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FAQs on the Blue, Three-Spot, Gold/en, Opaline, Even Albino! Gouramis, Yes, The Same Species, Trichogaster trichopterus,  Disease/Health 2

FAQs on Trichogaster Disease: T. trichopterus Disease 1, T. trichopterus Disease 3, T. trichopterus Disease 4,

FAQs on Trichogaster Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Infectious, Parasitic, Trauma, Treatments

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

Related FAQs:  Trichogaster trichopterus 1, Trichogaster trichopterus 2, T. trichopterus ID, T. trichopterus Behavior, T. trichopterus Compatibility, T. trichopterus Selection, T. trichopterus Systems, T. trichopterus Feeding, T. trichopterus Reproduction, Gouramis 1, Gouramis 2, Gourami Identification, Gourami Behavior, Gourami Compatibility, Gourami Selection, Gourami Systems, Gourami Feeding, Gourami Disease, Gourami Reproduction, Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish,

Gourami's Injury   1/23/11
Hi Crew,
Hope you received the picture. I noticed this cut which is above the fin on my Gourami a week ago. I thought it will heal by itself, but I have not seen any improvement. My tank is of 160 litres and I change the water to about 60 percent every week or so. And I also noticed the tail fin of my butterfly Koi has some blood in its veins. The temperature of the tank is always maintained to 29-30 degree Celsius. I got this bigger tank a month ago. The size of the previous tank was 80 litres. I have all these friends since the past 2.5 years. What should I do? Please help me.
I have four Indian-roofed turtles
1 butterfly Koi
2 silver dollars
1 sucker-mouth catfish
1 iridescent shark
<The injury on the Gourami is almost certainly caused by the turtles biting the Gourami. Turtles and fish MUST NOT be kept in the same aquarium. The bloody patch on the tail fin of the Koi is the early stages of Finrot, where bacterial clog up the veins in the fin membrane. Do understand your aquarium is too small for the livestock you have. Anti-Finrot medication should help both the Gourami and the Koi. Koi aren't really suitable for aquaria at all, but if you must keep them indoors, they need at least 350 litres of water. Pterygoplichthys catfish will need at least 250 litres, while Pangasius catfish are schooling fish completely unsuitable for home aquaria. Turtles need their own vivarium with dry land and a UV-B lamp for basking. Your water is rather warm. Review the needs of your livestock, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

very serious

Trichogaster trichopterus, injured Pectoral fins?   12/12/10
Hi there
Please could you answer this question for me?
My Trichogaster trichopterus just somehow got himself stuck behind the internal filter. When we saw him he was thrashing about quite a bit so we rescued him and he swam off. Now I think he has injured both of his Pectoral fins as he is just using them for a few seconds, only using one, or not using them at all. They also seem to look slightly red (like blood) at the base were they join his body, I am not sure if they looked like that before, or have I just not noticed and am being paranoid because he was stuck?
Thanks ever so much.
<Hello Gemma. It's certainly possible for injured fins to look bloody. But provided you have good water quality -- i.e., zero ammonia and nitrite -- and your Gourami isn't being harassed by its tankmates and enjoys a good diet, it should heal by itself. Keep an eye on things, and if by tomorrow he's feeding happily and looks content, there'll likely be no need to treat. HOWEVER, fish don't normally get stuck behind filters or in filter inlets. Review your aquarium. Check the filter isn't excessively powerful for the size of the tank. Make sure it is properly put together, with grilles over filter inlets. Make sure the Gourami isn't being chased by nippy or aggressive fish -- Tiger Barbs, Serpae Tetras, cichlids, etc. Three Spot Gouramis, which is what you've got, are peaceful if female, but the males are pretty nasty. Check you don't have two males or a male who's decided to harass a female. I always recommend people keep females in community settings. They're quite easy to sex, the males having much longer dorsal fins than the females. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Trichogaster trichopterus, injured Pectoral fins?   12/12/10
Thanks a lot for your advice,
<You're welcome.>
he lives with a very, very small Epalzeorhynchos frenatum
<Can be a bit bolshy, so be careful.>

and a Aplocheilus lineatus and that's it. The Shark is tiny and just minds his own near the bottom and the Gourami was getting on brilliant with the Killifish, until 2 days ago when I put some bloodworms in and they had a "fight" There was a little chasing and circling but no injuries.
<Ah yes. Aplocheilus are territorial
, and once they reach full size, about 10 cm, they can be somewhat scary community fish, well able to eat things like Neons. So while this combo should work, do make sure everyone has space. Aplocheilus will claim a 30 cm square area at the top of the tank, preferably with still water and floating plants. Gouramis want similar things, so there may be competition for space, most likely away from the filter outlet.>
They have been absolutely fine before and since and the tank is in the living room and I am watching it a lot of the time. They pass each other, stop for a while near each other and do not jump or swim away when the other is near. The filter is facing the corner which stops it from powering out and there is just a
gentle flow overall through the tank. The filter is also held in place with heavy bogwood so it can't fall or move. It is also definitely put together correctly with the grill etc. in place. I have seen the Gourami "playing" in the filter flow though, it seemed he was purposely swimming through it, Is that possible?
As I said it is wedged in the corner and there is really no need to pass into the flow which sort of goes out, hits the glass and then goes up. Thanks again
<My guess would be the Aplocheilus is making his dominance known, and until everyone accepts this, there may be a few bumps and bruises. Check the tank is big enough for all concerned, and if needs be, adjust the water flow to reduce current and then add some floating Indian Fern to create more territories at the top of the tank. That way, the Gourami and the Killie should ignore one another. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Trichogaster trichopterus, injured Pectoral fins?  12/13/10

That is all very helpful and I will get on to it straight away, I have some stuff in my other tanks which I can use to create some territories, thanks.
<Has to be at the TOP of the tank. Floating plants are pretty well the only real option. Both Gouramis and Killifish define their territories based on surface-floating vegetation, so rocks or plants at the bottom of the tank are basically worthless unless they come up to the very top of the tank.>
The tank is 80cm long so hopefully it will be ok for them both?
<Each fish will claim a 30 x 30 cm patch of area under floating plants with low to zero water current. Doesn't really matter how big the tank is, providing you have two patches about this size and in a place with floating plants and minimal current.>
The Gourami seems to be very gentle and I have not seen any aggression at all from him but the Killifish used to be housed with a Honey Gourami which he chased a lot, hence the move to a larger tank with more suitable mates.
He is 8 cm and ate 2 Threadfin rainbows, which I thought would never fit in his mouth, they can definitely fit more in there than you think!
<Yes. That's his ecological niche!>
He is the greediest fish I have ever seen. Do you know how I can adjust the flow of the filter more? It is on the lowest setting already but I wondered if there was anything else I could do to decrease it a bit?
<Try directing the current at the glass or a tall rock that leans up to the surface of the water. Alternatively, use a spray bar and angle the outlet towards the glass.>
The Gourami already looks better than earlier, thank goodness and I have been watching them and the Killie seems to have claimed the filter area as his by the look of it, so that's maybe what happened.
Thanks for your time.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Opaline Gourami - big belly  12/3/10
Hello there,
I come here a lot, as my LFS usually can't help me out. Before I get into my problem, my water levels are such: pH - 7.5, Nitrate - 10-15 (the color in the test was more towards to the 10 level though) , Nitrite - >0.1 (the color was much lighter than the 0.1 level, but it wasn't completely clear),
<Should be zip, nada, 0.0>
Ammonia - 0. I used the Nutrafin tests. My water temp is always at 78 and I do 50% water changes monthly, with the last water change three days ago. I have two Opaline Gourami's, one Gold Gourami, one Pleco Algae Eater, and 5 Dwarf Gourami's.
<And a Kisser in your pic>

