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I'm considering adding one or more Dwarf Gouramis to a 20-gal tank that presently contains a school of Zebra Danios. Are they compatible?

I'm seeing mixed reports on whether Gouramis (even of the same species) can be housed together without conflicts.

Tropical Fish for Freshwater Aquariums: Dwarf Gourami Labyrinth Fish says yes, and that a pair (Male/Female?) will swim together.

Trichogaster lalius - The Free Freshwater and Saltwater Aquarium Encyclopedia Anyone Can Edit - The Aquarium Wiki says no more than one to a tank. This source also claims that much of the available stock come with a fatal and infectious virus (DGIV).

Can anyone comment from experience?

Thank you.
 

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Gouramis.... I've tried on several occasions to keep more than 1. Survival of the fittest will be the outcome if the tank is too small and depending on the species and temperament of your 2 G's.
I put 2 PEARL G's in a 75 gallon. Pearls... one of the most docile. And they chased, harassed and fought till one hid himself and died. No tank is big enough if they don't want each other in the same space. And even if you buy them small/babies... you just never know what day it is, how big they need to get before the "event" and fighting happens. Everything was fine... wth happened? They grow, they mature sexually, they sort the pecking order. You just don't know when it's going to happen. That's the problem. So you CAN put 2 together but be prepared to lose one. JMO. (I currently have 3 baby Honey Males in a 10 gallon) The instant the fighting starts one goes into the 75... maybe even 2. But I know what I am up against.
 
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Fish that are purchased and put together in the same tank at the same time will do better together than fish introduced to a tank with an established pecking order. it's kinda like junior high. There are people who buy a whole tank of saltwater fish, for that reason. By nature, danios and Colisa lalia are 'community tank fish'. On occasion, a given fish may have a domineering / belligerent personality. But that's not the norm for these fish. I have seen a blue gourami bully tankmates. I have seen a angelfish bully its tankmates. Those were the exception to the rule. Adding plants and shale for hiding places also helps. This isn't like putting Barbs in with fancy guppies, where the characteristic behavior of Barbs is to fin nip.
 

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We'll dwarf gourami are 50-50 some are nice some are not. But putting a m/f pair in a 20g (that isnt planted) is a horrific idea the male will chase and harass the female a lot. You could put 1m/2f in a planted 20g with a lot of hiding spots. Or u could put 3f in the 20g and should not have a prob. But females don't have bright colors. You can put 1m/2f in ur tank and see what happens. Just watch them and have a place to move them to if there is a prob.
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LOL! When I was a teenager, I used to breed Dwarf Gouramis.... and other Anabantids.
 

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We'll dwarf gourami are 50-50 some are nice some are not. But putting a m/f pair in a 20g (that isnt planted) is a horrific idea the male will chase and harass the female a lot. You could put 1m/2f in a planted 20g with a lot of hiding spots. Or u could put 3f in the 20g and should not have a prob. But females don't have bright colors. You can put 1m/2f in ur tank and see what happens. Just watch them and have a place to move them to if there is a prob.
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First and foremost, females are almost impossible to find. There ARE places that sell them - I assume you have one by you or else you wouldn't be suggesting the OP get 3 of them. But for the rest of us, they just aren't available. Because if this, there is LIMITED experience available to reference on keeping pairs or trios or whatever. The best account (they journaled it) I saw of someone trying to do what you are suggesting was in a 40 breeder, and the male killed all the females. I've seen WAAAAAAY more tanks with multiple DGs fail than succeed. One of the problems is that people don't recognize it as a failure because there aren't outright attacks. One simply dies. The guy with the 40 breeder was in denial about his tank, even when he was only left with his male.



That all being said, a 20 gallon is a REALLY small tank to attempt to do something like this in. I would absolutely not take these suggestions. If you want more than one go with honey gourami. In addition to actually being peaceful, they don't get the dwarf gourami disease.
 
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Generally speaking, yes. That's no guarantee that one individual fish, or one individual hobbyist doesn't experience the exception.
 

