the problem this time). Is it
parasites? Something else? Should we get him medicine?
Help! I'm trying but this is so frustrating to keep losing fish.
Sorry, that's so much info. Hope it makes sense and you can
Symptoms of the Blue Dwarf Gourami (from failed old tank since January,
but in this tank for 5 days - seemed fine and happy until last
Breathing at surface
Not moving around much (using only one fin at a time)
Darker in color
Long strings of feces
10 gallon Tank (6 days old):
Good water readings (Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates in good range,
according to pet store)
Lots of plastic plants & cover (just a few real plants)
Bubbles, heater at about 80, filter
Other fish is a Platy, seems a little sick too.
Using hard water + conditioner & salt
Usually feed them fish flakes, and just introduced blood worms
<Unfortunately, you've chosen one of the most dismal
species sold for aquarium use. I'd re-try w/ more hardy
stock. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/stkgSmFWSysF.htm
Re: Sick Gourami 3/7/12
Thank you so much for your quick reply. Your links are most
<Sorry to be the bearer of such ill news>
I had read around the site quite a bit before e-mailing, but
didn't quite know what I was looking for (I still have so much to
learn!). I have spent some time reading more today, and, as
I'm not quite ready to give up on this little guy, wondered if
he's having a hard time because we switched from the soft RO acidic
water that the pet store told me was toxic to him, to the outside hard
water that is nice and alkaline.
<Actually; unless the "outside" water is extremely
alkaline, hard, this is a move in the "right direction"...
What is the measured water quality?>
We are using a dechlorinator/conditioner (Tetra or Top Fin)
and aquarium salt (I thought the aquarium salt would soften it a bit
since salt is what is used in our "people" water
<Mmm, much to state here... the extra sodium is usually not a big
deal for potable purposes... but... I'd be reading re, considering
using just RO...>
I tested the water again today (test strips) and had Nitrates in the
"safe" zone (20 ppm),
<... this is the most I'd allow>
Nitrite in between the Safe (0) and Caution (.5)
zone, Total Hardness was very hard (300),
<Ours is higher...>
Chlorine (0), Alkalinity was ideal (between 120-180), PH was about 7.8,
and Ammonia was ideal (0). After the test, I changed out 2
gallons (20% of the 10 gallon tank) and replaced with our outside hard
water + conditioner + salt, then treated the tank with the
Jungle Lifeguard All In One treatment
<Mmmm, mostly salt>
(the only thing I could find that said it was for "fin clamp"
- this is day one of a 5-day course of the "full spectrum
non-antibiotic agent"). Both fish seemed sick and we don't
have a hospital tank set up yet, so I figured it would be best to treat
the whole tank. If they live, then great, and if not, then the
future inhabitants won't get sick - right? (We can discuss that
further if they don't make it.)
<... iridoviruses are pretty species specific, if this is what the
"cause" is here. Otherwise, Protozoans do have longish
lay-overs at times>
The Platy can't decide whether she's sick or not (rests on the
bottom, hovers on the top, hides, then swims around just fine and still
eating - might be preggers), and the Dwarf Gourami is definitely still
sick, but he came out and swam around and ate dinner tonight, so
he's certainly perkier.
I know this medication is not supposed to be for use in a new
tank, but I'm ignoring those directions. I have pulled out the
carbon filter (but the filter thing is still running) and air stone and
heater are of course still going. I saw some info that said to leave
the carbon filter in, and some that said to take it out so I went with
"take it out". According to the directions, I'm
supposed to put the carbon filter back in on day 6 and at that point do
a 25% water change (or a new filter?, but mine is only 7 days
<The carbon alone>
I assume since I have a new tank and the bio filter is not fully
<... also deadly toxic>
(I mean the tank is not cycled yet, we have only a "carbon"
filter), that my best bet will be to still check/change the water daily
while treating the tank? I presume that I am
"decycling" the tank with the meds while trying to cycle the
tank, so I just have to be extra vigilant with the water. I
realize that I have the wrong fish all together, but he's still
alive and we like him. Other than our fish selection (too late
for that!), am I doing anything terribly wrong with the above
<... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwcyctrbfix.htm
It may be to no avail, but at least the kids will know that we
<Better to inform oneself than experiment...>
Thanks again for all your insights!
<Keep reading. BobF>
Re: Sick Gourami
Thanks again. Once I realized I didn't know as much as I thought (I
read the tank directions very carefully:-) I have been reading as much
as possible, but also have sick kids and general crazy life at the same
time as my sick fishies, so I appreciate your quickly pointing us in
the right direction. I based my "experiment" on reading
as much as I could find.
Actually our little guy is doing great this morning. (And the Platy,
They're both swimming around, eating and using both fins... I
wasn't sure from your answer below if I should keep using the hard
water, but I think that's what you said.
So, I'm going to keep changing that water every day, and
keep doing the treatment (salt or whatever it is) for the rest of the 5
days, and just try to keep it non-toxic while cycling. I assume
that it's better to cycle him in the 10 gallon tank than to have
tried to keep him cycling the 2-gallon "death trap" - yes
that's a good name for it!
I also told the kids no more fishies until the tank is all
After reading the tank directions, the kids were all set for several
more fish this week (week 2) - ha ha! Who writes those directions for
brand new tank owners! This is what I get for asking the
"knowledgeable" staff at PetSmart. I asked a lot of
questions before I ever bought fish, thinking I had done all my
research, but apparently just asked the wrong people and got the wrong
Thanks again. I will continue to educate myself on our new pets
and check in with you again if you don't mind before adding any
more friends to our tank - AFTER it cycles all the way, right?
I am so thankful I found your site and truly appreciate your
Re: Sick Gourami - Salt Question
Ok, I think I have this temporarily under control and understand how to
proceed. Just one more quick question on salt.
My understanding is that in our tropical tank we should be adding
aquarium salt with every water change (1 rounded tablespoon for 5
gallons, so adding about 1.5 flat tsp per 2-gallon water change to keep
the fishies happy).
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
and the linked files above>
And as per the directions, I'm always to add salt, not just
when they are sick. I'm only adding new salt to the tank with water
changes. However, since I'm also doing the 5-day jungle all-in-one
treatment (which you said was mostly salt), should I continue to add
the aquarium salt with the water changes, or is that going to be too
(Assuming I'm going to be changing 20% of water daily for
the next week or so, or longer until we cycle, based on current
conditions.) Both the Dwarf Gourami and the Sunburst Tetra are
still swimming around (with all fins!) and happy this afternoon, and
I'd like to keep it that way.
Once again THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
<As many welcomes. B>
Dwarf Gourami with
I've noticed over the past few weeks that one of my male Dwarf
Gourami is becoming quite pale in colour and has started to show signs
<Dang! This species, Colisa lalia, really should be banned from the
Too many problems, easy deaths>
I believe him to be about 2 years of age. He is still
eating but his rear half has turned almost white and is showing the
associated pine-cone appearance of dropsy. Anything I can do for
the little fella or is this just something that happens as they get
<IF they even live half this long in captivity, not uncommon, and
naught to do... really. You can peruse WWM, the larger Net, books...
this condition is almost never stoppable>
Tank param.s all normal although it is quite a busy tank and quite
<Am very sure you've read it, but here's our cumulative bad
news re the species:
and the linked files in the series... Bob Fenner>
Likely sick Gourami and question
about tankmates... mis-mix env.
Hello there. I'm new to your site (just discovered it about half an
hour ago, in fact..), and found it through some searching on Google. I
have two questions, one about my Gourami (you can ignore this one if
you want, I've decided on it already, but extra assurance would be
nice), and another about potential tankmates.
I have a 10 gallon tank with 2 Silver Lyretail Mollies
(both are happy as could be, they're a pair),
<Mollies doesn't "pair" so this happiness could well
be short-lived. Male Mollies simply mate with any female they can catch
up with, and they will attempt to mate over and over again, whether
she's receptive or not. As the females become bigger and slower
through pregnancy, this unwanted attention becomes increasingly
stressful and can cause harm to the female as well as miscarriages.
