A couple of months ago, I added some honey gouramis to my 160L community tank. It is generally a very peaceful tank. Aside from the occasional scuffle amongst the cherry barbs, everything is calm. There is no cross-species aggression whatsoever, to my knowledge.
There are 3 yellow honey gouramis - 2 male and one female. The 2 males have their black mating stripes. All 3 get on fine together and there are no issues between the males. There are also 2 “red honey gouramis” - both females. That is what they were sold as, but I am aware that there is some debate within the hobby about whether they are really true honeys or actually thick-lipped / honey hybrids. Anyway, these two reds get on absolutely fine with the yellow honeys. No issues at all with aggression, even against the female yellow honey. The problem lies squarely between the two female reds. There seems to be one slightly larger / more dominant one, and she’s a bit of a bully to the other. This usually means chasing her off when she sees her. It is brief, rather than a sustained chase, but it happens quite regularly. Frustratingly, it is a heavily planted tank with plenty of breaks in eye-line and there are lots of hiding places including caves etc. Yet neither of them seems to have staked a “territory” - they both swim all over the tank, and they often seem to have an altercation when they inevitably meet.
Does anyone have any suggestions about how to deal with this? Do I just leave them to it? Do I admit defeat and rehome one? Would adding a third red female help or make it worse? It seems strange to me that the red bully has no hostility at all towards the yellow honeys, including the smaller female (which I’d have thought would be the most obvious target).
Water parameters are all fine. Other tank mates are: cherry barbs, albino cories, otocinclus affinis, bn pleco.
Any help or advice, much appreciated. Thank you.