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FAQs on Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives 1

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

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

Colisa art at home done by my friend Sue. 

My Gourami fish Hi the other day I purchased two flame Gouramis from my local pet store. Can you please answer the following questions for me?  How can I tell which one is a male or female? <Males are a bit larger, much more colorful, with unpaired fins that will be a bit longer, more pointed... they act a bit more aggressively than females... have the folks at the store where you shop show you these differences. Very often folks just get/have males with no females...> How can I get them two [sic] breed? <A bit involved, and best searched on the Net... under the terms "Gourami breeding"... elevated temperature, a covered system (to prevent drafts... damage to young labyrinth organs, conditioning of adult breeders, their separation, joining... preparation of foods for the fry...> What other Gouramis go good with them? <Other small Colisa, Trichogaster species> Which is the easiest Gourami to bred? <Mmm, likely Macropodus species, Paradisefishes.  Bob Fenner>

A Sick Red Gourami Bob - hope you can provide some insight. I'll make this short. Two days ago, my Red Gourami came out from behind of his hiding plant (which was unusual.) In looking closely at him, I noticed a dark gray area behind each gill. This, obviously, was not normal and I had no idea what it was. The only thing I put in the tank (10 gal.) to assist him was a recommended dose of "Melafix" that I purchased at the pet store. The only other foreign matter I had put in the tank was about a week ago when I added some Epsom Salts to a small breeding tank that had a constipated Guppy in it. (The Guppy didn't make it.)  Unfortunately, neither did my Gouramis. I had intended to totally change the water this morning, but when I arose, the Gourami had died. I'm just trying to figure out what possibly the gray areas could have been and what I should have done. I'd had the Gourami for about 6 months and he'd been very healthy.  Between the time I noticed the gray around the gills and it's dying was very quick. - 2 days. Appreciate any insight. Riley  <Likely the damage about the gills was environmental in origin... perhaps the treatments you added had something to do with this... maybe not... Many imported Gouramis (and livebearers for that matter) from the Far East suffer such mortalities... mysteriously. The best one can do is to keep systems optimized, stable and offer good foods. Bob Fenner>

Gourami Bubble Nest Hi Bob, I've got a 6-week old 29 gallon tank that has cycled successfully with Bio-Spira. So far it's had only two inhabitants, a neon blue dwarf Gourami and a female Betta, who have been cohabitating nicely. Although Mr. Gourami likes to show her who's boss by turfing her around a bit, Miss Betta seems ok with it. Just today Gourami has built himself a bubble nest and is definitely acting hormonal!   <Yikes... well, they are closely related...> More aggressive, jumping out of the water, things like that. Here's my two questions: since Bettas and Gouramis are both labyrinth bubble-makers, is this going to confuse them?  <Apparently so> Any chance he might get more aggressive with her to get her to mate, after all she's the only girl in town, AND she sucks air!  Just want to make sure she'll be safe. <Me too... all should be fine though> Also, I'm assuming that while he's doing this and guarding his creation this is probably not the best time to add new fish....yes? I was planning this weekend to add some Cory cats and a couple more female Bettas?  Would this bother Mr. Boss-man while he's busy trying to procreate? Thanks for your advice.... Leslie <Actually... adding these other fishes my be a good idea... help diffuse, defuse Mr. G's amorous attentions... Bob Fenner>

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

Long poop on Gourami, not white, dark tannish color Wonder if it's normal for my Gourami to have a long trail of poop (about 1.5 times body length) trailing. It isn't white colored, it's a sort of darkish tan or very light brown. <Can, yes... depending on the food its getting> It's swimming around quite happily, color is good, but that poop, it's hanging there forever it seems (well it's been there over 15 minutes now). I feed my fish dried shrimp at least two times a week, sometimes more, so it should be getting enough fiber. Is this a sign of a parasite even though the poop looks the right color, doesn't seem hollow or stringy, but looks like a constant poop that is in dire need of being squeezed off. <I would not be concerned here. Bob Fenner> 

Injured Dwarf Gourami Hello. I have an injured Dwarf Gouramis. He was being attacked behind his eyes by a Platy. <Unusual> It looks as if its scales are gone and there are sores on both sides. I have it in a 10 gal. tank with a male Betta (with no problems. my Betta is mellow), 2 platies, 3 white clouds, 2 albino Corys, an angel fish, and a rams horn snail. My water is perfect condition. I took the aggressive platy out of the tank and have him in a bowl for the time being. The Gourami has been hanging out in the corner of the tank by the heater. Will he heal eventually heal and grow his scales back? <Likely so> I have started treating the tank with MelaFix. Will this help? <Probably more than hurt> Plus the angel has been hanging out on the bottom lately. Any Ideas what could help? <Time going by. BTW, the plural of Gourami is Gouramis, platy is platies. Bob Fenner> 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> Sick dwarf Gourami I have a 30 gallon community tank with various types of Gouramis, some Plecos, Corys and mollies, plus a large apple snail and some small Danios. Everyone gets along beautifully. My two dwarf Gouramis are acting peculiar. I think they're the same gender, but I don't know which. One hides all the time and rarely comes out from the driftwood, even for feeding time. The other feeds well, but looks to have a swollen belly and swims in a slanted position. His swimming is labored and he often rests against plants. Also their color sometimes looks drab. There are no other visible signs of illness (i.e. no protruding scales, ich, fin rot or damage, wounds). My water parameters checked out normal. Any ideas? < Could be an internal bacterial infection. Isolate the fish in a quarantine tank and treat with Metronidazole.-Chuck> - Sara 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.>

Tumor in Gourami I have a male neon blue Gourami (Colisa lalia) sharing a 5 US gallon hex tank with 8 neon tetras and 2 albino Corys. <Maybe a little overstocked for a 5 gallon, but not bad> The tank has been stocked for 8 days, after fishless cycling, although I had the Gourami in quarantine for a couple of weeks prior to that. <Wow, a fishless cycle and QT! Your fish and I thank you.> Water parameters are fine, pH 7.6, ammonia 0, nitrIte 0, nitrAte 20. <Yep, All good> The other fish are all healthy. I usually feed OSI Staple Granules (floating/sinking), with occasional flake food, frozen brine shrimp, freeze dried bloodworm, and, 2 days ago, cooked crushed de-shelled peas and carrot. <A good varied diet. Outstanding! But I do wonder who is eating the vegetables. Corys and tetras are more carnivorous. The Gourami may take them. Be careful not to over feed.> For the last 2 - 3 days, the Gourami, Ginger, <A boy named 'Ginger'?> has been very quiet and not eating. His belly seemed a bit swollen and I suspected constipation or just overeating. However, the swelling is now larger and markedly asymmetrical, mostly on his right side, behind and slightly below his right pectoral fin.  Otherwise, his colour is normal, no sign of fungus, parasites, cloudy skin or eyes or raised scales.  He's just hanging around near the top of the tank looking uncomfortable. Could it be constipation, or intestinal blockage, internal parasites, internal infection or even a tumour? Please, any suggestions on what the problem could be and anything I can do about it? It's all happened in the last couple of days.  Thanks heaps! <Hi Vicki, Don here. It could be any of the things you mention, but the fact it is asymmetrical points towards a tumor. If so there is really nothing you can do for him. I would put him back in the QT and try a Metronidazole based med for internal parasites and cross my fingers. Good luck>    Vicki PS Queensland, Australia

Tumor in Gourami Hi again Don Thank you so much for replying so promptly. <My pleasure> It's just getting-up time here, and unfortunately I just found my Gourami Ginger dead. <Sorry to hear> I examined his internal organs (not fun, but I thought I owed it to him) and found what looked like a blood clot in his digestive tract. It was hard to tell, but I couldn't see any other signs of inflammation, white spots or whatever. His digestive tract was empty, so not constipation I guess. My concern now is whether an infection of some kind could have caused bleeding in his stomach. <Maybe, could also have been an old blockage/damage or infection> Is it best to just adopt a watch and wait approach with the rest of the tank? <Yep> I should mention that fish meds in Australia are fairly restricted for over-the-counter sales -- tri-sulfa and tetracycline seem to be the only ones easily obtainable, and I haven't seen medicated fish food at all. Thanks again for your help, and for the great web site. Vicki PS <Yes, I would just watch for any other problems. Please resist the urge to replace him. Frankly, I think he was a problem in the 5 gallon. Add another Cory if anything. Watch your nitrates and do water changes to keep them below 20ppm. Good luck and welcome to the hobby. BTW have you joined us in the forum yet? If not, please do. I'm "Fish Soup" in the forum. Hope to see you there. Don>

Re: Tumor in Gourami Help! My very 1st fish (purchased in May) was a Flame Gourami who lived happily until I got a 2nd Gourami (a Blue one). They lived together for about 2 months but the Blue Gourami was too aggressive and nipped at the fins of the Flame. Fearing this would be too stressful I have recently moved the Blue into another tank. This 10 gallon tank also contains 3 Tetras,  3 small Ghost Catfish, and now 2 new Black Mollies. The Flame Gourami appeared to be getting stressed from the other Gourami and began hiding and evading most of his day. Now ever though the Blue Gourami was removed, the Flame Gourami continues to spend most of his day hiding and rather than coming to the surface at feeding time as he used to, now "runs" and hides as fast as he can when I approach the tank, sometimes running into the side of the tank in his hurry to get away. Yesterday I found this Gourami laying on his side, seemingly gasping for air and I assumed he was dying. However he has moved around but now he is swimming around, but in odd ways, as if he is disoriented. He seems unable to stay right side up and even swims in corkscrews patterns to get around the tank. Looking at all your information about fish disease the only thing I can attribute this to is stress but other than staying away from the tank as much as possible so as not to care him, I do not know what else to do. He has no growths on his body nor are there any oddities about his general shape/appearance. He has some fins nips on his tail fin, which were from the other Gourami, but they have never affected his swimming before. His other fins appear fine. The blue stripe on his dorsal fin varies in brightness from day to day--but always has. The Ph level to the tank was a little acidic so I have fixed that and I increased the output to the filter to increase airflow into the water. None of the other fish appear to be bothered if it were a general tank condition issue. How can I de-stress my fish before it is too late or is there another explanation? <The stress may have weakened you fish and caused an internal bacterial infection. Do a 30% water change and clean the filter. I would treat with Metronidazole and leave the light off for most of the day unless you have live plants.-Chuck> Thanks for any help you can provide. KMR

