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FAQs on Colisa lalia, C. chuna... "Dwarf" Gouramis of Many Names, Honey, Flames, Neon Blue, Sunset, Fire... Disease/Health: Diagnosis  

FAQs on Dwarf Gourami Disease: Dwarf Gourami Disease 1, Dwarf Gourami Disease 2, Dwarf Gourami Disease 3, Dwarf Gourami Disease 4,
FAQs on Dwarf Gourami Disease by Category:
Environmental, Nutritional, Genetic, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic, Social, Treatments,   

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

Related FAQs:  Dwarf Gouramis, Dwarf Gourami Identification, Dwarf Gourami Behavior, Dwarf Gourami Compatibility, Dwarf Gourami Selection, Dwarf Gourami Systems, Dwarf Gourami Feeding, Dwarf Gourami Reproduction, & FAQs on: 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


Excerpted from: Five Almost Perfect Fishes; Great fish for the community aquarium, except for one little thing by Neale Monks   

2                     Dwarf Gourami, Colisa lalia 

The good:            Friendly, colourful, and just the right size for the community tank

The bad:              Peculiarly sensitive to bacterial infections 

Few aquarists haven't tried keeping these fish at some point, and they remain staples of the hobby thanks to their wide availability, bright colours, sweet dispositions, and willingness to take a range of foods including flake and pellets. Numerous artificial forms exist, such as the red dwarf Gourami that lacks the blue strips typical of the wild morph. However, being widely sold doesn't mean that are easy to keep, and these fish all too frequently sicken and die within a few months of being purchased. Dwarf gouramis appear to be among the fish most likely to contract bacterial infections if water quality or water chemistry isn't exactly right. The symptoms are bloody sores on the body and a loss of appetite, and short of veterinarian help (i.e., antibiotics), nothing much seems to help. 

Even with antibiotics, the prognosis isn't particularly good, and you should definitely never buy dwarf gouramis from a tank containing specimens showing any signs of this type of infection. But even starting off with healthy fish might not help, as some aquarists believe that virtually all commercially-bred dwarf gouramis (and probably other gouramis as well) carry the bacteria, so the issue isn't keeping the bacteria out of the tank but making sure it doesn't become a problem. The best approach is to quarantine dwarf gouramis for a few weeks before being adding them to a tank that already contains other, hardier, gouramis. 

It is just as important to make sure that water conditions and filtration are optimal. For the dwarf Gourami that means soft, acidic water conditions, preferably filtered through peat and zero levels of nitrite and ammonium. Frequent water changes to keep the nitrates down is a good idea, and using a hood or cover glass at the top of the tank to keep the humidity of the air just above the water level high is also to be recommended. Feeding presents few problems, but what you don't want to do is introduce anything that might make the fish sick, such as live Tubifex worms. In short, these are quite demanding fish that need a lot of care if they are to succeed in a community tank.

Dwarf Gourami Possible Fungus - Opaline Starving?    9/16/12
My name is Jesse I have a 40 gallon tank with one male and female Dwarf, one Opaline, one Pearl, ten Neon Tetras, one Bristlenose Pleco, and one baby Swordtail (parents both died).  Tank is Cycled water quality Nitrite 0 Ammonia 0 Ph Varies 7.5 -8.0 temp 76f and its slightly hard .  
<Sounds within the tolerances of the species being kept, so should work.>
My Opaline I believe has not recovered from the stress of a larger Opaline who beat him up to the point of almost death, the bully went back to the store unfortunately the place I got him wouldn't take him back so I had to drive an hour and a half to a place that would.
<Ah yes, males of this species (and in fact all the Three-Spot Gouramis, Trichopodus trichopterus) can be aggressive.>
The one Opaline still sits around only moving from shelf in tank to breath air at surface, eating a bite here and there every other day and it's been two weeks.  The plan was with him to nurse him back to health and re-home him because I don't want an fish notorious for aggression, my fault for not reading up on them before purchase.  Any suggestions for him would be great.
<Time. So long as he's eating, he's probably okay. There's nothing you can add to speed his recover, but do check water quality is good (seems to be) and ensure there's a good variety of food. If he doesn't like one thing, try something else. Make sure other fish aren't harassing or nipping him.>
My male Dwarf has a patch on his what you may call a chin that almost looks like a feather.  He also constantly rubs his head up and down the side of the glass vigorously.  His appetite is great and vary energetic. I've read on your site a lot and it sounds like a possible fungus.  I would just like a little more info for proper treatment. 
<If it's fluffy, often what people describe as "cotton wool", then that's Fungus; various treatments, with Methylene Blue being the mildest and safest, provided the fungal infection hasn't gone too far.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dwarf Gourami Possible Fungus - Opaline Starving?      9/23/12

Thanks for the quick response the other day. It was unexpected for a Sunday evening and in great timing. I work on the road a lot and pay the neighbors kid to feed and watch the tank while away.
<Ah, well, unless you're gone more than a week, there's usually no need to feed tropical fish. But if you trust these kids to at least do no harm, then sure…>
The Opaline has proceeded to make a great comeback in the last week another week and he may be ready to go. Ill keep him unless he becomes (overly) aggressive.
The Dwarf has stopped rubbing against the wall but still has the spot (cotton wool) however still appears healthy and strong. Should I continue treatment?
<Always complete a course of medication as instructed by the manufacturer. If symptoms remain after medication, then do a 50% water change, and start a second round of the medication the next day.>
Off the subject of the original email.  I kept tropical fish for 10 years than went on a 10 year break. I've had my new tank for about 6 months and have got the itch all over again.
<Have fun!>
This time with a little more knowledge and patience.  I love the swordtails and would like to try another pair.
<Would not keep any Xiphophorus species in "pairs"… males are aggressive, prone to pestering females. But by all means get a trio (one male, two or more females). Swordtails are nice fish, though the males are aggressive, and do bear in mind they prefer (do best in) water that is hard, neutral to basic, and somewhat cool (22-25 C/72-77 F) and fast-flowing. They are, after all, fish that came originally from streams rather than ponds or sluggish rivers.>
Do you think with my current tank and stock it would be to much? I'm thinking it might be boarder line.
<Can be good community fish, and perfectly suitable for lightly to moderately stocked 40 gallon tanks with decent filtration (turnover at least 6 times the volume of the tank per hour) and the right water chemistry, temperature.>
However I've been scoping out the 100 plus tanks since I have so much room in my new place.
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Dwarf Gourami Possible Fungus - Opaline Starving? – 09/24/12

I do trust the neighbor kids care have a hard time sending him home when I'm home. I am usually gone for a week or two at a time. Since I live far north, lake superior and temp swings are the way of life it I think is necessary unless I want to come home to a ice tank. I have two heaters rated for 55+ gal working together during the fall months until full winter heating season begins. Then I turn the house furnace on.
<I see.>
As far as flow I am over filtered. I have a magnum canister filter (running foam outside of 1lb of carbon which I shut off during medication) which is restricted from to much flow, and a penguin hang on filter rated for 55 with just mechanical filtration.
Either way ill probably just wait tell I get a larger tank to get a proper home for swordtails and the gourms. Along with the seemingly indestructible group of neons.
<Good going! Neons aren't the easiest fish to keep, but that you have success with them perhaps says something about your ambient water chemistry. Maybe choose fish from similar environments, Corydoras for example, and keep those.>
Again thanks for the advise.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Colisa lalia... hlth.    8/10/12
Hi. Just found your site by accident and I am hoping you can help with my dwarf Gourami problem I have two male dwarf Gourami's in a 180 litre tank; the tank has been running successfully for about 18 months now.
One of the Gourami’s has developed a bloated stomach, it started about two weeks ago and it increased in size for about seven days, for the last seven days it has remained the same size he also has long stringy white waste (see photo).
<Yes... evidence of a likely lumenal parasitic involvement>
He seems to be eating normally but hangs near the top of the tank and doesn’t move about much except at feeding time he’s scales are not sticking out and he seems normal apart from the above symptoms.
He has been in this tank for about a year and always seemed quite happy until now.
I do a 20% water change with gravel vac every week the tank temperature is 25c.
The tank is not overcrowded and the only recent additions were two freshwater clams a six weeks ago, both alive and well.
<Rare... most of these clams starve in short order>
I did have a white spot problem a couple of months back which I treated with WS3 (malachite green) for two weeks unsuccessfully, but eventually eradicated the problem with heat alone as advised on another forum.
<And WWM>
My water parameters are all good Ammonia, Nitrate and nitrite all 0’s and Ph. 6.5.
<A bit low>
I have been to several aquatic shops and have been told the problem is.
Dropsy, Internal bacteria, Internal Parasite, Worms, Hexamita, with so many conflicting diagnoses I don’t know how to treat this fish.
<A combination of Metronidazole and an anthelminthic (likely Prazi/quantel)... laced in foods... you can buy it commercially prepared or DIY... See WWM re... and the diseases of this species period on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Hope you can help. Chris.
P.S great site will be here often.