Mollies should be kept in groups of at least two females per male so
the male cannot harass just one female all the time, and in any event,
10 gallons isn't enough space for a species that will become 8-10
cm/3-4 inches in length when fully grown.>
a Red Swordtail (male),
<An aggressive, fast-moving species adapted to cool, fast-flowing
streams. Not suitable for this aquarium.>
and a Powder Blue Gourami.
<Colisa lalia, a species that needs softer water than
either Mollies or Swordtails, and furthermore, intolerant of brackish
water (so not a good choice for use with Mollies) and needs warmer
water than Swordtails.>
I have a heater (and a thermometer) that keeps it at the correct
<Meaning what? Swordtails come from cool streams and need to be kept
between 22-24 C/72-75 F. Farmed fancy Mollies do better in warmer
water, around 25 C/77 F, and Gouramis need hothouse conditions because
they inhabit swamps and ponds with no water current, so 25-28 C/77-82 F
is required for them. Can you see the pattern here? At least one of
your fish species will be unhappy (and therefore stressed, more
disease-prone, and probably shorter-lived) at the conditions needed by
and an over-the-tank filter.
<Do bear in mind Mollies and especially Swordtails are
"jumpers" that will escape from any openings around the side
of the tank.>
This is a relatively new set up, and so it is sparsely decorated (a
skull decoration for them to hide in and two fake plants), but I'm
working on filling it up with more plants via live growing bulbs that
are beginning to sprout. By the way, yes, the water is brackish, just
as these species prefer, if I've read correctly.
<You haven't. Mollies do indeed do best in slightly brackish
water. It isn't 100% essential, but 50% of the time it makes them
easier to keep. But Swordtails do not want or like brackish water, and
Gouramis will be harmed by it. Again, a mismatch of aquarium fish
From my understanding, this variety of Gourami is part of the Dwarf
Gourami family, which is prone to DGD. From everything I've read on
your site, it would appear mine has come down with it.
Symptoms are as follows:
Slight lack of interest in eating.(TetraMin flakes for tropical fish)
Seems to be skinny; bulges on both sides and near its tail fin.
Lethargic, sits in the top left corner of the tank and doesn't
move. Sometimes turns on his side and swims in a totally incorrect
manner, or only favors one fin for part of the day. Seems to have lost
some of his color, less vibrant than before.
<Could be the Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus, but could just as easily be
poor environmental conditions. Your tank doesn't sound right for
this species. It's a swamp-dwelling species that needs soft,
slightly acidic water conditions and little/no water current. Such
conditions would pretty much kill Mollies and Swordtails stone-dead, so
I'm assuming you aren't providing them. My gut feeling here is
that poor care, rather than the virus, is the problem here. Do also
understand that many Dwarf Gouramis die from opportunistic Mycobacteria
infections (what aquarists, inaccurately, called "Fish TB")
and these infections are mostly triggered by environmental stress
rather than bad luck, though inbreeding may play a part too.>
Also, I've observed my Swordtail picking on him,
<See above. This is an aggressive species that needs a tank at least
90 cm/3 ft long to give it space to race about in. Look at its long,
streamlined shape. This is a fish designed for swimming! It doesn't
want to be cooped up in a 10 gallon aquarium.>
and earlier today noticed that his(or her) bottom fin and tailfin seem
to be picked on, and are a dull red color. His fins seem to be smaller
as well, and show the same signs of being picked at, but they're
still the same color. Could this disease(if he in fact has it, but he
shows all classic signs) have been triggered by stress? I only got him
about...maybe two weeks ago along with the others. At first the
Swordtail ignored him but he's been pestering him for a few days
Originally the mollies were the bullies to him, but they seemed to stop
(even though they look tempted to every so often.) Now, the
Gourami's tankmates at the pet store all looked happy and healthy,
but I will admit this specific one seemed a bit more dull and timid,
the employee didn't really let us choose which one we wanted so we
got stuck with this guy.
<As I've written many, MANY times on this web site and in fish
magazines, Colisa lalia is a species best avoided.>
So, is this truly DGD, and if it is, what can I do in terms of
painlessly killing him? That doesn't cost, obviously. I'm just
<Unfortunately, being 8 years old or whatever doesn't really let
you off the hook when it comes to treating animals humanely. So while
the Clove Oil method is cheap, it isn't free. Here in England a
bottle of Clove Oil costs Â£4-5, and it can be bought at
drugstores and health food shops. It's sometimes called Eugenol and
is sold as a treatment for toothache. The method is described here,
about halfway down:
None of the "free" methods is humane, and aren't
recommended by me or by vets.>
And, of course, if he doesn't die before you respond... It's
been about five days now.
<Actually, your problem is most likely the tank, not the fish. Move
him to his own soft water aquarium and he'll probably be
I wish I had known about how they were farmed and the fact they had
such a common disease, or I would have never bought one, especially not
for the five dollars I paid.
<You're learning the hard way. Stores will take advantage of
ignorance, and if you think they go easy on kids, you're in for a
disappointment. Spend the five dollars on an aquarium book, read it,
and then go shopping. You life will be a lot better!>
Secondly, when/if he dies, do you have any suggestions for tropical
tankmates for my remaining three fish?
<The fish you have don't belong.>
I don't want to overstock the tank but I think just the three fish
will be a bit empty, especially considering the Mollies stick together
nearly constantly, making it seem even more empty than it is.
I don't want more of the same fish, unless the Swordtail would be
happiest with a second. I've seen varied opinions on how happy
Swordtails are alone... Would tetras of some sort(obviously in schools)
be okay with the brackish, tropical water, and go well with my
obviously mean Swordtail? I was considering those already. As a note,
the Swordtail doesn't pick on the Mollies but loves to bug the
Gourami. What kind of fish will do with these? How many more small fish
(about the same size as a Molly, I mean) could fit until the tank is
<Your tank is already badly stocked. Time to figure out what to do
with the ones you have, then restock with sensible choices as per your
water chemistry (is it hard or soft) and the temperature.>
As a side note, are Swordtails meant to be jumpy?
<Yes, especially in small tanks.>
Mine constantly spooks at the slightest sudden movement, and jumps when
the tank light goes out, but the other fish don't.
<He doesn't belong in a 10 gallon aquarium. In fact beginners
shouldn't buy 10 gallon aquaria!>
Thanks for your time,
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
I am an employee at one of the big box pet stores and I have a customer
having an issue that I have no idea how to proceed. He has a 125 gallon
heavily planted tank that has been running mostly without incident for
around 6 months.
About 3-4 months ago he purchased several dwarf gouramis.
They have been thriving along with all of his other fish since he
purchased them. However, in the last week he has lost almost all of
them within a few days of each other.
<Yes; not atypical with this species.>
I had read a reference of dwarf Gourami disease some time ago and
figured that this might be the culprit so I came to your site, which is
where I can typically find an answer I need. The problem is that none
of the fish that have died or are still living are showing any sores or
other visible signs of any kind of infection.
<Not all Dwarf Gourami deaths are down to Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus
(DGIV). At least some are due to Mycobacteria infections, what
aquarists often, if inaccurately, refer to as Fish TB (which is
actually something quite distinct and not really common in freshwater
He still has a few that appear to be doing fine but is worried. I read
through the four pages of information you have posted on diseases in
dwarf gouramis and none of the other inquiries sound like this. Have
you ever heard of anything like this before?
Is it likely to be DGIV even though there are no sores or discolored
<It's impossible to say for sure. Diagnosing diseases caused by
viruses requires expert analysis.>
He tests his water regularly and brings it in to be tested. His
parameters are as follows: Ammonia-0, Nitrite-0, Nitrate-less than
20ppm, pH-7.0, Alkalinity-120, Hardness-150, Temperature-78.0F.
<All sounds good.>
Thank you for your help with this, you guys are awesome. Also, I
discovered your website from an interview of Bob Fenner by Marc
Levenson from Reef Addicts.
