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FAQs on Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives Infectious Disease  (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal)

FAQs on Gourami Disease: Gourami Disease 1, Gourami Disease 2, Gourami Disease 3, Gourami Disease 4,
FAQs on Gourami Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, 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,

Sick giant gourami       11/14/19
Hi Neale
I recently rehomed a giant gourami into my monster tank.
The poor thing has a weird cut/chunk missing type thing on one side of him and some white fungus looking spots on the other side. Pictures attached.
I have never seen anything like these white spots, I don’t think it’s ich. I am halfway through a course of Waterlife Myaxin but doesn’t seem to help, it’s actually getting worse I think.
He’s happily eating etc.
Any suggestions?
<Hello Nathaniel. This is some sort of bacterial infection, though the white specks are slightly mysterious. Do these look like bubbles of dead tissue? If so, then yes, bacterial in origin more than likely. A decent antibacterial (such as eSHa 2000) should do the trick, though if a vet can prescribe antibiotics for you, so much the better. If the white things are more crusty, off-white in colour, and look like drops of molten wax, then I'd lean towards a viral infection as well. Some viral infections are rarely fatal in fish, such as Lymphocystis, but are impossible to treat directly. They can heal after some months (even years) of good conditions. A few viral infections, such as Carp Pox, are potentially more immediately lethal and need veterinarian intervention. Still, let's assume it's bacterial. The shape of the wound suggests physical damage, and I wonder -- is there a Common Plec in the tank? These can (and do) 'latch' onto slab-sided fish given the chance, rasping away at the mucous. Otocinclus are notorious for this, too, largely because they starve in most tanks. Some Loricariidae are very safe, Panaque for example, being pretty much herbivorous, but the more general purpose Plecs are distinctly hit-and-miss in tanks with Oscars, or really anything big enough to support their weight. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick giant gourami       11/14/19
Thanks for your reply,
Nothing in the tank to latch on, having looked closely these white things look a bit like blobs of cotton wool - does that sound bacterial?
<More like fungus. Very common on infected wounds. Distinctly tufty, furry appearance. Do look at pictures online or in fish health books.>
Can I get antibiotics from any vet?
<In the UK, yes, absolutely. But finding a 'fish vet' locally is often hard.
It's worth a call to your local vet if you already have one for a cat or dog, and discussing the symptoms. I've done it once before, and got some erythromycin this way. It's a hassle to be fair, and if the fish is hearty and feeding, I'd probably try a course of eSHa 2000 first and see if it helps.>
Thank you
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick giant gourami       11/14/19

Thanks Neale,
I have been treating with Myaxin from Waterlife (anti bacterial), still have 2 more nights to treat. Should I discontinue now or finish the course first?
<If the fish isn't actively getting worse, you may as well finish the course and see what happens.>
(Doesn’t seem to be doing much).
<My experiences with Myxazin have never been that great, to be honest. I find eSHa 2000 a much better bet, perhaps because it targets bacteria and fungi simultaneously.>
Would 3 days and 30% water change each day be a good enough separation?
<Likely so. Most fish medications are oxidised or otherwise metabolised by the bacteria within a day, or so I understand.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick giant gourami        11/20/19
Hi Neale,
I hope all is well,
<All good, thanks!>
I used the ESHA 2000 last night (first dose) and I can see already an improvement this morning (thanks for the tip!).
<No problem.>
I wanted your advice,
It basically works out per the instructions that I would do a 20ml dose on day 1 and then 10ml day 2 and 10 ml day 3. So 20:10:10
It says on the instructions that if needed one can double the dose.
<Indeed. Have never done so. But would not expect them to lie about this!>
I used 20 mil last night (so a single dose), however I am debating, given the issue has been ongoing for a while, to use 20 mil tonight too? It says you can also extend beyond days 2 and 3 too, so I am thinking instead of 20:10:10, to maybe do 20:20:10:10?
<I would prefer to try the regular dose for the first 'course' of the medications. If the fish doesn't get better, repeat for another dose, rather than increase the dosages. The risk is that too much could stress
the filter bacteria, resulting in an ammonia or nitrite spike, which would undo all your progress.>
There is a catfish in there too which I know are sometimes more sensitive as they are scaleless but it says on the packet it should be fine and he doesn't seem bothered so far.
<Indeed; I have never had problems using eSHa 2000 with catfish.>
Please let me know your thoughts.
<Repeating courses, rather than increasing dosages, is my gut reaction if the fish is showing signs of recovery and still otherwise in good condition (swimming, eating, etc.). But if you felt a higher dose was warranted, I would not feel afraid to try, but would remove some filter media to a safe place just in case something goes wrong. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick giant gourami    11/21/19
Thanks Neale
<Most welcome, Nate.>
Re: Sick giant gourami      11/22/19

Hi Neale,
Unfortunately whilst after day 1 things looked to be improving with eSHa, day 2 and 3 seem to have had little impact and in fact seems to have spread to mouth fungus. Shall I try eSHa again next week with a stronger dose given that day 1 things seemed to get a bit better (the dose is twice as high on day 1)?
<Yep, sounds like a good plan to me. Do a water change before running the medications though.>
Or is there anything else you can recommend?
<Apart from visiting a fish vet, nope, nothing better. Cheers, Neale.>

