Dwarf Gourami Worries

Discussion in 'Dwarf Gourami' started by marrrrrie_123, Jul 12, 2017.

  1. marrrrrie_123New MemberMember

    Hi so I've had a powder blue dwarf gourami for a couple of months now and I'm worried about him. I feel like he gets pushed around by this new filter I got (the old one broke) and he is already really stressed and injured himself by swimming around way to fast in a small fish bowl (temporary home for them when I first moved and had to get some new things for the tank but didn't have the money). He had bruises on his side which I managed to heal with the help of prime and now he is back in the 20L tank with a new filter (Aqua one 101F) and also an airstone. He hangs around the bottom more often than not but still likes a good feed. Actually he is a pig so let me know if that's normal. He also hates light and whenever I try turning on the LED overhead light built into the tank he goes ballistic and if I kept it on he'd probably accidentally kill himself. He seems so stressed and the only time he wasn't was when I had a live plant which just died due to not being able to turn on the light!!! I have a large fake one now but it seems to stress him more! I do have a heater which is on 26.01 atm and the ammonia levels have seemed to stay down the only that is that the PH stays high between 7.8 - 8.2. I have been searching forums constantly with every thing he is doing and i can't find anything. There's just something wrong but I don't want to remove the filter either as I think that's part of the problem because it keeps the tank clean. I'm sorry if this is all over the place but I don't know how to explain what's happening because so many things are going on. If anyone can help PLEASE DO.
  2. Aquaphobia

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    Hi and welcome!

    Do you know about the nitrogen cycle? I suspect that your tank is not cycled which is causing toxins to build up in the water, stressing your fish. Did you save the old filter media and put it in the new filter?
  3. vin

    vinWell Known MemberMember

    First, you'd have to find something to slow down the water flow. If the flow rate is adjustable (not familiar with that filter) I would turn it down. That's a large filter you're running there. Second, Dwarf Gouramis love places to hide and need a place or places they can use for refuge. So a cave, floating plans, dense plantings, etc. will help.

    As for the lighting, The only thing I can suggest is to see if you can find a tinted film that can be applied to the light lens. Since LED lighting runs cool there is no danger of heat buildup. That would filter the light and likely calm your guy down.

    I wouldn't worry about the pH level as long as it remains steady and doesn't fluctuate. The temperature however I would try lowering to 23.5c. I keep my Dwarf Gourami at this temp and they do just fine.

    Make sure to check your water parameters. They're sensitive to water conditions so keeping ammonia and nitrite out is important.

  4. OP

    marrrrrie_123New MemberMember

    I'm not too familiar with the nitrate/nitrite cycle and I threw out the old filter completely. Honestly this all really confuses me (like the hobby in general) but I really want to learn and not kill this fish (I've already killed 7 since I started and yes I am hopeless at this point). I just wanted to add I'm putting in Quickstart, Prime, Accuclear, Stresszyme and Stresscoat as well to try to and "cycle" the water. But to be honest I don't really even know what a cycled tank is and how to know when it's ready and what to really do. Again I'm hopeless and have no idea what I'm doing and my local pet store honestly have no clue either and just keep selling me things that aren't helping. And this is taking a toll on my bank account. Ive turned my filter off tonight because it's acting strange and whenever I have it on these foamy bubbles form all around it but go away a little bit after it's off. I also turned off my air stone because both it and the terra whisper are making weird noises when on (I tried turning it down and it only stops when it's unglugged).
  5. vin

    vinWell Known MemberMember

    OK...So let's start at the beginning. First and foremost you're not hopeless. You just need some direction from more experienced fish keepers and you've come to the right place. We've all had our share of head scratchers and issues with our tanks. Especially as beginners, so you're not alone! Your first assignment is to read about the nitrogen cycle. It will help you to understand what it is and why water chemistry is an important part of fish keeping. Second, you should look into purchasing an API Master Test Kit and learn how to test the water in your aquarium. It's very easy provided you follow the instructions provided with the kit. Typically they run about $24 US. Since your pet store isn't any help to you, the test kit will be well worth the investment and you will use it regularly.

