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FAQs on Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives Disease Treatments

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

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

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

Salt and Anabantoids   3/5/14
Hey, I was always under the impression that using salt on Anabantoids was a bad idea and that it can hurt the labyrinth organ in some way.
<I know that many Anabantoids are routinely "salted" in the trade... Not all though (e.g. Licorice, Chocolates...)>
Is this false? And are there any research articles or studies you are aware of that I can read on the subject?
<Not w/o making a haul to an institution that allows (free) access to searchable databases (e.g. BIOSIS, Zool. Abstracts)...>
Sorry to bug you, I know you have lots of ppl to help, you just seemed like a good place to ask.
<You can search on WWM on how to do these searches in turn. Bob Fenner>

Longstanding Gourami Illness  11/22/09
Hello My name is Vincent and my female pearl Gourami has a few problems.
I have a well established ten gallon tank that has been housing this fish for about 3 years and her roommate, another male Gourami, for 4.
<This is rather small for Pearl Gouramis.>
I have never had any problems with water quality nor have there been any pH spikes things of that nature.
The water in the tank is kept at 70-74 degrees F and is carbon filtered as well as filtered by the resident Java ferns.
<Too cold. Pearl Gouramis should be at 25-30 degrees C, 77-86 degrees F.>
My female pearl is my favorite fish so I have always paid close attention to her. The weirdness started about a year ago when I noticed a white spot developing on her ventral fin.
<Often, long term exposure to environmental failings allow these sorts of small, seemingly minor issues to become established. Because the immune system is weakened, the fish's health is slowly reduced.>
I watched it but it did not seem to do anything or harm her so I chalked it up to her fin's natural growth. Then I started noticing her swimming, it became weaker, more spastic, like she had to devote more energy to swimming than a normal fish would.
<Indeed. Is "spastic" a word people still use in the US? Over here in England it's considered very inappropriate. Actually, just had a quick look on Wikipedia, and while in British English it is considered (by linguists) "one of the most taboo insults to a British ear" apparently Americans use it much more freely. Interesting. Anyway, carry on...>
Her dorsal fin and tail fin have since been drawn in and folded and she maintains her body at a strange bent angle as if she is constantly avoiding something to one side.
<Sounds very much like chronic exposure to poor conditions have now tipped the balance against her. These are fairly generic symptoms of overall poor health and weak metabolism.>
Her pectoral fins, the ones that look like feelers, are no longer straight and are kinked at odd angles to the point of not being straight or rearward oriented. The fins adjacent to her gills are torn and have small lumps on them and one of the fins looks bloodshot.
<Again, classic symptoms of a weak immune system allowing a bacterial infection.>
I have tried several different treatment regimens, first under the assumption that it was Ich then fungal infection then fin rot but nothing has worked.
<Medications *won't* work if the underlying problems remain. It's a bit like going to AA meetings while you're still downing a bottle of Scotch every night...>
I have tried maracyn and TriSulfa to no success, with the carbon removed.
The only thing those did was devastate the bacterial community in the tank until the ammonia levels spiked.
I have no idea what this thing is at this point.
<I have a very good idea what's wrong.>
I know that it is slow acting and does not prevent her from feeding or reduce her appetite but other than that I have no idea. Please help.
<A bigger, and certainly warmer aquarium is required. With luck, she'll recover if given good water quality, a balanced diet, and some type of antibacterial or antibiotic treatment to stem the infection. Otherwise, she's doomed. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Longstanding Gourami Illness -- 11/23/09

Thanks for the assistance.
<Happy to help.>
I do have another tank that could house the fish, the only problem is that the tank is maintained by my parents at home while I am away most of the time at college.
<I see.>
As such I am hesitant to place her there as there since they are far too preoccupied to actually invest the care that this fish needs and she would likely die there as well.
<Oh. Well, she won't do well in a cold aquarium, and I'd put her in a heated tank and hope for the best.>
I going to remove the tank mate when I go home for Thanksgiving break raise the temperature and hope for the best since I cannot entrust her to the care of people who have no experience with fish.
<Perhaps not.>
At any rate thank you for identifying the problem and I appreciate the quick feedback. I only asked this because I did not see any other references to this on your site and because all of the other fish I have been fine in the tank and have suffered no problems.
<"Complex variables" as scientists say. Some tropical fish actually like fairly cool conditions, like Neons, Corydoras and Platies, and these are best kept around 23 C/74 F. But others, like Gouramis, do need things a bit warmer.>
For a bit of lighter news yes I am American and spastic is not an insult here rather a way of describing a motion that looks uncontrolled or sudden or caused by pain.
You can use it as an insult though it is far down the line in terms of offensiveness. We do not use the word to insult developmentally disabled persons nor to connotate retardation. Spaz, the colloquial term, refers to a clumsy or inept person and is not a slur.
<"Two nations separated by a common language" is what Oscar Wilde (I think) said of the Americans and the Brits.>
Yours Truly
<Good luck with the Gourami. Cheers, Neale.>

