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FAQs on Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives Disease Diagnosis

FAQs on Gourami Disease: Gourami Disease 1, Gourami Disease 2, Gourami Disease 3, Gourami Disease 4,
FAQs on Gourami Disease by Category: Environmental, Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Genetic Treatments

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

Related FAQs:  Gouramis 1, Gouramis 2, Gourami Identification, Gourami Behavior, Gourami Compatibility, Gourami Selection, Gourami Systems, Gourami Feeding, Gourami Reproduction, Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish,

Can anyone tell me what the black spot is?       4/1/20
It a little spikey on top. Fish shows no adverse signs relating to health or activity.
<Did this come out of nowhere? If so, then perhaps an ammonia burn or some other type of physical damage. If it's always been there, likely genetic, developmental, or even evidence of nerve damage. For now, observe, check water quality and chemistry, and if needs be, slowly optimise living conditions to better suit this species. Cheers, Neale.>

My Gourami open wound       4/17/17
So I have a Gourami, he is in a tank with guppies and mollies.
<Mollies do have quite specific requirements; would not consider them good, or safe, tankmates for Dwarf Gouramis. Would have you do some reading:
Pay scrupulous attention to water quality, including nitrate, if you insist on keeping Mollies in freshwater tanks.>
He is perfectly fine with them. I recently found that my tank has an anchor worm problem and I am taking care of it, by manually removing them, and treating the water. I noticed that my Gourami hasn't had any anchor worms
on him, but instead has this open wound which is shown in the pictures attached. But what is wrong with him? Could this wound be made by the anchor worms or something else?
<Yes, could be damage, whether from Anchor Worms or from aggression by other fish (male Mollies can be snappy) is hard to say. Would treat as per Finrot to prevent infection; Dwarf Gouramis are VERY prone to bacterial and
viral infections; would have you do some further reading here:
Should be plenty of informative examples there! Cheers, Neale.>

