03-31-2010, 10:36 PM
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I have a stripey red/blue one and a solid silvery blue one. If I had to get rid of one, I would keep the stripey one. The silvery/blue one looked prettier in the fish store, but the stripey one is quite a striking flash of color in my tank. You should ask how long they've had their dwarf gouramis and where they got them. If they are from a local breeder, I say go for it. If not, beware of dwarf gourami disease.
Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus (DGIV) |
The quality of the dwarf gouramis in the trade has steadily declined for years, with batches of fish showing significantly higher levels of mortality than 10 years ago. Historically, retailers and aquarists have blamed bacterial infections, such as fish tuberculosis (Mycobacterium marinum). In recent years, though, attention has focused on a virus known as dwarf gourami iridovirus or DGIV.
Dwarf gourami iridovirus is apparently specific to the dwarf gourami (Colisa lalia), including the various fancy varieties of the species, such as neon gouramis and sunset gouramis. Infected fish develop a variety of symptoms, including loss of color, decrease in activity and appetite, the appearance of sores and lesions on the body, abdominal swelling and finally death. This fish disease is highly contagious, completely untreatable and invariably fatal.
Dwarf gourami iridovirus is apparently very common. One recent study of fish exported from Singapore found that 22 percent of all dwarf gouramis carried the virus. Aquarists should never purchase dwarf gouramis from fish tanks containing fish exhibiting symptoms consistent with the dwarf gourami iridovirus, and all new fish should be quarantined for at least six weeks prior to being placed in the main fish aquarium.
For most aquarists, my best advice is to keep the hardier alternatives to dwarf gouramis. The thick-lipped gourami (Colisa labiosa) and the banded gourami (Colisa fasciatus) are both similar in size, temperament and coloration and make excellent alternatives.