<Thanks for the kind words, Jennifer, and I'm sorry I can't
pin this down any better. Do be aware that DGIV is more a symptom of
the less than perfect way this species is farmed in Asia, and there may
well be free use of things like antibiotics and hormones on fish farms
that wear off once you get the fish to your store. I'm wary of this
species, alongside Neons and Ram Cichlids, the three of them forming an
infernal triumvirate of species that often mysteriously die for reasons
never easy to identify, cure or prevent. Cheers, Neale.>
Stupid Dwarf Gourami!
I have 2 powder blue dwarf Gourami, I have read that they die easy from
dwarf Gourami disease. They are both males, my tank is 55 gallons and I
have a rose line shark and 8 tetras in it. One is doing good, he's
active but the other one hides all day in is lays on his side on the
bottom of the tank and I notice he gets bullied by the other Gourami. I
am new to the fish world but learning, and I have read the post about
the dwarf Gourami, I bought them cause they are pretty. If he does have
DGD will my other fish be infected with it if so what do I need to
<Dwarf Gouramis are territorial and males will often fight, even in
quite large tanks. With territorial fish it's best to keep one or
else three or more; when kept in twos, it's easy for the dominant
one to bully the other
one all the time. So I'd return this chap. Dwarf Gouramis are so
disease-ridden that you want to quarantine them before adding them to
your community tank. If you didn't, then yes, if one fish is a
carrier of the DGIV virus, they all are. But not all "Dwarf
Gourami Disease" cases are viral; many are bacterial and caused by
Mycobacteria species latent in most tanks. These bacterial infections
are stress related, so triggering factors can include bullying, poor
diet, low temperature (26-30 C surely essential for these Gouramis),
and hard water (chemistry needs to be soft and acidic, 2-12 degrees dH,
pH 6-7.5). Cheers, Neale.>
dwarf Gourami... lack of
hey guys. I got a dwarf Gourami 3 days ago. did well at first but now
is turning black near the gills and underbody. I read some articles on
your site about it being a sign of stress and could be linked with bad
chemistry in tank or water quality or even another fish attacking it.
well my water quality I have checked and ammonia is zero, nitrite is
zero, ph is 7.0-7.2, and nitrate around 10-20ppm. I did have a rainbow
shark in there yesterday with him but noticed he was giving him a bit
of hassle so I took the shark back. but now there's nothing
attacking him but he still is near the surface of the water almost
gasping for air. is there anything I can do to help him relax or get
better? I used a stress coat, not really helping. thanks again.
<Dwarf Gouramis are difficult fish to keep even at the best of
Partly this is because farming and inbreeding hasn't done them any
favours, and over the years they've become more delicate, and
partly because they've been exposed to viruses and bacterial
infections against which they have little or no resistance. As a
species, I don't recommend them. They do need
a quiet tank with soft, acidic water (2-12 degrees dH, pH 6-7.5) and
relatively high temperatures (26-28 C/79-82F). Water current should be
minimal, preferably air-powered. The aquarium must be quiet and
well-planted, and lighting levels should be low or at least shady.
Tankmates must be small, gentle species. The aggressive Shark-Minnow
likely did a lot of psychological harm here, and possibly physical harm
too, as any fin damage can quickly become an entry-point for
opportunistic bacterial infections. Realistically, there's nothing
you can do right now beyond ensure environmental conditions are
optimal. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: re: dwarf Gourami 9/6/11
thanks a lot Neale. I will take your advise into action. maybe get a
few more plants for him to hide in and see how he does. thanks again,
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Sick Dwarf Gourami
I have a 38 gallon tank that recently had twenty or so fancy
guppies. I've had this tank set up for 9 months with varying
numbers of the guppies. As of a month ago, I moved and had to
switch the tank to a harder tap water -much harder.
<How hard, how measured? Have you read on WWM re?>
Four days ago, I gave away all the guppies except four tiny
babies that I unfortunately missed. The next day, I went to Petco
and bought two medium sized blue Gourami, both male.
<Mmm, will fight. I'd trade in at least one for a
The day after that, I purchased one small veil angelfish, three
flame dwarf Gourami (all believed to be male), three Cory
catfish, one small yoyo loach and one rainbow shark from Petco as
well. They all seemed to be doing fine until this morning (two
days after I purchased the newest batch), when the angelfish
died. It was then that I noticed that all three of my dwarf
Gourami have changed color. They seem to be acting normal, but
their heads, chest and dorsal fins have turned a chalky gray /
black color with white / light splotches. The coloration is
becoming weirder by the hour.
Attached are pictures of the sick Gourami. Aside from the dead
angelfish, the other fish in the tank are doing well. Is this a
poisoning or an infectious disease?
<Likely the latter, but... could be just a reaction to water
Also, will my other Gourami or other fish be affected by this?
Thank you; have a good day.
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfgdis.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Or even a "grub" infestation
Thanks for your reply but my Gourami's condition has not improved
since then and she is rather plump from the region behind her gills.
She relaxes in a corner of the tank in the top strata. Please help!
Thank you in advance.
<Hello. Do need more information on your fish. I don't
personally recall any previous conversation with you about this fish.
In the meantime, if this is Colisa lalia, do review my comments on this
species. Among other things it is prone to both viral infections (Dwarf
Gourami Iridovirus) and Mycobacteriosis when stressed (Mycobacteria
spp. infection). Neither is curable. Isolate the sick fish and
euthanise, my preferred method involving adding 30 drops of clove oil
to a litre of aquarium water in a large container, stirring well, and
then placing the sick fish into the container. Because gouramis can
breathe air, it's important to keep the fish underwater, e.g., by
using a net, otherwise this won't work. It should die painlessly
within a minute or two. Death is usually confirmed 10 minutes after the
time the gills stop moving, but with air-breathing fish I'd wait a
bit longer, maybe half an hour or more. Cheers, Neale.>
Dwarf Gourami illness/recovery
I have had four Dwarf Gouramis in a quarantine tank for two weeks. They
are having health issues. As a prelude to my question'¦ you
might want to take the dwarf gourami off of your list of 'Five
Almost Perfect Fish.' I read through that and saw them on the list,
and even though it did say that they were prone
to bacteria issues, I thought there is no way that a fish that is 95%
likely to die would be on a list like that. After getting them and
doing further research I have read all of your responses of impending
<Mmm, this piece: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/almosperffshmonks.htm
is written by an Englishman... tongue in cheek. It actually is meant to
dissuade people trying these fishes>
I wasn't even going to ask you about the fish because I assumed it
was Iridovirus, but something strange has happened. After having the
fish for about a week, they were looking beautiful and happy. Then the
two Wild (blue and red stripes) ones started to become discolored and
ill from the top fin down. After
about three days of that they looked almost like leapers with rotting
of the top fin and an ugly grey coloration on the front half of the top
third of their body. Around the same time one of the Orange ones
started staring at the corner, stopped eating, and had labored
breathing for a couple of days and died. However, it had no visual
symptoms of anything, and always looked bright and healthy. The reason
I am asking what to do is because I got home yesterday and the two Wild
Dwarfs looked almost cured. Their coloration had returned, and only the
very front of their top fin looks slightly tattered. Is this
different that I can treat?
<Mmm, not really>
Also, the second remaining Orange one is starting to stare into the
corner and stop eating. So, the ones that looked like death are looking
better, and the ones that look healthy are dead or dying. The water
quality is good. I have tested multiple times. I change about 1 gallon
several times per week. Yesterday I added Maracyn Plus. (this is after
the two looked better) Will this help? I also have an Albino
Bristlenose in the quarantine tank as his home.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/AnabantoidPIX/dwfgdis4.htm
and as much of the linked files above as you deem useful>
Other advice, if you please. I bought the DG's to go in a 55 gal
tank with 1 Macrognathus arel, 2 Rope Fish,
<Likely eaten by these in time>
and 6 Giant Danios. I want a brightly colored fish that will get along
with those and PH 7.7, hard water, live plants, and 78 degrees. I would
ideally buy a small school of Boesemanni Rainbowfish,
<A good choice>
but they are 18 bucks each here. Also, I would love to add
<Mmm, no, not these>
but the water isn't ideal and the breeding is even worse. Any
suggestions? Are any cichlids peaceful enough, since they have lots of
<Indeed there are... I'd look to some of the more easy-going
Tanganyikans... Read here:
... and the linked files...>
Thank you so much for your help. I will not buy anymore DG's.
