Dwarf Gourami, Bettas and Iridovirus

sirdarksol
  • #1
Over the past week, I have seen several members report that they have lost dwarf gourami to an illness that does not respond to any treatment, causes the fish to waste away at the bottom of the tank, and eventually takes the fish's life.

This illness is called iridovirus, and it is a plague among dwarf gourami right now.



My purpose for starting this thread is threefold.

#1, I want to express my sorrow for those of you who have gone through this with a DG. (I also want to thank you for posting your experiences, as they may have saved my tank, as I was thinking of getting a DG)

#2, I want the rest of the forum to know about the illness. It can species hop, meaning it may affect the other fish if you add a DG to an aquarium.

#3, I want to spur action (always the activist, I am ;D). If your LFS stocks DGs, talk to them, ask them to talk to their suppliers and say that they won't order any more DGs until this gets sorted out. Only when the suppliers realize that they are losing customers (and therefore, money), will this situation change. The suppliers in Singapore need to deal with this problem, even if it means quarantining all of their fish and developing a "safe" stock.

Edit and Update:
This virus seems to also be capable of travelling to bettas, at the very least. This is not scientifically confirmed, but a large number of members have lost bettas to nearly identical symptoms, so it seems likely that iridovirus is the culprit. These bettas were in conditions that potentially exposed them (usually indirectly) to dwarf gourami, further supporting this belief.
Rather than put all of the extra info in here, I'm going to just include links to other threads.
https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/multiple-tank-owners-please-read.24987/

https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...uy-a-betta-right-now-a-word-of-caution.24986/

https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/betta-with-dwarf-gourami-iridovirus.24901/

I'm also going to sticky this thread so there's a central bit of information regarding this issue. Mods and/or Mike, if you disagree with this being stickied, please feel free to un-sticky.

Edit: Okay, folks. I have a completely untested theory based on something Dave said in another thread. This disease leaves the fish too weak to swim, meaning they spend their time on the bottom of the tank.
It is possible (not likely, considering the other symptoms, but right now, I want to give you all as many options as possible) that what is killing gourami and bettas is not, directly, iridovirus. Instead, it may be that they are dying by drowning.
Dave suggested putting the fish in a floating container that allows them to sit nearer the surface. If it's easier for the fish to reach the surface, it may not drown. Some viruses (think cold or flu) just have a certain duration before the body can fight it off. If you survive the symptoms, your body will recover.
Again, I do not want to get anybody's hopes up too much, but it's something to be tested. Trying everything available to us is the least we can do.
 
Butters
  • #2
my DG is dying as I type this because of this stupid virus. I'm not going to get another one, and I would advise you to not go out and get one now because its really sad watching the fish sit at the bottom not eating, swimming, or doing anything else. I was just lucky enough that I didnt buy new fish when he was still in there.
 
Fishies-for-me
  • #3
I had 4 dwarf gouramis..I originally bought one male ..he was fine in my tank but I wanted to get him some females. I got 3 females who in a matter of a week started to die one by one...they would stop eating and within a day or two die. There belly was slightly bloated but not to any great degree. Then after all the females died my male got the same thing and stopped eating and died. I read about this virus after this and wonder if that could of been the cause for my fish dying. At first I thought it was stress from being chased by the " top dog " but they shouldn't die that fast from being chased a little by another of their own species. ( I have hiding places in the tank.) Now I wonder if my tank is infected with this whatever it is and will it affect my other fish in there? I have 10 glowlight tetras , 6 albino cory cats and 3 cherry barbs in a 36 gallon tank. I have ben planning on getting 2 or 3 angelfish to put in there but now wonder if I should wait a bit longer...it has been a month or two since the last gourami died...any suggestions??
 
Barbrella
  • #4
I got 2 Cobalt Blue dwarfs - one on June 6 and one on June 8. The first died June 12. In the time I had him, he never ate anything and just hid. After a few days he started staying on the bottom all the time, acting terrified. Then I found him stuck on the filter intake. That day he started twitching and drifting and died that night.

He had no visible signs of any rot, infection, pararsites, disease or starvation. It's impossible to know for sure what killed him, but I do suspect iridovirus.

The other one is eating and seems healthy, but that's no guarantee that he's okay.

