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

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 Behavior, 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,

Re: Community tank; Trichogaster incomp.        8/25/15
I'm back for more help. I came home today and I have 3 new fish in the tank. The water is fine , a bit on the hard side but that's fine.
<Yes, hard water is fine for most community fish provided you avoid the obvious soft water specialists: Neons, Cardinals, Dwarf Gouramis, that sort of thing.>
The problem is my kids thought it would be a nice surprise to add 3 small blue gouramis!

They are not nipping anyone but each other.
<Are these blue Three-Spot Gouramis (Trichogaster trichopterus) or a blue form of the Dwarf Gourami (Colisa lalia). Three-Spot Gouramis get relatively big (10 cm/4 inches) and the males can be extremely intolerant of one another and sometimes bully other fish too. Dwarf Gouramis are simply a waste of money. Inbred, plagued with incurable viral diseases, and extremely sensitive to the wrong environmental conditions. Avoid.>
I don't want to hurt the kids feelings, but I think im going to have to take them back to the store they were bought from.
<A sensible discussion to have with kids. Try this approach: in a zoo, would you keep the antelope and the lions together? Or the polar bears with the camels? No, because they have different needs. An aquarium is like a zoo. You're choosing animals that will get along and share the same needs, and sometimes one combination you like won't actually work.>
Is there a way 1 gouramis could stay, or is it a no go with the angels?
<Female Three-Spot Gouramis are usually very good with Angels. Very similar needs and personality. Male Three-Spots can work as well, but it's a bit of a gamble. Unless the tank is very large and has lots of floating plants, keeping two or three male Three-Spots together is risky (in very large mixed sex groups they can work together much better because no one fish can become dominant).>
Right now the 3 are chasing each other, nipping tails, turning sideways to each other, and biting fins and sides.
<Yikes! In the US, female Dwarf Gouramis are rarely sold, and getting multiple males is bound to be troublesome. With Three-Spots, both sexes are sold, and they're relatively easy to sex, so if you do have three males, swapping for one male and two females, or simply three females, is perfectly possible. Males have a longer, more pointed dorsal fin than the females.>
They are beautiful fish, but I don't want any fighting. It is a 55 gal with tons of places to hide. So if I could keep the least aggressive gouramis safely with angels, Molly's, platys, guppy and kuhli loaches I would like to do so.... But if its a no go, I will take all three back tomorrow morn.
<Understood. Lace/Pearl Gouramis are safer, and Moonlight Gouramis even better with Angels. Snakeskin Gouramis are good too, but they aren't colourful despite being very gentle giants. Thick-Lipped and Banded Gouramis are similar to Dwarf Gouramis in looks, if a little less brilliant in colouration, and while territorial, their small size means they're not
much of a threat. Underrated fish worth looking for.>
Thanks for any advice.
<Welcome. Neale.>
re: Community tank       8/25/15

Thanks. Those bully's killed 2 of my platys. They are going back to the store. I'm going to trade for a pearl gouramis or 2. Yes these 3 are three spot, and all male. Everyone seems stressed out. The blue guys are nice looking, but maybe in the future I can have some in a separate tank...
<In large groups Three-Spots look great, mixed with Rainbowfish for example. Very colourful, and a nice way to get some personality alongside the pretty but mindless Rainbows. But for peaceful communities, yes, I'd be looking at something more reliable. Pearl Gouramis are usually good; sexing is similar, male has longer dorsal fin and usually have a bit more red
around the throat and feelers than the females. Moonlights are even more reliable, and Snakeskins virtually never exhibit aggression. Females of all three species are normally safe bets. Cheers, Neale.>

gold Gourami, comp.    11/27/11
Hi Neale, Chris here. I have a gold Gourami which I've had for about 7-8 months now and since he's been in there he had been quite aggressive towards the other gouramis i have.
<Is this Trichogaster trichopterus, i.e., the golden form of the Opaline Gourami, sometimes called the Three-Spot Gourami?>
He would eat everyday no problem. About a week ago i noticed he was not eating anymore and he just keeps to himself now near the bottom of the tank. why could this be? Is there possibly an illness here? thanks again,
<Three-Spot Gouramis are generally very hardy and easy to keep. However, the males are notoriously aggressive at times, but oddly enough, as they age, they sometimes become rather lazy, even shy. In short, they're unpredictable fish, and males at least best avoided. Males have longer dorsal fins than the females. If yours is a male and it's aggressive, then his behaviour could well be normal for the species. If there's another male in there with him, there's a good chance they won't tolerate one another, and the "shy" one could be bullied by the other one. All gouramis are air-breathers, Three-Spot Gouramis are no exception, and this means they're sensitive to cold air, dry air, and airborne toxins like paint fumes.
Consider if these could be a factor. Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: gold Gourami, comp.    11/28/11

