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Old 09-11-2023, 12:04 AM   #1
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Honey Gourami erratic swimming

Hi! My honey gourami started displaying strange swimming behavior at times. Most of the time she is at a top of the tank, hiding behind the filter and acts her usual self. But I noticed a few times in the morning and evenings she will dart and swim across the tank back and forth as if she is spooked and trying to escape, even try to jump out, hit the sides of the tank. Today I noticed that after the above mentioned darting her swim is little circles/obit herself like 6-10 times and go back to completely normal.

Is this okay?

I have had her for 7-8 months. Same tank. No other gouramis. No new additions to the tank. Parameters are fine. 45 gallons. Water changes done weekly (40-50%). Gravel vac weekly.

Should I worry?

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Old 09-11-2023, 08:03 AM   #2
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Is this happening at the same time as a sudden change in light intensity? Maybe coinciding with the aquarium lights coming on/ off? Or when the aquarium lights are off and you turn a room light on or open the curtains?
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Old 09-11-2023, 09:30 AM   #3
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It might be a sign of stress if that one is lonely since they do better in a good size group. Having a larger group makes them more comfortable and they will actually come out more and not hide so much.
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Old 09-11-2023, 09:37 AM   #4
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I don’t think it is correlated to light changes since she doesn’t always do it when lights change. I assume she is a she because she has a dark line.

She has been solo for a while. Could she have gotten stressed and lonely suddenly? Should I get a partner for her?
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Old 09-11-2023, 09:46 AM   #5
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More friends!

I would definitely try some more gouramis. I would suggest at least 4-5 more and clean and rearrange the decor right before adding them so your gourami doesn't go into auto territorial mode, it might help.
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Old 09-11-2023, 09:53 AM   #6
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She did it again. This time me taking picture of her perhaps spokeed her. She darted and then did circles and then positioned herself weirdly nose down in grass for a good 15 second or more and then swam up and behind the filter. Is this a swim bladder issue?
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Old 09-11-2023, 10:15 AM   #7
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More gouramis!

I think you may have a female that is ready to breed. That can be stressful if she is the only one in the tank. I still suggest adding 4-5 more gouramis and having a happy population. She is very pretty!
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Old 09-11-2023, 11:41 AM   #8
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Oh my!! Can I add just one male? I am really concerned about overstocking this tank.
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Old 09-11-2023, 12:13 PM   #9
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More gouramis

If you only add a male and they do end up breeding he might stress her out trying to keep her away from the bubble nest. It's best to keep a group so one fish is not tormented so much. Having 6 gouramis I your tank is definitely not too much especially with the water changes you are doing, just take care not to over feed. You have a good size take to add!
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Old 09-11-2023, 12:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alutz View Post
If you only add a male and they do end up breeding he might stress her out trying to keep her away from the bubble nest. It's best to keep a group so one fish is not tormented so much. Having 6 gouramis I your tank is definitely not too much especially with the water changes you are doing, just take care not to over feed. You have a good size take to add!
With all due respect, Honey Gouramis are not schooling fish and adding a male will not solve this issue IME. Gouramis, or Anabantids in general, become very aggressive towards their mates after spawning so the females would need to be removed from the aquarium after spawning for her own protection.
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Old 09-11-2023, 12:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Fishymishy View Post
Oh my!! Can I add just one male? I am really concerned about overstocking this tank.
Please read my post at #10

If your fish returns to " normal" after these episodes, it's a sign that she was startled and possibly reacting to hitting herself on the tank wall or decoration. She could be startled by lights going on or off, people entering the room, other pets passing by the tank, other fish in the tank, any number of things. What other fish are in the tank with her?
The best you can do is add more hiding spots ( plants, hollow decorations, etc) so that she knows there are places for her to hide should she get startled and the more hiding spots they have, the more secure they get which will reduce the things that startle her.
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Old 09-11-2023, 12:29 PM   #12
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Addendum

