Gourami Fin Rot or Fin Nipping?

Anyak13

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So... This has been a really horrible year with my fish tank stocking. My 30 gallon tank has 6 tiger barbs, 1 Dalmatian molly, 4 albino corydora catfish, and a dwarf gourami.
There's a little background to how I ended up with this mix of fish. At first, I wanted a species-only tank with tiger barbs, but my parents and sister neither didn't see the appeal and hated the idea of a large tank filled with 20 of the same, small fish. I couldn't hold my ground and my little sister threw a tantrum and eventually we ended up with the tank stocking mentioned above.
The barbs and the molly have gotten together pretty well for the most part due to how big the molly is in size. I haven't seen much aggression at all from the tiger barbs and they rarely even bother each other apart from the random high-speed chase. However we recently added in the dwarf gourami around a month or so ago. The first few days, there was a bit of investigating and fin nipping to the gourami from both the molly and barbs, but it eventually quieted down about a week later and the all the other fish left the gourami alone and didn't bother him after that. The gourami spends most of him time swimming around or resting near the filter.
But for the past two days, he's been in the bottom of the tank, hiding in a huge log. His ton fin is a little worn and his tail fin is clamped. He's more skittish but still comes out when I turn on the tank lights and bring out the food. He eats well and swims around, but went back into the log after he was done.
It's also worth mentioning that at first I had two mollies and one of them died last week. First the top of the molly's fin turned clear (didn't look like fin rot and people online said mollies change color often and its nothing to worry about). However only 3 days later, the molly was dead at the bottom of the tank, and her color had changed from black and yellow to an odd fuzzy white.
Now about a week later, this happened to my gourami and I really don't know what to do. If it's fin nipping then I could probably make an effort to rehome or return the gourami, but I really wouldn't feel comfortable returning a fish with fin rot back to the store to potentially spread it to other fish. (I also don't have a quarantine tank and don't think I'm allowed to get another tank until next year)
I'll attach a few pictures but due to the bad camera quality and how fast the fish moves, the erosion of the fins isn't really visible.
 

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PorshaF

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Could you post your water parameters? Nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, general hardness etc.. how often do you do water changes? that may help someone diagnose
 

helena.lovesbettas

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I’m sorry to hear about your molly.

But to me, that doesn’t look like fin rot. Because of what you previously said I believe that could have been a result of a little bit of fin nipping. Otherwise, the fish looks healthy.
 
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Anyak13

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Could you post your water parameters? Nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, general hardness etc.. how often do you do water changes? that may help someone diagnose
I used to do water changes once a week last month, but I've recently switched to once ever two weeks where I change about 30%-40% of the water because the tank is pretty understocked. As for the matter of nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia, I've begged my parents to get a testing kit, but they say it isn't necessary and won't let me get one. :/
 
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Anyak13

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I’m sorry to hear about your molly.

But to me, that doesn’t look like fin rot. Because of what you previously said I believe that could have been a result of a little bit of fin nipping. Otherwise, the fish looks healthy.
Thanks, the reason I was mainly concerned was because of the prior molly death and how the gourami seemed to be fine for a month. It felt like too much of a coincidence for the molly to die and the gourami to suddenly get "nipped" within the time frame of a week. Really hoping it isn't a bacterial or fungal infection as I can't treat the tank because of the corydora catfish in there. :unsure:
The clamped tail fin and slight lethargy (if it wasn't feeding time) made me pretty worried too.
 
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Anyak13

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Now that I think about it, I don't have any extra tanks and thought I couldn't move the fish anywhere else because I didn't have any spare heaters, but I do have multiple 5 gallon buckets that I could maybe put outdoors in the shade to keep the temperature up? If it was confirmed to be fin rot I think could maybe do that if it really came down to it.
 

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A good method is whenever your fish seems to start getting ill, up the water change. Try to do one every week, 30-50% clean water improves health and can help prevent illness. "An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure" make sure the water is dechlorniated before going into the tank, same temp
 
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Anyak13

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A good method is whenever your fish seems to start getting ill, up the water change. Try to do one every week, 30-50% clean water improves health and can help prevent illness. "An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure" make sure the water is dechlorniated before going into the tank, same temp
Kk got it 👍
I'll do another water change this Saturday.
 

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I'm going to be very direct, because there is no other way if we care about the fish. That gourami is severely stressed and is probably not long for it unless he and the tiger barbs are immediately separated. I understand you sort of got this "problem" not of your own making, but that doesn't change the fact that Tiger Barbs cannot be in tanks this small, or with sedate fish like gourami (the molly may have been targeted too, not surprising), nor in groups less than 10-12. This size of TB group may control their fin nipping w2ithin the group, but sedate fish regardless will still be targeted. Reliable data here:

Water parameters may be an issue, esp for the mollies who must have reasonably hard water. What is the GH and pH?
 