I suggest people stop buying DGs, until the the breeders in Asia do something to stop selling diseased fish. Money is the bottom line so the only way to make them take notice is to cut off the cash supply.

wonder if I should wait a bit longer...it has been a month or two since the last gourami died...any suggestions??

It SHOULD be safe after two months, but it's really not known if other species of fish can be carriers yet not show signs of disease themselves.

I guess you just have to try and see....
 
sirdarksol
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I don't know, sqrly. Because the virus doesn't just affect gourami, it is possible that one of your fish is infected, possibly even as a carrier (meaning it doesn't seem to be sick, and will never be affected by the infection, but has it nonetheless. There are many animals who can carry rabies in this manner). However, if none of your other fish have it, the virus has likely long since died, since viruses normally need to be in a nucleus to survive for any length of time.
 
Fishies-for-me
  • #6
Thanx...both of you. Guess I will just see what happens and any fish that go into that tank will have to stay there At least for a long while till I am sure that everyone is ok. ( Not even 100% sure that was what killed them ...but it sure sounds like the symptoms that they displayed , they looked healthy before and bang died in a couple of days.)
 
COBettaCouple
  • #7
You know, we were talking about this at the last fish club meeting but in regards to German Blue Rams from the Asian markets. LFSs like to buy locally bred GBRs since they know the amount lost will be significantly less than fish shipped in from Asia.

This sounds even worse and I think shows there is some major reform needed there in the tropical fish industry.
 
Shawnie
  • #8
ive been watching my dg's since this started, and thank god mine aren't affected..but I got mine back in april ...I do want to say how sorry I am for everyones loss and I hope things don't progress to other fish
 
Barbrella
  • #9
in regards to German Blue Rams

Yes, there have been very heavy losses in that species, and apparently in angelfish as well.

As for the DGs, many people complain of healthy looking fish who die in 3 - 6 months, no matter what level of care is given.

I would certainly be willing to pay more for fish domestically bred and disease free. It would be worth it not to have to watch beautiful creatures dying and being unable to do a thing about it.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #10
True, we like to buy fish from local breeders as much as we can. Partly so we don't give the big chains the business and partly to support the local breeders but this is another good reason to.
I would certainly be willing to pay more for fish domestically bred and disease free. It would be worth it not to have to watch beautiful creatures dying and being unable to do a thing about it.
 
Fishies-for-me
  • #11
I would be happy to pay more for ANY healthy locally bred fish. I am so tired of buying fish that look healthy and are carrying some kind of problem. A male guppy that looks great only to see it has camallanus worms 1 week later. ( which infects the whole tank) Same guppies displaying Gyrodactylus now. ( I think anyhow. from the research I have been doing) Betta fish that come down with velvet a few days after purchase. Now I know that some things just happen like the ich my tank went thru. But buying fish and having them get sick with something that you know they must of been carrying when you bought them is disheartening to say the least. I wonder how many people that are new to the hobby quit because it is to much work...to much heart ache ..and to much money to deal with the problems? I know what a tank of happy healthy fish looks like and feels like to own. The pride you feel when some one looks at you tanks and says ...wow that looks amazing. I also know the dismay of having a sick fish or tank of fish and not really know what to do..the joy of treating a fish or a tank and bringing it back to health again...as I am sure many of you do also. But wouldnt it be nice to buy a fish with confidence that it is well and healthy?....ok my rant is over now...lol
 
Alessa
  • #12
As many in this forum know I lost a dwarf gourami almost a month ago and I blamed it to my cycling...
but I don't know anymore if it was in fact cycling or the iridovirus...
my other gourami is fine so I still don't have the slightest clue if it was the virus or my biospira disaster...
Are there any signs in the bodies of the dead fishes?
 
Blub
  • #13
Just found this:
 
COBettaCouple
  • #14
Great article!
 
sirdarksol
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Thanks, Hatchet. The article has been copied in the main body of the text.
 
Alessa
  • #16
I lost my two beautiful DGs to this horrible virus, then I saw that many bettas at the forum were dying the same way and feared for the worse...