    I'm guessing the foam you are talking about is the beginning of the ammonia buildup in the water which will in turn drive your fish crazy and eventually kill them if not kept in check. Your water probably has a bit of an odor to it by now as well which is another sign of ammonia. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are all toxic to fish with nitrate being least toxic of them all, but being a necessary component to good water chemistry. To combat the ammonia and nitrite buildup you have to change part of your aquarium water regularly. During the cycle period (which can take anywhere from 3-8 weeks) you should change anywhere from 25%-50% of your water daily. The amount is loosely determined by the amount of ammonia & nitrite in the tank. For me, any ammonia reading >1.0 change 50%. Anything <1.0 change 25%. Similarly the same thing applies with nitrite. the higher the reading, the more you change. The goal is to dilute those two chemicals. Any time you change water it needs to be treated. Since you mentioned you're using Prime to treat your water, you're using the best water treatment in the hobby. Eliminate all of the other chemicals you're using except for Stresszyme. Since you already have that I won't tell you to spend more money on Stability. But for future reference, Stability works best for helping establish a tank and for weekly tank maintenance. But your Stresszyme will do. During the cycle period you want to test your water daily so you can keep your ammonia and nitrite in check. You can also dose your tank daily with Prime to help detoxify any ammonia or nitrite that begins building during the cycle period. I would also dose with Stresszyme daily as well as this will help boost the development of the beneficial bacteria we want. Instructions are on the bottles. I know a guy in a similar situation as yours who nursed 6 corydoras and 3 dwarf gourami through a cycle by dosing with Prime and Stresszyme every day for 6 weeks and changing water daily. It was work, but they all came through it.

    A quick rundown on the stages of the cycle:

    First, you will begin to see signs of ammonia in your test results. The readings will continue to show an increase of ammonia and will reach it's peak after a week to 10 days and will begin to fall back to zero.

    Next, the ammonia will seem to pick up again, except this time you will begin to see signs of nitrite in the tank in your test results. As the nitrites build up, the ammonia will start falling back toward zero over the course of a few days.

    Once the nitrite reaches it's peak over the course of a week or so it will begin to fall back toward zero. As it begins to fall you will gradually start to see nitrate in your test results. Nitrate is good! We want some nitrate, but we want to keep that <20. Ideally you want your nitrates in the range of 10. Nitrates are a sign that beneficial bacteria has begun to take hold in your substrate, filter, on decor, etc. Nitrates are also what "eat up" ammonia and nitrites!

    We keep all of this in check by doing daily water changes during the cycling period. Over the course of time your ammonia and nitrite readings will both fall to zero and the only thing present in your water will be nitrate. Again, we want that nitrate reading to be less than 20. Preferably around 5-10. And we keep this reading in check by performing weekly water changes of about 30%.

    It's important to note that during your cycling period, do not clean your substrate, filter, decor, etc. We want the good bacteria to colonize there. Unless your filter isn't running correctly the only thing we really want to do is rinse parts in used tank water when we're doing our water changes. If you're using some sort of filter packet like activated charcoal/carbon, do not change it until after the tank has been cycled completely and never, ever clean or replace the sponges in the filter canister. Those should last years and can be swished around in old tank water if they become clogged.

    I tried to give you a quick hit of the cycle. Read the article posted within the site for more details. If you dose with Prime and Stresszyme and change water daily your gourami should begin showing signs of calming down and hopefully will make it through the cycle. But it will take a lot of work. But you can do it!

    Let us know if you purchase the test kit and publish your water results here for:


    This will help us if we need to give you more tips and tricks. Good luck!
  6. OP

    marrrrrie_123New MemberMember

    I do already own the Ph and Ammonia test kits as that's all the store informed me that I needed, heads up to I'm in Australia and the master kits a bit more expensive here haha at around $74.00....yeah..But I believe I can either purchase just the other two together or seperatly. The thing is I tested the ammonia last night and it looked as if it were zero but could have risen somewhere between 0 and 0.25 so that's when I put 1mL of prime in (as I only have a 20L (5.28G) tank. I recently discovered DG need larger ones but again it's a bit unrealistic for me with pricing and the fact I have no room. The other thing is I changed the water yesterday and then decided to change my filter to a little spray bar that comes with it to lessen the flow (didn't work I'll elaborate later) and by nighttime those bubbles were occurring. So I cleaned to filters sponge in tank water and the bubbles are still happening whenever it's on (Ileft it off last night again I'll say why later).

    With cycling the tank with the DG and Bristlenose (sorry if I forgot to mention him before) inside, do I have to worry about siphoning or can I just take 25%-50% of the water out depending on the readings? Because for me to siphon I always have to take him out or he gets to stressed and I'm not that great at it siphoning.

    My other question is about the chemicals. So once my tank is cycled should I use those other two chemicals again? I ask because the Accuclear is good for clearing cloudy water which I do struggle with sometimes, the Stresscoat has Aloevera in it and reduces his stress as well as is healing and I was told that Quickstart was what I need to use with new water and Prime was just a treatment to detoxify ammonia. I just feel like I have wasted so much money that I could have spent on testers and I'm only 18 years old so don't really have much money lying around and am blowing through my savings at this point.

