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

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

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

Jumpy Gourami     7/24/17
I'm back with another question. Thanks for continuing to help all of us with our aquatic challenges! I have a 3-year established, 15-gal column tank with an AquaClear 20 sponge/carbon/bio, housing one 3-spot Gourami, five cherry barbs, and one panda Cory with 3 bandit corys in a QT almost ready to be added. My ammonia and nitrites are zero. I feed flakes and float pellets most nights, a shrimp pellet at lights out every few days, and swap flakes/pellets with freeze dried bloodworm once a week.
<Ahh; do make sure sufficient high protein food is getting to your new and old Corydoras cats on the bottom>
I change the water and swap out one of the media components regularly.
For the past few weeks, my 3-spot has become very jumpy. This is new behavior since I have had her for three years. Whenever I approach the tank, she cowers in the corner and/or darts to a corner. She swims freely and openly at all strata otherwise and looks perfectly healthy. Last night, she literally jumped out of the water in a frenzy when I walked over. I do shower.
Since the behavior has sustained for a few weeks, I suspect something is up. Any ideas on how I can help her? Thanks in advance! -- Matt
<Perhaps adding another Trichogaster trichopterus... there are quite a few "sports" of the 3-spot, blue, gold/en... can be the same sex... Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/ttricself.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: Jumpy Gourami    7/24/17

My apologies, I did not include a salutation in my last email. How rude!
Hello, crew!
<Hey Matt>
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: Jumpy Gourami     7/25/17

Thanks for the fast response. (1) When you mention high protein for the corys, is the sinking shrimp pellet sufficient?
<Is a good start. I would offer other foods as well weekly>
I may increase to two once I add the others but I don't want to overfeed.
(2) I'm leery of adding another 3-spot... I've done combos in the past and one always takes over... I've had this one (female) drive two other females into the ground and then I added a larger male pearl Gourami which tried to mate with this one and then bullied her until he sustained a physical injury chasing her, and died.
<Mmm; well; how about some ditherfish then? Perhaps a small school, five individuals... of peaceful barbs (golds, checkers...), Danios or Rasboras?>
I attributed the cause of this behavior to the limited horizontal space at the top of this vertical tank. What do you think?
<Of a certainty, you are correct here>
Thank you,
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Jumpy Gourami     7/25/17

Thanks Bob. I already have five cherry barbs in there and actually now that I think about it, two of the males (there are 3 and two females) have mysteriously "developed" nipped dorsal fins.
<Ahh; maybe from each other; perhaps the Gourami>
I would see one occasionally but never two. Wonder if this is part of the equation? Also, what kind of protein do you recommend?
<Hikari and Spectrum sinking pellets of small size are faves. B>
Re: Jumpy Gourami     7/25/17

Thanks Bob. I'll give them a shot and let you know if things progress. I very much appreciate your ideas and responses!
<Cheers Matt. B>

Gourami "begging" for food     3/5/16
Hello WWM crew, thanks for your hard work and for bailing me out of my ammonia problem a few weeks back! I have a 15-gal Column (regretfully) setup for a little under a year with an Opaline Gourami and a gold
3-spot--both female--three male and two female cherry barbs, and two julii Corys. Everyone seems active, happy, and stable, ammonia and nitrites are 0, bio-filtering with an Aquaclear 20, 25% water change bi-weekly with a drop of Prime per new gallon before I add. I feed them flakes every evening with a freeze-dried bloodworm treat (instead) one night a week, and I drop a shrimp pellet in a few times a week after dark for the Corys.
After a few minutes of feeding flakes in waves so none drop and everyone eats, my Opaline stays at the top and seems to "beg" for more food for several minutes at a time.
<Mmm; your observation may be accurate. Flakes don't have much nourishment; weight>
I'm not sure but I don't believe she is gasping for more air--she looks very healthy otherwise, flowing fins unfolded and no signs of disease, bullying, nipped fins, or stress that I can see--but I obviously could be wrong. When in doubt, I always underfeed, as your writers suggest.
Should I try something else or be concerned? I'm a little weary of frozen foods because of the delicate chemistry of my water... and because I've never tried using them :) Thank you!
<I'd try adding some more substantive floating pelleted food. New Life Spectrum (small pellets) is a fave. Though the pic of your Opaline doesn't show as skinny. Bob Fenner>
Re: Gourami "begging" for food     3/5/16