Re: Bloated Dwarf Gourami     8/11/12
Hi. Just big thanks for your help, I’m guessing you guys are USA based and the problem I have is that the remedies suggested are not always available here in the U.K,
<Ah yes. Neale Monks is in the U.K., and I know of no other place where treatments are so available as the U.S.>
or if they are the guys at the aquatic centre look completely lost when you ask for them.
<Mmm, yes... IF you consider the expense, general resource "worth it", you might contact a veterinarian...>
Anyway on the positive side you have given me the information as to what I am dealing with, a parasite.
<Likely so... A simple/r treatment is Epsom Salt, Magnesium Sulfate... should be available from the drug store>
I decided to treat with a Flubendazole based treatment and after just 36 hours my Gourami is looking much less swollen, he still has the white stringy waste but I am much more optimistic about he’s chance of survival now.
He is eating well which is a good sign, and moving about a bit more, in he’s weakened state he is being bullied by the healthy Gourami a bit more but I am not overly concerned as it doesn’t seem too serious, will keep an eye on the situation.
Regarding the clams, yes I was aware they do tend to starve, so as an experiment I tried them on finely crushed algae wafers and so far they seem to be thriving.
Thanks again for a great site. Chris.
<Thank you for contributing to it, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Dying Dwarf Gouramis
I am an employee at one of the big box pet stores and I have a customer having an issue that I have no idea how to proceed. He has a 125 gallon heavily planted tank that has been running mostly without incident for around 6 months.
<Sounds good.>
About 3-4 months ago he purchased several dwarf gouramis.
They have been thriving along with all of his other fish since he purchased them. However, in the last week he has lost almost all of them within a few days of each other.
<Yes; not atypical with this species.>
I had read a reference of dwarf Gourami disease some time ago and figured that this might be the culprit so I came to your site, which is where I can typically find an answer I need. The problem is that none of the fish that have died or are still living are showing any sores or other visible signs of any kind of infection.
<Not all Dwarf Gourami deaths are down to Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus (DGIV). At least some are due to Mycobacteria infections, what aquarists often, if inaccurately, refer to as Fish TB (which is actually something quite distinct and not really common in freshwater fishkeeping).>
He still has a few that appear to be doing fine but is worried. I read through the four pages of information you have posted on diseases in dwarf gouramis and none of the other inquiries sound like this. Have you ever heard of anything like this before?
Is it likely to be DGIV even though there are no sores or discolored patches?
<It's impossible to say for sure. Diagnosing diseases caused by viruses requires expert analysis.>
He tests his water regularly and brings it in to be tested. His parameters are as follows: Ammonia-0, Nitrite-0, Nitrate-less than 20ppm, pH-7.0, Alkalinity-120, Hardness-150, Temperature-78.0F.
<All sounds good.>
Thank you for your help with this, you guys are awesome. Also, I discovered your website from an interview of Bob Fenner by Marc Levenson from Reef Addicts.
<Thanks for the kind words, Jennifer, and I'm sorry I can't pin this down any better. Do be aware that DGIV is more a symptom of the less than perfect way this species is farmed in Asia, and there may well be free use of things like antibiotics and hormones on fish farms that wear off once you get the fish to your store. I'm wary of this species, alongside Neons and Ram Cichlids, the three of them forming an infernal triumvirate of species that often mysteriously die for reasons never easy to identify, cure or prevent. Cheers, Neale.>

Stupid Dwarf Gourami! 9/12/11
I have 2 powder blue dwarf Gourami, I have read that they die easy from dwarf Gourami disease. They are both males, my tank is 55 gallons and I have a rose line shark and 8 tetras in it. One is doing good, he's active but the other one hides all day in is lays on his side on the bottom of the tank and I notice he gets bullied by the other Gourami. I am new to the fish world but learning, and I have read the post about the dwarf Gourami, I bought them cause they are pretty. If he does have DGD will my other fish be infected with it if so what do I need to do?
Thanks, Nicole
<Dwarf Gouramis are territorial and males will often fight, even in quite large tanks. With territorial fish it's best to keep one or else three or more; when kept in twos, it's easy for the dominant one to bully the other
one all the time. So I'd return this chap. Dwarf Gouramis are so disease-ridden that you want to quarantine them before adding them to your community tank. If you didn't, then yes, if one fish is a carrier of the DGIV virus, they all are. But not all "Dwarf Gourami Disease" cases are viral; many are bacterial and caused by Mycobacteria species latent in most tanks. These bacterial infections are stress related, so triggering factors can include bullying, poor diet, low temperature (26-30 C surely essential for these Gouramis), and hard water (chemistry needs to be soft and acidic, 2-12 degrees dH, pH 6-7.5). Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Dwarf Gourami   4/28/11
I have a 38 gallon tank that recently had twenty or so fancy guppies. I've had this tank set up for 9 months with varying numbers of the guppies. As of a month ago, I moved and had to switch the tank to a harder tap water -much harder.
<How hard, how measured? Have you read on WWM re?>
Four days ago, I gave away all the guppies except four tiny babies that I unfortunately missed. The next day, I went to Petco and bought two medium sized blue Gourami, both male.
<Mmm, will fight. I'd trade in at least one for a female>
The day after that, I purchased one small veil angelfish, three flame dwarf Gourami (all believed to be male), three Cory catfish, one small yoyo loach and one rainbow shark from Petco as well. They all seemed to be doing fine until this morning (two days after I purchased the newest batch), when the angelfish died. It was then that I noticed that all three of my dwarf Gourami have changed color. They seem to be acting normal, but their heads, chest and dorsal fins have turned a chalky gray / black color with white / light splotches. The coloration is becoming weirder by the hour.
Attached are pictures of the sick Gourami. Aside from the dead angelfish, the other fish in the tank are doing well. Is this a poisoning or an infectious disease?
<Likely the latter, but... could be just a reaction to water quality>
Also, will my other Gourami or other fish be affected by this? Thank you; have a good day.
Kirstin E.
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfgdis.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Or even a "grub" infestation

My dwarf Gourami has a very big stomach 1/12/10
Dear Crew,
My dwarf Gourami has a very big stomach, though he barely eats, nipping at the food and then a fish eats the whole flake.
<The question here is whether the fish is fat but otherwise healthy, or is he fat and lethargic? If he's swimming about normally and shows his proper colours and liveliness, then constipation may be the issue. Treat as per Goldfish, skipping dried foods entirely, and offering just cooked peas and live (or wet-frozen) brine shrimp and daphnia. Adding Epsom salt to the water can help speed up the cure.
But if the fish is swollen and not behaving or looking as it should, then an infection of some sort is probable. Abdominal worms such as Camallanus are a possibility, and these can cause fish to swell up. Treat using an
anti-helminth medication such as Praziquantel.
Abdominal swelling can also go along with systemic bacterial infections, the symptom aquarists often called Dropsy. In this case, the scales typically become erect, so that viewed from above the fish has a pine-cone appearance. There's no real cure because the damage is too far gone by the time this happens, so euthanasia is the only practical approach.
Is this overeating or a bacterial infection if so how do I treat it if I can? For more help this is a new fish, only had it about two weeks.
<The modern farmed Colisa lalia is a feeble species, and extremely prone to disease. These include Mycobacteria infections and a viral disease known as Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus. In either case the fish becomes lethargic, loses
its colour, exhibits odd sores or patches of dead skin, and eventually dies. Abdominal swelling can certainly be among the symptoms of either disease. While not all sick Colisa lalia have either a Mycobacteria or DGIV infections, many do, so it's well to be aware of these two diseases.
Neither is curable, and both are highly contagious. Affected fish should be removed and euthanised.
Personally, I don't recommend Colisa lalia, and don't know many expert aquarists who rate them at all highly. For casual aquarists, Colisa labiosa and Colisa fasciata are infinitely better choices, and well worth keeping.
If you must keep Colisa lalia, then try to acquire locally bred, rather than farmed, specimens, perhaps through your local fish club. Quarantine all new specimens for at least 6 weeks. Because it is such a feeble fish, make sure Colisa lalia is exposed only to optimal conditions: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, pH 6.5-7.5, low hardness (5-10 degrees dH), and relatively warm water, 28-30 degrees C. Feed a balanced, vitamin-rich diet. Cheers, Neale.>
Re Colisa lalias -- 01/12/2010

Thank you very much Neale, I figured he had an infection. Sadly, he died sometime today and I found him dead after I came home.
<Sorry to hear this. Of course, now you know better, and you'll be able to make more informed choices when shopping. Avoid Colisa lalia in all its forms (Flame Gouramis, Neon Gouramis, etc.). Cheers, Neale.>
Red Dwarf Gourami illness? 12/31/09

