the True Pearl Gouramis,
Relatives, Genera Ctenopoma &
Microctenopoma, Betta splendens/Siamese
Related FAQs: Gouramis 1, Gourami Identification, Gourami Behavior, Gourami Compatibility, Gourami Selection, Gourami Systems, Gourami Feeding, Gourami Disease, Gourami Reproduction,
Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish,
Angelfish having problem with Pearl Gourami?
<Hi there Judy>
I have one fairly large angel in a 29 gallon. He/She
has been in there for 4 or 5 days and sat near the bottom only to come
up to eat. I put a Pearl Gourami in and the angel is now lively and has
chased the gourami a few times or tried as Gouramis do not seem to move
much. The Gourami is hiding a lot. Was the gourami a mistake or should I
get a second Gourami??
<Mmm; maybe... I think we've been over the general temperament of FW
Angels; and two Trichogaster leeri might diffuse aggression here. Worth
trying, but I'd be ready to move one or the other species elsewhere>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Angelfish having problem with Pearl Gourami?
Neale's go 11/7/16
I have one fairly large angel in a 29 gallon. He/She has been in there
for 4 or 5 days and sat near the bottom only to come up to eat. I put a
Pearl Gourami in and the angel is now lively and has chased the gourami
a few times or tried as Gouramis do not seem to move much. The Gourami
is hiding a lot. Was the gourami a mistake or should I get a second
Gourami?? thank you
<Angels and Gouramis usually mix well. They're quite similar in
temperament. But occasionally problems do occur. The first thing to try
is the old "break up their territories" trick. Basically, remove the
aggressive fish to a secure bucket, move the rocks and plants about in
the tank so the territories are broken up, switch the lights off, and
after the aggressor has been out of the tank for an hour or so, put it
back. Don't turn the lights on until the following day. With luck, the
aggressor will think he's somewhere new, and he'll accepts existing fish
rather better than before. If this doesn't work, write back and we'll
try something else! Ideally, you don't want to add extra fish because
might become overstocked with multiple fairly big fish. On top of that,
two male Pearl Gouramis might not tolerate one another in a smallish
tank, let alone how the Angel reacts! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish having problem with Pearl Gourami?
The Pearl Gourami turned the tables on the angelfish and is bullying him.
I took the Pearl Gourami out and he is in a bucket. I will turn the lights
out and rearrange everything and see what is going on tomorrow.
<A good plan. I'd remove both fish, rearrange the tank, and then
The Gourami is a large female. There is no orange on the fish that I can
see. Maybe it would be ok to keep the angel alone if this doesn't work
<Absolutely. Farmed Angels do perfectly well kept as singletons. Cheers,
re: Angelfish having problem with Pearl Gourami?
Just wondering if it was weird that the Pearl Gourami bullied the larger
<Unusual, but not unknown. Usually, in a sufficiently big tank, groups
of Gouramis and Angels coexist just fine. But they both have the ability
to be mildly territorial. Rarely enough to damage on another, but enough
to do chasing!>
Is that fairly common or was that a rogue Gourami?
<In terms of aggression, the Three-spot Gourami (including Blue, Gold,
Opaline, etc) is generally the most aggressive of the common species.
Pearl Gouramis are much more consistently peaceful, but with odd
Moonlights, despite being the biggest of the three species, seem to be
Maybe Pearls are more aggressive than I thought
<Not normally. Sometimes fish just get cranky. Sometimes if the tank is
too small, they get fractious, like prisoners sharing a cell! Careful
overstocking can work, by disrupting the ability of dominant fish to
hold a patch of territory, but with the cost in terms of water quality.
Try adding a flat mirror to one side of the tank to attract the
attention of one of
the fish. Don't leave it there too long, but for half an hour, might
provide some diversion. I've found this trick works well with mildly
aggressive cichlids, where boredom and/or lack of social interactions
with their own species might be to blame. Do also try feeding less, and
on lower quality food (greens rather than meaty foods, and "shelly"
brine shrimp rather than soft bodied worms). Fish that have to spend
more time foraging spend less time on aggression. Gouramis are partial
herbivores in the wild, and Angels, like most cichlids, will give
anything a go if it's even vaguely edible! So something like an algae
wafer pressed against the glass could provide some useful diversion
compared to simply offering easy to gobble up flakes and pellets.>
Preventing future injury infection on pearl Gourami
Thank you in advance for reading my message.
I am writing because (1) your site has been extremely useful in my
research--thank you--and (2) because I had a bit of trouble finding pictures
and/or descriptions regarding this particular issue, so I thought maybe I could
help someone else.
My male pearl Gourami seemed to have damaged his skin on (presumably) a sharp
decoration in my tank, as he chased my female Opaline.
<Yes; looks a clean wound, should heal nicely.>
I saw a whitish area on his side that seemed like a small loss of scales.
<White = dead tissue.>
I monitored it and watched his behavior for a week; he was eating well, he did
not lose coloring or have any indications of white spot, cotton mouth, or ragged
fins. I read on your site that injuries make fish more susceptible to diseases
so I was ready to take action, but I did not think there was a need at that
<Indeed; in good water quality fish have an ASTONISHING ability to heal from
wounds such as these. If the wound stays "clean" ... without signs of fungal
threads or bacterial decay, treatment may indeed be unnecessary.>
Overnight into day 8, the pearl's injury enlarged and his front body inflated
like a balloon; posts on your site suggested this might be a sign of an internal
parasite. I QT'd him in cycled water and he died twelve hours later; I was not
surprised since he barely put up a fight when I netted him, he was not eating,
and he had suddenly relegated himself to the bottom of the community tank and
later the QT,
although he did remain buoyant.
Aside from alleviating the ornament situation, which I did, how can I prevent
the infection from an injury--if my diagnosis it correct--next time? When I see
the injury, should I separate and medicate right away?
If so, which medication should I use? I am not sure how to medicate
appropriately without knowing the nature of the secondary problem, yet I also
read that waiting to treat is often too late.
I attached a picture of him after he expired, showing the affected/infected
Many thanks again, Matt
<I would medicate as per Finrot; my favourite product is eSHa 2000 where
antibiotics aren't available, otherwise in the US, various antibiotics such as
Kanaplex should work well. On the other hand, while Epsom salt can be an
excellent addition where swelling and/or dropsy are indicated (1-3 teaspoons per
5 gallons/20 litres) by itself it has no impact on bacterial infections, and nor
does salt, which at a dose of 1-2 gram/litre can help minimise osmotic stress is
not in itself a medication against bacterial infections. So either might have
their place, or even used together, but
alongside, not as an alternative to an anti-Finrot medication. Make sense?
PEARL GOURAMI; sys., stkg.
Hello all, hope things are going well. Could you please tell me the
maximum amount of pearl gouramis I should put in a 30 gallon Nuvo
innovative marine tank.
<Two or three females would be fine, or a harem of one male and two
females. But multiple males may be fractious.>
If more than one, how should I sex them?
<When mature, males tend to have a redder chest area than the females.
As with other gouramis, males also tend to have long, almost raggedy
dorsal and anal fins compared to the females.>
I will be putting other fish in the tank as well. Also, I have thought
of going will a species tank of angels. How many can I get max for that
tank and can I get different species or do I have to get all the same?
<Sexing Angels is nigh-on impossible, outside of looking at their
spawning tubes. So the best approaches are (a) singletons; (b) mated
pairs, occasionally sold as such; groups of 6+ specimens. In groups of
2-5 specimens bullying tends to happen, and if you have a pair within a
group, that pair will drive the others to one end of the tank, sometimes
aggressively. But groups of 6 tend to be stable. Such a group would need
50+ gallons as adults, but youngsters can be kept easily enough in
smaller tanks, then surplus fish rehomed once a mated pair forms. That's
the old school approach, and because Angels are so popular, rehoming
surplus fish is rarely difficult (and often profitable!) if you start
off with decent well-bred specimens that people will want as adults. It
is not a good idea to mix Angel species. Farmed Angels (Pterophyllum
hybrids, no longer pure Pterophyllum scalare) are quite robust fish,
even pushy, and sometimes
carry diseases that don't harm them but will harm Discus and wild-caught
Angels. Altum Angels are sensitive fish that need soft, warmer water
than farmed Angels and can be difficult to keep. Finally, Pterophyllum
leopoldi, the "Dwarf Angel" or "Roman-Nosed Angel", falls somewhere
between the two, and being smaller and less hardy, tends to do poorly
with farmed Angels even though it isn't nearly as delicate as the Altum
Angel. Look out for "Peru Angels", some sort of wild Pterophyllum
scalare, that has many of the
positives of farmed Angels (size, temperament) but is somewhat more
picky about water chemistry. It's a stunning fish, but expect to pay
through the nose for them! Again, you wouldn't mix with farmed Angels
because of the risk of disease, even though their requirements are not
Thank you for all your help. James
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: PEARL GOURAMI 12/4/14
Please tell me if it is ok to have 1 each of male and female.
Thanks again for your help.
<If they get along, yes, it'll be fine... if they don't, or the male is
pushy, adding a second female can help. Gouramis don't form mated pairs.
Males have territories with nests in them, they attract females for the
purposes of spawning, then drive them off when they're done, looking
after the eggs by themselves. Under aquarium conditions we force animals
to live together that in the wild would swim away when they're
disinterested in each other. Sometimes, often even, two Gouramis will
get along. Pearl Gouramis are especially easy-going. But there's no
guarantee, so you need to keep an eye out and see what happens. Would I
try keeping two specimens?
Yes, in a reasonably large tank, 30+ gallons. But I'd have a friendly
chat with the retailer about returning one (or buying another!) if
things went wrong, or else the option to move one of them to another
tank in my house.
Hello all, hope things are going well. I have some questions, please. I
have a 38 gallon high tank (24 inches wide) and right now have 6 sterbai
cories. I want to have no more than 4 other fish that swim in the upper
water columns to prevent the look of overcrowding and hopefully cut down
on aggression. My first choice was a single angel and a pair of pearl
gouramis (since they are supposed to be a lot less aggressive than
I know the males are more colorful, but if I get 2 males won't I have
more aggression than with 1 male and 1 female?
<Male and female Pearls look extremely similar. Not much difference at
Essentially, the males have more orange on the throat plus a longer
dorsal fin. But the females are still very pretty fish. If you want zero
aggression, getting 2 females is the obvious choice.>
Or should I go with 2 females? I want to use the angel as the "show
fish" so to speak, so will it hurt to get one larger than the gouramis?
<No, they should be fine, but add the Angel last of all; introduce the
Pearls a good couple of weeks beforehand so they're well settled before
the cichlid turns up. Usually the two species coexist extremely well,
but a little extra caution won't go amiss.>
Thanks for all you do. It is appreciated.
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Pearl Gouramis
Sorry Neale, I forgot to ask you something very important. I have heard
that angels cannot swim in too strong of a current.
The nuvo tanks put out a pretty forceful current, but I have ordered
something called spin streams that can be attached to the two outgoing
nozzles that put water in the tank. These attachments make the nozzles
spin in random 40 degree circles supposedly to imitate the real ocean
currents. Do you think these would help the angels or should I just
forget them and get another type of fish?
<Never seen these attachments so can't comment. Filter flow rates
designed for marine tanks will likely be too strong for Angels, but most
any freshwater system should be fine. Positioning tall rocks in the way
of the water current can help to distribute current, reduce the
Also, can gouramis take strong currents?
<Similar to Angels. They come from ponds, ditches, canals, rice paddies.
Not fast-flowing streams or rivers.>
Re: Pearl Gouramis 09/11/14
Hello again Neale, can you please tell me how to tell if the water flow
in a tank is too strong for a fish?