Thanks for the quick reply and for the idea, I will definitely look into it. Enjoy your weekend, sir!
<Thank you Matt. You as well. BobF>

Gourami acting strange    2/12/13
<Hi Deb>
I have 5 gallon tank with two plants in it and one opal Gourami.
<Mmm, luckily/happily, this is one somewhat larger fish that doesn't need a good-sized system... as long as it is kept/maintained in a stable fashion>
There is no light in the tank but there is a light standing next to the tank.
<Hopefully enough for your plants needs>
Since yesterday, the fish started to swim forward en <and> backward in short but fast movements. I changed the water today
 and cleaned the tank, but the behavior did not change. I have the fish since Saturday but the behavior started Monday afternoon.
<Mmm, is this system thoroughly cycled? That is, is there measurable ammonia or nitrite present?>
Please note that I am from Holland so it is Monday evening right now.
I really hope you can help me since there were not any Dutch sites that could help me!
<Do answer the question re cycling... It may well that there is nothing wrong w/ this fish (Trichogaster)... Sometimes they do just swim oddly. I would not add medicine/s to the water, system here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Gourami acting strange 02/13/13

Hi Bob,
I have no nitrate or ammonia measurements.
<... should have Nitrate (w/ an "a"), but no Nitrite (w/ an "I")...>
 I did clean everything thoroughly.
<Cleanliness is not sterility in biological systems>

Monday afternoon I placed a white background behind the tank, because it was standing against a blue and brown print and I figured that it might stressed him out.
<White is worse>
He seems much more calm now. Last thing, the water temperature is about 18 degrees Celsius, could it be that he is just cold and therefore acting strange?
<Possibly; this is too cold for Trichogaster species... See the Net, WWM re. BobF>
Thank you for your help! 

Gold Gourami Staring at Corner     10/10/12
I apologize, I could not find this issue on the site, although I felt certain I would.  I have a Gold Gourami that I've had for maybe a year.  In the mornings as I leave for work, the aquarium lights have been on maybe half an hour, the Gourami stares at the same corner of the tank near the top. (below the water line.  It isn't breathing at the surface) It's only in the same corner each morning.  It has done this for around a month. 
There are zero other signs of anything.  If I walk over, it swims away and acts normal.  It eats well, responds to people, and looks like it is healthy.  Is this an issue, or is the fish just prideful of it's reflection?
<Yes; likely so>
(joke) Tank stats: 55 Gal, 1 Gourami, 1 One Stripe eel, 2 Rope Fish, 7 Giant Danios, 1 Dwarf Rainbow fish.  I have never seen any of the fish bother each other.  Aquarium established 2 years ago, PH 8.6, Ammonia & Nitrite 0 ppm, Nitrate 0-10 ppm.
Your response is greatly appreciated!
<I'd likely get another (depending on the sex of your present one) or two female Trichogaster trichopterus, and definitely more Rainbows (are social species). Bob Fenner> 

