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

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

Related FAQs: & FAQs on: Trichogaster trichopterus, Trichogaster trichopterus 2, T. trichopterus ID, T. trichopterus Behavior, T. trichopterus Compatibility, T. trichopterus Selection, T. trichopterus Systems, T. trichopterus Feeding, T. trichopterus Disease, T. trichopterus Reproduction, Gouramis 1, Gouramis 2, Gourami Identification, Gourami Behavior, Gourami Compatibility, Gourami Selection, Gourami Systems, Gourami Feeding, Gourami Disease, Gourami Reproduction, Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish,

Blue Gourami with black head -- is he sick?  -02/20/08 I have a blue Gourami that is at least 3 or 4 years old -- he's (I call him a he but have no idea if he is a he or she) <Males have long, pointed dorsal fins.> in a 10 gallon tank along with 2 goldfish, 2 neon tetras, and 1 sucker fish. Has been in the same tank with these fish for about 2-1/2 to 3 years. No problems so far. <All this in a 10 gallon tank? Madness. The sucker fish is either a Pterygoplichthys catfish (average size 30-45 cm at maturity) or Gyrinocheilus aymonieri (only slightly smaller but infamous for its aggression). The Goldfish need a tank at least three times this size all by themselves. Oh, and Neons are schooling fish, and are only happy when kept in schools of six or more. While you might not have had problems yet, that's rather akin to a guy not killing himself at the first round of Russian Roulette and so declaring the game "safe".> We were away on vacation for the past 3 days and when we returned home last night, we noticed his head has turned black or maybe a really dark blue. It covers his entire head back to his first set of fins on either side. He is swimming around just fine and he is eating just fine -- not acting like there is a problem. The only thing that we did differently when we were away was that we: 1) fed them all using a 3-day tablet feed; <No need to feed fish for a 3-day vacation; in fact it is safer not to.> and 2) turned the heater on in the tank since we'd be away and the house would be slightly colder so the tank temperature was about 2 degrees F higher than normal. <How warm is this aquarium otherwise? How do you keep tropical fish in an aquarium without a heater? Unless your home is constantly at around 25C/77F day in, day out then these fish are not at all being kept correctly. Seriously: are you winding me up? Big fish in a tiny, unheated tank!! This sounds like someone trying to wind me up... everything is wronger than the wrongest thing that anyone has ever gotten wrong.> All the other fish are fine and he seems fine, I just do not know what this color is. Should I be concerned? <Very, very, concerned, though not specifically for the Gourami. Without a photo, can't say what's going on. Could be viral or even nerve damage (which affects the chromatophores) but this fish sometimes change colours thanks to genetic abnormalities.> If so, what should I be doing? <Buying a bigger tank and leaving the heater on all year around would be a start.> Thanks ahead of time for your help, Pam <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Blue Gourami with black head -- is he sick?  2/21/08 Thanks for your comments -- I get the suggestion about the size of the tank and about not feeding them when only away for 3 days. Will do. <Very good.> I need to explain about the heater being off/on. The tank is located near a heated radiator (yes, I live in a home that is 80 plus years old and is heated with radiators, not vents or baseboard heating) and it is located near a window that has sunlight coming in most of the daytime. So, the heater is not always on because the temperature spikes so severely in the winter daytime when it is sunny. I've tried different heater types so that I do not have this problem and it's the same. Moving the tank is not an option -- no other location for it. When we go away, however, the heater is always on. This was the case this past weekend when we were away. <OK. So long as the tank doesn't go above 30C at its hottest or below 20C at its coolest, you're fine. But I would try placing aluminum foil (for example) behind the tank to reflect away some of the sunlight. If pasted behind the aquarium backdrop you won't see the foil. Placing a fan above the tank in summer, to increase evaporation, will also help cool things down. Regardless, putting tanks on windowsills above radiators isn't considered best practise!> Back to the Gourami-- here are a few shots that I took just now. I have inserted them into this email and am attaching them as well. I hope you can get an idea of what I mean by his head being black or dark blue with these. They are the best I could get with a not so great camera -- sorry if they are not so great. <Odd, but I don't think dangerous.><<Is not... just neurological impairment. RMF>>999 Any ideas on what this is? <No idea.> Thanks for your help. Pam <The fish is a male, by the way. Cheers, Neale.>

Golden Gouramis, hlth.  1/27/08 Hi there! We have a new 72 gallon tank. Set it up, left it for a week, tested the water, and all seems perfect (nitrates, ammonia etc come up as ideal on the test strips) except it may be just a bit alkaline. Bought our first fish 3 golden Gouramis, 5 rosy tetras and 3 long fin serpae tetras. <Serpae tetras -- Hyphessobrycon serpae, plus related species in the genus -- are notorious fin-nippers. You can probably already see their raggedy fins. Anyway, they're not compatible with Gouramis. Unless you want Gouramis with nibbled fins, Finrot and Fungus. Please please please research fish before buying them. Lots of so-called "community fish" aren't.> Also moved a rather large (6") Pleco from a previous tank. All seemed well until yesterday, when one of the Gouramis colours seemed to start fading and the bottom edges of his bottom fins appear orangish. <Which "bottom fins"? If the pelvic fins (the "feelers") those can change colour according to sex. Certainly that's the case with Trichogaster microlepis. Not sure about Trichogaster trichopterus though. If the anal fin (the unpaired long fin between the "feelers" and the tail fin) then I'd suspect Finrot. The bacteria start by forming clots in the blood vessels, and these turn pink. Eventually the surrounding tissue dies, and the fins rot away from the trailing edge inwards. Treat at once, and remove the Serpae tetras, since they're as likely as anything to start Finrot in Gouramis. Finrot is normally caused either by physical damage (e.g., nipping) or poor water quality, so do also check the nitrite just to be sure.> Today, he didn't eat, even though he was at the surface of the tank, and then he went and hid at the bottom of the tank. The other two Gouramis seem normal and are eating and I haven't seen any sign of aggressive behaviour. I have no idea if these Gouramis are male or female or how to tell the difference. <Male Trichogaster trichopterus have much longer dorsal fins; the female's dorsal fin is about half the size, if that.> One other thing, the faded Gourami seems to be trailing a thin white poop. don't know if this means anything. <Can mean a variety of things. It isn't normal, but it isn't necessarily a disaster either. A more varied, high-fibre diet is probably the thing you need to do here.> Also wanted to ask about the Pleco. He has always been somewhat reclusive, but now that he is in the big tank, he has retreated into a hollow tower (I can see his fins, and they do move) and hasn't come out in about 3 days. Should I be worried about him, or is this normal? <Put some cucumber or courgette in the tank tonight. If it's been eaten by the morning, then all is well. If it's still there, then you may have a problem.> I am still feeding him with Spirulina tabs. Looking forward to your reply, Cheryl <Hope this helps, Neale.>  

Three Spot Gourami Aggression 1/15/08 Hi Bob, <It's Neale here tonight, actually.> I have read many of your answers to questions on aggression often encountered with the Three Spot Gourami and found them very informative. <Yes, male Trichopterus Trichogaster are indeed very aggressive fish. Not recommended for community tanks.> However, there are some details I would like to be more clear on. First, a bit about my tank. It is a 21 US Gal tank containing 3 Otos, 3 Zebra Danios, 1 Betta fish, 1 Three Spot Gourami and 1 Dwarf Gourami. There is a porous rock, a plastic plant (waiting to introduce real plants) and a ornamental castle as well. The Dwarf Gourami was added 2 months following the Three Spot Gourami. Upon introduction of the Dwarf Gourami the Three Spot was aggressive towards it almost instantaneously. <No surprises there at all.> I let them be for about 20 min or so, but the Three Spot was relentless in its pursuit of the Dwarf. Finally, I had to separate the two since the Dwarf was beginning to suffer immensely. <I bet.> I read on your site to isolate the more aggressive fish for about a week and then see what happens. <Hmm...> I am wondering how effective is this? <With Trichopterus Trichogaster, not effective at all.> Even in isolation in a homemade colander, you can see the aggressive behavior of the Three Spot whenever the Dwarf is close by. <Indeed.> If this does not work will heavily planting the aquarium be beneficial to curb the Three Spot's aggression? <Nope.> Or should I add a couple of Three Spot females or instead add a couple more Dwarf's. <Nope. These two species are simply not compatible. Certainly not in a 20 gallon tank.> In regards to the Dwarf, its tail fin is severely damaged (~1/3 of it) as well there is some damage to its ventral and dorsal fin. Will the fins heal and grow back? <In theory, yes.> If so, how long on average does one expect the healing process to take? <Couple months, assuming it doesn't get Fin Rot in the time being.> I look forward to your responses, you have a great site! Ryan <Hope this helps! Neale.>