    Lastly, the filter I have is a Aquaone 101F internal filter but as I said it's too strong and he still hates the spray bar as well plus it's very noisy. I feel like the currents too intense either was so I just turned it off last night (about 10:30 am now and it's till off plus just fed them) because he seems much more anxious with it on I don't know if it's be pressure or sounds or both or what is happening with it. The old filter never bothered him. It came with the tank and sat on a little shelf above over the lid. And motor went into the water with the part that takes in the tank water then it had little black things, 3 cubes with sponges and some white things and then came out the other side. But the thing is I had no idea how to clean it at all because the filter didn't have any instructions in the tanks book so it eventually just died and I believe took a couple of fish with it. Do you recognise what kind that is? I don't know what do with mine to minimalise the current. I prefer the duckbeak (although when above the surface is spits rather than flows out is that normal or is it just meant to be under water which I had it for a while). If anyone has any ideas on how to reduce the current let me know!!! And I was also just wondering does he need to have an airstone because the bar I have as well as the tetra whisper make the strangest noises and I don't know if it's doing him any good.

    Oh and I just wanted to add I just read the nitrogen cycle and I am very confused as it doesn't really tell me what to do if I have fish or when to do what changes? It also says to test every second day and I'm wondering do I have to add anything to start it or is it already to start just by having my DG in there and me feeding him and my bristlenose everyday? Sorry for so many questions I'm just so very confused and don't understand much of this.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2017
  7. OP

    marrrrrie_123New MemberMember


    Okay so I have just purchased the Nitrite and Nitrate tester kits and have tested my tank.
    The readings are:

    Ph: 7.6
    Ammonia: 0.5ppm
    Nitrite: 0ppm
    Nitrate: 0ppm
  8. vin

    vinWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks for posting your update. First, re-read the post I sent you above - I tried to explain the cycle process in a simple way, what to do for water changes and when and when to use the chemicals. As I mentioned the only chemicals you need are the ones I listed. Too many chemicals is not good. Let's work on your questions.

    1. Yes, you need to change water regardless. Daily during the cycle and at least weekly for maintenance. Remember, fish in the wild have a constantly flowing, fresh water system. Our fish are in a closed system. The way we keep the water fresh is through water changes. If your guy gets freaked out by the syphon use a small container and gently scoop water out. It may not stress him as much. But take note that fish will freak out, but eventually get used to the syphon. Taking him in and out is worse as it puts even more stress on him. I think you're just adding to his stress by continually moving him and changing things. And you will have to syphon down into your substrate (gravel/sand) to remove fish waste so he's just going to have to live with it.

    Additionally, part of his stress is that he feels trapped and having the bristle nose in there with him isn't helping. The bristle nose needs at least a 20 gallon (75L) tank. Preferably larger. They also need driftwood and algae for a food source. So if you're not already doing this or if your tank has no algae, you need to buy algae wafers and feed them to him. Since your tank is so overcrowded you will have to perform massive water changes - at least 50% for weekly maintenance once the cycle has completed. Plecos create A LOT of waste and that's what creates nasty water conditions and spikes in the ammonia levels. You may wish to consider rehoming the Pleco as he will not do well in those conditions.

    2. I like to test all readings daily during the cycle, but that's just me. If you want to test every two days then that's up to you.

    3. Not familiar with your filter, but from what I can find, the filter looks like it's rated for tanks up to 55L. It could just be too powerful for that tank. I'm not sure how to regulate or slow down the flow. The water should flow into the tank from just above the surface as you are trying to aerate the water and create oxygen flow. The old filter you describe is known as a "hang on back" filter. The filter and air stones should make gurgling and bubbling noises. That's normal.

    4. Skip the Aquaclear. Your water cloudiness is being caused by the cycle and will clear up on its own as beneficial bacteria begin to form. The less chemicals you use, the better off you will be.

    5. The presence of ammonia indicates your cycle has begun. Perform the water changes that I mentioned in my previous post. In addition, it's is critically important to follow the instructions in the test kits to the letter. Particularly with the Nitrate test. If it says to tap the bottle on a table and shake vigorously for 30 seconds, be sure to do that. If it says to shake the tube vigorously for 1 minute, be sure to do that too. And wait the required time before reading test results. You are much more apt to get false readings by not following instructions.