FW: sick fish...need advice   7/5/08 Hello, Let me begin by saying that our fish tank and fish were given to us by someone who didn't want it anymore (something about their one year old, etc...). I am learning everyday! The folks who gave us our tank said it was about 1 year old (we have had it for a couple months) and came with two Gouramis. Based on my internet research one is a pearl and the other is a three spot (is that right?). <Not sure that it is. The blue one is certainly Trichogaster trichopterus. The brownish one doesn't look like Trichogaster leeri to me (lacking, for example, the orange breast, frilly dorsal and anal fins, or orange pelvic fin "feelers"). I think it is either a plain vanilla wild-type Trichogaster trichopterus (rather than the yellow or blue varieties more commonly sold) or otherwise the snakeskin Gourami Trichogaster pectoralis. Trichogaster pectoralis isn't commonly traded because it is quite big (around 15-20 cm when fully grown in the wild) and not brightly coloured. On the other hand it is peaceful, hardy, and long-lived, so there's nothing actually wrong with it in terms of aquarium usefulness.> There are also many tiny snails, three neon tetras, non-aquatic plants, a fake log to hide in, gravel on the bottom, an aqua tech filter (i replace charcoal cartridge every few weeks), the tank is 15 gallon (I believe). <Ah, now this is one possible source of trouble. All Trichogaster species are comparatively big fish by aquarium standards, and need not less than 75 litres/20 gallons. Males of at least some species are apt to be aggressive as well, and a small aquarium will make this a real problem.> We feed TetraMin tropical flakes twice a day (a pinch each feeding). All of this is what the first owner advised me. I have done some research on my own to try and help myself learn about being a fish owner! I am totally open to sound advice and it sounds like this is the place. <Very good!> So now that you have some background information let me begin. The Pearl Gourami (our 4 year old has named it Ashes) is not doing so well. After watching a great fireworks display we came home and I noticed that Ashes was doing some pretty weird back and forth movements. I came to find out (on your site) that this is referred to as "rocking". After the kids passed out I went in for a closer look and sure enough Ashes is looking a little strange. Seeing as I am a beginner, I panicked and Googled "Gourami illness" immediately. I am going to attach a picture which didn't come out so great, but maybe you can recognize the whitish (or lighter area) closer to the fishes back (upper area?). (Oh, and by the way I have no clue of the sex). The fish looks really patchy in the upper area, mostly behind the head. It's eyes also look really cloudy and maybe a little yellow. It's tail fin is also looking a little rough. Every once in a while Ashes will do a fancy little spin to the top for a gulp and then return to the lower third of the tank for some more "rocking". <While there are a variety of things that might cause these symptoms, I'd put my money on a secondary bacterial infection. So you need to treat for Finrot. In the US, Maracyn is the antibiotic drug of choice, while here in England I recommend eSHa 2000, one of the more effective antibacterial medications. Regardless, avoid home-brew or essentially worthless treatments like aquarium salt and tea-tree oil (e.g., Melafix). Note that medications won't (usually) work in tanks where carbon is installed in the filter, so remove any of that stuff before use. Also read the instructions on the medication carefully, particularly with regard to dose, time between treatments, water changes. Do understand that a secondary bacterial infection is precisely what it sounds like -- an infection that *follows on* from something else. In this case, I suspect marginal water quality, and this has weakened the fish's immune system. Typically small, overstocked tanks maintained by less experienced fishkeepers quickly run into the problem of water quality. So, use your nitrite (or ammonia) test kit to test for nitrite (or ammonia).> The other Gourami, "Dan", looks fine to my eyes. Dan does seem a little more freaked out than usual though. Every so often Dan will come out and chase Ashes, but then hide again. Oh, I also wanted to add that Ashes is usually very personable and will often come to the side of the tank when someone approaches. I did notice, however, that for the past few days Ashes has seemed a little out of sorts and likes to hide. <Fish often become withdrawn when they are sick... just like us. Experienced aquarists use changes in behaviour as early warnings of fish health problems.> I really hope that I have done a somewhat adequate job of providing information. I just want to help the little guy! If you could also suggest/recommend a good source of general freshwater system and fish care information either on the web or on paper, that would be greatly appreciated. <We've got plenty of "starter" articles here at WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsetupindex.htm  Do see in particular: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfiltrmedart.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestk.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anabantoids.htm  There are many good aquarium books out there, but one I happen to like is 'A Practical Guide to Setting Up Your Tropical Freshwater Aquarium' by Gina Sandford, an attractive and inexpensive little book aimed very much at newbie aquarists looking after relatively small aquaria.> Also, if you could recommend a good e-tailer, we live in a more remote area and the closest place to buy aquarium supplies is Wal-mart, enough said. <Even Wal-Mart should have anti-Finrot remedy, but if not, most online fish retailers will sell you an appropriate drug such as Mardel Freshwater Maracyn. Even Amazon.com has this stuff!> Thank you for your time, our family greatly appreciates it! <Good luck, Neale.>

