Advice for a gourami themed tank

Heather7465

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It annoys most fish, because it is completely unnatural. Light reflects off white which makes it even worse. Fish maintained over white sand are usually paler than those over a darker substrate. The overhead light has an impact too, obviously.

I personally find white glaring to look at in an aquarium. That in itself is suggestive.
Byron,
Then that explains why half of my panda corydoras are turning pale. I started my aquarium last October and slowly over time their black is turned pale. A few of them have translucent dorsal fins. Without any signs of fraying or fin rot. Tomorrow I'll go to Lowes and buy the grey Quikrete play sand you suggest.
Can you tell me how you would go about changing substrate in a cycled aquarium with fish? Do I remove my fish, snail, & plants into a bucket then remove old/add new substrate? Or can this be done with fish & snail left in the aquarium? (and I work around them). I do not have a big aquarium so it should be somewhat easy either way, but I don't know which would stress them out more.

Glad you mentioned this. No one has ever mentioned to me at a store or friends with aquariums to choose darker sand substrate. White or sand colors are easier to find at Petsmart than the latter.
 

Byron

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Byron,
Then that explains why half of my panda corydoras are turning pale. I started my aquarium last October and slowly over time their black is turned pale. A few of them have translucent dorsal fins. Without any signs of fraying or fin rot. Tomorrow I'll go to Lowes and buy the grey Quikrete play sand you suggest.
Can you tell me how you would go about changing substrate in a cycled aquarium with fish? Do I remove my fish, snail, & plants into a bucket then remove old/add new substrate? Or can this be done with fish & snail left in the aquarium? (and I work around them). I do not have a big aquarium so it should be somewhat easy either way, but I don't know which would stress them out more.

Glad you mentioned this. No one has ever mentioned to me at a store or friends with aquariums to choose darker sand substrate. White or sand colors are easier to find at Petsmart than the latter.

There can be other reasons for pale colours of course, but a white substrate is most certainly one of them. Just to explain a bit further...fish (and amphibians) possess specialized cells called melanophores that contain hundreds of melanin-filled pigment granules, termed melanosomes. The sole function of these cells is pigment aggregation in the center of the cell or dispersion throughout the cytoplasm, thus altering the shade of colour. The melanophore cells are themselves light sensitive and respond directly to light by melanosome translocations. The fish can also adjust the melanosomes voluntarily in response to environmental stimuli, stress, and social interactions. Fish in the store tank often appear pale, or after being netted and bagged will often be without any colour. Fish kept in brightly-lit tanks will frequently exhibit much less intense colouration. In all these cases, this “washed out” appearance is a natural response caused by stress.

Changing the substrate is a big job, and while some say they do it with the fish still in the tank, I never would. I've done this more times than I care to remember, but I've always put the fish in a temporary aquarium (smaller) with the heater and filter (depending upon type) running on the temp tank. Some of the decor, and the floating plants can go in the temp tank to help calm the fish. This allows me to take all day and wait until the following day before putting the fish back if needed. Removing the substrate is removing most of the various bacteria but with the filter left alone and with plants, this is not an issue.
 

Heather7465

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There can be other reasons for pale colours of course, but a white substrate is most certainly one of them. Just to explain a bit further...fish (and amphibians) possess specialized cells called melanophores that contain hundreds of melanin-filled pigment granules, termed melanosomes. The sole function of these cells is pigment aggregation in the center of the cell or dispersion throughout the cytoplasm, thus altering the shade of colour. The melanophore cells are themselves light sensitive and respond directly to light by melanosome translocations. The fish can also adjust the melanosomes voluntarily in response to environmental stimuli, stress, and social interactions. Fish in the store tank often appear pale, or after being netted and bagged will often be without any colour. Fish kept in brightly-lit tanks will frequently exhibit much less intense colouration. In all these cases, this “washed out” appearance is a natural response caused by stress.