Following up on your question Neale, it is the three spot Gourami and is male so thanks for pointing those factors out. there are two other gouramis in my tank, one being a three spot blue Gourami, although it looks more silver to me and I'm pretty sure it is also male, and the other being a flame dwarf Gourami and also a male. so yes maybe just a little too much testosterone between the three. thanks again Chris!
<I'd be surprised if the Dwarf Gourami harasses the two Three-Spots, but still, you do have potential here for friction, so be careful. Anyway, glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

gold gourami, dead  12/2/11
sadly Neale the gold three spot had died :(. not too sure as to why. all my test levels, ph, etc. seem fine and where they should be. thanks for your help. I attached a picture for you of my tank, hope you like it. Chris.
<That's a nice tank! Lots of open space, so your best bet would be stock with species that enjoy open water. Platies or Swordtails would be good, or Danios, rather than Gouramis, which to be honest prefer tanks thick with plants. Cheers, Neale.>


New angels and golden Gourami   11/7/11
Hi crew,
We have just bought a pair of small angels and a pair of gold goumi.
We have a 65 litre tank
<Mmm... really not large enough for the Angels and Gouramis when they're larger... there will be disputes, trouble...>
and 6 other small fish in there too. The angels and goumi have been in the tank for a few hours now and they have started to chase and nip their own partner.
<Oh, already>
The White angel is chasing the black one, and both golden are doing the same. Do you know whether they are just settling in or whether this is going to be a real problem.
<The latter>
Please help?
<You/they need a larger world. Either a bigger tank, or returning them to the shop. Bob Fenner>

Opaline Gourami Aggression    9/29/11
Hi crew!
Thanks to some bad local fish shop advice (never buying fish based on store advice ever again - you guys are now my aquarium research bible), I am now stuck with an Opaline Gourami (approx 10cm)
<About as big as Trichogaster trichopterus and its sports get!>
and a dwarf Gourami in a 150 litre community tank. The Opaline Gourami is, as you've probably already guessed, aggressive towards the dwarf.
<And most anything else>
I believe they are both males. The Opaline is not aggressive towards any other fish. The dwarf, after two months of co-habitation, remains undamaged, appears perfectly fat and healthy and is eating/behaving what I would consider normally.
The Opaline will often chase him off (other times appears to tolerate him), but that's about as far as it goes - I haven't seen it progress to nipping as the Opaline seems satisfied by the dwarf's retreat, and there's no evidence of damage to the dwarf.
<In your larger system perhaps there never will be>
I've been reading the FAQ, but a couple of different answers has gotten me confused. If I added a female Gourami (thinking of a golden if anything as I am led to believe the Opaline/golden/blue/3 spot is the same species T. trichopterus),
<Indeed they are>
will that make the Opaline Gourami MORE or LESS aggressive?
<Could go either way; but would redirect from the dwarf/Colisa>
I'd be inclined to think the former, but certain answers have caused me to consider the former.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Opaline Gourami Aggression    9/29/11
Hi crew!
Thanks to some bad local fish shop advice (never buying fish based on store advice ever again - you guys are now my aquarium research bible), I am now stuck with an Opaline Gourami (approx 10cm)
<About as big as Trichogaster trichopterus and its sports get!>
and a dwarf Gourami in a 150 litre community tank. The Opaline Gourami is, as you've probably already guessed, aggressive towards the dwarf.
<And most anything else>
I believe they are both males. The Opaline is not aggressive towards any other fish. The dwarf, after two months of co-habitation, remains undamaged, appears perfectly fat and healthy and is eating/behaving what I would consider normally.
The Opaline will often chase him off (other times appears to tolerate him), but that's about as far as it goes - I haven't seen it progress to nipping as the Opaline seems satisfied by the dwarf's retreat, and there's no evidence of damage to the dwarf.
<In your larger system perhaps there never will be>
I've been reading the FAQ, but a couple of different answers has gotten me confused. If I added a female Gourami (thinking of a golden if anything as I am led to believe the Opaline/golden/blue/3 spot is the same species T. trichopterus),
<Indeed they are>
will that make the Opaline Gourami MORE or LESS aggressive?
<Could go either way; but would redirect from the dwarf/Colisa>
I'd be inclined to think the former, but certain answers have caused me to consider the former.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Male Dwarf Gourami... untenable mix, damage, no reading...   4/1/11
I purchased 4 Gourami's (from large chain pet shop), one golden, one spotted and two male dwarf.
<Mmm, the Colisa lalia are not compatible w/ the larger Trichogaster...>
They all looked fine when I left the store, but by the time I got them home (some 40 min.s later) one of the dwarf gouramis appeared to have been attacked by the other fish as they were all put in small bag together,
<?! Mistake number two>
its side fins were stubs, its fin on underside was jagged and tail almost gone. I put it in tank hoping it would grow back,
<Might in time (weeks, months) given good care, conditions>
but for first few days he was struggling to swim/stay upright and was struggling to get to food. On third day he developed white lump on top of head. I've had him 7 days now and he has a deep hole in his head, it doesn't look inflamed or anything, its just a deep white/pinkish fleshy hole which appears to have got gradually bigger. He lies on bottom of aquarium, hiding amongst rocks and only moves very occasionally for few seconds. His faeces is clear/stringy (just in case there's any relevance to that).
<Uhh... Read here:
and the linked files above. Please follow directions... search ahead of writing us. Bob Fenner>
Do you have any ideas what is wrong with him? If so how can I treat him, and will it affect other fish? (they all at the moment appear healthy).
Thank You

