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Old 08-27-2018, 09:44 AM   #1
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Gourami advice needed

My gouramis keep dying.

I have had this 55 gallon freshwater tank for 3 months. Originally it had a school of 6 boisterous Australian (Murray river) rainbowfish in it. I then bought 2 "sunset gouramis" which the pet store assured me would be ok with the rainbows. Well, the gouramis were too slow to get any food because even though they were well-fed, these rainbows acted like they were starving every time they were fed which was 3 times a day! So after 2 days and one of the gouramis pectoral fins being damaged, I removed the rainbows. Ok so then huge 55 gallon tank had just 2 tiny (1-1.5 inch) gouramis. Everything was great. Gouramis perked up and ate well and the one with a damaged fin it started to grow back. Within a week, the undamaged gourami started chasing the damaged (recovering) one even though they had stuck together before that. The undamaged one's coloration began to change at this point as well. It got a darker hue on its belly area. I thought maybe it's a male and not a female like we thought. Less than 2 weeks after we bought it, the damaged one was dead. No marks on it, just couldn't swim right one day and dead by morning. Very fast. Waited a week to be sure they werent diseased and the lone gourami was fine. Ate, grew some. Continued having darker color on its belly and dorsal fin became more pointed. That means it's a male, I think. Kept testing water, and doing 25% water changes weekly as normal. All parameters good. Went to a different LFS (with a better reputation NOT a chain this time) and with advice bought 4 male platys (they were out of females) and a 2.5 inch female blue (3 spot) gourami. Brought them home and the darn sunset gets along fine with the platys but chases the blue and rams her sometimes. Shes bigger than the sunset but seems more docile. He pushed her around some but it's a big tank and each figured out where they wanted to be over the course of a week and after the first couple days they seemed to get along better and the blue seemed less timid, swam around more, didn't hide anymore. The sunset stayed by itself or with the platys. The blue was mostly on her own but the platys didnt bother her and some of them stayed near her at times. All seemed well; water parameters continued to be good. Night before last, the blue wasn't to be found. After a few hours she re-appeared unharmed. She must've been inside something. The next day she didnt eat with the others and that night i couldnt find her again. Figured she'd come out like she had before but this morning she's dead next to a big urn decoration. The snail had her so she had a mark where his mouth had been sucking on her but other than that no marks. What's going on here? Bad luck or is the other gourami ramming fish to death when I'm not looking? Or is there some kind of disease that isn't affecting everyone? I wanted a big tank with good sized fish in it. This isn't my first tank, I've had smaller 10-20 gallon community tanks and 2-10 gallon betta tanks over the course of the last 20 years with almost no problems. I'm not a rookie fish keeper. I just don't understand what's happening.

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Old 08-27-2018, 10:17 AM   #2
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Are you putting these new fish in a quarantine tank for a few weeks before adding them to the new tank?
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:54 AM   #3
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No I'm not. I've never heard of that or been advised to do so before by anyone or by any book I've ever read on the subject.
I'm not sure an extra tank would be possible, my 10 gallon has a betta in it and I have no other tanks.
If it was an illness, wouldn't there be symptoms and wouldn't the other fish all get it?
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Old 08-27-2018, 12:52 PM   #4
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Not necessarily. All your fish COULD get sick from one or more fish but not always. The weakest fish or one's with compromised immune systems could get infected with disease or have disease that isn't immediately showing during purchase. It's generally a good idea to keep a quarantine tank....say a 10 gallon.....to house new fish for a few weeks before adding them to your established tank of fish. This would be to observe your new fish for illness and gives them time to potentially develop any disease that they may have and wasn't showing signs of during purchase. If they develop disease in quarantine then you can easily treat the quarantine tank to heal the fish. Some medications you add according to a certain amount of gallons of water. Treating a 10g quarantine tank is a lot cheaper and easier to manage than a 55g. The goal is to protect your established fish from new fish bringing in disease. I never used quarantine tanks in the beginning. Then I got tired of fighting ich from new store bought fish infecting my established fish. Just an idea to consider. I've had success with it.