Hello WWM,
Today both my Red Dwarf Gouramis dropped to the bottom on my tanks and are just lying there on their sides. Every now and again they will rise up and swim around for a while before dropping again.
<Colisa lalia are an extremely poor investment for most community tanks because they are so disease prone. Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus and Mycobacteria infections are both common. Without stringent quarantining first, and then very careful control of their environment, they often die from these two diseases. One study by vets found 22% of the Dwarf Gouramis exported from Singapore carrying DGIV, and since this is highly contagious as well as invariably fatal, it doesn't take much for a whole batch of fish to end up sick or dead.
I have noticed over the last week up to today that they were swimming strangely i.e. pointing mouth upwards and kind of bobbing along the tank rather than swimming like a fish usually does.
<More likely the orientation is simply a reflection of reduced swimming ability than anything else.>
I notice a slight darkening of the skin tone around the head (bright red when purchased 4 weeks ago).
<By definition, artificial forms of Colisa lalia are *even* more disease prone than the natural type, simply because of the inbreeding required to produce them. It's always better to choose wild-type colours over artificial colours.>
PH, Nitrite and Nitrate look fine.
<Do check water quality, temperature and water chemistry. Colisa lalia needs soft, slightly acidic to neutral water (pH 6.5-7.0, less than 10 degrees hardness dH). Temperature should be towards the high end, 28-30 C (82-86 F) but note that this is MUCH too warm for most community fish, which is why they do badly in community tanks (i.e., if your Gouramis are happy, your Corydoras and Neons are suffering heatstroke!).>
Any ideas?
<For now, observation. But if there's no sign of improvement, humane destruction.
It doesn't look good at the moment.
<Unless you're prepared to buy locally bred specimens, or else quarantine new Colisa lalia for 6+ weeks, stick with Colisa fasciata and Colisa labiosa.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Red Dwarf Gourami illness?

Thanks very much for the reply.
I'll see what happens in the next day or two.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Poorly Gourami (Red Robins; taxonomy, health) 2/11/09 Hello Crew! I've had a look all over the internet and at your recently answered question but haven't found anything that really applies to the problem my Gourami has, so i hope you don't mind me emailing! He's is a 'red robin' honey Gourami who i have had for about 6 months and always been well. Yesterday i came home to find him sitting at the bottom of the tank with a slightly rounded underside - just around where i assume his swim bladder is, at the base of his feelers. He was moved about a week ago from my previous 30 litre tank to a new 120 litre. I have given the tank a water change and the water results are still within the normal parameters (I'm going to test again this evening). I've also put some peeled peas into the tank but he doesn't seem to be interested in them. He is currently sitting at the bottom of the tank and taking the occasional trip to the surface for a quick gulp of air, then sinking slowly back to the bottom. Also, when he's swimming he seems to be finding it difficult and his lips look a bit greyer than usual. The only other thing apart from the new tank, that has changed, is that i bought 3 small Corys at the weekend, one of which died within 48 hours after barely moving. My second honey Gourami is still behaving absolutely normal and the 2 remaining Corys are perfectly fine. Can you give me any advice? Should i quarantine him? I've also been reading about some antibiotics that aren't compatible with gouramis and others that shouldn't be used when Corys are in the tank! Any info you could send would be great - i can't get to my local fish shop until tomorrow evening. Many thanks for your time Jess <Hello Jess. Red Robin Gouramis are curious fish because nobody really knows what they are! Several different fish are sold under the name, most commonly a hybrid between Trichogaster chuna and Colisa lalia, often, though not always, fed with colour-enhancing foods to make their colours brighter than they actually are. Quality is extremely variable, and like a lot of fish mass produced in Southeast Asia, bacterial infections can be a real problem because of the widespread use of antibiotics on the fish farms. Whilst they don't seem to get the dreaded Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus (DGIV) they aren't the hardiest of fish and lifespan is often rather short. Sometimes Red Robins are merely red-coloured Colisa lalia, in which case DGIV is a risk, as well as all the usual bacterial problems Dwarf Gouramis are prone to. Inbreeding is an issue here, and indeed with almost any fish that doesn't have its wild-type colouration. That's a point worth reiterating: when you shop for tropical fish and you decide to get a "fancy" form, you're doing a trade-off between genetics and physical appearance. Finally, some Red Robins are fancy Honey Gouramis. Again, inbreeding is an issue, but on top of that you have the problem that Trichogaster chuna is simply not a fish that does well in hard water, so unless you have soft, slightly acidic water conditions, it's a species to avoid. Having laid out the problems identifying the fish, treatment is somewhat difficult to suggest. DGIV is impossible to cure, so if that's the case, there's nothing much to do beyond painless destruction of the fish. Internal bacterial infections are extremely common among these fish, and only reliably treated with antibiotics. In the UK, these have to be obtained from a vet, and the so-called "anti-internal bacteria" treatments sold in fish shops in the UK are, frankly, useless. Never once heard of a fish cured of anything by using them. Antibiotics used properly (i.e., as per your vet's instructions) will be perfectly safe with your Gourami. Internal bacterial infections often caused abdominal swelling followed by distinctive raising of the scales along the flank, so that viewed from above the fish looks like a pine cone. At that stage a cure is unlikely and again, painless destruction is the only humane option. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm Constipation is a problem with Gouramis since most are partially herbivorous in the wild, and careless aquarists often forget this essential fact. If squashed tinned (or cooked) peas aren't accepted, then Daphnia may be, and these are almost as good. Obviously Gouramis are slow feeders, and if there are tetras or barbs in there, the Daphnia will be eaten long before the Gourami gets a therapeutic "dose", so you'll have to work around that using a hospital tank of some sort. If the Gourami is healthy-looking apart from the swollen abdomen, then constipation may be the issue. Adding Epsom salt at 1 to 3 teaspoons per 5 gallons can help with constipation alongside the high-fibre foods, but remember to stop adding Epsom salt once the fish is better. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Sick dwarf Gourami 11/28/08 Hi My Blue dwarf Gourami got sick. He has some pimple like bumps on him. I sent you a picture. We have a 70 gallon planted tank. I have a lot of young guppies , red and blue dwarf gouramis and a pearl Gourami. None of my other fish has those bumps and the Blue Gourami is acting normal , he is eating and swimming normally. The bumps only appeared today. Thank you! Julia <I can't tell from your photo much about the Gourami in question. Too blurry. But do run through the options listed in this article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdistrbshtart.htm  In particular, be aware Colisa lalia (your Gourami species) is very prone to a viral infection that is incurable. It is extremely common among Colisa lalia exported from Southeast Asia. Not all sick Colisa lalia have this disease though! So do consider other things that can cause "white pimples" -- Ick/Whitespot, Finrot, Fungus, Velvet, Lymphocystis, to name just a few. Cheers, Neale.>
 Man! That's blurry! RMF.

