Dwarf Gourami curling whole body? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 11-27-2012, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
sunstar93's Avatar
Dwarf Gourami curling whole body?

{First off, I would like to say that I consulted with my dad about the stocking and he assured me it was fine! I have adequate filtration and I am very diligent about keeping the tank and gravel clean! Thank you.}

*I only got my Dwarf Gourami last night*
(I took this from the bettafish.com thinking it would help)
What size is your tank? 10 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 78*-79*
Does your tank have a filter? yes!
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? yes
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your fish live with? 4 cories (2 adults, 2 juveniles)- they have lived in the tank for 2 months

What type of food do you feed your fish? Wardley tropical flakes & Tetra sun dried baby shrimp (as a snack)
How often do you feed your fish? twice a day, so far he's only had two shrimp


How often do you perform a water change? I usually do two 25% changes a week w/ gravel vacuuming, every other week I replace a 25% change with a 50% change
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? twice a week (usually Sunday and Wednesday, although I did one tonight)
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? API Water Conditioner, first time putting in Prime to neutralize the ammonia thinking it would help & added in a little stress coat (usually only add in water conditioner)

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: 0.5 (that is the ammonia level straight from the sink, without any additives or Prime. I added in some Prime when I added the water to my tank, hoping it will help.)

Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 8.5...a little high but the water around here is terrible
Hardness: very soft
Alkalinity: very alkiline (can't remember the number)

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your fish's appearance changed? His appearance is the same, color is very bright.
How has your fish's behavior changed? Yesterday he was acting perfectly fine when I brought him home, acclimated him and he ate like a champ. Didn't bother the cories and was exploring the tank. This morning he seemed fine (I was late to class and didn't really have time to watch him closely, just sprinkled in some food and left). This afternoon when I got home I noticed he was darting around the tank and would pause to curl his whole body into a "c-shape". He is still eating well, when I fed him tonight his appetite was still good. Now he is "glass-surfing" non-stop, he is breathing heavily (like his gills are moving very rapidly) and he is still curling. I checked him over and I cannot see any evidence of external parasites or anything, so it may be something inside him or in the tank. The curline is very disturbing because it looks painful as he kind of wiggles his tail and like he is cringing.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? This afternoon, around noon when I got back from class.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? added some Prime to the water as I learned that DGs are very sensitive to ammonia levels. I also have a small Umbrella plant that I planted today to help soak up the neutralized ammonia. Also, while I was changing the water, I put him in a container with some dissolved AQ salt hoping it would allow him to de-stress a bit.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? not sure, when I watched him in the store he seemed perfectly fine (I watched him for about 10 minutes and he was fine)
How old is your fish (approximately)? not sure but he is at least 2" - 2.5" long so he is I think an adult.

I would very much appreciate help with my new fishy! I am currently working on bringing the ammonia down but if anyone also has suggestions about it they are welcome. Thank you in advance!!

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post #2 of 8 Old 11-27-2012, 10:27 PM
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I have heard about Gourami's doing a "curling dance" but you only have one in the tank it seems.

Here's a clip from an article, website link below

""Since I only have male pairs of each variation I've noticed a very interesting "dance" they do when a confrontation occurs. The two males will form a circle, nose to tail, with their bodies curled in a semi-circle shape and dance around each other. Then they get bored and go on their merry way. Dwarf Gouramis are lovely fish with brilliant colors and their busy antics add a lot to any community tank.""

Dwarf Gourami - Colisa lalia

Not sure what to do about your ammonia except water changes and if it's 0.5 from the tap, that's not going to help much. There is a product called AmmoLock but I have never used it. We always use Prime, it removes or does something to the ammonia that makes it less toxic to fish.
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post #3 of 8 Old 11-27-2012, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Well, that may be what it is. He can see himself in the tank walls- the are mirrored!! That may explain why he "surfs" the glass. I'm going to try to see if maybe I can put some paper or something to help block it but I doubt that will work...but thank you so much!! It makes me feel a lot better about him now lol.

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post #4 of 8 Old 11-28-2012, 12:48 AM
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Live plants will help the ammonia. Either a floating plant (duckweed, azolla, frogbit, etc) or a hardy fast growing plant (hygrophila sp., rotala 'green', egeria sp., elodea sp., vallisneria, ludwigea repens) will help remove ammonia.

DG's are also very shy, he might be stressed becauseof the lighting or lack of hiding places..

Do you use testing strips or liquid?

Your tank might not be cycled since you have no nitrates. What is an umbrella plant? I've never heard of it. It might be a bog plant that won't survive submerged.

Originally Posted by Christople View Post
^^ genius

Soil Substrates Guide:
Part 1
--------- Part 2


Last edited by redchigh; 11-28-2012 at 12:52 AM.
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post #5 of 8 Old 11-28-2012, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah I have an Umbrella plant in there now and was going to get another one but...no monies haha. Are those plants pretty hardy? I have a black thumb and cannot even keep a cilantro plant alive and all you do is plant it haha. Thanks!
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post #6 of 8 Old 11-28-2012, 12:56 AM Thread Starter
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Also...are the Umbrella plants sold at Petco actually aquatic, as in can be planted in gravel and will grow and thrive completely submerged?
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post #7 of 8 Old 11-28-2012, 08:04 AM
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Just a thought but you could add peat moss to help lower the ph. I think a consistent ph is easier on the fish than adding additives and creating a swing. Also, any rotting plants can cause ammonia. You might try placing artificial plants near the perimeter of the glass to break the gourami's view of himself a bit. I have used fake bamboo for that purpose and placed it on the end of the tank where we walk by to keep from spooking the fish. I would think after 2 months your tank is cycled, you may just be fortunate enough to not have any nitrates registering, but if you are using test strips they are not always real accurate. The API Master Test Kit is expensive but you can buy the individual bottles cheaper and start building your kit that way.
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post #8 of 8 Old 11-28-2012, 11:53 AM
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Is your tank still cycling? 0 nitrates are a bit concerning to me, since a cycled tank should have SOME nitrates. That low level of ammonia shouldn't be a problem. For the ph you can add some indian almond leaves, i think that lowers the ph and may reduce the gourami's stress, even if it is caused by looking at a reflection of himself. Watch his color and activeness. As long as he is eating, he will be fine or at least be easier to treat.
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