<Slow moving fish get pushed about. Catfish and loaches generally don't
mind because they stick close to the substrate. But it should be obvious
whether slow moving midwater fish are happy (swimming casually, eating
food) or being buffeted about (e.g., Angels flapping their fins wildly,
looking for restful corners). Generally minnows, barbs, etc. adapt well
to brisk currents.>
Female Pearl Gouramis; comp.
Hi Crew, hope all is going well. I have a gourami question,
Currently I have a innovative marine nuvo38 gallon with 5 fancy guppies.
My first question is can I safely keep pearl gouramis with the guppies?
<Yes. Gouramis generally ignore fish except perhaps bite-sized
livebearer fry, so don't expect many offspring.>
Also, to keep from male aggression and possible breeding is it OK to
keep a pair of females without a male?
And can a female be kept singly in a community tank or would one need
<Yes, they are fine kept singly, and this is an excellent approach.
Gouramis are not social fish, and actually prefer "the quiet life" in a
tank with smaller, gentle fish rather than living alongside boisterous
tankmates of the same size as they are.>
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Female Pearl Gouramis 8/16/14
Thank you Neale,
So it sounds like you are saying that even 2 female gouramis can be
aggressive towards one another?
<Normally it's the males that are aggressive since they (exclusively)
make nests and protect the eggs/fry, so in theory the females just amble
about minding their own business. But there are occasional neurotic
females out there that cause problems. Would I risk it? Yes. Absolutely.
Pearl Gouramis are usually very good community fish.>
And also I forgot to ask earlier if a single angel could be kept with
these fish. Thanks again.
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Female Pearl Gouramis 8/16/14
Thanks again Neale. And would you think a single angel would be
compatible with guppies and a female gourami?
<Angels and Gouramis usually work well, as singletons. Angels and
Guppies is more of a pot luck situation -- a few Angels are persistent
fin-nippers on fancy Guppies.>
Pearl Gourami issue
I have few pearl gouramis for about a year now. In the last 2
months I've lost 2. They were very beautiful and all of a
sudden the fins started to rot.
I put the rest of them in a quarantine aquarium and started to treat
them with API Fungus Cure. On day 2 of the process few white spots
appeared on one of the fish as it is coming from inside the fish out.
See attached photo. I am not sure what it is?
<Me neither. Do you have a microscope?>
Can you help me with it? The white spot on the top fin appears to
be a warm of some sort as the 2 white spots on the
side. The white spot on the bottom fin is very small but long.
Thank you for your help.
<Could be protozoan... or just body mucus coalescing... from? What is
the cause of the broken fins? What re water quality tests? Bob Fenner>
A quick pearl gourami question 5/16/13
Hello WWM crew! I am so thankful for your website and the time you
spend answering our questions. That said, I do not want to waste
your time so I will get right to it. I have a 25 gallon tank with
an AquaClear 50 that has been running for approximately 6 months.
My ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0, Nitrate is between 5 and 10, temperature
is 76, and Ph is 7.0. I have 4 peppered Corys (plus a couple fry
and juveniles), and three Otos. Five days ago I added a female
pearl gourami. She is coloring up beautifully, and although a bit
shy, still interesting to watch. I was under the impression that
gouramis would be comfortable kept singularly,
<Mmm, though not nearly as interesting...>
but am second guessing my sources when I see how shy this particular
gourami gets when I approach the tank. I am wondering if it would
be in this fish's best interest for me to return her, and if so, do you
recommend a particular gourami that would do well by itself?
<Well, smaller species would be happier in this setting, though still
better in groups... Colisa lalia (given you can find healthy specimens);
C. chuna... Do see the Anabantoids (stocking/selection FAQs) sections on
Would a few of the smaller gouramis be a better choice for my tank size?
<Ah yes. Bob Fenner>
Thank you in advance,
gourami trouble, T. leeri 2/10/13
Hi, I have a 35 gallon aquarium that has been set up for three years
It contains a pair of banded gouramis (very nice fish), two skirt
<More will be more peaceful... best to have a grouping that will
chase each other around rather than nip their tankmates>
three harlequin Rasboras, one croaking gourami, and one pearl gourami
that I have had since this tank was set up. But recently the pearl
gourami stopped eating, and it seems like he is having trouble
swimming--even completely rolling over sometimes.
The day after this problem showed up,
the banded gouramis started getting Ich. The temperature is 79
degrees, pH is about 6.5, and the nitrite and ammonia readings are very
<Have to be zero, 0.0 ppm both. Very toxic, debilitating otherwise>
I'm not too concerned about the Ich, but I don't know what the pearl
gourami has, and if it's something about the water quality I don't know
what. It seems like my water is just around the favorable area for
gouramis. I really don't want to lose the pearl now, I've had him for a
really long time.
Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks,
<Need more information... perhaps the best approach is to have you read
and the linked files above in the series. Bob Fenner>
Pearl Gouramis breathing problems
Hello crew, I've noticed lately today while inspecting my aquarium for a
while that my pair of pearl gouramis seem to be surfacing for air more
frequently and for longer periods of time than I'm used to seeing.
<Do check temperature first, water quality/filtration second, and social
behaviour third. Warm water contains less oxygen than cool, so if the
water is too hot, Gouramis will supplement dissolve oxygen in the water
with oxygen from the air. If the filter stops circulating properly or
the aquarium stocking/filtration is inappropriate to the size of the
tank and the types of fish, again, Gouramis will breathe air more often
to compensate for poor water quality. Finally, if stressed or otherwise
unusually active (e.g., fighting, being nipped, possibly even breeding)
then they may breathe air more often.>
The aquarium in 125 gallons with two emperor 400 (I believe) filters,
set to 78 F, and has been running more or less without issue for about 9
months. The livestock consists of 9 Australian Rainbowfish, 4 Bala
<These may outgrow this tank.>
1 Siamese algae eating shark, 1 standard common Pleco (9in) 2 clown
loaches (adding to the group soon), 1 tire track eel, a 1 in Redtail
shark I added yesterday, and the pair of gouramis (1 male 1 female).
<In fact your aquarium is going to be quite heavily stocked in time as
the Plec, Clown Loaches and Spiny Eel grow.>
Diet consists of Omega One flake food with regular offerings of finely
shopped krill and live brine shrimp. Over the past few days I've started
adding live plants (giant Val.s, sword plants)
<Disturbing the substrate can lower the amount of oxygen in the water by
exposing partially decayed material to the water. As such material
starts to rot, the bacteria outcompete the fish for oxygen. But this
said, you'd expect other, more sensitive fish (like the Clown Loaches)
to be showing signs of stress LONG before the Gouramis.>
and I was curious if the increased surfacing and breathing periods might
be related to the gouramis coming into breeding condition and preparing
to make a nest, or if there is any other things that might be causing
<Do see above; review the aquarium and act accordingly.>
Any help or advice you could give would be greatly appreciated! Thank
pearl gourami picking on banded Gouramis – 05/13/12
i am having a problem with my four banded gouramis (Colisa fasciata).
when my pearl gourami started picking on them, i thought it was just
some sort of territorial issue. but then when the gouramis started
getting split fins and skin torn off, i went out and set up a 10 gallon
then the day when the 10 gallon tank was finally done cycling, i saw a
huge chunk taken out of one of the male banded gouramis tail. it was
like a rectangle-shaped piece that had been removed. so i promptly
moved the banded gouramis to the 10 gallon tank. they all went straight
down to the bottom. then the next day when i checked, the male gourami
with the split tail was dead. the other male's colors were completely
gone, just light silver. I was worried if this was a sign that this
gourami might also die.
<Fish can recover from these sorts of injuries. Isolate (which you are
doing anyway, it seems) and medicate for Finrot and Fungus.>
if i move the banded gouramis back to the large tank after they heal all
their wounds, I'm worried that the pearl gourami will pick on them
is it ok to keep banded gouramis permanently in a 10 gallon aquarium?
<Not ideal, but do-able, and for sure better than keeping them with a
psychotic Lace Gourami.>
any help is greatly appreciated.
<It's very rare for Lace/Pearl Gouramis to be aggressive, but it does
happen. I do think this is something relatively new, perhaps because of
inbreeding; in past decades this species was very trustworthy and an
excellent community tank resident. With this said, males of any/all
Gourami species have the potential to turn nasty, especially if the tank
isn't big enough. I wouldn't keep more than one male of any Trichogaster
or Colisa species in less than 30 gallons. Cheers, Neale.>
Sorta sickish Gourami in new Discus tank
Thanks for your very fast reply when I was concerned about my community
fish getting too much food as I stepped up the feedings for a new bunch
of discus. You are awesome!
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have a new concern, however, as to whether I should quarantine an
older male pearl Gourami that I suspect might have a returning
bacterial infection (HITH?), or just treat the whole tank, or just keep
frequent water changes. Which would be better for the discus?
Water parameters: Ammo 0, Nitrite 0,Nitrate 1or2, kH 2, gH 3, pH 7.0,
Temp 82, 90 gallon established tank. 6 discus about 2 1/2" (in the
tank almost a month now), 2 electric blue rams, pair of pearl gouramis,
2 SAE's, 1 longfin albino Bristlenose, 3 female phantom tetras (I
know they like cooler water...so far seem okay...)
<Will be shorter lived kept this warm, possibly lasting just a
History on the male pearl Gourami, Several months ago he had a couple
of indeterminate whitish patches between his head and dorsal fin, along
with some apparent fin rot (this was long before I got the discus!
Water quality had suffered while I left the tank in others' care..)
One of the tetras was also struggling a bit. I treated with a couple of
cycles of Maracyn Plus, then fed exclusively on Jungle AntiBacterial
Food, and both recovered. The Gourami's patches disappeared, and
fins seemed to be regrowing, although have never grown back to their
He was always eating, chasing the female, acting just fine. To help fin
regeneration, I started adding a Microbe-Lift product, "Vitamins
& Amino Acids." (I use a combo of RO & tap water.)
I'm writing because the Gourami now has an indentation on the head,
and a tiny white spot in the center has just appeared.
<Could be anything, really. Whitespot is always a risk, and should
be treated accordingly. The salt/heat method is a good approach here as
it won't stress the Discus, and you would have to assume the tank
Finrot and Fungus are normally easy enough to diagnose. Dead white skin
can be a precursor to both.>
He is spitting out food a lot more than he is eating. In fact, he
appears to be getting thinner, and tries to eat, only to spit it
<May not like what you're offering.>
The only thing he seems to prefer is freeze-dried Tubifex, but it seems
those make any symptoms worse (or is that my imagination???)
<The latter probably, but Tubifex worms aren't a balanced diet,
even assuming that these worms are disease-free (live Tubifex are
notoriously risky foods in terms of parasites). Do try live brine
shrimp and/or daphnia, and surprisingly, even newly hatched brine
shrimp, which are very nutritious and will be eaten by surprisingly
I just fed more AntiBacterial food, soaked in Garlic Guard. Everyone
else ate it--him, not so much! He swims around just fine, not afraid of
any of the other fish. So, back to my original question, is it better
to pull him out and treat in a QT? Or if he might have infected the
discus, is it better to treat the whole tank? Maracyn Plus again? The
discus all appear perfect, as does every other fish in the tank.
Thanks in advance,
<If the fish is healthy enough, would review diet first, and observe
for a day or two further. If you suspect a protozoan infection like
Hexamita or HITH, then a hospital tank will be the better way to treat
with Metronidazole without the expense of medicating the big tank.
Any compatibility issues in a 29 gallon
between pearl gouramis and smaller livebearers? 5/12/2011
Hi. I am setting up a new 29 gallon tank, and I am trying to decide
what to stock it with. I really like gouramis, and I'd like to put
a pair of pearl gouramis (Trichogaster leeri) into the tank. I am
choosing them because the reading I've done suggests they are less
aggressive than species like the blue Gourami (Trichogaster
trichopterus) and more likely to work well in a community.