Blue Gourami black spots and swollen 5/26/08 Hi. I have recently started up a 10 gallon tank. <Do understand that this tank is too small for Blue Gouramis, and indeed for virtually all tropical fish. There's no reason to buy a 10 gallon tank unless you're an expert fishkeeper with a view to a breeding project or some other specific usage. 20 gallon tanks are the minimum sized ones that work reliably for casual aquarists and standard community fish species. The price difference between 10 and 20 gallon tanks is negligible, especially when set against how much longer your fish will live in the one compared to the other.> 2 weeks ago, I bought a powder blue dwarf Gourami and a red dwarf Gourami. <Both Colisa lalia varieties. Extremely prone to disease; I simply don't recommend them to fishkeepers. Scarily high prevalence of viral disease; inbreeding and casual use of antibiotics means their lifespan once purchased is not high. A lot of retailers I know would sooner not stock them at all. Best avoided, in favour of hardy species like Colisa labiosus and Colisa fasciata.> All seemed fine, but the red Gourami hangs out at the bottom of the tank and sometimes pushes the blue one around. <The tank is too small. These fish are territorial, and if they're both males, as is highly likely if they're brightly coloured (females are greyish green) the dominant one will eventually kill the weaker one.> Two days ago, I purchased two emerald green Corys that are very active, racing around. <Too many fish in a 10 gallon tank! Corydoras aeneus need to be kept in groups of six or more (they're schooling fish) and that means a 20 gallon tank, at least. I'm not saying this stuff to be awkward: if you try to cram fish into too-small a tank, you're going to have problems with water quality, and that means disease. Your fish aren't going to be happy either, and if you don't care about their happiness, then why bother keeping fish at all?> I noticed a few days ago that the blue Gourami seems maybe swollen just under the gills. Today, I noticed he has some black dots on his face, like he's dirty. I have done a few partial water changes this past week. Also, last night, I noticed when he was eliminating it was not releasing and grew to a few inches long before it even dropped, or came off. <Difficult to know precisely what this is, but instinctively I'd be guessing Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus. This is very very common among Colisa lalia, and currently impossible to treat. It's 100% fatal, and highly contagious. This is why I tell people not to waste their money on this species. A photo would help ID the disease more precisely.> The red Gourami is a big eater, eating most of the food, including the catfish pellets. The water temperature is between 78 and 80 degrees. I think the red Gourami may like the bottom of the tank because I have the thickest planting there (all artificial). I bought some tall "grass" decor, but it is sparse. I have read it's recommended that I buy some floating plants. <Yes, floating plants are appreciated by Gouramis.> Thank you in advance for your time. These fish were purchased for my kids that just lost a Betta and I would hate to lose my younger son's Gourami. <I fear you're going to lose the fish anyway.> Thanks again. <You're welcome.> Beth <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Blue Gourami black spots and swollen 5/26/08 Thank you for your response. I am obviously a beginner and went into the store not knowing much at all. <Fair enough.> I went by the suggestion of the clerk in regard to size of tank and the fish to put in them. <Do always remember the guys in the store are there to make sales. In a perfect world, they'd also hand out expert advice and would stop you from making unwise purchases. But we live in an imperfect world, and not every store clerk is an expert fishkeeper. Many are essentially salespeople with little to no personal experience of keeping fish.> He informed me that the Dwarf Gouramis are hearty, obviously misinformed. <Do see here, for example: http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/pfk/pages/show_article.php?article_id=428 Something like 22% of the Singaporean fish are infected with the Iridovirus, so right out the bag over one-fifth are doomed. Couple this with the fact the virus is extremely contagious, and you have a real problem. It goes without saying that intensive farming methods to keep the price down and serious inbreeding to create the all-red and all-blue varieties has done nothing to improve the hardiness of the species.> I also went by his suggestion with the catfish that he told me to come back for after 7 days when purchasing the Dwarf Gouramis. <In a bigger tank, not a bad idea. But in a 10 gallon tank, overkill.> I may not know much, but I even mentioned that the two Gouramis and two Catfish were going to create too many inches per gallon, but he insisted this was fine and that two catfish were good enough for them socially. <Ah, I see. So in this instance you should have trusted your instinct. I suspect that you have the makings of an expert fishkeeper even if you're only just starting out! Keep reading, keep being critical, and keep raising your game.> Thank you for your help. I will go back to the store with this knowledge. <Happy to help, Neale.>

Re: Blue Gourami black spots and swollen  5/27/2008 Neale, Thank you so much answering all of my questions. I have attached photos for you. If you believe this is what it is, I will be bringing both of the Gouramis back tomorrow since I have had them such a short time. ("<Difficult to know precisely what this is, but instinctively I'd be guessing Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus. This is very very common among Colisa lalia, and currently impossible to treat. It's 100% fatal, and highly contagious. This is why I tell people not to waste their money on this species. A photo would help ID the disease more precisely.>") <Photos aren't quite sharp enough to make a good diagnosis. When looking for Dwarf Gourami Disease, the order of symptoms is typically this: shyness; loss of appetite; stringy faeces; appearance of discoloured (usually pale) patches on the body; open bloody sores on the body; oedema; death. Obviously not every sick Gourami has Dwarf Gourami Disease, so it's as well to consider the options too, including things like Finrot and Constipation that can cause at least some of these symptoms. Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdistrbshtart.htm Dark patches can simply be signs of physical damage, specifically to the nerves that control the colour cells (effectively similar to "stuck" pixels on an LCD screen. So as I say, don't destroy the fish out of hand; review the possible alternatives and treat appropriately. In any case keeping two specimens in the one tank isn't a good idea, so you'll need to return or rehome one of them.> Thank you, again. I hope you can see well enough with these pictures. They don't depict the signs as well as I wish: <Indeed.> Again, I appreciate your time with this. The information invaluable! <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Blue Gourami black spots and swollen 5/27/2008 Do you have advice if I wanted two more fish, after bringing the Gouramis back that might be smaller and okay in the tank? <There's an art to stocking 10 gallon tanks. Essentially look for small (2.5 cm/1") fish that don't move about much and aren't territorial. This approach will maximise your chances of success. In the "Gourami" field, you might consider Sparkling Gouramis (Trichopsis pumila), tiny little fish that work well in groups provided there are lots of plants at the surface of the tank for them to hide among. They're wonderfully coloured and make strange little sounds from time to time. If you live in a hard water area, you might also consider a "shell dweller" from Lake Tanganyika such as Lamprologus ocellatus. These fish rarely stray far from their shells (ideally empty apple snail shells or "escargot" shells from a boutique food store) and aren't aggressive to mid- or upper-level fish. Livebearers offer some interesting options, like the darling Least Killifish (Heterandria formosa), one of the smallest vertebrates known and native to the Southern United States. Gobies offer lots of potential, but you do need to review issues like feeding and water chemistry because some species will not last long if not kept correctly. Bumblebee Gobies for example do best in hard water with a little salt added (though this isn't essential) and will only eat ((wet) frozen bloodworms and small live foods like brine shrimp. As for catfish, the smallest Callichthyidae are perhaps the ideal, including things like Aspidoras pauciradiatus and Corydoras habrosus. Small Whiptails like Hemiloricaria parva also work nicely and add a quirky look to the system. I'm also keeping Cherry Shrimps and snails such as Nerites and snail-eating snails (Clea helena) in my mini tanks, and they're thriving, the shrimps in particular breeding like rabbits. So there's lots of potential with small tanks, provided you research your options and make good choices. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Blue Gourami black spots and swollen 5/27/2008 Follow Up: Thank you for all of your help. I returned the fish today and they, indeed, said the Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami did not look well at all. I followed your advice and decided that the fish were all going to be too big to be happy in the tank and brought the other Gourami and 2 Cory's back. <Very good.> I will say that the pet stores do seem more into turn around than into the happiness of the fish as the Emerald Green Cory tank said that a 10 gallon tank is suitable and some fish that grow to be 3 inches were labeled for 5 gallon tanks! <Unfortunately not an uncommon way to keep fish.> I purchased 4 guppies, figuring that they will grow no more than 1.5-2 inches and should remain happy. I would like to add 1 or 2 catfish after the Guppies stabilize. I saw online that there are small species that only grow to be 1.5 to 2 inches. Would these fish all be okay in the tank as it would equal about 7.5 to 10 inches of fish in a 10 gallon tank? <In theory, Guppies can work in a 10 gallon tank. But in practise, the males often become aggressive towards one another. They also pester the females. It's not much fun to watch your male Guppies chasing one another and harassing the females. So while a single male and two or more females might be viable, I don't personally recommend Guppies in very small tanks. That said, many people keep Endler's Guppies in small tanks, and their smaller size perhaps makes them a better bet. I've also found Humpbacked Limia (Limia nigrofasciata) and Wrestling Halfbeaks (Dermogenys spp.) work well in 10 gallon tanks.> Thank you, again. <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Blue Gourami black spots and swollen 5/27/2008 Dear Neale, I'm sorry for all of the emails. I just want to get this right. <Understandable!> As it is (background), under advice from a first pet store, we bought a tank, let it run for a week and then went to a second store (the one we ultimately bought from) and found out it was the wrong kind of tank, needed a heater and all the rest and had to start over again. Now, the problems we've discussed. <Hence our usual advice to buy/borrow an aquarium book *before* you spend any money.> The more I research, the more I'm concerned that the Emerald Green Corys are not right for the tank. I love them and how active they are. However, when we bring back the Gouramis, they may not only grow too big for the 10 gallon tank, but be too big for the fish we will get as replacements. <Green Corydoras (Corydoras aeneus) is an excellent catfish; it is peaceful, completely harmless towards even livebearer fry, and long-lived when kept properly. I keep a related species, Corydoras paleatus in my 180 litre aquarium and watching them plough through sand, spewing it out of their gills, is a real treat. Both these catfish spawn readily, and if they're happy you will eventually find their eggs on the glass. Raising the babies isn't difficult, but that's a story for another day. But these catfish are potentially too large for a 10 gallon system, at least once mature. Female Corydoras aeneus will get to at least 5 cm/2" and potentially 7.5 cm/3". They are not just long but deep-bodied as well. You also need at least 4, and ideally 6, specimens to see them at their best. So I agree with your analysis.> I know you are not big on 10 gallon tanks anyhow, but unfortunately it's what works best for our space. <Often the case.> I have found that there are smaller catfish. <There are several Dwarf Corydoras species, all reasonably hardy and easy to keep. Corydoras hastatus swims in the midwater when kept in reasonable numbers and not scared. Watching the flutter about like silvery bugs is lots of fun.> I was thinking that Platys might be a good choice for our tank? <A bit on the large size. Some varieties of Platy stay quite small, but in good health most varieties can top 5 cm/2". Personally I'd not recommend them, though some people do keep them in 10 gallon systems.> For my boys, we're looking for one fish each that will be characteristic enough to tell them apart, or maybe two each- space dependent. <The Catfish/Livebearer combo will work well. Catfish look strange and usually scoot about the bottom in a very purposeful way; livebearers are friendly and quickly become tame, rising to the top at feeding time. I have an 10 gallon system with Aspidoras pauciradiatus (a miniature, black-and-white Corydoras) and juvenile Limia nigrofasciata. The tank is filled with live plants, snails and Cherry Shrimps. The result is an aquarium that's very rewarding and fun to watch.> They really like the idea of catfish as well, and I have found online that there are catfish that stay smaller than the Emerald Green Corys. <Provided you avoid "Otos" (Otocinclus spp.) many of the smaller catfish are quite hardy. There are also some lovely small loaches, most notably Kuhli Loaches. Kuhli Loaches are gregarious and rather shy, but they work well in small tanks.> I am returning to the store to make an exchange for the Gouramis as the Powder Blue became sick right away. Would you suggest, while we are somewhat starting over, that we bring the catfish back as well as they may be too big to share the aquarium with fish much smaller than them? <I would, but it's your call. You always have the choice of hanging on to them for the next year or two, because Corydoras don't grow particularly fast. By Christmas time say, you might decide to upgrade the tank to a 20 gallon one. The "footprint" between a 10- and a 20-gallon tank isn't that great, and you can re-use the heater and filter.> I hate to do so, but like I said, I want to do this right this time before we get even more attached. Any advice on the new fish as to what would be best is greatly appreciated. Thank you! <Do read these articles for ideas on choosing livestock: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestk.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstksel.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestocking.htm  Take the kids down to the library/bookstore and have look through the encyclopaedias of freshwater fish. There are literally hundreds of species on the market, and even if they aren't in stock in your local store, they can order them or you can go mail order. Cheers, Neale.>