Re: Three Spot Gourami Aggression 1/15/08 Hi Neale, <Ryan,> Thank-you for your quick response. It is too bad that some sites do say that the Dwarf and Three Spot Gouramis are compatible, otherwise I would not have purchased the Dwarf. <Indeed. Female specimens of Trichopterus Trichogaster get along fine with the Dwarfs; it's the males that are mean!> A couple more questions. <OK> Is the Dwarf compatible with the Pearl Gourami? <Should be; these are generally very mild animals.> What other Gouramis would go well with the Three Spot? <Moonlight Gouramis (T. microlepis) should work well, too. I'd avoid mixing Dwarfs with other Colisa spp though.> Thanks Again, Ryan <Happy to help, Neale.>

Sick Gourami with red blotches.  9/2/07 Fist thank you for any help that you may give! I have read all four pages on "FAQs on Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives Disease". I have found a couple of entries that "may" be what I am going through but none seem to fit perfectly. This fish has had these red blotches for about a month now but was otherwise acting perfectly normal. Now she seems to be "ill". She is hanging out in the upper corner of the tank constantly. She is not eating as she used to. She seems to be breathing fast and the blotches which started as one on the side and have progressively multiplied and now she even has one around the bottom of her mouth. The blotches don't appear to be under the scales like they originally did but now kind of a crusty like surface appearance. We do 30% water changes and vacuum the gravel every three weeks and add 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons of aquarium salt after the water change. We feed mainly dry tropical fish food and about once a week we give frozen blood worms. I have considered an isolation tank and medication but honestly I don't know what this is so I really can't treat it. I read on here before when the marks were under the scales that this was something that happened and it would get better but it doesn't seem to be getting better. Here are the tank specs. 30 Gallons Couple of live plants Carbon and natural media filtration 1 Gourami 1 Pleco 2 yoyo loaches 3 gold barbs 2 Black ruby barbs 3 Rosy barbs 1 Rainbow shark. Thanks again for any assistance that you may be able to provide. Jeremy <Hi Jeremy, your blue Gourami appears to have septicaemia of some sort. Even if its something else, at this stage in the game, it's likely to be untreatable. If it's a bacterial infection, you could try some industrial-strength antibiotic, such as Erythromycin, but obviously if its a viral infection, that won't help. As always, take water quality as the most likely "cause" of the problem, and review the pH, hardness, nitrite, and ammonia levels in your aquarium, and then act accordingly. An adult Plec, for example, will be heavily loading the average 55 gallon tank, let alone a 30 gallon one. Salt won't make a blind bit of difference and I have no idea why you're adding salt routinely to a community of freshwater fish. Not a one of those species wants salt, and most don't like it. You need to do 50% water changes weekly, not 30% three-weekly. Cleaning the gravel isn't something you should need to do that often (your plants would prefer you didn't). Instead, just "vacuum" up the detritus with the hose pipe as you siphon out the water. One last thing: do remember carbon removes medications from tanks. Unless you know (and understand) a reason to use carbon, in a freshwater tank it's largely a waste of space and money. Remove, and replace the space with something that will actually do something useful, perhaps more filter wool or ceramic media. Hope this helps, Neale>

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

Gouramis weird behavior  8/5/07 My wife came home last week with a surprise birthday present... a 5-gal tank setup, with everything the (supposedly knowledgeable) pet store ppl said she would need, plus 2 Gouramis, which after looking at a lot of online pictures seem like they're blue Gouramis, although they look silver to me. She doesn't know the first thing about fishkeeping, but she knows I am into fish so she spent the 80 bucks on this whole thing, which is an Eclipse hex5 complete aquarium kit, plus gravel, a heater, and a couple of plastic plants. Fine. So I set everything up as carefully as I could, added warm water and conditioner, started the filter going, the temp was in the high 70s, floated the fish in the bag and added them after 45-50 minutes. Temp stays between 77-80 even though heater is only set to 73. Basically, since then they've been exhibiting really weird behavior. First of all, one of them has from the beginning been chasing and nipping at the other one. They alternate between floating at the top, hiding behind the filter intake - or at the bottom behind a plant. When they're not fighting they're usually separate, one in each of the aforementioned locations. They picked-on one looks like its dorsal and tailfins are starting to get ripped. I still have one day left on the return policy. Is the best thing to just let them be; return one (and hope to get some other kind of compatible fish); or return both and start with some other fish? Thanks so much. -Moshe <Hello Moshe, Although the fish you have may well be blue Gouramis -- Trichogaster trichopterus -- this name "blue Gourami" is merely applied to one variety within the species. The natural forms are silvery, brownish, or light blue; the artificial varieties come in bright yellow, lavender, and dark blue. The give-away clue for most varieties is that there are three dark spots on each flank: one spot is the eye, the second is halfway along the body, and the third close to the tail. Right, now, having solved the identity of the fish: heating. Ignore the number of the heater-thermostat. These devices are very simple bi-metallic strips used to cut off the power above a certain temperature. I remember learning about how these worked at school in physics class, and I'm sure you do to. All that happens is above a certain temperature one of the metals in the strip expands further than the other, bending it away from the contacts, breaking the circuit. These devices are very inaccurate. So, if your heater is heating the tank too much, trust the thermometer, and set the heater lower. In summer, I turn my heaters to their minimum settings: the day/night cycle between around 25-18C / 77-64F is absolutely fine for most tropical fish and far closer to the "wild" than the constant temperatures we usually aim for. Second, the fighting: what you describe is 100% normal for Trichogaster trichopterus. Males of this species are mutually antagonistic, and males also tend to be bullies towards any other Gouramis or even Gourami-looking fishes such as small cichlids or Bettas. Males can be identified by their orange (rather than white) pelvic fins (the "feelers") and their dorsal fins (which are longer than those on the females). Thirdly, fin damage should be treated *on sight* with anti-Finrot/fungus medication pre-emptively. Failing to do this often leads to Finrot and fungus, and once you start having sick fish, the hobby becomes a lot less fun. Finally, you have a 5 gallon tank. I assume 5 US gallons, but 5 Imperial gallons would make any difference to this comment either: Your tank is FAR TOO SMALL for anything much, let alone a pair of Gouramis. With respect to your wife who doubtless was trying to buy you a nice, fun present -- there's nothing more difficult in this hobby than trying to make a stable aquarium in 5 gallons. It's too small. Conditions easily slip from safe to dangerous, and very, very few fish are inactive and small enough to be content in such tiny living quarters. Thing about it, 5 gallons is the size of a bucket. Can you imagine many fishes living in such a small "pond" in the wild? At best, you could keep a few gobies and shrimps. Gobies are small (most around an inch) and don't stray far from their chosen cave (like a seashell). Bumblebee gobies (Brachygobius spp.) are the most popular gobies in the hobby, though they will not eat flake and so come under the heading of "fish for semi-experienced hobbyists" in all fairness. On the shrimp front, there are these darling little cherry shrimps (Neocaridina denticulata sinensis) that are bright red and very easy to breed, and kept on their own with a few aquarium plants can make enchanting pets. But other small things like guppies or Neons won't be happy in a 5 gallon tank, whatever your pet store tells you. Now, if you ask me why do pet shops sell tanks for $80 that can't be used to keep fish, the answer is simple -- people buy them as impulse presents or without knowing anything else about the hobby. But 99 times out of a 100, these 5 gallon tanks end up sinking into a morass of dead fish and bad water, and the would-be hobbyist gives up. So, anyway, I hope this helps. Cheers, Neale>

