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Swim Bladder issues in a Gourami - going on 3+ weeks now

Jan Cavalieri

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a couple weeks ago I noticed one of my dwarf powder blue Gourami was not coming up to the top to get air. Interestingly, I had JUST read an article that insisted that Gourami are "obligatory air breathers" meaning they must come up for air while Betta's are "Facilitative air breathers" that only do it when oxygen is low in their tank. Well watch her for over a week NEVER go up for air, yet stay alive, I think I can conclude that Gourami's are also facilitative air breathers.

In addition she was swimming in place at the bottom of the tank - staying in one place - but with an odd tilt to her body. Once fish kept trying to get her to mate (at least I think that's what it was).

As far as I know she hasn't eaten during this time either, even when offered Tubiflex (all them love it). So in case it was infectious I moved my 5 Rasbora's to one of my larger tanks and used their little 5 gallon as a hospital tank. At that point I could pick her up with my hand any time I wanted to - no protest at all.

I diagnosed Swim Bladder disease (too many Tubiflex LOL) have withheld food (even though as far as I know she hasn't eaten for over 3 weeks) and today I tried to feed her a pealed pea to clean her out - she wasn't interested. Tried to feed her something else - she isn't interested. But she is a LOT more lively and now instead of laying at the bottom of the tank all the time she's hanging out at the top of the tank - but it still looks like she isn't taking any air - or not much, no air bubbles. Other than thin SHE looks fine.

Any suggestions on what I should try next?

Oh -out of curiosity I fed her old tank mate some peas - they hadn't been fed all day so they all rushed to eat them - took one bite, spit it out and now I have a bunch of peas at the bottom of the tank. So I know it's always suggested as a fiber laxative for fish - any other ideas that a fish will actually eat?
 
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Jan Cavalieri

Jan Cavalieri

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Nobody has any suggestions for me? I'm getting rather desperate - frankly I'm shocked she's still alive. Since she won't eat any of the peas I thought I'd try a small amount of her favorite food. No luck - she's not eating anything as far as I can tell. She just sticks to the surface of the water (which is a big improvement when she only sat at the bottom of the tank. Anybody think this is something different than fish bladder disease? She's a little more active but basically prefers to sit in the same spot in the tank unless I spook her and then she'll move - but she'll quickly return to her favorite corner. HELP!
 

AmandaN

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To be completely honest.. gourami fish are pretty weak fish are known to have this stuff happen. Not a lot of people talk about it because it SUCKS that these fish suffer through this and die. Here is a link that may help you http//gourami-fish.com/swimbladder-issues
 
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Jan Cavalieri

Jan Cavalieri

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I didn't find out much from that article about how to treat it. I've tried feeding her peas - she won't eat it (neither will any of my other fish). In fact she won't eat ANYTHING - this is gone on for 3 weeks and she's still alive. I removed her from my 29 gallon tank because she didn't have the strength to move from the bottom to the top to get air. She is now in a 5 gallon hospital tank. I haven't done a water change (the water is fine since she won't eat) because I don't want to stress her out. She's become very tame. When she gets stuck on the bottom of the tank she allows me to pick her up and move her to the top of the tank where she can rest on top of some large leaves and get air.

They say that Gourami's are obligatory air breathers but she went a couple of weeks without going up to the top to get air - so I would question that analysis. She went a couple of weeks without rising to the top of the tank to get air. Now I insist she gets to the top of the 5 gallon tank and she very quickly perks up. In fact she seems to be getting better and stronger but she still hasn't eaten anything in 3 weeks.

Frankly I'm amazed she is still alive - I've tried even feeding her very small amounts of her favorite food (tubiworms) but she will not eat anything.
 
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Jan Cavalieri

Jan Cavalieri

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Oh and they are one of my LEAST worst fish as far as death - the only one I've had die was attacked by a Danio who ate her fins off. I think I've lost more corydora's than any other species. I always order them in sets of three - and not one of my sets has three left - all have 2. One set arrived, looked great in the water then promptly all 3 dropped dead - unless the fish seller was wrong my water stats matched the Cory's needs exactly so I don't know what went wrong. This is also my first illness with a dwarf Gourami - in fact I haven't had problems with the big Gourami's
 
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