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FAQs on the Blue, Three-Spot, Gold/en, Opaline, Even Albino! Gouramis, Yes, The Same Species, Trichogaster trichopterus,  Disease/Health 1

FAQs on Trichogaster Disease: T. trichopterus Disease 1, T. trichopterus Disease 2, T. trichopterus Disease 3, T. trichopterus Disease 4,
FAQs on Trichogaster Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Infectious, Parasitic, Trauma, Treatments

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

Related FAQs:  Trichogaster trichopterus 1, Trichogaster trichopterus 2, T. trichopterus ID, T. trichopterus Behavior, T. trichopterus Compatibility, T. trichopterus Selection, T. trichopterus Systems, T. trichopterus Feeding, 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,

Sick Gourami  12/7/08 Hi! First, I have to apologize for my English as it is not my mother language (I'm from Croatia, Europe). <No problems. Your English is certainly much better than my Croatian.> 3 months ago I bought 4 Trichogaster trichopterus. The Trichogaster that I want to ask a question about had a small white bump at the base of the dorsal fin which was damaged, but I didn't see it until I got home. I put it in quarantine and treated it with 2 cycles of a wide spectrum medicine called Medimor by Aquarium Muenster (combination of Ethacidrinlactat, Tertamethyl-thioninchlorid and Acraflavinchlorid). Didn't help. So I changed the water, waited a week or so, and tried with Sera's Baktopur (Acriflavine, Methylene blue, phenyglycol) and Mycopur (Acriflavine, cupric chloride, cupric sulfate). <These are various antiseptics, widely sold in Europe because antibiotics aren't available in pet stores. To be brutally frank, they only work up to a point, and aren't substitutes for antibiotics at all. While useful for external infections during the early stages, they won't cure everything, and won't fix serious problems.> No use. Then I tried salt baths which (I think) made the problem worse because those spots spread all over her body, but then it might be from the stress. The disease doesn't seem to be infectious, all other fish are fine (I put her back into the main aquarium, because the small quarantine surely wouldn't help, and was lucky, I know I shouldn't do that). She has a very good appetite, swims well, doesn't hide, doesn't scratch against objects, doesn't have clamped fins, her faeces are fine. The spots are between 1mm and 4 mm big, they look like white lumps sticking out of her body and there are about 15 of them (I hope the photos will help although they're not very good), the skin around them looks pinkish. Her skin on other parts of the body also looks a bit damaged, but her fins (apart from the dorsal which didn't grow back) are all ok. I read everything I could find, posted a question on forums but I can't seem to find anything that looks like this. Maybe Lymphocystis? <Could be; certainly, gouramis do contract Lymphocystis on occasion, though not commonly. It could be something else though. Perhaps another virus? It doesn't look exactly like Finrot, though I'd be treating for Finrot/Fungus before anything else. In Europe, I recommend a product called eSHa 2000 for this; it's economical and very effective, and seems to fix a lot of different problems, including Finrot, Fungus and Columnaris.> The aquarium is 10 months old Juwel Rio 180, 180 l. It has 2 big Ancistrus and a lot of their babies, 7 Kuhlii loaches, 4 Microgeophagus altispinosa, 2 Siamese algae eaters, 2 small Botia histrionica and those Trichogasters. Water properties are stabile at: temp 25 C; pH 7,5; KH 10; GH 15, nitrites 0; nitrates 25. <One thing I would consider is physical damage. Certain algae-eating fish will "suck" at the bodies of other fish. In doing so, they pull up the scales, exposing the flesh underneath. The skin becomes infected, often looking "bubbly". Isolating the injured fish and treating for Finrot/Fungus will help, but long term the fish causing the damage will need to be rehomed. I'd be watching your Ancistrus, Crossocheilus, and Botia in particular.> I do 15 % water change weekly, with water that was left for 24 hours and treated with Nutrafin's Aqua+. I feed the fish with Nutrafin's Staple food in flakes, frozen bloodworms and frozen daphnia and my own frozen food prepared from cooked peas, carrots, hardboiled egg, bloodworms, powdered Spirulina algae ( I plan to add some garlic next time), and gelatin powder, all squashed into a paste. Please help as I (and everybody else I asked) have no idea what to do. Thank you!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: sick Gourami  12/9/08 Hi Neale, thanks for the quick response. Which antibiotic would you recommend? Because I can buy an antibiotic from my pharmacy if I say it is for my pet, or I can ask my vet to write a prescription. <In my fish medication book, a variety of antibiotics are recommended for ulcer-type infections: Furazolidone (20 mg/l), Nifurpinol (0.1-0.2 mg/l) and Oxytetracycline hydrochloride (20-100 mg/l). Use whichever, added to the aquarium water, and always remember to remove carbon from the filter while medicating fish. Use for 7-10 days, after which do a decent (25-50%) water change, and repeat medicating as required.> But if it is a virus, it won't help anyway. <Quite.> Oh, those Botia are in the aquarium since Saturday, so it couldn't be them, and I never saw either Ancistrus or Crossocheilus picking on her. <May happen at night, when you're at work... In any case, when I had Otocinclus catfish doing this to a large Awaous goby, it was many weeks after noticing the damage that I actually saw the fish "in the act"!> She is now in a 30 l quarantine tank, I'm treating her for fungus and Finrot, although not with eSHa because it is not available here, but I will try to buy it on the net. <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Puffy Stomach 11/29/08 Hello, how is everyone? I was hoping that I could get a little help. I apologize if this has already been asked. I tried to comb through the previous questions but did not find an answer. I found my Gourami today with an extremely puffed out stomach. I'm not sure what type he is, I got him at the local pet store about two years ago. He is, I think, in a 30 gallon tank with two tiger barbs and two glass fish who have been in the tank for close to a year and one plecostomus who has been in for over 5 years. He is swimming, eating and acting completely normal. The feeding schedule, food and everything else has stayed the same. Is my little guy on his way out or can he be saved? Is there anything I can do in the future to prevent this from happening to other fish? I appreciate whatever info you can send me. We both thank you for your time. -Alexandria <Your Gourami is what's called a Three-spot Gourami, Trichopterus Trichogaster. There are various colours, and yours is obviously the blue sort, sometimes called the Blue Gourami. Anyway, it's difficult to be certain about swollen bellies. If you're lucky, the problem is constipation. Feeding with high-fibre foods (tinned peas are ideal, otherwise live brine shrimp/daphnia can work) will clear the blockage if you also add some Epsom salt to the water as a muscle relaxant (one to two tablespoons per 10 US gallons, dissolved into warm water, and then slowly added to the tank). http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/gldfshmalnut.htm If you're unlucky, the problem is organ failure, essentially allowing fluids to collect in the body cavity. This condition is often called Dropsy. You can sometimes improve the symptom by using Epsom salt as described above, but the dropsy itself isn't the disease, so you have to review conditions and try to figure out why the fish is sick. Poor water quality is the most common reason, with an internal bacterial infection being the cause of the dropsy. If you can treat with an antibiotic (such as Maracyn) while optimising water conditions, you may be able to fix the problem. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dropsyfaqs.htm  Cheers, Neale.>