Gourami disease? 8/1/07To Whom It May Concern: <That would be me.> I have a 20-gallon tank with one angel fish, one opal Gourami, and what I think was called a tropical Gourami. <No idea what a "tropical Gourami" is because they're all from the tropics! But my guess would be some variety of dwarf Gourami, Colisa lalia or else a corruption of the name Trichogaster trichopterus, the common three-spot Gourami usually sold in its yellow or blue varieties. The Opaline Gourami is also Trichogaster trichopterus.> My angel fish and tropical Gourami are thriving, growing, and seem to be just fine. My opal, however, has been covered in what I can only describe to be an ever-increasing patch of fur for the past several weeks. <Fungus, Finrot, or "mouth fungus" (the latter neither a fungus nor confined to the mouth). Treat quickly, ideally with a combined anti-fungus/anti-Finrot medication.> I've treated the tank with anti-fungal, and after making two trips to the local fish store have come up empty-handed with ideas as to what this could possibly be (the local fish experts had no idea - they just kept giving me things to try). <Supplement the treatment of the tank with saltwater dips. Take some sea salt or some other non iodised cooking salt, add 35 grammes to 1 litre of aquarium water, and stir well. When dissolved, dip the fish into the salt water for anything from 1 minute to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The idea is to dehydrate the external pathogens and cleanse the skin (it's basically the same thing as doing a salt water gargle to heal a mouth ulcer, for example).> The opal is tiny in comparison to its tankmates (despite being brought into the tank at the same time), the pH/nitrate/nitrite levels in my tank are testing fine, and I add salt with every water change, as well as water balancing solution, and this little one gets worse (again, despite the other fish growing beautifully). <Please stop adding salt to the tank. It isn't required and it isn't helping. Freshwater fish don't need salt in their water (if they did, they'd be saltwater fish!). Now, what do you mean by "fine" when it comes to water quality and chemistry? Specifically, your fish need a pH between 6.5-7.5; 0 nitrite and ammonia; and less than 50 mg/l nitrate. When fish get symptoms of the sort you describe, it usually comes about one of two ways: poor water quality or as a result of physical damage. So, check off water quality first. Are the nitrite and ammonia values zero? Do you change 50% of the water each week? Do you add dechlorinator each time? As for physical damage, either the fish are fighting or you're handling the fish badly, e.g., when netting it. Fighting among Trichogaster trichopterus is very common: the males are EXTREMELY aggressive, and will attack most other Gouramis, not just their own species.> The opal eats little, sucks air from the surface occasionally, and has lost all of its color except for red near the tail (which is covered in the "fur"). The "fur" looks almost like spores of some sort, however it doesn't match the descriptions for ich (which I've treated anyway with the anti-fungal), wiggly-worms, or any other pictures I've found so far on the internet. <Well, can't be certain without a photo, but highly likely one of the three diseases mentioned earlier. Dwarf Gouramis (Colisa lalia) also suffer from 'Dwarf Gourami Disease' which is a bacterial or viral problem (possibly both) and is incurable. Trichogaster trichopterus doesn't tend to get this disease, so we can probably cross that one off, but you might want to check out these two different species and see if you (your fish shop) have identified them correctly.> This brave little guy keeps fighting, and he moves quick when he needs to, but mostly he's just lethargic and hangs out well out of the way of the bigger two fish, either near the top or on the bottom of the tank. <Doesn't sound all that promising, I admit.> Any suggestions? Thank you! Amanda <Hope this helps, Neale>

3 spot Gourami w/ pop-eye; not enough useful information, poor grammar, etc...  7/28/07Hi crew <Hello there, Jorie here today.> I <I> ...was looking at my fish today and I <I> saw my 3 spot Gourami as <with?> ...pop eye with blood at the bottom of the eye. is <Is> ...there anything I <I> ...can do? What is happening none of my other fish are all fine <I assume you mean none of your other fish are affected or ill, right?> <OK, first off, when you write us, please take a few additional moments to use proper grammar, capitalization, sentence case, etc. Since your query was so short, I fixed it to make it readable (we do publish our responses to queries on the Daily FAQs site - see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs3.htm and in order to make the Q&As understandable to all, we do request that our writers comply with these requests: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/faqstips.htm More to the point, now: I need a lot more information to be able to help you here. Facts like how large your tank is, how long it has been setup, what type of filtration is used, what livestock you have, water temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings, water change schedule, etc. are all necessary information. Generally speaking, what I can tell you is that pop eye is caused by poor water quality, so do check your water parameters with a quality liquid reagent test kit. I suggest isolating the sick fish into its own hospital tank (filtered and cycled; as to the latter, use water from the main tank so as not to shock the ill fish's system) and treating with Epsom salt (1 tsp. per 5 gallons of H20) and pristine water conditions. I'm betting your tank has a harmful, if not lethal buildup of toxins which are causing your problems. The Gourami may just be the first fish to exhibit symptoms, but if the water quality's poor, the others will soon follow suit... I can give you better/more specific suggestions if you give me the information I've requested above... Best regards, Jorie> thank you <Thank you!>

Re: 3-spot Gourami w/ pop-eye; still not much useful info...recommend reading, increasing water changes - 08/05/07 Hi Jorie <Hi again; sorry for the delay in responding, I've been traveling around a bit and haven't had much time to check in here...> Ok, my tank is 5ft by 4ft <In order to calculate the volume, I need the depth measurement as well; it does sound like this is a good sized aquarium, though.> ...and it has been set up for 4yrs now. <Great.> I have never had this problem before. <Sometimes issues are cumulative...> I have one catfish, 4 barbs and the others are all types of tetras. <It would be helpful to know the species of each here.> And I have fresh weeds in the tank <Again, species?> The water gets changed every 3 months <Ideally, once a tank has established its nitrogen cycle, you should be performing a 10-20% water change every week or two (this depends on how heavily stocked the tank is, how good the filtration is, how messy the species of fish you have are, etc.; without more information, it's impossible for me to make a more specific recommendation.)> ...and the temperature is 82 <A bit high, but so long as it is stable, should be OK.> ...the pH and ammonia are good <Useless info. I can't tell you what's an ideal pH for your tank, as I don't know really what you are keeping. As for ammonia, it should be at zero, as should nitrite levels.> ...nitrate is a bit low; could this be the problem and if so how do I change it? <I think you are confused. As far as nitrates go, the lower the better; as high as 20 ppm is acceptable, but more towards zero is ideal. Do read here for info. on cycling a tank: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm Also, I recommend getting a copy of David E. Boruchowitz's "Simple Guide to the Freshwater Aquarium" - it's a very comprehensive, clear book geared towards beginners. I know you have had your tank for several years now, but you don't seem to have a good grasp on Fishkeeping 101, which you and your fish could very much benefit from. Also browse here for many helpful articles on freshwater fishkeeping: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsetupindex.htm > Thanks <I don't know how much I've helped. Again, Popeye is generally caused by poor environmental conditions. As recommend before, I would isolate this fish into a cycled, heated, filtered aquarium and treat with clean water and Epsom salt. Aside from that, the best thing you can do for your critters is read and learn... Best wishes, Jorie>