FW... Swordtail injury... poss. from lone Blue Gourami... Colisa?   5/24/10
I have a 95 litre tank. just put in 2 lyretail swords &1 red dwarf Gourami &1 blue Gourami. one of my swords looks like he has been injured as part of his top tail is missing, I think the Gourami have had a go at him and now the Gourami's keep chasing and annoying him, nibbling at his tail, don't know if I should remove him (lyretail sword) or see if he perks up? I have added some Nutrafin cycle to help.
<... is this system NOT cycled? Is there discernible ammonia, nitrite present? If so this needs to be addressed NOW. In this sized system, the Blue/ if this is Trichogaster trichopterus/ Gourami shouldn't be able to "get to" a Swordtail... But I would add a mate to it... of the opposite sex. To reduce overall likelihood of aggression. Please read here:

Mixing gouramis  - 4/19/10
Honestly you guys have saved my a55 a few time, thank you very much for doing what you do. Now for the question. I have 5 Gouramis; female (1 blue, 1 Opaline, 2 pearl) male (1 moonlight)... Can the male moonlight
breed with any of these other Gouramis?
<No, different species don't seem to hybridise, at least I've never heard of them doing so. But the males of different species will often chase one another. So treat all the Trichogaster males as potential "rivals" and outnumber them with females.>
or do they have to be the same species....
<If you want to breed them, yes. But do be aware that "blue" and "golden" and "Opaline" Gouramis are all the same species, the Three-Spot Gourami, Trichogaster trichopterus. They're just different colours. Moonlight gouramis are a different species, Trichogaster microlepis, as are Pearl/Lace Gouramis, Trichogaster leeri.>
I may be trading one pearl for a male gold.
<Do be aware that Trichogaster trichopterus, in all its colour forms, is by far the most aggressive Trichogaster species Gourami. The other two species are much more easy-going.>
Is 2 males to 3 females and ok ratio?
<Depends on the size of the tank and how many surface (i.e., floating) plants and leaves there are.>
They are housed in a 40 gal tank filter by good Ol' Fluval.
<For this tank would go with a trio of Pearls or Moonlights rather than Three-Spot Gourami. If you must keep Three-Spot Gouramis, then don't keep just two males or the weaker one will be bullied endlessly. Much better to
keep one male plus two or as many females as you want.>
I really appreciate your help.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Three spot Gourami, sys., comp.  1/9/10
Hey there!
After extensive research I'm still a little lost haha.
I recently brought a tank which is 88.87 litres (22gal) . As a "surprise" my mum brought me two female three spot Gourami (both are about 3cm currently) after much research I am still wondering if they will be ok in this size tank?
<Can be, yes>
They are currently the only fish in the tank although I'll be adding a small school of panda or sterbai Corys within the next week or so, could I add anything else or is the tank too small?
<The Corydoras will make a fine addition here, and you do have some "midwater" room for another small species... perhaps some Rasboras, Danios or one of the more peaceful, small Barbs. Please read here re:
And lastly I read on one website that if there is male three spot Gourami the females will die because they get so full of eggs!?!?!
<Mmm, not likely if cared for properly. Given good maintenance and nutrition. Please read here:
and the linked files above>
I hope this is not the case
Thank you for all your time
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Gouramis in community tank... Mmm, FW lvstk. sel., Trichogaster comp.  11/25/09
Dear Crew Members,