I hope the breeders understand finally that they can't just keep sending sick fish and spreading the disease.
 
livetowin
  • #17
I think my Blue DG might have come down with this because hes in a qt tank because I just got him and hes laying on one side and hes not really swimming or eating would it be this or something treatable
 
Alessa
  • #18
the only thing you can do for him right now is keeping his water clean (20-50%) and hope it isn't this disease...
as I said, I lost two DGs to this virus... it is just horrible.
 
livetowin
  • #19
Yea it is and I just got him yesterday and now all this. it is very stressful I'm sure for everyone that has DG's because they don't know if it will affect them
 
Jynx
  • #20
I lost my dwarf a couple months ago... the only thing that's different was that he lost a lot of color before he died. I moved him out of the big tank into a smaller one 'cuz I didn't know if what he had was contagious or not, then kept him in a breeding net since my thought was that if he wasn't coming up to the surface to eat, he wasn't breathing like the should have been either. It was futile since he did wind up dying anyway, but at least I did what I could for him, even tried hand feeding him.

~Jynx

Edit: Ok, my DG was in a tank with other fish, none of the othe others got ill, so maybe it wasn't this? And I just bought 2 more... They seem fine right now, but I'll keep an eye on them. And I do want to say that the DG that I lost I had had for nearly a year. I'm still reading the other links, so I'll add more as I come across it. Oh... Question. And if this is answered in one of the other links, disreguard, but is it spreading to other non-labrynth fish?
 
Christian Patti
  • #21
do you guys think its safe to buy dwarf gourmais yet?
 
sirdarksol
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
Jynx, it may still have been iridovirus, as there is a limited number of fish it is infecting.

I do not know if things have calmed down with the iridovirus. I guess Jynx will be one of the tests (sorry Jynx )
 
Jynx
  • #23
So far they're good. Chasing each other, eating and swimming. My dwarf has come around and Powder (the powder blue dwarf) is quite the character. So far so good, but it's only been like a week.

~Jynx
 
livetowin
  • #24
Yea I recently got two gold dwarfs and so far they seem to be doing great so maybe the virus is losing strength ( I hope)
 
Alessa
  • #25
I seriously hope is about to be over. DGs are awesome fish. And jinx yes, it seems as if it has been spreading to bettas, another labryinth fish.
 
livetowin
  • #26
really but how would it be spreading if bettas are usually kept in their own tank??
 
Alessa
  • #27
because some people at the pet places (like Petsmart) where they have one huge filter thing for all the tanks, take out water from there and then add it to the betta cups. This disease is extremely contagious trough water so... we cam to the conclusion that this is how it spread.
 
livetowin
  • #28
o I see do the pet stores still do that even with the outbreak of the virus
 
Alessa
  • #29
I am pretty positive they still do. Although I got my closest petsmart to stop doing it! and I feel pretty good about it ;D
 
livetowin
  • #30
Wow Congrats!!!!
 
SyrenFranco
  • #31
My Dwarf Gourami looks like he's getting better...

I need to share this story, though it is not yet a total success story.

August 9th in the morning, I went about my usual routine and went over to the 20 gallon over populated fish tank I have to feed the guys. Before I continue, I say over populated because I have three different types of gold fish and I recently found out that despite their size they each need 20 gallons to themselves... I also have two Lyre Tail Black Mollys, 1 Blue Gourami, and 1 Dwarf Gourami. This is about the Dwarf Gourami, named Silver Bullet (SB).

That morning, I noticed that SB was resting lazily at the bottom of the tank, and while he's always the last to come up for food since all the other fish tend to go into a feeding excitement much like puppy dogs do, he just waits for them to calm down before moving in on the food. But not this morning. He just stayed at the bottom. I thought he was dying so I took the fish net and tapped him gently to get a reaction. He lazily swam up and noticed the food, then proceeded to eat... I figured I might need to change out the water since it had not been done in a week and my gold fish are pigs.

But I had things to do so I left for the day, and at night he didn't seem worse off, though I noticed a tiny white spot. I planned on using some ich medication on Sunday.

Sunday, 8/10, Both my roommate (it is actually his fish) and I noticed the tiny spot was still there and he was still sluggish but he ate so I was not worried. I couldn't use the ich medication until I removed the carbon filtration so I planned on buying some foam to use temporarily. Again I had things to do so I had to leave for the day with my roommate and when we came back Silver Bullet was floating around dizzily, as though he was attempting to swim but couldn't and would allow himself to drift. Also, the white spot was much bigger and now there were more spots in different areas. We panicked and put him in a bowl. We put ich medication in the bowl and put some tubes in to increase airation.