Preventing future injury infection on pearl Gourami       1/4/15
Good afternoon,
Thank you in advance for reading my message.
<Most welcome.>
I am writing because (1) your site has been extremely useful in my research--thank you--and (2) because I had a bit of trouble finding pictures and/or descriptions regarding this particular issue, so I thought maybe I could help someone else.
<Quite so.>
My male pearl Gourami seemed to have damaged his skin on (presumably) a sharp decoration in my tank, as he chased my female Opaline.
<Yes; looks a clean wound, should heal nicely.>
I saw a whitish area on his side that seemed like a small loss of scales.
<White = dead tissue.>
I monitored it and watched his behavior for a week; he was eating well, he did not lose coloring or have any indications of white spot, cotton mouth, or ragged fins. I read on your site that injuries make fish more susceptible to diseases so I was ready to take action, but I did not think there was a need at that point.
<Indeed; in good water quality fish have an ASTONISHING ability to heal from wounds such as these. If the wound stays "clean" ... without signs of fungal threads or bacterial decay, treatment may indeed be unnecessary.>
Overnight into day 8, the pearl's injury enlarged and his front body inflated like a balloon; posts on your site suggested this might be a sign of an internal parasite. I QT'd him in cycled water and he died twelve hours later; I was not surprised since he barely put up a fight when I netted him, he was not eating, and he had suddenly relegated himself to the bottom of the community tank and later the QT,
although he did remain buoyant.
Aside from alleviating the ornament situation, which I did, how can I prevent the infection from an injury--if my diagnosis it correct--next time? When I see the injury, should I separate and medicate right away?
If so, which medication should I use? I am not sure how to medicate appropriately without knowing the nature of the secondary problem, yet I also read that waiting to treat is often too late.
I attached a picture of him after he expired, showing the affected/infected areas.
Many thanks again, Matt
<I would medicate as per Finrot; my favourite product is eSHa 2000 where antibiotics aren't available, otherwise in the US, various antibiotics such as Kanaplex should work well. On the other hand, while Epsom salt can be an
excellent addition where swelling and/or dropsy are indicated (1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres) by itself it has no impact on bacterial infections, and nor does salt, which at a dose of 1-2 gram/litre can help minimise osmotic stress is not in itself a medication against bacterial infections. So either might have their place, or even used together, but
alongside, not as an alternative to an anti-Finrot medication. Make sense?
Cheers, Neale.>

Tropical Fish Problems     5/17/14
<Hello Sharon,>
IM hoping you can help me. I have a 65 gallon aquarium, with a gourami who had a small lump on his side then opened into a red sore.
<Likely a bacterial infection that set in following some sort of physical damage. If you can discount aggression or predation, in my experience, these most often happen when fish throw themselves at sharp objects, such as rocks or even the metal reflectors behind some aquarium lights! Review, and act accordingly.>
I treated the tank with Melafix and it healed.
<Good. Though Melafix is unreliable as a cure. I'd suggest using it as a preventative, after fish have hurt themselves but are not actually showing signs of fungus or bacterial infection. Once you suspect an infection has set in, go for something much more reliable, like the old Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 combination that's popular in the US, or something equivalent, such as KanaPlex or eSHa 2000.>
He now has a secondary infection on his one fin, looks like cotton (fungus). I treated with Pimafix (did nothing)
<Not surprised.>
I treated with the fizzy tabs for fungus (did nothing).
<Again, you're likely using these that are too generalised and too unreliable. A good rule of thumb is that if the medication is [a] cheap and [b] promises to cure everything, it probably isn't all that useful. Fungus is usually very obviously different to anything else because it looks like cotton wool fluff. Finrot and Mouth "Fungus" (a bacterial infection called Columnaris) usually look very different. While there are some medications that promise to treat both fungal and bacterial infections (such as KanaPlex), it's often better to identify which is the problem with your fish, and choose something more specific.>
I switched to Paraguard from SeaChem).
<Again, this is something that promises a lot, but I'd tend to see it as a general purpose preventative rather than a one-shot cure-all. KanaPlex would be better if you can't be sure if fungal or bacterial infections are to blame, as it will treat both, but unlike Paraguard it doesn't promise to treat Whitespot, viruses and all sorts of other things!>
Did water changes in between treatments...All my water parameters are correct. No ammonia, ph is 7.8 and everything else is normal. The tank has been set up for 2 years. Last night the Gourami still has some fuzz on same fin, but now I have white stringy stuff floating all over tank. Not sure if I should do a water change (dosed with ParaGuard for 3 days so far)...and then try another treatment like Jungle tabs or keep dosing with SeaChem Paraguard.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<Bottom line, identify the problem, and choose a more specific medication for best results. The more a medicine promises to cure all sorts of problems, the less likely it will cure any of them. As the old saying goes, "Jack of all trades, but master of none". Do also remember to remove carbon, if used, from the filter. Hope this clears things up for you.
Cheers, Neale.>