I also have 2 Odessa Barbs, but am in the process of selling them. I got the one Opaline Gourami about... 4 months ago. I was weary of getting him/her because it had a small green mark on it's head. It was at the store for at least a month before I bought it. It's grown from about 2 inches to roughly 4 inches now. It eats more than my other fish. (Not sure if this matters?)
<Not really>
Over the 3 weeks, it's belly has been getting bigger. At first, I just thought it had eaten too much, but now it's belly worries me. It's gotten to the point where it looks as though (s)he is carrying eggs,
<I do think this is a female and it may be full of eggs>
which I know it isn't because (s)he would have released them within a few days. Yesterday, I brought him/her into the LFS and was given this golden piece of advice, 'I have no idea! Wait and see if it lives.' So, I called a knowledgeable FS out of town and they told that it may be gas,
<Mmm, no; else this fish would be floating>
in which case it'll last another 3 weeks. (S)he is still active, eats, acts, looks normal, expect for the belly. Have you any other ideas as to why it's belly is so large?
<Could be a dropsical condition... Of various causes. Read here:
My camera sucks at taking photos, but I found a picture that looks just like my fish.
<Oh, so this image was lifted... stolen>
I'm not sure if this will help you guys at all, but I figured a photo would be of some help. (Note: My Opaline's belly is not that... Outstanding? The Gourami in the photo has a slightly larger belly than my
own.) Thank you for all your help, Selena.
<Read on! Bob Fenner>
Re: Opaline Gourami - big belly 12/4/10

Thanks for the info Bob! Okay, so, I'm currently feeding my fish Nutrafin Max fish flakes
<Mmm, am not a fan of this mode/flake or brand. I would switch to something better... Even to a different format. My fave, Spectrum (pellets) of appropriate size>

and every 2-3 day they get left over bloodworms (the left-overs being that I give half a unfrozen cube to my puffer fish, and the other half to my other fish.)
<And Bloodworms have unfortunately been implicated in some serious issues, even frozen ones>

I don't have any tinned peas to fed my Gourami... Would unfrozen peas be okay?
<Yes, squished twixt your fingers>
Your FAQs say to use Epsom Salt, so I'll be picking some up tomorrow. Is there a particular type of Epsom Salt I should use?
<No. All are MgSO4, Magnesium Sulfate>
I do have regular Aquarium Salt, but in the FAQs, Neale told someone with that it might make it worse, and I'm guessing that the same applies in my case. If it means anything, I have Marine Salt? The rest of my fish are fine, all are looking good and acting normal. The Opaline's scales aren't sticking out and she doesn't float or lay at the bottom of the tank either.
Hmm, I just did a 50% water change 5 days ago, but since my Nitrite was at 10-15, should I do a 25% change? Thank again, Selena.
<Skip on the bloodworms, get a better dried/prepared food and all will likely be fine here. BobF>

Gourami Eye Problem 10/31/2010
Hi Crew.
<Hello Nalin,>
From one or two weeks I have noticed a problem with one of my three spot gourami. Its Eye has become swollen and somewhat opaque. It is not able to see clearly with this eye. The picture in which its face on the right side is of the blurred eye and the picture in which its image is on the left side is of the normal eye.
<Yes, I can see the problem.>
My aquarium is of 80 litres and has the following creatures:
4 Indian Roofed Turtles
<Kachuga tecta, relatively slow growing, but gets to 8-10 cm within three years, so still needs 200+ litres.>

2 Silver Dollars
<10-12 cm is typical; 250 litres, minimum for these.>
2 Three-Spot Gourami
1 Iridescent Shark
<75 cm long when mature, and they get that size within a couple of years; 500+ litres.>
1 Suckermouth Catfish
<45 cm within two years; 250 litres.>
1 blood-red parrot
<20 cm; 200 litres.>
1 Butterfly Koi Carp
<60 cm; 500+ litres, though they do badly in aquaria and should be kept outdoors.>
I know that they are a lot but I have not faced any problems since the past 2 years.
<And now things are going wrong. You have too many fish in a small aquarium. Turtles and fish don't mix.>
I change the water every 3-4 days about 50% or more. I am in India so here I do not get water testing kits for either ammonia or nitrogen. I first discovered this problem when I was observing them. So I treated the water with some anti-biotic in order to avoid any infection.
<Adding random antibiotics is pointless. Get a nitrite test kit. If you can get antibiotics, surely you can get a nitrite test kit. Much, MUCH more useful.>
I also poured a few drops of general -aid medicine. I waited for two weeks but have not seen any improvement since then.
<Indeed not. And you won't see any improvement.>
SO I thought it would be better to consult you. I have installed an internal sedimentary filter that has a turn-over of 600 litres an hour. And the water remains constant at 30 degree Celsius.
<25 C would be better.>
The gravel is one and a half inches thick and has stones of medium size.]
<For an undergravel filter to work, the gravel depth needs to be 8-10 cm.>
I feed the fishes with freeze-dried shrimp and Tubifex worms and also small pellets. The turtles eat the turtle food and once in a while cabbage leaves. Thank you in advance.
<Your problems are entirely created by adding too many fish. Get rid of everything except the Gouramis. Treat the Gouramis with magnesium sulphate (Epsom salt) at a dose of around 0.5 to 1 teaspoon per 20 litres. Once the Gouramis are healthy again, stock the aquarium sensibly as per 75 litres/20 gallons, described here:
Cheers, Neale.>