Re: sick fish...need advice 7/5/08 Neale, Thank you so much for your prompt reply. <You are most welcome.> Today I am going to attempt to purchase the Maracyn and start treatment. I do have one question: If I remove the charcoal filter during treatment, should I replace with a different type of filter for that time period? I just want to make sure that I do this properly. <Personally, I don't bother with carbon/charcoal at all in standard freshwater aquaria. All carbon does is remove organic compounds that accumulate in the water over time. These are things that make "old" water in fish tanks yellow and potentially acidic. In the old days people avoided doing water changes, and so carbon was useful. But in the modern era of fishkeeping we under stand that water changes are good, so you can dilute any potential organic compounds in the water simply with a weekly water change of 25-50%. Cheaper and easier and better and safer than carbon! Problem solved. To actually work "as advertised", carbon needs to be replaced every 2-4 weeks, something hardly anyone with carbon in their filter actually does, underlining the pointlessness of the stuff. So remove the carbon, and replace with something that will support biological filtration, perhaps ceramic noodles or even filter wool.> Also, in regards to your concern about the tank size, would you suggest removing the tetras? <Neon tetras are ideal fish for a 15 gallon system, so the short answer is no. Moreover, compared with the Gouramis, their impact on water quality will be minimal.> As of yet, none of the fish seem to be "cramped", but what do I know! I have never seen the Gouramis appear to be fighting, maybe playing from time to time. <Fish will actually put up with a lot less than they actually need to thrive. Human beings can survive in prison cells eating nothing but porridge, but that isn't much of a life! The thing with fish tank size is this: the bigger the tank, the easier it is to maintain, and the less likely the fish are to get sick. Newcomers to the hobby often assume a small tank is easier to look after, perhaps for the same reasons that a small garden is easier to maintain or a small car easier to drive. But the analogy doesn't work, because the volume of the water is what moderates the poisons produced by the fish over time (the "sewage", if you like). The bigger the tank, the more the poisons are diluted, so the more time you and your filter have to keep things healthy. For newbie fishkeepers, a 20 gallon system is really the ideal starting point, and anything smaller just creating work for yourself. Even putting aside simple maintenance, fish that get to 10-20 cm, as your Gouramis will, just need more swimming space!> Oh, and after I wrote my last message I was trying to do some more research and came across the snakeskin Gourami. Our fish looks a lot like this type. I would also like to thank you for pointing me in the right direction on finding some reading information. I have already started in on the links! <All sounds like good news! Trichogaster pectoralis is a lovely aquarium fish, just a bit of a "Plain Jane" compared with some of the other species in the genus. You have probably come across it in another form though: it is, as I understand it, one of the key species used in Thai Fish Sauce, which you will certainly have consumed if you have ever eaten Thai Food. Mostly it is farmed in rice paddies for the table or for sauce making, but a few lucky ones get siphoned off into the aquarium trade, and yours is one of those that escaped the kitchen!> Have a great day (or maybe night for you). Shanah <It's still day here! Cheers, Neale.>