Dropsical Moonlight Gourami - 10/06/2004 My 80 gallon freshwater, planted tank contains six discus and two moonlight Gouramis. Everyone is happy, healthy, eating, and generally utterly normal--  but one of the Gouramis has, for the last week or so, developed the hugest belly I have ever seen-- like he swallowed a monstrous marble. He (it) doesn't have "pine cone" like scales, just this gigantic bulge. He's not eating for the past two/three days-- not surprising, I guess, with whatever's happening probably taking up all the room in his system and more. <Could be simple constipation causing these Dropsical symptoms, or could be something more daunting - internal bacterial infection, damage to or infection of the swim bladder....  For now, I would hope that it is simple constipation.  Quarantine the fish (carefully! Use a container to catch, not a net) and add Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) to his water, at one or two tablespoons per ten gallons.  Do not feed for now, and see how it goes.  When you do begin to feed again, feed *only* foods of high roughage content: daphnia, adult brine shrimp, thawed pea with the shell removed....> I feel like I should take a pin to his side and deflate him, he's so bulgy! <Yikes, don't do *that*! ;) > Any thoughts as to what might be going on? (feed is one small feed of beef heart, one small feed of bloodworms and one small feed of frozen freshwater cuisine cubes daily, plus there's all sorts of natural greenery going on in the tank for anyone that wants it.) <Another possibility I see here.  Beef heart, though widely used by discus keepers, is a hotly debated topic - and I'm on the side that it should never, ever be fed to fish.  Mind you, though, there are plenty of folks much more experienced than I that use it regularly.  My reasoning comes from the fact that (as I understand it) this stuff will, over time, cause fatty deposits on the liver that will ultimately cause irreparable damage, and possibly kill the fish.  I am of the mind that fish that require meats in their diet should only be fed meats that are aquatic in nature - shrimp, fish, scallops, squid, worms, insects/larvae; plenty of good'uns out there.  It's not every day ya see cow hearts floating down the Amazon, to be nibbled by local discus....> The other Gourami is fine.... <Then, hopefully, just a simple case of Gourami constipation.> Judy Waytiuk <Wishing you and your bloaty-bellied buddy well,  -Sabrina>

Dropsical Gourami - II - 10/06/2004 Hi Sabrina, thanks for getting back to me... <You bet.> I tried the Epsom salts thing (and now have two quarts of Epsom salts to use in my bath-- the pharmacist burst out laughing when I said I just needed a few teaspoons for a sick fish.) <Hah!  Oh, my....  I'm sure that was an adventure!  I wish you'd have seen the look on my vet's face when I asked for a syringe so I could kill Aiptasia....  He was sure *one* of us was off their rocker.> Didn't work. A very wee bit of poop came out, but that was it. The little guy gave up the ghost overnight (I think, starved to death, since he/it'd stopped eating over a week ago). <So sorry to hear of this.> So I necropsied him. And strange it may be, but the huge bulge (about the size of those BIG marbles! in a wee, small Gourami) was WATER!! No sign of parasites or nothing'! Go figure-- may have been a birth defect of some sort. Have you ever heard of that? <Actually, likely this fluid was the result of an internal bacterial infection....  Did you perhaps see off-white lumps/granulomas on the internal organs?  Anything else amiss?  Any good pics/books to go off, so you might have an idea what something "wrong" might look like, and have something to use for identifying the problem?  There are a few *great* books packed with info available, and one that I like solely for the clear, concise photography (though the info is somewhat outdated).  Let me know if you'd like some recommendations.> BTW, your thoughts on beef heart are most interesting. <Ala Levar Burton, "You don't have to take *my* word for it".  From Bailey and Burgess' "Tropical Fishlopaedia", page 69, "It is best to avoid feeding mammal/bird meats to fish as this can lead to the accumulation of harmful fatty deposits in the liver and other tissues.  Despite such risks, the feeding of beef heart or liver is still advocated by many aquarists, but if, used at all, the golden rule is to feed such meats very sparingly.  On the other hand, fresh or frozen fish, shellfish, (e.g. mussels), and shrimps/prawns are excellent foods for fish."  Gratzek's "Aquariology" tome also cautions about the use of beef heart.  I'm sure others do, as well.  For me, I would rather treat my fish to some shrimp or scallop and not worry about it at all.  And again, many discus breeders recommend the use of the meat highly....  Why, I'm not sure, but they do.> I just may take that to heart, <No pun intended?> and feed them beef heart very, very seldom as a special treat, since they do go ape over it. <A good plan.  Do please be cautious.> Mind you, they go ape over all their food. <Sounds like a fish to me!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Blue Dwarf Gourami with Swollen eye Hi WWM, I am fairly new to keeping tropical fish, so apologies if this is a dumb question. This morning when I checked on my fish I noticed that one of the Dwarf Gouramis (affectionately named Bleu) has a very swollen left eye (it's actually like it's been mounted on a washer and stuck to the side of his head). He definitely WASN'T like it yesterday. < Probably a case of pop eye has started. Anaerobic bacteria has begun to grow behind the eye ball and the pressure that the bacteria have generated has begun to push the eye out of the socket. Treat with Metronidazole in a separate hospital tank.> He doesn't appear to be in any distress, although he is slightly isolating himself from the other fish. He came out for food this morning and ate as normal. He's quite shy anyway, and sometimes gets chased by one of the other Gouramis (Altogether we have 1 Indian Gourami, 2 dwarf Gourami, 1 golden Gourami, 2 leopard Plecos, 3 golden algae eaters, 10 assorted tetras and three zebra Danios) but much less so than when they were all initially introduced to the tank. We have had a few problems with the tank since building it up. We did have two angels (with 3 zebras, 1 Pleco, 1 Gourami and 5 neon tetras) both of which died 10 days after joining the tank (one of which was never found - assumed eaten). More recently we bought a Betta that was very beautiful but incredibly shy. After his first night in the tank I found him lying in the shadow of a rock. Worried that he was trapped, I put my hand gently against the glass to see if he would react, and he swam away. He spent a lot of time hiding behind the thermometer stuck on the side of the tank. That evening I was looking for him everywhere, and after a 40 minute search discovered him UNDER an ornament. There was a small gap in the volcanic rock/gravel and I just assumed that he was ok. The next morning I woke to find him in shreds. Half his scales were missing and his tail was non-existent. I immediately isolated him (in a vase - after reading an FAQ here) with new water. He died within an hour. My girlfriend decided that perhaps he was unwell prior to joining the tank, and so we took the plunge and bought another Betta. This one was entirely different, chasing the other fish around and flaring at them. Two days later, he too became reclusive, hiding behind the thermometer. This time I isolated him as soon as I saw the warning signs. He had lost a few scales but nothing as severe as the first one. He died within a couple of hours of isolation. < Bettas don't to too well in many community tank situations. Other fish that are faster continuously pick on the long flowing fins of the male Betta. Soon they have him herded into a corner and he doesn't come out to eat any more and the other fish become more bold and go after him.> A few weeks ago we bought 3 dwarf Gouramis and an Indian Gourami. After what appeared to be a fairly harmonious start to their life in the tank, overnight one of the dwarf Gouramis developed a fairly serious case of fin rot and loss of colour/scales. Not trusting my own ability to save him, I transported him carefully back to the shop for treatment. He died later that day. I immediately removed the carbon from the filter and put some anti-fungal treatment in the water. 8 days on from this and now the other dwarf Gourami has this swollen eye. I have changed 25% of the water every ten days for the last 5 weeks (due to the water going brown after the introduction of a log to the tank - which has since been removed). A couple of weeks ago I added some Filter Aid, after replanting some foliage and clouding the water. I have had the water tested every week by the shop, and all of the levels are normal. The only other significant factor is that the first Pleco we introduced (affectionately known as Limpet) has not only grown very quickly, but is leaving long strings of waste everywhere. They dissolve fairly quickly, but we have now introduced another Pleco and 3 Algae eaters, as we assumed that he has too much food to eat. We used to drop a sinking tablet in once a day, but have stopped using them altogether. < Find out what "Fine" means and what they are testing for. They should be testing for ammonia and nitrite (levels should be zero). And the nitrates should be under 25 ppm. Thing about how often you change the filter and try vacuuming the gravel next time you n\do a water change . You Pleco is probably one of the larger species that will take awhile to grow. The long stringy fecal matter is normal for and algae eating fish.> Am I a complete muppet? < NO just a beginner trying to figure out the art and science of keeping a freshwater aquarium. You are the exact reason that WWM exists. We try to keep new aquarists in the hobby one email at a time. Most of the crew has been in you same situation at one time or another. The best thing you can do is keep a log book on what you are doing and what fish you bought. Get a quarantine tank set up and going so you won't be introducing any new diseases into your tank once it is set and running right. You could get a book for quick references. The Barron's book series are very good books for the money and are a good place to start. Go to Marineland.com and look under Dr. Tim's library for info on filtration and water chemistry. These little things will help you understand why some things work and why some don't.-Chuck> Regards, Danny James 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 Gourami Won't Eat! Hello my name is Leah and I have just started fish keeping about a 1/2 a week ago. I have a 10 gallon tank and I have a Male Neon Blue Gourami and a Male Black Molly. It seems that whenever I feed my fish (TetraMin Tropical Flakes), the Black Molly goes directly to the food at once and eats, but my Gourami just ignores the food. Every once in a while, the Gourami will find the food to eat, but it will put it in it's mouth and spit it back out. I don't know what is wrong with the Gourami. The tank is normally at about 76-82 degrees Fahrenheit. Please help me ASAP! < Give him a few more days to get settled in. Try some live food like brine shrimp or black worms to get him going. If he still doesn't eat then he might be sick but  I am sure he will eat  something soon but they don't eat much. make sure you keep the tank clean and siphon out any let over food so it doesn't pollute the tank.-Chuck> 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