Gourami deaths   10/6/10
Hello there,
<Hello Selena,>
I have some questions for you regarding my gouramis.
I've been having trouble with them ever since I bought a Opaline Gourami from my LFS about 2 months ago. I have a 55 gallon freshwater tank, with a Tetra Whisper EX70 filter, and an air pump with two valves. (And a heater of course.) I've got it decorated with 1 large stick on plant, 1 large buried plant, 4 medium plants, a skull and 2 halves of a large boat. I change the decor every once 2-4 months. My water hardness is fairly high due the water in my area, but my Nitrite and Nitrates are generally 2-0. (2 being right after water changes.)
<I don't understand this. Nitrite and nitrate are different things. Nitrite should be zero. Anything above zero is stressful, and above 1.0 mg/l nitrite will quickly kill your fish. Nitrate isn't a big deal in most
freshwater tanks, but levels 20 mg/l or less are ideal.>
I treat with Prime every water change to keep the levels low.
<Then you misunderstand what Prime does. This is a water conditioner. It is ONLY about making tap water safe to use. Once the water is in your aquarium the Prime does NOTHING of any use. It doesn't reduce the ammonia produced by your fish. Think of it like toweling your hair dry after you have a shower. Does that stop your hair getting wet if you then step out into the rain? Of course not. Prime is a one-shot deal for conditioning tap water before use.>
I started off 1 4 1/2 inch Opaline Gourami, 1 3 inch sucker fish
<What is this? Some "Sucker Fish" are dangerous, notably Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, a highly aggressive species with little interest in algae once mature.>
and 5 goldfish which I passed onto a friend shortly after buying my 55 gallon tank. I than bought 2 Gold Gouramis, which have grown to 3-4 inches and 3 Odessa Barbs. A couple weeks later, I bought another Opaline Gourami and 3 Sunset Gourami's.
<These latter are Colisa lalia varieties, a species notorious for its tendency to get sick and die.>
This is where my problems start. Not even 24 hours later, my Opaline Gourami is dead. I'm horrified; his eye is missing.
<Likely died from some unknown thing, and the eye was eaten afterwards.>
I bring him to the pet store and am given a refund, but no explanation. So I go off to Wal-Mart and buy some parasite clear (the Jungle Tank Buddies brand,) and drop some in. I add some salt as well to help the fish heal.
<Okay, here's where the wheels come off the wagon. Don't EVER add medications OR salt without understanding why. Imagine you got sick, and before the doctor even looked at you he handed over a bottle of pills.
Could be anything! Would antacids heal a broken leg? Would painkillers fend off a TB infection? Whether you're treating man or fish, the rule is simple: diagnose the problem, and then treat as required. Most medications are poisons, so when used for the wrong reason are more likely to cause harm than good. Plus, salt stresses freshwater fish, and should only be used strictly as necessary.>
The next day, one of the Sunset Gourami's is dead as well.
<Oh dear.>
I go to the LFS again, and demand to know what is happening. I've never had any sick fish before, let alone any that get a bubble over their eye and than die within 24 hours.
<Do you mean Pop-eye? Exophthalmia? Typically caused by physical damage and/or poor environmental conditions.>
The LFS employees have no idea what is wrong and tell me to buy some fungus clear (Pimafix Antifungal) in hopes that it'll work.
<Not particularly useful advice, but hey, he made a sale.>
A few days pass, and oh, what do ya know, another begins to show signs of being sick.
<I'm fairly sure there's an environmental problem here. When one fish dies, that can be bad luck. But when one fish dies after another, and this goes on for weeks, then it's much more likely you're doing something wrong in terms of fishkeeping.>
White stringy poo, lack of appetite and laying on the bottom of my tank. I continue with the treatment for the remaining two days, the sick Odessa barb is still holding on. I than do a 50% water change as I needed to do a 25% and it was getting close to my monthly water change anyway. He's still not doing any better, so I go to the LFS again. FINALLY I am told 'Oh, that sounds like Pop-eye.' -Gee... Why couldn't they have told me earlier?- I am told to now try Melafix Antibacterial.
<Notoriously unreliable medication.>
The poor barb holds on for another two days before passing on. After the Melafix week of treatment is done, I do another water change. None of the other fish have died, but all still have the stringy poop. I'm told not to think to much of it from the LFS; a may just be result of the meds.
<Indeed. You're adding so much stuff without having the first clue why, that the chances of an abreaction to the medications is very high. To quote from Simon & Garfunkel, "Slow down you move to fast". It's really, REALLY important to understand what you're doing each time you're dealing with sickness, whether your own or your pets.>
Everything is going fine for good week and a half before my sucker fish dies. I'm don't get too concerned about it, seeing as how he was the one to eat the waste of the sick fish.
<What? Sucker Fish should not be eating fish wastes. If they are, they're starving, and in any case, it's not their job to clean up the tank. I'm now increasingly certain that you're creating these problems yourself.>
I buy another sucker fish the next day.
<Oh dear. Why are you buying new fish when you can't keep your existing ones alive?>
After waiting another week, only a two of my fish have the long poo, so I decide it's safe to buy new fish.
<Er, no.>
I buy another barb, my remaining two were fighting too much over dominance.
All is well after another 2-3 weeks, so I buy 2 Dwarf Gourami's and another Opaline. (This was just last week.) None of my fish show any sign of being sick.
<So far.>
The other day, my pump lost it's tube in the water. (It happened at night, so I replace it in the morning.) No deaths via pump, but my Gold Gourami must have gotten his tail too close, as it's shredded. (Like paper when you tear stripes but the page is still intact.) I put Prime in the water after his tail was shredded for his stress coat, but I thought he would heal okay.
<Prime has nothing to do with this.>
Today, he passed away too.
<Quelle surprise.>
Is there something still in my water from the fish sickness before hand?
<No, the fault is almost certain at *your* hand. You're not keeping this fish very well.>
I ask this because though he showed no signs of being sick, his eyes were sunken in. I'm doing a water change tomorrow since he died, is there anything else I should do? My other fish seem fine. Any advice or help on my previous problem and my most recent one is greatly appreciated.
<Time to sit down, read some stuff about keeping fish, and reflect on what you have and haven't been doing. Here are some good articles that I think you'd benefit from reading:
Thank you very much, Selena.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Gourami deaths  10/8/10

Hey Neale, Just following up the previous message. Sorry, by 'sucker fish', I meant Pleco Algae Eater.
<Fair enough. Unfortunately, even this kind of catfish is a very messy, very large fish. I wouldn't recommend them, even for 55 gallon tanks. You would be much better off with a Bristlenose Catfish, Ancistrus sp., a species that gets to about 12 cm/5 inches long, and is a much MUCH better algae-eater than a Plec.>
I know I shouldn't have bought another Algae Eater after my last one died, but like I said, it was about 2 weeks without any fish getting sick.
<Well, you and I both seem to know this wasn't a great idea.>
My Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate levels are almost always 0, but there was a time when they were higher than normal (according to LFS staff after sampling my water following the second fish's death. I went with '2-0' in my last message because the test strips were slightly above normal, but every time before and after the higher reading, my levels were always spot-on.)
<I see. In any case, unless you're consistently getting zero ammonia and zero nitrite, your aquarium has water quality problems. Until and unless you have perfect water quality -- i.e., zero ammonia and zero nitrite, week after week -- don't add a darn thing to your community tank roster.>
I know salt isn't good for freshwater fish, but I was told it is okay to use if your fish are sick as it helps them heal. Is this wrong?
<The thing with salt is that it fixes specific problems, but it has no affect on others. Often people add salt thinking it's a cure, but in fact it does nothing at all, and even if it doesn't stress the fish in question, the lack of real medication means the fish continues to get sick. There are situations where salt is useful, but you have to know what they are. It's a bit like antibiotics, which are good for bacterial infections but have no
effect on viral ones, so taking antibiotics when you have a cold or flu won't do anything at all. Indeed, as medical science now clearly understands to its horror, overuse of antibiotics has actually created some
mammoth problems for our children and grandchildren to deal with. Read here to learn about when to use salt:
If so, I won't use any again. I only used the meds that I was told to use the LFS; but again, I won't do it again and will do research if there is a next time.
<Again, any particular medication is useful only for treating specific things,
I've never had problems before; none of my fish have been sick or have died before until I got that Opaline from the store. I probably should have added that their fish were sick later as well (with the Pop-Eye,) but than again, I should have bought a small tank to quarantine the new fish to begin with.
<Certainly a quarantine tank is helpful. But even without one, you can avoid problems by waiting a while between adding new fish. A good quarantine period is 6 weeks, so why not leave at least 6 weeks between each new fish? That'd help you know if the fish you've added to your community was healthy, and after six weeks, most problems should have become apparent.>
I have learned my lesson there, big time, and now have an extra 5 gallon tank.
<Of course, de bear in mind that the quarantine tank needs to have good environmental conditions. If the fish are stressed in the quarantine tank, they'll get sick anyway, which sort of defeats the object of the exercise. Five gallons is fine for quarantining a few Neons, but I wouldn't stick a Plec in there!>
I use Prime every water change since the bottle tells me it removes Chlorine, Chloramine and Ammonia as well as detoxifies Nitrite and Nitrate, along with providing Slime coats. Is this another phony?
<Not phony, but referring only to ammonia, nitrite and nitrate IN YOUR TAP WATER. If we could add stuff to the AQUARIUM that removed ammonia, nitrite and nitrate -- why would we bother with filters?>
What does Prime truly do?
<It makes tap water safe to use. That's it. Nothing more.>
I see now, after reading the links you gave me that Melafix and Pimafix are pretty much useless.
<Useless is perhaps too strong a word, but their range of functions is limited. I'm sure you have at home antiseptic ointment you'd use if you cut yourself. But you'd be alarmed if a surgeon wanted to treat gangrene with antiseptic! These things have their place, and Melafix would be fine as a preventative if your fish got damaged perhaps by fighting, and you wanted to make sure its nipped fins didn't become infected with Finrot or Fungus.
But once you actually see symptoms of Finrot or Fungus, it's time to skip Melafix and go with the heavy-hitting medications, in just the same way a surgeon uses different medications to the ones you keep in the bathroom cabinet.>
I have to admit, I sometimes wonder if the staff at my LFS are retarded; they give me the most ridiculous information sometimes, not to mention how often their fish are sick.
<Like anything in retail, fish shops vary wildly. Some are excellent, and provide superb advice. Often these are the ones where the owner of the shop is a keen fishkeeper himself or herself, and when he says X works for treating Y, it's because he or she has used it for that. But others are staffed by people who really don't know much about fish, and while they may receive some training and have some access to literature, you can't really expect them to be experts. I'm sure you can think of grocery stores where
some have a guy on the meat counter who really knows his stuff and can recommend great cuts and appropriate cooking styles, and then there are others where the guy doesn't know anything beyond what's on special offer.
The bottom line is that you should certainly talk with your retailer, but calibrate what they say against what you read in books, and then weight their advice accordingly.>
Reflecting on that thought, I probably shouldn't have taken their advice when my fish were sick so eagerly... I knew I must have been doing something wrong after the second death, but I had no idea how wrong I really was. Eech. Thanks again for the help, the links were quite enlightening! Selena.
<Glad to help. Feel free to write back if you need more information, but you might also want to mosey on down to the WWM Bulletin Board where you can spend some time chatting with other aquarists. Often it's helpful to communicate with people who've been in the same boat as you, either to complain vociferously and vent your frustration, or to share your experiences and help out others.
Fishkeeping is fun, trust me on this, and actually not difficult if you do things step by step. But like so many other things in life, like cooking or dancing or driving, from the outside looking in it can often seem very
difficult indeed. Cheers, Neale.>