Twitching Gourami - 7/1/08 Hi there. I have a question I hope you can help... FW change induces Gourami beh. <Me too> I've had my red dwarf for about 6 months, and have never had a problem with cleaning the tank, and changing out the water. Yesterday I had to break the tank down again, and change everything due to having TONS of baby snails. Anyway, I changed his water, let it filter, and put him and his tank mates back into the tank. Well today I noticed that he twitches REALLY bad. Its really severe! I added "Aqua safe" to the tank thinking that would help... But, he is still twitching.. I don't know what to do for him. I don't have the heart to flush him! What should I do... <Just wait here... likely something re the change has triggered this... may well subside with time> I have another Gourami in another tank that I've had for 3 years, and his owner before me had him 4 years, I've never had this problem with him.. What have I done wrong?? <Not likely you so much as the "times"... water quality, sanitizer use changes...> NOTE: He's in a 10 gal. tank with 1 Pleco and 1 HUGE apple snail. Thank you for your time! <Patience my friend. This fish has nothing that is "catching". Bob Fenner>

Does my Gourami have dropsy or are they ready to spawn? 6/25/08 About a month ago, I inherited a "free" fish tank for my daughter's birthday - 20 gal tank with 3 blue Gouramis- 1 male, 2 female, 1 Black Skirt Tetra, and 1 Pleco - all are about 3 yrs old. <Hmm... at least some of these fish don't belong here. The Pleco can, will, get very big assuming it is one of the standard species. Expect 30+ cm, and obviously such a fish will be totally unsuitable for a tank this size. It will be a gross polluter, making the water filthy and this in turn will stress the fish and cause algae problems. So he needs to go. Black Skirt Tetras (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi) are nippy, schooling fish. Singletons may or may not be "happy", but they certainly have the potential to cause havoc. Gouramis would be prime targets for their fin-nipping habits, so keep an eye out. To round things off, male Blue Gouramis (Trichogaster Trichopsis) are notoriously aggressive once sexually mature. I personally don't rate the males at least as community fish, and certainly not in small tanks.> This was the dirtiest fish tank I have ever seen. Plastic plants and rock cave were almost black. I threw them out. My mom used to breed angels and Discus, and we checked out every Freshwater fish and aquarium reference book from our library so I know just enough to be dangerous. <Ah, no. Even a little knowledge is better than ignorance.> To transport the tank, we had to drop the water level to just a few inches. As soon as I got it home, I brought the water level up again with de-chlorinated water and changed the filter - it was completely clogged. Filter is just a Topfin 20. The gravel was too large and was completely green and full of waste. Looked like it hadn't been cleaned in 6 months. The water cleared up, but the tank was so filthy, I had to do a complete gravel change. <Gravel changes are rarely essential, but harmless assuming the tank doesn't use an undergravel filter. Do bear in mind that the "dirtiness" of a tank is a biological thing. If the tank is inherently overstocked and under-filtered (as yours is) the dirtiness will be right back again within months, perhaps weeks.> I put the fish in a 10 gallon holding tank with their "old" water, plus 80% water change while I cleaned the 20 gallon tank. Also ran the original filter and air pump. Fish seemed OK. Set up new tank with live plants and new gravel and allowed to cycle for 2 days. Tested water at LFS and all levels were good, except that ammonia was present - harmful, but not dangerous. <According to whom? All ammonia is dangerous. If you can detect it, you have a problem. My guess here is too many fish, coupled with the fact that lots of big fish = lots of food, so the filter can't cope either way. For a 20 gallon tank, I'd honestly take in everything you have and trade them in for something reasonable. Perhaps some nice small livebearers, such as Platies, plus a group (4+) of Corydoras catfish. I find a combination of understocking, healthy plants, snails and shrimps beats the algae problem, and makes for a very low maintenance, easy-on-the-eye aquarium.> I put the fish in anyway, as they had been in the dirty water long enough! Within hours of being in the new tank with plants, their color stared to come back. In a few days they started being more active. The male Gourami is now very aggressive and very territorial. <And so it begins... This species isn't my favourite by any means.> About a week ago, I noticed the water temp went from its normal 78F to almost 84F. The heater was broken, so I removed it altogether - home temp is usually around 76-78 anyway. Now - in the last week, one of the females seems to have dropsy, but I am not sure. The male's color has really deepened in the past week as well. He is dark blue and he is displaying his fins a lot. I not sure if he is preparing to spawn, because the bubbler moves the surface enough that he has a hard time making a real nest. I did change their diet from just flakes, to include dried bloodworms as well. One of the females seems to be very pale to me, the other has the bloat around the pectoral fin section that I see in many pictures on your website. She seems to hang by herself more, and hides from the male by the filter intake. He is pretty aggressive with the other two Gouramis, but especially the swollen one. He nudges, more than nips. My camera doesn't do a very good job, but I grabbed these photos from the web and she looks just like this. <<Stolen images not posted. RMF>> <It's certainly possible they are preparing to spawn. It's difficult to know, but if you see the male make his nest and then the female spend time with him nearby, the chances are that they are "in the mood for love". But do remember than male Gouramis (of whatever species) rear the fry alone -- they will drive away, even kill, the female after spawning because as far as he is concerned, she's a potential predator. Fine in the wild where the female goes off anyway, but in the confines of an aquarium, potentially chaotic.> Oh - Water tests have been good - all acceptable levels - Since the new arrivals in our home, I think I have been to the fish shops at least every other day picking up supplies, etc. They have been kind enough to test our water each time and I think we're in good shape there. <I do worry what you mean by "acceptable" levels. Please understand that there is no "acceptable" level of either ammonia or nitrite other than zero.> I do not have a quarantine tank, in case she does have dropsy - I moved my Betta from his half gallon plastic "tank" to the 10 gallon tank. <For which your Betta is I'm surely eternally grateful! Do consider expanding that tank a bit, by trying out low-light plant species, shrimps, Nerite snails, maybe even some dwarf catfish such as Corydoras hastatus.> What now? I don't want to medicate if it isn't necessary, but how do i know for sure? And what if they do spawn, can I safely put the females with the Betta in the 10 gallon tank to separate them from the male? <In theory, yes, but bizarrely enough the male Betta might get a bit threatening. Conversely, some otherwise community-safe fish nip the fins of Bettas just because they can.> What do I do with the other 2 fish - the Tetra and Pleco? <Trade 'em in.> If all is well, I would like to upgrade the filter to an Eheim ECCO and change the Pleco for a less "productive" algae-eater - any suggestions? - and perhaps add a few Danios or Long-finned Rosy Barbs. <The Eheim filter is excellent, though price-wise the 'Classic' line is better value in terms of turnover (litres/hour) versus cost. The big thing with the ECCO range is that they're easy to set-up and use. That's a decision only you can make, knowing your own budget. Either way, Eheim filters are superb. As for algae-eaters, none of the fish sold as such are any good, at least by themselves. Unless you have reasonably good plant growth, algae is going to be a problem either way, and adding extra fish just means there's more nitrate in the water, and so the algae can grow faster. In a balanced aquarium, I find that a combination of Nerite snails and algae-eating shrimps (such as Cherry Shrimps) makes a FAR BETTER job of controlling algae than any fish I've kept. And I say this as someone who's kept fish for 25 years and tried out just about every type algae-eating fish there is.> The tank is planted enough that they will have refuge from the Gouramis. Would this be a good combination? <Rosy Barbs are subtropical fish, and don't really belong in this aquarium. Moreover at up to 12 cm long in aquaria, they would need a tank twice the size as yours to have anything like the swimming space they need. Danios are variable, and some prefer relatively cool water (22-25C) compared with "true" tropical fish, so research the species available in your area carefully. They need lots of space, at least a tank 60 cm in length.> Also - how about Blue Emperor Tetras or Gold Danios with the Betta - (Aqua Clear filter) <No, don't mix these with Bettas; Bettas are too easily nipped. Instead go for shrimps and/or inoffensive bottom feeders like dwarf Corydoras.> Love, love love your forum. Thanks so much. Sandy <Cheers, Neale.>