<In general, twixt these congeners, this is so>
I would also like to add the inhabitants of a smaller tank I have into
the 29 gallon as well. I have four platies (the small two inch kind,
not the larger wags) and one Ancistrus/Bristlenose catfish. Will there
be any compatibility issues with the pearl gouramis and these
<Should be fine together here, though I'd stock one male T.
leeri w/ two females>
I'm primarily concerned with for the platies, as they are quite a
bit smaller the pearl Gourami will be.
Lastly, I would like to get maybe three or four small balloon mollies
to go in the tank (one male, the rest females). Will that be too much
livestock for the tank (or might there be room for more fish)?
<Should be fine, though am not a fan of this sport mutation... and
you'll need to be more careful re not letting the system water slip
into acidic condition, nor nitrogenous waste accumulation w/ the
Are the balloon mollies, which are a little more aggressive than
platies, likely to nip fins or cause other issues? Will the gouramis
<Are all about the same mixable/aggressive. Again, I give you good
odds of their mixing behaviorally>
Thanks in advance for your help!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Sick Pearl Gourami
I have a 29-gallon tank that's been up for five weeks now. The
water parameters are normal--ammonia and nitrites are 0, nitrates
within acceptable parameters, and pH on the slightly acid side of
neutral. I have two pearl gouramis (male and female), a baby Pleco (of
the sort that only gets about four inches as an adult),
<Presumably you mean a Bristlenose Catfish, Ancistrus sp., rather
than a Plec.>
<These won't do well in acidic water for long; expect to deal
with Finrot and especially Fungus when Guppies are kept in soft and/or
acidic water conditions.>
and two ghost shrimp. The tank is well planted.
The problem: last night, I noticed my male Gourami seemed to look a bit
strange around the mouth--just a bit lop-sided. This morning, that
"just a bit" had become a very noticeable lump, though it was
still fleshed colored. By this afternoon, the lump was a light pink.
Staring at him now, I think a second lump might be developing under the
first, but I can't say for sure yet. The first lump is round and a
little smaller than an apple seed. The potential second lump has a
darker pinprick of maroon on it. Lump aside, he's acting no
differently than usual--his appetite is at its usual voracious level,
his fins are up, he's not shy or hiding, and he's swimming
fine. I currently have him in a ten-gallon quarantine tank, and am
attempting to treat with Tetra's "Lifeguard: All-in-One
Treatment" after failing to turn up anything that sounded like his
condition on Google. It did lead me to you, though'¦
<This does sound like Mouth "Fungus", which, despite the
name, is actually a bacterial infection caused by Flexibacter
columnaris (or Flavobacterium columnare, if we're being picky about
the correct name nowadays!). Because of the bacteria that causes it,
some aquarium books refer to the disease as Columnaris.>
Do you have any idea what's wrong with him, or how to treat it more
effectively? Is what he has likely to be contagious to the female pearl
or the others in the tank? I'm debating dosing the main tank as
well, but thus far everyone else looks fine. With the possible
exception of the female pearl--she's looking significantly plumper
than usual, but I had assumed that she was getting ready to breed (her
scales aren't sticking out, her behavior is normal, and the male
had been starting to pester her more than usual these past few
days--though it should be noted that he's an unusual bully for a
pearl, and has always chased her around a bit).
<Pearl Gouramis take a good year or two to become sexually mature,
so my guess is that the female is merely fat or constipated, though she
may well be carrying eggs if she's full grown. Either way, it's
a good idea to scale back feeding and increase the amount of fibre,
e.g., by offering less (ideally no) freeze-dried foods and instead lead
towards live brine shrimp and live daphnia, as these are both excellent
laxatives. Constipation is a common problem with aquarium fish, for
much the same reason it's common among humans living on Western
diets -- too much rich food, not enough fibre. And while not a major
problem in itself, it can be the first step towards more serious
problems like bloating and intestinal infections.>
The male has also seemed slightly (emphasis on slightly) plumper than
usual for the past few days, though, which makes me paranoid that
they're sharing a disease but presenting symptoms in different
ways/at different times.
<Columnaris is typically treated using antibiotic or antibacterial
medications. Do remember to remove carbon from the filter (if used)
while medicating -- carbon removes most medications. The triggering
factors for Columnaris typically involve either poor water quality,
which can easily be the case in new tanks whatever your test kits might
be reporting, and fighting between fish.>
Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
compatibility of scissortail Rasbora and
Sparkling Gourami in a 40 gallon 3/17/11
I'll be setting up a 40 gallon (36" width) heavily planted
tank. I'd like to keep a Pearl Gourami pair, Sparkling Gourami
school of #?,
<Trichopsis pumila? Two or more>
and some scissortail Rasboras.
Are these three compatible?
I've also some neon tetras in a 20g that I'd like to transfer
over as well.
<Mmm, the Trichogaster and Rasboras may well work them woe, I would
not mix these>
It will be a heavily planted tank.
Thanks in advance.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: compatibility of scissortail Rasbora and Sparkling Gourami
in a 40 gallon 3/17/11
Further research now has me leaning toward:
3 Pearls, (max size 5-6"), 1 male/2 female - (necessary, or will
just a pair suffice?),
<A trio would be better>
Scissortail Rasbora [Rasbora trilineata] (max size 4-5" very
thin), 5 each Sparkling Gouramis [Trichopsis pumilo], (max size
1.5") 5-7 each <With the added Pearls, I'd leave out these
or vice versa>
Silver Hatchet [Gasteropelecus sternicla], (max size 2.5") 5-7
each approx 2" per gal in a heavily planted tank considering max
sizes for each. Do they generally max out in an aquarium?
<Mmm, do you mean do they reach a maximum size as stated? Not often,
Gastropelecids almost always die prematurely due to lack of nutrition,
poor water quality, jumping out or damage from trying>
My only concern, will a 36" length allow sufficient swimming space
for a Pearl? Do they like to cruise, or do they hang close to home?
As always, you guys 'and gals' do good work. Enjoy your
<Will do. BobF>
Pearl Gourami... hlth., reading
We do not have power and my battery is about to die
so I have to be brief. We have our fish in a temporary 30gal tank
due to Ich from new fish - long story. It is cycled with two
filters and airpump.
It is a little crowded but there are lots of hiding places and
access to air at top. My pearl Gourami started swimming with his
back more arched and now is swimming crooked. Do you know
<Mmm, could be a few "causes"... there are varying
environmental, genetic, pathogenic, nutritional...>
He is with familiar tank mates - a few cats, a rainbow, Danios...
Everyone gets along as far as I can tell. Ideas? Once the power
is restored it might be good to put him in a different tank.
<Maybe... Do search here: http://wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm
with the string:
fish twisted back
Read the cached views. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pearl Gourami... dis., confusion
Thanks. I have read several pages that indicate it could be
<Nah, highly unlikely>
(I don't see any fungus on him), nutritional or bacterial. As
a bit of history, I introduced 2 reed/rope fish a month ago that
came from a quarantine tank at the LFS - I checked them at the
LFS for a couple weeks and they were getting treated with either
All-in-One or Copper.
<I hope not the latter... and for what purpose/s supposedly?
When I got them home, all was well until about 48 hours, then
fish that normally are tough and have survived my mistakes of
years past, just popped up dead - no obvious signs of
Then every day after that, we'd find fish with Ich and fin
rot or hemorrhaging - we lost nearly our entire tank (150 gal).
It was horrible.
I had to euthanize one barb who just couldn't shake the Ich.
Neal was helping me through this crisis. I bought a 30 gallon
tank and put the remaining fish - which did not have visible Ich
- in that tank with double filtration, air stones, and daily
water changes as it got cycled. It only took a week. I did add
some filter media from my other (clean) QT tank to get the
In the 30 gal, there are a few small gouramis (flame, gold,
pearl), Danios, Featherfin cat, Bristlenose Pleco, 'rubber
eel', a small Cory, a rosy barb, a small bumblebee cat, a
small boesemani, and 3 SAEs. We are hoping to have the big tank
up and going by the end of the week, I know it's a little
cramped in there.
Seeing this pearl sick with possibly a bacterial infection
<Considering what you've just stated, this IS likely
concerns me that there were issues other than Ich that came in
the tank with the Ropefish.
So, I am cleaning the 150 gal tank, replacing the gravel with a
fine gravel for the cats and other burrowing fish, drying out and
cleaning all equipment and the inside of the tank. Should I throw
out my Hornwort plant that was in that tank?
<Likely not worth the risk of re-using... You could keep
this... put in a jar on the window (with water...) and leave it
for a few weeks... IF there was "something" pathogenic
in/on it, the virulence would diminish appreciably>
Is there anything else I need to do. I have tossed all but the
ChemiPure Elite filter media that was new and only in the filter
for a few days. I have it drying out. I don't want anything
to reinfect my fish. I am also putting a new bulb in my U/V
As soon as I took them out of the big tank, I didn't lose any
more fish. I was losing at least one at day up until that point
although I was using ParaGard to treat the tank. It's been a
couple weeks and everyone looks good - no Ich. But the pearl
Gourami is bent - s-shaped and his tail is drooping, and his top
fin is clamped part of the time. He is using mostly his front
fins to swim. He can swim to the top to get air. I don't see
any indication that he is being picked on. He is the biggest
Gourami. He was drooping when I got him out of the big tank
during the Ich nightmare but did not appear to have Ich. I have
the 10 gallon QT tank going, it is already cycled (pH 7.6,
Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0, Nitrate 20), and am going to put the pearl
Gourami in it tonight. He is not eating much even when the food
floats in front of him.
I routinely put in small amounts of high quality, vitamin
enriched foods like flakes, Tubifex (dried - aren't those ok?
<Yes> I know the lives ones are not.), sinking algae discs
and something extra like blood worms (dry/frozen), daphnia, brine
shrimp or krill (only on weekends to avoid thiaminase), or dried
earthworm. Occasionally, I put some fresh peas or green leafy
veggies. The Gouramis have been great eaters. Am I missing
something for them?
<Not that I can see>
The tanks have small levels of salt, which I increased when the
first fish died as well as increased the temp to 82. I have added
Boyd's liquid vitamins a few times a month.
30 gal tank water parameters: Nitrite 0, Nitrate 30,
<I'd keep these under 20 ppm>
pH 7.6, Ammonia <0.25;
<Has to be 0.0>
temp 81. Water is clear. What do you suggest?
<Reading re NH3/NH4OH and NO3s>
I will have him in the 10 gal QT tank tonight. Please advise as
to what I should do. I have Lifegard/Tetra All-in-One tablets on
hand. Thank you all so much for helping! I do try and research
the problems myself but it's so reassuring to have your
input! I've learned a lot!
<Really, just time going by, the cessation of any med., salt
Re: Pearl Gourami 3/16/11
Summat bacterial? What is that? Thanks!
<Something that resounds w/ the likelihood of bacteria
Re: Pearl Gourami 3/16/11
Ahh - gotcha, you are using slang on me. :) The LFS was using the
Copper Power or All-In-One to treat Ich on the rope fish.
<An exceedingly poor choice...>
They said I caused the Ich by lowering my tank temp (the temp
dropped to 75/76 due to the room temp being cooler in a cold
spell but I turned the heaters up) or having poor water (but they
said it was ok), and that I killed my fish by using ParaGard
(Seachem) and not copper. But I had scaleless fish and a
'rubber eel' so Ich treatments were risky.
<... why don't people read, research before acting
The owners of the LFS were extremely hostile.
<What? Why would they act so?>
I haven't had a major issue in my tank in years.
Since you think it could be bacterial, do I need to treat the
pearl with anything - you said cessation of meds but I have not
been treating it with anything in a few weeks? It sounds like you
feel time will heal, correct?
Just 1 tbsp/10 gal of salt for him, right?
<This, these fish/es will heal or no/t>
Not sure why the ammonia was up slightly, it has been 0 for the
last several days. I'll do a water change. Oh - we had a
power outage and I combined the fish from the little QT tank into
the 30 gal the day before, so the bioload increased. That is the
issue. I'll watch it closely until it catches up.