Labyrinth fish - never-ending troubles - to Mr. Monks if it is possible   8/10/10
Sorry for such a long message, but I would like to show my fishkeeping problems well.
Long time ago I had some gouramis (Trichogaster leeri or trichopterus -- I don't remember). It was successful hobby -- lots of fun and even breeding successes. 3 years ago I decided to set up new tank again. I bought new glass, all the equipment, plants etc. After cycling water reached proper parameters. Naturally my first choice were Labyrinth fish: Pearl Gouramis (Trichogaster leeri)
<An excellent fish.>
and Colisa lalia.
<One of the worst fish in the hobby.>
I wanted to set up biotope South-East Asia community tank. Along with gouramis I introduced school (10) of Harlequin Rasboras and Pangio kuhli (3 fish). Everything in 110 litres tank. First 2-3 months were fantastic but after'¦ my never-ending problems began. Colisa lalia died one after the other. Symptoms: lack of appetite, expanded belly, gulping the air, swimming up-down just to take a breath.
<Indeed. Ironically, 50 years ago this fish was considered hardy and easy to keep. Inbreeding, overuse of antibiotics, and rampant viral infections have made the species worthless.>
I check the water regularly. Parameters of my tank water are:
pH -- 7.2--8.2 (at the beginning was close to 8 and 8.2, for last 1-2 years has been close to 7.5 -- perhaps it is now lower because of peat filtration and bogwood influence),
GH -- 13-15
KH- 7-10
<OK, a bit on the hard, basic side for Southeast Asian fish, but nothing adaptable species couldn't cope with. This is basically what in England we call "Liquid Rock" so you need to be a bit careful when choosing fish. Barbs tend to do better than Rasboras, but really, it's not too bad.>
NH4 -- 0
NO2 -- 0
NO3 -- 40-100 (let's say about 50-60 -- these color indicators are too similar)

<Again, on the high side, but very similar to London tap water. Not ideal, but not a disaster either. I mix my tap water 50/50 with rainwater. You can use RO water too. Either way, you get water that is IDEAL for Southeast Asian fish.>
Temp -- 25-27 C
I know that nitrate level is too high, but I can't lower it. Even in my tap water nitrate level is more than 25. I can't use rainwater (in the big city it is polluted).
<Ah, I see.>
Perhaps RO system I bought recently (for domestic purposes) will be helpful.
<RO water is expensive, but safe and well worth using. Do remember a domestic water softener that uses sodium salt IS NOT making RO water.>
I change about 30% of water every second week. Aquarium (110 l.) is fully planted.
I bought next C. lalia (1 male 2 females). After 2 or 3 months situation repeated. Also T. leeri started to feel worse. I gave up Colisa lalia but still hoped that I could successfully keep Pearl Gouramis.
<Should do. Quite a hardy species.>
Unfortunately it wasn't better. The longest guest in my tank was Pearl Gourami male, he lived in my house for over a year. But finally did the same way as the others. For last 3 years I have lost 6 Colisa specimen and about 10-12 T. leeri. First fish were bought in pet-shops, so they could have been imported (even from infamous Far East farms). But about 50% of gouramis were from local breeders. They didn't mention any problems, except high sensitivity for some live food -- like Tubifex or red mosquito larvae. So I fed my fish with only different type of flakes (including Spirulina) and frozen or freeze-dried Artemia.
<Should be ideal.>
Disease had various profiles. But almost never started just after introducing new fish - usually I noticed first signs after 2 months from introduction. All the symptoms (which I remember or wrote down in my tank diary) were following:
Lethargy, shyness, hiding -- always
Stop eating -- always
Expanded belly -- about 50% of sick fishes
Body deformation (something like backbone break, tail fin directed down) -- 50%
Jagged fins -- 30%
Darkening -- 30%
Gulping -- 30%
Swimming up-down -- 30%
Lost of scales, wounds on the body -- no more than 20%
Small spots on the fins and on the head -- no more than 20%
Next info shows the time between first symptoms and death
Up to 3 days -- 20% of fish
3-7 days -- 50%
7-14 days -- 30%

It could be important that indicated symptoms were visible in different sequences. The two most popular:
Shyness (1-2 days) -- Stop eating (3-4 day) -- belly expanded (4-5 day) -- Gulping (5-6) -- Death (8)
Body deformation -- Stop eating (after 5 days) -- Shyness (6) -- Death (10 day)
<Does sound like a Mycobacteria infection.>