Opaline Gouramis, beh., hlth.    8/11/10
I just recently bought 3 Opaline gouramis from a pet store. They were fine for 3 days. Now I've noticed 2 of them sit on the bottom a lot and seem very lethargic. I have them in a 10 gallon right now. I'm getting a 20 gallon or bigger on Friday. My question is this. They have all started rocking back and forth. Is this normal behaviour? When they aren't doing this the other 2 just sit on the bottom. To me it looks like they don't have long to live. Please help me figure this out.
Thanks in advance, Todd
<Hi Todd. We need more information than this. For one thing, how long has this aquarium been running? In other words, did you cycle the filter with an ammonia source for a few weeks before adding the fish? If these fish
were dumped in a new aquarium, then water quality is very likely the problem. Also understand that these are tropical fish, and in unheated tanks won't last long. Start here:
Do also note that male Trichogaster trichopterus are aggressive; in a 20 gallon tank keeping more than one male is bound to cause problems. If you can, just choose females. Cheers, Neale.>

Aggression and injury to three spot Gourami... env.    3/18/10
Hi -
We're complete novices and are just starting out with a 10 gallon tank.
<Do read here please:
It's been set up over 4 weeks now, and after getting the water tested last week at our LFS and getting the green light, we purchased two male three spot gouramis.
<How did you cycle the tank? If there's no ammonia source, letting the tank sit with the filter running for 4 weeks achieves precisely nothing. Any water taken from such a tank will indeed seem "fine" because there's been no ammonia going into the water. There's nothing to test! You must cycle the tank with some sort of ammonia source. A pinch of flake food every day or two works well, though many folks like to use bottled ammonia to raise the concentration in the water to between 1-5 mg/l. Either way, there's ammonia going into the water, thereby replicating what happens when there's livestock in the tank. An aquarium without fish is just a box filled with water, and in now way cycling.>
There are no other fish in the tank, but we noticed right away one was more aggressive than the other.
<This species cannot be kept in a 10 gallon tank. Who told you this would be a good idea? No aquarium book would recommend this. Three-spot Gouramis (Trichogaster trichopterus) are [a] far too big for a 10 gallon tank and [b] known to be aggressive. Even a single male can, will cause trouble in a 30 gallon tank. So let's get real here, and choose fish suited to a tank this size. There are plenty to choose from. Retailers will happily exploit your novice status and sell you any old thing. That's why we recommend you buy an aquarium book before you do anything else. Failing that, come talk to us.>
The non aggressive one suffered an injury on its head about 5 days ago - it looked like a minor scratch. We've been monitoring it, and it appeared to be healing fine until today when we noticed the aggressive one biting the
wound of the non aggressive one and now it's red, irritated and seems larger.
<Finrot. If this tank wasn't cycled with a source of ammonia, then the water quality in this tank will be pretty dire by now. Non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels stress fish, reducing their immune systems, and allow wounds to become infected. Finrot can be treated using antibiotics (e.g., Maracyn) or antibacterials (e.g., eSHa 2000) but either way water quality has to be perfect or you're whistling into the wind. Be sure not to get hoodwinked into using salt or tea-tree oil "medicines". They don't work in situations like this and are, at best, preventatives rather than cures.>
I've been checking on them throughout the day, and it seemed to happen only during their feeding time this morning. Should we should permanently separate them, or separate them until the injury has healed, or just separate them at meal time? Any help you can give is greatly appreciated.
<Return both of these fish. They don't belong in this tank. If the tank isn't properly cycled, anything you throw in is likely to get sick. Cycle the tank, and then stock carefully, choosing species suited to such a tiny aquarium. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Aggression and injury to three spot Gourami
Thanks. We did cycle with the fish flakes,
but I'm sure that our LFS saw us coming.
Even after telling them the size of the tank, they still suggested the two three spot gouramis - to quote "I've found them less aggressive in a pair".
<A pair isn't two males. And in any case, the males are pretty hard on the females outside of spawning. Trichogaster trichopterus is a species I have trouble recommending. Although hardy, cheap, and colourful, it's aggressive and as it ages becomes increasingly lethargic. So like the Dwarf Gourami (Colisa lalia) this is a species I don't see much point to. For a small aquarium, either Sparkling or Croaking Gouramis are much better, or failing that, a female Betta can work well too. Cheers, Neale.>