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Generally speaking, yes. That's no guarantee that one individual fish, or one individual hobbyist doesn't experience the exception.

To which two species are you referring?
 

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a dwarf gourami shouldnt have a problem with your danios but i definitely wouldnt put more than one in a 20 gal. they will play nice with your other fish but will more likely than not show aggression towards each other.
 

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Gourami can be really tricky fish, as they often 'change their minds'. One moment everything looks fine, and the next you have a dead fish. Unless you have the resources to give each fish it's own tank should something go awry, I wouldn't get more than one.

I had 3 Pearl (supposedly one of the most docile gourami, second to Honeys) youngsters in a 38 gallon, and the male was relentless in chasing them. I switched out males, and still had issues with him being constantly harassing them, even with tons of hiding places.

So I nixed the male. And then the females fought, and fought, and one eventually almost killed the other. I ended up just returning them both and sticking with schooling fish.

So yeah. DGs are notorious for being aggressive, and sure, some people have house multiples together. But I'd say the risk of them fighting is too high to take unless you have another tank one could go into.
 

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I had 5 pearls in a 45 with no problems at all. They'd still be in there if I hadn't given the tank away. Now I have 6 in a 125. IMO and E they are a group oriented fish and do best that way. I had kept them as a pair and trio and found aggression from the males (tried swapping him out). They kept a very close eye on the female. Adding more females fixed it instantly. I had tried to add a second male in the 125 but had a problem with the new male being aggressive with the other gouramis. I would like to introduce another male to the group to see if it it happens again. This time I will be introducing a trio to see if that makes a difference (I know, 2 variables...), increasing the group to 9.

Fish are not machines though. While one can expect a fish to adhere to the species standards, it shouldn't be a surprise when it doesn't go as expected. There are a ton of variables to consider when determining why a fish does not follow with how they ought to be, some within our control and some beyond it.

There are no guarantees in fishkeeping, except that the fish will die. It's okay to take risks, as long as they are calculated risks. Some things have a higher probability than others - I'm alllllllllllll about trying things and think MORE people should. I think too many people are afraid of things not working and it impedes their growth. However, I still think multiple DGs in a tank that small does not carry favorable odds.
 

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Nice looking kitty, 'Jentralal'! Things that can help with pecking order issues is introducing fish to a tank at the same time. When that's not possible, providing hiding places makes a significant difference, especially when there are highly territorial fish involved.
 

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Nice looking kitty, 'Jentralal'! Things that can help with pecking order issues is introducing fish to a tank at the same time. When that's not possible, providing hiding places makes a significant difference, especially when there are highly territorial fish involved.
I understand how pecking order works ..perhaps more then most as an African cichlid keeper...however with DGs you aren't going to see much hierarchy established. Its just a hateful species. They are just fine with many other species but not their own. Yes they are fine with the danios.. but I would not in 20g ever recommend more then one DG (male or female or any mix of them) .

For the OP.. Is it a 20 long? The zebra danios are hyper fish that love length to swim...I wouldn't recommend zebra danios for a 20g high.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Agent13. It's a 20-high. It does seem a bit short for the more vigorous Zebra Danio swimmers. They were recommended for being a hardy and easy to care-for "starter fish." We originally wanted Cherry Barbs. Oh well... live and learn.
 

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I agree. though small, zebra danios are very active which means they should have more space to swim. I would not keep them in a 20 high either.


Cherry barbs would have been a much better choice. You can still get them for the tank.
 

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Dwarf gouramis somehow have a reputation as good community fish, but in my experience they are among the most aggressive of gouramis. Best for community in my opinion and experience are pearl gouramis, but no garuantee of course. Individual personality will decide who gets along and who fights. A 20 gall might be a bit small for pearl gourami as they can grow quite large.
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Possibly. One perished, and I'm down to four. I was planning to replenish with two, thinking that they would be happier as a complete school. I was also thinking that as I introduce new species it would be better for the newcomers if the Danios weren't stressed in any way.

Maybe I'll cap the Danios at four and Cherry Barbs instead. Thoughts?
 
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