The fact you have kept healthy fish in your tank, your tank parameters are good, and you are only having problems with new fish.....it seems they maybe sick with something before you bought them???

In the case of your last death I would guess that your bully Gourami may have bullied the new one to death. I've only ever kept a single Gourami in a tank....never a pair or multiples so I can't give personal accounts. I do know they are territorial and can be aggressive with their own kind. You might just have a big a**hole of a Gourami that will be hard if not impossible to manage with his own kind. That being said, you might consider just leaving him by himself and adding more different species of fish.

Out of curiosity, what are your tested tank readings?
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Old 08-27-2018, 01:21 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice!! I had been wondering if I could just keep 1 gourami but all I had read kept suggesting pairs or 3-5. I definitely think this guy needs to be the only gourami. I'm going to leave things as is ( 55 gallons is a lot of space for 5 smallish fish but oh well ) for a few weeks and see how things go. And before I add any new fish in the future I will definitely try the quarantine approach! Can't believe I never heard of that before. Makes so much sense!

the levels were ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, ph 7.2ish using API master test kit.

Thanks for your help
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Old 08-28-2018, 12:25 AM   #6
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Are you sure about the nitrates?? You should have some sort of reading. Zeroed out on everything would indicate your tank isn't cycled. You gotta really shake/bang the hell out of the nitrate test bottles for a minute each before using them.

I've kept one Gourami in two separate tanks in the past. Both were dwarf. Both didn't mess with any of it's tank mates of different species. Just did their own thing.

If your tank is in fact cycled I'd wait out about a month and like you said, see how it goes. Maybe in the meantime get a 10g QT tank, heater, and smaller HOB or airstones. You can leave it bare bottom. Make sure you are changing the water regularly as it most likely won't be cycled. I tend to change 50% of the water every 2 to 3 days depending on how many fish I got in QT. You can gauge the water change schedule with your API test kit. Do daily tests to get it dialed in.
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Old 08-28-2018, 09:51 AM   #7
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I have kept gourami's for several years including now. When you say sunset gourami do you mean the small one? They are often mislabeled. Anyway, I agree with King, you have a bully and whoever is targeted is going to get weak and die of stress. Fish have their own personalities

I have been keeping a Honey Sunset Gourami (male) and a Golden Gourami (female) in a 35 gallon tank and they are best friends, sometimes I think they hold fins (like holding hands) LOL. AquaAdvisor says they CANNOT be together they will kill each other. Well it's been months and they are buds. One thing I started using is Kordon's Fish Protector in all my tanks it helps with non infected scrapes, torn fins and slime coat. Also as King said you have to shake that #2 Nitrate bottle like crazy for 2 minutes straight. Then the test tube for a minute. You should have some nitrates.
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Old 08-31-2018, 09:19 AM   #8
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I am only giving my personal experience advice here, I have been keeping gourami for years. I would only keep one kind in a tank. I had a species tank once of honeys and it did well. Now I have pearls in my 55 gallon. My pair died this summer at 4 years old. I only have one male in a tank at a time. Personally, I would not have any gourami larger than a pearl in a 55 gallon tank.
Hope some of this is helpful and good luck.
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Old 08-31-2018, 09:22 AM   #9
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Oh, one thing. The honey gourami I have kept have never lived as long as the pearls. They make about 1-2 years if that.
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Old 08-31-2018, 09:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishliker View Post
Oh, one thing. The honey gourami I have kept have never lived as long as the pearls. They make about 1-2 years if that.
The pearls are beautiful. I have bad luck with them, they die within 2 weeks perhaps they don't like my water.
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Old 08-31-2018, 09:57 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Coralocean View Post
The pearls are beautiful. I have bad luck with them, they die within 2 weeks perhaps they don't like my water.


Thatís too bad. They are my favorite fish. Donít know if this helps but the only thing unusual about my tank (I think) is my pH is about 7.5.
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