Female Blue Gouramis Ill?  9/17/09
<Hello Olivia,>
I own a 10 gallon aquarium and I have had three female blue gouramis for 2 years, 2 months and I've replaced the aquarium once.
<This tank is too small for this species. Ensuring good water quality is one challenge, but the social behaviour of the species is another, male Trichogaster trichopterus being notoriously aggressive.>
I do weekly water changes and have a few decorations (I used to have live plants) for them to hide behind and they usually group together. I've always fed them Tetra Flakes.
<Do mix this up a bit, if only to make sure the fish get some greens and fibre. Cooked peas, thinly sliced cucumber, cooked spinach all do well on the greens front; live or frozen daphnia and brine shrimp are good "laxative" foods for most small fish.>
For the most part they've gotten along and never had a problem. However, in recent weeks they've been behaving odd.
A month ago they started to nibble at each other.
<Either bullying or consuming mucous from a weaker fish.>
It started with Lorie (the smallest) nibbling at the Tallulah (the biggest) and then Rebecca (medium sized). Eventually they all started to nibble and chase back. Lulah seems to be the most victim and weakest of my fish.
<As I say, it's a fairly aggressive species. Sexing isn't easy, either.
Males generally have longer dorsal fins, but this isn't always obvious. In any case, while males are usually the problem, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that females, in such a small tank, might exhibit some
unwanted behaviours.>
Sometimes she doesn't eat as much and just hangs in a corner all day. When the other fish are frightened and go to hide, they usually go to her spot.
A few times I've noticed her almost try to push them away. Following some advice I read here, I decided to separate them for a while. It seemed to do the trick and they seemed fine.
But soon later, I noticed it again. I changed the water the following weekend as was needed and upon placing them back in the tank, they turned a very dark color. I attributed it to stress and the rest of that day they didn't nibble.
<Need a bigger tank and more hiding places.>
The next day, however, they were fine and swimming freely... but also chasing and nibbling. About a week ago Lulah had some scales missing from her head and exposed flesh. :(
<Very serious. While the nibbling might have been opportunistic predation, i.e., the other Gouramis eating excess mucous or even dead skin on an injured fish, it's just as possible aggression lead to an injury, and the
wound became infected. In either case, isolate the injured fish in a hospital tank, and treat with suitable anti-Finrot medication, e.g., Maracyn, eSHa 2000, Seachem Paraguard.>
I didn't even notice they nibbled at the head, because of the conflict I kept a close watch on them, I never saw a nibble to the head. Just the fins, side and tails and the other fish always swam away without actually
being bitten. Could the wound have been due to illness instead?
<Difficult to say.>
Lulah has since healed but now she has a big lump on her side! I've read about Gourami Disease and hope that's not the problem. No scales are poking out and it's really sudden!!! It only could have developed in the last few days.
<Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus (DGIV) specifically harms Dwarf Gouramis, i.e., Colisa lalia. There are all-blue forms of Dwarf Gourami, e.g., Neon Dwarf Gourami, so do make sure you aren't confusing that species with the "true" Blue Gourami, Trichogaster trichopterus. While Trichogaster trichopterus may well carry the virus, it doesn't seem to be nearly so prone to developing symptoms.>
The fish still nibble occasionally but it's mostly Lorie and she was the one who started it. I'm soon removing her permanently. The reason I haven't done so yet is because they have NEVER acted in such a way in 2 years!
<Let me stress this, when we recommend a minimum tank size for a species, it's precisely because fish behaviour changes as fish mature. A 10-gallon tank isn't viable for this species, and in a larger tank, you probably wouldn't have encountered this behavioural problem.>
I was hoping for a quick solution but this just isn't working out.
Could this big behavioral change be due to their age?
Or do you suspect they all have some sort of illness?
<Impossible to say, though stress (from bullying) allows bacteria and viruses to cause problems they wouldn't otherwise cause. So it's a chicken/egg thing really.>
Would the others develop a huge lump too?
<Difficult to say, but probably not. Isolate the sick fish, certainly, and treat against Finrot to clean the wound. The swelling is likely inflammation, and frankly, with small fish, it either goes away when the
fish is given optimal conditions, or else the fish dies. As to it being contagious, well, all you can do is make sure the aquarium is the right size, properly maintained, etc. and see what happens. Certainly don't add any more gouramis of any kind for at least 6 months, so you can see if this is a virus systematically killing off related species, or else a one-off caused by bad maintenance on your part.>
Thanks, A.F.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Female Blue Gouramis Ill? 9/17/09

Thanks for the reply.
<You're welcome.>
I will follow every bit of advice you gave me
<That's what I like to hear!>
and report back eventually with an update.
<Very good.>
Thanks again! :)
<Good luck, Neale.>

3-spot Gouramis dying suddenly, tiny pinholes in their heads and losing weight.-- 9/5/09
I've already been looking for help on other forums for this problem for a few days, so here's a compilation of all the info I can think of.
I have a community tank (see info at bottom of email) which I recently (2 months ago) added 6 Gouramis. 2 adult Blue 3-spot gouramis. 2 juvenile blue 3-spots, and 2 juvenile gold variant 3-spots. They were quarantined for a month before adding them to the main tank. They've been in the main tank for 2 months now, with no apparent problems until this past week or so.
I have just had two of my blue 3-spot gouramis die within a day of each other. (Sept 2nd) They had seemed a bit "off" for a couple days, so I was keeping an eye on them, and they were eating, but just kinda listless and a bit pale. One was an adult blue, and the other was a juvenile blue.
They didn't seem to exhibit any other symptoms before they just died -- just a bit "out of it" and pale. Appetites were fine, and there were no breathing problems. I started paying closer attention, checking for possible bullying, but was unable to see any signs of it - all is peaceful in that regard.
Now I have two other gouramis (one gold juvenile, one blue juvenile) exhibiting the same listlessness and slightly paler than normal. On closer examination, they both seem to have tiny pin-prick sized holes all over the tops of their heads above their eyes.
<The holes are similar to what we call "Hole in the Head" disease, a problem usually found among cichlids, so far as freshwater fish go. It's likely caused by the Hexamita parasite in most cases, though dietary issues may also be responsible.><<Agreed. RMF>>
There's no redness or fuzz or other signs of infection, their appetites are ok, they're not having breathing problems or spending inordinate amounts of time in any one area. One of them looks a bit thin. Their poo seems normal though, so I don't think it's an intestinal parasite.
<"Intestinal parasite" covers a lot of ground! It's a term bandied about by aquarists without any real understanding; in fact most fish have intestinal parasites of some sort, it's just that normally they don't cause problems. Among cichlids, it's now assumed Hexamita is ubiquitous, but only becomes problematic when things like water conditions or diet are wrong.>
This has happened very quickly. Within about a span of 2 - 4 days from onset of symptoms to death... Sudden weight loss, despite good appetites, then very pale coloring, (no - not excess slime). Then somewhat listless, just not as active as normal, then dead. However, I had not noticed the pinholes in their heads previously, so I don't know how long it is from when the holes happened until the other symptoms started. They don't turn into large pits or sores. They're not in any sort of line or particular pattern, just looks like someone pricked their heads all over with a needle or something, right through their scales and stuff. No inflammation or redness, just pin-pricks. It's very strange looking.
<Sounds very odd.>
My other gold juvenile looks ok so far, as does my other adult blue Gourami. (as of Sept 2nd)
Update Sept 5th: the above mentioned two have died - one last night, one today, about three days after I noticed them getting listless
Further update Sept 5th: The remaining two Gouramis, (one adult, one juvenile) appear healthy and active and properly colored at this time. The adult appears to have a single pin-hole above one eye. The juvenile has none so far.
None of the other fish in the tank are affected. This is only seeming to affect the gouramis.
<Could be viral, I suppose. Viruses are essentially untreatable among aquarium fish, and in many cases target very limited ranges of species, sometimes just one species. There aren't many in the hobby that are recognised, but doubtless there are numerous viruses out there we've not out names to.>
I had them in quarantine the first month I had them, and they've been in the tank for 2 months now, and just now showing symptoms this week.
None of the other fish in the tank (all other inhabitants are 3yrs old) are affected. No other fish losses in 2+ years from this tank.
<Very odd indeed.>
(Previous tank history: Fish losses over 2 years ago -- 2 angels and a handful of guppies over 2 years ago. We had 2 Angels in this tank a couple years back. They were pretty aggressive with all the other fish in the tank. The guppies just sort of disappeared, don't know if they were eaten or not.
<Will be eaten by Angels, given the chance, as well as things like Pimelodus pictus catfish.>
Both Angels passed away after about 4 months with similar symptoms as above, after having them for about 4 months. No apparent affect on any other tank inhabitants. We gave up on guppies because I was reading that they just aren't too healthy anymore when purchased from most fish stores, and because I think they were getting eaten anyhow, and got the tetras instead. We didn't replace the angels at the time, because we couldn't decide what else we liked, but didn't want more angels after seeing the aggression. I don't know if there's any connection, seeing as it's been several years, but the symptoms are just similar. )
Tank info:
55gal, 3+ years old established 2006.
Filtration: Eheim 2217 canister + Penguin 1140 powerhead w/sponge prefilter (sponge and ceramic media - no carbon.)
Decor: heavily planted, pea-gravel, driftwood and volcanic rock.
Feeding: Variety of flake, pellet, and frozen foods (Tetra flakes & granules, bottom feeder wafers, frozen veggie/algae, frozen brine shrimp, frozen krill, frozen bloodworms, cucumber chunks, peas, etc)
Water: 25% w/c weekly w/ Prime water conditioner dry ferts (PMDD & GH Booster) 2x's weekly for plants & pressurized co2
PO4: 5ppm Fe: 1ppm KH: 7 drops/120ppm GH: 10 drops/180ppm ph: 6.6ish (depending on time of day & co2) NitrAte: 5ppm-ish NitrIte: 0 Ammonia: 0
Inhabitants: 2 3-spot gouramis (was 6) (Purchased 3 months ago - 1 month QT, then 2 months in tank -- was 4 juvenile and 2 adult) (No other new additions of either fish or plants since that time.) 3 yoyo loaches (3 years old) 12 Serpae tetras (2+ years old) 2 pictus cats (3 years old) Malaysian Trumpet Snails. Red Ramshorn snails.
Any suggestions and ideas would be helpful. Thanks.
<Really, I'm drawing a blank here. There's nothing obviously wrong. Hexamita is the most likely cause of pits on the head, but it's triggered more often than not by high levels of nitrate, and that doesn't seem to be a problem here. A viral infection is a possibility, and if that's the case, there's nothing you can do beyond isolating sick fish and hoping for the best. You might consider possible external sources of poisons, e.g., paint fumes, given that Gouramis are air breathers and more sensitive to such things than your other fish. Have cc'ed Bob Fenner to see if he can think of anything that might be amiss. Cheers, Neale.> <<I suggest treating for general Protozoan and worm complaints here... a "cocktail" of one time use of Metronidazole/Flagyl, Levamisol, and likely Praziquantel. RMF>>
Re: More: re: 3-spot Gouramis dying suddenly, tiny pinholes in their heads and losing weight. (RMF?)  9/6/09