<Good. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dwarf Gourami illness/recovery 1/6/11
Thank you for the quick reply. I read through the posted link, but they
seem to be different situations. I'm sorry I wasn't very direct
in my questions. Do you believe they have Iridovirus?
<Likely so; yes>
Do you believe it is fin rot, if so, will the Maracyn plus help?
<Not likely, no>
Since the two that looked half dead, now look much healthier on their
own'¦ if they continue to live and look healthy, how long
should I quarantine them before moving them to the main tank?
<A few weeks>
Are Dwarf Gouramis such a health risk that I should never move them to
my main tank even after months of good health?
<... a health risk almost entirely relegated to their own species
Are you saying that the Dwarf Gouramis will get eaten by the eel or
<Yes... their piscivorous by default:
I thought Ropefish didn't get much bigger around than a quarter if
that big, how could they eat a fish that is 1.5' tall?
Thanks again so much for
your help. It is much appreciated.
Sick Dwarf Gourami -- 09/09/10
Thank you for your help! I have a 10 gal freshwater tank with an
<Too small for Dwarf Gouramis, to be honest. Yes, they'll fit,
but they're so sensitive and so disease-ridden, you really want
"excellent" not "tolerable" conditions.>
It is the one that also has the Bio pad. Not a fancy set up...
NO2 is <.03
<Needs to be zero. No ifs, no buts. This species is so difficult to
keep anything less than perfect water quality is asking for
PH is 8
GH is 5
KH is 3
My tap water is hard @ 9 so the past 3 water changes have been with
distilled water which has reduced it to 8.
<A 50/50 mix of tap water and RO water should create good conditions
for Dwarf Gouramis. I would not otherwise mess around with pH or
hardness unless you're a real fishkeeping expert -- and fishkeeping
experts don't keep Dwarf Gouramis!>
I do a 20% water change weekly but did miss one weeks change due to
<Not the end of the world.>
The last change was on 9/3. I wash out the filters monthly but have not
done much gravel vacuuming because of the Kuhli loach. Also, I have run
out of regent to test for ammonia. Am I safe in thinking that as long
as NO2 is in line the ammonia is also?
<Both need to be zero. A nitrite test kit is all you need, and yes,
once nitrite is zero, you can be fairly sure ammonia is zero
I have 3 sunset platys, 2 double bar platys, 5 small neon tetras, 1
small Kuhli loach, and 1 powder blue Gourami. I am writing about the
<Far, FAR too many fish for 10 gallons. This aquarium would be about
right for, say, 8 Neon tetras and 3-4 Kuhli loaches. But that's
He has not been eating well for over a month now. He has only eaten
maybe 3 times in the last 3 weeks but until 3 or 4 days ago no other
changes. He is now hiding excessively, will not come out, does not swim
to tank front or swim at all really... When I first got him he was very
social and friendly. Anytime I was close to the tank he would swim and
wiggle just like the others but now seems scared of everything. I have
never seen any of the other fish nip or bother him. His sides are
looking sunken and I believe he is starving himself to death. I have 2
different flake food, dried blood worms and also feed green peas
weekly. I can not see any type of parasite, no sores or lesions of any
kind, his gills look OK. I just don't see what could wrong with
him. I am not seeing any clear or stringy feces... He has never been
aggressive and would often hang back at feeding time so I would make
sure he did get food by feeding him at the opposite end of the tank
from the others.
<Overall environmental stress would be my guess. Plus, this species
is prone to both Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus (DGIV) and various
Mycobacteria and Nocardia infections.>
I have seen him brush a plant briefly twice but don't know if he is
"scratching"? I have also seen him sort of flinch (for lack
of a better word), like a quick jerk really, but not shimmy... and only
one time. I am really at a loss'¦
<Doesn't sound like Whitespot/Ick to me.>
He is my favorite and I hate to see him die or have to put him down but
don't know what may be wrong with him. I hate to just start dumping
meds in unless I know specifically what may be wrong with him. Also so
many meds are not safe with the loach. I do have a 5 gal set up as well
that I could move the loach to but don't want to spread anything
that might be contagious. All the other fish seem happy, healthy,
active, and have voracious appetites! Typical fish I guess!
I have just found out about this bacterial infection affecting so many
gouramis. I didn't know about it until I had purchased 3 already.
The first one in the 10 gal tank died within a week of bringing him
home. It was one of the sunset gouramis. He was bought at Petco and
they put him in a bag with 2 yellow mollies that almost pecked him to
death before I could get him home. Seemed he just never recovered. Now
I wonder if he may have had some disease that the blue one has gotten
from the tank?
<DGIV is highly contagious, and if one fish in the shop has it, they
likely all do. As for Mycobacteria, this disease may be quite common,
but it's environmental issues that trigger it from a latent into
its deadly phase. Neither are curable. Do read WWM re these diseases
I would be grateful for any help you can offer. I am a real softie and
can't stand anything to suffer... even the little fish. I will be
happy to answer any questions. I may be overlooking something that
would help you with a determination. Again, thank you!
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale>
Re: Sick Dwarf Gourami 9/10/10
Thanks for the much needed advice! I can do another water change and
also I have a c-100 Zeolite pillow I can put in the filter if need be.
I have read mixed reviews there. Some like them and some say will
absorb all ammonia and the beneficial bacteria will die off because
they starve. That would get the ammonia and nitrate/nitrate to 0. Wont
do anything until I hear your recommendations.
<Jan, Zeolite is for very specific situations. It's needed ONLY
where biological filtration can't happen. For example, hospital
tanks where antibiotics are used that kill filter bacteria (not all
antibiotics have that effect, but some do). Another example is very low
pH systems, because below pH 6 biological filtration doesn't
happen. If biological filtration is going on, you DO NOT need Zeolite.
Frankly, 99% of the people who buy Zeolite haven't the foggiest
idea what it's for or how to use it. Retailers will happily sell
you the stuff of course. After a couple of weeks the Zeolite will be
saturated with ammonia and/or covered in organic slime, so will be
useless anyway. In short, pointless. If you have non-zero ammonia and
nitrite levels, your issue is with overfeeding, overstocking, and/or
poor quality biological filtration. Look to those issues and fix
Re: Gourami Eye Problem 11/26/10
My gourami is still not well, so can I use sodium chloride (common
salt) in place of magnesium sulphate (Epsom salt)
<Salt won't make any difference. As stated before, your problems
are entirely made by YOU, because you are keeping TOO MANY fish in TOO
SMALL an aquarium. Cheers, Neale.>
Dwarf Powder Blue Gourami damaged his dorsal fin
I have looked for some advice on this problem, but as of yet, I have
not had success. I have a Dwarf Powder Blue Gourami that became stuck
in an opening in a castle we have.
<Really, this is unlikely. Fish don't tend to get stuck in
things because their fins can be lowered. If they seem wedged, they
either are doing that deliberately, or they're so weak for some
other reason that they can't swim out themselves. It's
exceptional for a fish to really get itself stuck. Not impossible, but
do keep an open mind.>
He was extremely wedged in, and I had to wiggle him to and fro for
several minutes before he was able to swim free.
<Hmm... the problem here is the physical damage from being
Now his dorsal fin is badly damaged
and his belly appears to be slightly dented in, as well.
<Now, his belly can't be dented any more than mine can --
there's no bone or anything there to deformed. It's all soft
tissue. Fish may exhibit a "hollow" appearance around the
belly if they're starving. So again, keep an open mind.>
Is there anything I can do to help him?