Blue Gourami behavior   11/5/11
I just discovered your site and have poured over it in an attempt to find out what to do for our male Blue Gourami.
He is leaping and crashing into the tank cover as well as the sides of the tank, he must be knocking himself senseless because he will float to the bottom and be curled in a circle or even upside down. He has no Ich but now has bashed his face up pretty good with scales faking around his snout from this. I don't know how often he may be doing this when we aren't home but has done it at least a handful of times that I am aware of over the last month. We always think he is going to kill himself, then he rests and returns to normal.
<This does sound very odd. Seizures are not common among fish, but do happen from time to time. If the fish is jumpy, but otherwise normal, then it may simply have a reason to want to jump out of your aquarium. That's a normal behaviour for some species. Bichirs and Mudskippers jump to attract mates, Orfe and Archerfish jump to catch flies, and almost any fish will try to jump out of an aquarium if it thinks water conditions outside the tank are better (and they are, obviously, mistaken in that, but in the wild jumping from one pool to another may be key to survival). In all these cases you need to reflect on possible causes and act accordingly. For a Blue Gourami, poor water quality or aggression from another fish may be reasons why it might want to jump to another "part of the world" however idiotic that might seem to us. On the other hand, if a fish acts weird before it jumps, perhaps spasming, floating weakly, or breathing heavily, then the jumping may be part of a deeper problem. Neurological damage to fish does happen, often associated with rocking motions (the "Shimmies") or unusually coloured patches on the body.>
This is a 30 gallon tank with a female blue as well, a large Plecostomus (almost a foot), and a crawfish.
<Whatever retailers might suggest, Crayfish are opportunists, and will eat a fish they can catch.>
Oh, and some snails from King's Bay in FL that we added probably at least a year ago (and come to think of it, have blotchy areas on their shells as if deficiency or something is leaching away their integrity).
<Insufficient calcium and/or low pH.>
Their numbers come and go. The tank has a real lava rock, a fake plant and fake log.
<The snails aren't an obvious danger, but there's always a risk that wild-caught snails can bring in parasites, including parasites dangerous to humans. So do approach with caution before adding to your aquarium.>
We have had issues with nitrites in the past and recently can't get the water to NOT be cloudy even with up to 50% changes with tap (well) water once a week. Was worried to do more often and shock them. We even added a second filter to the Tetra Whisper EX45 to help with no luck. The temp seems to maintain a consistent 76 degrees.
<Now, if you don't have zero nitrite levels, there's something amiss with the biological filter. The tank's either overstocked or the fish overfed, or else the filter is maintained too aggressively, or not equipped with sufficient capacity (or biological media) to cope with the number of fish.>
I am out of test strips, can you suggest the best kind for me to buy so I check the water again?
<Doesn't really matter, but liquid test kits are generally the most accurate.>
Do you think the Gourami is ill?
<Could easily be, but impossible to say.>
We have had them and this tank since getting it from a friend who was moving in the summer of '09, the Gourami and Pleco are the last fish from the original group. The others and the original crawfish have slowly one by one passed and this crawfish we've had since the other died last spring. So no sweeping tank diseases have been encountered that we know of given the length of time between the loss of each fish.
Thank you for your time, so glad to have found your site!
<Thanks for the kind words. Would not worry to much for now about the fish.
Concentrate on the water quality issue. Do 10% water changes every day or two until the nitrite level is at zero, and from then on, the usual 20% per week. Minimise feeding until nitrite is zero. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Blue Gourami behavior  -- 11/08/11

Thank you so much,
I have been changing water by 10% over the weekend and will get new test kit today. He has gone berserk every day since Thursday and sometimes several times a day. It is so upsetting, I feel so helpless. We have no hospital tank ability, or I would take him out.
The crawfish hasn't bothered them, although the previous one did have a taste for fresh fish, but that was due to the friend we got that tank from.
She fed it shrimp heads. In fact the female Gourami "lives" with the crawfish on that side of the
<Glad to help. Do watch the Crayfish; wouldn't assume things will stay so placid indefinitely! It is their nature to eat weakened fish. Cheers,

Gourami behaviour    9/8/10
Hey guys!
I have a pair of yellow gouramis in one of my freshwater tanks, Its been cycled for about 2 years now and has been doing quite well. we have a large cluster of hornwort in there that the smaller of the two loves to hide and sleep in.
The bigger of the pair however seems to rest on the substrate, but still frequently lurks in it.
<Are you sure it's a "pair"? Gouramis generally don't form pairs as such, and males tolerate females in their territories only for as long as it takes to spawn. After spawning, he kicks her out! Needless to say, territory-holding males are even less tolerant of rival males.>
After some investigation I found the bigger one has slightly frayed fins and what seems to resemble blood vessels near the surface of the skin on the right side very close to the tail fin.
<Does sound like physical injury; assuming water quality is good, should heal by itself, but treating as for Finrot wouldn't be bad idea. Certainly do so if the injuries aren't healing.>
it might just be a normal part of the animal but I wasn't sure. The fish is still very receptive to food items and people, immediately getting up from its idle position to investigate however directly afterward goes right back to being motionless. No other symptoms are apparent. Thoughts?
<Given the belligerence of Trichogaster trichopterus, I'd assume aggression first of all, and act accordingly. One approach might be to remove both gouramis, move all the rocks and plants around, reintroduce the "weaker" fish first, and then an hour later place the other one in the tank. See what happens. With luck, the weaker fish might be able to establish his own territory before the other one gets a chance to do so, and things will calm down a bit. Cheers, Neale.>