Thank you so much for your responses. I had looked at hole in the head in my searches, but it just didn't sound quite right, since they look like pin-pricks, and they don't look at all like the pictures I've been able to find of HITH.
----<...It's likely caused by the Hexamita parasite in most cases, though dietary issues may also be responsible.><<Agreed. RMF>>
Which part are you agreeing with? The Hexamita or the dietary issue?
<<<I assume Bob's agreeing with the relationship between diet and Hexamita. Do review, for example, Bob's comments on Hexamita and marine fish, where the case is fairly compelling that Hole-in-the-Head plagues marine fish because of the absence of fresh green foods.>>>
If it's the dietary issue, is there anything you can tell from my list below that I'm missing in their diets?
<<<Well, the thing to do is review the diet and think about whether your fish are getting enough a varied diet. Personally, I don't rate flake and pellets terribly highly, not because they're bad, but because people tend to rely on them too much. Once opened, they stale quite fast, at which point vitamin content is lost. About half the diet can be dried, the rest should be either fresh foods or good quality wet-frozen foods. You will find much on WWM re: this topic, so would suggest you browse these sections at your leisure.>>>
Regarding the "intestinal parasites", that is what I meant, is that I didn't think they were "causing problems". Sorry I wasn't more specific on that.
---<Really, I'm drawing a blank here. There's nothing obviously wrong. Hexamita is the most likely cause of pits on the head, but it's triggered more often than not by high levels of nitrate, and that doesn't seem to be a problem here. A viral infection is a possibility, and if that's the case, there's nothing you can do beyond isolating sick fish and hoping for the best. You might consider possible external sources of poisons, e.g., paint fumes, given that Gouramis are air breathers and more sensitive to such things than your other fish. Have cc'ed Bob Fenner to see if he can think of anything that might be amiss. Cheers, Neale.>
Yes, I was drawing a blank as well, and it's very frustrating. There's been no fumes or poisons of any sort that I am aware of -- I also am sensitive to those kinds of things, so I don't keep those kinds of things around. I can go ahead and do another water change to be sure, however I just did my weekly water change two days ago.
Also, as of this morning, one of the remaining two is starting to look pale and thin. Just since last night. The head and belly area are normal size, and it looks as if from the pectoral fins backwards has suddenly gotten emaciated. And there are more pinpricks over his head.
----<<I suggest treating for general Protozoan and worm complaints here... a "cocktail" of one time use of Metronidazole/Flagyl, Levamisol, and likely Praziquantel. RMF>>
Is this something I should treat the whole tank with?
Is it possible the other fish, although seemingly unaffected, could carry and spread this if it is a parasite?
<<<Certainly fish can carry pathogens without developing symptoms, just as some people can carry viruses and bacteria and not get sick, but when they contact other people, they make them sick. So, a whole tank approach makes sense here. My gut feeling is that whatever is doing the rounds will kill all your Gouramis, in which case eschewing this family of fish for the next 6-12 months will be in order. But Bob's suggestion is a good one, though it will have little/no benefit against viruses, it will catch most worm and protozoan parasites.>>>
I appreciate the time you've taken with your responses. Thank you.
<<<Glad to offer such help as I can. Cheers, Neale.>>>
Re: More: re: 3-spot Gouramis dying suddenly, tiny pinholes in their heads and losing weight.  9/6/09

Thank you again for your quick response.
<No problem.>
I don't use flake/pellet foods frequently. They get these about once a week only. So that makes up about 1/7th of their diet. Otherwise they get a mix of frozen brine shrimp/bloodworms/veggie diet (spinach, romaine & red-leaf lettuce, Spirulina algae) daily. The frozen food is vitamin enriched. They also get chopped cucumber 2-3 x's weekly, which they and the loaches both love. They also munch on the wisteria and Anacharis and several other of the softer plants that I keep in the tank. Sometimes I add a lettuce leaf in there, or some peas, or chopped zucchini.
<Sounds like a fine diet. So, probably not the issue at fault here.>
Will do [the medications].
I have the same gut feeling [about impeding doom for Gouramis]. This is rotten. I will go ahead and treat the whole tank with the recommended "cocktail", and will avoid the Anabantoid family for a while. (On a side note, our other tank which houses a few Otos, a clown Pleco, and my Betta named Sammy, is doing just fine so far. I hope he doesn't get sick, since we've recently shared plants between tanks. I'm really attached to him, we've had him for almost 4 years.)
<I'd certainly encourage you to keep things like nets and buckets separate between the two tanks. At the least, use an equipment steriliser if you do need to share equipment (your retailer likely uses such products, and can recommend such). Mind you, 4 years is a GREAT age for Betta splendens, so well done there.>
Thank you again, for all your help. It is much appreciated.
<Good luck with your fishkeeping, and I hope this disease doesn't harm your remaining fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: More: re: 3-spot Gouramis dying suddenly, tiny pinholes in their heads and losing weight.  9/6/09