This is a great site with wonderful people, and very helpful material to read.. A JOB VERY WELL DONE
<Thank you>
The Aquarium
I have got a 135 gallon aquarium may be a bit more. I have 4 plastic plants in it one big wood piece in the middle and some rocks at one corner. I have a good power full filter installed and a heater maintaining the temperature about 28-30 C. I change quarter of water after a week or two and try to siphon out all the wastes lying at the bottom.
We don't have the testing kits easily available in Pakistan and haven't tested the water parameters ever.
<I rarely test mine... w/ a good working maintenance routine, it is unlikely you will have problems>
The Fish
I have 2 mono angels (about 5 inches high),
<Monodactylus species? These are really brackish to marine animals, particularly with age, size>
5 Angels (medium sized), 3 color tetras, 2 balloon mollies (1 male, 1 Female), 6 mollies (1 male 5 females), 1 Mickey mouse platy female, 1 grey platy female, 2 red platies male, 2 blue gouramies (about 5 inches each), 1 dwarf gourami, and 10 balloon molly babies in a breeder net.
The Questions
1. Is this a good community tank as in terms of compatibility of the fish?
<Mmm, somewhat... the mollies really "like" more hard, alkaline water conditions than the S. American Angels and Gouramis>
2. If I don't put a livebearer in the breeding net just in time all the babies get eaten, and I don't want that so how many days you can keep a fish in the net before breeding or should not do it ?
<Till the young are large enough to not be eaten...>
3. The real problem is this. before introducing the mollies into my tank I had 3 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shubunkin> Shubunkins, and everything was smooth. But then I brought in mollies and after few days had to exchange my goldfish with angels (mollies were hitting them). Since then my 2 blue gouramies were also doing very well and growing in size. but now they are mostly sitting at the bottom of the tank and only come up at the feeding time, and otherwise if they do come up they stay there for very lesser period of time. Two of my female mollies are always hitting on their body as if they are licking something from their skin and my Gouramis (who used to be very aggressive before the arrival of mollies and were territorial as well) now seem helpless before the hitting mollies. I read at your website that the blue gouramies should be dominating the crowd not the mollies dominating the gouramies? Are my gouramies sick?
<Mmm, no, not likely. More just being bullied by the Mollies as you state>
They have no apparent problem and take feed as they used to..but now sit at the bottom most of time. if they are sick what should I do?
<The best would be to put them in another aquarium>
4. How to sex the blue gouramies if you say I can send you pics of both. and what age they start breeding. they are in my tank for more than 6 months now? Should I partition my tank thru a net wall and put the gouramies
in portioned part of it to give them some privacy?
<A bit more involved here. Trichogaster gouramis spawn a lot like Betta splendens (the popular Betta species)... need very calm water, a cover to prevent cold air/drafts... and some preparation on your part to culture foods ahead of time for the young. Please read here:
5. Should I add some table salt after water change with the above mentioned fish in aquarium? And if yes how much?
<Mmm, I wouldn't... unless you can/do separate the real Angels and Gouramis to another non-salted system... But otherwise I would... Read here:
I know this is a very long message but your help will be highly appreciated.
<A bit of reading... and separating this assemblage of fishes into two systems is what I'd do. Bob Fenner>

