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Dwarf Gourami Won't Eat

Discussion in 'Gouramis and Anabantoids' started by wcohen, Jun 27, 2006.

  1. wcohen

    wcohen Member

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    Hi folks,

    New to group. I'm back in the hobby after a 20 year hiatus. Ten years of experience with a 20 gal tank before that. Current setup is 15 gal tank, that has been set up for five months, mostly live plants, with a few plastic floating plants (for shade). Lots of hidng places. Fish were added slowly and all chemical levels have been and are still normal.

    I have 1 "regular" dwarf gourami, 1 "flame red" dwarf and 1 "powder blue" dwarf, all males. Also in the tank are 12 neon blue dwarf rainbows and four Siamese algae eaters. Filter is a Marineland 2000 (40 gal capacity) and I do 15 to 20% water changes 1 - 2 times per week. All tank members are thriving, except for the "regular" dwarf.

    The three gouramis were early additions, and have been in the tank 4 months. None of the fish appear to be bullied. The Flame red was semi-agressive when first added to the tank, but calmed down about a week later. Things really calmed down a few weeks after that when I added the first few little Rainbows. They seemed to have a calming effect on everyone.

    About 4 - 6 weeks ago, I noted that the "regular" dwarf was getting more and more reclusive - also getting thinner and thinner - I don't see him eat very often. In fact, he hides so often I hardly ever see him. I suspected he was being bullied, but I just don't see it happening. His fins are mostly clamped to his body, and about the only time he'll show interest in food is when I feed live brine shrimp. Then, his fins will perk up, he'll chase one down, swallow it and then....spit it right out again.

    Any ideas what's going on here? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Sometimes, you do everything right and a fish will die anyway. I suspect that may be the case here, but still, I want to exhaust all options.

    Thanks and regards,

    Wayne in California.
     
  2. dwarfgourami

    dwarfgourami Member

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    He could of course be ill. What does his poo look like? They are quite prone to both parasites and bacterial infections, judging by the sorry specimens I see in the shops around here.

    But at least equally possible is that he feels stressed because he has no way of feeling safe from the other males. As you probably know, most male gouramis are strongly territorial, and a 15 gallon tank is not really big enough to allow for more than one gourami territory. Even if you don't see a lot of bullying, it could be happening, or he might be living in fear of it happening.

    It is also possible that he is suffering from a combination of stress and illness. Ill fish are more likely to get bullied, bullied fish are also more likely to fall ill.
     
  3. sylvia

    sylvia Member

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    IMO, the problem stems from the lack of space a 15 gallon provides - it's not realy large enough for 3 male dwarfs (actualy, you'd be considered overstocked - or at least 'crowded' space-wise). I should point out that I did notice that you do frequent water changes and you have a large filter - but that doesn't make up for a lack of physical space.

    Being crowded, the fish is likely to become stressed and this can easily lead to disease - particularly given that dwarf gouramies are prone to disease already.

    Can you give your exact water params. for ammonia, ntrite and nitrate please?

    A lack of appetite is usualy the first symptom of an internal bacteral infection - something particularly common in stressed dwarfs. Loss of weight or 'wasting away' are also typical.

    Clamped fins, lethargic behaviour etc are simply general signs of illness/stress.

    Look at his color - has it afded at all? Is he pale? Are there any white marks or pale patches or spots? Anything fuzzy (though I expect you'd have noticed already)? Pay particularly close attention to his gills and fins and see whether you see anyr ed streaks or marks. Also, look closely at his fins - any sign of finrot? Either a black or white edge - or sometimes red, depending on your lighting - may indicate infection.

    Does he go up for air often? Have you seen him resting at the bottom often? Does he 'hang' at the top, gulping air continuously?

    Try feeding some live (or frozen - if necessary) foods and doing so in several small portions at different points in teh tank to see if you can get him to eat a good amount. I'm a little worried that the competition from the rainbows will be a little overwhelming for him - but it's worth trying.
     