Gourami disease, eggs?  -03/28/08 hi, I have just got 4 dwarf Gouramis and 2 are the opalescent blue and the other 2 are orange with stripes. my one striped one has a dark brown appearance on its head and at the top to,? and appears to be dull and slimy. and the other one appears to have this too along with a dark blue almost navy stripe near the end of its belly. is this normal or a disease. <Not normal, and yes, likely a disease. In particular check your symptoms against 'Dwarf Gourami Disease', an extremely common and contagious problem among Colisa lalia imports from Singapore especially. There is no cure. I would simply advise people NEVER to buy these fish unless from a local breeder.> and finally the last question I have is my blue Gourami is larger than the rest of the tank mates and has been hanging out at the top of the tank. but I have noticed very small,? white circular things near my heater and every now and then the swollen fish will go up near that part of the tank. what is wrong with my fish and what are these things, are they eggs? <Impossible to say. Quite possibly eggs, through whether from the Gouramis or something else, e.g., snails, is difficult to say. Gouramis are bubble-nest builders and don't normally stick their eggs to the glass. On the other hand Corydoras catfish and some snails do this all the time. If you think they're eggs, then by all means carefully remove them to a breeding trap and see what happens! Fish eggs tend to be about 1 mm across and small round spheres; snail eggs are usually laid in clumps, often in blobs of jelly about 5 mm or so across.> thank you <Next time, please send messages with proper capitalization of sentences! Makes e-mails easier to read, share. Cheers, Neale.>

Colisa lalia/chuna (?) with sickness/discoloration. 1/17/08 I have a dwarf Gourami, Colisa lalia (I think), which I believe is sick. <Yes, this is Colisa lalia, but an artificial morph.> I say *believe* because behaviorally there don't appear to be any problems. <Not yet, anyway. But the sore does look troubling.> However, he's developed the coloring/marking shown in these pictures in the last week, week-and-a-half, and it doesn't appear to be going away. It also doesn't seem to be growing/changing 'it was just 'there' one morning. He's been in quarantine since Dec. 26 (along with the other fish I got at the same time) and none of the other fish have developed this'¦ problem. <Good.> The whole batch had Ich when we picked them up (I got them for pennies on the dollar) but that cleared up nicely and we only lost a clown loach (out of $120+ worth of fish and the one we wanted most kicks the bucket ;-(). <Hmm...> Treatment was QuickCure (at half the dose--group includes tetras), salt (2 tbsp/ 10 gal), and Melafix (don't knock it'¦ it's helped me many times) for 12 days. I've since put him into his own quarantine (3 gal Eclipse) and am at a loss. <Not a fan of Melafix. Yes it works sometimes, but not always; the alternative medications may be more expensive, but at least they work consistently.> My first thoughts were DGD or some kind of tumor, but the coloration doesn't seem right to me and it doesn't seem elevated so I haven't considered it a growth. <I'd go with Dwarf Gourami Disease as well. Only time will tell... Regardless, don't mix with any other Gouramis, and certainly don't place in a tank you intend to add Dwarf Gouramis to any time soon.> Nitrates/Nitrites/Ammonia are all easily within allowable limits (15 ppm/ 0 ppm/ 0 ppm). Temps were on the high end to clear up the Ich (82 F). <Fine.> Hardness is 4 dH, pH is 7.4, and water changes are weekly with treated tap-water of the same hardness and pH. Do you have any thoughts? Thanks! <None really. You're doing/thinking what I would. It's possibly physical trauma that's damaged some nerves, and so what you're seeing are the "colour cells" (chromatophores) stuck in an odd position (think: broken pixels on an LCD screen). There certainly seems to be a puncture at the centre, but whether that's a puncture inwards (i.e., a cut) or a puncture outwards (i.e., a burst cyst) I cannot say. If this is DGD, the fish 'll be dead in a few weeks, so you may as well maintain in a quarantine tank (or at least a tank without labyrinth fish) and see how things go. If nothing happens after a month or six weeks, at the very least you should see the central wound heal up, in which case keep the fish in a community tank without labyrinth fish are accept it as just being odd. Please get back in touch as and when you see things change or improve; I'd like to know more. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Colisa lalia/chuna (?) with sickness/discoloration. - 1/17/08 Neale (and WWM Crew), <Branon,> Thank you for the quick response! It looks like we're on the same sheet of music on this one. <Cool.> I'm concerned when you say not to put him into a system with Anabantoids...I have a Betta (which is currently in a separate QT) I'm planning on including in the system (150 gal community tank) and I was thinking these two are far enough distant in relation to rule out susceptibility to DRD...? <I'd guess that'd be a fair comment, but I'm just not 100% sure.> I may also not be familiar enough with DRD... is this an infection which can/will remain in the tank for months/years even if there aren't viable hosts (i.e. non-resistant labyrinth fish)? <Likely yes. It's caused by a virus -- Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus -- and as far as I'm aware, no-one knows how to kill it, how long it can survive in an aquarium, if it can be carried by other fish without causing symptoms, or really much of anything at all!> Is there an all-clear time-frame? <Not aware of one, no.> If it doesn't clear up and he isn't dead by the end of the additional 4-6 wk. QT, do I assume it isn't DRD? <Sounds reasonable to me.> Thanks for all your wonderful assistance! <Happy to help!> <Cheers, Neale.>


Dwarf Gourami, Spawning, and Disease - 10/06/2007
Hi, I have a pair of dwarf gouramis in a 260L tank which has been set up for about 3 months with no problems. About 2 weeks ago the pair had a failed breeding attempt (all the eggs got eaten) and since then the male has not eaten, he hides in the top corner of the tank, hardly moving and his feelers have started to disintegrate, they are now only about a third of their original length. Advice would be greatly appreciated as I am going on holiday next week and wondering whether his illness could be treated before then or if it likely to spread to other tank inhabitants: pearl gouramis Columbian tetras, clown loaches, rainbow fish, algae eaters, silver sharks. Thanks Gayle
<Gayle, while it is possible that your gourami has Finrot (in which case treat for Finrot using some appropriate medication such as Mardel Maracyn or eSHa 2000), the odds are 9 to 10 that your fish has Dwarf Gourami Disease (DGD). This starts off with lethargy and shyness, then loss of appetite, then blisters or sores on the body, and then death. There is no cure, and the best you can do is isolate the fish, provide optimal water conditions, and hope for the best. If the fish doesn't improve, then painlessly destroy it. DGD is apparently caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not help. DGD is practically ubiquitous in shipments of Dwarf Gouramis from Southeast Asia. One scientific study found almost 1 in 4 Dwarf Gouramis were infected with it. It is also EXTREMELY contagious, and as soon as one fish dies, the disease WILL spread, so that the entire batch of fish will be infected. For this reason, I personally recommend people NEVER buy Dwarf Gouramis from anywhere other than a local breeder. Truly, it just isn't worth it. If you want to keep a small gourami, skip Dwarf Gouramis (and their hybrids and variants, such as neon, robin, and sunset gouramis). Instead go for Colisa labiosus and Colisa fasciata (Thick-lipped Gourami and Banded Gourami respectively). These fish are similar but not affected by the disease. Your female gourami is, more than likely, infected and so doomed unless you separate the fish immediately and are extremely lucky. But the other fishes (including the pearl gouramis) should be fine. There's no sign that DGD spreads to fishes other than Dwarf Gouramis. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Neale>

