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  1. #1

    Default Honey Gourami Issues

    0 Not allowed!

    I just joined the forum and I'm hoping I can get some help with some issues I've been having.

    I have a 20 gallon freshwater set-up with five Serpae tetras, four bloodfin tetras, three zebra stripe danios, a sunset fire platy, a swordtail, and a new honey gourami (along with countless snails that keep breeding). I recently added three of the bloodfins and the gourami to my already established tank. I'm running an Aqueon Quietflow 20, and have an appropriate heater. The tank has a few hiding places, but I plan on adding more vegetation when I have the money.

    The issue I'm having is dark coloration showing on the gourami's head area coupled with it not coming to the top during feeding. I have seen it nip at some food and spit it back out, but never eat it. I've also seen it nip at some algae on the plants. I know the honey gourami is a shy breed, but I'm starting to worry because of the eating issue. I think that the discoloration is due to nitrite/ammonia burns, so I did a 70% water change and added ammonia neutralizer to the water. I also started slowly adding aquarium salt in the recommended dosage to add electrolytes and help gill function. The ammonia neutralizer seems to have worked because the dark coloration isn't spreading (it might be getting better, but I'll have to wait and check on that). I've also started to be more patient with feedings and not over-feed to curb ammonia build up. I feed my fish flake food and occasionally a bit of frozen brine shrimp.

    Are gouramis more susceptible to nitrite burns than tetras? The bloodfins I added the same day as the gourami haven't shown any signs of burns or odd behavior. They're doing very well. Should I be worried about the gourami or try something different? I don't think that it's new-tank shyness anymore because it's been almost a week.

  2. #2

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    0 Not allowed!
    I guess my first question is why is nitrite an issue? If your tank is cycled you should always have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrates and less than 20 nitrates.
    If that is not your situation then you tank is still cycling and yes, your fish will have serious issues from both ammonia and nitrites.
    You need to do water changes daily until both ammonia and nitrites are below .50 ppm. Your goal during a cycling tank is to keep both at around .25 so you have enough to build your beneficial bacteria in your filter media. If you don't have one, I strongly suggest getting an API master liquid water test kit as they are very accurate and will tell you where you are with your cycle.

    It would also be a good idea to read the cycling stickies in the beginners section of the forum so you can get a grasp on what's happening in your tank.

    Additionally, if it were my tank, I'd add another filter rated for a 20 gallon. Most here have a minimum of double filtration to keep the tank healthy.

    Good luck and feel free to ask more questions. we're here to help.
    30 g FW planted:corys, female ABNP, blue angel, harleys, zebra danios, rummies,
    15 g FW planted:2 male guppies, neons, pygmy corys, clown pleco, 4 types of shrimp, assassin snails
    90 Gal Journal:
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  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    I was reading around on other forums/websites that nitrites are a common issue. The reason I don't know the chemical levels is because the test kit prices are ridiculous where I am. I might order them online soon so I can keep a closer eye on them. I usually don't have issues when introducing new fish, so it's never been an issue before.

    I'll definitely check out the stickies later tonight.

    I have a spare 10 gallon filter that I can add to the tank. Hopefully that'll help a bit.

    Thanks for the help! I'll update in a few days to see if anything changes.

  4. #4

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    0 Not allowed!
    Yes, nitrates are an issue with gourami. I have a 200b tropical pond and these are the only I have had die due to nitrates. Luckily I found out before it got worse

  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    What did you do to curb nitrate levels?

    I'm doing frequent water changes, adding nitrate neutralizer, controlling how much food I feed them, and I added half of the recommended dose of aquarium salt. I'm also thinking about temporarily adding a spare 10g filter while I'm not using it.

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    But, back to my main issue: I'm very concerned about my gourami because I haven't seen it eat in the entire time that I've had it in the tank. I don't think that it's tank shyness anymore, because I see it swimming around a fair amount. It still hides a fair bit, but not as much as when I first introduced it to the tank. It's not thin, but doesn't come up during feeding. Should I try a new food type or feeding method?

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