Blue Gourami - fin trouble!   7/28/07 Hi there. My husband and I are quite new to keeping tropical freshwater fish, so a little help in diagnosing a problem with our blue Gourami would be appreciated. Have searched the net and have found your site and are hoping for some help. <OK, will do my best.> We have a 35 Gallon tank, have checked all water parameters and they are fine. In fact we have baby fish (in a baby net 2 weeks old) which are thriving at the moment, so the water is fine. <Can you define "fine"? You see, not all tropical fish want the same things. Some want warmer water, others cooler. Some want an acid pH, others a basic pH. Some want hard water, others soft. Some are intolerant of low levels of pollution, others will put up with it for a while. So we need numbers -- at the very least, pH, hardness, nitrite, and temperature. These 4 are usually pretty good indicators of conditions in the aquarium, and are the essential ones every aquarist should have to hand.> A couple of weeks ago we noticed our Blue Gourami had a small white (pin head) spot on its side fin. <Almost certainly whitespot/ick. Treat on sight, because it is extremely contagious.> Its appetite and activity levels are normal. We asked the LFS and they said to keep an eye on it and that if it multiplied or the fishes behaviour changed we would possibly need to treat for White Spot. <Not brilliant advice.> Nothing changed for a week then another white spot appeared on the opposite side fin! <It's whitespot. It spreads.> This one has since become red and inflamed. This fish had a red spot near the base of its tail a few weeks ago, but this disappeared after a couple of days. We have checked the red lump and it does not seem to be a parasite (nothing to remove) just a red small lumpy mass. Is it a tumour? The fish is absolutely fine in himself...eating fine and swimming normally. Tumours are rare in freshwater fish, though they happen. The red inflammation is unrelated to the whitespot. Almost certainly you have water quality issues, and what you're seeing is the simultaneous appearance of Finrot (the red) and whitespot. These are both extremely common in new aquaria. They must be treated immediately because both have the potential to cause fatalities.> He has been chasing my Gold Gourami about so is this maybe an injury sustained during courtship? They do get quite frisky! <No, he's not courting. He's fighting. Blue and gold Gouramis are the same species (Trichogaster trichopterus) and the males are legendarily aggressive and nasty fish. You would not believe the number of times I've been asked to help out where someone has an aquarium with this fish causing havoc. It's what they do. Males have orange pelvic fins (the "feelers") and extra-long dorsal fins, so are usually quite easy to sex.> No other fishes in the aquarium seem to be having any problems. We have 6 Danios, 2 goldfish, 1 Plec, 2 red Indian Gourami and a Japanese Weather loach who is a real character!! <An interesting selection of fish. I happen to be a great fan of weather loaches, so I'm sure he is fun to watch.> All the fish are non aggressive and we have a lovely pleasant tank. <Famous last words...> I am just worried about Bluey. I really hope that you can help us. <Done my best. Hope this helps.> Many thanks Louise & Ady <Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Blue Gourami - fin trouble!  7/29/07 Hi Neale, <Hello Louise,> Should I treat the whitespot and the fin rot at the same time? Or give the tank chance to recover between the two medications? <This depends on the medication used. In general though you need to complete one treatment before doing another. In this case, I'd tend to treat the whitespot first and then the Finrot. Between each "course" of treatment, do two 50% water changes (one one evening, the other the next morning) so that you flush out most of the first medication used. Oh, and one last thing: make sure you remove carbon before using any medication. To be honest, I'd recommend not using carbon at all unless you have a specific need for it. The space in the filter where carbon goes is better used by extra biological filter media.> Does this affect the filter, <No, not if you follow the instructions.> And are there any tips on what I should be looking for in the water chemistry, just in case I have missed a test kit? <Not really sure what you mean here. What you want are values within the range tolerated by the fish in question. So a blue Gourami is good between pH 6 and 8, so if you have pH 7.5, that's fine. Likewise they're good at medium hardness levels, around 5-15 dH being about right, so if you have hardness 12 dH, that's fine too.> Water temp is 27 degrees, ammonia within safe levels indicated on test tube kit, as was nitrate and nitrite levels. <Ah, now this is where things unwind. There is NO "safe" range of either ammonia or nitrite. For your fish to be healthy, both must be ZERO. While the test kit might suggest anything up to 0.5 mg/l ammonia and 1.0 mg/l nitrite is acceptable, this is only true during the cycling phase, and even then, it severely stresses the fish and can kill them. At the least, it makes them more vulnerable to ambient pathogens -- whitespot and Finrot for example. So if your test kits show ANY nitrite or ammonia, then you have problems; likely the tank is either immature, overstocked, overfed, or under-filtered. Nitrate is the ONLY one of these things that has a safe range. In general, up to 50 mg/l is safe for standard tropical fish, though rather less, around 20 mg/l, for more delicate things like dwarf cichlids and discus. In other words, don't tell me you think the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are "safe", tell me what the exact numbers are. If they're not 0, 0, and <50 mg/l, then they're not safe.> All very low levels, water hardness is a problem in this area but the LFS said all the fish we have can deal with it. <Water chemistry is almost never the issue people think it is. Admittedly, there are some species than need either soft water or hard water. Mollies and other livebearers need hard water and are sickly when kept in soft water. But a lot of the standard stuff like Gouramis, barbs, Corydoras, Plecs, loaches, etc., adapt just fine to a wide range of conditions. Any aquarium book will suggest values for any given species, and it's always a good idea to choose your fish by selecting species that will do well in your local water conditions. If your water is very hard and has a high pH, then choosing things like Rainbowfish and livebearers is the way to go.> We condition any tap water we use and cycle regularly. 20% water change every 2 weeks. <OK. Conditioning the water is good. Adding Cycle (or any other bacteria supplement) is pointless. Once the filter is established, it is self-maintaining. Adding more bacteria is kind of like adding more grass seed every week to a lawn. All the filter bacteria want is to be left alone and that every month or so you gently clean the media in a bucket of aquarium water (not fresh water!) to dislodge some of the silt and detritus. But that's it. As for water changes, you need to raise your game. 50% a week is a good amount. Water changes cost almost nothing to do, but they make such a big difference to the health of the fish.> Gravel clean every 3/4 weeks. Plastic plants only, internal filter, 200w heater, kept lit for about 8 hours a day minimum. <All sounds fine.> Many thanks, Louise <Good luck! Cheers, Neale>

Blue Gourami turned black  5/30/07 Hi.. we got a large tank, like 64 gallons and a few kinds of fish several weeks ago, one was a fire Gourami and we diagnosed it with dropsy but it died. <Greetings. Dropsy is a symptom, not a disease. It can be caused by all kinds of stuff. I'd bet all the money in my pockets though that your fish actually died from Dwarf Gourami Disease, which is highly contagious and practically ubiquitous in factory-farmed dwarf Gouramis. Long term, your tank is unsafe for dwarf Gouramis, and any you buy will likely catch the bacteria or virus involved and die.> We put the proper medicine in but now one of our blue Gouramis turned almost completely black, we are still using the dropsy medicine as directed by the box and we cant figure out why he/she is turning black. <There's no such thing as Dropsy Medicine. Wish there was. Anything that says it fixes dropsy is being, let us say, a little generous with its marketing. It's about par with things from the drugstore that say they cure colds. They don't. Anyway, as a matter of course you should always finish the medication as directed on the packaging. Once finished, large scale water changes are an extremely good idea. I'd recommend at least a 50% water change this week.> Does anyone know why? or how to help him/her? or how to protect our other fish from the same thing? <It's difficult to know why your fish has turned black. Gouramis, like most other fish, can change colour to some degree, and often will when stressed. Now, the question here is whether your blue Gourami is Trichogaster trichopterus, the "true" blue Gourami, also known as the 3-spot Gourami; or merely a the all-blue version of the dwarf Gourami Colisa lalia. Trichogaster trichopterus is (apparently) immune or resistant to Dwarf Gourami Disease and generally a very, very hardy animal. It is a largish, elongate fish, around 10 cm or so, and has two black spots, one on its flank and one by the tail. Colisa lalia is a small (5 cm) fish that tends to skulk about the bottom of the tank. The all-blue variant has a neon or cobalt blue colour. If it is Colisa lalia, then chances are it has Dwarf Gourami Disease and will die shortly. A photograph, and some description of its behaviour and eating habits will help. Also, what's the water quality like?> kriebse <Cheers, Neale>