He didn't look like he'd make it. We noticed the tank was warm but he was the only one affected. We cleaned the tank as best we could and did a 50 percent water change. We went out and bout the foam filter and applied Ich Medication to the main tank to prevent the others from catching it. And my roommate suggested something I thought was crazy, he wanted to apply hydrogen peroxide to Silver Bullet directly but in a very small amount and gently with a cotton swab. I protested but agreed to research it since he insisted it is natural and not a man made chemical. We argued but I found no proof of any harm to fish though I never found anything on applying it directly, only not to allow it to get into their gills.

So we did it... we gently swabbed all the spots with it. SB let us do it, he didn't fight at all... and after a day the spots were completely gone and he was swimming. We couldn't hold him up anymore to apply any more on him since he was swimming away... but he was not eating.

He didn't eat from then on and soon after we noticed there was a new problem. His scaled were spongy and peeling. I blamed the peroxide and my roommate insisted it wasn't harmful. He might have been right since the peeling and sponging wasn't quite where we applied it... We sought out other medication and tried some antI bacterial food.

The peeling and sponging got worse and worse and soon he looked like he had fish leprosy! It even looked like his back half was going to completely fall off from his body, he had a chuck missing out of him. If was gross but he didn't appear to be in pain, if anything we thought he perhaps lost feeling all together in that area.

We ended up getting some powder... I have to check exactly what kind, but it was recommended by a petco employee. We by this point figured it was Gourami Disease and agreed to keep him in a small iso tank (about 3 gallons) until he got better and then into my 10 gallon tank permanently away from the others in case it did not spread. We had treated the 20 gallon tank for ich and the rest of the fish continue to be perfectly healthy and happy.

We stayed hopeful and I even went home for lunch and made sure Silver Bullet knew we were there as much as possible. This may sound crazy but I think he liked that we were showing support. I think he figured out we wanted him to get better. But then, that may be wishful thinking. Whatever the case may be... I still fed him and if he didn't eat I cleaned up the food.

around the 20th, I noticed poop... small amounts, but it was a good sign. His missing chunk didn't look promising but eating does. So we monitored the feeding and at first he never ate in front of us and finally he did.

Now his appetite is back and he is pooping and the gap, that missing chunk and peeling skin seems to be regenerating. Maybe that powder stuff really worked!

I became very sad when I realized many Gouramis must have been put out of their misery, but here's ours and he looks completely hopeless and still he eats and swims and started to regenerate.

This last weekend we moved and on Sunday we brought the fish over to the new apartment. Everyone was happy with their new environment. (We don't use backdrops in the tanks and place the fish where they have the best view of everything we do since they seem to follow our movements and stare at us when we are working out or cooking.) Silver Bullet however got a little scared when we had to take him out of his tank to clean it. At first we used a net and I think that may have hurt him... then we used a cup to put him back in so not to shock him, he seemed to like that better and cooperated in swimming into the cup... I'm telling you, I think these fish are smart or can read minds...

He wasn't as active after that and didn't want to eat again... this morning I noticed poop and I fed him a little. I went about my business and when I came back to clean up any excess food, I noticed he ate it... so we're back in business with the getting better.

He's been in that little tank for 3 weeks. I think he might have to be there for many more weeks if not months but I am hopeful and believe he'll be better soon.

I don't know if it was Gourami disease at all, I suspect peroxide was a stupid move but my roommate insists it wasn't. I know it started with ich, and I am thinking of getting another gourami and some other friendly guys to keep SB company once he's in the 10 gallon, but he has to be 100% for a few months before we do that, and I worry about Gourami Disease. Heck if he did have it, I wonder about the other fish...

BTW we had him for 4 months and he was perfectly fine until the ich incident.

That will teach me to not clean the tank for a week with those gold fish.

We have had some other problems we've since solved with the water and algae... since this happened, everything is good again.

So I know this was long, but I wanted to share it.

Thanks. =)
 
sirdarksol
  • Thread Starter
  • #32
Thanks for sharing, and Welcome to Fishlore.
 
livetowin
  • #33
Usually Buying DG's is hit or miss right now I lost one about two months ago but in the short time I had him I fell in love with them I got two new guys from a Fish only store (other one was from petsmart) and I havn't had any problems (knock on Wood) but that's good to hear that SB is better
 
clinton1621
  • #34
SyrenFranco....

