Fish Fanatic
Dec 9, 2020
Reaction score
United States
Tl;dr - Is it possible for Honeys to get DGD? Does the attached image accurately represent DGD?

Over the past few months, I've been buying Honeys and "Red Honey" gourami from my LFS. I wanted to buy Dwarfs originally but I was warned off by users here (thanks!) due to the prevalence of DGD. The problem is, my Red Honeys all drop dead approximately a month after purchase. All of them followed a similar pattern - they'd be introduced to the tank, would pace around the glass but otherwise appear fine, then starting anywhere from a week to 3 weeks in things would go bad. The first thing I'd notice was a dramatic loss of color, then the pacing would be replaced by slow movements and lower appetite. Then, they'd sit still for long periods of time on the surface or the bottom, only moving when it was feeding time. In the final stages they'd barely be able to leave the bottom, and their bodies would be contorted. As soon as they started looking like that I'd euthanize them, otherwise at that point they die in about 24 hours. Unfortunately I can't remember if any of my regular Honeys died in a similar way. I had at least 3, maybe 4, one of which I returned for being a bully, and one that I euthanized after he started having what I assume is internal bleeding. The other two I've forgotten.

So during my research to find out what was wrong, I saw a picture of DGD that looks exactly like what I'd been experiencing. I don't have any of mine, but the attached image is exactly the same thing I've seen. So now I have a few questions. Is it possible for Honeys to get DGD? And does what I saw sound like DGD? If so, I believe my LFS sold me mislabeled fish, or purchased misidentified fish from a supplier. I'd like to know these things before I go request a refund. This goes without saying, but I don't think I'm going to be touching Honeys or Dwarfs again.

Bonus if you are Feeling Helpful: I've attached some pictures pre and post-mortem if anyone wants to offer input on the cause of my Honey's internal bleeding, I have no idea what happened and it still worries me.


  • Dwarf-Gourami-Disease-Guide.png
    139.6 KB · Views: 157
  • 20211109_202640.jpg
    142.5 KB · Views: 124
  • 20211109_202614.jpg
    124.8 KB · Views: 117
  • 20211109_172720.jpg
    118.1 KB · Views: 99
  • 20211109_202625.jpg
    169.9 KB · Views: 101
  • 20211109_172632.jpg
    181.5 KB · Views: 88
  • 20211109_172640.jpg
    187.3 KB · Views: 104
Last edited:
Did the "red honeys" have a bluish dorsal fin (the one on the back) or were they red all over?

There is a red variant of dwarf gourami which has a bluish dorsal fin; and red honey gouramis are usually the red variant of thick lipped gouramis.
Did the "red honeys" have a bluish dorsal fin (the one on the back) or were they red all over?
The one remaining Red Honey's dorsal is white with patches of red. Based on pictures I have of my others, they did too.
All labyrinth fish (Bettas & gouramis) can catch the gourami Iridovirus, however it is most commonly found in dwarf gouramis (Colisa lalius).

The fish in the pictures have a bacterial infection on the sides of the body. This is not typical of the gourami Iridovirus.

Common symptoms of a virus in fish include lack of energy, not eating much, sleeping a lot, small sores appearing on the body, after a few weeks to a month of these symptoms, death.

There is no treatment for viruses in fish and the best you can do is provide them with clean water, a varied diet, correct temperature, and no stress. Then treat any secondary infections that might appear. But most fish that show symptoms of the Iridovirus will die regardless of being treated or not.
All labyrinth fish (Bettas & gouramis) can catch the gourami Iridovirus, however it is most commonly found in dwarf gouramis (Colisa lalius).
Thanks for this info. You'd think websites would state this explicitly, but everything I read either didn't cover this or just talked about dwarf gourami. I won't be getting anymore gourami in case there is a virus going around.

Can you please tell me what you think about the first picture? Like I said, almost all of my gourami died in this exact S pose, so it would be good to know if this looks like iridovirus or something else.

the fish in the pictures have a bacterial infection on the sides of the body. This is not typical of the gourami Iridovirus.

First of, thanks for taking the time to cover this too!

The context around the situation makes this hard to believe. I checked him about 20 hours before death and I didn't notice any discoloration or strange behavior. When I first saw him the day of, he was swimming around the tank frantically, and the red spot kept growing on him. I watched him for several minutes and he eventually calmed down. But after an hour the red spot had grown markedly and he became borderline catatonic, stuck in the current caused by my HOB filters waterfall. Does this change your assessment?
The fish dying in an S position can be caused by the fish having a seisure or the body spasming or cramping up. It's not related to the gourami Iridovirus and is either from the fish being in pain or maybe having a stroke or heart attack.

The fish with the bacterial infection could have an internal bacterial infection that spread through the side of the fish, or it had a real nasty bacterial infection that spread rapidly. A lot of bacteria that cause infections can double in number every 30 minutes or so and can kill a fish within hours. If the water is warm, the bacteria can grow faster and kill a fish sooner. This bacterial infection has nothing to do with the gourami Iridovirus and is simply a bad bacterial infection.

If the grouamis in the picture came from the same shop, they might have been a bad batch from the breeder/ supplier. If you want to try more gouramis, wait a month and get fish from a different shop.

If a fish ever dies in the tank, do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a wekk. This will dilute any disease organisms that might be in the water. You should also wipe the inside of the glass down with a clean sponge, and clean the filter.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

If you ever lose a fish, don't add more fish to that tank for at least one month after everyone has recovered from whatever killed the fish. If you add new fish to a tank that has a disease or water quality problem, you can make the problem worse by possibly introducing new diseases on top of what is already in the tank. And if it's a water quality issue, adding more fish will make that worse too by adding more bioload to the tank.

Most reactions