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

Opaline Gourami turning black   4/27/07 I've been searching for a week without help. I have had an Opaline Gourami for a year. He is living in a 55 gallon tank with tank mates; 2 angel fish, 8 Cory cats, a black shark, and 6 neon tetras. They all get along and no one is stressed.  I use a Fluval bio filter and do a 25% water change weekly. He had a bout with ick a few months ago but it was short lived and one round of treatment did the job. This week I noticed "Bob" my Gourami, had a sore behind his head. I thought it looked like something had worked it's way out  through the skin so I kept a watch on it. It never healed. It gets a white spot in the same location that looks like a zit, then disappears and comes back within a few days. Yesterday, he started turning black. Not lightly colored for a few minutes like when he gets angry but half of him is totally black and has been that way all night. I tried moving him to a sick tank where I slowly added salt to help with the sore and kill any parasites, if that's what they are. Up until now he was eating but now his mouth is swollen and full of sores. Do you have any idea why Bob would have changed color this way, and if this is caused by illness, what can I do for him? Thanks for your help. <This sort of complete, distal darkening is almost always due to "nervous damage"... could be genetic or from a trauma (jumping let's say)... no "cure" but likely not debilitating, painful... Bob Fenner>
Re: Opaline Gourami turning black   4/30/07 thanks Bob, I'm pretty sure the damage was caused by some internal problems (perhaps parasites). <Mmm, possibly, but unlikely> He doesn't seem to be in distress even though he's not eating much and still half black. I don't dare put him back in his tank in case it keeps spreading so I will keep treating him with MelaFix <Not worthwhile> for a while then just a low salt concentrate in the sick tank. Then just wait and see. Sue <This appearance, condition is not uncommon in this species of Trichogaster... and as you and I have stated, not apparently deleterious... Bob Fenner>

Yellow or Gold Gourami  has spots   4/21/07 I'm hoping someone can help me. I have a fairly new 46 gallon freshwater tank that has an assortment of silver dollars, <Mmm, some of these species get quite large... please see fishbase.org, WWM for the genera Metynnis, Myleus, Mylossoma...> 3 kinds of Gouramis, tetras, head and tail lights, black barbs, pictus cats and a plecostomus. I have had the tank for over a month and was adding some new fish to the tank, as I was about to put a new yellow (or gold) Gourami in the tank I saw he had spots on his top fin and one side of his body (right behind his gill). Instead of putting him in the tank I put him in a ten gallon quarantine tank. <Good idea for all such newcomers...> Originally I thought it was ich so I treated it for that but no change other than the spots have gotten larger, more like little clumps. it hasn't spread anywhere else on the body but those spots seem to be more noticeable. He's active and no other problems, but I don't know what to treat him for. I've looked at so many pictures of diseases and it doesn't really look like anything I've seen. I want to say that the spots almost have a light bluish tint to them but that could be from the treatment for ich I was putting in the tank. Any help is greatly appreciated. Heather <Mmmm, might be encysted worms, microsporideans... other such organisms... You could try an anthelminthic like Prazi... perhaps followed by an anti-protozoal like Metronidazole... Both materia medica are discussed on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Happy aquarium with 1 sick golden Gourami  3/30/07 Hi I am Isabelle from Mauritius and I am quite new to fish keeping. <Hello Isabelle... I have never been, but intend to visit, dive the Mascarenes one of these years...> First of all thank you guys for the website!!!!!! I have downloaded recently the FAQs and I must admit that its really useful. Thanks again! I have a 200 litres fresh water tank. Bio sponge filter rock and plastic plants setting. No heater working cause we are in summer and its warm. <Mmm, still a good idea to leave it in, and plugged in... set to a low temperature... Just "in case" the water gets too cold... Won't cost you any electricity if it doesn't...> The inhabitants are: 1 Black Angel (female and DOMINANT), 1 (Lace Angel female), 2 Blue Gourami (males), 3 Golden Gourami (2males and 1 female), 2 pairs of platys and a pair of white mollies. They all seem to be happy so far except that I have a problem with the little male golden Gourami of about 7cm I introduced along with a female about a month ago. The female is growing fast and seem to be cheerful with the other golden male Gourami (no babies so far). But the little male hasnt grown at all. <Mmm... well, males of the Trichogaster genus do tend to grow slower, stay smaller...> He is pretty thin and most of the time lay down on the gravel on one side. He can barely keep his body straight even when he tries to feed from the gravel. <Oh, this is not good> When he does his tail can touch his head, he is kind of folded. He goes time to time to the surface to eat micro pellets, I have bought for him and for some oxygen. Please can you tell me whats wrong with him and what should be done?   <I think this individual may be "defective"... perhaps genetically poorly endowed... does happen with fishes much more than the case with mammals... A good percent don't "make it" at a later stage of neuronal et al. development...> I would also like to have a piece of advice. I would like to introduce a male or two of Angels so as to experience breeding. I would appreciate to know the steps to follow as I fear to have a battlefield in my aquarium. <Mmm, really... to have a useful divider handy... to partition off the breeders from the rest of your fish livestock... or another system to move either set to> The dominant female has her tube down as well as the other one. She sometimes is mischievous and kind of bite the other female. And at times they are side by side as nothing. I plan to set a second tank for the breeding. <Oh, good> The third and last question is that I plan to leave the country for 2-3 weeks and would like to know if its possible to leave the aquarium like this or if there is something I can do to prevent any disease breakout. <If all is fine, stable... no worries. I would train someone in your absence to do water changes, some minimal feeding... and have at least Net access... should they think something is awry> I have a person who can come to feed the fishes daily but doubt if he can do water change Please advise if possible. Thanks in advance Kind regards, Isabelle <Merci, Bob Fenner>

Re: Happy aquarium with 1 sick golden Gourami  3/30/07 Hi Bob, <Isabelle/Alain> Many thanks for your reply. <Welcome my friend> Great to hear you want to come to this part of the planet. And who knows if you can get to Mauritius for vacation, but also get people here to know the wonderful work you guys are doing!!! Keep in touch! <Our dear friend, Peter... who has lived with us some fourteen years, had a farm implement (tractors...) business in Swaziland for some fifteen years... and used to get out to play soccer and rugby on Mauritius and Reunion... We have chatted many times re going there (and Rodriquez) to dive, tourist about... visit with folks at the new aquarium there...> If you think something can be done to get people to know your work here, etc would be happy to help. <Ahh, thank you... Mainly linking, doing your bit to help others...> In fact, I have started to talk about your website. Not much, but it might help some novice like me... sorry but it's even more work for you guys :-) <Heeeee! No worries> My LFS told me the same thing as regards the sick male Gourami. Still I didn't want to lose faith.... Well guess it should be so.... <Don't lose faith... Remember... very, make that VERY important... such negative thinking leads to closing of your mind to infinite possibilities... Do not allow yourself to sink, turn to such a waste of precious resources> I got the heater back in the tank just in case.... <Ah, good> Think I will try breeding Angels when I get back, they are my favourite. You are all doing a wonderful job and please keep this up because God knows it's hard when you feel helpless in front of the tank...... Kind regards, Isabelle <Mmm, do also search a bit re the use, application of Epsom Salt here... I do sense this might be useful. Bob Fenner> Re: Happy aquarium with 1 sick golden Gourami   3/31/07 Bonjour Bob! <Isabelle!> So it won't be your first visit!!! <Mmm, will be mine, not Pete's> Well I do encourage you and your folks to come back anytime!! Let me know! <Ah, appreciate this> Thanks for your encouraging words. It's just that I wonder if the little guy is suffering. Don't have the courage to put him down. <I understand...> Don't worries I don't lose faith in fish keeping, these little guys help me a lot out of stress! I think all the fish keepers will agree at least when noooooooo trooooubles in the tank!!!!! Many thanks for the advice on the Epsom salt. In fact, I have started to collect maximum info from the FAQs on Fresh water Angels and doing some research work too. Actually anthemia for hatching the baby brine are not available on the market. My LFS guy suggested green water. I must first set the breeding tank I think before jumping with both feet in this adventure, especially if I have to leave the country for some weeks... <I see> But I will surely try to make either the Angels or Gouramis to spawn. I think I will like to watch them grow and turn into these amazing fishes. <Agreed> Anyway, I think you will here me sooner or later, especially when in trooooooubles..... Thanks again for your quick replies. Kind regards, Isabelle <Welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Gouramis strange behavior I have six Opaline Gouramis in a 55 gal. tank with 10 Zebra Danios, 6 Black Skirt Tetras, 2 medium Plecos, 1 Apple Snail and 1 Baby Whale, my water parameters are fine, I check them once a week. My question is the Gourami's are displaying a behavior I have not seen before, they will gather in the middle of the tank at the top and move back and forth, then one or two will turn themselves straight up and down in the middle of the tank and the others will swim over and nip at them. They will then all swim around together for awhile, then they'll do the same thing, I was wondering if this is normal or do I have something to worry about. <Is normal, but rarely observed... as most folks keep just one, perhaps two specimens> They get along with everybody in the tank in fact they just ignore everybody else and do their own thing. One thing I just noticed  there is one blowing bubbles at the top of the tank,  am I looking at the possibility that they trying to breed? <Yes indeed> Any help with these questions is greatly appreciated and you guys have a wonderful and helpful site Thanks Jim <Welcome. Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner> Pregnant Gold Gouramis I just bought a pregnant Gold Gouramis and I have it separated from the rest of my fish. What do I do now? Thanks, Katie <... what do you mean? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anabantoids.htm and the Related FAQs linked at top. Bob Fenner>