    Keep us posted.
  9. OP

    marrrrrie_123New MemberMember

    So yesterday after taking that reading I posted before I took out about 25% of my water and replaced with with conditioned (prime) water and added some stresszyme afterwards as directed. This reduced my ammonia level to 0.25ppm. I didn't test the nitrite or nitrate afterwards as I am not up to that part of the cycle yet and just wanted to see the ammonia afterwards, which went down from 0.50-0.25ppm. Today I repeated the process.

    The readings were:
    Ph: 6.8 (it's staying steady now which I am happy with)
    Ammonia: 0.25ppm
    Nitrite: 0ppm
    And I didn't test for Nitrate as if there is no signs of nitrite then there's not way there can be nitrate as I understand. As I get further down the cycle I will adjust what I test for and how often though!

    Then I decided just to do a 10% water change and then just retested my ammonia as I did the day before and the reading was still 0.25ppm but looked a little lighter than the previous test which I am guessing is good?

    From this day onwards I think I will do this every second day. And I do this with a cup and big measuring jug. But I will siphon once a week to get rid of other waste (my worry was I would be removing any good bacteria I was beginning to create but I guess as long as I only remove 25% at the moment while doing more change it should be alright). I am also recording all my results in a little book to track it.

    With my bristlenose, I feel they love very happily together and I have always fed him algie wafers and he seems to be quite satisfied (I have had him for about 6months now). I will leave them together as I can see my fish is already less stressed than before and things are starting to look up.

    I am just curious because I thought to ammonia was supposed to rise to a high point (not drop easily) and then drop once nitrate started to rise? I'm not too sure maybe it drops then comes up? If you could clear that up that'd be good as well as if you think I'm doing anything wrong! I'd appreciated the feedback as I want to do this right but I feel as if things are going well so far.

    Thanks, can't wait to hear back.
  10. vin

    vinWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks for posting the update. During the cycle, the ammonia will rise gradually and eventually fall to or near zero, then begin to rise again as nitrite begins to appear. Ammonia and nitrite will be present a the same time and the ammonia will eventually disappear once nitrates begin to appear. The more nitrate in the water the more the nitrite will drop.

    The bacteria that lives in the water is not as critical as the bacteria that colonizes on everything in the filter and tank. Which is why it's important not to clean your decor or filter parts under tap water.

    Keep an eye on the pH. It looks like it's dropped in the last couple of days, which is normal for a cycling tank, but we want to make sure that A: it doesn't drop too low and B: it doesn't drastically fluctuate. If it stays at 6.8 you should be just fine.

    As for the Pleco - he seems happy now, but as he grows to adult size of a bout 5 inches (12cm) the tank will be very cramped for him. He needs free room to swim which is why they recommend minimum tank sizes for fish species. In his case minimum 20G (75L).

    As for your water - change it every day, not every second day. At some point ammonia will build up fast and you want to stay ahead of that buildup. When you syphon the gravel do only a small section. The bacteria building up needs a food source. Even though you've diluted the ammonia it continues to build. Test ALL parameters every other day. You don't want to get caught by surprise.

    I don't mean to offend and I'm really trying to help - but every time I give you advice on what to do, you come up with your own plan.

    I'm also getting very confused - you initially mentioned just the gourami that you've had nearly 2 months. Then mentioned the Pleco who you say has lived for 6 months? It could be that your tank had cycled and with your constant cleaning and disrupting things, coupled with the discarding of your old filter before conditioning the new one has thrown your tank back into a cycle.
  11. OP

    marrrrrie_123New MemberMember

    Sorry for the last quote reply, website malfunctioned.

    Okay first off the PH has barely dropped, sorry I meant to say its steady at 7.8 and isn't moving.

    So what you're saying is I should do water changes every day and test the water every second day? Look I'm only adjusting what I believe needs to be adjusted. I am not testing all 4 parameters for a reason. As I explained there obviously isn't going to be any nitrates until nitrites begin to appear so why should I waste tests on what I know isn't even there yet? That is an appropriate adjustment.

    Also its an obvious answer any I said different amounts of times for my fish as I have had them for different amounts of times. My bristlenose is fully grown as I have been told that when kept in smaller environments they adjust their growth rate and I have done research on this as well as read about other bristlenoses and depending on how big the tank is does impact their growth. He keeps to himself and is a very happy fish. I have had him for 6-7 months now as he is from the first "round" of fish I purchased. Unfortunately they all died of Ammonia poisoning except for him. Then I left my tank for a couple of months before getting this second round of fish. I may be wrong about the DG, I may have had him about 3 months and not 2 as said previously. The other 2 died from his round for unknown reasons (I believe it was my breaking filter at that time but I can't be sure). I also have had them in this tank twice with a bowl in-between. I believe this could have cycled in the time over a couple of months when I just had the bristlenose in it. But now as I am "re-using" the tank, it hasn't had a chance to cycle again. Plus I wasn't 100% sure until now what the work cycling meant, I just had a general idea.