I plan to disinfect the big tank with diluted bleach (was reading
this on your site) unless having it sit dry for a week or so
adequate to kill any bacteria? I'm assuming I should use
diluted bleach on all the equipment and dÃ©cor? Now
that you know so much about my tank and I'm starting over
basically with stocking, is there a colorful fish on the larger
size that you think would thrive in a 150 gal community tank?
Just wanting to add some interest to the tank but want something
<Keep reading. B>
Re: Pearl Gourami 3/18/11
Quick question - I have the pearl Gourami in QT with salt and he
appears to be worsening. He is sitting on his tail and does not
appear to be able to swim any longer. It breaks my heart to watch
him suffer. Is there hope of him recovering?
<Mmm, some; but not much>
I know they are supposed to be able to get air at the top but he
can't. I have an airline/air stone near him. Should I
euthanize him or just wait longer? I don't want him to suffer
<This decision must be made (as in nothing is decided until it
is done) by you. Do read here re:
White Spots on Fins Pearl Gourami
I am gaining much knowledge from the friendly folks on bb. I am only
contacting you now because I am up against the weekend and I would like
your opinion on these "bumps".
<Looks like Finrot to me, perhaps Lymphocystis. Can't really
tell without a proper photo. So, please send photos if you can, and
keep photos to 500 KB or thereabouts.>
It doesn't look like Ick to me because it appears to be extruding
from and not burrowed in as such. Mind you I never heard of Ick until a
couple weeks ago. The lumps or bumps are fairly uniform. I don't
see any actual tares or whatnot.
<Finrot will typically be pinkish because its associated with
congestion in the blood flow. Finrot is usually caused by physical
damage and/or poor water quality. Lymphocystis is typically off-white
to coffee coloured, and the surrounding tissue looks perfectly healthy.
Lymphocystis is viral, but the virus only causes these cysts when
conditions allow, typically poor water quality or the wrong water
chemistry. It takes a long time to develop, rather than overnight.
Exposure to heavy metals is a cause that's been identified in the
wild. There's no cure for Lymphocystis, but it does go away by
itself given time.>
Last night there was less no ammonia, no nitrite and less than 5 on
nitrate. Still cycling hopefully at the end but I wouldn't be
surprised to see different kinds of readings today. Regardless, I will
do a water change.
Here's the latest video that shows 4 bumps or w/e and some more
It's odd that the females don't seem to be as scared of him
today as they were yesterday. The non sick/injured fish has tolerated
him pretty well but the sick fish has pretty mulched stayed in the
cave. The last two hours she's been swimming with the other female
even though her condition seems to have gotten worse.
There were two bumps yesterday but last night only one. Today there are
four. None on other fish. Temp is 78 as I was assuming Ick and began to
raise the temp. I also have removed most decorations assuming again
that Ick would have attached.
<Pointless. Ick will be throughout the system, so removing one
object while leaving another will make no difference at all. Stressing
rearranging their habitat and removing shelters won't help
Since all pearls are now pretty much free swimming maybe they
aren't as stressed as I am. If things keep improving daily, and
what we're seeing is NOT injury from him, I may hold off on a trade
for a couple of days and get the plants back in and probably add more
and likely skip the log because he's using that as a tool.
I'd appreciate your opinion on these bumps. This is my first
I'll try to get some pics with pro camera if you think it
<Yes. But keep to our size limit, please. Bigger than 500 KB and
you're blocking up our e-mail quota, stopping other folks from
sending their stuff.>
Greg in Charlotte
Pearl Gourami observations and playing the
Thanks again so much for your help. I am pleased to report that within
a few days the fin fungus on one of the girl pearl Gourami cleared up.
I think everyone that recommended medicating the tank had good
intentions but your advice (do nothing) was the best. One thing I have
learned from this site is the less potions in the tank the better!
<It's a good rule. But the other good rule is medicating early
when a disease is treatable beats medicating late when the fish is at
death's door. So sometimes you can't win either way!>
The male pearl spends much of his time trying to build a nest, moving
sand around and chasing girls.
<What more is there to life?>
I've just seen the first few bubbles on the huge floating plastic
plant I added. He pretty much doesn't chase the other species
EXCEPT the platy do not learn that they must stay out of this one
section that he has claimed for his nest.
<Correct. Platies are extremely dumb.>
He has been doing the sand thing again where he scoops it up and now
drops it on top of the floating plant. I'm not sure how he's
doing that and I hope to catch him on video. But when a platy bumps
into the plant it starts snowing sand!
The ladies seem to be playing hard to get. On the one hand they want to
spend all their time around him but if he begins to "check them
out" more carefully they scurry away and he gives chase.
<They don't share parental duties, so all the male wants are her
eggs. If she isn't "ripe" with eggs, he will scoot her
away, for fear of wasting time with her when a ripe female swims
If he gets more orange I'm going to rent him out as a
<Indeed! Sexually mature Gouramis are generally very obvious. This
species especially is a very beautiful species. Subtle, but
The platys may not be in the best mixed environment with the soft
water, but they have been in for months and seem fine.
<Can adapt, and if they're okay now, don't worry too much. I
have Limia in 50/50 rainwater and hard water and they breed like, well,
Unless you tell me otherwise, I'm not going to try to change the
water hardness as they do not seem to be under stress. In the medical
world, I think this is called "treat the patient and not the test
<Something like that. But in fishkeeping, and I'm sure in
medicine too, if you're new to something, going by the numbers is
Anyway, thanks to you and everyone for the hand holding during the
extended cycling and I'm pleased to say I've already passed on
a lot of tips to others about water quality etc. I invite you to
bookmark my YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/simplefishtank
which contains a short Flying Pearl Gourami video which shows the grace
and intricacy of what those fins have to do to keep that fish
<Real nice. Do try moving tall plants to the back, short ones to the
Often that looks less cluttered.>
I won't be able to sneak in links on the dailies since I fear I
won't be needing as much help. Like the fire department I'm
glad you're here but I hope I don't have to call often.
<We can only hope.>
Greg in Charlotte
<Cheers, Neale in Berkhamsted.>
Now, considering the date a few foolish questions:
I have read with fascination about those that have switched to a sand
substrate. I decided to take the plunge but wanted a wider color
Therefore, I chose for my sand substrate, TetraMin Tropical Granules
"The Rich Mix".
I have a three inch base and at first the fish seemed very excited
about it. Even the Rasboras found a way to enjoy burrowing into this
But after a couple of days the fish seem a little wobbly and the
downstairs smells like the market.
Should I switch back to gravel?
<Yikes! Let's hope no-one reading that thinks it's a good
Why do fish do that?
<Only Bob knows.>
I would like to breed Swedish Fish but do not want to get caught up in
any patent fights. I didn't see a patent number when I brought the
first batch home but I did see a registered trademark symbol. I'm
not even sure of their scientific name but they seem very close to a
mono color platy.
Any advice on breeding and selling these would be appreciated.
<Like the guy who kept his Oscar in a trash can and wondered why it
Or the gal who thought her seahorse would eat seagrass. Anyway,
that's for sharing! Cheers, Neale.>
Kissing Pearl Gourami. T. leeri
OK, I tried a search on this both on here and Google. It's a tough
query because I'm not talking about Kissing Gourami but Pearl
Gourami that are kissing.
I introduced 2 females as per Neale's recommendation (I asked the
LFS for their opinion and they agreed before I told them what Neale
said but I think they read here too LOL).
So, I'm sure it's a natural behavior but I wanted to ask what
they were doing. The male chased them for a while. He is quite a bit
larger right now. But now all three of them are doing this kissing
<Arguing. They're testing one another's strength, I
One of the things I thought and I know this is going to sound stupid,
was maybe since the females are so timid that they aren't going to
the top as much yet, that the male is helping out :')
<He's probably pleased to have the company. Always nice to be a
frisky male in a target rich environment...>
Must find books but this seems rare enough in Google that I'm not
sure which one would mention it if any.
Greg in Charlotte
Re: Kissing Pearl Gourami 3/6/10
Big man found a way into little cave. Where's there's a female
there's a way.
I wanted to thank you for the suggestion of the floating plants. The
girls are hiding in the cave most the time but it has settled down the
Harleys and Platy. There is still plenty of free space but Harleys have
slowed down and the Platy are the ones that have taken advantage of the
extra hiding space so far. Even though plastic it gives a rich and
unique look to the tank.
<Glad your aquarium is settling down now. Cheers,
Anything else I should know? (pearl Gourami
NEALE! Long time no write.
Anything else I should know about fish?
<Lots! It's easy to be surprised. But there are some great books
on labyrinth fish out there, so if you're suitably motivated,
either "Bettas, Gouramis and Other Anabantoids" by
JÃ¶rg Vierke or "Gouramis and Other Anabantoids" by
Hans-Joachim Richter would keep you amused for hours.>
It's amazing what's programmed into their little heads. I guess
some of what must be breeding ritual just isn't listed on many
websites. I suppose more videos are in order to show others some of
this. I suppose this is mostly commentary but chime in where you
So last night I noticed sand on top of the cave and some floating
about. I figured I had some sort of filter failure. Made me mad because
I want to make more videos. All the cups of the fake flowers were full
Then I saw it. Or I should say HIM.
Ends up my male Pearl is building a landing zone in case. . . well I
assume as some kind of net for the nest that doesn't exist yet.
With the floating fake plants he's pretty much sticking to one zone
for his territory but the platys aren't smart enough to stay out of
there when there's so much room elsewhere.
<Platys are dumb.>
Anyway, he's going to the bottom of the tank and scooping up sand
then swimming the 18" to the top and spitting it out so it rains
down on top of the cave. Since that's his zone (well the whole tank
is his kingdom but he's moderately slowed down and other fish can
hide in the plastic vegetation) I assume that the nest is going to be
built. Above the cave. I do not understand how that little brain can
figure out that if eggs fall on the cave they might get hurt so
he's padding it. Once the top is covered then it will be as soft as
the substrate. I bet if I moved the cave he'd stop moving the sand
<Interesting. Generally, Gouramis don't build nests on the
bottom of the tank, so why your specimen is doing this I cannot
Feel free to shoot this theory down. I really can't find any notes
about this accept for one line on one site.
<There are some odd occasional observations that are for real, even
though not often seen. A famous example is how some gouramis spit water
at flies, just like Archerfish, but you hardly ever hear it talked
I'd like a good book on this fish
<See above. I have the Vierke one.>
(and the Cory's too)
<Many, many good Catfish book, and some serious Corydoras books in
particular. Hit Amazon, and almost anything by a German author is bound
to be good value, e.g., "Corydoras - The Most Popular Armored
Catfishes of South America".>
but would prefer something more than an atlas that just gives a pic and
tells you where each species comes from.
<The Ian Fuller book is pretty well this, and while his book is very
well regarded by collectors, it's not perhaps the best book for
someone interested in what they do in the wild and in captivity. I have
an old book called "Keeping aquarium fishes: Corydoras
Catfish" by David D. Sands that is surprisingly good for its 98
pages and well worth tracking down second hand. It's a cheap and
easy to read book, but covers just about everything you'd actually
want to know.>
If you are aware of one that actually mentions this sand phenomenon
please let me know as it would seem technical enough for what I'm
<No idea about it.>
It is hard to search on (pearl Gourami) and "sand" here on
the WWM because of Sandy being part of the Crew. I tried but failed to
get through all the search results.
After adding two smaller females there was a lot of chasing. At first I
thought it was all because Mr. Territorial was showing who's boss.
That of course was part of it. But now I think the females are to
blame. Oh and he turned orange right away. No hiding intentions. Good
for him. He is quite striking at the moment.
<They do have lovely colours.>
But they are testing him or something. The females will swim up
underneath and feel around him and sometimes head butt him in the side.