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Anyak13

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I'm going to be very direct, because there is no other way if we care about the fish. That gourami is severely stressed and is probably not long for it unless he and the tiger barbs are immediately separated. I understand you sort of got this "problem" not of your own making, but that doesn't change the fact that Tiger Barbs cannot be in tanks this small, or with sedate fish like gourami (the molly may have been targeted too, not surprising), nor in groups less than 10-12. This size of TB group may control their fin nipping w2ithin the group, but sedate fish regardless will still be targeted. Reliable data here:

Water parameters may be an issue, esp for the mollies who must have reasonably hard water. What is the GH and pH?
Thank you for being direct first of all, I know this is a mess of a tank and I'm just trying to salvage it at this point. Right now, the molly is safe and even pushes the tiger barbs around a bit if they get too close because they're really small when compared to the molly. Unfortunately I do have pretty soft water, the ph being 6.8.
You're probably right about the gourami and I'm at a loss for what to do... If needed I can set up an faux-emergency tank with the 5 gallon bucket and move it outside during the day for the temperature and indoors at night. If that won't work however, I think I might need to find a way to return the gourami. (Really not looking foward to this option because my sister is going to throw a fit and my parents are going to take a lot of convincing to drive 45 minutes to the fish store where we got the fish. Not to mention the earliest this can be done is only next weekend due to work and other personal reasons).
My mom has been nonstop complaining about how empty the tank looks, and I realize this is a bizarre question in a thread about a sick/attacked fish and feel horrible about asking, but if I do end up having to persuade my parents to return the gourami, I'm going to need ideas for other fish to get to fill up the tank. I did try to get more tiger barbs, but the only ones in the store where waaaay too small and there was a clear difference between the TBs we had at home and the TBs in the store, and I really wasn't looking forward to starting even more problems in the tank.
Also can we completely eliminate fin rot as a cause for the fins? That'll take off a big amount of pressure and worry that my other fish are safe. At first I was confused because all of the fish seemed to be getting along with no issues for a whole month before the bitten fins suddenly showed up on the gourami.
(I'm really really sorry if I come of as insensitive and/or uncaring about the fish, its just been a headache and I'm struggling to balance the whole problematic family situation and the wellbeing of the fish)
 
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Anyak13

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but that doesn't change the fact that Tiger Barbs cannot be in tanks this small,
How much space do tiger barbs require? I was under the impression that even 20 gallons would be an ample amount of space for 6 tiger barbs, and thought I had plenty of extra space for other fish.... :oops:
 

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Unfortunately I do have pretty soft water, the ph being 6.8.

This is going to make it impossible for mollies (and other livbebearers) to carry out normal healthy lives, nothing any of us can do about this (except move them into a tank of moderately hard or harder water, obviously, another issue).

On a general note, I would get rid of the Tiger Barbs; the store may take them, or may not. And to be completely honest, if this were me and I had this sort of behaviour problem, the offending TB would have been euthanized. I have had to do this, when no other options for individual tanks intervened. It is actually kinder to the fish. You will never have a peaceful community tank with five or six TB present. You could perhaps add say 8-9 more TB and have a tank with just this species (the catfish are OK, and they could be increased too), but adding to a small group of such fish is always risky, and it could backfire anyway. This is a learning curve; when I faced something of a similar problem with absolutely horrific small fish that were terrorizing a 90g tank of other tetras, pencilfish and catfish, it was a rapid lesson in responsibility...I created the problem so I had to fix it, for the sake of the poor fish. Not that this situation here is your fault, but it is still a lesson in responsibility that all aquarist need to learn, rough though it may have been.

How much space do tiger barbs require? I was under the impression that even 20 gallons would be an ample amount of space for 6 tiger barbs, and thought I had plenty of extra space for other fish.... :oops:
A 30g is minimum for a group of 10-12 TB, with no other upper fish; substrate fish like catfish are OK. A 20g is not sufficient because the TB must be in larger groups, which means larger tanks right off. This species, like the Serpae/Red Minor Tetra, is prone to fin nipping and the larger group in the 30g seems to alleviate it within the group. Some species are less prone to aggression than others, and group size and tank space has definitely been shown to influence this.
 