Obviously I tried to cure with different diseases in my mind, like: parasites, dropsy, mycobacteriosis, poisoning.
<Poisoning is an interesting one with Gouramis. Because they breathe air, they're much more sensitive to airborne pollutants than other fish. For example, tobacco smoke, or carbon monoxide, or paint fumes.>
I used Salt dips, Omnipur and Bactopur by Sera, raised temperature. But it never helped.
<Indeed not; wouldn't expect them to, to be honest. In Europe, the "alternatives" to antibiotics sold in pet shops are fairly useless. External infections can be treated with products such as eSHa 2000 just fine. But anything internal needs an antibiotic. For that, you need a vet.>
Also I'd like to mention that my other Asian fish were mostly healthy, even Rasboras spawned 4-5 times. Even sensitive Amano shrimps were and are lively and female is often full of eggs which she holds thoughtfully under her belly. Up to now I have Amanos, Rasboras, Pangio kuhli (which I bought at the beginning of my new tank) and Siamese Algae Eaters. Only 1 Rasbora and 2 Barbus titteya died with similar symptoms I mentioned above.
10 months ago I almost set up (using about 40% of old water to establish fast cycling) my tank again (but this change was made more for cleaning environment than to kill invisible assassins living somewhere inside). I put new bogwood, changed all the gravel and used the pro-plant substrate. I also installed new internal filter only for mechanical filtration and I filled external hang on the back filter almost entirely with bio-balls and ceramics to establish more space for useful nitro-bacteria. This internal filter had also anti-bacterial and anti-parasite UV Led system but I'm not sure whether it really is beneficial or just a marketing trick directed to aquamaniacs.
<UV light connected to the flow of water from a filter will REDUCE waterborne parasites. But UV is NEVER a cure or 100% preventative. So, not a "trick", but not a magic bullet either.>
I have to admit that I'm usually buying small fish (a bit bigger than fry). They grow up and get bigger without troubles up to the moment when symptoms of the disease occur.
I started again to browse web and find (never heard before) info about Iridovirus. Perhaps this is the reason of my problems. I started to read and found (in many descriptions) symptoms and troubles similar to my tank situation.
<Iridovirus has jumped species. It's not impossible other Gouramis can, occasionally, catch it. This is one of the major problems with viral infections, as humans have learned many times, e.g., with Avian Flu.>
Despite that WWM informs that Iridovirus mostly hits the Colisa species (and you even recommended other Labyrinth species instead of Colisa lalia) I found other sources which show that this problem also refers to Trichogaster family and even Cichlids (Angelfishes).
<Indeed. Colisa lalia is BY FAR the most likely species to suffer from Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus. Whilst other Iridovirus species affect different types of fish, these are VERY RARE. Buying Trichogaster gouramis for example is generally very safe, and they almost never suffer from viral infections. Likewise cichlids.>
Now in my tank are:
1 Pearl Gourami (female)
2 Trichogaster trichopterus -- gold morphs
4 Amano shrimps
6 Rasboras
I feel like I face a serious decision: what to do? In my (frustrated) mind two scenarios:
1. Remove all the gouramis left in my aquarium and change mind to other fish from Asia
<No need for this. But I would leave things be for 6 months. See what happens. Not all fish are sensitive to one particular virus.>
2. Change mind to other biotope and slowly change Asia fish for those from new biotope.
<Interestingly, I don't think this is a cure. the Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus is known to infect an Australian perch!>
It could be:
- South America -- Apistos or bigger but calm Cichlids together with Tetras
<Possible. Apistogramma cacatuoides for example is a great species for quiet community tanks.>
- Central America Cichlids and Livebearers
<Can be done, but most CA cichlids are fairly aggressive, and wouldn't be my recommendation for less than 250 litres.>
- African biotope: Kribs + Bushfishes + some African Characines
<Also fun. Have done this several times.>
Do you think it would be a good idea to remove all fish, plants and even equipment (to be sure that no dangerous viruses, bacteria etc. survive) and start again?
<Killing viruses is practically impossible, so I wouldn't work from that perspective. Short of sterilising everything, there's always a risk.>
What do you think about this? I appreciate all your suggestions and comments. Thanks for being patient reading my descriptions
Regards, Piotr
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Labyrinth fish - never-ending troubles - to Mr. Monks if it is possible  8/11/10