shy Gourami and vertical molly   8/22/10
I have a 72 gallon fresh water community tank. Tank is fully cycled and established. Regular weekly maintenance (water change, gravel siphon, glass cleaned with cleaning tool and all water conditions monitored and within acceptable parameters.
<Meaning what, precisely? Mollies require very different water conditions to South American tetras, and it's hard to see how you can have "acceptable" water for both in one aquarium. Even if you don't maintain Mollies in brackish water -- and to be fair, some people manage to keep them in freshwater just fine -- they still need warm, hard, basic water.
Danios require cooler water, and Tetras softer water.>
No live plants, though several fake plants and multiple hiding spots for the varied fish There are 3 gouramis in the tanks (along with other species - all community/peaceful -Danios/tetras/mollies/2 clown loaches/Cory/Pleco).
<See above.>
Of the 3 gouramis, one is acting what I define as strange. During the "daytime' or when daytime light is on the tank, it will "hide" in one corner of the tank. However if I run the "blue" light that I have for night time viewing, this Gourami becomes active and swims throughout the whole tank and socializes with the other fish. During the day or with day lights on this
Gourami will run from the other gouramis as if being chased, however under the blue lights shows no such sign of submission and chases the others as much as anything else. No obvious physical issues, and seems to be eating regular.
<I do think this is aggression. Assuming this is Trichogaster trichopterus,
the males -- which have longer dorsal fins -- are famously aggressive towards one another. Adding more females might dilute things, and keeping just two males within a group of three is bound to cause problems because one male can always bully the other. Try keeping at least equal number of females to males, and either one male or at least three.>
Have also noticed that a silver molly (relatively new tank member - 2 weeks) swims around in a "vertical" posture, nose up/tail down - almost like a rocket ship taking off.
<This is likely "the Shimmies", a neurological issue related to poor environmental conditions. Mollies need 15+ degrees dH, pH 7.5-8.5, and a temperature between 25-30 degrees C. Danios won't enjoy water that warm, and neither will Corydoras or tetras such as Neons; all of these are better kept at 22-24 C. Obviously, most freshwater fish won't tolerate brackish water, but even the hard water Mollies need will significantly shorten the life of the more sensitive South American tetras such as Neons and Cardinals.>
It is capable of swimming horizontally, and will do so for a while and then go vertical even though it is swimming along a horizontal plane. My local fish supplier says that this is a common trait of this species, but I have never seen so before. Again no obvious physical or eating issues. Any thoughts/advice would be appreciated.
<It's possible the Molly has constipation or is simply genetically deformed, especially if the thing is inbred or one of those ghastly Balloon Mollies. But if the fins are clamped, or the fish rocks when treading water, then Shimmies is very likely the problem. Constipation can be cured using high-fibre foods such as peas and spinach, together with Epsom salt if needs be:
Genetic problems aren't fixable, and the Shimmies goes away usually if the Molly is given good conditions:
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: shy Gourami and vertical molly
Thank you for your response,
<Glad to help.>
I will try provide the further information you require.
Maintenance: weekly water changes, approx 30%-40%, use floating glass cleaner to clean glass and gravel siphon to suction gravel. Fluval 404 canister filter Water conditions: Ph maintained at 7.0 as much as possible, checked twice a
week. Nitrates checked weekly usually around 5 (lowest number on scale).
Ammonia tested weekly usually 0-0.25 (keep a hang in tank monitor in the tank to visually check daily - unsure how accurate these are).
<Very inaccurate. Do have the water tested with a liquid test kit; if not zero, then you have a problem with water quality.>
Also check Phosphates and usually 0-0.25. Haven't tested the water hardness in a while, but believe it to be hard (will get test kit to test). Usually test water 2-3 days after water change to give numbers a chance to balance.
Is this the proper type schedule. Anything specific I should be checking as well?
<What you're doing sounds fine.>
Sorry not sure what you refer to as "basic" water?
<Basic is the opposite of acidic; i.e., pH 7 upwards. At school you might have learned "alkaline" for this, but actually alkaline means something quite specific, though closely related.>
Usually attempt to maintain a water temp of 76F (24C)
Food: Tetra Algae vegetable enhanced chips. Nutrafin Max sinking pellets (for bottom feeders (loaches) bloodworms (every 10 days or so as a treat
<All sounds fine.>
Tank inhabitants:
1 Bristlenose Pleco (2yrs in tank )
2 Clown loaches (2 years in tank)
6 Zebra Danios (3 months to 1.5 years)
6 Cardinal Tetras (1 year)
1 Julii Cory (1.5 years old)
2 black and 2 silver mollies (1 silver molly 1 year, other 3 - 2 weeks in tank). They are not balloon mollies.
3 Gouramis (1 moonlight and 2 sunburst - the moonlight Gourami is no problem (except chases the air bubbles), the solitary Gourami is one of the sunburst).
<Right, the Sunburst Gourami is, I believe, a variety of Colisa lalia, a very risky species. Highly prone to Mycobacteria infections as well as a viral infection all its own called Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus. Not a species I ever recommend. Sad, because it's a nice fish. But inbreeding and intensive farming has completely ruined this species.>
Between my LFS and the web, I thought I had done my homework regarding water/environment compatibility within the tank (www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=16+1911+1957&aid=2572