Do you think the Gourami's fin difficulty warrants MelaFix? < No not really unless you see it fungused or diseased.> He's not hovering in the corner and appears to be okay, plus there doesn't seem to be any further damage at this time. My only other tank houses a Betta, and from what I've read, it certainly won't help me to put the Gourami with him, right? < The Betta will be very territorial and your Gourami will be worse off.> I guess what I'm asking....could this be a problem that could eventually cause bacterial problems within the whole tank? < Not really unless the fish becomes weak and sick from an infection.>   Also, I hate treating the whole tank with MelaFix when he's the only one that needs it. Please weigh in if you will.....Thanks, Cyndy < I would not treat the tank and concentrate on keeping the water clean.-Chuck>

Sick Gourami Hello!  I've been reading through your FAQs and articles and I have found them very useful.  They have made my job a lot easier, because I just started fish keeping about a month and a half ago.  Anyways, here is my question.  I have a 10 gallon quarantine tank with two dwarf Gouramis in them for three weeks.  The water quality is ammonia=0ppm, nitrites=0ppm, nitrates=10ppm, pH=7.6.  I did a 30% water change last night and the nitrates dropped to about 5ppm.  Back to the question... About four days after putting the Gouramis into the tank, I noticed brown splotches on their heads.  That was the most obvious feature.  The splotches are not regular or in any particular pattern.  The splotches have been there ever since.  Last night, everything changed because I found one Gourami lying nearly on its side on the tank's bottom.  Its gills and mouth were flapping rapidly. Also, I noticed that their feces were awfully long and light colored.  On the other hand, this morning, the healthier Gourami had a dark feces trail. The sicker Gourami looked even worse.  What can I do about this?  Thanks a lot. <<Hello. Dwarf Gouramis are specifically prone to bacterial infections. You can try your LFS to see what meds they have in stock to combat external bacterial infections. Salt may help in early cases, as will Melafix, but if the disease has not been caught at the beginning, you may need something stronger. Good job on the testing, keep it up! -Gwen>>

Nip and Tuck Gourami Chuck, Thanks for all of the info. We bought our fresh water fish "marine food" because we are dummies. :) Since you wrote me back, we have tried to redeem ourselves by buying them food designed for fresh water fish. We also added 4 panda Corys and they are adorable. You were right about the Gouramis. Sometimes now, they will even take a peaceful swim together. They still have an occasional fight where they do this weird swimming dance... they flip on their sides and swim around each other. But the nipping/chasing has lessened considerably. We also bought new cleaning supplies. An extra heater and two new pails so we can let their water condition over night and change 50% the next day. Last time, I didn't let it condition well enough and their ammonia level went up. I won't do that again! Anyway, our next project is to give them a cave or somewhere else to hide when they need to. I'd prefer some natural rock. I know I'm limited on space. We have a small silk plant too. It's about 8 inches long and probably an inch wide but I could cut it or fold it into a corner. I have some very smooth rather flat rocks I am thinking of using to build a cave. What do you think? Or do you know of a site we could safely buy rocks or a cave from? There's not much here at the pet stores. < Gouramis really don't like caves. They prefer floating plants. If you do want to build a cave out of rocks then make sure that the rocks are safe for the aquarium. Some rocks leach salts that play havoc with the water chemistry. Place the rocks on the bottom of the tank and not on the sand. Some fish undermine the rocks and they end up caving in on them.-Chuck> Thanks again for your help, Chuck. We greatly appreciate your insight and information. Susan

Moonlight Serenade Hi Bob, thanks for looking. My fish shows a rather strange scarring across the bottom part of the body, running along the top of the ventral fin. I've been in this hobby for over 15 years and have never seen this. I was hoping you could come up with some ideas. Water's good, so is the temperature; the pH may be a bit acidic. Thanks, Mauricio. P.S. the "infected" fish is a moonlight Gourami <<Hi Mauricio, Gwen here instead of Bob. I am unsure of what I'm following up on here. Do you have a pic of this scarring? Some background info, too, like tank specs: how many gallons, what tankmates are in with him, how often you do water changes, what are the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings, and what the fish is behaving like. Is it eating? Hiding? Acting normal? All of this info will help. Thanks, Gwen>> Lumpy Gourami - 05/31/2004 Hi!   <Yo!> One of our Gouramis has a small lump on the left side of his face, near his mouth.  It appears to be under the scales, as the scales seem to be pushed up.  Otherwise, he/she seems healthy, eating, generally enjoying life.   <Sounds possibly like the beginnings of Lymphocystis....  but also several other possibilities.> We have a 20 gallon freshwater tank with two Gouramis, three red/orange tetras, a catfish, an algae eater and two guppies.  The tank is about 5 months old and apart from needing periodic treatment for high PH, <Not good to have a tank on a pH roller-coaster....  how high is the pH of your tap?  Have you got any "saltwater" decorations in the tank (coral skeletons, etc.)?  Limestone?  Crushed coral or aragonite substrate?  Better to fix the source of the problem than treat symptoms of it.> tests normal in every other way.   <What readings do you have for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?  I suspect, if this is Lymphocystis, that there's a high nitrate reading involved?  Otherwise I might suspect another illness, perhaps bacterial or fungal in nature....> All the other fish look and act normal. What, if anything, should I do?    <Test those levels mentioned - if you find that you do have a high nitrate reading, work on improving husbandry - perhaps vacuum the gravel more often, clean filters, larger and/or more frequent water changes....  Lymphocystis can/should go away on its own as this happens.> Peggy <Wishing you and your lumpy Gourami well,  -Sabrina>

Listless Gourami - 06/01/2004 I have had a pair of dwarf Gouramis for about 3 months and they have been fine & healthy. However, for the last 4 days the male appears to be unwell. He is either sitting on the bottom or hanging near the top looking totally disinterested. At feeding times he initially attempts to take a flake but usually ends up spitting it back out and therefore quickly loses interest!  There is no obvious signs of disease other than his colours seem a little dull. <Dull color, listlessness - anything else, at all, out of the norm?  Even things that might not seem that big a deal can be good evidence to try and diagnose an illness.> However today I noticed the swordtails & platys keep nudging him, he responds by moving away.   <So he's still responsive, at least.> I have tried treating the water with anti-bacterial solution.   <Uhm, do you know what, precisely, you used?  Did you complete the treatment as directed on the package, or stop after the initial dose?> I have tested the water and all levels are okay.   <Mm, 'okay' is subjective.  Can you please let us know the readings you have for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH?  Also, how large is the tank, what are the other inhabitants, when was your last addition to the tank, how long ago did you last clean, and what is your maintenance schedule like?  Have you changed anything lately?  Food, dechlorinator, decor or plants, anything at all?> Please can you give me any advice as to what to do next, as I think he may be dying! <Unfortunately, with so little to go off, I can't give a lot of advice.  It never hurts to do a rather sizeable water change; that ought to be the first thing on your list; after that, I really don't have much to suggest.  Please do get back to us; I'd like to be able to help further.> G. Smith <Wishing your Gourami a swift recovery,  -Sabrina>

Listless Gourami - II - 06/01/2004 Thanks for your reply, unfortunately the dwarf Gourami has since died!   Gill <I'm so sorry to hear that, Gill.  Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.  Wishing you and your fishes well,  -Sabrina>

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.

Fate of Gouramis hang in the balance Hey,  I have read through most of the postings and found some very useful information on what I thought was wrong with my fish. About three weeks ago one of my dwarf Gourami's began laying around in the tank on its side, and then about a week later another one became twisted up, almost in the shape of a question mark and spends all of his time face down in the gravel. I double-checked all of the water requirements as you have suggested and everything is fine. I have a 20 gallon high, the ph is 6.8, the temperature is 82F, and there are no traces of ammonia or nitrates/nitrites. Is there anything I can do to help my fish?  < The fact that one fish had a problem and then a second has come down with something too makes me think that there may not be an environmental problem here but a pathological one. Dwarf Gouramis as well as others seem to be prone to attacks by weird pathogens that come in with them from the fish farms in the orient. I would isolate that Gouramis into a five gallon tank and treat them with a Nitrofurazone type drug as per the package directions. If the problem is internal then there is not to much that can be done for them.>  It has been several weeks and every aquarium store I go to just tells me to flush them.  < The medications will probably cost more than the fish. if the drugs don't work then you will be out both the price of the fish as well as the cost of the drug.-Chuck>  I just don't have the heart to do it, and since they still seem to get food they could probably live on in this sorry state for a very long time. HELP!!! Your site is a great resource and I appreciate the assistance. Thank you.  Mario.