Follow up -with new problem... Re: Does my Gourami have dropsy or are they ready to spawn?  6/27/08 <RMF in for Neale...> So we traded for credit - the Pleco, the skirted Tetra, and 1 Gourami yesterday - which we thought was a female, but was in fact the second male Gourami - hence all the extra aggression from the alpha male Gourami, which we kept with the suspected gravid female (My daughter couldn't bear the thought of missing the egg drama - so I decided to wait and see how the pair does) they immediately seemed calmer - Last night I noticed what I thought was a little bit of pink on the right fin joint of the male Gourami - and decided to watch and wait. <Good> This morning, his whole fin on that side is decidedly pink-red - I'm not sure if this is an injury from swimming between the rear glass and the filter intake - which he does a lot - or if it is an infection, or an infection caused by a injury? <Likely the latter> I am going to the LFS today and will pick up some Melafix, <Mmm, I would not> in case you advise me to use it, but will wait to hear back from you. <See WWM re> Also - the male seems off today - even more than just calm since we go rid of the other fish - even his color seems off all of a sudden. They are hanging together a lot- seem to be "cuddling" and swimming . I also notice him near the top of the tank in "his corner" a lot, and she rests at the bottom of the tank among the plants. I am very suspicious that she actually has Dropsy and he has some other kind of infection. <I would hold off on the use of any "medicines"... wait and see if this all self-cures. Much more trouble to be had by mis-medicating> My plan is to wait and see if any spawning happens, and then to trade them in, so my daughter can have her egg-sperience. If they are sick, then I will have to treat them as well and then go from there. Took your advice about the shrimp and snail. We already had a Yellow Apple/Mystery Snail and we're looking for a Cherry Shrimp or two - no one has them in Orlando - so we'll wait. Also looking for a Zebra Nerite Snail - any ideas where to get them? <Just to call about the local fish stores... They may be able/willing to order for you> What do you think about the Gouramis? Should I treat with salt bath, or Melafix? <Mmm, if anything the salt> I am also doing a water change later this evening. <Good> Thanks again, Sandy <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