Sick male Gourami & egg laden females 06/11/07
Hello Crew,
I was hoping you can help me with my blue dwarf gouramis. We have a 180 litre community tank (not sure what it is in gallons sorry) and we had three male gouramis which were fighting, we removed two (took them back to the pet shop to find better homes we hope!) and got two females for the remaining male to make him happier or so we thought it would.
<Litres are fine with me!>
There are 10 tetras, 2 clown loaches, 2 catfish, and the three gouramis.
<All fine for now. Clown loaches, long term, will need a bigger tank but you have a few years to worry about that. Obviously "catfish" covers a lot of ground from 2 cm dwarf Corydoras to 3 metre Pangasiodon gigas, so whether your tank is the right size does rather depend on the species!>
We have recently had bacterial problems in the clown loaches and one catfish had red streaks which we treated with half doses of promenthysul and fungus-ade and cured them.
<Clown loaches are sensitive fish. Do be extremely careful using medications with them: they are notoriously sensitive. Ideally, don't use them at all, and instead do things like saltwater dips to treat external parasite infections, and quarantine new stock before adding them to the community.>
however, the male Gourami now has lumps with scales missing and red around his eyes. One of the lumps now looks like its growing sort of like the cotton wool type disease, so I'm assuming its a fungal disease. I was told it may be Costia by the pet store.
<It may be fungus or Costia, or even Finrot. I have no idea how your pet store can ID the disease without seeing the fish. Anyway, 99.99% certain that the infection you can see is secondary to lump/blistering that was caused by "Dwarf Gourami Disease". This disease is practically ubiquitous among dwarf gouramis shipped from Southeast Asia and perhaps elsewhere. Some reports link it to a virus. It is untreatable and HIGHLY contagious. Infected fish should be removed and destroyed at once. Assume that the aquarium is infected with the virus or bacteria involved, and do not add any more dwarf gouramis (or dwarf Gourami hybrids).>
I was treating him inside the community tank but the females look as though they are full of eggs and I'm not sure what to do as they have only been in there a couple of weeks, and the male has not built a nest presumably because he is sick.
<The male is dying, and the females sound as if they have the early stages, which resemble bloating or dropsy. Look for the other tell-tale signs: lack of appetite and lethargy, often the infected fishes hide away or behave in a manner other than normal.>
Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated.
<Advice? Don't buy dwarf gouramis except from a local breeder. Period. End of discussion. I refuse to recommend them in the UK simply because of this, and consider them "junk fish" -- you buy them, and they die within a few months, so why bother? Until people stop buying them, retailers will keep bringing them in, and fish farmers won't attempt to maintain/breed higher quality stocks. If you want some nice alternatives, look at Colisa labiosus and Colisa fasciata; similar in looks but infinitely more robust.>
Thanks very much, Leigh
<Hope this helps, Neale>
Re: Sick male Gourami & egg laden females  6/12/07

Hi Neale,
<Hello Leigh,>
Thanks for your fast reply, Yep it looks like the females must have something too as they have very long poo and bloat which one of our earlier gouramis developed and died from. My dear partner Andrew euthanised him sadly which was hard to do.
<Too bad.>
Should we add Epsom salts and try to save the females?
<Won't make the least difference. Epsom salts are primarily used to fix constipation and act as a muscle relaxant. While that may be valuable if the only medical problem is poor diet, when a fish has a systemic bacterial or viral infection, as here, the Epsom salts will do little of any value.>
The catfish are peppered catfish.
<Ah, my favourites! First and only catfish I ever bred. Lovely beasts.>
I woke up this morning to find a plant on top of the water, I don't know if this is an attempt at a bubble nest?
<Unlikely if the male is actually sick. A Bubblenest is usually obvious because it looks like, well, a mound of bubbles.>
Also how would you recommend to treat the tank assuming the tank is infected.
<You can't, sadly. As of 2007, there's no reliable or even halfway effective cure for Dwarf Gourami Disease. This is one of those things where the market has to change, such that people stop buying these fishes forcing the fish farmers to produce healthier stock. In the meantime, try and provide optimal water conditions and diet for you remaining gouramis and hope for the best. If you're sensible, you will remove the sick fish at once and hope that the remaining gourami(s) are uninfected. That's really all you can do.>
Thanks again Leigh
<Cheers, Neale>

Dwarf Gourami fins turning black - 02/09/2007
Love your site.  I have 2 pair of dwarf gouramis in a 37 gal tank.  Two of them (one male, one female) have fins that are turning black. They are not torn or frayed, just "ink stained".  This is not normal, but I don't know what to treat for. Any suggestions? Thank you, Nalo Meli
<Mmm... likely nothing amiss here... particularly if your other livestock appear fine... This is likely a behavioral change, expression... the two may well be engaged in a bit of breeding... Bob Fenner>

A Sick Red Gourami
Bob - hope you can provide some insight. I'll make this short. Two days ago, my Red Gourami came out from behind of his hiding plant (which was unusual.) In looking closely at him, I noticed a dark gray area behind each gill. This, obviously, was not normal and I had no idea what it was. The only thing I put in the tank (10 gal.) to assist him was a recommended dose of "Melafix" that I purchased at the pet store. The only other foreign matter I had put in the tank was about a week ago when I added some Epsom Salts to a small breeding tank that had a constipated Guppy in it. (The Guppy didn't make it.)  Unfortunately, neither did my Gouramis. I had intended to totally change the water this morning, but when I arose, the Gourami had died. I'm just trying to figure out what possibly the gray areas could have been and what I should have done. I'd had the Gourami for about 6 months and he'd been very healthy.  Between the time I noticed the gray around the gills and it's dying was very quick. - 2 days. Appreciate any insight. Riley 
<Likely the damage about the gills was environmental in origin... perhaps the treatments you added had something to do with this... maybe not... Many imported Gouramis (and livebearers for that matter) from the Far East suffer such mortalities... mysteriously. The best one can do is to keep systems optimized, stable and offer good foods. Bob Fenner>

Flame Gourami Help!
My very 1st fish (purchased in May) was a Flame Gourami who lived happily until I got a 2nd Gourami (a Blue one). They lived together for about 2 months but the Blue Gourami was too aggressive and nipped at the fins of the Flame. Fearing this would be too stressful I have recently moved the Blue into another tank. This 10 gallon tank also contains 3 Tetras,  3 small Ghost Catfish, and now 2 new Black Mollies. The Flame Gourami appeared to be getting stressed from the other Gourami and began hiding and evading most of his day. Now ever though the Blue Gourami was removed, the Flame Gourami continues to spend most of his day hiding and rather than coming to the surface at feeding time as he used to, now "runs" and hides as fast as he can when I approach the tank, sometimes running into the side of the tank in his hurry to get away. Yesterday I found this Gourami laying on his side, seemingly gasping for air and I assumed he was dying. However he has moved around but now he is swimming around, but in odd ways, as if he is disoriented. He seems unable to stay right side up and even swims in corkscrews patterns to get around the tank. Looking at all your information about fish disease the only thing I can attribute this to is stress but other than staying away from the tank as much as possible so as not to care him, I do not know what else to do. He has no growths on his body nor are there any oddities about his general shape/appearance. He has some fins nips on his tail fin, which were from the other Gourami, but they have never affected his swimming before. His other fins appear fine. The blue stripe on his dorsal fin varies in brightness from day to day--but always has. The Ph level to the tank was a little acidic so I have fixed that and I increased the output to the filter to increase airflow into the water. None of the other fish appear to be bothered if it were a general tank condition issue. How can I de-stress my fish before it is too late or is there another explanation?
<The stress may have weakened you fish and caused an internal bacterial infection. Do a 30% water change and clean the filter. I would treat with Metronidazole and leave the light off for most of the day unless you have live plants.-Chuck>
Thanks for any help you can provide. KMR