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>>

Big Stomach Dwarf Gourami Hi, I have a dwarf Gourami and it's stomach is expanded (looks abnormal), suspect she has eaten too much or gastric problem. It always float at bottom and doesn't show much activity since last 3 days, I have reduced the diet but still not sure how will it recover? Can  you help me to give him some exercise to clean off his stomach. Please help, my another Gourami died last month with the same symptoms. <<Hello there. You can try to find a medicated food at your local fish store, this might help. Also, make sure your water quality is good, do you do regular partial water changes? If so, how often, and do you test your water? Test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. You may also feed some fibre, such as foods with Spirulina, or frozen daphnia. Do the scales stick out like a pinecone? If so, the infection is too far advanced to save the fish :( -Gwen>>

Lethargic Dwarf Gourami I browsed through some of your FAQ and couldn't seem to find the specific problem I'm having. One of my dwarf Gouramis (which we've had for around 6 mo.s and has always seemed quite healthy until recently) has begun to stay on the bottom of the tank or will wedge itself in a plant and lay there. It also doesn't seem to be eating. None of the other fish are showing symptoms of any illness. Its colour seems a bit dulled; however, I don't see any film/parasites/fungus on the fish. Any advice? It looks like it's dying and I don't know what to do. <<Hello. You will need to test your water, and let me know the results of the following: ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. You can get your water tested at most respectable tropical fish stores. Once we have established this, I can help you further with troubleshooting your problem, 90% of fish related illnesses are directly related to water quality issues. If you cannot get your water tested immediately, at least do a partial water change to help the fish until you can test it. In the meantime you may also add a bit of salt to the tank, aquarium salt is also found at your local fish store, add one teaspoon per gallon, gradually. Keep the salt in the tank for a few weeks. If you do water changes, the salt can be re-added to the new water. i.e. if you remove 5 gallons of water, replace it with 5 gallons of new water with 5 teaspoons of salt. Any top-off water (due to evaporation) should be freshwater only. Please let me know your test results as soon as you can. Thanks -Gwen>>

Bettas and Paradisefish - 02/18/2004 I have a question. <Okay> Tell me please can I put in my 20 l aquarium 1 Betta (male) and one Macropodus (male)??? <This may be do-able, depending upon the temperaments of both fish.  If both are relatively laid-back, it should work out fine.  I have seen particularly aggressive Paradisefish (Macropodus sp.) terrorize fish more than three times their size, but I've also seen a few that are quite tolerant of most any tankmates.  Same with Bettas, some are very peaceful, some are terrors.  I would say try it, and be prepared to remove one of the fish if you see any serious aggression.> Thanks! <You bet!  Wishing you and your Anabantoids 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<<

Dwarf Gourami and Camallanus Hi there, <Hello!  Sabrina, here.> Thank you all for keeping such a wonderful and informative website. <And thank you for the kind words!> I have had two dwarf Gourami in a 5 gallon QT tank with an established sponge filter for approx 2 months.  I plan on moving them to a much larger tank when I'm sure that they are disease/parasite free. <Sounds like an excellent plan.> About one month ago I noticed two tiny red threads (approx. 2mm long) poking out from the anus of each Gourami.   <Yikes, that does indeed sound like Camallanus.> I ordered some Pepsofood and fed it for three days and then once per week as directed with no effect. <Although Pepso food is very useful stuff, I do not believe it contains medicines effective against Camallanus.> The fish still have a hearty appetite and do not display any unusual behavior or appearance.   <Always a good sign!> Recently I was reading an article that suggested my fish were infected with the Camallanus nematode.   <Sounds like it.  Though, is it possible what you're seeing is just feces?  Some red-colored foods will give fish red poo, but the "threadlike" appearance you describe is classic of Camallanus.> Many different medications were suggested on many websites like disco worm, <Perhaps this was "Discomed"?  Discomed, manufactured by Aquatronics, contains Levamisole, and should be effective against Camallanus.> Trichlorfon, fluke tabs, <Fluke tabs are/contain Trichlorfon.  This substance should be avoided unless absolutely *nothing* else works; although it might be effective, it could be very toxic to the fish.> Fenbendazole, <Likely would be effective, but will be very hard to find, I imagine.  Try looking for the proprietary name "Panacur".  However, this will be difficult to dose, as it is usually found sold as a goat or horse worming medicine.> and Levacide.   <Perhaps "Levamisole"?> Levacide was touted as being the best cure for this problem.   <If you mean "Levamisole", as above, you can find that in Discomed, made by Aquatronics.> I did some research on the web and could not find out where to buy this medication and whether or not it would harm the biological filter.   <Whether you use Piperazine or Levamisole (or even Fenbendazole), it should be administered via food, so it should not impact the nitrifying Ammonia is 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 10ppm temp 78F and 25% WC 2 times a week with dechlorinated water I keep heated and aerated in a bucket. <Sounds great.> Has anyone had experience with this kind of infestation?  Which medication would be most effective and where can I get it?   <Either Levamisole or Piperazine should work for you.  Most small, non-chain fish stores do carry Discomed (Levamisole); however, you can also find it available for sale at many online stores.  You can also look for Aquatronics' "Pipzine", which contains Piperazine, and should also be very effective against Camallanus.  If you have trouble locating either of these, you might try contacting Aquatronics ( http://www.aquatronicsonline.com/ ).  I believe there is a store locater on their 'site, as well.> Can snails be a secondary host? <I don't *think* so; it is usually spread through feces, I believe.  It would certainly be a good idea to prevent moving any life from the sick tank to another.> Also, Camallanus I read is highly infectious.   <It can be easily spread if an infected fish dies and is left in the tank to be nibbled on, or also again, through nibbling on feces (Mmmm, feces), so it'd be a really good idea to siphon off any poo and gunk very regularly, even daily.> If it has reached my other planted freshwater community tank (18 gal, 5 neon tetra, 1 SAE, 2 Otto Cats), what medication could I use with the sensitive catfish?   <Certainly *not* Trichlorfon, that's for sure.  Piperazine or Levamisole should be fine, though.> Thank you in advance for your help.  Michelle <Sure thing.  Wishing you and your Gourami well, Sabrina>

Dwarf Gourami - Male or Female?  Pregnant? Hello, <Hi!> I'm an extremely concerned parent of a beautiful cinnamon dwarf Gourami that I do not know the gender of. The sign at the pet store said it was a male, and I have also read that females will appear silver in color. <Less red, at the least.  Males are far easier to find in our hobby.> Mine is fully cinnamon. <Heh, that's my favorite word for the day, now!> But yet it has a bloated belly. It has increased in size each day, which a normal parent would think it was pregnant, correct? <Actually, there can be other causes for this.  First and foremost, overeating, and also very likely, constipation.> (Should I put it on birth control?) ;) <He/she needs a stern talking to, at the least!  :) > I was hoping that it was female and pregnant because I wanted little grandchildren of my own. <Well, even if he is a she, and is full of eggs, he/she/it would still need a male to help release, then fertilize, the eggs of this bubblenesting fish.> Please help me. This is a serious issue. <It is, indeed.  Is he/she pooping?  If not, you're probably looking at constipation.  I would recommend reducing the amount that you feed him/her; fast him for a few days, and feed only foods high in roughage content, like thawed frozen pea (squeeze it out of the shell), adult brine shrimp, or daphnia, and when you do feed these, do so sparingly.  It would also help to add Epsom salt to the tank, at a rate of one tablespoon per ten gallons - this is usually the first thing to do in constipation cases, as it can be very serious indeed, and it will help relieve pressure on the fish, and help pass any blockage in the gut.  I would also recommend increasing the veggie matter in your little pal's diet once this has passed.  Blanched zucchini, cucumber, and spinach are just a few goodies to pass along to him.  Or her.> I've included a picture of my little SPECIAL BOY (or girl)!. Please get back to me on the gender please. <A good picture, but is there any way you can get one of him with his fins very spread?  It does look like a male, to me, for the coloration and the point of his dorsal fin.  If he is a she, and he/she is with egg, you should see a white "dot" in front of the anal fin indicating that she is full of eggs.> Thanks,  Amy and Belle Gourami :) <You bet!  Wishing you and Belle well,  -Sabrina Pink kisser diet and general tank stuff. First things first, I don't have a digi. cam, so I'll describe Ivan's itchy patch in the best way I've thought of. Basically it looks like a patch of eczema on the outer 1/8 inch of his tail. Like this: <Unfortunately, the little diagram will not reproduce well for the FAQs, but with your new description and the diagram, I'm pretty sure you're dealing with fin rot.  Fortunately, this is easily treatable.> He actually nibbles off little flakes of it. He sits under the filter intake a lot and I've noticed little bits of it flake away and get sucked into the filter or fall onto the bottom of the tank. Problem is, since he's a Pink Kisser, his fins are very light colored; in most places they're very light whitefish, not quite clear, and I can't tell if he has any spots or not. He could be completely covered with them and they aren't visible Black construction paper behind the tank didn't help much either (he was scared of it).   <LOL!  Ivan the Terrible?  Or Ivan the Terrified?> I read the Ick page (thanks for the link) and I'm going to try getting a sample of his tail slime to take to the pet store or a fish vet (if I can find one). I'll take a water sample too, but the water here is different from the stuff I use at school. (Would the bottled "Betta Water" I've seen in pet stores help with changes any?) My biggest problem with diagnosis is, of all the Pink Kissers in the world and the hundreds of them turn that turn homicidal, I have to get the only one I've heard of yet that's a complete and utter coward. When I got him from the pet store he was in a 10 gal with about 40 other fry. He was one of the smallest in there and was getting chased around the tank (typical behavior for the kind). I took him specifically because he was little and needed out of there or he'd starve. Since then, he's been terrified of anything pinkish (including my hands), anything that looks like another fish (He saw a picture of a gold fish on a pet guide worksheet and hid until I moved it), and anything that moves quickly or reflects light (camera lenses, mirrors, watches, etc). <Ivan the Terrified, indeed!> I got a picture once from across the room with a zoom lens and hung it on my wall at school-- where its hanging now. I'll send a photo as soon as I can. <If it's possible, that'd be great, but again, I'm pretty confidant with the description you gave now.  To treat the fin rot, I would use a good antibiotic, like Kanamycin (Available from Aquatronics as "Kanacyn" in a gray box).  Use as directed, it should clear this up just fine.> He only sits (?) still in the open when he's curious about something (running water especially) or when he's hungry (which is any time he's not sleeping). The minute I move near the tank he hides behind his plants. <It might help to give him more hiding spaces.  Perhaps a few rocks or a cave, maybe some more plants like the Anacharis/elodea for him to nibble on.  The idea behind this is that the more opportunity they have to hide, the less they feel the need to.  In my experience, this is almost invariably true.> Thanks for all your info and help. I appreciate it. <Sure thing - glad to be able to help!> Take care.  Becky              <You too.  Wishing you (and Ivan) well,  -Sabrina>

