Issue with male and female pearl Gouramis

TameMyImpala

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Hey everyone, I'm new here. I've been in the hobby for almost 2 years now so I'm still learning a bit.

Recently I set up a new 40 gallon which took about 4 weeks to cycle. About 5 days ago I decided to add my first fish into the tank, I chose 2 Pearl Gourami's (1 Male & 1 Female). At first everything was fine, they both stuck around the top for the first day and were getting along fine. But on day 2 things changed. The male started to constantly chase and harass the female to the point where she now resides in the bottom left corner of the tank between two rocks. She usually stays there until the male finds her and chases her again, but she ends up going back to the same spot. The male on the other hand swims around and generally stays at the top and seems healthy. I'm worried for the female as shes obviously showing signs of stress which I'm sure is a result of the male's aggressive attitude. I've looked around the web and it seems I have a couple of options to make and I was wondering if anyone here was willing to give their advice and opinion(s) on what I should do.

So I figured one option is to obviously re-home one of the Gouramis, which I can either give to a friend, take back to the store or re-home the fish in another tank of mine. The only issue with moving it to my other tank is that the other tank is a 15 gallon, and that may be too small for a pearl Gourami.

Another option may be to add more female Gourami's to the tank since I've read they do better in larger groups with 1 male and multiple females. I'm not sure if that's a good idea, or if it'll just result in more females getting stressed. If this is an option I choose to take how many more females should I get, considering I have a 40 gallon. I'd like to point out that I'm looking to add more fish to the tank this weekend, specifically a nice schooling fish like Tetras(around 10-15), then a handful of Corydoras(around 4-6), and possibly a few more other fish later on. So that also would limit how many Gouramis I can add in.

So if anyone has an opinion on what option I should choose, or even if you have one I havnt seen yet then please let me know! I'd really like to see someone else's thoughts on this.

Thanks!

-Chris
 
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TameMyImpala

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I think they might be both male. The dorsal fin seems too long to be a female
Hmm not sure if my photos represented them well, I actually just took another pic of the two together so I'll attach it here for a better look (sorry if they're blurry it's the best I could get). But from what I read online I thought one big difference in the pearl species is that the males have a brighter color of orange especially at the front of their bellies, while the female is much duller. I had asked when I bought the fish and was told they were a male and female, but hey I bought it from Petco so who knows if the guy knew what he was saying. Also I assume stress can reduce the color probably and maybe that's why I mistakened the gender.
 

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TameMyImpala

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Hey everyone, I'm new here. I've been in the hobby for almost 2 years now so I'm still learning a bit.

Recently I set up a new 40 gallon which took about 4 weeks to cycle. About 5 days ago I decided to add my first fish into the tank, I chose 2 Pearl Gourami's (1 Male & 1 Female). At first everything was fine, they both stuck around the top for the first day and were getting along fine. But on day 2 things changed. The male started to constantly chase and harass the female to the point where she now resides in the bottom left corner of the tank between two rocks. She usually stays there until the male finds her and chases her again, but she ends up going back to the same spot. The male on the other hand swims around and generally stays at the top and seems healthy. I'm worried for the female as shes obviously showing signs of stress which I'm sure is a result of the male's aggressive attitude. I've looked around the web and it seems I have a couple of options to make and I was wondering if anyone here was willing to give their advice and opinion(s) on what I should do.

So I figured one option is to obviously re-home one of the Gouramis, which I can either give to a friend, take back to the store or re-home the fish in another tank of mine. The only issue with moving it to my other tank is that the other tank is a 15 gallon, and that may be too small for a pearl Gourami.

Another option may be to add more female Gourami's to the tank since I've read they do better in larger groups with 1 male and multiple females. I'm not sure if that's a good idea, or if it'll just result in more females getting stressed. If this is an option I choose to take how many more females should I get, considering I have a 40 gallon. I'd like to point out that I'm looking to add more fish to the tank this weekend, specifically a nice schooling fish like Tetras(around 10-15), then a handful of Corydoras(around 4-6), and possibly a few more other fish later on. So that also would limit how many Gouramis I can add in.

