|Byron ||06-16-2012 06:03 PM |
Here is some info on this disease from Dr. Neale Monks:
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 aquariums 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.
With no disrespect to Dr. Monks who is highly expert in his field, new research has confirmed that this disease can be spread via other species and to other species in the same aquarium water. Obviously, buy gourami from a reliable supplier, and look carefully at the fish in the tank (and other tanks if the store uses a water filtration/exchange system that connects several tanks).
And some general info on viral diseases like this one, also from Dr. Monks:
Although fish with viral diseases may display symptoms the aquarist can recognize, positive identification requires biomedical tests beyond the abilities of the average fish hobbyist.
Viruses can be transmitted between fish by direct contact, or by water or wet objects being moved from one fish aquarium to another. In situations where the virus is known to be extremely contagious, as with the koi herpes virus (KHV) and dwarf gourami iridovirus (DGIV), strict quarantining procedures are essential.
I usually suggest the Honey Gourami as a replacement for those wanting the Dwarf, as it is brightly coloured, less temperamental, needs less space, and is fairly peaceful except when spawning. All of which is noted in our profile. I agree you have space to increase the group.