<Hard to say. Provided the fins don't show signs of Finrot, then
there's no need to medicate. If he's swimming and feeding
normally, he's unlikely to be in any distress.>
I imagine he is in pain from his injuries. I feel badly about damaging
him, but I didn't think there was any way he would be able to free
<Like cats up trees, it's usually best to let the animal work
its way out.>
We have a heavily planted 39 gallon aquarium with plenty of hiding
Do you think he can pull through this on his own?
<Probably, if the only problem is a little bruising. But if he was
sick already, or you caused damage to the internal organs, then all
bets are off.>
I know there probably isn't too much I can do, I just feel so bad
The water temperature is 78, ph is 7.0, and nitrite is 0. Thank you for
<Colisa lalia is a species with such a dismal track record as an
aquarium fish that I strongly recommend people avoid it. To be aware of
this species' shortcomings, particularly its predisposition to
Mycobacteria infections and the prevalence of Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus.
Oddly, the wild fish is quite tough and hardy, but mss production and
inbreeding -- especially in the case of artificial forms like your
powder blue -- have rendered what was a lovely fish something about as
robust as wet tissue paper.>
Dwarf gouramis and zebra Danios 4/24/2010
Hey there from Australia!
<Hello to you from the East coast of the U.S.!>
My name is Jess, and I have kept tropical fish on and off for years,
though a few months ago I bit the bullet and went all out to get a nice
setup. I have a 4ft (approx 200L) tank which is very heavily planted
with driftwood and rocks. The driftwood has been leaking colour (as
expected) so I have been making 30-50% water changes approx every 10
days. I am yet to get a canister filter, so I'm pedantic about
changing the carbon and sucking up grunge from the gravel
Onto the fish! I have 7 zebra Danios (4striped, 2 leopard and one is
white/gold in colour), 3 male dwarf gouramis, a large red tailed shark
<Do keep your eye on this last... can be very
and one Bristlenose (my2yr old bristle died recently :( )
Firstly, the dwarf gouramis. When I first got them about a month ago,
the blue one (there is a blue, blue/orange and orange) was bullied, and
his dangly fins eaten. They have since grown back well. About 1-2 weeks
ago the pecking order completely reversed, and now he (blue) is
dominant and as much an eater as my zebras. The other two love to hide
and come around to have a little dig, only interested in food that
falls right in front of their faces. One of them (orange/blue) has just
started to swell up evenly on either side in his upper half close to
his fins - I would take a pic but the plants block my view. I have used
some Epsom salts and just added some Metronidazole this morning on
advice from my fish store. Is there any chance this is more than swim
I have also placed some peas in the tank (which the shark loved) though
this guy is yet to touch them. Does this sound genetic? Because only a
few weeks ago he was boss!!
<Colisa gouramis, particularly C. lalia have many troubles... Read
and the linked files in series above>
Now my zebras. The zebras have been here for about 3 months, and eat
like little pigs, swimming at the top of the tank all the time - the
happiest fish I have ever had. I got some brine shrimp this morning for
the first time to mix up their diet. I put in a considerable amount,
say 1/3 of a cup.
<!? This sounds like a bunch!>
They went crazy, and gobbled them up though one of them seems to have
severely overeaten. His stomach is bulging so much that I can't
believe he hasn't exploded!! This was definitely caused by the
eating, though he is the only one to have pigged out this much. He did
spit out a little, though I had a sports game I had to go to so
haven't seen much else. He still wants food - I walk past the tank
and he swims up eager for more!! I am worried he will die from
overeating - should I quarantine him to make sure he doesn't eat
for a couple of days?
<Just leave be, feed all sparingly from now on>
Thank you so much guys, this is an awesome site!
Ps I test my water regularly, and got my aquarium store to check it as
well and it came up 100%
<Objective information is preferable>
so it can't be anything to do with the water, which is about
neutral ph (slightly alkaline I think) and 23 degrees Celsius.
Gourami... 10 gal. hex... dis... inherent, other
errors, no reading 4/17/10
I am a new aquarist with multiple problems. I have a 10-gal
<Have to tell you up front these are a total waste of money.
In terms of stocking, because they are tall and narrow, with a
poor surface area to volume ratio, they hold about as many fish
as an 8 gallon tank. Basically this tank is viable for a Betta, a
few Cherry shrimps, and maybe a couple of Dwarf African Frogs.
with a blue dwarf Gourami and golden Chinese algae eater.
<Dwarf Gouramis are notoriously delicate and plagued with
viral infections, so a poor choice for a tank like this, and
certainly need 15+ gallons anyway. As for the Chinese Algae
Eater, a fish neither from China nor good
at eating algae, you need to return this, NOW. Properly called
Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, it's a nearly useless fish, very big
and very aggressive. Maximum length is 35 cm/14 inches, and
it'll get that size within a year or so. Above 10 cm/4 inches
it is psychotically aggressive, especially in small tanks. Who
recommended this species to you? Either you read nothing at all
before shopping, or relied on a very untrustworthy retailer who
took advantage of your ignorance.>
I have live vegetation. (moss ball, and some other standard pet
store plant.) First, my tank is very hard to keep balanced, Ph
wise. ( I had a rock that caused massive imbalance.)
<Because it's uselessly small. If you have soft water to
begin with, the fact it's overstocked means pH will drop
dramatically between water changes.>
Secondly, I was having trouble with one of my fish, but could not
resolve the problem before going on a vacation. Caliente ( the
red one) was acting violently toward Frio (blue) before vacation;
hiding, and swimming erratically. I put in a vacation feeder, but
I suspect it didn't work.
<Probably worked fine, but overfed the tank. As we've
stated repeatedly, leave fish hungry when away. Much less
When I came back one of my fish (flame dwarf Gourami) was missing
and my other fish (blue) looked as if it had scars on it. I found
its chunk of flesh, bones, and brain case at the bottom of the
tank. I think he was eaten.
<Likely died, or at least became moribund, and the
Gyrinocheilus acted precisely as you'd expect, becoming a
Now, Frio has a spot near its head that looks as if it's
deteriorating away. I've been told it's a flesh eating
bacteria , but it might be Furunculosis.
<Nope, almost certainly standard issue Finrot caused by very
poor water quality.>
What do I do?????!?!!?!?!?!!!!!
<Read. Buy a bigger tank. Cycle without fish. After 3-4 weeks
of cycling, choose species appropriate to that size aquarium.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this system is doomed.
Re: Gourami 4/17/10
Thank you, I will more thoroughly research which fish are
appropriate for which tank, their susceptibility to diseases, and
so on. (Remember I'm a * new* aquarist)
<Lots of stuff here for beginners. Plus books galore. Do look
here for some of our favourites:
Many available online via Amazon for pennies if purchased
I'll let my current fish run their course then get a larger
tank and try again, but how do I treat for fin rot?
<Commercial Finrot remedy should work well, though remember to
use carbon; avoid salt and tea-tree oil "remedies" as
these tend to be unreliable. Fish won't get better if water
quality and chemistry are poor.>
By the way my tank is more base than acidic. If I get a 20 gal,
what are some good starter fish?
In soft water aquaria, most tropical fish are happy with the
exception of livebearers, some Rainbowfish and some cichlids. But
soft water tanks are prone to pH changes, so don't overstock.
Re: Gourami 4/17/10
Ok, are you sure it's fin rot? (Pictures attached)
<Not sure from these blurry photos. Looks a bit like a
Mycobacterium or even viral infection (e.g., Dwarf Gourami
Iridovirus). Neither are curable, and DGIV is also high
contagious. Mycobacterium infections are contagious
too, but tend to occur where chronically poor water conditions
exist, such that the fish's immune system can't protect
the fish naturally. Both these diseases are discussed in depth
elsewhere on WWM. I've also written many
times here at WWM how I wouldn't even think about
recommending or buying Colisa lalia, the species you have here.