- was one article that led me to believe mollies and gouramis were compatible) - though I am sure there are others to indicate non-compatibility. However your information indicates the mollies do not fit within this grouping and I am willing to accept your analysis.
<It's not that you can't keep Mollies with Gouramis; it's that you can't *always* keep Mollies with Gouramis. About 50% of the time Mollies just don't do well in freshwater communities. Some folks write that off, and say if the Mollies aren't happy, take them out and try something else. Or alternatively, keep medicating as often as required. Or worse, treat them
as disposable fish, and when they're sick, euthanise them and buy some more. My argument is towards providing such conditions for Mollies that you have as near to 100% chance of success as possible. So certainly that means the water should be hard and basic (alkaline) but it also means keeping your options open so you can add some marine salt mix. Some tropical fish don't mind a little marine salt mix, and will thrive under those conditions. Most other livebearers for example, as well as things like Australian Rainbowfish, many Killifish and Cichlids, and certain catfish such as Brown Hoplos. But on the other hand, there are fish that dislike salt immensely, including most tetras, barbs and gouramis.>
You seem to indicate that the best move is to remove the mollies from the mix and I will probably go that route.
<Does tend to be my recommendation. Mollies are fine fish, but you need to work around them.>
In the interim, will the Epsom salt have any effect on the other fish in the tank/ should Epsom salt be a regular addition to the tank?
<Epsom salt won't have any negative effects on the other fish. It IS NOT an substitute for marine salt mix, but rather a laxative that helps relieve constipation. It also raises general hardness, but that's something different to salinity.>
If there are any other compatibility issues I would appreciate further direction.
<I think we've covered everything!>
Not sure of the sex of the gouramis - I was not there when purchased - will attempt to determine
<Your Colisa lalia are males if colourful, females if plain silver.>
I do not use any aquarium salt, should I?
<Some folk do add "teaspoon per 5 gallon" amounts to community tanks but there's not much reason to. Do read here:
Also have not had much luck with live plants (mollies ate everything I put in there - which I understand they do)
<Not normally. They much prefer algae, which is their natural diet. But certain soft plants may be nibbled on. Try Indian Fern, a species that is clearly good to eat but also fast-growing, so tends to hold its own.>
plus most of the information I was given seemed to indicate the conditions for healthy plants were not compatible with
my fish. How important are live plants?
<They aren't crucial at all. Plants provide shade, but you can do that with plastic or silk plants. Plants remove nitrate of course if growing fast, but water changes will do that too. Fast-growing plants do prevent algae though, and that's difficult to do otherwise, so again, clumps of floating Indian Fern can make a huge difference if you're constantly wiping algae from the glass.>
Bubble wall - I am not a huge fan of it esthetically, however if its good for the fish I'll keep it. Recommendations?
<If you don't like it, don't use it! Contrary to popular misconception, bubbles don't "force" oxygen into the water. What bubbles do is move the water from the bottom of the tank to the top. If you do that using a good strong filter, then bubbles are redundant. Switch the thing off, and see what happens. If the fish seem just as perky as before, then leave the
bubble wall off, or perhaps switch it on during hot spells when you worry the water might be holding less oxygen than it should -- you can tell because the fish become sluggish or hang about close to the top of the tank. Do note that Mollies and Gouramis do this naturally, Mollies to breath the air/water mix, and Gouramis to breath air directly, so just because they're at the top of the tank doesn't mean something is wrong.>
Finally, if there are no further compatibility issues, are there any fish species that you would recommend to me.
<I think you have a fine mix of fish! You should add some more Julii Corydoras because they are sociable. Clown Loaches get very big, and also eat soft plants, so I'd tend to recommend Yo-yo Loaches or Dwarf Chain Loaches over Clown Loaches. If you want a livebearer, I suspect either Platies or Swordtails will be better in this tank, depending on its size and how strong the water current is, Swordtails being bigger, more active, more aggressive, and preferring strong water currents. Failing that, Wrestling Halfbeaks are weird and lively, if a bit more difficult to keep.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Opaline Gouramis, beh., hlth.    8/11/10
I just recently bought 3 Opaline gouramis from a pet store. They were fine for 3 days. Now I've noticed 2 of them sit on the bottom a lot and seem very lethargic. I have them in a 10 gallon right now. I'm getting a 20 gallon or bigger on Friday. My question is this. They have all started rocking back and forth. Is this normal behaviour? When they aren't doing this the other 2 just sit on the bottom. To me it looks like they don't have long to live. Please help me figure this out.
Thanks in advance, Todd
<Hi Todd. We need more information than this. For one thing, how long has this aquarium been running? In other words, did you cycle the filter with an ammonia source for a few weeks before adding the fish? If these fish
were dumped in a new aquarium, then water quality is very likely the problem. Also understand that these are tropical fish, and in unheated tanks won't last long. Start here:
Do also note that male Trichogaster trichopterus are aggressive; in a 20 gallon tank keeping more than one male is bound to cause problems. If you can, just choose females. Cheers, Neale.>