Agreed that they are not a schooling fish but more of a gregarious fish and just having one fish in a 45 gal can be stressful. I have had a few different breeds of gouramis that have " bred" ( I didn't raise the fry) and they do seem to work out a sense of order when there is a bigger population to keep them distracted but of course this is just my experience.
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Old 09-11-2023, 01:06 PM   #13
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I have too many fish in this tank imho. I already upgraded it to 45 from 29 because I felt bad for them. I have 16 tetras (rummy and neon kind), 2 ottos, shrimp, a few snails, one guppy, one German ram and 6 small Coryís
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Old 09-11-2023, 01:30 PM   #14
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I have too many fish in this tank imho. I already upgraded it to 45 from 29 because I felt bad for them. I have 16 tetras (rummy and neon kind), 2 ottos, shrimp, a few snails, one guppy, one German ram and 6 small Coryís
So it could be one of the cories coming up to the surface for a gulp or an Oto mistaking the fish for a leaf and attaching to it that could have caused a startle. Unfortunately, you have fish that prefer different setups. The Gourami prefers a slow moving water filled with plant life and tree branches while your Tetras and Cories prefer a faster moving water. ( This is contradictory to what was believed years ago but there are many videos of Tetras and Cories in their native habitats that are swift flowing areas.) So what you can do is put in a lot of floating plant types ( ie Guppy grass, Hornwort, etc.) for the Gourami to find slow moving areas of water while your filter or a wave pump moves a lot of the water at the lower level of the tank.
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Old 09-11-2023, 01:43 PM   #15
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Agreed that they are not a schooling fish but more of a gregarious fish and just having one fish in a 45 gal can be stressful. I have had a few different breeds of gouramis that have " bred" ( I didn't raise the fry) and they do seem to work out a sense of order when there is a bigger population to keep them distracted but of course this is just my experience.
There are a few different families of Gouramis so what might have worked for one family would not be good for another. For example: Pearl Gouramis do better in groups while Dwarf gouramis get very territorial. Any of the 3 spot varieties (Trichogaster trichopterus) will all get along because besides their colors, they are all the same fish while helostomatidae ( Kissing Gourami) only really get along in a group when there is one male to a lot of females. The problem is that males and females look the same until the females pudge out when gravid. The kissing part is not affection, it's aggression. So your experience may have worked for what species you tried but it's not universal.
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Old 09-11-2023, 02:01 PM   #16
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Could she be started by her own reflection?

This is a large acrylic tank so I assume she can see her reflection in it?
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Old 09-11-2023, 02:13 PM   #17
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Could she be started by her own reflection?

This is a large acrylic tank so I assume she can see her reflection in it?
Sadly, anything is possible. The real clue is that she returns to " normal". If she was sick or under constant duress, she would not return to normal. You can test your reflection theory by placing a dark paper on the sides of the tank to eliminate any reflection. If this solves the issue, your theory was right.
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Old 09-11-2023, 07:32 PM   #18
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Things are not looking good. I heard her dart and ran into the room and she was swimming unnaturally and then floated upside down, fell down and stayed upside down at the bottom like she was dying. I gave her an epsom bath (1 tablespoon per gallon for 10 minutes and then had her in another one with a quarter of a table spoon). No poops came out. Thinking of it, I havenít seen her produce those crazy long poops in days. I am now worried it could be parasites. I had a Pygmy Cory die of what I thought was swim bladder caused by constipation but she/he released 3 red worms when she died. I treated the tanks but only once so I worry some worms hatched or got in from plants or shrimp. While this Pygmy was in another tank, I could have maybe transferred worms to this this 45 gallon tank. All the other fish look good though and only chuna looks off. I donít know what to do but chuna is my favorite fish from this whole tank so I am going nuclear here. She is in a hospital tank with expel p and parancleanse. I also have food laced with meds, like febendaze and I have kanamycin on hand. Would it be too much to treat her with this stuff. I donít want to stress her but I donít want her to die. I think she is dying!!!! I am beyond heart broken.
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Old 09-11-2023, 08:22 PM   #19
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Well this is a different picture than what you first posted.
You have to give the paracleanse or expel-p a chance to work. If it's intestinal worms, those should treat it. You may have waited too long to treat tho so no guarantees it will work. It would only be by autopsy if she dies that you can confirm any internal worms or abnormalities unless they expel after the treatment. The fish looked pretty well fed in the pictures so a week without eating should do no harm to her. You can add epsom salt directly to the hospital tank to help reduce the stress from netting to give her the baths. Use 1/8 teaspoons of Epsom salt to 5 gallons of water. Replace the Epsom salt at that rate when you do water changes. That's about all you can do now.
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Old 09-12-2023, 10:19 PM   #20
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Update. Chuna is alive and I haven’t observed any darting or sinking. She got another soak in epsom salt and is still in medicated water post soak - I changed water and dosed same dose of paracleanse and expel p to keep ammonia at bay (it’s zero). I had to do this since the filter I am using in the hospital tank is not cycles.

I believe I saw poop (little light brown tiny string) but no worms. She is not eating (I think). It’s been just slightly over 24 hours. Should I continue with the treatment (expel p and paracleanse)? Or should I continue with paracleanse?
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