My dwarf gourami looks like he swallowed a marble.


So, we got these two dwarf gouramis about a month and a half ago. They spent a week in quarantine before going to their new tank, a 10-gallon that's well planted and cycled. The tank also has a few small tetras and an otocinclus. All was well, until about two weeks ago. One gourami started developing swelling on either side of his body, just behind the gills. We figured it was constipation, so we didn't feed him for three days, and there was no change. So, we fed him peas. There was no change. We gave him Epsom salt baths. No change! Finally, we've been feeding him dry flakes soaked in glycerin for the last two days. Still the same. The water parameters are perfect, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, low nitrates. He's had zero behavioral changes. He's still very active and has a strong appetite. There aren't any ulcers or discolorations or any marks at all on his body. He seems totally fine, he just has this bizarre swelling thing. It's round, symmetrical, and it makes his body at that point about an inch wide. All of the other fish are perfectly fine. I think I saw him poop once, and it was kind of thick, half an inch long, and white. I can't be sure it was him, though, because I just saw it floating away from his general direction, and he was right next to another fish at the time. I just assumed, though, because it looked way too big to come from a little tetra.

Elsewhere on the web, someone told me that it's probable that he's actually an egg-laden female, despite the color, and the fins are a more reliable sex marker, and I initially agreed that must be the case, because one would think he'd be showing some other symptoms after two weeks if he was actually sick, but I'm having second thoughts about that. He/she is really brightly colored, but I'm really unsure about the fins. They seem sort of rounded AND pointy. Someone else told me it could be parasites, but I'm hesitant to start feeding him drugs when he's not actually showing any symptoms. I don't think it's dropsy, either, because he's had it for two weeks now, there aren't any scales sticking out, and he seems totally fine aside from the swelling.

So, I'm seeking further opinions. Does anyone know what this could be? Thanks for your help!


I have 3 dwarf fire gourami that also have a swelling in their bellies. Not an inch wide, but a distinct roundness. I seem to be one step behind you in diagnosis though, they got their pea dinner last night. lol. What I find interesting is that they share a 55 gallon with 3 dwarf blue gourami who look just fine. I have also wondered if they are girls or boys, they had some nipped fins when I got them so I am unsure on the shape. Also, in the store they were red/fuschia and now that they are home with me and eating shrimp flakes they have turned a much more dull red. Odd.

Sorry to not be a help, but you are not alone!


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