  4. wcohen

    wcohen Member

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    It's all rather irelevant now. This morning he was lying on his side so I put him out of his misery. All the other fish are still doing just fine. In answer to some previous questions:

    Ammonia: 0 (unmeasurable) PH: 7.6 Alkalinity: 150ppm Hardness: 250 Nitrite: 0 (unmeasurable) Nitrate: 20ppm

    Hard to tell what his poo looked like. He ate so little I don't rember seeing him poo in the last few weeks.

    Frozen or live brine shrimp was the only thing I would see him attemp to eat in the last 4 - 6 weeks. He's be lying around, lethargic but would perk up, stick his fins out, get some color back and chase one down only to swallow and immediately spit out. Wouldn't touch flake food or freeze dried blood worms.

    He was getting pretty bleached out toward the end, but whether that was from disease or lack of eating, I'll never know.

    You are all prbably right regarding stress and bullying. It's just that I kept dwarfs in similar condidtions for many years in my "previous aquarium life," admittedly with 5 more gallons. I use a cheapo spawning mop (reminds me of needles on a fake Christmas tree, with suction cups at each end) at the surface, so the gouramis have their own side with floating plants, shade and hiding places. I feed the other side first (the rainbows go nuts) and feed the groumis on "their side."

    OK, sounds like I'm rationalizing. Everyone else is doing fine, so I won't replace him until I get a bigger tank. I'll also carfully watch the powder blue to see if he starts being bullied by the flame red.

    Said a kaddish for my dwarf groumi tonight!

    Thanks for the replies,

    Wayne
     
  5. sylvia

    sylvia Member

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    Oh that's too bad :(

    Just a quick note - I know you said that you've kept dwarfs in similar conditions (with the extra 5 gallons :p) in the past but, unfortunately, over your 20 year hiatus (well, I don't know about the last 20 years but I can at least remember approximately the last 10 :p), dwarfs have become increasingly more fragile... I think even with an extra 5 gallons now-a-days, you just can't afford to stress them or they'll drop dead :( It's rather unfortunate but dwarfs have been inbred and mass-produced for so long, they just get weaker and weaker. Where once they were as hardy as some of their closer relatives, they are now getting extremely fragile. They're max. life expectancy would have been about 5 years - the average now is only about 2. I can see something similar hapenning with honeys but I hope it never gets as bad (hopefuly the fact that they have fewer color morphs will prevent a repeat of the dwarf scenario).

    Anyway, good luck with the rest of your fish - hopefuly things will be ok with them. :D
     
  6. NatKing

    NatKing Member

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    Just a note of interest, and maybe I'm just lucky, but every gourami I've ever owned, all be it most not dwarf, (snakeskin, pearl, opaline, moonlight (particularly timid)) and lately, Dwarf Sunset have been really tough. Far from being easily stressed, my current pair of Sunsets swim into the net/my hand and are very bold. Maybe they are just odd ones out?! I know there are several dwarf variety, so maybe this kind (Colisa Labiosa) would be the better one to go for if you ever get a bigger/another tank.

    :)
     
  7. sylvia

    sylvia Member

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    All those gouramies are, indeed, hardy species. Colisa labiosa is not a dwarf gourami at all BTW. It's common name is 'thick-lipped gourami' though they are often mislabelled at LFSs. They also come in a handful of color morphs that look very similar to those of the dwarf (Colisa lalia).
     
  8. rainman

    rainman New Member

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    I have a 20 gallon setup with one Red dwarf gourami. My tank has 3 guppies, 2 swordtails, 2 african dwarf frogs, and some ghost shrimps. This gourami is easily the biggest fish and is soo timid. Anytime I interact with the tank he flees and gets nervous. And now he wont eat. When i feed the fish they all compete for food. Except for him. I notice him nibble on some of the live plants. Even if food floats in front of his face he wont eat. Im wondering if getting a higher quality food would encourage him.
     
  9. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Hi Rainman and welcome to the forum :)

    If you start a new thread, it will make it easier to respond and for others to follow. This current thread is from 2007 so it's a bit old :)

    Different food won't make any difference. Check your water quality and do water changes. The fish should eat normally if the water is good. :)
     

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