Just now I saw one push him up against the glass where the braver of
the little girls was pushing against his lower fins several times. He
tolerated it. He only gave chase once she stopped and ran away first.
Surely they aren't playing hard to get but the females seem to be
the ones that start it.
<Yes, there's a certain element of testing potential mates. In
the wild females choose males, rather than the other way around, so
yes, the females will instigate various tests to decide whether the
male is adequate.>
Finally what almost seems brilliant (I know it's instinct) is that
she will swim into the log to get away from him but he won't follow
her in even though he will fit. Instead he swims to the other end of
the log to catch her coming out.
I can imagine after several days of NOT seeing him move the sand around
what it would look like and how much troubleshooting one could do to
figure out what is wrong with their tank. Never in a million years
would I have guessed a fish was doing that.
I hope this post has some value for future readers. I'm interested
to learn more about the behavior like I said without one page per
variation that's mostly in a picture book. Maybe a future searcher
will get a hit on this and find it helpful when they see the same
Pictures and videos soon.
<Cool. Do introduce yourself to the WWM forum folks while you're
around these parts, if you're after a bit more feedback than just
me. Lynn and Andrew run the place and they're nice people, and
I'm sure you'd feel at home. Cheers, Neale.>
Aggressive Pearl Gourami, Corydoras
Since we talked before I wanted to share a short video on my pearl
being aggressive. I know as a new hobbyist I neglect to consider all is
not peaceful in the animal kingdom but my poor catfish just can't
seem to catch a break.
<One problem is you don't have enough catfish. Keep a group of 5
or 6, and then the Gourami won't be able to chase any one of them
Have you seen aggression at this level before?
<With Gouramis? Sure. They're territorial. This is what they do.
Once you have a school of Corydoras instead of one, the problem will
essentially fix itself.>
Note the platy fish will actually swim backwards to keep an eye on the
pearl while getting out of his way. So far he hasn't picked on the
Harleys too much but they are very fast and small still. I did see him
go after one today though.
<Really, this is what happens. It's a new tank, everyone is
figuring out who's friend and who's foe. Gouramis like to be
top dog, and they will throw their weight around a bit. But after a few
weeks this should all settle down.>
Now, I remind you that this tank is cycling which I know is terrible. I
was trusting other people to test the water and am now using my own kit
along with what I've learned here. We've also discussed that
this might not be the best mix of fish, but that advise came from LFS
after getting away from the big chains and the evil you know
what's. I'm starting to feel like a catfish.
<In the sense of wanting more catfish? Sure. Add a group of
Corydoras as soon as you feel water quality warrants it. These catfish
are so much more fun as a group.>
They do not show signs of injury but I'm still worried about them
<Wouldn't worry too much.>
My theory is he goes after the catfish more because he's figured
out that where there's a catfish happy at the bottom of the tank
there is probably food underneath.
<Perhaps. But I think it's more about territory. Wild Gouramis
will stake a claim around a patch about 30 cm/12 inches square.
That's a good size chunk of your aquarium. They rightly view
catfish as potential egg eaters, and react accordingly.>
But that doesn't explain the platy chases but that is rarer and
seems purely to be when they are "in his way" versus the
catfish that seems more opportunistic.
<The Gourami will rank its aggression according to which fish it
perceives as more of a threat. Who knows how the mind of a Gourami
works! In this case, it seems the catfish is seen as a potential
The tank is finally showing nitrites. I made a bad assumption when
switching filter brands which I will run by you later.
<Have read, replied.>
What I'd like to know foremost is if there's a chance that his
behavior will improve as the water does.
<Not related at all.>
Right now it's at about .5 ppm ammonia and .25 nitrites (may be on
the wrong scale there, it's the first one after "0" on
the color chart) and I am doing 25% to 50% daily water changes.
The catfish are mostly being nocturnal that buys them some peace but
not much. That's when they do most of their paired swimming
<These catfish really do need to be in schools, not pairs or
Get six. Trust me on this. Six Peppered Corydoras will be fun to watch,
live a long time, and best of all, breed really easily. Until
watched them spawn, you haven't kept fish! It's really very
My thought is to hang on until the cycle is done and see if he gets
worse or better but of course I value your feedback.
<Hang in there.>
<My pleasure. Cheers, Neale.>
PS: I find the unsigned note about taking over the world troubling. I
hope my ammonia levels are good by the time you succeed. I don't
want to be the first against the wall :')
<No idea what you're talking about here. Possibly one of
Bob's subtle side-swipes at US foreign policy? He's fond of
adding such codas to some of the Daily FAQs!><<Darrel's
bit I believe here... re SW turtle sel. RMF>>
Re: Aggressive Pearl Gourami 3/4/10
Aha! Twas Bob then! <<Nah, not this time/incidence. See here:
the second resp. down today>>
<Would seem so.>
Well I think you'll make a great justice minister when the time
comes! And I do hope the humor translates over the water. Sometimes my
smart remarks don't translate here either.
<Always a risk.>
I did forget to mention that there are six catfish.
The stand the tank is on is designed for 46 gallons so maybe a slight
upgrade at some point in the future. But the important thing is your
<I think 46 gallons should be fine for this collection of fish.
Indeed, if the Gourami is a male, adding one or two females might give
him something to do. Usually, Pearl Gouramis work very well in
community tanks, and it's rare for them to become a
He wasn't like this at first but I think I can relax for now.
<He is settling in, and it takes time for fish to become
Or at least try. The harlequin Rasboras desperately seek the other side
of the tank from where they are regardless of their current space in
the tank (normal). And last night the catfish seemed happier and hyper.
Between watching the two under fake moonlight I was becoming dizzy.
I think we can close this chapter for now. Thanks for the hand
<Always glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Aggressive Pearl Gourami
Oh darn that brings up another question. I went single because
everything I read talks about having to separate them after eggs are
laid and I really do not want to be in the business of taking care of
<Well, let's start by sexing the one you have. Pearl Gourami
males and females are quite similar, but males tend to have much longer
dorsal and anal fins, usually with more raggedy edges as well. Males
also tend to be more orangey around the throat, but this
If the two would be safe in the tank post bubble nest, and if the fry
were likely to be eaten then fine. Otherwise I don't want to start
a farm. And I imagine the catfish would be in more trouble if caught
near a nest.
<You'd have thought. But the thing with Corydoras is they're
incredibly dumb. They just don't learn how to avoid
I've tried to find a FAQ that addresses this. Your thoughts or a
pointer for someone that wouldn't mind having a pair but
doesn't want to open a nursery would be appreciated.
<Generally, unwanted breeding of Pearl Gouramis isn't an issue
in community tanks.>
Sorry, didn't intend to continue the thread. And I should have said
44 gallon with a 36 gallon currently. Not much of an upgrade but
it's $200 for the swap. I'm sure the 36 would make a nice
quarantine tank but geesh! I'd need another stand too!
So to avoid me bugging you on this, the second question raised would be
female OK in this tank or after the upgrade which would add plenty of
inches for here.
1 Pearl G.
<I suspect adding a female would be okay in a tank this size,
especially if there are plenty of floating plants so the line of sight
between the male and female would be broken up. Plants at the bottom of
the tank are good too, but less useful, since Gouramis are
air-breathers and need to spend much time at the surface. Adding two
females rather than one might be better as well, since that way you
can't have any one fish being bullied all the time.>
6 Cory cats
The Harleys are the only babies with everyone else appearing full
RMF RE: Aggressive Pearl Gourami
I feel suitably admonished: I shalt not take the Lord's name in
vain again! Cheers, Neale.>
<<Nah, not this time/incidence. See here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtleselfaqs.htm the second resp.
<Perhaps a lesser demigod... Cheers! BobF>
Re: Aggressive Pearl Gourami
Neale, I say "male" and the LFS says "male" and we
know they don't make mistakes. Can you tell from the videos at
http://www.youtube.com/simplefishtank or do I need higher res pics?
<Can't really tell. Do look here:
The fish in the front is a male. Note the long, raggedy anal and dorsal
Recommendation for plants for the top when I add a female or two?
<Indian Fern and Amazon Frogbit are the two best value.>
PS: I prefer to call the Cory cats "unawares" versus
"dumb" but I've yet to purge all the human feelings that
us newbies like to place on our pets. I know they don't read the
FAQs and they don't have feelings enough to be
hurt by being called dumb. Humans though are strange.
<You may well be right. Perhaps better to state that Corydoras
don't understand about territories, being fish that move in huge
schools across very shallow streams. In the wild, territorial cichlids
wouldn't be an issue where they live. In aquaria, their lack of
understanding means they rarely seem to cotton on to no-go areas in an
aquarium, with the result they are often harassed by territorial or
nippy fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Bubble Nests go on the Top Right?
I have a single male pearl gourami, some Cory catfish,
platy and harlequin Rasboras in a 36 gallon tank. Everyone has been
getting along great for about a month since the Rasboras replaced evil
<A good replacement.>
Starting yesterday the pearl has started doing "something" at
the bottom of the tank and I haven't figured out yet. As far as I
know the only change is three plastic 12" plants are more densely
packed together at the back and bottom of the tank. When he's doing
this behavior he goes up to get air in small gulps, returns to the
bottom to the same place and kind of looks like he his rummaging for
food on the substrate but he isn't.
Anyway he's gotten aggressive to the catfish and is nudging them
away if they come within a certain radius . I've never seen him
chase anyone that didn't get in his way. He's definitely gone
<Is in their nature to do so.>
As far as I know bubble nests float at the top and not at the
He's a bit odd because he spends some time down there checking out
the cave but that's where the catfish rest and I need to know what
to do if this continues. I'm thinking spread out the plastic plants
and maybe re-arrange where the cave and stuff are but things have been
going so well this is kind of depressing.
<I wouldn't lose any sleep over this. He's happy. If
it's not doing any harm, let him build his nest wherever he wants.
It may be water current elsewhere is too strong, and this particular
niche suits his tastes.
Stranger things have happened.>
Re: Bubble Nests go on the Top Right? 2/18/10
Thanks Neale! Is it usual for this fish to build a nest when he's
the only one of his type around?
<Yes. In the wild they build then nest, and then entice the female,
rather than the other way around.>
I hate to break it to him but Ms. Perfect is not going to come swimming
by anytime soon.
<Quite. That's why it's not a big deal. If there were eggs,
then there may be more of a problem, because the newly hatched fry will
need access to the air.>
And I'm not worried about him as much as I am the catfish. So far
it looks like he's just nudging them away but he like goes on
patrol in his little circle to get them to move on even though they are
not directly in "his space". I don't know how much harm a
pearl can do.
<They'll figure it out. If all else fails, add another hollow
ornament, and one or other will move in.>
If I disrupt what he's doing is he likely to forget about it for
now or is he likely to become stressed?
<Oh, if it's annoying, by all means disrupt the nest. That'd
happen all the time in the wild.>
Longstanding Gourami Illness
Hello My name is Vincent and my female pearl Gourami
has a few problems.
I have a well established ten gallon tank that has been housing this
fish for about 3 years and her roommate, another male Gourami, for
<This is rather small for Pearl Gouramis.>
I have never had any problems with water quality nor have there been
any pH spikes things of that nature.
The water in the tank is kept at 70-74 degrees F and is carbon filtered
as well as filtered by the resident Java ferns.
<Too cold. Pearl Gouramis should be at 25-30 degrees C, 77-86
My female pearl is my favorite fish so I have always paid close
attention to her. The weirdness started about a year ago when I noticed
a white spot developing on her ventral fin.
<Often, long term exposure to environmental failings allow these
sorts of small, seemingly minor issues to become established. Because
the immune system is weakened, the fish's health is slowly
I watched it but it did not seem to do anything or harm her so I
chalked it up to her fin's natural growth. Then I started noticing
her swimming, it became weaker, more spastic, like she had to devote
more energy to swimming than a normal fish would.
