Aggressive female pearl gourami

AggressiveBill

Hey All,

I have searched so many articles and forums looking for a solution. Nothing fits my situation so I’m out of ideas. I have a larger female (2.5”) pearl beating up a smaller (2”) female. I’ve had them for about 3 weeks. They are the only gourami in the tank and consequently my first gourami. This behavior was just minor before. Now it is ramped up. I have plants and a large driftwood for cover.
Do 2 females just not get along? Should they only be kept in male/female pairs? Do I need to add more females to curb aggression? I just added a couple fake floating plants...which look awful...to give something else to lay claim to. They are the largest fish in my 60g community tank. The rest are tetras, peacock gudgeons, and bottom dwellers. I’m trying to decide the best course of action and if there’s a way to create peace again. So far getting rid of the aggressor is my top idea.
 

DoubleDutch

Could you please place pics.of the fish and the tank.
 

jinjerJOSH22

Hey All,

I have searched so many articles and forums looking for a solution. Nothing fits my situation so I’m out of ideas. I have a larger female (2.5”) pearl beating up a smaller (2”) female. I’ve had them for about 3 weeks. They are the only gourami in the tank and consequently my first gourami. This behavior was just minor before. Now it is ramped up. I have plants and a large driftwood for cover.
Do 2 females just not get along? Should they only be kept in male/female pairs? Do I need to add more females to curb aggression? I just added a couple fake floating plants...which look awful...to give something else to lay claim to. They are the largest fish in my 60g community tank. The rest are tetras, peacock gudgeons, and bottom dwellers. I’m trying to decide the best course of action and if there’s a way to create peace again. So far getting rid of the aggressor is my top idea.
Hi welcome to fishlore.
It's important to keep social fish like Pearl Gourami in larger groups so they can properly socialize. In a pair there will alomost always be a dominant fish and one will usually get bullied.
I would opt to get a few more.

I have a larger female (2.5”) pearl beating up a smaller (2”) female
Unlikely that the can be accurately sexed at this size, could also be that they are both young males coming into maturity.

Still the solution for me is more regardless.

LIke DD requested a picture can be helpful to see if there are other factors.
 

AggressiveBill

I went to a swap and bought a trio. It was supposed to be 2 females and a male. I checked the bag, but not thoroughly. I saw 2 pearls and a fish from the top. The third just happened to be blocked by the other two and I was in a hurry to get out of the mad house. The third turned out to be a beautiful 3 spot female. She was definitely a female. She beat the out of the other two. Left marks. I found a new home for her.
She was the dominant. Now the other pearl is doing it. She’s not as aggressive, but still more than I like. The internet is full off lovely info that is misleading so here I am.
 

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DoubleDutch

Could you place a full tank pic ?
 

AggressiveBill

As luck would have it, a lfs just got in a new batch of pearls. I took your advice and got 2 more. Attitudes changed immediately. They are still getting to know each other, but the aggression has ceased. It looks like it was a dominance issue. Pretty sure one is a male. His dorsal fin is longer and the analfin has what looks like the start of danglies. It wasn’t by design, but it worked out. I am watching them to see if this continues.
 

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DoubleDutch

Hi welcome to fishlore.
It's important to keep social fish like Pearl Gourami in larger groups so they can properly socialize. In a pair there will alomost always be a dominant fish and one will usually get bullied.
I would opt to get a few more.


Unlikely that the can be accurately sexed at this size, could also be that they are both young males coming into maturity.

Still the solution for me is more regardless.

LIke DD requested a picture can be helpful to see if there are other factors.
Josh I am anxious to know : Noticing a change in advise about these fish the last few months.

Before a a pair or harem were advised and after some threads about keeping Pearls in groups / shoals this more and more seems to be the general advise here.

IMO these fish will live in small groups / shoals till getting matured and wanting to breed (just like a some cichlids). Just like these cichlids (angels fi) the tank appears too small at that moment.

