Blue gourami Bully

chunkoflove77

Member
Hey guys! So my tank has been up and running for a month or so now and things are going great! All of my fish are getting along! Performed a successful water change! Only 1 fish died! Got a few molly babies that are swimming around! It's awesome! haha

However I got the funny idea to add 2 new Molly's to my tank because my girlfriend thinks I need to add some more color to the tank. I then went and picked up 2 beautiful red/orange molly and swordtail.

Here is the new problem...my blue gourami who got along with all of my other mollys before, now is harrassing the heck out of the 2 newbies. What can I do? I know the new fish are stressed and don't know what to do! Any help?
 

FishGirl38

Member
What size tank are they in? What kind of gourami do you have (specifically, a larger variant - or smaller one)? and When did you add the gourami? Was he/she the first addition, or one of the last?

Maybe these question seem irrelevant, but gourami are territorial in nature. They tend to be MOST territorial towards other anabantids (other gourami and similar species to gourami - like paradise fish) but can sometimes chase and nip at the other fish for the same reason. The Reason They Do This Is completely due to 'recognized space'. So, essentially, your gourami has 'claimed' an area (or multiple areas, or the whole tank, if it's small enough) as 'his' territory. Usually, when fish are already in the territory and the gourami are added after the fact, they accept their tank mates as being a part of their hierarchy, but sometimes if fish are added in the latter fashion. Where the gourami (more territorial) species is in the tank before the less territorial species, he may do, well, exactly what you're witnessing him doing in an attempt to 'defend' his 'recognized territory'.

Some things you can do in the meantime, especially if the tank is 10-20G or less, is re-arrange the tank/decorations. What this does is forces the gourami to re-situate his territory. He'll have to find a new spot to hang out with the new decor, and this can give the newbies time to situate themselves within the tank while the gourami is finding new territory. If this works, it will be like the gourami was dropped into a brand new tank and has to 're-establish' his/her place.

If this doesn't work, adding more plants to break the line of sight between fish will help with continual chasing. If there is a piece of decor where the gourami hangs out or defends (like a shipwreck or wood piece) remove it completely and replace it with something new.

If none of these things work, as mentioned, this is usually due to a space thing (if the gourami feels like they have enough space and fish aren't encroaching on their territory too often, than they're happy) so, the ultimate fix would be to upgrade to a larger size tank. With a larger footprint than height space (a wider tank opposed to a taller one).

Replying to the post below mine here so as to not spam: agreed, they can be unpredictable, and I mention larger vs. smaller variants because believe it or not, as mentioned, the dwarf variants actually tend to be more territorial than their larger counterparts.
 

fishnovice33

Member
As much as I love the Gourami species this is exactly why I stopped keeping them. Just too unpredictable who they’ll go after. I had multiple chase platies in a 240 gallon with 15 small community fish. Really stressed my platies out amazing how they changed when the gourami was taken out. I thought it’d be ok in such massive space but I was wrong.

I find the dwarf to be most unpredictable. But I did have a red one that was very chill. I picked that one out though, it wasn’t the most colorful or dominant one at the store. You could try looking for a docile one like that if you want one. That’s 1 out of maybe a dozen over the years. I noticed blues to be worse...but that’s probably just coincidence.

I don’t keep any in any tanks anymore unfortunately. If I did, I’d keep it with Pack fish like tetras and cories.
 
  • Thread Starter

chunkoflove77

Member
FishGirl38 said:
What size tank are they in? What kind of gourami do you have (specifically, a larger variant - or smaller one)? and When did you add the gourami? Was he/she the first addition, or one of the last?

Maybe these question seem irrelevant, but gourami are territorial in nature. They tend to be MOST territorial towards other anabantids (other gourami and similar species to gourami - like paradise fish) but can sometimes chase and nip at the other fish for the same reason. The Reason They Do This Is completely due to 'recognized space'. So, essentially, your gourami has 'claimed' an area (or multiple areas, or the whole tank, if it's small enough) as 'his' territory. Usually, when fish are already in the territory and the gourami are added after the fact, they accept their tank mates as being a part of their hierarchy, but sometimes if fish are added in the latter fashion. Where the gourami (more territorial) species is in the tank before the less territorial species, he may do, well, exactly what you're witnessing him doing in an attempt to 'defend' his 'recognized territory'.

Some things you can do in the meantime, especially if the tank is 10-20G or less, is re-arrange the tank/decorations. What this does is forces the gourami to re-situate his territory. He'll have to find a new spot to hang out with the new decor, and this can give the newbies time to situate themselves within the tank while the gourami is finding new territory. If this works, it will be like the gourami was dropped into a brand new tank and has to 're-establish' his/her place.

If this doesn't work, adding more plants to break the line of sight between fish will help with continual chasing. If there is a piece of decor where the gourami hangs out or defends (like a shipwreck or wood piece) remove it completely and replace it with something new.

If none of these things work, as mentioned, this is usually due to a space thing (if the gourami feels like they have enough space and fish aren't encroaching on their territory too often, than they're happy) so, the ultimate fix would be to upgrade to a larger size tank. With a larger footprint than height space (a wider tank opposed to a taller one).

Replying to the post below mine here so as to not spam: agreed, they can be unpredictable, and I mention larger vs. smaller variants because believe it or not, as mentioned, the dwarf variants actually tend to be more territorial than their larger counterparts.
these kiddos are in a 29 g. I made sure to do my danios, corys, pleco before the Blue Gourami. Since then I added 3 mollys with a very similar color and size to the gourami and they all will swim around like besties! it is cute. The gourami has asserted its dominance and nipped at the others before during feeding, but 90% of the time that he notices either of my 2 bright red fish, he goes crazy. this is the same fish that doesn't even go after the molly fry!

I did add another handful of plants that is breaking the line of sight more but I would really hate to have to get rid of any of those fish because they are both so beautiful and the gourami has a fun personality when I would watch him before.

fishnovice33 said:
As much as I love the Gourami species this is exactly why I stopped keeping them. Just too unpredictable who they’ll go after. I had multiple chase platies in a 240 gallon with 15 small community fish. Really stressed my platies out amazing how they changed when the gourami was taken out. I thought it’d be ok in such massive space but I was wrong.

I find the dwarf to be most unpredictable. But I did have a red one that was very chill. I picked that one out though, it wasn’t the most colorful or dominant one at the store. You could try looking for a docile one like that if you want one. That’s 1 out of maybe a dozen over the years. I noticed blues to be worse...but that’s probably just coincidence.

I don’t keep any in any tanks anymore unfortunately. If I did, I’d keep it with Pack fish like tetras and cories.
Ugh! Such a bummer because they are a beautiful fish!
 

WilburTheGoldfish

Member
*joke ahead*
Try putting some anti-bully signs in the aquarium to prevent bullying, maybe hire some hall-monitors to control it.
 

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