Among other reasons, the quality of commercial stock is so dire,
and so inbred, that Mycobacterium
infections are much more common that they should be. This has
been discussed for at least 20 years -- I've got a old copy
of Baensch's Aquarium Atlas that mentions the problem. So
once again we come back to the issue of reading about the needs
of fish before buying them. Online sources vary wildly in
quality, whereas books tend to be written by genuine experts and
edited professionally. So if you're a beginner, you really
can't afford NOT to buy a decent book. Colisa fasciata and
Colisa labiosa are infinitely better choices for beginners. One
last thing, we do specifically ask for photos to be no larger
than about 500 KB in size; yours were 3-4 MB each!
That clogs up our space available for other people's
messages. So please, if you send more photos, do reduce them in
size before sending them along. We offer just about the best
fishkeeping help you're going to get anywhere without paying
for it, but we do ask that our few basic rules are met; not
because we're jerks, but because those rules exist to make
life easier for everyone who visits WWM. Cheers, Neale.>
Sick Dwarf Gourami... is it 4/1 already?
I`ve got a Dwarf Gourami named Snookeroo. I bought him in October 2009
around Halloween, a few days after the Breeder`s Cup races (if you
watch horse racing that`d help...lol I don`t keep track of days well.).
I keep him alone in a large (1 3/4 gallons, I was told it was OK),
<Is definitely NOT okay. Is this an early April Fool's joke? Or
a typo? I hope so. But if you really are keeping this fish in a 1.75
gallon tank, then frankly, that's why he's dying. 1.75 gallons
isn't an aquarium, let alone a "large" one; it's a
bucket. You CANNOT keep this fish, or indeed any tropical fish, in 1.75
gallons. Stick some cut flowers in it instead. They're already
dead, so there's no harm to be done.>
with a fake plant and a small toy polar bear. I couldn`t afford
floating plants really, so I put in a floating toy fish (I know I
should probably get a floating plant, but he likes the fish, lol).
<Look, I don't want to be mean, but saying "laugh out
loud" doesn't diminish the fact you're being cruel to this
animal, and what's worse, you seem to know that. You have some
vague sense of what this fish needs, but instead you choose not to
offer those things. It's hard for me as someone who likes animals
to be polite in situations like this, so please forgive me my
He`s got gravel at the bottom of course, so the habitat should be
Everywhere I`ve read they said no bubbles were necessary (part of the
reason I chose Dwarf Gourami), so he has no bubbles.
<Bubbles? Do you mean filtration or aeration? Gouramis absolutely do
need filtration. In short, they need at least a 15 gallon aquarium with
a heater and a filter. Water temperature should be not less than 28
C/82 F given that this species comes from hot, humid ponds. Water
quality must be excellent as this species is rather delicate; we're
talking 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. 25% water changes per week will be
important. A hood is required to trap a layer of warm, humid air on top
of the tank. Without this, they are easily "chilled" because
they are air-breathers.>
I`ve put a paper towel (with air holes between the bowl and the paper
towel) over the tank to keep him from jumping (I had an incident with a
Betta, and wanted to discourage any jumping) and to help increase
<A paper towel won't increase humidity; it is porous and wicks
away moisture. It's a towel! That's what towels do! I mean
honestly, what are you thinking? Tiny tanks, seemingly no filtration,
paper towels for hoods...? Did you read ANY aquarium books before you
spent your money?>
He seemed fine and happy, but was uninterested in food on and off and
had kind of labored breathing, he seemed well otherwise.
<You are killing him.>
I got busy though, and didn`t clean his bowl like I should`ve (though
he still seemed OK) so I cleaned it and now here I am.
<With a dying fish. And me, my teeth are grinding just reading
His color dulled almost immediately and the scales around his gills
became scruffy (over a few days).
<You are killing him.>
I gave a small dose of Melafix to see what that did, and he seemed to
like it, but the next day when I went to give him a second dose, he
freaked and started darting around the bowl.
<You are killing him.>
I did an immediate water change and discontinued the treatments. I came
home today, and he was almost sideways floating at the top gasping for
air and his water smelled peppery (it didn`t smell weird yesterday,
that I know of).
<You are killing him.>
I removed the paper towel to allow for more oxygen and that helped, he
now right side up. I did a water change as well (not much of one, maybe
10-20%). Oh yeah, his poop`s been stringy and white and red (normal
<You are killing him.>
I believe he`s dying as I`m typing.
<Thank all the gods! She finally understands! Yes, you are killing
I haven`t tested the pH, I didn`t even know that test kits existed
until recently (never needed them, my only other fish are 6 Bettas and
2 guppies with no problems except one Betta gets fin rot real easy
(inborn problem I think) if moved to a new location.
<I don't even want to think about this...>
But the water is room temperature (my room stays about 70-75 degrees
<Too cold. You know when you went to the pet shop and it had a big
sign that said "tropical fish"? Well, the word
"tropical" means "from the tropics" not "from
places about as warm as your house". It's actually quite
simple. Keeping tropical fish? Don't live in Southeast Asia? Buy a
If you don't want to buy a heater, then don't buy tropical
fish. What you're doing is animal cruelty. You can dress up the
tank with plastic toys and give the fish a cute name, but you're
still abusing that animal.
Sticking it in a food blender would at least be a quick death. What
you're doing is slowly killing it.>
So now, his symptoms are labored breathing, unbalanced, dulled color,
white and normal colored poop, roughed up scales on the gills, and
almost complete loss of appetite.
<You are killing him.>
It`s been around 5 months since I got him. I`m just hoping its not
Dwarf Gourami Disease (I knew about it before I bought him, but got him
anyway despite the risk, I tend to gamble on things a lot).
<Not Dwarf Gourami Disease. It's actually something else called
"Pet owner who seemingly doesn't give a damn disease".
Note the use of the word "seemingly" there. I really, really
am a nice guy, but since we'll never meet you'll probably never
know that. So I have to take what you've written on face value. You
may be someone who is really nice to animals, but from your e-mail, I
can't see that at all. And I'm here spending 20 minutes of my
life writing back to you because I REALLY DO CARE. But honestly,
you're doing everything wrong here. I can't make up my mind
whether this is a joke or you really are treating this poor fish this
way. If it is a joke, then ha ha, you got a rise out of Neale. But if
this is for real, then good heavens you have a lot of work to do! Do
start by reading here:
<Short of buying a proper aquarium with a heater and a filter and a
hood, this fish WILL die. And you will have killed it. So before you
write back telling me what an awful person I am for being so rude when
you came here for help, think about that. You are more than welcome to
write back and yell at me. I don't mind in the least. But I'd
also like you to write back telling me what you propose to do to turn
things around. Can I help? Yes.
Can this fish be saved without spending some money on a proper
No. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Sick Dwarf Gourami... Not a prank
I`m not gonna yell at you, its not your fault. I checked several
websites and they all said the same thing and I never found anything
about tank size.
<Oh, I see. Well, you've discovered Wet Web Media so that
shouldn't be a problem any longer.>
Can't afford books and the library doesn`t have any good fish
<Can you get an interlibrary loan? Here in England at least, even if
you have a tiny local library, for 50 whole pence about 80 cents)
they'll get in any book you want that's owned by the county
its all fishing guides and a book on what kind of fish are available to
fish keepers, and that only gave a brief about the fish. That`s the
book that led me to want a Dwarf Gourami.
The PetSmart guy said they needed about everything a Betta does (that`s
what I`m used to keeping, and successfully. My first Betta is about 3
years old), except different food.
<No, unfortunately while Bettas can survive in jars of water (hardly
optimal, but it *can* work sometimes) Gouramis most certainly cannot be
kept this way. Let me put it another way, if you can afford the three
dollars or whatever for a Dwarf Gourami, you would be very wise to
spend those three dollars on a used aquarium book. Over on our section
of books for beginners, we have a listing of some books you can buy
this way from Amazon.
I just looked and the "A Practical Guide to Setting Up Your
Tropical Freshwater Aquarium" is selling, used, for one whole
cent. Sure, delivery will be a couple bucks on top of that, but really,
it's a steal.>
The paper towel was temporary until my parents could get me the pet
store. I thought bubbles were just for putting oxygen in the
<Not really, no. What air bubbles do is move the water about. The
bubbles pull water from the bottom to the top, and the circulation
improves the rate at which oxygen gets into the bottom layer of water.