<Indeed. Is "spastic" a word people still use in the US?
Over here in England it's considered very inappropriate. Actually,
just had a quick look on Wikipedia, and while in British English it is
considered (by linguists) "one of the most taboo insults to a
British ear" apparently Americans use it much more freely.
Interesting. Anyway, carry on...>
Her dorsal fin and tail fin have since been drawn in and folded and she
maintains her body at a strange bent angle as if she is constantly
avoiding something to one side.
<Sounds very much like chronic exposure to poor conditions have now
tipped the balance against her. These are fairly generic symptoms of
overall poor health and weak metabolism.>
Her pectoral fins, the ones that look like feelers, are no longer
straight and are kinked at odd angles to the point of not being
straight or rearward oriented. The fins adjacent to her gills are torn
and have small lumps on them and one of the fins looks bloodshot.
<Again, classic symptoms of a weak immune system allowing a
I have tried several different treatment regimens, first under the
assumption that it was ich then fungal infection then fin rot but
nothing has worked.
<Medications *won't* work if the underlying problems remain.
It's a bit like going to AA meetings while you're still downing
a bottle of Scotch every night...>
I have tried myricin and Trisulfa to no success, with the carbon
The only thing those did was devastate the bacterial community in the
tank until the ammonia levels spiked.
I have no idea what this thing is at this point.
<I have a very good idea what's wrong.>
I know that it is slow acting and does not prevent her from feeding or
reduce her appetite but other than that I have no idea. Please
<A bigger, and certainly warmer aquarium is required. With luck,
she'll recover if given good water quality, a balanced diet, and
some type of antibacterial or antibiotic treatment to stem the
infection. Otherwise, she's doomed. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Longstanding Gourami Illness --
Thanks for the assistance.
<Happy to help.>
I do have another tank that could house the fish, the only problem is
that the tank is maintained by my parents at home while I am away most
of the time at college.
As such I am hesitant to place her there as there since they are far
too preoccupied to actually invest the care that this fish needs and
she would likely die there as well.
<Oh. Well, she won't do well in a cold aquarium, and I'd put
her in a heated tank and hope for the best.>
I going to remove the tank mate when I go home for Thanksgiving break
raise the temperature and hope for the best since I cannot entrust her
to the care of people who have no experience with fish.
At any rate thank you for identifying the problem and I appreciate the
quick feedback. I only asked this because I did not see any other
references to this on your site and because all of the other fish I
have been fine in the tank and have suffered no problems.
<"Complex variables" as scientists say. Some tropical fish
actually like fairly cool conditions, like Neons, Corydoras and
Platies, and these are best kept around 23 C/74 F. But others, like
Gouramis, do need things a bit warmer.>
For a bit of lighter news yes I am American and spastic is not an
insult here rather a way of describing a motion that looks uncontrolled
or sudden or caused by pain.
You can use it as an insult though it is far down the line in terms of
offensiveness. We do not use the word to insult developmentally
disabled persons nor to connotate retardation. Spaz, the colloquial
term, refers to a clumsy or inept person and is not a slur.
<"Two nations separated by a common language" is what
Oscar Wilde (I think) said of the Americans and the Brits.>
<Good luck with the Gourami. Cheers, Neale.>
Trichogaster; cotton-like growth on mouth
HI, I have a 23 gallon community tank and one of my male pearl gouramis
has a cotton like growth on his mouth. It seems to making him act very
differently and not eat properly.
<Cotton-like growths can be one of two things, Mouth Fungus
(actually a bacterial infection known as Columnaris) or true a true
True fungus looks like fine off-white threads. Columnaris can look like
threads, mould, or something in between. Use Google to compare images
of the two if you don't have a fish health book to hand. Some
medications such as Seachem Paraguard (in the US) and eSHa 2000 (in
Europe) will treat both, so if you can't tell them apart, then such
medications would be the way forward. Avoid tea-tree oil medications
such as Melafix: these are unreliable.>
All the water levels are fine.
<I doubt this. Both Columnaris and Fungal infections are caused,
more often than not, by water quality issues. So even if you *think*
the tank is fine, review stocking density, filtration rate, water
changes, etc. Physical damage can be another trigger, so check your
fish haven't been fighting.>
Gouramis and angel fish
Hi, I have a question, please. I currently have 5 medium sized angel
fish and 6 panda cories in a 75 gallon tank. I was thinking of adding
some gouramis with them (partial to the pearl). Would this be OK or
will one or the other pick on the other's finnage?
<Yes, Gouramis should mix with these fish... though dependent on the
species. Make Three-spot Gouramis (Trichogaster trichopterus) can be
aggressive at times, though in a 75 gallon tank I doubt that'd be
much of an issue. Still, if you can do without these fish, sometimes
sold as blue, golden, or Opaline gouramis, so much the better. The
prime species for your consideration are Pearl Gouramis and Moonlight
Gouramis, both of which are consistently reliable. You might also think
about Banded and Thick-lipped Gouramis (Colisa fasciatus and Colisa
labiosa). Both of these are hardy and generally peaceful. Their normal
colour is similar to the Dwarf Gourami, but an all-over orangey-red
form is available. The Dwarf Gourami (Colisa lalia) is of course an
option, *provided* you can get hold of good quality stock, which is
easier said than done. Finally, consider Climbing Perch, the African
equivalents and close relatives of the Asian gouramis.
Ctenopoma acutirostre is a stunning fish and very easy to keep.
Although it has no interest in dried foods, it readily takes wet-frozen
and live foods such as bloodworms, and in terms of temperament, is shy
and not in the least aggressive. I've kept pairs in tanks as small
as 30 gallons without issues. Sometimes known as the Leopard Bushfish,
it's a good addition to community tanks where the other fish are
not so small (e.g., Neons) they could be swallowed whole.>
If I can use gouramis is the pearl a good choice and how many females
should I get with one male?
<In the case of Pearls and Moonlights, pairs are fine provided the
tank has lots of space and ideally floating plants. For Trichogaster
trichopterus, you would want to keep just one male if at all possible.
They're tricky to sex, but males have longer dorsal fins than
Thank you for all your help. God bless.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Gouramis and angel fish --
Thanks, so in the case of the pearl I can get just one mail and one
female, or more than both also?
<One male, one female will work. If you want, add additional
Update - Re: Are Galaxy Rasboras really
being captive bred? Pearl Gs 3/31/09
How is Miss Olivia Jane? Beautiful, and a genius already, I'm
<Apparently not so much. Seems to be exhausting her parents now the
novelty has worn off.>
Thanks for your thoughtful response and that link. I will press on with
trying to ascertain the origin of these Galaxy Rasboras.
In the meantime, I had to return the Diamond Tetras that I had gotten
for my 37 gallon tank with the Blue Gourami and Swordtail. They were
like fish on crack all over the tank and just wouldn't let her get
near any food, despite the size of the Gourami in comparison to the
Diamonds, and she would come out even less than she did before.
<Diamonds are certainly feisty fish. I have a lone survivor in a
busy tank alongside such thugs as Glassfish and South American Puffers,
and he's definitely the dominant fish.>
I added 3 beautiful Pearl Gouramis - what I thought were 1 male and 2
females - I now suspect they might be 2 males and 1 female, or quite
possibly - eek - 3 males.
So I may have to look for some more females. One is definitely a male
and the others could be less mature males. They are all the same size -
about 2 inches and all have very similar coloring - with the orange-red
underbelly (suspiciously male?).
<Males certainly have more red, but that doesn't mean females
have no red at all. It's the combo of coloration and the longer
dorsal fins that seal the deal.>
One has the male's distinctive pointed dorsal fin and trailing anal
fin. He is also the most dominant of the three and a little territorial
with one of the other Pearls. One has much shorter fins, but with a
definite point on the dorsal fin, unlike most of the pictures I have
seen with the female's dorsal fin being definitely rounded.
<On the males, the dorsal fin can reach as far back as the tail fin,
so the length difference is considerable. The dorsal also tends to be
somewhat ragged along the trailing edge, and trait repeated somewhat on
the anal fin too.>
The other could be rounded, or could be pointed, and is just
I'll have to wait and see which it turns out to be.....unless you
can tell by my description....
<Not really, no.>
In retrospect, I think this LFS had primarily males as their colors
were all spectacular. The other store was not a LFS, but a high
pressure pet store with only females, and poor lighting, which made
them look even more drab. Quite a number of their tanks had Ich, and
the Pearls just didn't look well, so I was hesitant to buy any
livestock there. I waited until I found these at a dedicated LFS.
The Gourami and Sword are both out and about much more now than they
have ever been and don't even scurry away when the kids run by
anymore. The Pearls are very peaceful and that seems to suit them much
<Generally, Pearl Gouramis aren't bullies, and you may be fine
with even three males.>
I think the Galaxy Rasboras may do better in this tank since it is
cooler than the Betta tank at 76 degrees - and has a little current
from the Eheim outflow.
But I wonder if they might send Miss Gourami back into hiding....
<No; too small to bother her. There's a fine balance between
small schooling fish that act as dither fish (making benthic fish feel
safe) and boisterous, bigger schooling fish (that simply terrorize
them). In general, you want the smallest, least offensive dither fish
you can get, but not so small they're "live
You had suggested Celebes Rainbowfish, but I can't find them
locally and they are quite pricey for special orders.
<Shame. On the plus side, they're quite long lived, once settled
in (much like other Atherines).>
So I'm back to thinking about another schooling group of small fish
for this tank, or else I will leave as is for now, since I'll
probably be adding one or two more Pearl Gouramis.
If I can set up a small tank for our Betta, I would put 5-7 Galaxies in
the 10 gallon tank by themselves. I could lower the temp and hope for
some happy spawning.
Best to you,
<By the way, I forwarded your messages to the proud parents, who
I'm sure appreciated them. Cheers, Neale.>
Pearl Gouramis Re: Update -
> Hello Neale,
> <Hello Sandy,>
> How is Miss Olivia Jane? Beautiful, and a genius already, I'm
> <Apparently not so much. Seems to be exhausting her parents now
the novelty has worn off.>
I am laughing at this - tell them welcome to the world of parenthood -
read: NO SLEEP..... Tell her to take the baby into the bed with her -
it will change her life - for the better - it's how all the animals
do it, why shouldn't we?
> Thanks for your thoughtful response and that link. I will press on
with trying to ascertain the origin of these Galaxy Rasboras.
> <Okey dokey.>
> In the meantime, I had to return the Diamond Tetras that I had
gotten for my 37 gallon tank with the Blue Gourami and Swordtail. They
were like fish on crack all over the tank and just wouldn't let her
get near any food,
> despite the size of the Gourami in comparison to the Diamonds, and
she would come out even less than she did before.
> <Diamonds are certainly feisty fish. I have a lone survivor in
a busy tank alongside such thugs as Glassfish and South American
Puffers, and he's definitely the dominant fish.>
They were lovely, but I don't miss them.
> I added 3 beautiful Pearl Gouramis - what I thought were 1 male
and 2 females - I now suspect they might be 2 males and 1 female, or
quite possibly - eek - 3 males.
> So I may have to look for some more females. One is definitely
a male and the others could be less mature males. They are all
the same size - about 2 inches and all have very similar coloring
- with the orange-red underbelly (suspiciously male?).
> <Males certainly have more red, but that doesn't mean
females have no red at all. It's the combo of colouration and the
longer dorsal fins that seal the deal.>
> One has the male's distinctive pointed dorsal fin and trailing
> He is also the most dominant of the three and a little
territorial with one of the other Pearls. One has much shorter
fins, but with a definite point on the dorsal fin, unlike most of
the pictures I have seen with the female's dorsal fin being
> <On the males, the dorsal fin can reach as far back as the tail
fin, so the length difference is considerable. The dorsal also
tends to be somewhat ragged along the trailing edge, and trait
repeated somewhat on the anal fin too.>
His is definitely ragged on the trailing edge. The other two are not at
> The other could be rounded, or could be pointed, and is just
> I'll have to wait and see which it turns out to be.....unless
you can tell by my description....