- Sara Injured Dwarf Gourami Hello. I have an injured Dwarf Gouramis. He was being attacked behind his eyes by a Platy.
It looks as if its scales are gone and there are sores on both sides. I have it in a 10 gal. tank with a male Betta (with no problems. my Betta is mellow), 2 platies, 3 white clouds, 2 albino Corys, an angel fish, and a rams horn snail. My water is perfect condition. I took the aggressive platy out of the tank and have him in a bowl for the time being. The Gourami has been hanging out in the corner of the tank by the heater. Will he heal eventually heal and grow his scales back?
<Likely so>
I have started treating the tank with MelaFix. Will this help?
<Probably more than hurt>
Plus the angel has been hanging out on the bottom lately. Any Ideas what could help?
<Time going by. BTW, the plural of Gourami is gouramis, platy is platies. Bob Fenner>
Blue Dwarf Gourami with Swollen eye Hi WWM, I am fairly new to keeping tropical fish, so apologies if this is a dumb question. This morning when I checked on my fish I noticed that one of the Dwarf Gouramis (affectionately named Bleu) has a very swollen left eye (it's actually like it's been mounted on a washer and stuck to the side of his head). He definitely WASN'T like it yesterday.
< Probably a case of pop eye has started. Anaerobic bacteria has begun to grow behind the eye ball and the pressure that the bacteria have generated has begun to push the eye out of the socket. Treat with Metronidazole in a separate hospital tank.>
He doesn't appear to be in any distress, although he is slightly isolating himself from the other fish. He came out for food this morning and ate as normal. He's quite shy anyway, and sometimes gets chased by one of the other gouramis (Altogether we have 1 Indian Gourami, 2 dwarf Gourami, 1 golden Gourami, 2 leopard Plecos, 3 golden algae eaters, 10 assorted tetras and three zebra danios) but much less so than when they were all initially introduced to the tank. We have had a few problems with the tank since building it up. We did have two angels (with 3 zebras, 1 Pleco, 1 Gourami and 5 neon tetras) both of which died 10 days after joining the tank (one of which was never found - assumed eaten). More recently we bought a Betta that was very beautiful but incredibly shy. After his first night in the tank I found him lying in the shadow of a rock. Worried that he was trapped, I put my hand gently against the glass to see if he would react, and he swam away. He spent a lot of time hiding behind the thermometer stuck on the side of the tank. That evening I was looking for him everywhere, and after a 40 minute search discovered him UNDER an ornament. There was a small gap in the volcanic rock/gravel and I just assumed that he was ok. The next morning I woke to find him in shreds. Half his scales were missing and his tail was non-existent. I immediately isolated him (in a vase - after reading an FAQ here) with new water. He died within an hour. My girlfriend decided that perhaps he was unwell prior to joining the tank, and so we took the plunge and bought another Betta. This one was entirely different, chasing the other fish around and flaring at them. Two days later, he too became reclusive, hiding behind the thermometer. This time I isolated him as soon as I saw the warning signs. He had lost a few scales but nothing as severe as the first one. He died within a couple of hours of isolation.
< Bettas don't to too well in many community tank situations. Other fish that are faster continuously pick on the long flowing fins of the male Betta. Soon they have him herded into a corner and he doesn't come out to eat any more and the other fish become more bold and go after him.>
A few weeks ago we bought 3 dwarf gouramis and an Indian Gourami. After what appeared to be a fairly harmonious start to their life in the tank, overnight one of the dwarf gouramis developed a fairly serious case of fin rot and loss of colour/scales. Not trusting my own ability to save him, I transported him carefully back to the shop for treatment. He died later that day. I immediately removed the carbon from the filter and put some anti-fungal treatment in the water. 8 days on from this and now the other dwarf Gourami has this swollen eye. I have changed 25% of the water every ten days for the last 5 weeks (due to the water going brown after the introduction of a log to the tank - which has since been removed). A couple of weeks ago I added some Filter Aid, after replanting some foliage and clouding the water. I have had the water tested every week by the shop, and all of the levels are normal. The only other significant factor is that the first Pleco we introduced (affectionately known as Limpet) has not only grown very quickly, but is leaving long strings of waste everywhere. They dissolve fairly quickly, but we have now introduced another Pleco and 3 Algae eaters, as we assumed that he has too much food to eat. We used to drop a sinking tablet in once a day, but have stopped using them altogether.
< Find out what "Fine" means and what they are testing for. They should be testing for ammonia and nitrite (levels should be zero). And the nitrates should be under 25 ppm. Thing about how often you change the filter and try vacuuming the gravel next time you n\do a water change . You Pleco is probably one of the larger species that will take awhile to grow. The long stringy fecal matter is normal for and algae eating fish.>
Am I a complete muppet?
< NO just a beginner trying to figure out the art and science of keeping a freshwater aquarium. You are the exact reason that WWM exists. We try to keep new aquarists in the hobby one email at a time. Most of the crew has been in you same situation at one time or another. The best thing you can do is keep a log book on what you are doing and what fish you bought. Get a quarantine tank set up and going so you won't be introducing any new diseases into your tank once it is set and running right. You could get a book for quick references. The Barron's book series are very good books for the money and are a good place to start. Go to Marineland.com and look under Dr. Tim's library for info on filtration and water chemistry. These little things will help you understand why some things work and why some don't.-Chuck>
Regards, Danny James Tumor in Gourami I have a male neon blue Gourami (Colisa lalia) sharing a 5 US gallon hex tank with 8 neon tetras and 2 albino Corys.
<Maybe a little overstocked for a 5 gallon, but not bad>
The tank has been stocked for 8 days, after fishless cycling, although I had the Gourami in quarantine for a couple of weeks prior to that.
<Wow, a fishless cycle and QT! Your fish and I thank you.>
Water parameters are fine, pH 7.6, ammonia 0, nitrIte 0, nitrAte 20.
<Yep, All good>
The other fish are all healthy. I usually feed OSI Staple Granules (floating/sinking), with occasional flake food, frozen brine shrimp, freeze dried bloodworm, and, 2 days ago, cooked crushed de-shelled peas and carrot.
<A good varied diet. Outstanding! But I do wonder who is eating the vegetables. Corys and tetras are more carnivorous. The Gourami may take them. Be careful not to over feed.>
For the last 2 - 3 days, the Gourami, Ginger,
<A boy named 'Ginger'?>
has been very quiet and not eating. His belly seemed a bit swollen and I suspected constipation or just overeating. However, the swelling is now larger and markedly asymmetrical, mostly on his right side, behind and slightly below his right pectoral fin.  Otherwise, his colour is normal, no sign of fungus, parasites, cloudy skin or eyes or raised scales.  He's just hanging around near the top of the tank looking uncomfortable. Could it be constipation, or intestinal blockage, internal parasites, internal infection or even a tumour? Please, any suggestions on what the problem could be and anything I can do about it? It's all happened in the last couple of days.  Thanks heaps!
<Hi Vicki, Don here. It could be any of the things you mention, but the fact it is asymmetrical points towards a tumor. If so there is really nothing you can do for him. I would put him back in the QT and try a Metronidazole based med for internal parasites and cross my fingers. Good luck>    Vicki PS Queensland, Australia
Re: Tumor in Gourami

Hi again Don Thank you so much for replying so promptly.
<My pleasure>
It's just getting-up time here, and unfortunately I just found my Gourami Ginger dead.
<Sorry to hear>
I examined his internal organs (not fun, but I thought I owed it to him) and found what looked like a blood clot in his digestive tract. It was hard to tell, but I couldn't see any other signs of inflammation, white spots or whatever. His digestive tract was empty, so not constipation I guess. My concern now is whether an infection of some kind could have caused bleeding in his stomach.
<Maybe, could also have been an old blockage/damage or infection>
Is it best to just adopt a watch and wait approach with the rest of the tank?
I should mention that fish meds in Australia are fairly restricted for over-the-counter sales -- tri-sulfa and tetracycline seem to be the only ones easily obtainable, and I haven't seen medicated fish food at all. Thanks again for your help, and for the great web site. Vicki PS
<Yes, I would just watch for any other problems. Please resist the urge to replace him. Frankly, I think he was a problem in the 5 gallon. Add another Cory if anything. Watch your nitrates and do water changes to keep them below 20ppm. Good luck and welcome to the hobby. BTW have you joined us in the forum yet? If not, please do. I'm "Fish Soup" in the forum. Hope to see you there. Don>

Lethargic Dwarf Gourami
I browsed through some of your FAQ and couldn't seem to find the specific problem I'm having. One of my dwarf gouramis (which we've had for around 6 mo.s and has always seemed quite healthy until recently) has begun to stay on the bottom of the tank or will wedge itself in a plant and lay there. It also doesn't seem to be eating. None of the other fish are showing symptoms of any illness. Its colour seems a bit dulled; however, I don't see any film/parasites/fungus on the fish. Any advice? It looks like it's dying and I don't know what to do.
<<Hello. You will need to test your water, and let me know the results of the following: ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. You can get your water tested at most respectable tropical fish stores. Once we have established this, I can help you further with troubleshooting your problem, 90% of fish related illnesses are directly related to water quality issues. If you cannot get your water tested immediately, at least do a partial water change to help the fish until you can test it. In the meantime you may also add a bit of salt to the tank, aquarium salt is also found at your local fish store, add one teaspoon per gallon, gradually. Keep the salt in the tank for a few weeks. If you do water changes, the salt can be re-added to the new water. i.e. if you remove 5 gallons of water, replace it with 5 gallons of new water with 5 teaspoons of salt. Any top-off water (due to evaporation) should be freshwater only. Please let me know your test results as soon as you can. Thanks -Gwen>>