Blue Gourami Aggression I have a blue Gourami fish and just the other day it started chasing around my 2 Bala sharks. When I bought them they were in the same tank. And the Gourami doesn't seem to care about the other fish in there. I did hear that blue Gouramis can be territorial but at the same time peaceful. Do you think that the Gourami is really out to kill the Bala sharks? Nick <Well, some Trichogaster Gouramis do "turn mean", but Bala Sharks are fast and smart... able to stay out of the Gourami's way... if the tank is large enough. Am sure you're aware of how large these minnow-sharks get, their propensity for jumping... Bob Fenner>

Gourami Breeding, or not I have spent the last 3 hours looking through and searching you site for info on breeding golden Gouramis. I couldn't find squat. Anyway, I have a male and female set of goldens in a 30gal tank that they have had to themselves for about 3 months. I have noticed in the last few days that the female has started fighting the male for food. Actually, fight is a strong word. She's racing him to the food. And she's gotten really round. On top of that, the male sits on the bottom of the tank unless it's time to eat. Then he seems to wait his turn for food. Is this normal behavior for golden Gouramis? Do I need to remove the babies once they are free swimming? I'm used to dealing with my many different kinds of cichlids and have never had my Gouramis breed. I need help! And advice. Thanks, Becca <Try here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anabantoids.htm  Don> 

Why can't we Gouramis be friends? Hi there, <Hello Ross> I have a small freshwater tropical tank with two blue [three spot] Gouramis. I bought the first one a few days ago, and added the second about 24 hours ago, thinking that the first one could be lonely, and no-one likes to be lonely. <Mmm, not everyone...> However, the first one [Mr. Fish], now just attacks and torments the new one non-stop! I believe they may be a pair [purely by accident], as Mr. Fish has a noticeably bigger, more pronounced dorsal fin, and his head and back are more angular. <Good description... likely the first is a male> When he attacks, he changes from a blue-tinged silver to quite a deep blue marbling. Poor Mrs. Fish spends most of her time trying to seek refuge behind the filter, and I think her tail fin may be getting torn. Is there anything I can do to stop this quarrelling? Or are they just sorting out who's the dominant one? I'm reluctant to add more fish as the tank is only 30 litres. But at the same time I don't think Mrs. Fish is going to last very long under all this stress... Thanks for your help, Ross Dougall. <I would put Mr. Fish in a floating contraption... a breeding trap or just an all-plastic colander for a week or so and see if this calms him down... do this NOW. Bob Fenner>

Gourami question Hi all, <Hello Mark> Can't say enough good things about the amount of help you've given us fish lovers. <You would, perhaps will do the same> I've got a 10 gallon freshwater tank.  Some fish have come and gone, but the mainstays in the tank are a 2 1/2 inch Gold Gourami and a 2 1/2 inch Iridescent shark. My problem is that I've recently begun to add fish to the tank...I added a 2 inch silvertip shark who gets along great with everyone one, but the Gold Gourami seems to be attacking a 1 1/2 inch Blue Gourami that I added. <Mmm, really, the root of the difficulty here... the size of the tank... too small> The Gold Gourami has always been aggressive to smaller fish (small leopard puffers and mollies).  I figured that adding a larger sized fish (the Blue Gourami) would help to calm the Gold Gourami down, but he just cant seem to break the habit of chasing all of the other fish around the tank. <It might work... to isolate the original... gold Gourami... in a breeding trap, or even just a good sized net, hung on the corner of the tank... for a few days... This often re-sets the "dynamics" in a system> Barring total isolation of one, is there anyway that I can keep the Gourami's together?  The attacking never goes beyond chasing and the occasional nip, but I'm just afraid that the stress will do him/her in. Thanks for the help, Mark <You are likely right... try the isolation trick... and if this doesn't work? Perhaps a larger system? Or a trade-in. Bob Fenner> Shy Gold Gouramis Hi there: I recently purchased 2 Gold Gouramis, both of which I believe are female, to cycle my new 20 gallon hexagonal aquarium. I heard that they were a hardy fish and I enjoy their colors. Before I even bought my tank, I read 3 aquarium books cover to cover to make sure I would have the best chances of success. None of these books, though, contain sufficient information on the "shyness" of certain fish. After combing your site, I was wondering why my Gouramis are hiding from me! It's only been a few days, but I know they are healthy (at least externally) and the water quality is good. Are they just stressed from the big move? <Likely a factor... as well as their general retiring nature> Will they come out from behind the plants/rocks when I add more fish in the future? <Likely much more so> One seems to be fairly stationary at the bottom and is occasionally followed by the other, who stays near the top. They sometimes come out in the open when they think I'm not looking, but retreat as soon as they see me. Thanks for your time..... Ben <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

Breeding Gouramis Hi dear Anthony How are you , I'm fine ,I am Nader Afshar from Iran, <yes, my friend... I remember you. It is good to hear that you are well> Thank you for your help my mollies babies are very good and send best regards to you, <thank you kindly> I have 4 yellow Gouramis 2f/2m, The female are pregnant ,how can I reproduce them? <not difficult but little bit tedious to do successfully> What is the situation for laying ? <they build a bubble nest at the surface of the water... some floating plants will help them build this nest> what eat babies in first 10 days? <that is partly what is difficult... they need very tiny live food: infusoria> please write me anything need for reproduce them, <the following is one of the many articles on the Internet for breeding these fishes: http://www.aquarticles.com/articles/breeding/Wilkinson_Labyrinth1.html>  Thank you very much, your friend Nader Afshar <best regards, Anthony>

Plant cover for Gourami in quarantine Hi! I was just wondering if it might be ok to float a leaf of romaine lettuce in a quarantine tank with a single Golden Gourami just to give it some cover.  I don't have a plant to put in at the moment. Thank you, Steve <Hi Steve.  This may be more trouble than it is worth.  The leaf would have to be rinsed really well to make sure there were no pesticides on it.  It would not take it long to start decaying so it would have to be replaced frequently.  I would probably just pick up some plastic plants next time I was at the fish store. -Gage>

Cowardly Gourami I have two questions: 1) Tiny black flying insects have shown up in the house and around the fish tank.  How do I eliminate them? <Its hard to say without knowing exactly what they are.> 2) A Golden Gourami in a 15 gallon tank with 5 small Corys and 3 Otos has started hiding a lot in the past 2 weeks.  He seems easily startled now as well.  He comes out to eat.  I test for ammonia and nitrite and its at zero ppm. I do weekly to bi-weekly water changes because its a small tank.  Our water here is alkaline testing at 7.6 -7.8.  I add a small amount of aquarium salt (1tbs per 5 gal). I have coconut shells driftwood and a big fake Bacopa for shelter. what do you think he is scared of? <Have there been any changes in or around the tank recently? A change in lighting (in or out of the tank), tank position, tank decorations, new fish, etc? Even something as simple as moving where the filtered water flows back into the tank can cause this. I think that if the problem is due to a recent change he should be back to normal once he adjusts a bit. Ronni>

