Evil Gouramis??? Help!
Hey all--I'm definitely a hobbyist-level fishkeeper, so bear with me if I'm doing something blatantly stupid.
I recently (a couple months ago) set up a 10-gallon freshwater aquarium. This is my first real "fish tank" (have also been keeping a fiddler crab in a separate habitat) since I was like 10 or 11 (when, let's be honest, it was really my mom's aquarium in terms of who cared for it.)
I cycled it w/o fish and added the first inhabitants slowly over the course of the next month. Everything was going really good. Then the following chain of events occured:
- My fiddler crab had been living with two platies. This was going nicely until there was eventually an "encounter" that resulted in a platy getting clawed and killed. I decided to move the surviving platy (who was cowering under a rock at this point) to the "big" tank.
- The platy did OK after a few days but I didn't like the idea of having a lone platy. I went and bought two more--one of them a "hi-fin".
- They didn't seem distressed or ill, but the original platy, and also one new one, died within a week. (All of my other fish were still fine.) Only the hi-fin was left.
- At this point, my dwarf gourami began chasing the remaining platy around the tank incessantly. The gourami had not done this to other fish previously. I thought that gouramis were supposed to be docile to a fault, so this outwardly-aggressive behavior was very surprising to me.
- I read up a little more and found that most experts recommend keeping gourami in pairs. I thought problem solved... two gouramis=better behavior. So I got an opaline gourami.
- The addition of the opaline gourami changed the tank's dynamic, but not in the way I wanted... now the opaline gourami chased the platy even MORE single-mindedly than the dwarf had previously. And the dwarf began (mostly) ignoring the platy and instead making charges at the opaline gourami and, now, my cories.
- The platy seemed healthy but I had to assume she was getting extremely stressed at this point. I moved her off to a holding "bowl."
- Behavior in the tank became more or less peaceful. The dwarf gourami would still occaisonally charge the smaller opaline and the cories, but not to the point that it was a problem for any of the fish.
- The platy's holding bowl was non-filtered. I simply don't have the means to get another aquarium setup for one fish. The water got bad quickly and I had to make a judgement call--what was worse, the previous stress or the new water conditions? I had to move her back to the big tank.
- Upon returning the platy to the tank, the behavior resumed. I have no idea what to do.
In terms of water conditions, we're at about 76 degrees. The only quality issue... I have some driftwood (ZooMed Mopani) which is only a few months old, so still gives off some tannis which discolors the water and lowers the pH over time. I do a 3/4 water change twice a week, which seems to control this.
Configuration-wise, I have two caves plus the driftwood, which is also cave-esque in several spots. Live bamboo in each corner and a decent patch of "flame moss" on top of the driftwood. Also in the process of growing a lily, but this isn't really adding anything to the landscape at this stage in its growth. All in all, there should be plenty of "territories" available.
The full list of tenants...
1x Dwarf Gourami
1x Opaline Gourami
5x Zebra Danios ("glofish" type)
2x small cories
1x "Hi-Fin" Platy
Any feedback would be appreciated. Do you think she'd be better off with the fiddler crab? Platies can outrun an advance by a fiddler very easily, but the crab only has to win one round to end the game...
Welcome to the Forum :-)
Lets see here.....first off, as you have witnessed, Gourami can get aggressive, very much so. Usually Dwarfs are the more peaceful if kept alone or in groups of 3+. I'd NEVER recommend keeping a pair unless its short term for breeding purposes....in short, one will eventually be harassed and get killed.
Opaline and just about any Blue gourami can be the worst, especially the males. They can get VERY nasty. Had one that took out a tank full of snails and all but two of my tetras within a matter of weeks. Yours sounds like its still young, but once it reaches maturity things could get bad...
I've experienced a little chasing from my Dwarf Gourami with my Platy, but never anything serious and theres never any damage. Then again, this is also in a 50 gallon.....another problem is your tank is much to small for territories to form, on top of that your quite over stocked....this is going to make aggression worse. I suggest you upgrade to a 35+. Your Opaline will git big as well. Far too big for anything less then a 35.
Cory also like shoals of around 6+ and all but the pygmy variety are too large to keep that many in a 10....they would appreciate the extra space and a few friends as well.
However if you can and are willing, instead of upgrading you could return/give away some fish to make it work.
Does your water come from the tap fairly soft already? I hear that the softer the water the more the tannins will lower the ph...might wanna take it out and boil it if its a big problem, a 75% PWC weekly is a bit much....20%-30% is all that should be needed.
Thanks. I am realizing it is a bit overstocked... the opaline is quite small now, but I'm thinking it will be neccesarry to look into something significantly bigger in the coming months.
As I write this, I'm looking over at the tank and the dwarf, opaline, and platy are all swimming around in open water at the top third of the aquarium totally minding their own businesses. This is EXTREMELY atypical of them and they've been like this for 10+ minutes now...
It's almost as if they knew I went on the internet and told on them haha.
As far as territories go, I tried to arrange the driftwood and caves so that logical "boundaries" would be present, but obviously the territories are pretty small due simply to the size of the tank. The dwarf gourami does stick primarily to a corner that is "cut off" by the driftwood, except for when he's in a cave (at which point he also sticks to one specific cave.) But the opaline gourami is everywhere and rarely goes in any cave or hole.
The suggestion that gourami always be kept in pairs was from 1. online wikis, and 2. placards on tanks at PetCo when I went in there for supplies. So my first problem was probably using wikis and PetCo for research.
The cories I bought were not specifically labled as pygmy, but they are only about an inch each and were in a totally seperate tank from the other cories at the LFS (which ranged from 1.5" to about 3.5")... I guess I'll find out soon enough.
Also just wondering where the 35 gallon figure comes from... my knowledge of proper bioloading really only goes about as far as the old "one inch of fish per gallon of water" rule, which only puts me about 5 inches/gallons over in the current configuration.
i tried gouramis and failed so i moved to zebra danios. the nice thing about those is the more you have the less fighting there is which was my problem with the gouramis so now im real happy
Haha, its funny how fish can 'know' isn't it? Most people don't realize how much they are like any other animal ;-)
Yes, something significantly bigger is in store for your future if you want to keep all of those fish and have them thrive. That 'Inch per gallon" rule needs to be found a nice cemetery, dug a hole, and buried for good. There are far to many other things to be taken into account for this to be valid for anything but Tetras, and even then you have to be very cautious. You need to think about Bio-load, the size of the fish with fully grown, activity level, and aggression as well. I say at least a 35 because of all these, though the bigger the better...I'd shoot for 40-55 if I were you.
Yup, Wiki has some good info....but its not all good. And Petco is(please excuse my language)just plain crap. They really don't know what they're talking about, at all. I speak from personal experience, a pair of Gourami is a BIG nono.
As far as territories go, you've got the right Idea...just not the space to create distinct territories for the fish you have. If you can, keep this 10 running after you upgrade and you can leave the Dwarf in there and move the others over....might be better anyway, once that Opaline gets older.....well, I've mentioned this before.
Hmm....any way you could post a pic or two of your Corys?
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