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

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

Colisa lalia Hello Bob, <Bonjour Claude> It has been a long time since the last... I have received a inquiry from a visitor of the French section. He asks me of we (you, of course) have anything about specific "Colisa sp.".  He is specializing in mutations of Colisa lalia.  He was very admiring over the "Anabantoids" but he found it not specific enough. Read you and best regards to your and your entire crew (MK) Claude <Merci mon ami. I do wish I could take the time to study and write up the human history of the delightful "dwarf Gourami" and its many sports. Does this writer have specific questions re this species of Colisa? Robare Fenner> Re: Colisa lalia, WWM en Francais Thanks Bob, I'll ask him about specific questions. By the way, I have received many compliments about the site. Let's not talk about the site himself but about the articles.  All the visitors but one (not happy about American cichlids, he says it is dirt...(sic)) find those are very worthy.  And yet my opinion is that your knowledge is a standard for the hobby.  It is for me a great pleasure to popularize it to the French talking hobbyists . Greetings and thanks Claude <Outstanding. Am very glad you are able, willing to aid in the dissemination, help of offering the content en Francais. Au revoir my friend. 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 & Kathy

Gourami trouble Please Help, <Sabrina here tonight, I'll certainly try> Today I changed 1/4th of my 35 gal tanks water and every one was fine, tonight on the side of my Gouramis he/she? has red raised bump on the side of the body with a small white spot in the center, and two littler red spots by her face. Please help! I have searched the web and asked around, what is it and what should I do? <Well, first off, this sounds like some sort of bacterial infection.  As to what it is specifically, it could be early stages of septicemia, perhaps a wound that has been infected, possibly mycobacteriosis (fish TB), perhaps something else.  Start by isolating the sick fish in a separate tank, prevent the illness from spreading.  I would treat with Kanamycin sulfate, available as "Kanacyn" by Aquatronics, or perhaps "Spectrogram", which is a combination of Kanamycin and Nitrofurazone.  Do be certain to monitor your water parameters closely (pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) and keep things stable to help the fish recover during treatment.  Hope all goes well,  -Sabrina> Thanks for your time,  Mary

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>

Crowded aquarium? Good morning, <Good afternoon, Sabrina here> I am writing about my six gallon Eclipse aquarium I have had up and running for 6 months.  I initially cycled the tank with a flame dwarf Gourami, and after the appropriate time added another blue dwarf Gourami and two very small albino Cory cats.  At the beginning, I noticed the flame dwarf ( which was slightly larger than the blue) seemed to be the tank bully, which I chalked up his being the first in the tank.  Recently I have noticed the roles have reversed and the blue is now larger, the flame having lost weight.  At the same time, I have observed the sizable growth of the two Cory cats, who are now probably at least  1.5 inches each.  So my questions are these: first, it is necessary, as I suspect based on the typical rules for fish keeping, to remove one or more of the fish because of the size of the tank? <I do not feel that two Gourami and two Corydoras is too much for your system.> second, should it be one of the dwarf Gouramis because they seem to have such an antagonistic relationship? <I do believe that you should remove one of the Gourami, but not due to crowding issues - this aggression will continue, probably worsen significantly, over time.  Chances are that you have two males, and tensions will always be rather nasty between them.  It could conceivably get bad enough that one is continuously injured, or worse.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Thanks,  Matt

War or peace in the tank? (10/11/03) Hi everyone, <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> My wife just picked up a male Betta and was wondering if she could put him in her 5 gal tank with her male ram & dwarf Gourami without any problems. <Um, not likely at all. The Betta and Gourami are both Anabantoids, and are very likely to go to pick on each other. Also, the tank is fully stocked with just the ram and Gourami -- in fact, I'd rather see those two fish in their own, bigger tank, at *least* 10 gallons. The 5 gallon tank would be great for the Betta, either by himself or with a few ghost shrimp or algae shrimp (the latter also called "Amano" shrimp) to help clean up the place. Besides, shrimp are cool. :-) > THANKS in advance - DS <You're welcome. --Ananda>

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

Gourami Problems Hi. Two days ago I got four male neon blue dwarf Gouramis and put them in a 10g. tank by themselves and I have a few concerns. first of all, they are all males, will that pose a problem? <they may fight... if it becomes a problem you will need to separate them> second, 2-3 of them seem to not be eating, <maybe they are stressed? did you check the water quality... were they eating when you purchased them?> and the one that does eat doesn't seem to eat very much, <some is better than nothing at all> I feed them TetraMin flakes, but they just sit there hiding or on the bottom, should I just change the food or what? <check the water quality> and also, one of them seems mentally challenged. I've noticed him shaking, darting around the tank and running into things and that sort of behavior. what is the problem and how can I cure it?<you can't they just have to adapt to their new living conditions> I've been having a little trouble with my water heater so the temp has changed some, could this be a problem?<possibly> please hurry back to me I am very concerned.<just keep a close eye on the fish and check the water quality... and read more on WWM about these particular species of fish and acceptable ranges of water quality, good luck, IanB> thank you, Drew

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

Unhealthy Gourami? (06/29/03) <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> Hi! I was just wondering if it is unhealthy that my blue dwarf Gourami's poop is long and stringy (by long I mean about 4 times his length sometimes)? Weird question, I know. <Not at all a weird question -- a sign that you're paying attention to your fish! It could indeed be a symptom of a problem. It might be some sort of intestinal parasite, especially if the feces are a whitish color (they should always be darkish).> Also, if it IS unhealthy, what can I do about it? <I tend to use Metronidazole for this purpose. You might also try Pepso food. I've heard Disco-med also works for this.> I feed him flakes and he seems to be healthy otherwise. <Do give him a bit of variety in his diet -- at least use a couple of different types of flake. An occasional treat of frozen food or freeze-dried "treats" won't hurt, either.> Thanks for your help! Kelly <You're quite welcome. --Ananda>

Dark blue Gourami I have a 55 gallon tank, 2 blue Gouramis, 2 kissing Gouramis, 1 cichlid, 2 silver dollars and 4 Bala sharks.  I noticed that one of the Gouramis is turning black on one side.  He doesn't appear to have any other signs of disease on him.  He isn't as active as he usually is.  The other fish have appeared to be more active then they were. Can you possibly tell me what is wrong with them. <Its hard to say for sure what wrong with them without having a lot more info but take a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm You might find some ideas there. Ronni>

Dwarf Gouramis, Small Fish, Big Attitude II Thanks for the reply Gage--I double checked this morning and it definitely is not Ich, since there are no salt like particles on the his fins or flanks. <Rad> It looks more like some scales or color is missing on one side, half the size of a pencil eraser.  After some research yesterday I thought it might be some form of fungus, but there does not appear to be any sort of cottony substance on him so that doesn't appear to the case. <This is a wait and see situation if you ask me, could be a wound from the aggression that will heal on its own, or it could get infected. Lets hope for the first situation.> The addition of the plants seem to have halted the most aggressive fin-nipping going on, so I am going to hold off and see how things progress. <Good Plan> I would really like to upgrade my tank to a larger one, but really don't have any room for it in my apartment. <Get rid of the TV?  Maybe the Couch? Do you really need that bed? HA HA HA. -Gage> Thanks Matt

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 whiskers I have 4 Gouramis in a 30 gal planted tank with 15-20 freshwater plants and 2 big rocks with hiding holes and a loach cave for my 2 clown loaches. Also 2 Danios, 2 tetras, a Pleco to control algae and 2 rosy barbs.  all are getting along great and life is good except that I noticed that 2 of the Gouramis 1 dwarf blue, and one honey, have had one of there whiskers nipped.  Not completely off, but just shortened a little bit... like maybe a quarter of an inch from a 2 inch whisker.  Has been several weeks and it doesnt show any signs of infection as far as I can tell. My question is should this concern me as I havent seen any signs of other aggression or infection, and will these whiskers grow back and if so how long will it take to return to the size of the other whiskers. Thank you, Don Otey <Its hard to say what the culprit is here. It could easily be one of your other fish (my first guess would be the Danios or one of the other Gouramis). Unless it continues to get worse I wouldnt worry about it too much, just watch them to make sure they arent getting picked on. The whiskers should grow back in time but its hard to say how long. Ronni>