    I'm trying my hardest here, I feel like you don't understand that....as soon as I get confident I feel like just get told I'm completely wrong by everyone I talk to about the tank.....but I'm trying....

    Lastly with the old filter I threw it out as I wanted to just have them in a filterless bowl but decided they needed more room and relocated them to the tank with a new one.. So the only filter was basically no use and there was no point keeping it around.
  12. vin

    vinWell Known MemberMember

    I know you're trying your hardest, but as I said I'm giving you the advice you've asked for and you don't seem to want to take it as you're coming up with your own plan. If that's the case, fine. I won't continue to give you information you don't seem to want to use. I've explained several times why you want to test your water every other day. Also, we cannot help you if you don't give us complete information. "Oops I forgot to mention I had a Bristle Nose Pleco in my tank..." is important information that will affect your water parameters not only during the cycle but beyond that and as much as you seem to think the Pleco is happy now, he won't be when he's full grown. I'm not sure who is telling you that Plecos adjust their growth rate in small quarters because that's incorrect. It actually stunts their growth which in turn puts greater stress on them and shortens their lifespan. As mentioned previously, a healthy adult bristle nose reaches length of about 5" (12cm). The gouramis you had earlier died over stress. Too small of a tank for 1, never mind 3 + the pleco and the fact that the tank was probably not cycled properly and the water parameters were not right. Again, I'm giving you important information that you are dismissing.

    The reason I brought up the filter is because if there was any beneficial bacteria living in the sponges or floss bag, what have you - that could have been inserted into the new filter to seed the tank with benefits bacteria of it's own. Was not made aware of the "filterless bowl" until now - which was another piece of useful information you could have provided.

    Keep testing your water and performing water changes and you will eventually get through the cycle. Good luck!
  13. OP

    marrrrrie_123New MemberMember

    For starters, as noted right here from my original post I did inform you that I had them in a small fish bowl, not tank but bowl as a temporary home. So please don't accuse me of not. As my for second round of fish I didn't not have 3 DG at all. I just was talking about the one individual fish. I did have two other fish but I never said they were dwarf gouramis because I don't know the breeds as I am not an expert on fish and just wanted some pretty fish. I didn't know about the mistakes I could make before making them as the LFS's all told me I had nothing to be worried about and in my opinion were more concerned about getting money out of me than giving me legitimate information that could have saved their lives. I did do research but when I asked all my concerns they just replied with answers like "It will be fine." But now I can see I had reason to be concerned.

    Also I know you're upset by the fact I have them in a smaller tank and are constantly telling me to remove the bristle nose however that just is not an option for me. I don't have other tanks to put them in and I cant get go out and buy a better tank for several reasons. One I don't have the room, two I'm only an 18yo student who doesn't have that kind of money....I was just looking for a nice feature to my room and another what I thought would be "simple" pet as I love animals....but its honestly easier to look after my 2 cats and 2 dogs than these 2 fish....
    I'm doing what you said to do with the cycle. The only thing I said I wasn't doing with testing for nitrates yet. This is because if there isn't any nitrites there won't be nitrates so as soon as the nitrites start to go up I will test for nitrate too. Its just a waste of tests otherwise and as mentioned before I cant afford to waste anything. Also I'm in Australia. Things here are much much more expensive than over there. For example with the tests, you mentioned the master kit over there was around $24 included about 5 different tests. HERE thats how much it is for just one test and all of them in the master kit ranges between $80 - $100 depending on the fish store.

    I'll keep doing my best and thanks for the luck but due to the criticism I don't think I'll be replying until further along into my cycle when nitrates are appearing unless I feel something is going wrong. Thanks for the help.
  14. vin

    vinWell Known MemberMember

    Sorry, your information is all over the place and I thought you had 3 dwarf gourami at one point. I'm not questioning your cashflow - not sure where that came from. Rehome does not necessarily mean to go out and buy bigger tanks - it also means find someone with the proper size tank to house the fish in the conditions they need to thrive.

    You've asked - I answered. You take input as criticism, OK. Apparently based on the quote above you know better. Good luck with your fish Marrrrrie.

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