The peeling and loss of scales was most likely due to the peroxide, have you ever poured any on your skin and noticed your skin turn white? Fish have a protective "slime coat" over their entire body that keeps infections at bay.... the peroxide essentially destroyed this (although it did probably kill the ich as well) but without a slimecoat he most likely developed a secondary external infection, so that's why the powder you used (probably triple sulfa) saved him from dying. Seeing as how you had him 4 months previous to the ich then he almost certainly didnt have iridiovirus though... feel free to kick your friend for almost killing your gourami though lol!
 
Zackj
  • #35
As many in this forum know I lost a dwarf gourami almost a month ago and I blamed it to my cycling...
but I don't know anymore if it was in fact cycling or the iridovirus...
my other gourami is fine so I still don't have the slightest clue if it was the virus or my biospira disaster...
Are there any signs in the bodies of the dead fishes?

There is talk about Hole In the Head disease, that too infects dwarf gouramis and bettas. I got a dwarf gourami for my first fish and I was doing research when I stumbled a cross an article on Wikipedia. If HITH killed your gourami, you would see pinpoint or bigger holes around the eyes or a little spread out on the head of it.
 
soldieroffortune1974
  • #36
Older post I know

SyrenFranco....

The peeling and loss of scales was most likely due to the peroxide, have you ever poured any on your skin and noticed your skin turn white? Fish have a protective "slime coat" over their entire body that keeps infections at bay.... the peroxide essentially destroyed this (although it did probably kill the ich as well) but without a slimecoat he most likely developed a secondary external infection, so that's why the powder you used (probably triple sulfa) saved him from dying. Seeing as how you had him 4 months previous to the ich then he almost certainly didnt have iridiovirus though... feel free to kick your friend for almost killing your gourami though lol!

I just wanted to correct that. The peroxide didn't cause that effect in the fish. I use Hydrogen Peroxide in my aquariums with no ill effects,at 10ppm. Swabbing a diseased fish with peroxide is an excellent way to get rid of parasites/bacteria and fungus infections (external).

sirdarksol

Do you have the link to the article from the main topic of this post? The links listed don't appear to be working. I was curious as to the connection of the iridovirus and your theory about 'species jumping'. I don't believe the iridovirus can 'species jump' except in very closely related species to the original host such as anabantids. Iridovirus is a highly specialised virus,that attacks the original host,produces it's spore,releases it into the water,waits for the suitable host and the cycle begins again. Iridovirus hosted by cichlids can't infect bettas,virus hosted by cichlids can't infect plecos and so on.

***EDIT*** The links are working now and after reading them,I see it's not the specific Iridovirus I was thinking. It's a class of Iridoviruses known as Megalocytivirus, (DNA based viruses) never mind,confusion cleared up.

Is there any updates to this? Are the species 'clean' now or are there still large cases still popping up?
 
pleco101
  • #37
dwarf gourami sickness

This disease is very common in dwarf gouramis, and has no known treatment. I had a DG and lost it to this. I ended up adding some clove oil and euthanizing it instead of letting it waste away. This same illness can be caught by mollys. WATCH OUT FOR THIS!!!
 
sirdarksol
  • Thread Starter
  • #38
Pleco101, how long ago was this?
I was actually just going to ask if anyone has had a dwarf gourami die of unusual circumstances in the past month. If not, I'm going to de-sticky this thread, I think, since it seems to no longer be an emergent issue.

Thread is being unstuck. I've heard no reports of unusual DG deaths recently, so I'm guessing the epidemic is over (though this doesn't mean the virus isn't out there. It's still a really good idea to quarantine all of your fish when you get them).
 
Blub
  • #39
Thread is being unstuck. I've heard no reports of unusual DG deaths recently, so I'm guessing the epidemic is over (though this doesn't mean the virus isn't out there. It's still a really good idea to quarantine all of your fish when you get them).

Cool. I haven't seen any sickly looking labyrinth fish recently either.
 
Tchaku
  • #40
Just found this thread. I just lost my Powder Blue DG last Sunday, that would be June 14 after only having him for 3 weeks. I'm now wondering if it was this virus. He got lithargic a day before and really wasn't eating much. I also noticed the distended stomach and a darker patch on his lower abdomin before he died.
 

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