Hello again,
Thanks a lot for your quick reply. It may not explain all the troubles I have but I didn't expect that in one message you would save my poor Labyrinth fish
You pointed out Mycobacteriosis as a diagnosis of the symptoms (shyness, lethargy, body deformation etc) I listed in my previous post.
<A possibility at least. Impossible to know for certain, without the dead fish being examined by a vet.>
This disease (and similar like Flexibacteriosis and Fish Tuberculosis) I had (and have) in my mind observing my fish. But finally I came to the conclusion that it is rather Iridoviral infection than some bacterial attack. Why? Because:
1. Almost only Labyrinth fishes were sick and died showing mentioned symptoms
<Mycobacteriosis is more common among Labyrinth fish that most other aquarium fish, so I don't think this proves anything.>
2. It wasn't epidemic -- it didn't happen that two or more fish died at the same week.
<Mycobacteriosis is something triggered by external factors rather than caught. So again, I think you have to be careful about drawing conclusions.>
But now I think that both the diseases can be found at the same time. Hypothetical scenario can be that immune system weakened by Iridovirus is exposed to Mycobacterial infection which invades only the weak fish. So I can have both Iridovirus and Mycobacteriosis in my tank. Am I right? Is it possible?
<I'm sure it is.>
A month ago I introduced new Trichogaster trichopterus male. And after first 3-4 days of hiding in the corners he started to be lively and even to reign. But a few days ago I noticed some lesion on his body (between lateral line and dorsal fin). It looks like jagged scales a bit protruded and unstuck. I thought that it is a sort of some mechanical injury (sometimes gouramis not seriously bite each other) or the result of stress. But now I'm not sure whether it can be beginning of some nasty Mycobacterial infection. How to cure it? Salt dips? Something stronger? Do I need to disinfect the aquarium with other fish and equipment?
<You can't really cure Mycobacteriosis. Do please read:
And next issue. Almost half a year ago I created the tank in my workplace. It is about 70 l aquarium focused somewhat on South-American (Amazon) biotope. Water parameters: pH -- 7-7.2. GH -- 10, KH -- 5-7, NH4 and NO2 -- 0, NO3 -- 25-50, temp. -- 25-27 C. The tank was cycled and now is partially planted and has several caves under lava rocks and bogwood. 30% of the water is changed every second week.
Now we (I and my colleagues) keep there 9 Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi (Black Neon Tetra in English I suppose) and 2 Corydoras paleatus. But we had also 3 (2 fem 1 male) Apistogramma cacatuoides, but they have died in 3 months (but not together, the intervals were about one month). Symptoms before death: lethargy, difficulties with swimming, laying on the bottom, stop eating, some lesion on the body (white color without blood injuries, looked like lost of scales).
<My money would be on Hexamita.>
The male has also one (only one) eye protrusion.
<Pop-eye usually indicates physical damage if one eye, environmental problems if both.>
We treated him with Salt dips (twice) and this protrusion became significantly smaller.
<Epsom salt or sodium chloride? Epsom salt is what you want for Pop-eye.>
But it was a sham success because several days after this treatment (almost healed) male died. And the question is: Is it possible that there is the same Mycobacteriosis which I (probably) have in my home tank?
<Mycobacteria are probably latent in all tanks, all the time.>
I transfer some plants from home to my work. Could they carry some nasty bacteria?
All the other fish (Corys and Black Neons) are fine. And again, is it normal that some fish infection attacks only one species (or family) but doesn't hit the other?
<Can happen.>
What can I do to protect next fish (we plan to introduce some other Dwarf-cichlids, perhaps M. altispinosa or Nannacara anomala) from bacteria (or virus) if they are already there waiting for a next victim?
<I would wait for a few months and see what happens. If the remaining fish are healthy, then yes, try something else. 70 litre is not much water, so I would be careful with cichlids.>
So my most important question is: How to remove all the disease effectively?
<Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics. Outside of the US, you need to get these from a vet.>
Obviously I can wait and observe everything but I'm a bit tired with fighting against the killer of my fish. Naturally dealing with some troubles I learn more for the future but the tank has not only educational aims but also (and even above all) should be a joy. For me it is better than Animal Planet channel because it is still live transmission
<Quite so!>
But I don't want to watch only bad news (like in real TV News).
So if I decide to set up my tank from the start (or almost form the start), what would you suggest to do to be sure (almost sure) that I did everything to remove danger of infection.
<You really can't. Most of these infections come with the fish when you buy them. If the fish is healthy and the aquarium is good, then the fish's immune system prevents harm. When fish develop Mycobacteriosis or Hexamitiasis, it isn't because they have "caught" something, but because their immune system has been weakened.>
Can I use water from my current tank to establish cycling in the new one? (probably not).
<As stated, you probably aren't dealing with a contagious disease as such. Yes, you can avoid introducing new problems. Be more careful buying fish in the first place, and quarantine them for a few weeks before adding them to the new tank if you can.>
Can I use my present plants?
I like them very much, especially Microsorum and Hygrophilia corymbosa which grows very rapidly and beautifully. Is it possible to disinfect plants completely? I used potassium permanganate for bathing the new plants in order to remove the snail eggs. Do you think this method is enough to kill the bacteria?
<No; anything that kills the bacteria will kill the plants, other than antibiotics.>
And last question what do you suggest I should do with my old but still alive fishes -- leave them in a small tank waiting for their days?
<I would return everyone to the right aquarium. Medicate if possible. But otherwise observe and wait to see what happens.>
I appreciate any suggestions.
<Sometimes certain fish don't work. Instead of cichlids, why not try Florida Flagfish or Badis badis? Both of these are cichlid-like, but different enough they might not be so vulnerable.>
Thanks a lot for your time. Piotr
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Moonlight Gourami Lesions [RMF, bit mystified here, any comments to add?]<< I do not>>  6/21/10
Hello Team!
WetWebMedia has changed my life! Well done!
Anyway, I have some Moonlight Gourami that are developing pink lumps on their snouts that then erupt through the skin.
I've had five Moonlight Gourami for about 7 months in a tank that's been running for years and years.
They're fed quality flake food, cucumbers, algae wafers, and brine shrimp as a treat.
They share a rather understocked 29 gallon with 4 other peaceful fish.
I keep the Nitrates around 10 ppm with weekly water changes.
All the fish are eating healthily and are behaving normally.
I've noticed the lumps growing slowly over the past two weeks or so and thought that maybe they were developing nuchal humps of some sort. But when the skin started to break I knew that it wasn't natural.
<Indeed not. My gut feeling here is that this is either viral, something like Viral Hemorrhagic Septicaemia, if perhaps less immediately lethal, or else a Mycobacteria infection. In either case, no obvious cure, and isolation of infected fish would be essential to break the cycle of infection. Once quarantined, antibiotics may help. Worth trying, at least.
If two Moonlight Gouramis have both developed these lesions, but none of the other fish, it's very likely the disease is specific to them, or at least gouramis. Some gouramis are moderately prone to Mycobacteria infections anyway, though to be honest I've always found Moonlights to be among the hardier, more reliable species.>
Two have broken skin, one of which is also beginning to develop a similar bump near its eye. Another is just beginning to develop a pink area, and the other two appear fine.
<For now...>
The only environmental change that I can think of is that I upgraded the lighting to High Output florescent lamps. I noticed the bumps about a week and a half after I installed the new lights. But I can't imagine light doing this to my fish.
<Oh, hang on... are these fish able to breathe air easily, without rubbing their snouts against hot glass or metal? If these lamps are noticeably hot, then they should be at least 10 cm/4 inches above the waterline.>
There is, however, a plague of new brown fuzzy algae, that has covered my decorations, but to tell you the truth, I can't imagine that causing this either.
<The extra light will promote algae if there are no fast-growing plants to outcompete for nutrients and hold back the algae. Indian Fern will do the trick cheaply and easily, but there are other options too.>
I'm stumped. Do you think it's bacterial, protozoal, fungal, or even algal?
I've attached some pictures of the affected areas at various stages. Notice the new lesion forming near an eye. I've also attached a picture of the brown fuzz coating a (probably) dead plant. Let me know if you'd like larger file sizes for desktops and such.
<Ugh... be a pretty gross desktop pattern!><<A red/Rhodophyte "Beard" algae... hard to control. RMF>>
Thanks everyone!
<Have cc'ed Bob Fenner here, in case he knows better. Cheers, Neale.>