It also helps even out the water temperature. But by themselves bubbles
are trivially important, and most aquarists don't need to add
bubbles to their tanks.
Heaters and filters are much more important.>
I keep my Bettas in tanks without bubbles or filter (I clean and do
water changes instead).
<Just about acceptable for Bettas, but to be reliably, you need the
Betta jars to be kept in a heated fish room and the water changes need
to be daily. Most folks who keep their Bettas in unheated jars end up
with a dead Betta.>
Everything I was told was wrong, everyone I talked to said I was doing
it right, and now I`m paying for it.
Gah, screw ups seem to be centered on me now. I`ve been screwing up a
lot lately (on other things, not my fish except Snookeroo), now I just
want someone to cuss me out and punch me in the face or just flat out
beat me up.
<I'm sorry to be that one. But honestly, I really do care about
you and your fish. That's why I spend so much time here at
I deserve it.
Thank you though, every forum I`ve tried never said anything, You`re
the only one who`s given me the answer. He died an hour after I wrote
this, at least he`s not being tortured anymore. If I`d have found ya`ll
even a day sooner, I could`ve gotten a 15 gallon and possibly saved
<May well be. Do read around though. We have some ideas on good
species for small tanks and for beginners. Start here:
If you don't want to add a heater, there are plenty of coldwater
fish that can do well in a filtered 15-gallon tank. North Americans are
particularly well served in this regard, with some lovely (and lively!)
small livebearers and killifish they can even collect
That`s my luck though, always too late. I do care, otherwise I wouldn`t
have wrote. Thank god I`m better with mammals.
<In fairness to fish, they're actually longer-lived and
generally healthier than most mammal pets, and much easier to keep than
reptile pets. But they do need a couple of non-negotiable things like
clean water and the right temperature. Get those right, and choose the
correct fishes for your aquarium size and skill level, and they're
actually very easy to keep!
Re: Sick Dwarf Gourami 3/26/10
My Bettas are doing well, my 3 year old is still in good condition, as
well as the others, I don`t think the lack of a heater is affecting
<It's a gamble. Bettas are probably annual fish in the wild, or
close to it anyway. In captivity keeping them a little cooler than
their preferred 28 C/82 F will extend their lifespan, but the risk is
that the colder a fish is kept below its optimal temperature, the more
likely it is to get sick.
On the other hand, if a fish is cooler rather than warmer, its
metabolism is slower, so it's producing less ammonia, so poisons
will accumulate in the water more slowly. But then again, below its
optimal temperature a fish can't digest its food properly. For most
fish, the perfect temperature is what they'd experience in the
wild, and for Bettas, that's warmer rather than colder. Visiting
Fishbase is a great way to check the conditions a fish is known to
tolerate in the wild or under lab conditions.
See here for Betta splendens:
I meant physically, I wish someone would punch me.
<I don't do that... sorry.>
Ya, fish are very long lived. They can get into their 40s and 50s some
of them. I don`t have PayPal or any kind of card so internet buying is
kind of out. I can get books from other libraries for free, but you
have to know the title of the book and I didn`t know of any.
<Hence that web page of books all of us at WWM recommend. To be
fair, we also *write* books, so you can trust us! There's lots of
information on the Internet of course, but it isn't edited and you
can't always tell who knows what they're talking about and who
I`ll look for the set up book though. Thanks, I`m going to read the
page you sent. What`s the worst thing a guppy could pass to another
guppy besides Ich?
<Not much really. Crossbred ("feeder") Guppies are pretty
hardy right out of the box. Fancy Guppies, not so much.
I want to move mine to a 15 gallon and get 2 more, but I don`t want to
risk disease. If they`re at high risk I`ll get an extra pump and use
their old tank for quarantine. This is the last time I listen to a pet
<Hmm... well, while some pet store people are skilled hobbyists well
worth talking to, others are less valuable in this regard. Basically
treat them how you'd treat someone selling a car or showing your
around a new home -- listen politely, but verify everything they say
What about blind cave fish, would they be OK to keep without a
<Depends. This species comes from Mexico, so we're talking
fairly warm water. To be fair, the caves are cooler than above ground,
but going below 18 C/64 F won't be good for them. Best kept around
22-24 C/72-75 F. They also need somewhat hard, neutral to basic water
to do well.>
Would they live OK in a 15 gallon with guppies?
<No, Blind Cave Tetras are very nippy. They're also hyperactive,
and a 15 gallon tank is a bit small for a fish that gets to a good 8
cm/3 inches long. You need a school of them, too. Wild fish feed of bat
droppings, but in captivity they're very hardy and easy to keep,
and in the right aquarium, fascinating pets. They look lovely in a tank
with a dim red light, black sand, and lots of rocks -- like a
Thanks for the help.
Re: Sick Dwarf Gourami 3/26/10
Heaters are kind of expensive and I don`t have the money to buy 6 of
them right now, especially since the water isn`t too cold.
<"Too cold" is a subjective term. What's warm to you
may be too cold to a tropical fish...>
I should be set now. I`m going to move them to a 15 gallon with a
heater and ad 2 more. I`ve got 2 Fancy guppies.
Ya, there`s a lady at PetSmart who`s a fish keeper, I listen to her and
I`ve got a friend who works there too, and I listen to her. They`re the
only 2 that I pay much mind to.
I`ll start reading more fish books, knock down 2 sticks with one whack.
I needed something to read, I finished my list of books. I`ll get Blind
Cave Tetras sometime, but I don`t have any room for anything bigger
than a 15 gallon anymore (I have a lot of interests, to say the least).
I`ll probably get one of those huge aquariums, the kind used for
reefs, and deck it out cave style, maybe buy a fake skull of some sort.
I found out we still have a 15 gallon, actually 2, but one was
previously used for a lizard/lizards and one for a king scorpion. Would
that affect the Fancy Guppies even after cleaning with just water, or
should I use something to help decontaminate?
<Simply cleaning with warm water should be fine. No
The rocks I have are cycled, so would the tank still need cycling?
<Yes. Rocks don't carry many bacteria. If they did, why do you
think we'd bother with filter? The bacteria need to be in a porous
place with a constant flow of oxygen-rich water. Sponges, ceramic
Undergravel filters are good, but just a bed of gravel won't
Sorry if I`m taking up a lot of time, I just want to make sure I get
everything right this time.
<Plenty to read here. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Dwarf Gourami
Thanks for your help. Its good to know that someone`s there to
Keep up the good work.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Dwarf Gourami 4/11/10
Ok, I got a filter, could I cycle with just a filter?
<You cycle aquaria only when there's a source of ammonia. Daily
pinches of flake similar to what you'd use to feed your fish would
do the trick. Test for nitrite until it rises and then drops to zero.
Should take at least 3 weeks, potentially up to 6.>
It`ll take a while to get the heater and I`d like to get the tank
cycled as soon as I can. I`ll probably need to increase the temperature
slowly to 70 degrees when I put`m in so I don`t stress them anyway,
<Stress who? The existing fish? Keeping tropical fish at room
temperature will be stressing them already. The quicker you install a
heater, the better. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Dwarf Gourami
That`s why I was asking, cause the sooner its cycled, the sooner I can
get them in the 10 gallon, and the heater should be installed around
<Indeed. Well I guess my work here is done. Good luck,
Orange Dwarf Gourami Issues... hlth.,
<Hi! Melinda with you here tonight.>
I have a problem!
I have a 30-Gallon tank (my first one)
<Congrats on the habit... err, I mean, the hobby!>
with 5 black skirt tetras, 5 zebra Danios, a Plecostomus, 2 orange
dwarf gouramis, and 2 baby angelfish.
<Hmmm... have you been reading about each species prior to purchase?
These fish don't necessarily "fit..." try using the
Google search bar on WWM.