Mopani wood and a home for Gouramis   11/9/09
Hi everyone,
I was hoping you could help me out with something. I'm in the process of setting up a new 29 gallon tank, and I bought two beautiful pieces of Mopani wood I'm planning to use in the tank.
I've been soaking each in a 5-gallon bucket of dechlorinated tap water for a few weeks now, and been doing water changes in each of the buckets every few days. One of the pieces has a faint rotten-egg smell when I remove it from the bucket to change the water, while the other piece has no smell at all. Could this be harmful in any way?
<Is certainly odd.>
If so I'll definitely toss it--I don't want to risk any fishes' lives.
<Can you return the piece? Otherwise, try putting the wood in cistern of the lavatory, and after a couple of weeks, see if the flushing hasn't rinsed away any organic matter.>
Another question I wanted to ask you guys is about Gourami compatibility for this tank. I 'm hoping to center this tank around one or two female /Trichogaster trichopterus/, and I'm wondering what other fish would be compatible, as I've read these fish can be aggressive.
<Males are aggressive, yes; females generally pretty good.>
Several other sources I've come across have suggested harlequin Rasboras/ Rasbora heteromorpha /or white cloud mountain minnows /Tanichthys albonubes. /What do you think? Any stocking suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
<Either of these would be good. Rasboras prefer water on the warm side, Minnows on the cooler, so would choose depending on what other fish you had in mind. Corydoras for example like cooler water, so Minnows are a good choice. If you were keeping Angels though, they like warmer water, so Rasboras would make sense.>
Thanks in advance,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Mopani wood and a home for Gouramis 11/10/09
Thanks so much, Neale! You've really helped me out!
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Rainbow / Gourami question... comp.    6/29/09
I have a 30 gallon tank of 6 Rainbow and 1 Gold Gourami (Trichogaster trichopterus). They seem to get along okay, but I am worried the Gourami may get aggressive as it gets bigger. Do you think this combination will work?
<It's only the male Trichogaster trichopterus that become aggressive, and even then, it's usually towards other gouramis, or at worst, other fish of similar general shape, such as cichlids. Males have longer dorsal fins than the females, so it's quite easy to tell them apart when you have a bunch of them in front of you, but if you have just one specimen, you may want to look at some photos in aquarium books to see whether yours is a boy or a girl. In any case, I'd fully expect your combination of Rainbowfish and a Gourami to work very well. Cheers, Neale.>