Mixing gouramis/Gourami aggression
Trichogaster trichopterus, behavior - 10/01/2009

Hello Crew,
<Hi, James!>
I am starting to get really frustrated here and I need some help, please!
<Will do what I can.>
I have angels, cories and a pair of gold gouramis, 1 each of m and f.
<I know where this is going.>
The male chases the female about 80% of the time and even though I have been told that this is pretty much normal behavior,
<Oh yes. Often to the detriment - and even death - of the recipient of the aggression.>
it drives me nuts to have this happen in an otherwise slow and peaceful tank.
<Probably drives the female nuts, too.>
I decided to put the male in a breeders net or colander for a few days to hopefully give him a "time out",
<This won't help.... Beware of anthropomorphizing too much; a fish can't understand that "bad" (actually, normal/natural) behavior leads to "punishment". A "time out" holds no meaning for a fish at all. The
normal/natural behavior will resume immediately.>
but no matter how hard I try I cannot catch or trap him so my next alternative is to get 2 more females.
<This may be an option, IF the tank in question is suitably large.
Additional cover - plants, rockwork, decor - will help if you do go this route.>
I wanted to know if this may help even if the other 2 new females were pearl instead of gold.
<Likely not. In my not-so-humble opinion, were it me, I would remove the offender from the tank, and avoid male Trichogaster trichopterus of any color in a peaceful community.>
Thank you for your help. James
<Best of luck to you, James! -Sabrina>

Gourami Behavior, Trichogaster  9/30/09
Hello Crew, I have a gold Gourami question. About a month ago I bought 2 gold gouramis (1 male and 1 female). Sometimes they get along OK and mingle and eat together with no problem. Other times the male chases the female unmercifully. She then hides in a little cave until he finds her and starts chasing her again until she gets really stressed out. Is this normal for a male and a female?
<Yes; unfortunately. Thank goodness you have structure, space for the female to get away>
If by some chance it were 2 males would that be the typical behavior?
<Mmm, yes>
I even went about 4 days ago and bought 1 additional female to hopefully spread the aggression.
<A good technique>
She was pregnant.
<Mmmm, you judge this how? The genital papilla? Roundness of the abdomen?>
I didn't necessarily want a pregnant one, but she was the only female that looked really hardy. The next day the one I had just bought was gone and I have searched high and low. The only thing I can figure is she jumped out of the tank somehow.
If this aggressive one keeps bothering the other I am going to take them back to the store.
<Good plan>
<Trichogaster are bubble nest builders... like the common Betta. Bob Fenner>