Three Spot Gourami Gold Variation, dis.  11/26/08
I have a 55 gallon tank with 6 Gourami (2 gold, 2 blue, and 2 Opaline).
A rainbow shark and a Pleco. All the Gourami are female and have appeared healthy until about 3 days ago. I first noticed then that the one of the gold Gourami was not eating. The fish appears thin now and almost bloated in the chest area. There are no other symptoms that are physically noticeable. The other 5 appear healthy still and eat voraciously. The rainbow and Pleco also appear healthy. The gold in question has been in the tank about 3 weeks. It is not gulping air or swimming odd other than swimming less than it used to. It just kind of sits in the middle of the tank and occasionally going to the surface for air. The other gouramis leave it alone and periodically chase each other. The ammonia and nitrate are zero and the nitrates are at about 10 ppm. I have tried feeding brine shrimp and normally feed tetra min tropical flakes. I have also done water changes and tried placing the fish in water with aquarium salt added for an hour all to no avail. Any help or ideas you can give me would be appreciated.
<Sad to state, but all these sports of Trichogaster trichopterus have/show periodic "breakdown" syndromes... as yours seem to be displaying... There are some records of effective treatments, involving the use of gram negative and positive antibiotics... In the West, the ingredients in Maracyn I and II esp.... I encourage either just simple waiting or treatment per your perusal here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/ttricdisf.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: Three Spot Gourami Gold Variation 11/26/08
Thank you for your response. If he makes it through the thanksgiving holiday I will get some Maracyn and hope for the best.
I find your site a great resource. Keep up the good work.
<Thank you David. Happy holidays to you and yours. BobF>

Bruised Gourami 11/11/08 Hi crew! I'm sorry if there's a similar question already posted - I did try to check for one.  I have a sick Gourami - he looks like a blue Gourami (Trichogaster trichopterus? - but he's only 3 in long and definitely full grown - maybe he's a Dwarf? I included a picture of him (in the middle & one of his tank mates on the right and just barely one on the left of him). Also, I assume he's male because he's bigger than the other blue Gourami in the 20 gal tank. There is also one other honey Gourami(?) in the tank, some plastic plants & a cave. I've had the fish for about 2 years. A quarter of the water is changed every month or two - it's been about a month since it was last changed. The tap water is treated with pH 7.0, a chlorine/Chloramine treatment (Aquaplus), Cycle, and waste control before it goes into the tank. (But no water quality data, unfortunately). Today he's mellow (usually he's a bully), and he has what looks like bruising near and on his anal fin and caudal fin and he seems to be listing a little to one side. He is still eating. Any ideas on what it could be and/or how to fix it? Thanks! Melissa <Hello Melissa. The Gouramis in your photo are indeed both Trichogaster trichopterus, the Three-spot Gourami. Males and females are similar in size, but males have much longer dorsal fins, so are usually easy to distinguish. In any case, the red patches on the body and fins suggest Finrot. This is commonly caused by poor water quality. What worries me is that you only change 25% of the water "every month or two" -- this is not nearly enough! You should be changing 25% per week. I'm also concerned that you're randomly adding stuff but don't know anything about the water quality or water chemistry in the tank. Let's be crystal clear about this: adding stuff doesn't remove the need to perform, at minimum, occasional pH and nitrite tests. For example, adding a pH buffer is pointless and potentially dangerous if you have no idea what the baseline pH of your tap water is. If you're only changing tiny amounts of water, as you are, the pH level can (and probably does) change dramatically between water changes, even with the pH buffer added. "Waste control" whatever the heck that is doesn't remove the need for decent filtration and regular water changes.  So, bottom line, this fish needs treating for Finrot using something like Maracyn or eSHa 2000 (but not Melafix/Pimafix). Then you need to seriously review how you're looking after your fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bruised Gourami 11/13/08
Hi Neale, Thanks for the quick response. <You are most welcome.> I checked my water today, and the nitrate levels were high (about 60 ppm - the tester said to keep it under 40ppm) and the hardness is awful - the house water softener must be on the fritz (I'll be getting a fix for the aquarium tomorrow). <Do not EVER use water from a domestic water softener in an aquarium. All domestic water softeners do is remove what is called "temporary hardness" from water. This is the stuff that makes limescale in pipes and appliances.  It does this by replacing temporary hardness with sodium salts. The resulting water is a weird cocktail of minerals including sodium chloride that fish would never experience in the wild. It is completely unsuitable for fishkeeping. Do not confuse water from a domestic water softener with actual soft water (rain water, RO water, or naturally soft water). ALWAYS use water from the tap that bypasses the domestic water softener -- likely the tap you get drinking water from. Three-spot Gouramis will tolerate hard, basic water just fine.> But the nitrites, ammonia, and chlorine were 0. You were right about the pH - the buffer wasn't keeping the water at 7.0 (it was just below 6) - but the changing the hardness of the water should help, right? <Provided you switch back to the non-softened water, the pH will presumably be around 7.5 to 8.0, which if you have hard water will be alongside high levels of hardness, in particular carbonate hardness. The pH will be very stable because the carbonate hardness will buffer against pH changes. So yes, I would expect 25-50% weekly water changes will keep the pH stable. This is crucially important to understand: most freshwater fish will adapt to any pH between 6 and 8, what they cannot stand is varying pH because this has a severe effect on their internal physiology.> After a water change the nitrates were around 20ppm & the pH was back at 7 (for now). By the way, Waste Control says it's an organic waste eliminator - I was told it was commonly used at the pet store. <Most of these bold-on goodies may have some marginal usefulness or no particular use at all. Buy them, don't buy them, as you prefer. But the critical thing is that you understand the essentials: stable pH, zero ammonia and nitrite, regular water changes. Get those things in the bag and you're fine. Aquarists living in hardwater areas have things easy, because hard water naturally prevents pH changes. So all aquarists in hardwater areas need to worry about is doing regular water changes and installing an adequate filter system.> I have begun treatment with Maracyn & will do more regular water changes. Me & my sick Gourami thank you very much for your help! <More than welcome. Good luck, Neale.>