Changing the substrate is a big job, and while some say they do it with the fish still in the tank, I never would. I've done this more times than I care to remember, but I've always put the fish in a temporary aquarium (smaller) with the heater and filter (depending upon type) running on the temp tank. Some of the decor, and the floating plants can go in the temp tank to help calm the fish. This allows me to take all day and wait until the following day before putting the fish back if needed. Removing the substrate is removing most of the various bacteria but with the filter left alone and with plants, this is not an issue.
Thank you! You've been a big help!!
 

Essjay

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Gouramis have a spectrum of behaviour; some species are at the aggressive end of the spectrum, others are at the less aggressive end. But even the least aggressive species are still gouramis. Males will still fight each other. Males will still chase females when they want to breed. The more peaceful gouramis don't usually attack other fish and males don't usually harass females to death. Gouramis at the aggressive end of the spectrum have been know to do both of these.
When people say pearl gouramis are peaceful, they really mean pearl gouramis are 'peaceful for gouramis'.
 

Heather7465

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Does it also depend on the fish temperament? At the aquarium store I watched the behavior of all the male Honey Gourami's and how they interacted with eachother. Many males were aggressively chasing one another except for about three of the male gourami's. Honey Gourami's are listed peaceful.
 

Slaphppy7

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For the OP, I'd like to comment on your filter choice:

Consider something (anything) other than a UGF for filtration. They aren't used much anymore, and for good reasons, they are very hard to clean w/out disrupting the substrate and decor, and because of this, become nitrAte harbors...there are many other filter choices besides UGFs that will do the job just fine, without all of the hassle.

Just my 2 cents on that part of the tank...
 

Heather7465

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Might I add peacock gudgeon gobies as a potential tankmate. They don't seem to come up as a suggestion very often as they don't fit the usual groupings, but they are characterful, peaceful and use all levels of the tank. I have them with honey gouramis and they seem a good mix. They shoal loosely or can be kept singly I gather. Mine all seem pretty independent.
I had one peacock gudgeon with cories and one honey gourami. That little guy was mean (territorial I'm guessing). After a few days in my tank he starting nipping tail fins off the other fish. Maybe I had a bad apple
 

jinjerJOSH22

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I wouldn't be too afraid to keep multiple males together in a group especially in a tank that size. As mentioned space plays a big part. I've kept male Pearls together with a female in a 4ft tank, I made the mistake of moving them all to a smaller tank which didn't end well unfortunately.

A lot is made of keeping multiple species together but for me it's usually been without issue. I kept my Pearls and Three Spots together for a good while before moving my Pearls to their own tank, well one shared with a group of Moonlights. My Three Spots were with my Snakeskins.
The key factor for me is having a group of the same species, they usually keep within themselves.
Most if not all Gourami are social however I would still avoid Dwarfs with a 10ft poll, their aggression along with their health is reason enough.

Edit: the group of Three Spots had 3 males and 6 females.
 

The_Labyrinth

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Gouramis have a spectrum of behaviour; some species are at the aggressive end of the spectrum, others are at the less aggressive end. But even the least aggressive species are still gouramis. Males will still fight each other. Males will still chase females when they want to breed. The more peaceful gouramis don't usually attack other fish and males don't usually harass females to death. Gouramis at the aggressive end of the spectrum have been know to do both of these.
When people say pearl gouramis are peaceful, they really mean pearl gouramis are 'peaceful for gouramis'.
Well said. I generally choose to keep just about any other species other than the Blue Gourami variants (Blue, Opaline or 3-spot) and I can usually freely mix/match them with little to no issues. You will get more aggressive individuals on occassion, but nothing that you can claim that you should not keep one with the other... observe and rebalance (definitely helps to have multiple aquariums to do this). Large Snakeskin gouramis are very peaceful as are smaller species like Licorice or Chocolate Gouramis. I am not so sure about Dwarfs as I have had some males battling issues, but they do not seem too aggressive to other Gouramis, I think it's more about the display color. I've even mixed in some Paradise fish with various Gouramis and have not had any real issues.
 

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