Sick Kissing Gourami 10/27/08 First off I would like to say thank you for having a wonderful and informative site! <Very kind.> I have a 30 gallon aquarium that is home to 1 blue paradise gourami, 1 golden gourami, 1 Opaline gourami, and 1 pink kissing gourami. I have had this set up for 7 months with the gourami's being happy and friendly. I have a TopFin carbon filter and change 20% of the water regularly. <A good baseline for water changes is 25% per week, and the more the better, assuming water chemistry doesn't vary too much. Now, as for filtration, I'm not a big fan of carbon in freshwater tanks. Unless you specifically understand what it's for and what you're using it to remove from the water, you almost certainly don't need it. Carbon also needs to be replaced every 3-4 weeks: if you aren't doing that, it isn't doing its job. Bottom line, for most aquarists keeping freshwater fish, what matters is mechanical and especially biological media. The filter should be rated at not less than 4 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, and ideally 50% more than that. Personally, I don't like those silly little "hang on the back" filters popular in the US especially; they're overpriced for what they are, and most seem to rely on filter medium "modules" strictly limiting the options available to the aquarist to expensive, space-inefficient modules. Great for the manufacturer and retailer, rubbish for the hobbyist.> Two weeks ago I tried to add 2 tiger barbs to the mix, but both died within three days of adding them to the aquarium, when I removed the bodies I noticed they both had a white cotton like growth on their mouths. <Could be either fungus or something called Mouth Fungus, a bacterial infection also called Columnaris.> I looked up the symptom online, and finding it to be mouth fungus I promptly treated the tank with Tank Buddies Fungus Clear, which was recommended to my by the LFS. After a week everything looked fine. <Do remember carbon removes medications from the water. Another GOOD reason not to use carbon in your freshwater tank. Did you remove the carbon?> I checked in on my fish this morning and the kissing gourami's mouth was bright red and puckered out. He tried to eat with the other fish, but seemed that he could not take in the food. This afternoon I checked back in with him and now his mouth is very swollen and has a bloody look to it. He is sitting listlessly on the bottom of the tank. Please let me know how to help my fish friend! <Do review water quality first of all, as that's the thing that causes Mouth Fungus, Finrot, and Fungus infections. Next up, treat the tank with an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial medication (but nothing tea-tree oil based like Melafix or Pimafix). Remove carbon whenever using medications.> Many Thanks, Liz <Cheers, Neale.>

Gourami With Internal Infection   10/29/06 Thank you for the time to read this. I have read all of you articles and have gotten enough knowledge to get me in trouble, lol. The "problem" with my Gourami is that he/ she ( I don't know the difference) has a swollen abdomen. The scales are not sticking out, the color still looks vibrant, has no trouble swimming, but looks like its breathing a bit harder than the rest, and none of my other 4 Gouramis have a swollen abdomen. I have seen no attempt to make a bubble nest and it seems to keep to its self in the plants. I check the pH all the time and do regular water changes, I have a planted tank, and this Gourami shares the tank with 4 other powder blue and red flame Gourami, 4 silver dollars, 2 angels, 1 dojo and 2 dwarf frogs. If you have another suggestions, please send them my way. And again thank you for all your help. Your web site is very informative! Thank you, Vicky < The swollen belly is probably from an internal infection. Isolate the fish in a hospital tank with clean warm water. Try treating with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace or Clout.-Chuck>
Re: Gourami disease
  10/30/06 Thank you for your help. Unfortunately, my Gourami had several more seizures and finally passed away. I did not have any extra lighting in the tank - all the lighting present was ambient light. <<Very sorry to hear about your pet, Vaikunth. Too often, sadly, there isn't anything that can be done. For what it's worth, you cared enough to try. Personally, I thank you for that.>> Thanks again, Vaikunth <<Tom>>