Possible Black Spot disease? (Bob, second opinion?)<<Agree w/ Neale; this is some melanization alone>> 11/29/12
Hello Crew!!! You guys are amazing and hoping you could help me once again.
I think I could possibly have black spot disease going on in my tank; however, I am not 100% convinced as the spots don't look raised.
Quick background:
* 15 gallon tank that has been established 1+ years
* Planted tank (micro sword, Christmas moss, java fern, red Cabomba)
* Additives: Green Leaf Ultimate GH booster (7 degrees GH) (kH is <1)
* Additives recently stopped until this is dealt with: Excell, Kno3, KH2P04
* 50% weekly water changes
* Water quality (tested with API master) consistently: 0 ppm on Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates. Ph constant at 7.5 (might be too high for croaking gourami's?.. I get mixed answers I can definitely bring it down via acid if necessary ... I try not to use chemicals though)
* Decor: Manzanita wood, rocks, onyx sand / fluorite sand, buried pvc that was sanded for additional hiding places.
* Tank inhabitants: 4 croaking gourami's, 1 African dwarf frog (who loves flake food randomly), 6 Aura Blue Shrimp, 3 kinds of snails for algae (mystery, rams, trumpet)
Attached are the pictures and hopefully you can see they have black "areas" on their body's and fins. However the spots don't look all raised like all of the pictures I see for black spot so I am not 100% sure, but I also haven't read anything else it can be. I have one croaking gourami that I bought at the same time as these 4 and moved to a different tank due to compatibility. This one is not displaying the same markings.
So my questions:
1) Do my gourami's have black spot?
<Very unlikely; Black Spot Disease is a temporary symptom that occurs when parasitic organisms in their larval stage burrow into the skin of fish.
When the organism matures and leaves the fish, the spot usually heals over.
Now, the thing about this parasite is that it doesn't normally occur in aquaria. The parasites have a complex life cycle that involves birds and either snails or copepods, and because of this, it's hard for the parasite to complete its life cycle in aquaria. Even if fish are infected when you buy them, the parasite eventually dies out because it can't complete its life cycle. So true Black Spot Disease is simply something you let run its course; assuming the fish are otherwise healthy, the parasite doesn't do any serious harm.>
a. Or something else, I can't imagine it's ammonia burn since I have never measured ammonia over 0 ppm since adding them. I know the kit is OK because I measured the cycle on another tank.
<Well that's promising. Most of the suppose Black Spot Disease outbreaks are more to do with ammonia than anything else.>
b. Could it be due to ph / bullying, but I don't think that explains the black spots in tail / anal / dorsal fins.
<Perhaps, but my feeling is that this is either genetic or idiopathic; I wouldn't worry so long as the fish is happy and eating.>
2) Additionally do you know what the white specks on the wood are?
<White specks on wood can be a variety of things. Off-grey threads are usually fungus or bacteria. Nondescript specks more likely to be silt trapped on a bacterial or algal film. Basically, remove the wood and see if the white stuff rinses off. If it does, then chances are its silt, and if you don't want this to happen again, improve mechanical filtration.>
Based on my understanding I think I might have black spot from some of the snails I added to the tank.
<Snails can only carry Black Spot if they come from a pond where birds had access. Assuming you live in a temperate part of the world, the only snails that might have been outdoors would be Physa and Physella type things, and even then, only if they came into the tank on plants that were grown outdoors in your area, which basically limits it down to stuff like Elodea and Hornwort.>
I am perfectly ok killing all the snails via copper to break the cycle (those things grow like weeds)
<Personally, I feel using copper to kill snails is more dangerous than whatever (slight) problems this fish might have. Do remember snails are part of a balanced aquarium, and marine aquarists positively encourage "clean-up crew" that circulates the substrate and breaks down organic waste into the ammonia and other soluble compounds the biological filter can process. Too many snails can mean your tank is improperly maintained, so best to nix any issues in that direction first. Restrict feeding, remove uneaten food, trim away dead/dying foliage, etc., and the snail population will die back to a sensible level.>
and allow them to heal if it is black spot, however, I'll have to set up a new home for the frog and shrimp while that is happening so I wanted to make sure.
<Ah yes, copper will be quickly lethal to frogs and shrimps, not to mention most/all fish at some level. Copper is the "nuclear option" in aquarium maintenance.>
Which is why I wanted to ask an expert.
<Good call, which is why I'm asking Bob!>
Thanks and please let me know,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Possible Black Spot disease? (Bob, second opinion?) - 11/30/2012
Awesome you guys have always been a huge help!!!
I was doubtful for all the same reasons, but couldn't explain the pictures so wanted some expert reviews.
<Glad we could help.>
All the plants came from my own grow tank (where I juice with DIY CO2, high ferts, etc.. but no fish  so I don't have to worry about PH swings, high nitrates, iron, etc..), so there is no way it could have gotten black spots from that (unless the snails in that tank all have it, but again no fish for the cycle). Yes I didn't want to do the "nuclear" copper trick .. I like snails (hence 3 types .. and I do keep them in check via avail food), they help keep everything so clean .. way better than any algae scrubber 8-), but if it was the problem I can always regrow the population easily especially from grow tank.
<For sure.>
Is there anything than could affect the melanization / idiopathic? (no understanding about it so .. currently reading up on it)
<Not really, beyond ensuring optimal health. Random growth of dark patches of pigment -- melanisation -- can follow on from injury to the underlying nerves, genetics, exposure to the wrong level of light intensity for that species, something lacking in the diet, etc., etc. The species you have here isn't demanding, beyond the requirement for small, peaceful tankmates and the need for lots of floating plants, so it's hard to imagine precisely what you might be doing wrong. (Interestingly, the Moonlight Gourami develops a black band along its flanks if the light intensity is low; this may not be relevant here, but it is something to think about.) May be nothing at all, and simply genetic. The best approach is to keep the Gourami happy, keep looking out for any odd behavioural changes or signs of bullying and such, and make sure the fish is feeding on a good range of things.>
Thanks for all the help!!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Wasabi - HELP! Gourami dis., useful data, reading  -- 10/26/09
Please help!!!
<Will do>
55 gallon fresh water tank
1 small tetra
2 small suckers
1 foot long shark
<?... What is this specifically? And really this size? In a system four times its length?>
2 large, about 4.5"L (Opaline??? Kissing???) Gourami's (named Wasabi and Energizer)
<... please look up what you have (on our site... or elsewhere) and report back>
Purchased tank and fish from private owner and all fish have been together for long time
Wasabi (4.5" Gourami) is looking unwell. Symptoms over the last 3 days:
Large bulge behind ventral fin
Gasping for breath
Lethargic, moving but slower, disoriented and having trouble swimming straight
Abrasion on one side over the bulge
Today, fins look shorter and ragged, with small white bumps, disintegrating
What's up? Tough pregnancy? Ick? Finrot? Old age? Combination???
<... need data, on the set-up, water quality, maintenance, foods/feeding... Pix would def. help>
His "mate" is perfectly fine and no other fish are affected.
We have made no unusual changes to the water or feeding schedule.
Heater, lights, etc. maintained.
<Uhhh, read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GouramiDisFAQs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Trouble diagnosing my Gourami 7/19/09
I have read over most of the Gourami Disease pages of your site, but I am still confused as to what my poor fish have.
<What sort of Gourami? A Dwarf Gourami, Colisa lalia? This is a hopelessly feeble species nowadays thanks to chronic inbreeding and horribly contagious viral infections. It's best avoided, and I certainly don't recommend anyone keeping it.>
A little background on the tank: It is a cycled 29 gallon tank that has been up for a few months with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and around 40 nitrates (unfortunately my tap water comes out with 20 ppm of nitrates so I am having a hard time keeping that down without doing daily water changes), the pH is on the high end at 7.6 (I could lower this if needed, but so far all the fish have been lively and don't seem to mind it) and the temperature is at 82 F.
<Whatever your misgivings, this is actually all fine for Gouramis.>
I do weekly water changes and frequently add fresh water to the tank since my HOB filter makes loud splashing noises if the water level becomes too low. There is currently carbon in the filter pads but I am most likely going to stop the use of carbon unless necessary for medication or other issues.
<Would tend to agree with you here; while carbon can be used for certain things, in practise, plain biological media is a much better use of space inside the filter.>
There are 4 Red Robin Gourami (they were sold as honey sunset, but after doing research I found this not to be the case), 4 Peppered Cory catfish, 3 Oto catfish, and 1 small Trumpet Snail (I think) which caught a ride to my tank on some plants I bought. The tank is moderately planted with bright lighting and a nice sized piece of driftwood. The plants are Java Ferns, Val's, Red Ludwigia, and Water Wisteria.
<All sounds lovely, except the water is a little on the warm side for
That's perhaps a little cool for some Gouramis though, so I'd perhaps split the difference and go for something around 26 C/79 F.>
Now, on to the problem currently. A few days ago I noticed that two of my Gourami had off-white colored spots on their dorsal fins. These spots are much larger than the white spots I have seen from Ich and are just limited to one or two spots towards the back of the dorsal fin with no other spots on the fish. A day or so later the fish began to turn a darker color so that the bright red they usually are is now mixed in with a brown/black shade on the top and bottom of the fish. The tail fin is no longer clear looking and is turning a darker color and is hazy/dirty looking.
<Hmm... doesn't sound obviously any one thing...>
This same situation has now spread to two of the other Gourami. The dark color has now spread from just the tail fin to the back end of the anal fin. Other than the discoloration, the fish are all behaving normally.
<Very odd; really do need a photo. Finrot usually reveals itself as off-white patches that yield to red inflammation and then the loss of fin tissue, so it's usually quite obvious. Fungus looks like white, cotton wool threads, while Lymphocystis forms cream- to brown-coloured lumps with a distinctive cauliflower texture. If the fins are entire and lacking bloody streaks, just an odd colour, that's something I've never seen.>
They still eat like little pigs and swim actively in the tank. Even though there are four of them (as far as I can tell they are all males) they rarely fight and if they do there is never any damage. Last night two of the Gourami decided to start building bubble nests at opposite ends of the tank, but they seem to have given up after a couple of hours and the nests are pretty much gone this morning. Their waste also seems to be normal, not white or stringy like others have seen. While this has happened to three of the Gourami, the fourth has yet to show any symptoms.
I am about to take one of the fish in to my LFS to see if they can help visual tell what is wrong with the fish. I am hesitant to start treatment for anything without knowing what is wrong, but I also don't want to sit here and watch my favorite fish die.
<Your water quality sounds good, and if the fish are happy and healthy otherwise, I'd tend to hold off treating for now, and just observe.>
Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. I only wish I could attach a picture here but the fish do not stay still and my camera can not get a decent picture of them.
<A photo really would help.>
<Sorry can't be any more helpful.