Sick kissing Gourami >Hi Bob, >>A minion by the name of Marina here. >I have a 3-4 inch kissing Gourami that is several years old. Last week he had a circular area on his side that was whitish in color. I changed 20% of the water and kept an eye on it. >>Do a larger water change.  You've mentioned nothing about using carbon, filtration, or water parameters, so I'll assume that you know to remove carbon when medicating, and that you also know that some meds can "knock out" a good portion of your benthic bacterial colonies.  This is another good reason to do larger water changes (50% identical, fresh water will help greatly). >This week it seems to have spread to the back 1/2 of his body on one side. He also has 1-2 raised bumps on his other side, about 2mm x4mm in size. He is eating and still "kissing" the other Gourami. He seems sluggish though and generally not too good. Two days ago I started a treatment of Maracyn II. So far this does not seem to be helping. >>We're really shooting in the dark, especially because I'm going by your description with no photos, and my book of fish diseases is in storage (curses!).  Do both a Google and Dogpile search, as you'll be in a better position to determine what best matches your fish's symptoms.  I would also, after doing that large water change, switch to Melafix, another broad spectrum antibiotic.  If you do NOT have live plants in the tank, I would add 1 teaspoon of salt (Kosher or marine salt mix) per gallon of tank water.  This will boost the effects of the antibiotic, as well as relieve a bit of the pressure on the fish's system (osmotic differences between fishy flesh and water).  Also, please delve into our library here--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwinfectdisfaqs.htm >This fish has had previous bacterial infections that responded quickly to Maracyn II. What do you think?  Jeff Hulett Hawkeye >>I would try the other broad spectrum antibiotic along with the salt.  This is assuming that it's not a fungal infection (the Methylene blue would help address that), though I'm really not sure that's a possibility by your description.  Keep up the water changes, if he takes any fresh foods do try to stimulate feeding this way (bloodworms, daphnia, mosquito larvae, et al).  At this point it may be far too stressful for him to undergo a saltwater dip, so I don't recommend it.  Let's keep our fingers crossed!  Marina

Re: sick kissing Gourami >Thanks Marina, I will do a larger water change and try to send you a photo. I do have live plants in the tank. I did do a search, but didn't turn up anything. >>Then you won't be able to use the salt.  I did more searching, and the best I can find online is that it must be an infection, but at this point I can't even narrow down whether it's bacterial, fungal, or viral.  If you can set up a hospital tank for this fish, I would advise it.  This way you can help him with salt.  If you believe that it would cause really undue stress on the fish, then don't move him.  Other than that, my only other suggestions are to try different broad spectrums.  Here's a link to fish meds, uses, dosing, etc. --> http://www.petswarehouse.com/Fishmed3.htm and here--> http://www.petswarehouse.com/Fishmed2.htm >>Good luck, and keep us posted.  Marina

Re: sick kissing Gourami >Thank you Marina, >>You're welcome. >I spent some time looking at the fish with a magnifying glass and I noticed some white tuft stuff on one of the site. It was very small. After seeing that, I treated the tank with Rid Ich+, which is mostly Malachite Green. I also removed a smaller kissing Gourami from the tank to reduce stress on the sick one. I did this because, even though he was sick, he still "kissed" the other one, and frequently chased it around the tank. I also added a  tablespoon or so of salt. I did this last Thursday or Friday. Since then I've kept up the treatments once per day for both the Maracyn II and the Malachite Green. The fish improved dramatically with this treatment. >>FANTASTIC!  Boy, that is great news. >After one day the 2x4mm spot had shrunk 50% and the tufts were gone. His motion seems better and he seems to be getting better every day. Since he really didn't respond to the Maracyn II, I can only guess that this must have been fungal. >>Me too.  Again, let the happiness ensue!  You've found the trouble, and are treating with good success.  I have achieved my (the whole crew's, actually) goal. >I plan to discontinue you Maracyn II today and keep up the M. Green until he seems healed. >>Sounds like a good plan. >By the looks of his progress, this should only take a few more days. >>Could it get any better? >After that I'll reinsert the carbon in the filter.  I've included photos of the fish in its original sick state. You can see the discoloration on the back half of his body. This spread from the original circular site which was about 8 mm wide.  Thank you very much for your help with this. >>This is great, except that I can't seem to view the .jpg.  Bob?  Jason?  Zo?  Someone with more puter knowledge than me?  Well, the point is that the fish is on his way back to good health.  I'm very pleased with the news.  Marina

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>

Ulcers on dwarf Gourami I have a 29 gallon tank that has been up and running for 4 years. I have 3 black widow tetras, 3 Serpae tetras, 2 hatchet fish, 2 red tailed Rasboras, 4 lemon tetras, 1 swordtail, 3 Corys, 1 Pleco, 3 neon tetras, 1 dwarf Gourami. I recently had 2 dwarf Gourami's but one just died. The water temp is 78, the ammonia is 0, the nitrite is 0, the ph is 7. Last week one of the Gouramis had like a lump by it's mouth just under it's eye. He was acting normally.  About 2 days later the lump turned into an ulcer. I treated the tank with penicillin. The ulcer got worse and small red blotches appeared near his tail  more towards hi underside. He also developed a lump on his back just in front of hi fin. He just looked so bad last night that I put him out of his misery. Now one of my Serpae tetras has like a whit spot on his body and a white film towards his tail. I got some Quinsulfex Quinine Capsules Formula M13 and starting treating the tank last night. Could you tell me what was and is wrong with my fish and am I treating it correctly. I do not want to lose the whole tank. Also, do you think I have overloaded my tank with too many fish? Thank you. Patty <It sounds like a parasite. Please check out http://www/wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm for info on the different ones and their recommended treatments. You do have a few too many fish in this tank. Not counting the Pleco you have between 35 & 40 inches and you should have a max of 25-29 inches. Ronni>

Long worm, tree-climbing fish I have two questions. The first one is What kind of worm can stretch up to 90 feet and where can I find a picture of one? <Likely you're referring to a Ribbon Worm (Nemertean) like Lineus longissimus, which can be more than 30 meters long> My other question is What kind of fish can climb trees and where can I find a picture of it? <Likely this is the Climbing Perch, Anabas testudineus> If you can e-mail me by Sunday or by 6:00 am Monday morning it will be appreciated for my assignment. <Use your Internet search engines to find images of these animals... using their common and scientific names. Bob Fenner>                      from,                         Steph

Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami I will setting up a 15 gal tank and plan on having neon blue dwarf Gouramis in it and was wondering how many I should have.  I know that the Gouramis are very territorial in nature and should I plan to put only 5 or 6 in them.  I will have a lot of hiding places and will solve the problem of them beginning territorial. <These are called "Dwarf Gouramis" but they can still get 2-3 inches long so even 5 or 6 is probably too many. The blues do tend to be one of the least aggressive but in a 15 gallon tank, no more than 3 or 4 is recommended. Ronni>

Disease of my Dwarf Gourami Hi, I was wondering if you would be able to help me diagnose what my dwarf Gourami died of half an hour ago.  I have a 10 gallon tank with: 5 - Neon Tetra 5 - Fancy Guppies 1 - Male Dwarf Gourami Two days ago I noticed a small whitey patch, irregular in shape on the side of my Gourami's head. The patch wasn't smooth, more like cotton wool in water; waving in the current.  I decided to put him in a breeding cage that you can put in the aquarium, just so that he wouldn't come in contact with my other fish. Yesterday (a day later) he looked worse.  The white patch had increased in size slightly and there was a tiny bit of it on the top of one fin.  I quarantined him in another tank that day. <<It sounds like fungus. Im sorry to hear that he died. For future reference, one of the Mardel products (Maracyn, Maroxy, Maracide, etc) treats this but I cant remember which one exactly. Fungus Guard by Jungle will also treat this. Ive had the best luck with the one by Jungle.>> This morning the white patch was larger and looked like a scab: I could see a little red patch in the middle of it.  The white stuff was about 0.5 cm in diameter.  The fin that previously had the white patch on it was completely opaque  and shredded.  His other fin was perfectly functional and clear. Over part of his body was a mucusy white, not quite as white as the initial patch. He no longer made that crest on his back stand up and it was coated thinly will mucus.  His colour was duller and he mostly stayed sunken on the bottom of the tank, apart from making quick dashes to the surface now and then. In the end he lay horizontally on the bottom.  The white patch protruded from his scale approx 1/3 of a centimeter and was a cloudy white. <<Definitely sounds like fungus.>> Well, that's everything.  I know that I sound very concerned, it's just that I would like to know what I did wrong and hopefully save my other fish, so it won't happen again. <<Watch your other fish very closely and if they show any symptoms, immediately quarantine them and treat with a medication for fungus. Sometimes they will get it, other times they wont so its hard to say.>> Thanks Jess <<Youre welcome. Ronni>>

Yikes! ICK!!! Help!  I stocked my tank with 5 Gouramis, 1 male Betta, 2 Kuhli loaches and 3 clown loaches.   <<Just a note from experience here, watch your Betta with the Gouramis. The Betta may at some point eat the "whiskers" of your Gouramis or the Gouramis may decide that the Bettas fins look like a tasty treat. :o)>> At some point, ick was introduced.  I've been treating with a commercial product for the last 3 days, using their directions (the ick was minimal at beginning of treatment -  4 or 5 white spots total on clown loaches mainly).  What are my chances of getting rid of this nasty organism? I'd appreciate any info or advise you have to offer. <<Your chances of getting rid of it are actually quite good. Time/success will depend on what kind of commercial medication you are using. My personal favorites are Ick Guard or Maroxy but I've talked to many people about Ich and everyone has their own favorite. Just follow the manufacturers instructions exactly and you should see an improvement. I'm not positive here but your loaches may be a small scale or scaleless fish, if they are then the medicating rules are different for them. Many ich medications can be poison to scaleless fish. Do a search for clown loach using the Google search box at www.wetwebmedia.com to find out for sure. Take care! Ronni>> Thank you! Bev