Blue Gourami Sick? 10/05/08 I have had a 20 gallon tank for about a month and a half now. Since I've had it, it's included 2 blue Gourami, 1 Pleco, 2 African dwarf frogs, 1 angelfish, 5 zebra Danios and 2 apple snails...also 1 neon tetra (the other 4 went 'missing'). Over the past week I have noticed that one Gourami has turned VERY dark blue, doesn't seem to be eating, keeps its mouth open most of the time and is very inactive. The other Gourami is still light blue/white and is constantly harassing the dark blue one (nipping at it). Is the dark blue Gourami sick? Should we put them in separate tanks? If so, should they remain separate forever? I have tested tank levels (KH, pH, NO2 and NO3 are all ok), GH is high and we've had a very hard time trying it to lower... can't seem to change it. We've changed out some water, added dechlorinator.... Please advise. <Hello Tiana. I can't answer this question easily without numbers. That you say hardness, pH, nitrite and nitrate are "OK" means, I'm afraid, nothing to me. Lots and lots of aquarists have only the vaguest ideas about what these should be. One issue in this community is temperature. Neons and Danios and Apple snails need fairly cool conditions, around 22-24 C, whereas Angelfish and Gouramis will be better at between 26-28 C. A middle value of 25 C might work, but frankly at least one reason people experience such bad luck with Neons is they keep them far too warm. (It's also worth mentioning here that Neons are also known as Angelfish food, so that combo isn't one I'd put money on...) Next up, Trichogaster trichopterus Gourami can, do change colour. Sometimes its genetic, sometimes follows on from nerve damage (oddly enough), and sometimes it's a sign of stress or disease. The fact your Gourami is "gasping" concerns me; usually fish only do this when stressed somehow. There's no data here for me to diagnose the problem, but I'd recommend you review the needs of Trichogaster trichopterus and act accordingly. Give me some numbers and perhaps a photo, and I can perhaps comment further. Do recall that male Trichogaster trichopterus (which have longer dorsal fins than females) are territorial and will fight in small tanks like yours. It is possible the dark Trichogaster trichopterus is being bullied and trying to hide away from the dominant male. Do always read up on the social behaviour of fish PRIOR to purchase to avoid this sort of problem: it is well known that Trichogaster trichopterus is aggressive. Finally, unless you're an expert fishkeeper, LEAVE pH AND HARDNESS ALONE. It is incredibly easy to severely stress, even kill, your fish by manipulating water chemistry. All your fish will adapt to moderately hard water with a basic pH (say, up to pH 8.0, 20 degrees dH) though the Neons won't be thrilled about it. Inexperienced aquarists tend to have no idea about how to change water chemistry safely, and what kills their fish is CHANGES in pH and hardness happening rapidly. So, back away from that topic. Instead concentrate on water quality, diet, and social behaviour as the keys to successfully keeping your community healthy. Cheers, Neale.>