Gourami Problem, HLLE   04/02/09
This is a little note to inform your crew, Bob Fenner especially, of important information regarding Gouramis and some other tropicals: An open looking sore with creamy or whitish looking wormlike protrusions is a form of Hole In The Head Disease
<But of what definitive etiology? Can be a deficiency syndrome, evidence of Octomita, but not always...>
and is addressed well though diet, as it is commonly caused by a deficiency in Vitamin A or C,
<Ah yes>
(sorry my book "Manual of Fish Health" is not here at my workplace). I was reading one of your posts to someone who had a Gouramis with this, and your staff was not aware of this prevalent problem with the breed . It's likely the issue will reoccur for them if the poor diet putting the fish at risk is not addressed .
<See WWM re marine HLLE: http://wetwebmedia.com/HLLESWCauseF.htm>
I rescued a Gouramis with this issue from a Pet Store and immediate results followed after balancing his diet, no meds were required. It took only one week of better food which included a high source of the needed vitamin. Tests were taken from the water he came from (which was found to be fine), also the tank he was moved to was filled with 25% of that water and all of the gravel was transported to the new tank to facilitate quicker cycling. All 4 other breeds of fish from the tank never displayed symptoms before or after changing tanks.
I highly recommend that a copy of the book I've mentioned be read by all of your staff.
<Is worthwhile, but dated... See Ed Noga's works>
It is written by persons with doctorates in the field and is highly informative. It gets quite technical, but provides all necessary information to bring a good understanding of the solid study and science it covers I found it a fabulous source for so many things, well beyond hokey misinformation in internet searches (like the misconception that fish don't feel pain as their bodies' cells slowly explode by freezing for supposedly humane euthanasia). With all of the poor information surrounding this hobby, it provides a needed oasis. Another fabulous source would be to direct your staff to www.fishyfarmacy.com where they have the most impressive and extensive charts for diagnosis I have ever seen, they are extremely solid in their science with major educational backgrounds.
<Thank you for this>
Another plus is that they don't suggest or expose fish to surgical procedures such as the infamous Koi Doctor who follows his imagination as much as he does science. The Koi Doctor should be advertised as a present day Dr. Frankenstein for the poor fish who are unfortunate enough to go from a bad aquarist to a fish witch doctor. I seriously question the credibility of the education he boasts, especially given that I've seen him prescribe antibiotic in the water for exclusively internal infections, not even mentioning medicated food.
I have bothered to write you regarding all this because I felt that your staff, especially including Bob Fenner, truly care about what they were doing and are making excellent efforts to diagnose the ailments or problems brought forward to them. My intention is to support and further your efforts, thank you for your time, Julie Wenzel
<Thank you again. Bob Fenner>
Re: Gourami Problem  04/02/09