Neale and Bob,
I just wanted to write again, separate from my inquiry, to let you know how much I appreciate what you are doing on this site. I know how hard it can be to deal with the frustrated, the willfully ignorant, and the just plain "newbies" in fishkeeping.
<Ahh, such is life itself. But on the other hand/end, what a joy to be able to share, experience through others, even if just vicariously, invidiously, their learning, enjoyment of themselves, the living world>
I've been in the hobby for 10 years, and I currently help out on a few fishkeeping boards, trying to help others not make the same mistakes I made when I started out. (It is tremendously amusing to read some of your replies in the FAQs because you say so many of the things that I have wanted to say to people but haven't... Maybe I should start. )
<Heeee! Try it and see>
I just recently (in the past year or so) branched out further into live plants (aside from the basic java fern, Anacharis, wisteria) and it's really increased the pleasure I get from the hobby. (Yeah, the basics are still pretty, but they weren't challenging anymore *grin* )
It's definitely been a challenge to play with some of the more difficult plant setups.
My first fish was a Betta that I purchased shortly after my daughter got the privilege of taking her classroom Betta home for the weekend to care for. It was in one of those tiny little hexagonal plastic things. I started researching to find out more about them, and soon found out that there's a lot more to taking care of them than I thought. I have been fortunate in that I tend to research first, then act, so I knew from the first that water quality is the most important thing.
The only sick fish I ever had out of all my tanks were the many Bettas from PetSmart or Wal-Mart that I purchased already knowing they were ill, and one shoal of clown loaches 9 years ago from PetSmart which
had Ich and taught me just how important having a QT tank was! And then those Angels 2 years ago, that seemed to die of the same symptoms my Gouramis are now experiencing.
<Mmm, I've read your last two corr.s with Neale... and have a favour to ask. Would you soak some of the terrestrial greens you mention in a glass of tapwater for a couple days... and measure the nitrate of the water? Actually, I want to go further now that I've become a bit more aware of your background and encourage you to give up on these greens (including the Spinach) entirely... they are a possible suspect here>
Many of the Bettas ended up living 3 or 4 more years, and one lived to be 5 and another 7 years old!
<Wowzah, the last is a world record!>
The 7 year old one was Sammy the 1st. He traveled with me from Arizona to Georgia 4 years ago, and passed away 6 months after the move.
Eventually, I ended up with about 17 various tanks (about half of them Betta tanks, the rest were a mix of species tanks and community tanks) and I was hooked for life.
Sadly, I had to give away most of them when I moved out of state 4 years ago. However, I'm back on track to rebuild my collection, albeit on a smaller scale now that I'm in a studio instead of a 3 bedroom.
<Easier to keep clean!>
So while I know a great deal about the care and keeping of fish in general, and I know how to treat the basic diseases (between treating the Bettas, and helping others on the fishkeeping forums), every so
often something comes along to stump me. I just didn't expect it to be in my own tank!
It may sound selfish, arrogant, and/or morbid of me, but I'm actually glad that I'm not the only one stumped on this. It makes me feel less "newbie-ish". I'll be the first to admit how much I don't know, even after 10 years. *grins*
<I am indeed an old-timer in the ornamental aquatics fields, and I encounter "stumpers" most every day...>
Thanks again for you advice and help. If I can ever be of assistance in answering any of the myriad "newbie" emails I'm sure you get every day, I'd be more than happy to help.
Thank you.
<And you for sharing. Oh, I'll send this along to Neale as well. BobF>
Re: More: re: 3-spot Gouramis dying suddenly, tiny pinholes in their heads and losing weight.  9/6/09

Ok, let me make sure I'm understanding your request:
<Mmm, I've read your last two corr.s with Neale... and have a favour to ask. Would you soak some of the terrestrial greens you mention in a glass of tapwater for a couple days... and measure the nitrate of the water? Actually, I want to go further now that I've become a bit more aware of your background and encourage you to give up on these greens (including the Spinach) entirely... they are a possible suspect here>
Are you talking about having me thaw and soak the frozen veggie diet?
<Mmm, no... the romaine and red lettuce. From your email below: BobF>
>>"Otherwise they get a mix of frozen brine shrimp/bloodworms/veggie diet (spinach, romaine & red-leaf lettuce, Spirulina algae) daily."<<
These are the commercial preparations in the frozen blister-packs. Sometimes I get San Francisco Bay brand, sometimes Hikari, sometimes Ocean Nutrition, and sometimes another brand that I can't think of the name of right now. I know the San Francisco Bay brand that I use a lot has the lettuce and spinach. The Hikari brand uses the Spirulina brine shrimp. There's one called Discus formula that has kelp and Spirulina and a lot of vitamins that I use sometimes. And another called Goldfish diet that I use a lot, that has Anacharis, romaine lettuce, krill hydroslate, zucchini, carrots, and bloodworms, along with a bunch of vitamins. I mix different formulas frequently, for variety and to try and make sure they're getting everything, considering the mix of fish I have.
I don't think I've ever seen any of it hit the bottom. Even the loaches and pictus cats are right up there at the top being greedy every day at feeding time, and they don't settle down until they've picked through all the plants and everything to make sure they didn't miss any yummies. They are not so enthusiastic, however, on their one day a week of dry food. Heh.
I'll usually get the "freshwater multipack" and then mix in one of the other formulas along with it each day. Any lettuce or other fresh food that I add is organic, and thoroughly rinsed before adding to the tank.
I'm not sure I'm following the thought process in soaking the frozen fish food for a couple days. After a couple days, it will start to decompose, releasing ammonia, right? Theoretically, in straight tap water, it shouldn't affect the nitrate reading in a couple days worth of decay, would it?
I have nitrates existing in my tap water at a level of 5ppm. I have to supplement the nitrates in my tank for my plants daily to keep it above 0, in addition to the PMDD and GH booster 2x's weekly. In so doing, I test daily for nitrates, to get an idea of how much I need to add each day.
I'm happy to do the test and see what happens, but I guess I'm confused as to what you are expecting the results to be?
Re: More: re: 3-spot Gouramis dying suddenly, tiny pinholes in their heads and losing weight.  9/6/09

<Mmm, no... the romaine and red lettuce. From your email below: BobF>
That's what is in the frozen San Francisco Bay brand veggie mix. See the following:
""Emerald Entree
Artemia franciscana, mysis, krill, plankton, spinach, romaine lettuce,
red leaf lettuce, Spirulina algae, menhaden oil, sodium alginate,
Vitamin premix: wheat flour, Vitamin A acetate, cholecalciferol (source
of vitamin D3), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, niacin, calcium
pantothenate, folic acid, Menadione sodium bisulfate complex,
pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine Mononitrate, biotin, inositol,
L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, betaine, d-alpha mixed tocopherols (source
of vitamin E)""
<Ahh, I see... there's likely very little pollution from this source. Am familiar with the co., owner... very competent and ethical folks. BobF>