Gold and Blue Gourami's are acting odd.   8/13/08 Hello, I have 45 gallon tank and currently there are 10 fish in it. Two of them are Gourami's (gold and blue) and they are acting differently. I used to have two other Gourami's (both gold) but sadly one received TB (tuberculosis) and died, <Almost certainly didn't have TB... who told you this?> and the other one we suspected was pregnant but also soon died. <Gouramis don't get pregnant, and certainly didn't die because of it!> Now the last remaining gouramis are not eating as much, hiding in different places, and they keep rising to the top. I checked the water and everything is normal, but just in case I gave the water a 50% change. What surprises me the most is that the blue Gourami and the two deceased gouramis survived through a terrible case of Ick, where every fish but them died. So could you please tell me what is happening to my fish??Thanks,Scared4Gouramis <There's no information here to work with. You say the water is "normal". Meaning what? Let's review, you need 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and ideally less than 50 mg/l nitrate. The pH should be between 6 and 8, but must be stable whatever it is. The hardness is not critical, but 5-20 degrees dH is acceptable. Don't use salt, and don't use water from a domestic water softener. Almost certainly if you have a bunch of fish dying for no obvious reasons, or varying reasons, then your problem is WATER QUALITY. Review, get back to me with the water test results, and we can help further. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Gold and Blue Gourami's are acting odd.   8/14//08 Hi, Sorry about the lack of information, the nitrite and ammonia levels are at 0, pH is 7, and nitrate is low. As for how I know that the Gourami received TB is that it started to swim upright, stopped eating regularly, had a crooked spine, and kept trying to swim to the top( which I thought was for air, even though we have a curtain of bubbles flowing.) <No, that's not confirmation of Fish TB. For a start, Fish TB is mostly a marine fish problem. It's very scarce among freshwater fish. Back when I started keeping fish in the 80s people often blamed Fish TB for "mystery deaths" but we're now much wiser about things like viruses and other sources of infection among freshwater fish. Now, Trichogaster spp. gouramis are pretty robust, but you can be unlucky and get one with Hexamita or some other protozoan/bacterial infection. Happens to the best of us. All gouramis breathe air, and they do so all the time. Completely normal. In fact, making it difficult for them to breathe air, e.g., but too strong a water current, will kill them.> Also I would like to rephrase what I said about my other Gourami, she was growing larger in the midsection but she was still eating and swimming around. <Probably just fat! But they do swell up somewhat with eggs once mature. Do take care not to overfeed them, and these are omnivorous fish so some plant material (e.g., Sushi Nori, Spirulina flake, tinned peas) is essential to avoid constipation, a very common cause of sickness.> I had called a local specialty aquarium store and described the symptoms to them and they gave me the "verdicts". I was unsure about the diagnosis on my so called "pregnant" fish so I look up some things and I found out that the rotting eggs could usually float around on top as fuzzy white strips. <Never heard of this. Can't comment. Sounds unlikely though.> Also I found a small bubble nest. <Cool!> Now for the other fish (my surviving Gold and Blue), they are not coming out to eat and are hiding. <When fish become nervous, it's one of two things: there's something frightening them, like a predator or bully, or there's something wrong with the water. In the case of something scaring them, Trichogaster trichopterus is a bullying species. The dominant male WILL attack other males and unreceptive females. That's why I don't recommend them as community fish or fish for beginners. Your water quality sounds fine, assuming that it's always at the values you give. Do test at different times of the day just to be sure. Also be aware that extrinsic factors like paint vapours and cooking fumes can poison fish, especially air breathing species like Gouramis. Anything added to the tank should also be reviewed: I've poisoned fish by adding wood I thought was safe but had actually been recently sprayed with pesticide.> As for the water changes I change the water once a week 30-50% changes. <OK.> So with all the information now, can you tell me what is happening to all my Gourami's??~Scared4Gouramis <Not easily, no. My suggestions are above. I suppose you could treat with a broad spectrum antibiotic such as Maracyn, but beyond that observe, review living conditions and compare them with what you learn is appropriate for this species. Cheers, Neale.>

General questions about Gourami  4/19/08 Hello! I came across your website today while I was looking for information about Gouramis. I'm quite new to fish ownership, so please excuse any stupid questions I might pose. I started off with a small tank, only 20L (which I believe is only about a really tiny 5 gallons...) <Way too small for practically any tropical fish. Almost any problems you have will come down to the tank, so your NUMBER-1 priority is replacing this with a system at least 20 gallons in size. Ten gallon and smaller tanks simply aren't easy for inexperienced aquarists to maintain or stock properly.> I have a Silvertip Tetra, 2 Corys and a 'Gold' Three-Spot Gourami. <All completely non-viable in here. While I'm happy to help explain any specific problems, none of these fish will last long (or be happy!) in here for any length of time. So "fixing" the problems is a waste of your time (and likely their lives). The Silvertip tetra MUST be kept in a group of six or more specimens and easily needs a "long" 20 gallon (in metric terms, that's something like a 75 liter tank not less than 60 cm in length). The Corydoras need something similar, and should certainly be kept in groups of 4-6 specimens, minimum. Three-spot Gouramis are BIG fish when mature, around 10-15 cm, and even a 20 gallon tank is too small for a territorial male. When mature, males of this species are incredibly aggressive and disruptive.> P.H. level is 7.0 and has never gone more than 0.2 up or down. <Still WAY more pH change than happens in an aquarium properly set up; small tanks are intrinsically unstable, and this is one aspect of the problem. Instability = dead fish.> There's only one plant as previous ones were eaten... <No, not eaten. They died, and then decayed. Tanks as small as the one you have almost never come with strong enough lights for plants to grow. Furthermore, inexperienced aquarists are often sold non-aquatic plants, often under such names as "umbrella ferns" and "dragon plants" and the like. As with fish, you need to research plants *before* purchase, otherwise you WILL be sold junk. An informed shopper is a successful shopper.> I have yet to pick up an ammonia kit, and should be getting one tomorrow. Last week one Cory cat died, so I wanted to ask about that as well. It just became quite listless, and would often 'fall over' onto its side. It showed no signs of disease, and I did see it eat, though perhaps not as much as it used to. <Likely chronically bad water quality, insufficient water movement, inadequate oxygenation. Or multiple causes. Anyway, no surprises here.> The other fish seem fine though, which brings me to my actual question. Near its tail, my Gourami seems to have some kind of 'bubble' in its body. Like a clear lump that looks like a bubble...I was just wondering whether it's something to worry about, <Yes... likely an incipient bacterial infection of some kind.> or whether I just haven't noticed that part of its anatomy. It's quite young, I believe, only 6cm long (not even 3 inches), if that's any help. <Still needs treating with a reliable antibacterial/antibiotic (NOT Melafix/Pimafix).> I do water changes every week, and I always remove uneaten food. Thanks, Kit. <Water changes every week don't even begin to come close to solving the problems you have here. If you're one of the people who gets offended by me saying "everything you're doing is wrong" I apologise for hurting your feelings in advance. But yes, you are doing everything wrong, and the chances of success are virtually nil. None of these fish will be happy in this system, even if by some miracle they survive. They MUST HAVE a 20 gallon/75 litre aquarium to be even close to happy and healthy. Your move. Cheers, Neale.>