Re: Gourami Behavior - 10/01/2009
Hello Bob, I feel like a real dummy, but I found the mysterious missing Gourami.
<Ah, good>
She was stuck in the net I use to introduce fish into the tank after drip acclimation. I can't believe I did that. I am usually so careful and watch to make sure the fish goes in the tank. Oh well, I hope I am not the
only one that has done this. Now I am still back to the one male who chases the one female. In your expert opinion would adding 1 or even 2 cut down on the aggression by the male.
<Sometimes does... But another, usually better technique is to give the bully a "time out" by floating it in a plastic colander or sequestering it in a breeding net/trap for a few days... Typically this takes the "spit and
vinegar" out of these fish>
I really do hate to take him out since he is large and very pretty. And if I got say one or 2 more females would that still be OK to have 3 gouramis, 8 angels and about 12 cories in a 75 if I do not get any more
fish? Thank you so much for all your help.
<Welcome. These all should go together fine in this size/shape system.
Re: Gourami Behavior
Thank you, I have never head of that technique. What if I put him in an empty plastic coke bottle? (large one). I don't have a floating colander with a top on it. And during this time out period will it help to not feed
him or not?
<Uncovered is fine... needs to be fed. B>
Re: Gourami Behavior
Mr. Fenner, please be patient with me and forgive me for being so ignorant, but it I put him in a floating colander what will prevent his escape?
<Might "jump over the lip", but most all the plastic colanders I've seen float well enough (have a lip that traps air). Perhaps yours doesn't... The pop bottle/plastic will work if you can devise some holes in it,
float/attach it to the side of the tank... These Anabantoids need to get to the surface/air. B>

Shy Gouramis (Trichogaster trichopterus behaviour, environment)    9/16/08
For about 9 months, I had a 72 gallon tank running with assorted fish, and all was well. Then, at the beginning of July, we had a disaster at our house and I was forced to farm the fish out to friends with tanks while our house was repaired. I have now cycled the tank (all readings are good) and brought back first the 12 rummynosed tetras which seem to be
perfectly happy and all. Next to come back, about a week later, were the 5 gouramis (3 golden, 2 Opaline). Since they have been back (5 days), all they do is hide in the plants, all huddled together and their markings are very dark (although they do come out briefly to eat). They were never like this before the disaster, and the friend who took care of them while they were away, said that they weren't like that in his tank. Just wondering if this is normal? And, if yes, any idea how long this will last for? Should I continue to reintroduce the remaining fish to the tank? Would any kind of fish help them to settle in better than another?
Looking forward to your reply.
Thank you!
<Hello Cheryl. The gouramis you are keeping -- varieties of Trichogaster trichopterus -- are generally very outgoing animals. However, there are a few things they can't stand, and so I'd review these before anything else. They don't like strong water currents, and they don't like nippy or aggressive tankmates (and Rummynose tetras might be nippy, though they are usually well behaved). They may simply not be settled into the tank; review in particular water quality. Although you say the readings are good, repeat your test two or three times across the day to see if it stays consistently good. Adding food can alter the balance, so while nitrite might be zero first thing in the morning, after you've fed the fish it can go up. Nervousness in fish is commonly associated with water pollution and also with unstable pH, so check the pH as well. In any case, since the tank is new, leave things be, and do the usual water changes and provide only small meals. Don't think about adding any more fish for at least two weeks. As a rule of thumb, you should never add fish to a tank if the existing fish aren't doing what they should be doing. You could make things worse! Cheers, Neale.>

Trichogaster trichopterus; behaviour   8/31/08
I have a 40 gallon aquarium with a black ghost,
<Your Apteronotus will quickly get too big for this tank, especially if we're talking those paltry US gallons.>
3 leopard Cory's and I had a pair of Opaline Gourami but I returned the male because seemed to aggressive toward the female Opaline.
<Absolutely normal for the species; Trichogaster trichopterus, despite its wide sale, is rather aggressive, at least as far as the males are concerned.>
I have since seen the gold Gourami which look pretty good but have read they can be aggressive.
<Gold, Blue, and Opaline Gouramis are all the same species: Trichogaster trichopterus, known among biologists as the Three-Spot Gourami. See why we use Latin names? It's so much easier than trying to keep track of common names.>
Is this just the males or females too?
<Generally only the males.>
I can't remember if I read there should be a ratio of one male to two female or one male to three or more females for Gourami .
<Makes no odds, though two females to one male would work nicely. The male is territorial and guards the eggs on his own. Therefore he views any other fish in his patch as a potential threat, rival, or waste of resources. So once a male becomes territorial, it doesn't really matter what fish you keep with him: he'll chase them.>
Please let me know what's correct.
Also would the female Opaline count in the needed ratio one male to multiple females?
<Yes; all one species.>
Or do all need to be same type Gourami whether its gold or Opaline etc?
If I were to do the combination using the gold pair and the female Opaline will I most likely be finding myself returning the gold male to LFS? What are your thoughts about if there are any combination... male plus certain (?) number of females or all females into the mix where I
won't have worry about my Opaline? Should I just stay away from gold altogether? Or what other Gourami should I be looking at instead if any?
<There's really no "magic formula" because the male Trichogaster trichopterus is just as like to chase, say, an Australian Rainbowfish as another member of its own species. Keeping a single male and as many females as you want is certainly safer than keeping multiple males, because the males will fight over dominance. But that's about all you do.>
Thank you
<Cheers, Neale.>