Re: Cowardly Gourami Hi Ronni! Of Course I don't know what the insects are. I was hoping you might have experienced this and have some idea. <Unfortunately, I have never had this problem so dont know for sure. One thing to check might be your food. The possibility of this being the cause is pretty slim but it is something to consider. If you are feeding a live larval type food there is the possibility of the food actually maturing or just the scent of the food attracting the insects. I remember once when I was a kid I left an apple core in my bedroom. Within a few days I had a huge amount of tiny black insects flying around all over the place.> About the Gourami: I didn't think to mention that a few weeks back I put a second power filter on the tank because I read that the Penguin bio wheel mini I had on it was a little weak. When I did the last water change I switched the position of the filters around because the tank is slightly tilted. This is exactly when he started hiding! The outlet of the filters reach the top of the water better now but it occurs to me that I possibly now have created too much current for the Gourami. Could this be a problem too? <It is possible that theres too much current but more likely is that he just plain doesnt like it. By adding to and moving the current you disrupted his territory and probably ticked him off. For the fish you have, a total turnover of 2-3 times the tank volume every hour should be sufficient. A little higher is better but probably not more than about 5 times per hour max. Ronni>

Re: Cowardly Gourami Hi! Thank you for the advice, it seems logical. I took the extra filter off of the tank and added a floating plant. Its been almost a month and the Gourami is more skittish than ever. In fact, all the fish in the tank have started to go nuts every time I move near or walk by the tank! They are all still eating. <Hmm something is definitely bothering them but Im at a loss as to what it could be.> I think the Gourami hurt himself; I noticed a white spot on his head that I hope is just a scrape. <Do keep an eye on that spot and make sure it doesnt grow or begin to look cottony. It may be a fungus if it does.> Could it be that the tank is too close to the door? It's funny, I have a larger tank with some of the same fish in the living room were theres constant traffic and the fish are not scared at all. <The door shouldnt be a problem unless its causing the tank temperature to fluctuate. Are you absolutely positive that none of the fish in the tank are harassing the others and causing this? Occasionally a fish will all of a sudden start picking on others in the tank. Do you have a Pleco in the tank?> I read something about using dither fish. A fish that is real friendly like barbs. I don't have room for a school of barbs in a 15 gallon tank. <Dither fish sometimes work but you definitely dont have room to add a school of any that would work.> I am running out of ideas, could you please help? <Unfortunately, so am I! Keep a close watch on your water quality, make sure that spot isnt a fungus, and make sure that hes not getting picked on by anyone else, especially when the lights are off. Ronni>

Re: Cowardly Gourami Ronni, Thanks. The spot on his head is gone thanks to Melafix. No Pleco just 1 Gourami, 3 Otos and 5 Corys. <Has he started acting any better since you got the spot cleared up? If not, I'm really at a loss on what could be causing this! Ronni>

Blue Gourami Question Hello. Recently bought a 55 gallon tank, and got a variety of fish. <Greetings> 4 silver dollars 4 glass tetras 4 high finned tetras and 2 blue Gouramis I also have a Plecostomus <OK> Everything was working fine, until I noticed ich on some of the fish (silver dollar and tetra). I treated the water following the instructions, and still notice a white spot on one of the glass tetras. I hope this resolves itself, but I worry about one of my Gouramis. He lives around the plants, which is near the filter. He has been fine there, but now he seems to be caught up in the current. He tries to swim, but just lurches forward and back. The other Gourami chases him sometimes, and then he can move just fine... I'm worried if that is a problem with the ich, or something else. <You may need to re-medicate for the ich again. I really dont think the Gourami has a problem, most likely he just likes that spot and the feel of the current there.> Ph is set at 7 and I've been pretty regular on changing the water, although I haven't tested the ammonia. Any advice you have for a new fish hobbyist. Adam Sutherland <You probably should test the ammonia and nitrites but other than that, keep up the good work! Ronni>

Gourami shredding goldfishes I have a 20 gallon long with 3, 4 inch goldfish in it. And 1 blue Gourami. I have had the tank for 2 years with no major problems. About 2 months ago, I bought a shubunkin fish. It swam with the pack almost immediately. This morning when I woke up I noticed that my blue Gourami was chasing around one of my 2 year old goldfish whom he's lived with all along. His fins are almost shredded and he is floating sideways. I love my fish dearly and am very confused at why this is happening. <Blue/two-spot/Opaline/gold Gourami (all color morphs of Trichogaster trichopterus) tend to be rather aggressive.  Chances are, with the addition of the new fish, the Gourami felt crowded, and decided to, 'uncrowd' the tank - his way.> I put my Gourami in another tank for now. <Good.  Keep him separate from the goldfish, or this'll probably happen again.> Can I save my Fish in time? <Hopefully!  Keep your water quality as good as possible, keep up with water changes, and stay on top of ammonia and nitrite.  It might be a good idea to medicate with an antibacterial like Kanamycin sulfate (Aquatronics sells this as "Kanacyn") or Nitrofurazone (Aquatronics sells this as "Furacyn").  Watch him closely for bacterial infection if you don't medicate; wounds are an open door for illnesses to set in.> All the other fish are fine. And my pH and ammonia levels are normal.  Katana <Wishing you and your goldfishes well,  -Sabrina>

Spotted Fish Hi, I have a golden Gourami in my tank and I have just noticed her having 2 black spots on her body, one by the tail, another in the middle of her body.  Those spots are on both sides and exactly in the same place.  I wonder whether they should be there ( I haven't noticed them before) or it is a disease. Other than that she seems fine.  I will be waiting for your answer <Lina, this is normal.  The golden Gourami, or Trichogaster trichopterus is almost always seen with black spots at the middle of the side and at the caudal-fin base.  It sounds to me that you have a perfectly healthy specimen.> Thank you, Lina

Trichogaster trichopterus Hi, <Hello, Sabrina here> I was unable to find any good documentation about my Gourami.  I have 2 female three spotted Gourami and they have been living together for about 6 months.   <Trichogaster trichopterus is the Latin name - a Google search will yield great results, and here's the WWM article:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anabantoids.htm .> Living with them, I have a small school of tiger barbs.  The other day I bought a pink kissing Gourami.  Now one of my three spotted Gourami has turned very dark and his spots have faded out so that it appears as if it has no spots.  I suspect that it may be stress because the color change occurred within about 3 hours.  A bacteria wouldn't act this fast without harming any of the other fish right?   <It's certainly possible, but you're right on about stress, too.  Now you've just got to determine why the fish is stressed - illness, perhaps; or maybe being bullied by that new kisser.> Anyway, that fish now hangs out in the plants.  How should I go about diagnosing what is wrong? <A good starting point:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm  Other than that, observe the fish very closely, and separate to a quarantine tank if at all possible, for better observation and to protect the fish, also to prevent any possibility of spreading any illness to other fish.> Thanks,  Keeter <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Gourami Problem About a week after Christmas(2003), I purchased two small Gold Gouramis a little under two inches, One slightly larger than the other. They had been gobbling down their share of Bloodworms and TetraMin flakes, the larger one had grown to about three and a half inches while the smaller one still remained small, but ate just as much as the other. About a week ago, the smaller one stopped eating and just stared out the front of the tank. Four days after he stopped eating, he/she just died, and I have No idea why. I checked the water and ammonia and nitrate was 0 and Ph was 7.4- Is that ok? They are in a 29 gallon tank with three platys, four mollies, two Cory cats, and five tetras and they all get along, especially the live bearers.  We went to PetSmart to see if the lone Gourami could survive by itself, and he said that they do MUCH better in pairs, although not a schooling fish so he would be ok. So we bought another, not knowing if it was a male or female. When we let it float in his little plastic bag, we noticed that once again, the Gourami was smaller than big fish of the tank. The new Gourami also had darker, more brown, markings and redder eyes. When we let him out of the bag, the old Gourami began rubbing against it and feeling of it with its little feeler thingy ma bobbers (don't have a clue as to what they are!!) Is that a way of breeding? I tried to find info on which ones are males and which ones are females and the old Gourami had a longer dorsal fin and it was kinda pointy, and the new one has a short fin. He did that until I fed them that night and the old Gourami chased the new one away from the food and hasn't had anything to do with the new one since except chasing it and I noticed a small tear on the new one's tail. Should I take the new one back before It kills or gets killed? Who caused the tear? Thanks for all your help. You site is on my favorites list! Rachel >>Dear Rachel; You mention testing your water for ammonia and nitrate, did you also test nitrites? Nitrite and nitrate are not the same thing, and I would recommend always testing for all three. Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. You need to know the results for ALL three tests. You pH sounds fine. How often are you doing partial water changes? Please let me know all of this information :) Your gold Gouramis have feelers, most Gouramis do, and they use these to inspect other fish. It is quite normal, it's their way of communicating with each other. The tear in her fins could be caused by aggression, either from the other Gourami, or from one of your mollies. Just make sure you test your water, and that your water tests indicate good water quality, otherwise your fish can develop fin rot or fungus on the damaged fins. Good luck! -Gwen<<