One skinny Gourami, one bloated Gourami   3/3/08 Hello All! I'll try to be as concise as possible, I have a 40 gallon freshwater aquarium. The occupants are 4 adult platies, about 6 juvenile platies, 1 Opaline Gourami (the other is in sick bay), a Pleco and a Chinese algae eater (it was originally in a 10 gallon, but I knew it needed more room so I moved him to the larger tank). All water conditions are optimal, I do 25% water changes for 3 weekends , then a 50% on the fourth. I purchased these 2 Gouramis about 6 weeks ago, put them in the quarantine tank, and well, the bigger one started attacking the smaller one non-stop. Wouldn't let it eat, etc...(turns out they are both males) After a week of this I put the larger one in the 40 gallon. (I know, a little too soon) I feed them flake food most of the time, but every 3-4 days I give them blood worms and brine shrimp. I also add algae disks for the algae eaters, which the other fish eat on, too. Last week I noticed both Gouramis had long stringy feces (no color to it, just transparent looking), so long it would get caught on their feelers. Now the larger of the two is bloated, but the smaller one looks normal (I've managed to get him to eat some Tetracycline), but still no visible bowel movement. The larger isn't eating at all, but is still bloated, and I haven't seen any bowel movements from him in about 3 days, either. My question is: Is he just bloated/constipated, this all seemed to happen after the last time I gave them the blood worms and brine shrimp. Or is it more likely a bacterial infection? I've looked up Hexamita, and that is another place where I'm finding some confusion. Some sites list it as an intestinal bacterial infection with the symptoms I've listed above, but other sites call it "Hole in the Head" disease??? He doesn't have any holes in his head or body. He's just "stuffed" looking. No fins or scales are protruding, so I'm sure it isn't Dropsy. And all the other fish seem healthy. Oh, and as far as getting him to try a sweet pea, or eating medicine, he is having NO part of eating anything! (Just an extra note, he seems to be doing a lot more surface breathing than the smaller one.) Thanks so so much, I LOVE YOUR SITE! Nicki <Hello Nicki. First things first: when you say "Opaline Gourami" you mean Trichogaster trichopterus rather than the small Gouramis (often called Dwarf Gouramis) Colisa lalia? I only ask because the latter are notoriously prone to a viral diseases called Dwarf Gourami Disease that is incurable. The symptoms are very consistent: lethargy, loss of colour/appetite, sores on the body, swelling, then death. While it is possible that other Gouramis might contract this disease, particularly Colisa hybrids, I have not yet heard of Trichogaster spp. coming down with it. Now, I will say a few things about food: Freeze-dried foods do tend to cause constipation in some fish, particularly if used overly often. Live foods can be a potential source of infections. So while both these food items are popular with aquarists, they are not without risks. Moderate feedings of dried foods (including flake) with generous use of wet-frozen or fresh foods seems, to me, to be the ideal. In any case, if constipation is the problem (and it may well be) then use an approach similar to that outlined here for Goldfish: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm  You may need to focus on daphnia rather than vegetables as laxative foods, but tinned peas may be eaten. As for Hexamita or Hole-in-the-Head -- these are arguably the same disease, manifested in different ways. External infections cause pitting in the surface of the fish, usually around the lateral line, while internal infections cause wasting. Anyway, treatment is very difficult, though there are Hexamita-specific medications such as ESHa Hexamita Treatment (both forms), Metronidazole (for internal infections) and Quinine Sulfate (external infections). Treatment almost always depends on the fish being dealt with promptly; once established this infection is very difficult to cure. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: One skinny Gourami, one bloated Gourami 3/6/08 Thank you Neale! Yes, they aren't the Dwarf ones, they are a hybrid of the 3 spotted blue Gouramis. <Okely dokely.> So, an update: I managed to get the one in quarantine to eat the Tetracycline for 3 days as directed, and he finally had a real fish poop, no longer stringy and transparent. And he appears to be back to his old self again. <Sounds positive.> The other isn't eating anything! But now, I can see it is Dropsy, his scales are just now starting to stand out. I still can't get him to eat the Tetracycline. So I'm going to check out your site for more info, and make a trip to the Pet store for something that can be added to the water (I switched him into Quarantine, and the other is in the big tank now.) <Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dropsyfaqs.htm  Though realistically, getting small fish back from Dropsy infections is very difficult. By the time you see the fluid build-up, the damage has largely been done. I'd tend towards painlessly destroying this fish now.> I really do appreciate your site, it has been such a blessing! <Thanks!> I'll keep you undated! Nicki <Good luck! Neale.>

Re: One skinny Gourami, one bloated Gourami Hi Neale, I wanted to let you know that he did pass the following day. It was pretty sad, I was watching him and suddenly his swimming became "bobble" like, then he was on his side, just like that. I'm happy to say that the other is back to full health, and enjoying a life in the larger tank. :) I think the fact that he'd eat the medicine is the sole reason he made it. <Ah, too bad. Well, glad the other fish is feeling better. Good luck! Neale.>