Catfish egg-release; dwarf Gourami mouth illness/injury   10/27/06   I am sorry if this is a repeat, but I can't remember if I already sent it. <Well, I've not seen it before, and if it was responded to, you've had received an e-mail...> Hello WWM crew. <Hello!> Your website is an incredibly useful resource, and I have used it on multiple occasions. <Excellent - that's what it is here for!> I have a 20g community aquarium. I thought it would have been done cycling months ago, but the ph is very low. <pH isn't affected by cycling - establishing the nitrogen cycle refers to a spike, then respective decline, in ammonia, nitrite and nitrate...read here for add'l info.:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm > I have a pair of platies, a pair of guppies, a pair of zebra Danios, a male dwarf Gourami, and a Corydoras catfish. Because of all the pairs, I also now have about 20 mixed livebearer fry. <Yes, this will certainly happen!> I also have a small amount of aquarium salt, and recently did a water change to help raise the ph. I realize now that the salt and jump in pH (about 5-6)... > 5.0 to 6.0, you mean?! That's a *huge* swing...too much for any fish to handle well. With regards to the aquarium salt, when you say "very little", I assume you dosed according to directions? Presuming this, the catfish (nor anyone else) should be harmed.  It's the pH that worries me...> ...could have easily killed the catfish, but instead, this morning I found about a dozen (the number has since decreased) small white eggs stuck to the filter tube, glass, and on various parts of my Swordplant. <Likely due to stress from the huge change in pH...> I am absolutely positive that there was NO male involved. <It's possible.> The conditions were hardly favorable, I did nothing to trigger spawning... <You actually did - by adjusting the pH so quickly, you stressed your livestock out...could have killed them...> ...though there may have been unintentional conditioning as all my fish have been on a diet of Tetra® flakes, frozen bloodworms, mall earthworms, and live baby brine shrimp (the ones that escaped the fry, that is, whose motto seems to be "eat until you can't swim, and then eat whatever swims to you". <Little piggies!!> I know that it is impossible that the eggs got fertilized, so why did she lay them? Is this normal? Could it hurt her? <The release of eggs itself won't hurt the fish, but as stated above, the large swing in pH could.  Stability in pH (as in temperature) is more important than precision, although 5.0 is very low.  I suggest you look into a product like Aquarium Pharmaceuticals "pH Adjust", add it to your water *prior* to doing a water change, then *very slowly* raise the pH by doing water changes (no more than .01 or so per day. Are you using tap water, or de-ionized or reverse-osmosis/de-ionized water? I use RO/DI, and a 5.0 pH is what the unit makes water at.  Either way, since your pH is this low, I would suggest using a quality supplement to increase it, as described above.  Kent also makes a quality product to accomplish this.> Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. John O. <Hope I've helped.> P.S. One more question: (that is somewhat irrelevant but of equal, if not more importance.) <Shoot!> My male dwarf Gourami has something terribly wrong with his mouth. For a long time, his top lip was swelling up, but he didn't act any differently, so I thought it was nothing. A chunk of the swelling actually came off, and the rest of his mouth is inflamed, falling apart, and growing strange puffy things. He hides a lot and does not make the usual clicking noise when he bites, it is now rather muted  I thought it could have been a number of things: the first thing I thought of was mouth rot, but I didn't want to medicate unnecessarily and endanger the lives of the other inhabitants, or kill off all the plants which have FINALLY rooted. Please help me. I would like to know - 1. What is wrong with my Gourami? <Could be mouth rot, mouth fungus, Lymphocystis (that's my hunch based on your description).  First off, you should isolate this fish into a separate quarantine/hospital tank - you don't want him to pass this along to other inhabitants.> 2. What medication should be used? <If it is Lymphocystis, you can't truly cure it, as it is viral in nature. However, based upon the lesion / "skin falling of" description, I'm concerned about secondary bacterial infections.  You must be sure to keep this fish's water *pristine*, and I'd suggest medicating (in the hospital tank only) with a broad spectrum antibiotic such as Spectrogram.> <NEVER medicate your main tank - this will kill your biological filtration and nitrogen cycle.  Once the Gourami is in QT, again, I think a broad spectrum antibiotic is in order.  Also, you may add MelaFix (along with the antibiotic) to promote regrowth of the fallen off area. 3. What can I do to alleviate the pH problem? <This is addressed above.  Also, the Gourami's immune system was also likely compromised due to the large pH fluctuations...you *must* ensure stability, as described earlier...> Any and all help will probably save a life. <I hope so - hopefully you've caught it in time!> Thanks in advance, John O. <You're welcome.  Hope I've helped.  Jorie>