Re: Platies and Gourami poorly   8/5/09
Hi there again!
A quick update.. I am not having much luck sadly.. Last week I lost another Danio, and a rosy barb, both had a dropsical appearance for a few days before they died.
I still have several platies with white tufty bits, one is bottom sitting a lot, and another appears to be 'wasting' as previous platies that died did.
The moonlight Gourami still is not eating (that I have observed) and still has an ulcer on the lower lip. There also appear to be slight white 'tufts' appearing on the sides of the Gourami, although the fins are unaffected on any of the fish.
<Very odd. I fear that you do have one of these "primary" rather than "opportunistic" bacterial infections. These are very difficult to treat, even with antibiotics (which in the UK you can only get from your vet).>
I have been testing the water every day and have not seen any detectable nitrite or ammonia, nitrate is very low at between 5 and 10. I have got the U2 filter going (no detectable U2 in my tank no, that Bono is
banished..)(sorry..) without the carbon in it.
<If ammonia and nitrite aren't issues, then consider other factors. Could anything poisonous have got into the tank? Insecticides? Paint fumes?>
Yesterday I completed a 3 day course of eSHa, but this seems to have had little beneficial effect. Now we are going on holiday late Friday, and I am very concerned - a neighbour is going to be feeding the fish for me (they have done it before for us),
<Wouldn't feed the fish at all for a week, if that's how long you're gone.
The risks outweigh the benefits. Fish can go two weeks without food if they must, often longer.>
but I am really concerned to make sure that I leave the correct instructions, and of course I can't observe or treat the fish whilst I am away for a week.
<Indeed. Hence, not feeding the fish at least means nitrogen cycle problems aren't something you'll have to worry about.>
Any thoughts? I thought the fungus type stuff I am seeing would be affected by the eSHa but it does not appear to be. It is on the body of the fish - in one case near the eye, another near the tail, on another it is little patches over most of the fish. I am all out of eSHa now, should I get some more and keep on dosing in case this helps? Bearing in mind that I treated the tank only just over a week ago, in an attempt to get rid of this fungus or whatever it is.
<Any chance of a photo?>
Your help is very much appreciated.
<Did you try daily saltwater dips of the infected fish? This is quite good for removing a variety of symptoms, even if it doesn't cure the underlying problem. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Platies and Gourami poorly 08/05/09
Thanks for the reply. I am so worried about leaving them all.... Think I need a webcam!
I have sent a couple of pics of the platies. The Gourami was having none of it, and since he's not coming out for food, taking his picture was not very easy.
<Often the case...>
It has been some 5 or 6 weeks since I did some painting - as per the last two times, one small Gourami died a few days after painting, despite my best efforts with fresh carbon and airing the rooms / keeping relevant doors shut (I was painting the staircase). This issue started around 2 weeks ago I think.
<I have painted around fish tanks, and by using carbon and switching off air pumps you can minimise the risk. Opening all the windows should help.
But air-breathing fish may well be at particular risk.>
I will not bother with the fish feeding, as we are only gone for a week - just make sure they have a water change before we go.. I may ask the neighbour to check for dead ones though.
<Good plan.>
I do hope I don't lose the Gourami, he's our favourite. I have had him two months, he arrived with the platies which appeared to have fin rot as soon as placed in QT, the fin-rot that took two treatments of eSHa to clear. I wonder if they have brought an infection with them?
<It's worth understanding that Finrot is an opportunistic infection caused by bacteria latent in all aquaria. Fish don't "catch" Finrot from each other; they simply become vulnerable to these ubiquitous, opportunistic bacteria because of environmental issues or physical damage.>
They were in QT for three weeks in all, which I figured should be OK.
Anyhow, pictures attached - hope they are not too large. The most obliging fish has patches around her eye and on top of her head. The Gourami has a few similar bits on his side, which are harder to see.
<The Moonlight Gourami simply looks as if its been fighting, and with appropriate Finrot medication plus good diet and water quality, this should heal nicely. The Platies also look to have an opportunistic infection. With Platies, hardness and pH are important, and it also helps not to keep them too warm. A greens-based diet will be of benefit. All in all, these look like fish that should heal properly, assuming external factors permit that.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Help my Gouramis is going to pop!   7/10/09
Wet Web Crew, I've been up all-night trying to find a fast relief for Goldie.
I've had Goldie for 4 months, no problems, she's in a 35 gallon take with 2 other gouramis ( the others are perfectly fine). I suspect my kids over fed the poor fishes (tetra flakes is all they get fed, nothing else)
because the sides of Goldie have ballooned up in a matter of 4 hours after a dinner time feeding @ 6pm.
<I see!>
By 10pm I happened to notice her in her current state. I did not feed her on July9 and based on what I've read I shouldn't feed the fish for like 3 or 4 days. I don't happen to have all the vitals on the take but I do 1/3 water changes every Saturday and which includes a brief rock cleaning using a siphon pump thing. I also have some water treatment solution I got from PetSmart, I using this in-between water changes as directed. As I mentioned earlier no signs of previous trouble with any fish over the past 4 months.
<No sign at all of, for example, a developing tumour or dropsy?>
So from what I've read it appears as though she over ate and is not constipated but from the photos attached you can see that the protrusion is quite large. I'm tempted to squeeze her to see if she will poop. LOL.
<Do NOT do this...>
Serious though, it looks uncomfortable and I just want to make her feel better. Any suggestions? I've read peas, vegetable oil? How long do I have before this fish gets toxic and dies? I appreciate any advise. Thank you
<All you can realistically do is wait and see. Epsom Salt has a mild laxative effect on fish, and a dose of 1 to 3 teaspoons per 5 gallons will speed things up; Epsom Salt is cheap and easy to obtain from any pharmacy. It will do no harm to healthy fish. Obviously, don't feed this fish (or the tank) until the swelling goes down.>
Save Goldie
<Cheers, Neale.>

Blue Gourami with sores   4/26/09
To start, my tank is 55 gallon with 2 silver dollars, 3 clown loaches, and a Pleco. The water parameters are within normal limits.
<Meaning what? The reason I ask is that some people assume that 0.5 mg/l ammonia is "within normal limits". It is not. Just to recap, for this selection of fish, you MUST have the following: 0 ammonia; 0 nitrite; anything between pH 6-8, but it must be stable from week to week; and a hardness level around 5-20 degrees dH. There should be no salt in the water.>
I have many fake plants and several large "rock" forms, so there are many places for the fish to hide. About 2 months ago my Blue Gourami (Trichogaster trichopterus) started to develop sores on it's body. I first
put in one of those all inclusive formulas. I don't remember what it was off hand. That did nothing.
<Usually don't.>
Then I started to use Tetracycline( 3 days), because at the time, the store was out of Maracyn-II, but that created such high foam(3-4 inches), the fish were unsuccessfully trying to jump up over it to get to the surface.
I got some Maracyn-II and started using it. Unfortunately, then we went away and the "sitter" continued to use the meds as instructed. And did one course of treatment. Then another 10 days passed until we got home. The
sores were still there and there were more of them. I then treated with both gram negative and gram positive, Maracyn and Maracyn-II for 2 courses of treatment, because it was working so well; and the sores were healing up and no others were appearing. After the treatment, I did water changes and returned the filters, as instructed. 5-6 days later the sores started to reappear. Now I've been treating for another 2 courses, but still getting new sores. Other than these sores, the fish is behaving normally and eating fine. The sores are very raw looking, various tones of light pink to dark pink. Then look translucent. I'm at a loss as to what to do that could stop this. Would also like to know you're best guess as to what it is.
<Unfortunately, you've done everything that would be expected to fix Finrot and other opportunistic bacterial infections. I fear that you're dealing with a Mycobacteria-type infection. Historically these were called "Fish
TB" but they're not the same diseases. In any event, infected fish rarely recover. Typical symptoms include lesions, wasting, and lethargy, and the usual fish medications (including antibiotics) have no effect.
Realistically, the sensible thing to do is to isolate any suspect fish to prevent infection of other fish, and if the infected fish fails to respond to medications, it should be euthanised.
Only a vet can positively identify the disease, but from your photos and comments, Mycobacteriosis seems likely.>
I have included some photos. If they are too large let me know and I'll try to make them smaller. This is the first time doing this with photos for me.
I'm not sure what size works. I chose "medium", so I hope that it's not too big.
<Photos were fine!>
Thanks for your help.
<Sorry I can't offer much more useful advice than this. Funnily enough, the upcoming (hopefully, next week) issue of Conscientious Aquarist has a very detailed article about this disease, its diagnosis and its treatment by a
microbiologist. So while that probably isn't much help to your poor fish, you can at least stop by then and have a look at the photos and see if you agree with what I say here. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Blue Gourami with sores 4/26/09
Thanks for your help.
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

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