A Disease In The Moonlight? Hello, I don't know if I'm posting to the right place. <If it's about something that swims, you're in the right place! Scott F. with you!> I would like to know what to do about my sick male moonlight Gourami.  I have a male and female in a 60 liter tank, no other fish. A couple months  ago my male started getting sick-his feelers became "floppy" and noodly, and now are about half their original size,  then his skin became brownish, now he's very very lethargic. Meanwhile the female is growing by leaps and bounds, she's very healthy and beautiful and aggressive to the poor guy.  At feeding time, she pushes him away! I sink some food in his quiet little hiding place behind the filter, and he barely eats.  The tank condition is fine, Ph good, I change the water once a week, temp. is about 26-27 C. Sorry for all the metrics, I live in France. <No problem> Any idea what's going on? I hope some one  can help, thank you very much, Kitk <Well, Kitk- it sounds like the Gourami is suffering from some kind of bacterial infection. This may have been brought about as a result of stress (possibly from the female's constant aggression..). Also, you may want to review your water conditions to make sure that ammonia or nitrite are not present, and that regular maintenance is carried out on this aquarium. You may want to separate this fish into a smaller aquarium for observation, careful feeding, and possible treatment. If the separation and good food/water alone don't do the trick, I'd start with a basic antibacterial substance, such as Methylene blue, in his water. See if that brings about some positive results after a few days or so. If this method does not seem to be working, you may need to look into a broad-spectrum antibiotic. Before using any medication, I'd look in the Freshwater section on the WetWebMedia.com site under "diseases", and try to verify what condition that you may be dealing with. Good luck!>

Mixing Gouramis <Ananda here today answering freshwater fish questions...> I hope this isn't a stupid question, but I've surfed all over and still am uncertain if mixing different breeds of Gourami is ok. <I've seen a 29 gallon tank with three different species of Gouramis. One was sufficiently nasty that he had to be put in the "penalty box" tank, but otherwise they were okay together.> I have a new pair of Sunset Fire Gouramis in a 28 gallon with a baby clown loach (2 inches).   <Please get your clown loach a pair of buddies -- these are schooling/shoaling fish and much happier in groups of three or more. And it's very cute to watch them all pile up on top of each other to sleep at night.> The tank is established (the prior tenants are now at home in a 60 gallon).  I know I have room for other fish, but want to make sure is don't upset these cool fish.  The store where I got these also has Power Blue and Gold Gourami's.  Would introducing another pair or two create havoc? <Well, perhaps temporarily, as the existing fish look at the new fish and say "Hey, what are you doing here?" From there, it depends somewhat on the individual fish. But I think you could add another pair or two of Gouramis. More on Gouramis and there relatives at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anabantoids.htm and the associated FAQs.> Thanks! Beverly Vance <You're quite welcome. --Ananda>

Gouramis In A Group Dear Anthony (just a wild guess here), <Oops- Anthony's cheerful(?) colleague- Scott F. here> My 30 gallon freshwater tank finished cycling almost 3 weeks ago.  It now houses 3 platys, 1 balloon molly, and one female Betta.  pH is 7.8, temp is 79 F, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are 0.  By choice I have only artificial plants.  I would like to add two male dwarf Gouramis - are the Gouramis a good choice? <Dwarf Gouramis are among the most peaceful of all fishes-great choice for a mellow community aquarium.> Will two males live together peacefully (I want two males because they are prettier than the females and I'm not interested in having the Gouramis reproduce)? <Well, in my experience, it's better to keep these fishes in small groups, like 2 females and 1 male, or 3 females and two males. Keeping two males together seems to result in one harassing the other into submission, in my experience. There also might be some occasional aggression between the Betta and your Gouramis.> I've read they like plants floating on the surface - I'd rather not have this (even artificial ones).  Will they be miserable without that? <No- they should be fine. In nature (and in the aquarium), they often rely on floating plants to provide an area for building their nests and depositing eggs. They appreciate the cover, but it is certainly not necessary to have floating plants for these fishes.> Should I add some aquarium salt to the water?  How much?  What brand? <Personally, I'd skip the salt> I thought I'd also get 2 or 3 Corydoras sterbai as scavengers -  are they suitable tankmates for this group? <sure- these are great fish in their own right!> I would not plan to get the new additions all at once. <Good plan-build up your population slowly> Thought I'd start with the Gouramis if you give me the go ahead.  Any thoughts would be appreciated. <With the above caveats, I'd say that they would make great additions to your tank! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Judy

Dwarf Gourami Hi, My girlfriend has a pair of Dwarf Gouramis. She is concerned that one may be ill. They symptoms include a darkening of the color to a darker shade of turquoise as well as much lower activity and labored breathing. The fish lies on its side on the bottom a lot and the movement of the gills is faster and deeper. There does not appear to be any fungus or worms or slime or anything like that on the fish. She did not mention weight loss or eating habits (I have not yet observed the fish). Any insight that you may be able to provide would be much appreciated. IT sounds odd to me that the color would deepen. Usually I would expect a sick fish to lose color. Maybe it is pregnant and about to release a bunch of eggs or something :) She has not had the fish long, maybe 6 months, but who knows how long the store had it. It was full grown when purchased.  Thanks again, Josh Moninger <Hi Josh, if there are no other outward signs of disease I would start by looking at the water quality. Pick up some test kits (ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, ph, etc) or have your LFS test the water for you.  Also, what size tank are we dealing with, what type of filtration, and who are the other tank mates.  Check out the link below for info on freshwater disease ID http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm Best of luck, Gage>

I took advice on Gourami/Tiger Barb II Steven Pro, About putting two Gouramis in a 29 gallon tank, will two males fight? <Yes> Will I be over loading the tank when they get larger? <No> Thank you for the thumbs up on my setting up the extra tank though. It is indeed hard to wait through a good long quarantine. <But you will be rewarded in the long run. -Steven Pro>

FW Ich, African Cichlid Compatible Cats Hey Bob, <Hey Gage> Gage here, just drinkin, dreamin, and answerin emails. <Sounds familiar>   I was wondering if I could enlist your help in a couple of matters, and was hoping that this would not get posted on the daily's.  I've got a couple of emails in my box that I am not sure about. <Okay.> First off is regarding Gourami Fry with Ich.  Will a regular dose of meds kill the youngans?  I was thinking maybe a half dose, and some aquarium salt? <Better to use/suggest elevated temperature (about 85 F.) alone... sans med.s. The higher average kinetic energy will do the trick.> The next question is about catfish to include in an African tank. "r these guys related; Pseudodoras niger and Megaladoras irwini?? " <Insert both names in Fishbase.org and you will see.> I was thinking no because their names are completely different, but I don't know. <You will. What sort of reference system, materials do you have? The "net" is better every day, but... I still have to "go to the library".> >here is the rest of his message: "I am looking for a catfish that I can put in with my African cichlids.. at the moment I have a few Synodontis multipunctatus in there and they are all doing fine.... I was wondering could a Pseudodoras niger or jaguar catfish work in that kind of a tank.. I saw the Pseudodoras at my LFS and the guy told me that they can live in a tank with a ph of up to 7.8 and GH of 25... mine are ph 7.8, KH 12, GH 16.. its 280 gallons.. 96 x 24 x 31 dimensions.. currently I have 8 fish in there.. a Kigoma frontosa (about 3"), Malawi blue dolphin (3" also), a gold Lepidiolamprologus profundicola (4"), 2 Neolamprologus sexfasciatus (2"), 3 Synodontis multipunctatus (4").. I plan to get more fish later on, but this is what I have at the moment.. I also plan to get 3 more Mpulungu Malawi blue dolphin.. 4 Mwele orange Altolamprologus compressiceps, 4 Mutondwe gold head Altolamprologus compressiceps, 5 Synodontis angelicus, 3 Synodontis multipunctatus and also 1 Lepidiolamprologus kendalli.. that's all I have looked into at the moment.. is this a good idea?? if not can u recommend any other catfish that would work.. I really like how the Pseudodoras looks... its really cool and plus I have the big tank that it requires.. I just got my 280 gallon.. its cycling at the moment.. pls help!!! " >As far as I know Frontosas are Tanganyikan prefer not to associate with Malawians.  I have also heard that mixing Synodontis is not the best idea. <Some mix quite well> Please feel free to kick some knowledge, that's young an for please help me out. <A pleasure. Please do "send" messages that you don't feel you have time to delve into onto me, others.> Best Regards, Gage <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

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>

Gourami Fry with White Spot Hi, I really hope u can help, I have 60 dwarf Gourami fry 10 days old. They have been infected with white spot disease from my other tank which is being treated successfully but what about my poor fry, some are dying.  Is normal treatment to harsh and will aquarium salt help? thank you for any response Sophia <Morning Sophia.  I checked with Bob on this one, regular Ich meds would be too harsh for these little guys.  Try slowly raising the temperature up to around 85.  The elevated temperature alone should do the trick.  Best of luck, Gage> Gage here, just drinkin, dreamin, and answerin emails. <Sounds familiar>   I was wondering if I could enlist your help in a couple of matters, and was hoping that this would not get posted on the daily's.  I've got a couple of emails in my box that I am not sure about. <Okay.> First off is regarding Gourami Fry with Ich.  Will a regular dose of meds kill the youngans?  I was thinking maybe a half dose, and some aquarium salt? <Better to use/suggest elevated temperature (about 85 F.) alone... sans med.s. The higher average kinetic energy will do the trick.>