Depending on your Pleco, it could outgrow this tank, especially if
it's the "common" type, the Danios are more a
cooler-water fish, and the Angels may cancel each other out unless, by
chance, happen to decide to be a mated pair, or at the very least, both
female, and the same goes for your gouramis... Just read up on these
guys, and know what to look out for and be able to spot signs of
I have a Tetra Whisper EX30 filter,
<After a quick Google search, plus use of a calculator (I don't
really "do" math!) I see that this is turning over the
tank's volume about 5.3 times per hour. This is acceptable;
however, please note that as your fish get larger (especially if both
angels survive), you may need more turnover.
Also, please look into filtration -- meaning, please read about
mechanical, biological, and chemical -- and understand that many
hang-on-back filters just don't do it all:
The only one I can recommend, having used several of them for a
while, is the Aqua Clear line of filters, which do provide (or, at
least, provide room) for all types of filtration.>
and every Wednesday I put in a bottle of API Stress Zyme.
<May as well buy yourself a sandwich. Or, better yet, some test
kits. Can you provide Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate levels? How about pH
What temperature are you keeping this tank at? There's a lot of
information that's missing here, but I don't recommend spending
money on this stuff. Either your water quality is where it should be,
and you've done everything right, or it's not, and you need to
fix it, and not through use of a chemical.>
A few months ago, an ignorant PetSmart employee said I could a Betta
into my tank, (I did not yet have the angels.) and it was strangely
fine except for the fact that he was terrorizing my Gouramis.
<Are both labyrinth fishes... I can understand his problem. I have
been in chain pet stores and assured that a male Betta couldn't be
kept with anything, which is, I guess, the opposite of your issue.
However, research is key here: they can be kept with some fish;
however, keeping them with other labyrinth fishes is definitely a
no-no, unless you're breeding Bettas, and then, only for a short
period of time, if you want everyone to be happy. In the end, comes
down to your judgment (or lack thereof).>
I got him out and noticed they had paler colors and they lost their
feelers. That has since gone away, their colors came back and their
feelers were almost grown back.
<Can you give me a timeframe on all of this? How long has the tank
been setup, and how long since each species was introduced,
However, lately, one of my gouramis has become paler in color, lost
almost all his progress in growing his feelers back, (the other
one's are back completely) the other Gourami is being mean
<Possibly both males, or one is simply sensing weakness in the
resulting in some of his tailfin missing, and he camps out in the
corner of my tank all day except during feeding time, where he eats
just as well as he did before. He has lost the blue stripe on his chin
and in place, has gained 2 or three navy blue, almost black patches. I
have sent a picture, please respond.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/dwfgdis.htm
and related links, which can be found above. Many of the Dwarf Gouramis
brought into the U.S. carry a virus which results in death, and
isn't treatable. This virus can be transmitted between Gouramis,
but not to other fish. Let me know if the symptoms you read about in
WWM "Dwarf Gourami Disease" sound similar to what you're
seeing in your own fish. This disease can't be treated, but if you
suspect it is the case, the fish should be removed and euthanized to
prevent, if possible, illness in the other fish. However, first, please
do look to water quality. You're not providing information as to
these parameters, so there's no way for me to really know if this
is an issue. Lastly, he's been beat up, and he's having trouble
recovering, and the other Gourami isn't making it any easier. This,
alone, could be causing his behavior. Do you have an established
quarantine tank? I would allow this fish the chance to heal before
determining whether he suffers from the incurable dwarf Gourami
disease, or just needs some time to get "back on his fins,"
so to speak.
While in the QT tank, I would go ahead and treat with Maracyn, as per
the instructions on the package, for bacterial infection, in the case
that this is, indeed a "regular" bacterial infection, brought
on by stress or poor water quality, and not the dreaded "Dwarf
Gourami disease." What I'm saying is that this fish has been
through a lot, and now he's getting picked on, and without knowing
the length of time you've had both fish, it's impossible to
know whether the photo you sent indicates this disease, or some other
bacterial infection. I wouldn't give up on him yet, but would,
instead, attempt to treat him, by himself, in a quarantine tank.
Due to the survival rate of these fish when they are imported, it would
be easy to take a pessimistic approach; however, you obviously care
about this fish enough to write, so I'm offering you information I
believe will help him if it's possible to help him. Please do write
back, with the information requested earlier, if you have any questions
Re: Orange Dwarf Gourami Issues
First of all, I would like to thank you for responding so quickly.
Usually when I e-mail groups like this, it takes weeks, if at all, for
them to respond.
<Ahhh... well, we realize that fish need help quickly... we
volunteer here so we can help folks *and fish*, and in then end, it
means we respond quickly!>
Anyway, I put him in quarantine and he hasn't made any
<I'm sorry to hear. Were you able to discern from reading
whether or not this was the Dwarf Gourami disease?>
The nitrate is 20, the nitrite is 0, the pH is 6, KH is 40, and GH is
I do a partial water change every Tuesday.
<This is high Nitrate for a QT tank with one Gourami. pH is low... I
experienced problems with keeping my biological filter active at this
low pH. I'm not saying it could happen to everyone, but did happen
to me... what of Ammonia? Then, KH, which I'm normally used to
seeing on a 0-12 scale, looks strange. If you have any KH at all, pH
shouldn't be 6 (on most tests, 6 is the lowest registered, which
means your water could be really, really soft and the pH is very low,
either due to dissolved waste or low pH, KH out of the tap). Are you
using strips? Would you consider taking a sample to an LFS and having
it tested? It might help us determine what's going on here... these
results just look weird.>
I got the Betta late February or early march, and had him in for 2
weeks with 2 females. The first week he had ich, but I was able to
<The Betta? No matter, if he was in the tank with the other fish,
all should have been treated.>
The Gourami started acting weird 3 or 4 weeks ago.
<Okay, so have you treated with an antibiotic within the time
he's been in quarantine? Please let me know what you used. If it
was a "dependable" antibiotic (and by this I mean no tea tree
oils, etc.), then this is either Dwarf Gourami Disease, or you need to
try another antibiotic. I'm not sure if you ever diagnosed this as
anything, or what you used to treat. Please write back with this
information. Good to hear back from you!
C. lalia on the viral path out --
So I have three blue gouramis who I had for a few months now.
<Not Blue Gouramis, Trichogaster trichopterus, but the
all-blue morph of Colisa lalia, the Dwarf Gourami.>
They have always seemed fine and would swim to the glass whenever
I would stand by the tank. Always been active. Well suddenly I
realized that one of my gouramis started developing a
"bruise like" discoloration around his
<Could be from fighting, but more likely Columnaris or some
similar bacterial infection. Colisa lalia is an extremely poor
quality fish these days, and very prone to bacterial and viral
diseases. Best avoided, really.>
He would stay at the bottom of the tank as well. Then the next
day I noticed that another one of my gouramis started developing
the same kind of discoloration.
<Ah, now, this isn't good. Do review Dwarf Gourami
Iridovirus in particular, as this is extremely contagious.
But he stays at the very top of the tank. None of the other fish
seem to be bothered by this. I went to my local pet store and
asked questions and they told me to try T. C. Tetracycline.
<Useless. DGIV is viral and always fatal and completely
Otherwise, this might be a Mycobacteria infection, which is very
common with Colisa lalia not kept in perfect conditions. Again,
incurable. Read WWM re: euthanasia.
I'm currently in the process of treating my tank right now
with this but it doesn't seem to be doing any good.
I tested the water in my tank before I started the treatment and
the water tested perfectly fine.
<Define "fine". For Colisa lalia, we're talking
soft water (less than 10 degrees dH) and an acidic pH (6.5 is
about right). Water must be very warm, around 28-30 C, 82-86 F.
This is far too warm for most community fish.>
Could you tell me what is wrong with my gouramis and whether or
not the T. C. Tetracycline is going to help once I'm
completely finish with the treatment. I attached a picture of one
of the Gourami when I first noticed the discoloration, and then
two days later the same Gourami. Thank you for your time.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>