Gourami dilemma, Trichogaster aggr.  5/1/08 Hi All, <Kim> I recently purchased/set up a new 28 gal. freshwater tank. After allowing the tank to cycle for what I thought was long enough (although after reading your numerous posts/articles on water quality, etc. realize it wasn't anywhere close) <Need to actually test... for ammonia, nitrite...> I added two blue and two gold Gouramis. <Ahh, both Trichogaster trichopterus species> Everybody was pretty mellow at first but soon perked up and started exploring their new surroundings. After about a day I noticed one of the blues spending more time hiding in corners and not being as active as the others and after further observation found the other blue to be chasing and picking on her (I'm pretty sure from your descriptions that I have a male and a female). This behavior continued off and on until this morning my girl was hiding behind the filter intake and wasn't coming up for air as often as it seems she was before. I had set up a QT in anticipation of adding more fish soon so moved her into that to recover. She really seems to be enjoying her solitude and is actively exploring her new digs. So here's my problem (sorry for the long intro): Prior to reading about cycling and adding new fish to the new tank slowly I had ordered a few more Gouramis, 2 pearl and 2 flame dwarf, some Cardinal Tetras, Danios and a couple of shrimp to do the cleanup. My plan was to keep the new guys in the QT for a couple of weeks to make sure everybody was ok but now Delilah is recovering in there. I don't want to put her back in the community tank yet because I'm afraid she'll go back to getting picked on (incidentally he leaves the golds alone), but I also don't want to risk her getting sick if the new fish have any problems. Any suggestions? <Yes, "float" the bully in an all-plastic colander for a week or so... in the same tank, but where he can't get out, to the other fishes. If you want to splurge, you can get a "breeding trap" or net... and use this instead> I tried to delay shipment of the new fish but they were already on the way by the time I realized I had a problem! Oh - and for those of you cringing because I didn't let the tank cycle properly... don't worry, I'm checking the water twice a day to make sure I don't poison anybody. <Ah, goo> I've done two partial water changes ~25% each time and am being *very* careful about how much I feed them. I did have quite a problem with ammonia levels yesterday but the water changes really helped. Thanks for all your advice! Kim <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

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>

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

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? <It's 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 don't 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 there's too much current but more likely is that he just plain doesn't 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. It's 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 I'm 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 doesn't 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 there's constant traffic and the fish are not scared at all. <The door shouldn't be a problem unless it's 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 don't 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 isn't a fungus, and make sure that he's 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>

Shy Gold Gouramis Hi there: I recently purchased 2 Gold Gouramis, both of which I believe are female, to cycle my new 20 gallon hexagonal aquarium. I heard that they were a hardy fish and I enjoy their colors. Before I even bought my tank, I read 3 aquarium books cover to cover to make sure I would have the best chances of success. None of these books, though, contain sufficient information on the "shyness" of certain fish. After combing your site, I was wondering why my Gouramis are hiding from me! It's only been a few days, but I know they are healthy (at least externally) and the water quality is good. Are they just stressed from the big move? <Likely a factor... as well as their general retiring nature> Will they come out from behind the plants/rocks when I add more fish in the future? <Likely much more so> One seems to be fairly stationary at the bottom and is occasionally followed by the other, who stays near the top. They sometimes come out in the open when they think I'm not looking, but retreat as soon as they see me. Thanks for your time..... Ben <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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