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Anyak13

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This is going to make it impossible for mollies (and other livbebearers) to carry out normal healthy lives, nothing any of us can do about this (except move them into a tank of moderately hard or harder water, obviously, another issue).

On a general note, I would get rid of the Tiger Barbs; the store may take them, or may not. And to be completely honest, if this were me and I had this sort of behaviour problem, the offending TB would have been euthanized. I have had to do this, when no other options for individual tanks intervened. It is actually kinder to the fish. You will never have a peaceful community tank with five or six TB present. You could perhaps add say 8-9 more TB and have a tank with just this species (the catfish are OK, and they could be increased too), but adding to a small group of such fish is always risky, and it could backfire anyway. This is a learning curve; when I faced something of a similar problem with absolutely horrific small fish that were terrorizing a 90g tank of other tetras, pencilfish and catfish, it was a rapid lesson in responsibility...I created the problem so I had to fix it, for the sake of the poor fish. Not that this situation here is your fault, but it is still a lesson in responsibility that all aquarist need to learn, rough though it may have been.


A 30g is minimum for a group of 10-12 TB, with no other upper fish; substrate fish like catfish are OK. A 20g is not sufficient because the TB must be in larger groups, which means larger tanks right off. This species, like the Serpae/Red Minor Tetra, is prone to fin nipping and the larger group in the 30g seems to alleviate it within the group. Some species are less prone to aggression than others, and group size and tank space has definitely been shown to influence this.
Oh no...... I don't think I can return the tiger barbs because it's definitely been past 30 days-
It's also definitely not in me to euthanize the fish and I doubt my parents would let me anyway.
Is there really nothing else I can do? I'm really regretting getting the tiger barbs now
 

Astronomiii

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So... This has been a really horrible year with my fish tank stocking. My 30 gallon tank has 6 tiger barbs, 1 Dalmatian molly, 4 albino corydora catfish, and a dwarf gourami.
There's a little background to how I ended up with this mix of fish. At first, I wanted a species-only tank with tiger barbs, but my parents and sister neither didn't see the appeal and hated the idea of a large tank filled with 20 of the same, small fish. I couldn't hold my ground and my little sister threw a tantrum and eventually we ended up with the tank stocking mentioned above.
The barbs and the molly have gotten together pretty well for the most part due to how big the molly is in size. I haven't seen much aggression at all from the tiger barbs and they rarely even bother each other apart from the random high-speed chase. However we recently added in the dwarf gourami around a month or so ago. The first few days, there was a bit of investigating and fin nipping to the gourami from both the molly and barbs, but it eventually quieted down about a week later and the all the other fish left the gourami alone and didn't bother him after that. The gourami spends most of him time swimming around or resting near the filter.
But for the past two days, he's been in the bottom of the tank, hiding in a huge log. His ton fin is a little worn and his tail fin is clamped. He's more skittish but still comes out when I turn on the tank lights and bring out the food. He eats well and swims around, but went back into the log after he was done.
It's also worth mentioning that at first I had two mollies and one of them died last week. First the top of the molly's fin turned clear (didn't look like fin rot and people online said mollies change color often and its nothing to worry about). However only 3 days later, the molly was dead at the bottom of the tank, and her color had changed from black and yellow to an odd fuzzy white.
Now about a week later, this happened to my gourami and I really don't know what to do. If it's fin nipping then I could probably make an effort to rehome or return the gourami, but I really wouldn't feel comfortable returning a fish with fin rot back to the store to potentially spread it to other fish. (I also don't have a quarantine tank and don't think I'm allowed to get another tank until next year)
I'll attach a few pictures but due to the bad camera quality and how fast the fish moves, the erosion of the fins isn't really visible.
Yikes, gonna need a little more info, but what is looks like, Gourami's will tend to be a little more aggressive if the temperature is raised a little higher than normal, or any fish, because with higher temperature, their metabolism rises also. This mainly looks like a hierarchy problem, fin nippers and aggressive like fish(Gourami because its a cichlid), will have a mini "hierarchy", where there's the bottom of the totem and a "tank boss", they were prob fighting, and the gourami lost, so it goes down the totem as a "bottom dweller", and I also think when you added 2 Gourami's in, it disturbed the "hiercahy", so it moved down a totem so it doesnt get the territory you want it, and it is stuck as a bottom dweller
 

Astronomiii

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Oh no...... I don't think I can return the tiger barbs because it's definitely been past 30 days-
It's also definitely not in me to euthanize the fish and I doubt my parents would let me anyway.
Is there really nothing else I can do? I'm really regretting getting the tiger barbs now
give em away as a gift to someone else who has fish haha
 

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