Rainbow Shark Compatible with Gouramis?. 3/15/09
WWM is my trusted source for aquarium advice.
<Thank you.>
I need advice regarding two tanks.
<Fire away.>
Tank 1: An established 37 gallon -tank with 1 large female Blue Gourami - 4 inches, 1 male Swordtail, 3 Otos, and 1 small ghost shrimp that must have stowed away on a plant since I have never bought one. The tank is heavily planted with a large piece of driftwood. Eheim Ecco 2234 canister and 150W Stealth heater.
I used to have 14 Cardinal Tetras in there also, but lost them all recently to a horrible bout of Ich brought in with a few new Cardinals. The other fish all survived - Gourami, Sword, and Otos. Since the Cardinals were lost, the Gourami hardly ever comes out anymore except to eat and the Swordtail hangs very close to her - they're an odd couple. I figure they need some dither fish.
<Possibly, but neither are "dither fish" species. Certainly not Swordtails, which live at the surface, so would *actually be* dither fish, rather than needing them. Likewise Gouramis live in thickly vegetated environments
close to the surface, and wouldn't really be nearby any schooling fish most of the time. So I'd be considering other factors first.>
Our local water is pretty hard with high pH - constantly around 8.
<Should be fine for a wide range of fish. Perhaps not Cardinals though, which do seem to prefer water at least only moderately hard, and ideally soft.>
I don't want to mess with Cardinals again so I will gradually add in about 10-15 Harlequin Rasboras, which will be hardier.
<Can't say I've ever found Harlequins to be hardier than Cardinals. Both are pretty much soft water fish. When it comes to hard water tetras, I'd be looking at the "old reliables" like Pristella (X-ray) tetras or Lemon tetras. Even better, look at the Celebes Rainbowfish, Marosatherina ladigesi. This fish thrives in hard water, and has the neon blue you want, though in combination with yellow rather than red. It's a cracking little fish, and like most rainbowfish, if you buy good specimens, they're really very reliable and long-lived.>
I currently have 6 Harlequins cycling a new 10 gallon tank, which will move into this bigger tank in a few weeks. I would also like to add 2 or 3 Pearl Gouramis (1 Male, 2 Females) to the 37 gallon tank.
<OK. A male Blue Gourami would probably have a fit, but a female should be fine.>
Anyway, I just got a very small Rainbow Shark a few days ago - I caved in to my 13 yr old son who has bugged me for months about getting a shark.
This was our compromise, since he wanted Balas and that was out of the question.
The Rainbow is a little smaller than 2 inches. I purposely got a small one, so the other fish would be dominant - at least until he is full grown.
I still have time to get the Pearls before the Rainbow becomes more mature and established in the tank. Right now, he kind of hides in the plants by himself, but is coming out more and eating well. The Gourami has not shown any interest in him at all, which is good, I guess.
<Rainbow Sharks do tend to be amongst the mildest of all the Sharks. In general, they're only aggressive towards other shark-like fish, including things like loaches.>
My question for tank 1 is this - Do you think the Rainbow will be compatible with the Rasboras and the Pearl Gouramis - that I plan to get in the next 2 weeks?
<Always a gamble with Sharks, but in this case, I'd certainly risk it.>
Any suggestions you can offer will be welcome. And no, we can't get rid of the Blue Gourami - she's my daughter's that we raised from an egg....parents were relocated.
Tank 2: In this tank which is currently being cycled with 6 Harlequin Rasboras (1 week now - fish are doing well and Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates are all 0 daily. Filtration: AquaClear 20 and a 50W Stealth
heater. I was considering a pair of Blue Rams. However, after research, I am coming to the conclusion that these will not be the right fish for this tank.
<Would agree. Mikrogeophagus ramirezi is one of the more demanding fish species, and many aquarists completely fail to keep them alive for any substantial length of time. A much, much better choice is its close
relative the Bolivian Ram Mikrogeophagus altispinosus, a species that thrives across a wide range of water chemistry conditions and, most critically, at regular temperatures (Blue Rams need much hotter water than
most tropical fish like). There are few fish I recommend without reservations, but Mikrogeophagus altispinosus is one of them. It's slightly bigger and perhaps a little less gaudily coloured, but mature fish are
still very beautiful and the fact they're hardy (by dwarf cichlid standards, at least) is a major plus.>
Most of what I have read says they need more territory and softer water with higher pH - like my Cardinals, which were fine to a point, but as soon as something upset their balance, they couldn't bounce back like the other fish did.
My other thought was to put in a pair of Labidochromis (Electric Yellow Cichlids). Our water conditions would be more suitable, but this tank size is also too small.
<Agreed; these are superb fish for a Mbuna community tank, or possibly mixed in a community with robust rainbows and barbs, but like all Mbuna they need space.>
Question - What other fish or fish combinations could you suggest for a 10 gallon tank that is more suited to higher pH and hard water such as we have in our local area? I'd like to give them the optimum living environment considering it will be such a small environment.
<For a 10-gallon tank, if you're up for a challenge, and want something quirky, consider Tanganyikan Shell Dwellers. These are small (typically an inch or so) cichlids that live in empty snail shells, sometimes in pairs,
but usually as harems. Lamprologus ocellatus and Neolamprologus multifasciatus are probably the two most widely traded species. Besides looking good, these fish have the usual fabulous spawning behaviours we
expect from cichlids, but scaled down to the point where males barely show any interest in things more than a couple of inches above their shells. As such, you can add some genuine dither fish to the mix in the form of
suitable hardwater species; Endler's guppies for example are popular choices.>
We also have a Betta in a 1.5 gallon tank - quite old (almost 3 years old) and may soon be on his way to a happier hunting ground.
<A heck of an age.>
Your help is greatly appreciated.
With kind regards,
<Cheers, Neale.>