2nd follow up Re: Follow up -with new problem...Re: Does my Gourami have dropsy or are they ready to spawn? Follow up to follow up - -- 06/28/08 Today after last night's 40% water change with 1 tsp aquarium salt/ gallon in the new water, he is more himself again and fin seems improved. <Ah, good> It is not quite as red, and he seems much more mobile. He's swimming around quite normally and she is doing the same. Noticed same fin irritation starting on hers - and just like his - only on the right fin. But hers is just beginning like his was 2 nights ago. Will continue to watch and wait. Nothing happening as far as nesting, but I guess he's not feeling 100% with the fin. I moved some plants around to discourage them from swimming behind the filter intake. I am amazed at how much calmer they both are without the extra company in the tank. Would you advise adding some Stress coat to the water, or just leave well enough alone for now? <The last> Thanks again. Sandy <Welcome, BobF>

Gourami, Trichogaster, dis., reading  12/10/07 Hello, <Hi there> I have a blue Gourami that has a slightly swollen mouth and is unable to eat. This fish was a particularly aggressive fish in our 30 gallon tank and ate very well at feeding times. Because of his aggressiveness I purchased a 10 gallon tank to put him in. I let it cycle for one week <Mmm, not long enough> and went out of town for Thanksgiving. When I returned, my mother had put the fish in the 10 gallon tank because she was concerned that he was becoming overly aggressive with the other fish. ( I have since made my mother understand that she is NOT to handle the care of my fish...lol!) <Mmm, better, in my estimation, to engage your mother in this hobby interest... inform, educate her, enlist her help/association> My tank has perfect PH and all of the levels are fine. <What does this mean?> He has plenty of oxygen from a bubbler, great filtration with carbon and a heater set to 80 degrees and tank salt. <Don't need, "like" salt/s> I noticed his mouth a little swollen about 3 weeks ago and he gradually stopped eating. His mouth barely opens enough to get oxygen and he certainly can not open it enough to inhale his food. He actively seeks out food but can not eat. He pushes his lips out so far that I'm able to see the muscles that attach his lips to his face. There are no other changes to the fish that I can notice. His color is fine. I have noticed that he hides a lot from me but I attribute that to his being sick. He is currently living with 4 cherry barbs and they all seem to be fine. No aggressiveness, and the barbs eat just fine. None of his symptoms started until I introduced the barbs to his tank. Should I take the barbs out? <No... I would leave all in> I did a 20 percent water change about a week ago and for 4 days now I've been treating the tank with Pimafix. <Worthless> Per suggestion from Petco. It's an antifungal all natural remedy. <Is a fake... a tea... if you get sick...> It's not working. Now my fish have Ich. <... likely bought on by stress... the "Fix"...> I've treated the tank once yesterday for Ich but now I'm worried that I have too much medication in the tank. <....> I hate that my baby is not eating and per suggestion of another fish store they suggested that I euthanize him by putting him a baggie of water and putting him in the freezer....YIKES!!! Any suggestions? Thank you kindly. Regards, Dolly Ruiz <Yes. For you to read re treating Ich... and the diseases of this Gourami... Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gourdisfaq4.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>  