Blue Gourami trouble swimming Hi Wet Crew, I have a 33 gal tank (3 yrs).  pH is around 7 and temp @ 74 degrees. Penguin dual BioWheel filter, plants etc.  I change about 1/3 of the water every three weeks. <Hello, Jorie here...sounds like your tank is well-established and stable - good deal.> Fish are 2x Blue Gourami, 1x Black Angel, 1x Chinese Algae Eater (who doesn't seem to eat algae), <LOL! I've got a Siamese Algae Eater who pretty much eats everything *except* algae!> and 1 or 2 glass shrimp.  All my fish seem to be fine except for one of the Gouramis.  It has trouble swimming and quite often just sits on the bottom with it's tail spread on the bottom of the tank.  It is eating, but struggles when swimming.  There are no abnormal spots or any visible fungus growth.  It's been doing this for about a week now. <First off, I'd suggest putting the affected fish into a QT tank just in case it has something capable of spreading to the others.  Also, if he's experiencing trouble swimming, a more peaceful environment without other fish to eat his food, potentially bully him, etc. would be good. Since there are no visible signs of illness except for the trouble swimming, could he have somehow injured himself...one of his pectoral fins, for instance? This once happened to a molly of mine and it rendered her pretty much incapable of swimming.  It could also potentially be constipation...is the fish pooping normally? You should be able to better determine this once the fish is in QT. Fasting and/or feeding a frozen, thawed pea works well for treating constipation, if that's the problem.  Finally, worst case scenario, it could be swim bladder disorder, which can be caused by bacterial or viral disease.  After you've ruled out the other ideas above, you may want to consider treating the fish with a broad-spectrum antibiotic (but only in the QT tank!)  I would resort to this as a "last ditch" effort...hopefully the fish is somehow injured and just needs some healing time in his own tank.  And, by the way, if you do notice that one or more fins are damaged, missing, once the fish is in QT, you could add MelaFix to the water to aid in the affected part's regeneration.> Thought the water change I did on the weekend might help, but I was wrong.  The tank does seem to be producing a lot of algae - water has a slight green tinge and b4 I changed the water and cleaned, there was algae visible on the glass. Any ideas? <With regards to the algae, I'd suggest cutting down on feeding and stepping up the water changes.  I have a 29 gal. tank and I change 5 gallons of the water every weekend.  When I have algae bloom problems, I'll even do 5 gal. twice per week. Also, is the tank in direct sunlight? This will cause algae outgrowths. Finally, what type of lighting is in this tank? Have the bulbs been switched recently? You could always add more plants (you mentioned this was a planed tank), as they'll use up more of the nutrients the algae needs to survive.> Thanks, Derek Horne <You're welcome. Good luck, Jorie.>

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

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

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

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

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>

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

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

Happy aquarium with 1 sick golden Gourami  3/30/07 Hi I am Isabelle from Mauritius and I am quite new to fish keeping. <Hello Isabelle... I have never been, but intend to visit, dive the Mascarenes one of these years...> First of all thank you guys for the website!!!!!! I have downloaded recently the FAQs and I must admit that its really useful. Thanks again! I have a 200 litres fresh water tank. Bio sponge filter rock and plastic plants setting. No heater working cause we are in summer and it's warm. <Mmm, still a good idea to leave it in, and plugged in... set to a low temperature... Just "in case" the water gets too cold... Won't cost you any electricity if it doesn't...> The inhabitants are: 1 Black Angel (female and DOMINANT), 1 (Lace Angel female), 2 Blue Gourami (males), 3 Golden Gourami (2males and 1 female), 2 pairs of platys and a pair of white mollies. They all seem to be happy so far except that I have a problem with the little male golden Gourami of about 7cm I introduced along with a female about a month ago. The female is growing fast and seem to be cheerful with the other golden male Gourami (no babies so far). But the little male hasn't grown at all. <Mmm... well, males of the Trichogaster genus do tend to grow slower, stay smaller...> He is pretty thin and most of the time lay down on the gravel on one side. He can barely keep his body straight even when he tries to feed from the gravel. <Oh, this is not good> When he does his tail can touch his head, he is kind of folded. He goes time to time to the surface to eat micro pellets, I have bought for him and for some oxygen. Please can you tell me what's wrong with him and what should be done?   <I think this individual may be "defective"... perhaps genetically poorly endowed... does happen with fishes much more than the case with mammals... A good percent don't "make it" at a later stage of neuronal et al. development...> I would also like to have a piece of advice. I would like to introduce a male or two of Angels so as to experience breeding. I would appreciate to know the steps to follow as I fear to have a battlefield in my aquarium. <Mmm, really... to have a useful divider handy... to partition off the breeders from the rest of your fish livestock... or another system to move either set to> The dominant female has her tube down as well as the other one. She sometimes is mischievous and kind of bite the other female. And at times they are side by side as nothing. I plan to set a second tank for the breeding. <Oh, good> The third and last question is that I plan to leave the country for 2-3 weeks and would like to know if it's possible to leave the aquarium like this or if there is something I can do to prevent any disease breakout. <If all is fine, stable... no worries. I would train someone in your absence to do water changes, some minimal feeding... and have at least Net access... should they think something is awry> I have a person who can come to feed the fishes daily but doubt if he can do water change'¦'¦ Please advise if possible. Thanks in advance Kind regards, Isabelle <Merci, Bob Fenner>
Re: Happy aquarium with 1 sick golden Gourami  3/30/07
Hi Bob, <Isabelle/Alain> Many thanks for your reply. <Welcome my friend> Great to hear you want to come to this part of the planet. And who knows if you can get to Mauritius for vacation, but also get people here to know the wonderful work you guys are doing!!! Keep in touch! <Our dear friend, Peter... who has lived with us some fourteen years, had a farm implement (tractors...) business in Swaziland for some fifteen years... and used to get out to play soccer and rugby on Mauritius and Reunion... We have chatted many times re going there (and Rodriquez) to dive, tourist about... visit with folks at the new aquarium there...> If you think something can be done to get people to know your work here, etc would be happy to help. <Ahh, thank you... Mainly linking, doing your bit to help others...> In fact, I have started to talk about your website. Not much, but it might help some novice like me... sorry but it's even more work for you guys :-) <Heeeee! No worries> My LFS told me the same thing as regards the sick male Gourami. Still I didn't want to lose faith.... Well guess it should be so.... <Don't lose faith... Remember... very, make that VERY important... such negative thinking leads to closing of your mind to infinite possibilities... Do not allow yourself to sink, turn to such a waste of precious resources> I got the heater back in the tank just in case.... <Ah, good> Think I will try breeding Angels when I get back, they are my favourite. You are all doing a wonderful job and please keep this up because God knows it's hard when you feel helpless in front of the tank...... Kind regards, Isabelle <Mmm, do also search a bit re the use, application of Epsom Salt here... I do sense this might be useful. Bob Fenner>
Re: Happy aquarium with 1 sick golden Gourami   3/31/07
Bonjour Bob! <Isabelle!> So it won't be your first visit!!! <Mmm, will be mine, not Pete's> Well I do encourage you and your folks to come back anytime!! Let me know! <Ah, appreciate this> Thanks for your encouraging words. It's just that I wonder if the little guy is suffering. Don't have the courage to put him down. <I understand...> Don't worries I don't lose faith in fish keeping, these little guys help me a lot out of stress! I think all the fish keepers will agree at least when hooooooo trooooubles in the tank!!!!! Many thanks for the advice on the Epsom salt. In fact, I have started to collect maximum info from the FAQs on Fresh water Angels and doing some research work too. Actually anthemia for hatching the baby brine are not available on the market. My LFS guy suggested green water. I must first set the breeding tank I think before jumping with both feet in this adventure, especially if I have to leave the country for some weeks... <I see> But I will surely try to make either the Angels or Gouramis to spawn. I think I will like to watch them grow and turn into these amazing fishes. <Agreed> Anyway, I think you will here me sooner or later, especially when in trooooooubles..... Thanks again for your quick replies. Kind regards, Isabelle <Welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