So if anyone has an opinion on what option I should choose, or even if you have one I havnt seen yet then please let me know! I'd really like to see someone else's thoughts on this.

Thanks!

-Chris
**UPDATE:

So I observed the two for a bit this morning and the aggressiveness has gotten worse. The one who I assume is male is now biting the other to where I can see marks.
I've decided for now to put the one, who I think is a female, into my 15 gallon for the time being. Already there's a difference as she is hanging out at the top of the tank and seems less stressed.

Is all hope lost at this point? If the female is actually a male then I'll probably take it back to the store. If not, is there still a shot at getting other females or should I just let the male live a solo life among a community of other species like tetras and corydoras. But should I be worried that he may be aggressive to those other fish species too?
 

essjay

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If the female really is a male, it will start to show male characteristics in the 15 gallon now that it's in a different tank from the known male. Once we know which gender the 'female' really is you'll be able to decide what to do better.
 
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TameMyImpala

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If the female really is a male, it will start to show male characteristics in the 15 gallon now that it's in a different tank from the known male. Once we know which gender the 'female' really is you'll be able to decide what to do better.
Agreed, so far in the 15 gallon the 'female' is sitting at the top left corner, hasn't moved around much but seems way more relaxed then when in the 40 (But it's only been a few hours so he/she still has time to adjust). The male in the 40 is much more active as he swims around the tank and rests towards the top of the tank. But also he is displaying behavior I haven't seen him do, he paces the sides of the tank in up and down motions, almost like he's chasing his reflection. Not sure if that's a sign that he's feeling lonely. This is the first time I'm keeping gouramis so I'm just learning about their characteristics, so I'm not that knowledgeable in knowing how the genders act.

But if someone can clarify that the 'female' is actually a male, then that gives me hope in actually getting females to put in the 40 gallon so that the male isn't running solo.

Thanks for the replies so far!
 

Bub

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Yes, they are both males. You can see that the "female" has a red throat in that last pic you added, which females don't get. And the dorsal fin is too long for it to be a female.

You can see a female in this picture on the left. As you can see, silver throat and shorter dorsal fin. The best option in this case is to rehome the second male. And if you want to get females, I would get two rather than one.
 

ClownLurch

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I’m a long way from being an expert but if they are both males I’d be taking the aggressive one back to petco and keeping the nice guy.
 
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TameMyImpala

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Yes, they are both males. You can see that the "female" has a red throat in that last pic you added, which females don't get. And the dorsal fin is too long for it to be a female.

You can see a female in this picture on the left. As you can see, silver throat and shorter dorsal fin. The best option in this case is to rehome the second male. And if you want to get females, I would get two rather than one.
Thank you so much for this information and suggestion! I just assumed the dis-coloration on the 'female' was enough to consider it as a female. Tomorrow I'll head to my local shop (and not Petco, silly me for believing the associate who informed me I was buying two genders) and see if they have 2 females in stock. If a friend doesn't want the other male I'll take him to the shop and see if they would re-home him for me.

Glad I posted to this forum, thanks again for your help!
 
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TameMyImpala

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I’m a long way from being an expert but if they are both males I’d be taking the aggressive one back to petco and keeping the nice guy.
You do make a great point, but the 1st male (aggressive one) is much more lively and has a beautiful color, so that's making me lean towards keeping him instead. I would assume he would be peaceful with 2 females instead since it seems the males don't get along.

But maybe I should keep both males for now (separated), see if I can get females and then see which male is more compatible and less aggressive towards them. I know I shouldn't be keeping the other male in a 15 gallon, but I'm sure for a couple of days he would be okay.
 

ClownLurch

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The quiet feller May come out of his shell so to speak a bit more with a few girls around. Poor guys just had a very traumatic experience. Im voting for the nice guy!;)
 
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