> <Not really, no.>
Oh well, we'll have to wait and see then. Will I have too many in
this 37 gallon tank if I add 2 more (confirmed) females?
> In retrospect, I think this LFS had primarily males as their
colors were all spectacular. The other store was not a LFS, but a
high pressure pet store with only females, and poor lighting,
which made them look even more drab. Quite a number of their
tanks had Ich, and the Pearls just didn't look well, so I was
hesitant to buy any livestock there. I waited until I found these
at a dedicated LFS.
> <I see.>
> The Gourami and Sword are both out and about much more now than
> have ever been and don't even scurry away when the kids run by
> The Pearls are very peaceful and that seems to suit them much
> <Generally, Pearl Gouramis aren't bullies, and you may be
fine with even three males.>
I'm trying to be a bit more patient these days - will only add more
female Pearls if I can confirm the others are indeed male.
> I think the Galaxy Rasboras may do better in this tank since it
is cooler than the Betta tank at 76 degrees - and has a little
current from the Eheim outflow.
> But I wonder if they might send Miss Gourami back into
<No; too small to bother her. There's a fine balance
between small schooling fish that act as dither fish (making benthic
fish feel safe) and boisterous, bigger schooling fish (that
simply terrorise them). In general,
> you want the smallest, least offensive dither fish you can get,
but not so small they're "live food".>
> You had suggested Celebes Rainbowfish, but I can't find them
locally and they are quite pricey for special orders.
> <Shame. On the plus side, they're quite long lived, once
settled in (much like other Atherines).>
> So I'm back to thinking about another schooling group of small
fish for this tank, or else I will leave as is for now, since I'll
probably be adding one or two more Pearl Gouramis.
> If I can set up a small tank for our Betta, I would put 5-7
Galaxies in the 10 gallon tank by themselves. I could lower the temp
and hope for some happy spawning.
> Best to you,
> <By the way, I forwarded your messages to the proud parents,
who I'm sure appreciated them. Cheers, Neale.>
> I'll send them something else in another email.
Re: Pearl Gouramis Re: Update -
His is definitely ragged on the trailing edge. The other two are not at
all. Oh well, we'll have to wait and see then. Will I have too many
in this 37 gallon tank if I add 2 more (confirmed) females?
<Could be a bit busy, but you might be okay. Wait and see, really.
Pearl Gouramis are really fairly mild fish.>
I'm trying to be a bit more patient these days - will only add more
female Pearls if I can confirm the others are indeed male.
<Good luck, Neale.>
Is my Pearl Gourami wasting away? --
37 gallon tank
1 female Blue Gourami
3 Pearl Gouramis - 1 male, 2 females
1 male Swordtail
1 Rainbow Shark
Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate are all "0". pH is 8.
Of the 3 Pearl Gouramis I got a week ago, the smaller of the 2 females
seems to be wasting away from I don't know what. I noticed 2 days
ago that she was always hiding - way in the back corner under the
plants - even at feeding times. Yesterday, still hiding.
<Could be social, bullying. Unusual in this species, but not
The other 2 seem just fine - chasing each other, eating well - on a
weekly variety of good quality flake, algae/Spirulina wafers and live
brine shrimp from the LFS. Today, I noticed the small female on the
bottom of the tank having a hard time orienting herself.
<Ah, not a good sign.>
She had mouth down and tail up, with body curled up as if spawning, but
quite alone. She was trying to pick up food or something off the
substrate in an unplanted area of the tank beside the bogwood.
If she came out into the open, the other two pearls seemed to chase her
back to her "spot" which is very near where the Blue Gourami
lives. The Blue would then "nudge" her as if to move her out
of the way.
<The nudge will certainly be a territorial behaviour.>
The other two pearls are very aggressive with her and she seems too
weak to swim well enough to get away from them quickly. They come at
her hard with their mouths directly on her sides, and sometimes from
<Have seen similar; not nice.>
There also seems to be a small, but not obvious injury to one side of
her gill cover. I had to really look for it - maybe 1mm and slightly
red. She is also very thin compared to the other two - this is
noticeable from both
the head on and profile view. While they are pretty flat to begin with,
she is obviously thinner than she was when I brought her home a week
I can see that her belly is slightly sunken. A week ago, she was eating
fine - not today. Her color is pale and she is very stressed - was
laying on the bottom under some plants almost fully on her side for
minutes at a
time before she would struggle to right herself. She seemed to have to
prop herself on the plants to keep herself more upright.
<Likely a systemic bacterial or perhaps viral infection. Not really
much you can do in the latter case; in the former, treating with
Maracyn might help, but a lot of these "wasting diseases"
(Mycobacteriosis) are very
difficult to treat.>
I finally separated her and put her in a breeder net in the same tank
with some floating plants and turned the lights out. I don't have
another tank in which to isolate her, or else I would. I fed her a few
brine shrimp so
see if she would eat and no luck at all - she noticed them, but
didn't seem to have the energy to even try to catch any. I put in 2
small flakes of food and she wouldn't eat that either. The other
fish sucked the flakes
through the bottom of the net, which is very fine to begin with. Hours
later now, she seems to be faring slightly better - upright and
swimming a little more, but not much.
Tank temp was 76, which I have raised to 78 to see if this will make
her feel more like eating, but it might take a few hours for the tank
temp to come up fully. What can this be and what can I do for her?
<To be honest, doubt you can do much at all; could well have been
very sick prior to purchase... farmed gouramis reared intensively,
perhaps with much use of antibiotics. Maracyn catches a fair number of
bacteria, but if it doesn't, Maracyn 2 should catch a lot of the
If this is just stress, I will have to find a new home for her and keep
just the other 2, who seem to be doing fine. The male is even trying to
blow a bubble nest - unsuccessfully though - too much surface
No problems amongst the other fish whatsoever.
<Honestly don't expect this fish to live for long, not because I
know what the problem is, but because the syndrome is one I've seen
few recoveries from. Do see my article on WW re: euthanasia, and act
accordingly. Sorry can't offer anything more promising. Cheers,
Need to do anything for the others? Re: Is
my Pearl Gourami wasting away? 4/7/09
Still no interest in food at all and still no improvements on her
activity or swimming ability. She is extremely thin. I am very worried
that if she has a bacterial infection that it may soon affect the other
fish. What is the likelihood?
<Not much you can do now, since they've been exposed, but in
practise the risk is probably small. Would certainly remove, euthanise
this fish if you don't have a hospital tank.>
Or do you think that they would have exhibited some symptoms by now if
they were going to succumb as well?
<Impossible to say.>
I am getting a little (half gallon) hospital tank from a friend
tomorrow and will isolate her there for another day or two at most and
then will have to let her go if no improvement.
<Of marginal value; a fish this size won't likely get better
even in ideal conditions, and the inevitably poor conditions in a
half-gallon tank (!) will simply speed up its demise. Tanks below 10
gallons aren't worth spending money, time or electricity
We're all so sad to watch her languishing. If and when we have to
euthanize her (thank you for the link you sent), I have access to clove
oil. I have been told by a LFS that they don't recommend clove oil
because they don't know how much to recommend for fish size.
<Just use lots! 30 drops in a litre should do the trick.>
They suggest Baking Soda, which I always have around the house.
<Don't do this; it's old school, and not recommended by
Any thoughts? I know crushing or decapitation would be instantaneous
and most humane.
<Effective and humane if done correctly, but I agree, not pleasant
I just can't bring myself to do it. No problem with the Red
Snappers from the fish market, even hooking live mullets for bait,
.....but not our little pets.....maybe I just have to get over it.
<Quite normal reaction; good old human inconsistency. We happily eat
pigs here in the West, while looking down on Asians who eat dogs,
despite the fact every scientific experiment ever done clearly shows
pigs are (much) cleverer than dogs.>
I plan to watch them very closely for the next few weeks before taking
any precautionary measures and medicating by trial and error....I
assume I will have to be vigilant about water changes and water testing
until I'm sure we are past this.
<Good water quality is important, regardless of the context.>
If there are precautionary measures you feel would be wise to ensure
the health of the rest of the tank, please let me know.
Re: Need to do anything for the others? Re:
Is my Pearl Gourami wasting away? 4/8/09
You are correct, as usual - she is looking worse today - Have scrubbed
plan to put in .5 gallon prison - I am on my way to pick up the clove
oil and will do the deed today - have been preparing the kids - they
have their ceremony all planned with song and all.....
<Sorry how things have turned out; but it's a good lesson to
share with children than part of the responsibility of looking after
animals is easing their passing.>
We have Chamber of Commerce weather today here in sunny Orlando, so it
should be nice.
<Never heard of "Chamber of Commerce weather"!>
Thanks ever so much,
Bloated and listless female pearl
Gourami 1/29/09 I have a bloated and listless
female pearl Gourami. Rests upright on the bottom, goes to the surface
regularly for air, settles back down. Has not taken assorted food for 3
weeks. My 110 gal., drip filter, community tank has a healthy large
male pearl and a female. I've had the three for about a year and a
half. Water quality is good, changed 15% overnight dechlorinated, and
treated with Kordon Amquel, every two weeks, I vacuum the bottom have
pea size gravel barely covering the bottom. I rinse three filters
frequently, use a turkey baster to remove sediment from the bottom of
the filter sump. I keep the PH close to the tap water 6.3 - 6-8 with a
small nylon bag of crushed lime under the bio balls in the filter. I
treated the male successfully for internal parasites 6 mos. ago with
metronidazole in quarantine, tried it with this female with no
improvement. I have now treated her with "Jungle" Lifeguard
all-in-one (1-chloro-2,2,5,5-tetramethyl-4-imidaxolidinone) for 5 days
with no change, as recommended by the local fish store. This fish is in
a 2.5 gal barren hospital tank, 80 degree, small filter with no media
to maintain oxygen. I started a 25% water change today in the 2.5 gal
tank and am extending the "Lifeguard" treatment cycle. A
friend who formerly owned a fish store told me the three Hatchetfish I
recently lost (after 6-8 mo.s, one every couple weeks), typically can
arrive infected with gill flukes. I have three other hatchets with no
apparent prob.s, from a different store. All other fish are healthy and
behaving normally. 4 Lg Congo Tetras, 1 Lg. Angel, 6 neon, 1 blue ram,
1 dwarf Gourami, 3 hatchet, 4 threadfin rainbow, 2 med. Pleco, 1 Lg
spotted African catfish. Would appreciate your advice. Thank you for
maintaining your web site, I refer to it frequently, have it
"bookmarked" at home and at work. Jeff <Hello Jeff. The
first thing to decide is whether the fish has Dropsy or not. Look from
above and see if the scales on the body stick outwards, so that it has
a bristly, pine cone-like appearance. If it does, then the chances are
the fish has severe organ failure and there's really not much hope
of recovery. While bigger fish (like Koi) sometimes recover when
treated with erythromycin or Minocycline, I've yet to hear stories
of small ornamental fish species recovering when so treated. So
painless destruction is usually required.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm If the fish doesn't have
Dropsy, then we can think about other things. Egg-binding is possible
with fish, though rare. Since there's a male in the tank, I think
we can rule this one out. Another possibility is constipation, which in
severe cases causes bloating. This is quite common, and the usual
solution is to switch to high-fibre food while adding 1-3 teaspoons of
Epsom salt per 5 gallons of water. Tinned peas and spinach are good
foods, but failing that, brine shrimp and daphnia work as well.
