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Old 11-18-2021, 07:10 PM   #1
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“Red Honey” Gourami bullying

Hi all,

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.

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Old 11-19-2021, 02:21 PM   #2
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If the bullied fish is eating ok and not getting hurt i dont think there is an issue. If you feel that she isnt get enough to eat or there are injuries you should consider rehoming one.

I have 2 female angelfish that dont get along. The smaller one beat up the bigger one quite badly. The bigger one recovered in quarantine, reintroduced. The smaller one immediately went on the offensive. Put the smaller one in QT for a week. Reintroduced, all was well for a few weeks. Smaller fish tried it again. Put back on timeout. Not had the same issues since i put them back together for the 3rd time. They still dont get along, but its not that i fear for one or the others life. The bigger one also seems more willing to look after herself. Perhaps a timeout might help?
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Old 11-19-2021, 03:01 PM   #3
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Thanks, Aiken. I really appreciate what you do on here.

As far as I know, neither fish has been injured, and the smaller one seems to eat fine. She gets shooed off sometimes but always finds enough elsewhere to eat. It just seems strange that they don’t make any effort to even try to avoid eachother. I would have thought the weaker one would stay out of her way, or they’d stake out different territories. But the weaker one doesn’t seem to make any effort to avoid the bully.

I guess I’ll just let them figure it out then. The bully is currently having a bit of time out in the QT, so we’ll see if that helps.

Thanks again.
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Old 11-21-2021, 11:38 AM   #4
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So I’ve put the red honey “bully” back in, and so far she’s behaving herself (although it’s early days).

On the topic of gouramis, I was wondering if you had any ideas as to why my yellow honey has a “dimple” half way along her back? It even seems to split the dorsal fin into two, although it’s hard to get a good photo. Is it just a birth defect type thing?
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Old 11-21-2021, 11:39 AM   #5
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Old 11-21-2021, 11:39 AM   #6
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