What's Up w/Gourami Swordtail couple? Re: Rainbow Shark Compatible with Gouramis? (also, stocking a 10-gallon) 3/15/09
Dear Neale,
Thank you very much for the speedy reply. Much appreciated.
<Most welcome.>
Have taken in all you wrote and will seriously consider the Celebes Rainbowfish although I have never seen them in my area. I was very excited to learn about these fish that I have not read or about before. What I have just read about them on the web suggests they may be a bit finicky and I found more than a few articles that suggest adding aquarium salt. Is this your opinion as well and would that be alright for my other fish - the Gouramis, Sword and Otos?
<They don't need salt. This is 'old school' from when they were considered brackish water fish. What they appreciate is a steady pH, an at-least moderate amount of carbonate hardness, and lots of oxygen. Excessively high temperatures should be avoided; 25 C (77 F) is ample. Most problems with this species come down to keeping it in stagnant, overheated tanks.>
Also as you said - I need to consider what else is going on with my Gourami and Sword...
History - They were previously in a healthy, well-planted 20High tank and I moved them into the 37 gallon tank last Xmas. She has become more skittish and typically hangs at the bottom of the tank - but she did in the 20 gallon as well. The Swordtail comes out more and hangs at the top more than the Gourami, but they both hang more at the bottom of the tank than at the top. The bottom of the tank is more densely planted and there are more places for her to hide, but I suspect also that the Eheim makes more surface movement than the Aqua Clear in the 20 gallon that she was accustomed to before. They were definitely more active in the tank when the Cardinals were around though. This tank is much deeper, so there is more open space in the top levels of this tank than there was in the previous tank. Pennywort, Rotala and hairgrass are growing in nicely, so that may help to bring her to the top more as they fill out the top levels more.
<Sounds promising.>
I also have two young (4 and 3 yrs old and very active) children and the tank is located in a fairly high traffic location. She sometimes darts when the kids run by, but not always and this is the same location as the previous tank. The only other change is the substrate. I had pea gravel before and now have eco-complete. Oh - I also add Flourish Excel Liquid Carbon every other day, which I didn't in the previous tank. Would that make a difference to her behavior/behaviour? It seems to make a big difference to the plants.
<Substrate shouldn't be a factor for the Swordtails. Banging about outside the tank could be an issue though. Adding a couple of female Swordtails may help; females are gregarious and, unlike the males, don't fight for territory.>
Regarding adding the Pearl Gouramis. Alas - even though the males are showier, I may just get 2 females to keep things sane - since I don't really want to mess with spawning in this show tank.
<OK. But I've rarely heard of the males of this species causing problems.
Pearl and Moonlight Gouramis are both towards the peaceful end of the Gourami spectrum.>
I have always like the look of Diamond Tetras - What do you think about a few - 4 to 7 Diamond Tetras - Moenkhausia pittieri - if I can't find Celebes here? They would be in place of both the Pearl Gouramis and the Celebes.
<Diamonds Tetras are lovely fish. When happy and fully grown, they're exceptionally attractive and live for several years. Sometimes they don't adapt to hard water though. Supposedly, farmed specimens tolerate hard water acceptably well, but wild-caught fish don't.>
Tank 2: I will look for Bolivian Rams - Great thinking! I suspect they may be available here and sold instead as Blue Rams (for more money) by less reputable shops....But I have not seen "Bolivian Rams" in local shops here.
<They are in the trade, but admittedly the common Rams are more widely sold, though I'd argue because of high turnover: few aquarists keep common Rams alive for more than a few months! Bolivian Rams should live 5+ years without problems.>
Looking forward to your reply.
Whose husband wishes he were a fish.......
<How odd. Cheers, Neale.>