Unhealthy Gourami? (06/29/03)
<Hi! Ananda here tonight...>
Hi! I was just wondering if it is unhealthy that my blue dwarf gourami's poop is long and stringy (by long I mean about 4 times his length sometimes)? Weird question, I know.
<Not at all a weird question -- a sign that you're paying attention to your fish! It could indeed be a symptom of a problem. It might be some sort of intestinal parasite, especially if the feces are a whitish color (they should always be darkish).>
Also, if it IS unhealthy, what can I do about it?
<I tend to use Metronidazole for this purpose. You might also try Pepso food. I've heard Disco-med also works for this.>
I feed him flakes and he seems to be healthy otherwise.
<Do give him a bit of variety in his diet -- at least use a couple of different types of flake. An occasional treat of frozen food or freeze-dried "treats" won't hurt, either.>
Thanks for your help! Kelly
<You're quite welcome. --Ananda>

Gourami Problems
Hi. Two days ago I got four male neon blue dwarf Gouramis and put them in a 10g. tank by themselves and I have a few concerns. first of all, they are all males, will that pose a problem?
<they may fight... if it becomes a problem you will need to separate them>
second, 2-3 of them seem to not be eating,
<maybe they are stressed? did you check the water quality... were they eating when you purchased them?>
and the one that does eat doesn't seem to eat very much,
<some is better than nothing at all>
I feed them TetraMin flakes, but they just sit there hiding or on the bottom, should I just change the food or what?
<check the water quality>
and also, one of them seems mentally challenged. I've noticed him shaking, darting around the tank and running into things and that sort of behavior. what is the problem and how can I cure it?
<you can't they just have to adapt to their new living conditions>
I've been having a little trouble with my water heater so the temp has changed some, could this be a problem?<possibly>
please hurry back to me I am very concerned.
<just keep a close eye on the fish and check the water quality... and read more on WWM about these particular species of fish and acceptable ranges of water quality, good luck, IanB>
thank you, Drew

Neon Dwarf Gourami
Help My male Neon Dwarf Gourami seems sick. I have had him for maybe five weeks now he did fine and was really hardy ( I cycled my tank with him, my two female Gouramis, and a red tailed shark) but now he is just hanging out in the corner by my heater (the temp is fine its at 79 degrees) and doesn't get excited like he used to at feeding time (used to take Tubifex worms from my hand... also feed flake). Now he looks really skinny but his colors aren't fading or anything so I'm assuming he's not totally given up eating. What could be the matter with my fish? any ideas? Could it be my other fish I have 2 2.5' female gourami's, 2' red tail shark, a 4.5' Black Ghost Knife, 2 1.5' clown loaches (which I'm treating for ich... but none of the other fish have the white spots that would suggest ich), and a 6' Zig Zag eel.
<Ah ha! Either the medication (they're toxic to a degree to fishes) and/or a latent infestation of ich (the white spots are visible only in advanced cases... a reaction, mucus to irritation by the ich organism) is likely the root cause/s here. Please consult with the fine folks on our Chatforum as to how you might proceed: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ For me, I'd go with elevating the temperature of your system and leave off with any "medication" to treat your system. Bob Fenner>
Thanks for your help, Kevin

Gouramis with multi symptoms? Colisa lalia import stock problem
Hi people,
I know you've heard this a million times before but here it goes anyway (HELP I'm a total newbie and I'm killing my fish!). Story goes like this....  After finally setting up and stabilizing a community of fish in a 100? gal tank for a couple of months (current tenants: 2 small angels, 2 neon blue gouramis, 2 tiger barbs, 5 black widow tetras, 1 sword and 1 Pleco) we decided to replace a couple of the original lost gouramis and add another Pleco to help control the algae. I had a second 'hospital tank' set up ready and waiting to QT these guys as recommended. Two days after QTing them, the water became pretty cloudy (whitish) and I admit that I panicked and put the gouramis into the general population. By morning the smallest of the two new ones had developed a red underbelly, approx. half the length of the belly and it extended upwards about 1/4th of the total depth of the body in a very elongated oval shape, and the discoloration extended into the lower fins. Not only just streaked but the color seemed to fully saturate the appendages. I assume (after doing some quick research) that this was some sort of hematoma or septicemia of some description. The other symptom exhibited was the rocking back and forth described as 'Gourami disease'. I transferred him late afternoon into my newly cleaned out hospital tank filled 2/3rds full of water from the big tank and 1/3 of dechlorinated water that I doctored with all that was available to me at the time "Tetra General Tonic". Well, I wasn't successful as by late that night he was found floating nose up but the top of his head was blackened. The 2nd new Gourami so far is fine, but day 3 one of the 'old' gouramis is showing the same red underbelly and has been transferred into the hospital tank (I'll know more when I get home from work - am hoping NOT to see that rocking motion or him nose up!!). I've been desperately searching for medications I can buy online as much of what is discussed on these forums aren't available in the middle east (where I am living currently). I've only found one water test for ammonia and one for ph which I've not had a chance yet to do so I know that the big tank surviving and thriving as it has been up to this point has been probably more due to dumb luck than anything but... what happened to the Gourami has made me very aware of getting hold of the appropriate treatments for these emergencies. I don't have any of the numbers to give as I'm writing you from work. But my main question is first 'by the description does anyone know what really killed the Gourami' and second 'what would be the best meds or treatments in your opinion'. I've been sifting through as much info on your site as possible but I think the fish's time is limited and I'm feeling like I need someone with experience to tell me what's what! Thanks for any insights or suggestions you can offer! Sue
<Thank you... for your concern, and writing so well. I want to impress on you that this "type" of Gourami, very hybridized Colisa lalia... sold variously as this and that dwarf gouramis are VERY likely to die in the sort of fashion you describe. They are raised under "exacting" circumstances (in filth really) in the Far East and seasonally "break down" badly as you describe... people in the trade actually use the term "time bomb"... What am I trying to impart, state emphatically here? That by and large their loss has very little to do with anything (other than buying them) that you did or CAN do. So, first off... DON'T buy any more of this species. Now, it may seem counterintuitive, but other Gourami species are fine.... very hardy, disease-resistant by comparison. Don't know how much you'd like to hear/read re the "arrival/acclimation/curing" of Colisa lalia by importers/wholesale distributors, but I'd like to state it here for others use. There have been successful protocols of administering Furan compounds... at ten-twenty five milligrams per gallon, with half or so water changes (off line centralized systems) every three days for a good ten days... but who knows what happens to this dwarf stock afterwards? Look to other species for stocking your system. Bob Fenner>

Help! Sick Blue Dwarf Gourami
Hi there--
Recently I've had nothing but trouble with my 3 gallon Eclipse tank--
<Very hard to keep such small volumes stable>

A bumblebee goby just died on me (had some kind of mouth fungus),
<This is a brackish water species...>
and now my Neon Blue dwarf Gourami has come down with something nasty-- the past 2 days I noticed his stomach started to bulge out, with his right side bigger than the left, and he suddenly became inactive, floating head up in the top corner of the tank. When he did start swimming around, he would swim like he had a twitch, and then occasionally slap his bulging left side of his stomach against the side of the tank, making a small *thud* sound.
<Not good>
I read up on your homepage and in the Gourami FAQ it sounded like a bacterial infection, so I searched local LFS's and bought the only medicated food I could find, called Anti-Bacteria, by Jungle. I gave that to him for two days, did a 33% water change, and he seemed to get better, even pooping more constantly (although it was a bit stringy).
<Good choices of action...>
I wake up this morning to see that his stomach is still bloated, more evenly, and now he is having trouble swimming. He seems to be weighed down by his stomach, struggling to swim over things and bumping into decor as if he was an over-weighted zeppelin. I just caught him resting on the aquarium floor, almost sideways(!!), breathing heavily. Other that the stomach, he appears to have no other external symptoms.
<It's likely you read re this genus' trouble seasonally... particularly this species (Colisa lalia) "falls apart" in the warming months...>
Please help quick! I don't wanna lose another fish... Terry
<Please take another read through the Gourami FAQs files... And search for the Bumblebee Goby on WWM... you could try using Epsom Salt here, but I do not give your fish good odds. Bob Fenner>
PS tank profile, Ammonia 0ppm, PH 7.2, Alkalinity 80ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, Nitrate 30ppm (after water change) Tank inhabitants-- Gold Dojo Loach, 2 glass shrimp, 1 Amano shrimp, 1 Oto (and the Gourami)

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