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

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

3 spot Gourami w/ pop-eye; not enough useful information, poor grammar, etc...  7/28/07 Hi crew <Hello there, Jorie here today.> I <I> ...was looking at my fish today and I <I> saw my 3 spot Gourami as <with?> ...pop eye with blood at the bottom of the eye. is <Is> ...there anything I <I> ...can do? What is happening none of my other fish are all fine <I assume you mean none of your other fish are affected or ill, right?> <OK, first off, when you write us, please take a few additional moments to use proper grammar, capitalization, sentence case, etc. Since your query was so short, I fixed it to make it readable (we do publish our responses to queries on the Daily FAQs site - see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs3.htm  and in order to make the Q&As understandable to all, we do request that our writers comply with these requests: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/faqstips.htm  More to the point, now: I need a lot more information to be able to help you here. Facts like how large your tank is, how long it has been setup, what type of filtration is used, what livestock you have, water temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings, water change schedule, etc. are all necessary information. Generally speaking, what I can tell you is that pop eye is caused by poor water quality, so do check your water parameters with a quality liquid reagent test kit. I suggest isolating the sick fish into its own hospital tank (filtered and cycled; as to the latter, use water from the main tank so as not to shock the ill fish's system) and treating with Epsom salt (1 tsp. per 5 gallons of H20) and pristine water conditions. I'm betting your tank has a harmful, if not lethal buildup of toxins which are causing your problems. The Gourami may just be the first fish to exhibit symptoms, but if the water quality's poor, the others will soon follow suit... I can give you better/more specific suggestions if you give me the information I've requested above... Best regards, Jorie> thank you <Thank you!>
Re: 3-spot Gourami w/ pop-eye; still not much useful info...recommend reading, increasing water changes
- 08/05/07 Hi Jorie <Hi again; sorry for the delay in responding, I've been traveling around a bit and haven't had much time to check in here...> Ok, my tank is 5ft by 4ft <In order to calculate the volume, I need the depth measurement as well; it does sound like this is a good sized aquarium, though.> ...and it has been set up for 4yrs now. <Great.> I have never had this problem before. <Sometimes issues are cumulative...> I have one catfish, 4 barbs and the others are all types of tetras. <It would be helpful to know the species of each here.> And I have fresh weeds in the tank <Again, species?> The water gets changed every 3 months <Ideally, once a tank has established its nitrogen cycle, you should be performing a 10-20% water change every week or two (this depends on how heavily stocked the tank is, how good the filtration is, how messy the species of fish you have are, etc.; without more information, it's impossible for me to make a more specific recommendation.)> ...and the temperature is 82 <A bit high, but so long as it is stable, should be OK.> ...the pH and ammonia are good <Useless info. I can't tell you what's an ideal pH for your tank, as I don't know really what you are keeping. As for ammonia, it should be at zero, as should nitrite levels.> ...nitrate is a bit low; could this be the problem and if so how do I change it? <I think you are confused. As far as nitrates go, the lower the better; as high as 20 ppm is acceptable, but more towards zero is ideal. Do read here for info. on cycling a tank: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm Also, I recommend getting a copy of David E. Boruchowitz's "Simple Guide to the Freshwater Aquarium" - it's a very comprehensive, clear book geared towards beginners. I know you have had your tank for several years now, but you don't seem to have a good grasp on Fishkeeping 101, which you and your fish could very much benefit from. Also browse here for many helpful articles on freshwater fishkeeping: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsetupindex.htm  > Thanks <I don't know how much I've helped. Again, Popeye is generally caused by poor environmental conditions. As recommend before, I would isolate this fish into a cycled, heated, filtered aquarium and treat with clean water and Epsom salt. Aside from that, the best thing you can do for your critters is read and learn... Best wishes, Jorie>