Gourami Troubles Hello - Hoping you can help.  We have just recovered from a case of Ich in our tank - 2 survivors only.  1 Pearl Danio and 1 Gold Gourami.  After two weeks, we added a Pleco, 2 more Danios and through the recommendation at the pet store, 3 white balloon platys.  Everyone seems happy except that the Gourami is attacking the platys (one of them is pregnant).  The pet store staff suggested the Gourami would be fine on his own.  It has only been 24 hours since the platys went in the tank but they already seem stressed. Should I rid of the Gourami?  Should I get a partner for him?  Is it too soon and give them a few more days to adjust to the new attendees? Thanks for your help. Patty Despinic <<Dear Patty; what size is the tank? Tank size does play an important role in the aggression levels of fish. And gold Gouramis can be nasty. Adding another simply means you are adding another potentially nasty fish. They each have their own character, some are nasty, but some do fine in community tanks. As for the balloon platies (are you sure they aren't balloon mollies?) you need to make a judgment call...is the Gourami aggressing them to the point where their fins are becoming shredded? If not, try leaving them in there for a few more days, and see if the aggression lessens. If it doesn't lessen, you will need to decide if you still want to keep them, or return either them or the Gourami. -Gwen>> Gourami Troubles II Sorry-the tank is 30 gallons.   I have left them together for a few days and they are not really any better.  The balloon (mollies) do not have any physical damage but they are huddled together in the plant in the tank and won't swim the tank.  I have tested it by removing the Gourami for a short while and the balloon molly's demeanor changes quickly and dramatically. They are obviously much happier.  If I decide to get rid of the Gourami - any suggestions other than flushing him.  He was purchased weeks ago - I'm not sure they would take him back.  Is it safe to give him to a friend who also has a tank? Thanks for all your help. Patty Despinic <<Hey Patty, you should phone your LFS and ask them. Tell them the problem, and if they don't take back the Gourami, would they know of any other stores that would? I don't see a problem, most Serious Pet stores will take a healthy fish back. But yes, it is probably safe to give him away to your friend, too. Good luck! -Gwen>>

Re: Freshwater Tank question Chuck: In reference to this answer on the website, "watch out that ventral fin feelers don't get picked off by the faster moving fish"...I've noticed that my blue Gourami seems to have a section missing from his "plumage" Where is the ventral fin, and are the Danios or blue tetras the likely culprit, as they are the faster moving fish?  Also, if I increase my Danio school (I only have 3 now), do you think that stands a chance of decreasing the chances of this happening again? < These "feelers" that are characteristic of many Gourami species, are too tempting for other species to leave alone. The Gouramis often use these to poke and prod other things and they get picked off by the smaller faster fish like the blue tetras in your case. Adding more fish won't prevent this from happening again.-Chuck> Cyndy Monarez/Thomas Nelson

Gouramis as "the butler" The angelfish are both babies, and SEEM extraordinarily peaceful. In regard to the Gouramis, I had to return the gold Gourami to the store, as he was terrorizing the powder blue one, but he would have been in the tank a full 24 hours before I added the powder and realized they couldn't co-exist.  He only seemed aggressive towards his own kind, but I suppose he could have done it.  Also, the Danios are about the same size as the tetras and they play chase with each other quite a bit-although neither seems to dominate. That said, however, the tetras ranged in size from babies to adults, and I think the one that got killed was one of the smaller ones.  Could one of the Danios have done it? <If the fish was weaken or damaged by another fish then the other fish start looking at the wounded fish as food. At that point they are probably all guilty.> There's still 5 out of 6 in there, though, and I would think that if it were a fish still in the tank that he would have taken out another one. I plan to clean gravel and change water today, so I guess it's possible that I'll find his body and find that he died of natural causes-although I still imagine he'd be viewed as food and eaten already if that were the case.  Is that correct? < I think any dead fish soon becomes looked at as food by the others.-Chuck> Cyndy Monarez/Thomas Nelson Blue Gourami trouble swimming Hi Wet Crew, I have a 33 gal tank (3 yrs).  pH is around 7 and temp @ 74 degrees. Penguin dual BioWheel filter, plants etc.  I change about 1/3 of the water every three weeks. <Hello, Jorie here...sounds like your tank is well-established and stable - good deal.> Fish are 2x Blue Gourami, 1x Black Angel, 1x Chinese Algae Eater (who doesn't seem to eat algae), <LOL! I've got a Siamese Algae Eater who pretty much eats everything *except* algae!> and 1 or 2 glass shrimp.  All my fish seem to be fine except for one of the Gouramis.  It has trouble swimming and quite often just sits on the bottom with it's tail spread on the bottom of the tank.  It is eating, but struggles when swimming.  There are no abnormal spots or any visible fungus growth.  It's been doing this for about a week now. <First off, I'd suggest putting the affected fish into a QT tank just in case it has something capable of spreading to the others.  Also, if he's experiencing trouble swimming, a more peaceful environment without other fish to eat his food, potentially bully him, etc. would be good. Since there are no visible signs of illness except for the trouble swimming, could he have somehow injured himself...one of his pectoral fins, for instance? This once happened to a molly of mine and it rendered her pretty much incapable of swimming.  It could also potentially be constipation...is the fish pooping normally? You should be able to better determine this once the fish is in QT. Fasting and/or feeding a frozen, thawed pea works well for treating constipation, if that's the problem.  Finally, worst case scenario, it could be swim bladder disorder, which can be caused by bacterial or viral disease.  After you've ruled out the other ideas above, you may want to consider treating the fish with a broad-spectrum antibiotic (but only in the QT tank!)  I would resort to this as a "last ditch" effort...hopefully the fish is somehow injured and just needs some healing time in his own tank.  And, by the way, if you do notice that one or more fins are damaged, missing, once the fish is in QT, you could add MelaFix to the water to aid in the affected part's regeneration.> Thought the water change I did on the weekend might help, but I was wrong.  The tank does seem to be producing a lot of algae - water has a slight green tinge and b4 I changed the water and cleaned, there was algae visible on the glass. Any ideas? <With regards to the algae, I'd suggest cutting down on feeding and stepping up the water changes.  I have a 29 gal. tank and I change 5 gallons of the water every weekend.  When I have algae bloom problems, I'll even do 5 gal. twice per week. Also, is the tank in direct sunlight? This will cause algae outgrowths. Finally, what type of lighting is in this tank? Have the bulbs been switched recently? You could always add more plants (you mentioned this was a planed tank), as they'll use up more of the nutrients the algae needs to survive.> Thanks, Derek Horne <You're welcome. Good luck, Jorie.>

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

Gourami stopped eating HELP!!! I have a 30 gal tank. Perfect water except cloudy- I put cloud reducer in last night. Opaline stopped eating this morning & not eating since. Shares tank w/ gold Gourami, dwarf Gourami, 2 swordtails, 3 Cory cats, 2 Danios,& 1 Plecostomus. Have had all for over 2 months w/no prob.s till today. Usually feed them trop flakes & algae wafers, but gave them whole brine shrimp gel pack as a treat for the 1st time yesterday. Everyone ate heartily! Went back to flakes & wafers today w/no probs. All ate except the Opaline Gourami. Gold picks on him time-to-time, but otherwise peaceful tank. Has been up in corner for a few days, but ate when fed- till today. All tank mates look great w/no visible signs of illness or disease. Possible parasite? I'm baffled, PLEASE help! Michelle in N.C. <Very likely the feeding bout is due to the addition to the clarifying agent. I would not worry unless this fish is not eating a week from now. Bob Fenner>

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