My Gourami has brownish reddish blotches on him like blood under the  scales.   11/25/06 His fins are no longer translucent.  No other fish in the  tank are effected.  What is wrong with it?  Any ideas?   Jake King Bristol, IL <Have seen this sort of symptom again and again... And speculations that it could be resultant from Costia, other Protozoans, or fluke infestations, genetic anomaly, "dirty" water... Generally, whatever the real root cause/s may be, this condition will disappear of its own accord with maintaining these Gouramis in stable, optimized environment with decent nutrition. Bob Fenner>

Sores on dwarf Gouramis   8/29/06 Hi there, <Hello> I mailed a few days ago about some red sores on my dwarf Gouramis and you kindly pointed me to some info on Hexamita.  I've treated my tank with a Metronidazole medication about 3 days ago but I'm not seeing any change in the fish. <Takes... weeks to show improvement>   They are eating and somewhat active, but they still have white and red sores, and the top fin appears as though it might be clamped.  Fish poops have been clear and white, and stringy, and the sores are on the base of tail fins, with white puffy areas on sides of the head, white patches on the top and bottom fins, and some holes in top fins. <Good observations, info.> How long should it be before I see a change, and should I dose with the Metronidazole again at some point? <Mmm, weeks and no> I've read that Hexamita is unusual in Gouramis, <Not so> and that maybe I should be treating this with Maracyn, <... the antibiotic Erythromycin? For what?> but I don't want to keep guessing.  I'm having an extremely hard time figuring this out.  Thanks for any advice you can give.  If I may ask, I wish to remain unpublished. Thanks again, B. <Won't be publishing your or anyone else's email address w/o their express consent. Bob Fenner>

Dead Three-spot Gourami ... Mela "fixed"   5/26/06 Hello all! <Miss E.> I really hope someone can answer my question, although it's too late. I'm only hoping info will keep this from happening again! Here's my setup's in question: 20 gallon tank 1 angel 1 Gourami 2 tinfoil barbs <Mmm, will get too large for this size system> 1 sucker <Keep your eye on this...> 2 live plants (one which insists on floating around the tank and will not stay grounded!) Water all in norms now - there was a bit of nitrite but I did a gravel clean and water change and added salt and it's now back to normal. Temp is between 80-82 (hard to tell with my therm) 10 gallon tank 1 Betta Water fine, temp around 80 as well. I also did an ammonia test on both tanks and both tested 'safe'. This is what happened: My Angelfish has been pecking at my three-spot Gourami for about two weeks now, and I began to worry. Neither showed any signs of stress... <The pecking itself...> no ripped fins, no missing scales, eating and swimming normally. But, after talking to some people who had problems housing the two together in the past, decided it was much better to move the Gourami out. Sooo, I moved my Betta back into his five gallon that I had kept going (luckily!) and the Gourami into the ten gallon. I then left for work... When I came home everyone was happy in my 20 gallon, my Betta was flaring outrageously... my Gourami had large dark discoloration between his two spots! <Mood indicator... upset at being moved> I immediately tested my water... nothing  was out of whack, so with no clue what was wrong I treated with Melafix. <...> He was still swimming normally, so I fed him some dried bloodworms and a few flakes. And he ate them all with his usual slurping. This is also what I normally feed all my fish, except the Betta, but I digress. About 2 hours later he was dead. This is pretty much everything I have in the ten gallon: The usual aquarium gravel A ceramic coral 'thing' A ceramic alligator 2 'silk' plants <These are fine> I bought all of this at various pet shops, and Wal-Mart, all supposedly safe for aquariums. Well, that's the gist of what happened. I don't think I left anything out! Thanks for your time reading all of that ;) <... I suspect the "Fix" did your fish in... along with the stress of being harassed by the angel, the move into the ten. Bob Fenner>
Dead Three-spot Gourami (Bob Fenner) Hey, I'm still alive!    5/28/06
Thank you for the quick response, Mr. Fenner! <Welcome> From what I understand then, instead of trying to 'treat' my fish that look sick, I should first make sure I know what's wrong with them? Because that's excellent advice and I feel like an idiot! <Not an idiotic statement at all... Au contraire! Yes to the very important steps of careful observation and patience> I do have another question though: If I had left him alone to adjust, would it have been likely he would have survived? <Not able to state/guess... many such problems do resolve themselves on their own. It is my estimation that much more livestock is "bumped off" than dies, by "mis-medication", treatments by well-meaning aquarists, than by "natural causes". Bob Fenner>

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