Thanks so much Re: What's Up w/Gourami Swordtail couple? Re: Rainbow Shark Compatible with Gouramis? (also, stocking a 10-gallon) 3/15/09
Thanks again - so happy I have not more serious issues with my fish today.
Your advice and suggestions are thoughtful and most appreciated. All will be considered as checkbook and availability allow.
<Very good.>
Will probably not go with female swords....until we're ready to deal with all that spawning - I have a 4 yr old budding naturalist who would really enjoy it though - she knows all the Latin names of our fish and plants!
The hubby thing - every single time I am at the fish tanks, he sings wistfully, "Oh - I wish, I wish...I wish I were a fish!
<Hmm... not quite Henry Rollins, but okay.>
He complains that he dropped down one more rung on the ladder behind the children - Wah Wah Wah....
Wishing you a lovely day!
<I hope so too; my sister is in the middle of giving birth to her (first) baby, so with luck, I'll be an uncle for the first time at "close of business".>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Add pair of three-spot gouramis?  3/8/09 Neale, I have a 20 US gal tall tank w/ 1 dwarf Pleco and 10 glass fish. I'm in the process of slowly but surely adjusting the tank to a live planted tank. Other than the tannins from the new drift wood turning the water reddish, water parameters appear to be in normal range. I know the reddish water will resolve over time as normal water changes are made. I've been approached by a neighbor who is trying to find a home for two blue gouramis (presumably Trichogaster trichopterus). One is a male and the other a female. My reading here and on other sites suggest varying minimum tank sizes - some say 20 gal and some say 30 gal. Is my tank big enough to peacefully house these pair along w/ my other inhabitants? I know Gourami and glass fish are good for one another. just wanted to make sure my tank was big enough before I invite them to stay. Thanks - as always! Kristi <Hi Kristi. I'm not a huge fan of Three-spot Gouramis (indeed, Trichogaster trichopterus) in community tanks. The females are reliable, but the males less so. They're hardy enough that being kept in a 20 gallon tank won't cause health problems, but the males can become so territorial they chase everything in sight. In bigger tanks this is less of an issue because there's more space. But in a 20 gallon tank, it's risky. I'd perhaps inquire why these fish need a new home: if they're terrorizing her other aquarium fish, your answer will be right there. If you watch the fish and they seem perfectly settled and peaceful, then you might be okay. Glassfish and Plecs should be fast/armoured enough to handle a Three-spot, so the gamble isn't too bad from their perspective, but if you add more delicate species in the future, like Angels or Guppies, that's when things become problematic. In short: 30 gallons best, 20 gallons adequate; females peaceful, males sometimes waspish. Cheers, Neale.>

20 Gal Set-up 12/28/08 I think this is way over the limit but I thought I would try anyways. 1 Gold Gourami <Mmm, do keep an eye on this Trichogaster... might become a bully here> 1 Dwarf Gouramis 1 Bristlenose Pleco 2 Upside-down Catfish <Mmm, are social animals...> 3-4 Cherry Barb 4-5 Neons I have two filters and plenty of plants and caves for hiding and such. Think I could pull it off? The tank does not have the fish in it yet. If this set-up is not good, do you have any suggestions. Thanks. <Mmm, I'd likely leave out the Gold Gourami... but otherwise, this mix should work here. Bob Fenner>

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 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>

Gourami question Hi all, <Hello Mark> Can't say enough good things about the amount of help you've given us fish lovers. <You would, perhaps will do the same> I've got a 10 gallon freshwater tank.  Some fish have come and gone, but the mainstays in the tank are a 2 1/2 inch Gold Gourami and a 2 1/2 inch Iridescent shark. My problem is that I've recently begun to add fish to the tank...I added a 2 inch silvertip shark who gets along great with everyone one, but the Gold Gourami seems to be attacking a 1 1/2 inch Blue Gourami that I added. <Mmm, really, the root of the difficulty here... the size of the tank... too small> The Gold Gourami has always been aggressive to smaller fish (small leopard puffers and mollies).  I figured that adding a larger sized fish (the Blue Gourami) would help to calm the Gold Gourami down, but he just cant seem to break the habit of chasing all of the other fish around the tank. <It might work... to isolate the original... gold Gourami... in a breeding trap, or even just a good sized net, hung on the corner of the tank... for a few days... This often re-sets the "dynamics" in a system> Barring total isolation of one, is there anyway that I can keep the Gourami's together?  The attacking never goes beyond chasing and the occasional nip, but I'm just afraid that the stress will do him/her in. Thanks for the help, Mark <You are likely right... try the isolation trick... and if this doesn't work? Perhaps a larger system? Or a trade-in. Bob Fenner> Blue Gourami Aggression I have a blue Gourami fish and just the other day it started chasing around my 2 Bala sharks. When I bought them they were in the same tank. And the Gourami doesn't seem to care about the other fish in there. I did hear that blue Gouramis can be territorial but at the same time peaceful. Do you think that the Gourami is really out to kill the Bala sharks? Nick <Well, some Trichogaster Gouramis do "turn mean", but Bala Sharks are fast and smart... able to stay out of the Gourami's way... if the tank is large enough. Am sure you're aware of how large these minnow-sharks get, their propensity for jumping... Bob Fenner>

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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