What about these Pearls. Is keeping more of these Pearls not asking for issues on the long run ? Or are we trying to artificial reduce agreession by overpopultion as done in case of some African Cichlids?
 

jinjerJOSH22

Josh I am anxious to know : Noticing a change in advise about these fish the last few months.
I think this is the advice I'm trying to push at with Gourami for a while now.
Before a a pair or harem were advised and after some threads about keeping Pearls in groups / shoals this more and more seems to be the general advise here.
Personally I'm pushing away from just keeping pairs, as I don't think it's a healthy situation. One always seems to get the brunt of "bad" behaviour and I don't think this is a natural occurrence throughout a year.
IMO these fish will live in small groups / shoals till getting matured and wanting to breed (just like a some cichlids). Just like these cichlids (angels fi) the tank appears too small at that moment.

I view it a little different, I believe they live in groups/shoals(can't say on size) throughout the year and don't exactly "pair off" as some cichlids do. While Gourami only breed with one partner at a time, there is no bond between them(some there is) and the next time that the male breeds it could be a different female from the group, I imagine during a dry season? Then continuing to live in a group.

Just like these cichlids (angels fi) the tank appears too small at that moment.
I'm not sure it does. I think the tank has to be adequately planted/scaped but I think the group can live together in somewhat harmony even in the presence of a breeding male.
What about these Pearls. Is keeping more of these Pearls not asking for issues on the long run ? Or are we trying to artificial reduce agreession by overpopultion as done in case of some African Cichlids?
I view it more like keeping Barbs or other shoaling fish, they need that nippy social behaviour throughout a group it's perfectly natural for them. I don't think they claim territory like a lot of people like to think(other than when breeding).

This of course is just my take on things but my experience with Three Spots was eye opening, the difference in keeping them on their own compared to within a group was night and day.

Just remembered something, I believe the King of DIY kept Pearls at one point in a very large group. The behaviour of that group was very interesting to me, they way they all hid together in a big clump was fascinating.
 

DoubleDutch

I think this is the advice I'm trying to push at with Gourami for a while now.

Personally I'm pushing away from just keeping pairs, as I don't think it's a healthy situation. One always seems to get the brunt of "bad" behaviour and I don't think this is a natural occurrence throughout a year.


I view it a little different, I believe they live in groups/shoals(can't say on size) throughout the year and don't exactly "pair off" as some cichlids do. While Gourami only breed with one partner at a time, there is no bond between them(some there is) and the next time that the male breeds it could be a different female from the group, I imagine during a dry season? Then continuing to live in a group.


I'm not sure it does. I think the tank has to be adequately planted/scaped but I think the group can live together in somewhat harmony even in the presence of a breeding male.

I view it more like keeping Barbs or other shoaling fish, they need that nippy social behaviour throughout a group it's perfectly natural for them. I don't think they claim territory like a lot of people like to think(other than when breeding).

This of course is just my take on things but my experience with Three Spots was eye opening, the difference in keeping them on their own compared to within a group was night and day.

Just remembered something, I believe the King of DIY kept Pearls at one point in a very large group. The behaviour of that group was very interesting to me, they way they all hid together in a big clump was fascinating.
This sheds a new light on things for me.
Never to old to learn.
Isn't it quite weird that we hardly have any footage of wild gouramis ?
 

Redshark1

Wild situation does not fit in 20g tank.
 

DoubleDutch

Wild situation does not fit in 20g tank.
Hahahahaha it doesn't.
But would like to see wild footage to see how these guys and girls live.
 

ProudPapa

. . . Just remembered something, I believe the King of DIY kept Pearls at one point in a very large group. The behaviour of that group was very interesting to me, they way they all hid together in a big clump was fascinating.

When I check my tank at least 12 of the 14 are almost always in a group, usually occupying a space not much larger than the volume of a 5 gallon aquarium.
 

jinjerJOSH22

Isn't it quite weird that we hardly have any footage of wild gouramis ?
This is so incredibly frustrating to me! There is so much when it comes to American waters but so little for Asian water systems, at least not what I want to see!
When I check my tank at least 12 of the 14 are almost always in a group, usually occupying a space not much larger than the volume of a 5 gallon aquarium.
I love this! It's wonderful to see these kind of reactions.
 

AggressiveBill

While I only have 4, they all hang together now. The dominant female is chill. There’s the typical small pecks by everyone, but that’s it. I almost gave up on pearls because all I read is that they were good in pairs and that females never ever got aggressive. Glad I didn’t. Now everyone gets groped that comes to the middle and top of the tank by the McFeely clan.
 

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