Gourami egg laden... actually, no   5/25/06 Hi, I have an egg laden gold Gourami, and a male gold Gourami. <Okay...> I have separated them from their normal tank - they're in a smaller tank with a heater, filter, weeds, etc. The female is swollen from her gills to just in front of her black spot. The male has previously been blowing a bubble nest, but has stopped. The female has taken to lying in the weeds near the top of the tank - but moves around and swims and eats as normal. I reckon she's been egg laden for about 4 weeks - how long is the normal incubation period for Gourami eggs? Thanks! <This is something else... sometimes termed "Ascites", "Dropsy", "Bloat"... should be treated with an antimicrobial (in the food if this animal is eating), and Epsom Salt added to the water. Both are covered on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Gourami Dropsy Paranoia
- 05/16/2006 Good Morning~ <Just about "good afternoon", now!> I've had 2 pairs of honey dwarf Gouramis succumb to dropsy usually after a couple months-and now I have a pair of Opaline Gouramis that I've had for over 3 months, and the male (smaller of the two) just died also, seemingly of dropsy. The remaining one seems fairly healthy, but does seem to be sitting on the bottom frequently. Her abdomen area seems a little enlarged, but I can't tell that her scales are sticking out at all.  My tank parameters have consistently been 7.0-0- <Ammonia and Nitrite at 0 PPM?  pH at 7.0?  I'm not exactly sure what 7.0-0- means> and nitrates never above 10....(12gal & 55gal).  My main question is, should I put the remaining Gourami in a hospital <Always QT sick fish, even if you don't medicate.  Protect tankmates from infection.> tank and medicate?....or am I overreacting?...Its driving me crazy that I can't seem to keep any of this specie alive for any amount of time. <Laying on the bottom/hiding is usually a sign that a Gourami is sick or being harassed.  Moving this one to QT would be advisable, it would not hurt to feed an anti-bacterial food as well.  Keep it in very clean water, this is often overlooked in QT tanks.> Thanks again for any help/feedback, I really appreciate any comments. Judy <Dropsy is a symptom of (usually) a bacterial infection.  Bacterial infections can almost always be traced back to stress of some sort... and stress can almost always be traced back to environment!  Something about their environment stresses these animals -- water quality is usually enemy no. 1, but there are others; tankmates, lack of/inappropriate decor, etc.  Gouramis can be a nuisance when it comes to infections, because they tend to withhold most symptoms until it is too late.  If you believe that you are doing everything right, you might consider looking for another source for your livestock; perhaps the wholesaler that your pet store buys from doesn't produce very good Gourami stock. Hope these suggestions help. Jason N.>

Gourami Dropsy Paranoia - II - 05/24/2006 Thank you Jason on the speedy response. <Sorry for the delay on this one....  Sabrina with you in Jason's stead.  I do hope the fish is still around....> Is there any recommendation on the medicated food.. haven't done this before.   <Having read the previous correspondence, I would urge you to consider using Epsom salt at a rate of one to two tablespoons per ten gallons in the tank that houses the sick fish.  This will help if it's something simple, like constipation.  As for medicated food, http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/234/cat234.htm?676 does sell an antibacterial flake; I believe Jungle also produces one that can be found at some chain pet stores, now.> (I always think of my testing as: PH: 7.0; ammonia: 0; nitrites: 0 & nitrates 5.0 to 10-abreviation isn't always a good thing :-)) <Too true.> Thanks Again! Judy <Again, I apologize for the delay on this reply, and I do hope your Gourami has improved by this point.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>  

Treating Columnaris in Dwarf Gourami - 11/09/2005 Crew, <Hello, Jason.> Yesterday I purchased two male Dwarf Gouramis who currently reside in a cycled QT of 10 gallons. To my dismay, when I checked in on them this morning one of them clearly had white fuzz/residue on its side. <Oh, dear....> After a bit of research I concluded that this fuzz was likely Flexibacter Columnaris, <Entirely possible.> a bacterial infection that, as per my understanding, causes fin rot, body rot and mouth "fungus".  <Essentially.> Now, I have a Betta that susceptible to fin rot, so I guess I am well acquainted with Columnaris. <Mm, possibly.... there are many other things that can cause fin rot.... bacteria and others.> My reaction was to treat both Gouramis with Tetracycline.  <IMO, a good reaction.> My fears were confirmed later on when the white fuzz developed into red sores on the side of the sick Gourami. Now both Gouramis are in the corner, panting near the surface of the water. Is there anything to be done aside from Tetracycline and hope for the best?  <Tetracycline is a good option. I would continue treatment with this for up to two weeks.... Kanamycin sulfate would be another good option. Perhaps my first choice would be Oxytetracycline in food. Be monitoring ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate closely; maintain optimal water quality. It would also be a good idea at this time to increase aeration to aid these fish in breathing a little easier.> -Jason <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Kissing Gourami, Disease - 10/23/2005 I cannot find any information on my specific conditions of my Pink Kissers. I have 2 that are 4 to 5 " long, that I have had for 2 years very healthy until a few days ago, I did add a smaller pink kisser about 1 week ago. <Did you quarantine the new fish prior to adding to your tank?> Virtually overnight 1 started having signs of erosion around his mouth, his mouth looks like it is almost completing gone, now the others are having the same problem. How do I treat this and what is it?  <Uh, actually, the first question is what is it, THEN how do you treat it.... So, as for what it is, I'd prefer to have more information about your system prior to giving you some ideas, but I think it likely that it's a bacterial complaint of some sort, probably brought in by the new fish.  As for how to treat it.... Your first mission is to find out your water quality. Test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Ammonia and nitrite must be ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm - if this is not so, rectify with water changes. This alone may be all you need to do. If, however, you find that your water quality IS good, then you'll want to consider treating with a broad-spectrum antibiotic that treats both gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial infections.> I don't want to lose these beautiful fish! Help!  <Test and fix your water, first and foremost.> Debra <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

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