Don't feed any dried foods during this time as they'll have the
opposite effect! By all means let your other fish go hungry while
treating this Gourami; it will do them no harm. Do avoid randomly
adding medications, as you seem to have done here. Unless you can
diagnose a problem, you can't treat it, and most medications are
poisons at some level, so careless use can cause problems. As
you've discovered, scattergun approaches rarely lead to cures.
Will Pearl Gourami's broken ventral fin
grow back? 1/2/08 HI, You have a wonderful site
and I'd like to ask a question about my Pearl Gourami. <Fire
away!> This Gourami joined my fish family about four weeks ago and
seems very happy and seems to be thriving--except one thing. This week,
one of his beautiful ventral fins (1 of 2 labyrinth fins that goes
length of body), is broken off about midway--now it's roughly half
as long as it used to be. I'm fairly certain another fish
didn't nip it off because all the fish seem so nice to each other
in the tank; except for the Cory cat and neon tetras, the larger fish
frequently join each other's 'school' and swim together.
<Hmm... likely nipping; fins don't "fall off" by
themselves.> None of the tank-mates ever show aggression. <Often
don't while you're by the tank: since you're a source of
food, the fish are more interested in watching you. But the rest of the
time, if they get bored or hungry, nipping can occur.> I think the
ventral fin may have gotten "caught" in the filter intake and
he yanked it out and maybe it broke at that time--that's what I
think, but who knows? <Unlikely.> Here's my question. Will
that ventral fin grow back to its normal length or is my Pearl Gourami
injured for life? <Will grow back.> If the latter is true, will
this injury affect him negatively; affect his ability to sense things,
to take in oxygen, etc? So far he seems OK. <No long term harm. Do
look out for signs of Finrot or Fungus, and if necessary treat, but
otherwise not a major problem.> It looks to me like he uses the
uninjured ventral fin for feeling/tasting things (normal use), and
seems to use the broken fin for balance. He still seems happy and
remains social but I really hope the fin will grow back. Please let me
know the odds on that happening. Tank information. 50 gallon tank:
19" high, 48" long, 12" wide; Ph=almost 7 on the acidic
side; Lots of hiding places-huts/caves/arranged stones; Lots of fake
plants of differing texture, height and density; No live plants;
Filtration=two Aqua Clear filters, each for 40-70 gallon tank; Tank is
cycled/mature with ammonia-nitrite-nitrates under control; Temp: 79
degrees; Food: Daily, Aqueon tropical flakes and Hikari tropical micro
pellets; weekly, frozen brine shrimp; most days, spinach, romaine
lettuce or other nutritious greens hung on a 'green/leaf clip'.
Fish in tank. 1 Pearl Gourami 3 Silver Dollars <Generally well
behaved.> 8 Neon Tetras <Likewise.> 3 Buenos Aires <Well
known "fin nippers"> 1 Albino Cory Catfish 3 Rainbow
Tetras <Are these Nematobrycon lacortei? They're not normally
reported to be nippy. But if these are artificially coloured
Gymnocorymbus ternetzi, then definitely on the table as possible fin
nippers.> Thank you for helping us. Nina <Happy to help. Do bear
in mind some of your fish need to be in bigger groups, certainly the
tetras and catfish should be in groups of 6+ specimens. Besides being
happier, these fish will interact with one another and be less prone to
nipping tankmates. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Will Pearl Gourami's broken ventral
fin grow back? 1/3/09 Hi Neale, Thanks for all the great
information! You are really wonderful to take the time to assist novice
aquaria-ists like myself. <We're happy to help.> Thanks for
setting me straight about the foul play in my tank. I really was going
to chalk up the broken fin to a filter intake injury. <Ah.> I
think you might be right about the 3 Buenos Aires fish probably being
the fin nipping culprits. I've always thought the Buenos Aires fish
were a "little" active. Unlike the other fish, they zoom
around the tank at top speed. This habit seemed somewhat reckless and
my nickname for them was ..."the gang". <A
"gang" is a good description of how these -- and many other
medium to large characins -- behave. This species, Hemigrammus
anisitsi, is an excellent starter species, doing well in subtropical
and tropical tanks across a range of water chemistry values. But in
small groups it does tend to be nippy. Oddly enough, in bigger groups
the fish tend to chase one another and ignore their tankmates. This
isn't always the case with nippy fish, but certainly with this one
and a few others.> Well, my priority is to have a peaceful tank so
the gang will have to go. <You might try keeping a school of 6+
first to see how things go. But if you prefer, trade them in for
something else. Among the larger tetras, things like Congo Tetras,
Lemon Tetras, X-ray Tetras and Rummy-nose Tetras are reliable community
fish.> My "fish-guy" at the LFS is going to be surprised
when I return them. The bright side is that their return will give me
the opportunity to take you up on another of your suggestions, that I
increase the group size of some of the other fishies. <OK.> You
asked the following of my 3 Rainbow Tetras. My rainbow tetras are Dwarf
Neon Rainbowfish , Neon Rainbowfish, Praecox. <An excellent
species.> Two of the three look like this stock web photo; red fins
and full-body iridescent coloring . The third looks a little
different-fins are clear; I'm thinking this third fish is a female
or maybe an accidental mix-bred. The rainbows are no angels themselves.
The two with the red fins are always chasing the clear finned rainbow
fish. Also, tonight I noticed that the two red-finned rainbows do a
type of dance with each other. Red-finned Fish #1 one will position
himself side-by-side with his head to the Red-finned Fish #2's
tail, then Fish #2 will reposition itself so it is eye-to-eye with Fish
#1 , then one of them will flip so that they are side-by-side
eye-to-tail again. They go back and forth with this play for several
minutes. What's going on with this flipping play--is this
aggression over the [presumed] female? <Yes; Melanotaenia species
across the board are best kept in large, mixed sex groups. The males
are feisty (though rarely nippy or aggressive towards other fish).
Keeping fish from both sexes tends to get the best behaviour and the
best colours, the males colouring up nicely to impress the girls.
I'd always recommend keeping at least 3 of each sex. Do remember,
Melanotaenia rarely get their best colours when young. These are fish
to invest in for the long run -- they colour up nicely as they mature,
and tend to live a long time too.> Oh, I forgot to mention that I
also have 3 emperor tetras. They're peaceful, not fin nippers,
right? <Usually very gentle towards other species, though feisty
amongst themselves. They do tend to require soft or at least not rock
hard water, and a shady tank with lots of plants is definitely a help.
A challenging species, but very worthwhile, with colours to match
anything else in the hobby. Since you have a big tank, I'd keep a
decent sized group, at least 6, and ideally more. Cheers,
Today I woke up and my pearl Gourami looked faded and
his spots were slowing turning gray. -- 07/21/08 My other
Gourami has been looking a little gray also. Oh I almost forgot, their
eyes are looking gray and bigger than usual. How can I prevent this
from spreading to my other gouramis? <Almost certainly the problem
here is water quality. When multiple fish get sick from seemingly
random symptoms (as these are) then the issue is environment, not a
mystery disease that snuck in through the night. So whip out your
nitrite test kit and establish whether there is any nitrite in the
water (it should be zero). Also reflect on maintenance and the size of
the tank. These fish need an at-least 20 gallon system, with a decent
filter and water changes of 25% per week. Overfeeding is obviously a
bad thing and makes a poorly maintained aquarium even worse, so stop
feeding until you've established the nature of the problem. Send us
some details of the aquarium, filter, water chemistry and water quality
test kit results and we can try and help you further. In the meantime,
your fish sound very sick and you will need to treat with some
antibacterial or antibiotic such as eSHa 2000 or Maracyn (but not
Melafix, tonic salt, etc.). Cheers, Neale.>
Pearl Gourami 3/30/07 Ok I have a question I
have a pearl Gourami and for over a week now it has been laying on
it's side. <Bad behavior... some Gouramis do "lay
about" quite a bit, but not this genus, species> I believe she
is pregnant as she has gotten very big. She's not acting
any other way except to be laying on her side. It's
almost as though she has no ability to stay upright. If any
of the other fish in the aquarium try to pick at her the male comes and
protects her. My question is what would make her lay on her
side and why would the male be trying so hard to protect her, could it
be because she possibly might be pregnant? also do they have live
births or eggs? <Lay eggs... are bubble-nest builders... akin and
kin to the more popular Betta (splendens)...> Any information would
be helpful. Thank you <Mmm, please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anabantoids.htm and the
linked files above... Something is amiss here... I suspect your Gourami
is not "filled with eggs" but suffering from
"bloat"... Read on. Bob Fenner>
Another (different) Gourami question Hi all,
<Hello! Sabrina here, today> My wife has a 3 inch sub
adult male pearl Gourami. He is currently in her 10 gal. community
tank. He is very nippy and aggressive to his tank companions.
<Wow. That's a touch unusual for this, the most
peaceful of the large-ish Gourami.> She is planning on moving him
into a planted 20 gal long tank with Cory cats. She would like to know
what other fish would make good tank mates? She has read of the pearl
being kept with paradise fish or angel fish, would one or both be ok?
<In a 20gL, angels will really be pushing it; not a good choice for
a small tank at all. But paradise fish would be an excellent
choice! If you end up getting a male paradise fish, do keep
an eye out for any aggression between him and the
pearl. Another neat option would be to get a couple of
female pearls, instead; that could be a lot of
fun. Enjoy! -Sabrina> thanks, Dave
Pearl Gourami Hi my name is Sandy and I have recently
acquired a 55 gallon freshwater aquarium. I was over feeding my fish
per the local fish store. Blood worms shrimp brine and flake food. I
have two pearls fairly large 3.5 to 4 inches long. I purchased test
strips a canister filter came home tested my water did a 1/3 water
change hooked up the canister along with the aqua Clearwater filter and
the nitrate nitrite levels in control. The nitrite was up the first
night and I got it so the strip doesn't turn any color now and the
nitrate still turns pink but below 40. < Ideally you would like to
keep it at 25 ppm or below. 50 ppm would be somewhat high to where I
would start to think about doing a water change soon.> My water is
hard and the alkalinity is off a bit but Ph is fine. However I have
lost one blue neon dwarf Gourami he actually started bulging on one
side I put him in the freezer and helped him out of his slow death. I
then lost a pink kissing Gourami how seemed to stay at the top of the
tank for a long time like a week same spot would try and move around a
bit would eat very little but seemed to lose color and get very thin.
Then she/he just went and lay down on a rock behind a plant and died
after a day or so. I now have one of my large beautiful peaceful pearls
doing the same thing saying in one spot staring off looking small and
thin. She's running her mate off obviously upset I don't know
what to do. So far I have only lost Gourami' is there an illness
that I can treat for them is this something I need to treat the whole
tank. I have a lot of fish and I am really worried. Please help. I
don't wan to sit and watch another hoping it will just get better.
Thanks if you can reply or help in any way. Tanks about 78 degrees did
a water change partial 9 days ago test strips look ok? Sandy Kores <
If your tank is new then I would continually test for ammonia to make
sure that it does not read at all on the test kits (Zero Reading).
Ammonia is the biggest killer of fish. If the ammonia is under control
then the next item to check is nitrites( Also a zero reading). These
are not as deadly as ammonia but they do stress out fish to where they
die from diseases that you are describing. The third is the
nitrates(25ppm, 50ppm max, in some fish 15ppm is too high!). These are
the least toxic of the three and still need to be kept in check. To
keep these levels in check I would service the filter every other week
no matter what it looks like. On the weeks that you do not service the
filter I would vacuum the gravel while doing your water change. When
you do this you would be amazed at all the junk in the gravel.
Don't do this all at one time or you will remove all the good
bacteria that convert the wastes to nitrates. Watch the feeding too.
You should only give them enough food that they can eat it all in a
couple of minutes. You are feeding a very rich diet that can be too
much of a good thing. Make sure that the filter is moving at least 150
gallons an hour. More is better. If after all these things are in check
for a couple of weeks and you are still losing fish, then we can talk
about treating for diseases.-Chuck.