Sick Gourami I have a 10 gallon tank, with 3 Red Dwarf Gouramis and 2 Neon Rosy Barbs (also 1 Pleco). This is my first tank and I've had the same healthy fish in it for about 11 months. One of my Gouramis recently became sick. His mouth started to swell and now he can hardly close it. He seems to be staying close to the top and is breathing heavily, but is still trying to eat. My local pet store suggested drops that fight "internal infections and diseases" so I have started with the treatment. <does not sound like an internal problem.> I've never had a sick fish, so I'm not quite sure what to do. I've been doing research for a few days and haven't found much helpful information. Could you please let me know if there's anything else that I could try. Any info would be greatly appreciated. <This sounds like it could be a fungal infection.  If you are not already doing so I would be add salt to the water add about a tablespoon of aquarium salt per gallon.  Make sure your temperature is in the upper seventies without any major swings.  Also medicate with a medication that has both Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone in it. 3-5 days consecutively with small water changes daily just before the new dose.  Best of luck, and please check out the article below. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm -Gage>

Osphronemus Gourami Hi Fenner, I'm currently located in Houston and have been looking for some Osphronemus Gourami, but I couldn't find any. I'm not sure if you stock these fish at all, if not would direct me to stores or farms where I can get some. <Hmm, the true Gourami... shouldn't be that hard to source locally... even "albino" ones... Have you checked with your local fish stores? Look up a larger specialty one in your area and ask them if they'd "special order" one/these for you... almost all shops have a mechanism (order book) for placing such requests. This is what I would do... if there are troubles, delays in delivery... they will be able to rectify it. If no luck this route, please re-contact me. Bob Fenner> Thank you so much, Lap

Neon Dwarf Gourami Help My male Neon Dwarf Gourami seems sick. I have had him for maybe five weeks now he did fine and was really hardy ( I cycled my tank with him, my two female Gouramis, and a red tailed shark) but now he is just hanging out in the corner by my heater (the temp is fine its at 79 degrees) and doesn't get excited like he used to at feeding time (used to take Tubifex worms from my hand... also feed flake). Now he looks really skinny but his colors aren't fading or anything so I'm assuming he's not totally given up eating. What could be the matter with my fish? any ideas? Could it be my other fish I have 2 2.5' female Gourami's, 2' red tail shark, a 4.5' Black Ghost Knife, 2 1.5' clown loaches (which I'm treating for ich... but none of the other fish have the white spots that would suggest ich), and a 6' zig zag eel. <Ah ha! Either the medication (they're toxic to a degree to fishes) and/or a latent infestation of ich (the white spots are visible only in advanced cases... a reaction, mucus to irritation by the ich organism) is likely the root cause/s here. Please consult with the fine folks on our Chatforum as to how you might proceed: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ For me, I'd go with elevating the temperature of your system and leave off with any "medication" to treat your system. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help, Kevin

Sick Dwarf Gourami Hello, I have a 5 gallon fresh water tank in addition to my 72 gallon brackish. This week one of two dwarf Gouramis in the freshwater tank has become sick with Popeye. I have been treating the tank with Epson salts (as I read in the WWM Faq's for Popeye) and antibiotics. <Good treatment protocol. One note, it is better to use an antibiotic food versus medicating the entire tank.> The Popeye has effected one side terribly. The swelling has yet to go down. I've also been doing daily saltwater baths to try to draw out some of the fluid behind the eye. <This would not be my course of action. Popeye is not a terrible disease. Rather minor affliction that I would not treat so aggressively.> I've seen no improvement, it's only gotten worse. This morning I got up and he is leaning against the side of the tank, breathing with some difficulty. When I fed them however, he did make an effort to swim up to have a bite. I'm at a loss, I do not want him to be in any discomfort, but I have had other fish pull through with other conditions before, so I am not hugely sure about euthanasia. I am not sure what to do. Should I keep treating him or should I euthanize the poor soul. <I would not give up the fight just yet. Epson salt, medicated food, and a good water change/cleaning to ensure peak water quality would be what I would do.> Any help would be great. Thank you so much for your help. Take good care, Amy <You too. -Steven Pro>

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>

Furunculosis (likely Columnaris, as in Chondrococcus bacteria) I have one remaining dwarf Gourami that has Furunculosis. I've had 3 die from it. Thanks to your website, I've finally determined what the problem was and have been treating him with fabulous results. My question is, how long can I treat him with the medicine? As of this date, he's had 4 doses, can I continue until he's completely healed? <yes...and you should until the fish is clearly cured and then some. As with people, you will treat the condition with antibiotics for slightly longer than the malady is evidenced. Extra water changes just before each application of medicine will also be quite helpful> Please respond soon, Thankfully, Heather <with kind regards, Anthony> heather

Ctenopoma Hello Mr. Fenner I want to breed spotted climbing perch. I need information, how to breed them I need specific information the way to breed them please email me if you have book how to breed spotted climbing perch I wanna buy from you thanks <Please take a look through fishbase.org for information on the genus Ctenopoma... and read through how to do information searches: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm and the links beyond. Bob Fenner>

Ctenophora... Ctenopoma... hello Mr. Fenner thank for you information but I can find your information about fish base genus Ctenophora can you give me information about breed spotted climbing perch in my email?? thanks <Please see the previous note... and seek the references listed on fishbase.org for the species, genus, family. Bob Fenner>

Please help fast!!!!!!!! (overly aggressive Honey Dwarf Gourami?) <Might be in reference to Colisa chuna> hi I have a honey dwarf Gourami that I have had for about a year and a half. I just moved it a couple days ago to a ten gallon tank a much larger one than before. I put some tetras in the tank with him and he did nothing. he began attacking the glass and I noticed that he could see himself. I went to the pet store and they said I needed another Gourami in the tank.  <Whoa... what was the reason given for "needing another Gourami"?> I put another Gourami even a little larger and now all it does is attack the larger Gourami. I also have a Bala shark in there he is small however and my Gourami attacks that one to. I don't know what to do. I want it to not be lonely and stop attacking the walls but I cant put any other fish with it. <Really... a Honey Dwarf Gourami, Trichogaster chuna? Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anabantoids.htm I was also wondering if you could tell me how to tell the males from the females. maybe I have two males. <Perhaps... but if two or one they shouldn't cause much damage if this species...> I really need help please write me back as soon as you can so I can fix this problem and all my fish can be happy. thank you my e-mail address is XXX <I see it above in the address tray> thanks <Don't worry if the species is what you mention... the agonistic behavior should/will settle down soon. Perhaps consider adding something in the way of "dither-fish"... like small Danios, Rasboras, the easier going barb like cherry, checkerboard, gold... see the WetWebMedia.com site re these choices. Bob Fenner>

Urgent!!!! Can you help me my male dwarf Gourami is sitting on the bottom of the tank and his breathing is heavy do you know what is wrong with it and how to cure it. Could you please reply quickly as I am quite worried about it. Thank you <Not a good sign... hopefully your fish is "just resting"... this species (Colisa lalia) can be hard to keep... Often imported with disease problems. You might want to look into feeding all your fishes in this tank/system an antibiotic-laced food for infectious disease (bacteria...). These are made by Tetra, HBH and others or you can "make your own"... as detailed here on our site: http://WetWebMedia.com/holedispnd.htm Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Gourami concerns I just bought a pair of dwarf Gouramis and the female seems to stay in the corner a lot what is the possible cause of this? Also are they easy to breed? thanks <Not a good sign that the female is in the corner... but maybe doing so from shipping stress. Please read: http://WetWebMedia.com/anabantoids.htm And get back to me if you have specific questions. Bob Fenner>

Paradise Gourami I have a male and female paradise Gourami, I believe they have mated he has made a bubble nest and they have did the mating thing, I have seen what seems to be eggs come from the female after a very interesting mating courtship the male wraps himself around the female and flips her upside down then after a few seconds she floats away and he is curled up like a leaf at the top of the tank, after those kinds of interactions is when I have notice the small white eggs floating in the water. The male scoops them up and spits them into the bubble nest area.  <Yes... good description.> My question is how long before I should see babies.  <About four days near 80 F. To wiggling stage... need to cover the tank to avoid cold air drafts...> And is something wrong with my tank. I am afraid I have a fungus now growing in that tank brown clumps of some sort are starting to accumulate in the bottom and float to the top. I have read that it is hard to get the young to mature because of disease , is this a fungus or algae. Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Maybe an algae of some sort, perhaps an algae and other life forms... maybe just detritus... I would place a sponge type filter, or an open-top (leave the lid off) air-driven corner filter... to prevent the babies from being sucked in... And start studying... books, the Net re raising Gourami fry... have you looked into growing their food? I would... and start now... infusoria... Bob Fenner> Marty

By the Moonlight of my Gourami Thanks Bob, My remaining moonlight Gourami has developed a swollen protuberance above one of his eyes, a crescent 7mm long, 2m wide and sticking out 2mm from the body. He is swimming and eating normally. I've placed him in an isolated 20 Gal tank and begun treatment with Maracyn (sp?)<Maracyn, erythromycin> yesterday. Do you think I should be using Maracyn II? (Tetracycline)<Actually another antibiotic, but yes, I would use this instead... mixing some in with the fishes foods. This won't hurt the other fishes if they ingest it... nor will this complaint likely infect your other livestock. Bob Fenner> Your fish buddy, Jeff P.S. If he doesn't make it we can always have another party.... <Life to you my friend.>

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