Blue Gourami - fin trouble!   7/28/07 Hi there. My husband and I are quite new to keeping tropical freshwater fish, so a little help in diagnosing a problem with our blue Gourami would be appreciated. Have searched the net and have found your site and are hoping for some help. <OK, will do my best.> We have a 35 Gallon tank, have checked all water parameters and they are fine. In fact we have baby fish (in a baby net 2 weeks old) which are thriving at the moment, so the water is fine. <Can you define "fine"? You see, not all tropical fish want the same things. Some want warmer water, others cooler. Some want an acid pH, others a basic pH. Some want hard water, others soft. Some are intolerant of low levels of pollution, others will put up with it for a while. So we need numbers -- at the very least, pH, hardness, nitrite, and temperature. These 4 are usually pretty good indicators of conditions in the aquarium, and are the essential ones every aquarist should have to hand.> A couple of weeks ago we noticed our Blue Gourami had a small white (pin head) spot on its side fin. <Almost certainly Whitespot/ick. Treat on sight, because it is extremely contagious.> Its appetite and activity levels are normal. We asked the LFS and they said to keep an eye on it and that if it multiplied or the fishes behaviour changed we would possibly need to treat for White Spot. <Not brilliant advice.> Nothing changed for a week then another white spot appeared on the opposite side fin! <It's Whitespot. It spreads.> This one has since become red and inflamed. This fish had a red spot near the base of its tail a few weeks ago, but this disappeared after a couple of days. We have checked the red lump and it does not seem to be a parasite (nothing to remove) just a red small lumpy mass. Is it a tumour? The fish is absolutely fine in himself...eating fine and swimming normally. Tumours are rare in freshwater fish, though they happen. The red inflammation is unrelated to the Whitespot. Almost certainly you have water quality issues, and what you're seeing is the simultaneous appearance of Finrot (the red) and Whitespot. These are both extremely common in new aquaria. They must be treated immediately because both have the potential to cause fatalities.> He has been chasing my Gold Gourami about so is this maybe an injury sustained during courtship? They do get quite frisky! <No, he's not courting. He's fighting. Blue and gold Gouramis are the same species (Trichogaster trichopterus) and the males are legendarily aggressive and nasty fish. You would not believe the number of times I've been asked to help out where someone has an aquarium with this fish causing havoc. It's what they do. Males have orange pelvic fins (the "feelers") and extra-long dorsal fins, so are usually quite easy to sex.> No other fishes in the aquarium seem to be having any problems. We have 6 Danios, 2 goldfish, 1 Plec, 2 red Indian Gourami and a Japanese Weather loach who is a real character!! <An interesting selection of fish. I happen to be a great fan of weather loaches, so I'm sure he is fun to watch.> All the fish are non aggressive and we have a lovely pleasant tank. <Famous last words...> I am just worried about Bluey. I really hope that you can help us. <Done my best. Hope this helps.> Many thanks Louise & Ady <Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Blue Gourami - fin trouble!  7/29/07
Hi Neale, <Hello Louise,> Should I treat the Whitespot and the fin rot at the same time? Or give the tank chance to recover between the two medications? <This depends on the medication used. In general though you need to complete one treatment before doing another. In this case, I'd tend to treat the Whitespot first and then the Finrot. Between each "course" of treatment, do two 50% water changes (one one evening, the other the next morning) so that you flush out most of the first medication used. Oh, and one last thing: make sure you remove carbon before using any medication. To be honest, I'd recommend not using carbon at all unless you have a specific need for it. The space in the filter where carbon goes is better used by extra biological filter media.> Does this affect the filter, <No, not if you follow the instructions.> And are there any tips on what I should be looking for in the water chemistry, just in case I have missed a test kit? <Not really sure what you mean here. What you want are values within the range tolerated by the fish in question. So a blue Gourami is good between pH 6 and 8, so if you have pH 7.5, that's fine. Likewise they're good at medium hardness levels, around 5-15 dH being about right, so if you have hardness 12 dH, that's fine too.> Water temp is 27 degrees, ammonia within safe levels indicated on test tube kit, as was nitrate and nitrite levels. <Ah, now this is where things unwind. There is NO "safe" range of either ammonia or nitrite. For your fish to be healthy, both must be ZERO. While the test kit might suggest anything up to 0.5 mg/l ammonia and 1.0 mg/l nitrite is acceptable, this is only true during the cycling phase, and even then, it severely stresses the fish and can kill them. At the least, it makes them more vulnerable to ambient pathogens -- Whitespot and Finrot for example. So if your test kits show ANY nitrite or ammonia, then you have problems; likely the tank is either immature, overstocked, overfed, or under-filtered. Nitrate is the ONLY one of these things that has a safe range. In general, up to 50 mg/l is safe for standard tropical fish, though rather less, around 20 mg/l, for more delicate things like dwarf cichlids and discus. In other words, don't tell me you think the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are "safe", tell me what the exact numbers are. If they're not 0, 0, and <50 mg/l, then they're not safe.> All very low levels, water hardness is a problem in this area but the LFS said all the fish we have can deal with it. <Water chemistry is almost never the issue people think it is. Admittedly, there are some species than need either soft water or hard water. Mollies and other livebearers need hard water and are sickly when kept in soft water. But a lot of the standard stuff like Gouramis, barbs, Corydoras, Plecs, loaches, etc., adapt just fine to a wide range of conditions. Any aquarium book will suggest values for any given species, and it's always a good idea to choose your fish by selecting species that will do well in your local water conditions. If your water is very hard and has a high pH, then choosing things like Rainbowfish and livebearers is the way to go.> We condition any tap water we use and cycle regularly. 20% water change every 2 weeks. <OK. Conditioning the water is good. Adding Cycle (or any other bacteria supplement) is pointless. Once the filter is established, it is self-maintaining. Adding more bacteria is kind of like adding more grass seed every week to a lawn. All the filter bacteria want is to be left alone and that every month or so you gently clean the media in a bucket of aquarium water (not fresh water!) to dislodge some of the silt and detritus. But that's it. As for water changes, you need to raise your game. 50% a week is a good amount. Water changes cost almost nothing to do, but they make such a big difference to the health of the fish.> Gravel clean every 3/4 weeks. Plastic plants only, internal filter, 200w heater, kept lit for about 8 hours a day minimum. <All sounds fine.> Many thanks, Louise <Good luck! Cheers, Neale>

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

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

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

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

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

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