Colisa lalia, C. chuna... "Dwarf" Gouramis of Many
Names, Honey, Flames, Neon Blue, Sunset, Fire...
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:
(Virus, Bacterial, Fungal),
Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives,
Genera Ctenopoma &
Dwarf Gourami Identification,
Dwarf Gourami Behavior,
Dwarf Gourami Compatibility,
Dwarf Gourami Selection,
Dwarf Gourami Systems,
Dwarf Gourami Feeding,
Dwarf Gourami Reproduction, & FAQs on:
Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting
Five Almost Perfect Fishes; Great fish for the
community aquarium, except for one little thing
by Neale Monks
Dwarf Gourami, Colisa
Friendly, colourful, and just the right size for the community
Peculiarly sensitive to bacterial infections
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.
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?
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
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
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.>
Re: Dwarf Gourami Possible Fungus - Opaline Starving?
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
The Dwarf has stopped rubbing against the wall but still has the spot
(cotton wool) however still appears healthy and strong. Should I
<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.
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
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.
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
I do a 20% water change with gravel vac every week the tank temperature
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.
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.
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
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>
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.
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
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
<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!
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
<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
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
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
Also, will my other Gourami or other fish be affected by this?
Thank you; have a good day.
<... 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
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
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
<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
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 --
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,
Red Dwarf Gourami illness?
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
<For now, observation. But if there's no sign of improvement,
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.>
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,
|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:
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,
| 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,
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:
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:
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,
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,
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
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.
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. http://22.214.171.124/FWSubWebIndex/dwfgdis.htm 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.>
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
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
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.
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
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?
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.
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>
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
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
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.
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)