Thank you very much for your recommendations and contributions Bob- keep up your excellent work! For the sake of fish everywhere, I hope more people end up on your website for their advise!
<Thank you Julie... do please consider joining us (the WWM Crew) if/when you find you have the time, interest. BobF>

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>

Golden Gourami with some strange problem, infectious, pathogenic...    7/19/07 Hi, I was wondering if you could take a look at the 2 pics I attached of my Golden Gourami. She is acting fine but I noticed a red bump on her side and her mouth looks like she has an open sore. <Yes... I see this/these> Not sure what to treat her for and I was wondering if you could steer me in the right direction. Thanks for your kind help in advance! Cariann <Well... these markings on Gouramis are all-too-common, and generally indicative of bacterial, though possibly coupled with protozoan complaints (parasites)... I would first try treating the former... by way of either an immersion batch (250 mg. in a gallon or so of water, with aeration) with an antimicrobial... My first try (as really, microscopic examination, a bit of culture and staining work... along with sensitivity testing... is called for to hone such a medicine search) would be with a Furan compound... Please see WWM (the indices, search tool) re "Gourami Disease" and "Furan" use... Bob Fenner>

Fat Gouramis   8/1/06 <<Tom here.>> Okay - I'm about to lose my 4th Gourami in the last few weeks. They puff up in the stomach area then go to the bottom, then die... What can I do about this? <<Brandey, the only way we can possibly help you is for you to help us. You've given us no information to go on other than your Gouramis are bloating and dying. That leaves about a gazillion possibilities open for us to "guess" at. Please send us your exact water parameters (ammonia/nitrite/nitrate/ph levels), tank size, how long the tank has been cycled (if at all), filtration type, number of tank mates including types of fish, diet, frequency of water changes, etc. In short, if you even guess that a piece of information could be of help, let us know what it is.>> BP <<Be hearing from you. Tom>>

Big Lack Of Info - Warning... Graphic pic! 10/18/2005 I just noticed one of my Gouramis on the bottom of my tank and its mouth looks like one large sore.  Can this be treated or is it better to remove the fish and put it down?  All other fish look fine.... <There is nowhere near enough information to go off here for me to give you any sort of a recommendation at all.  I know nothing about your system, inhabitants, maintenance practices, water quality....  without these vital chunks of information, there's really nothing I can tell you.  Please start by reading on WetWebMedia in the freshwater section.> Regards,  -Chris <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

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