Non-dwarf Mass Gourami Illness At Lfs - Opinions?

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PascalKrypt

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Today I took a trip to an rather large pet shop some friends had recommended me - it has a very extensive aquarium and terrarium section.
The stuff they stocked was very impressive, but the livestock I was a little less impressed with.

In particular I noticed one row with two larger tanks probably on the same filter, one with dwarf gourami and one with the various colour morphs of the three-spot gourami.

Surprise, surprise, the dwarf gourami were ill with what appeared to me to be the dreaded dwarf gourami iridovirus. I didn't take pictures but essentially they were bent down at the spine, very bleak but no visible lesions, growths of blackness of the gills, and looked like they had lost a lot of weight in an very short time and were now barely hanging on, all sunken in. Like they were just wasting away. Then I looked over to the three-spot tanks and to my surprise, all the fish in there looked exactly the same. There were maybe 50 fish in there, maybe a handful did not showcase these symptoms.

I was under the impression that DGIV could not spread to the other gourami species, but a local LFS also told me they keep the dwarfs on a separate row because they fear contamination of their honeys and other gourami...

Is there something to this? Or were the fish plagued by something else? I looked around the other tanks, there were over a hundred of them, but I did not see similar symptoms with any of the other fish (though not all tanks looked healthy, but not ill with those specific symptoms).
 

JenC

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My understanding (and I could be wrong) is that DGIV is certainly most prevalent in dwarf gouramis but it can theoretically infect other fish too. It's just nowhere near as widespread (arguably a statistical improbability that we'd see it?) and other species of fish are less susceptible.

There are also several kinds of iridoviruses, which complicates things a bit.

Here's a copy of a publication from the Australian government stating that DGIV was found in platies. Now is it truly the same virus or maybe just a similar megalocytivirus? I don't know.

(Here's a bit of heavier reading on the classification of iridoviruses. I found it kind of interesting.)

In any case, there probably was a communicable disease in their water so it's good you didn't buy one. As for whether it was DGIV or not? I think it's possible but it could also have been many other things.
 

Cognac82

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At a fish store I go to, not my favorite but they have a more diverse selection, they have gouramis. Quite the variety, usually, and yesterday they had pearls, dwarfs, snakeskin, thick lip and three spot. The dwarfs in that store always look like death. I wouldn't touch one with someone else's net. They're also all sharing filtration on that side of the store.
It is my understanding that amongst iridoviruses, there is evidence to support the fact that many species can be infected, not just gourami. So while I do not know the ins and outs of the dwarf gourami iridovirus, maybe it's not so far fetched to think that others could be harboring the illness. They could also have a dozen other ailments, too, maybe something simple to fix with a dose of praziquantel.
I think I have been scared away from dwarf gouramis from any store but my local one. They supposedly buy from a supplier that tests their fish for the virus and I have yet to see a sick fish in their store.
 

JenC

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Cognac82 said:
They're also all sharing filtration on that side of the store.
This setup always surprises me when I see it in some fish stores - tons of tanks on the same water system. It just seems like a recipe for disaster. I don't even share equipment between my own tanks. o_O
 

Cognac82

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JenC said:
This setup always surprises me when I see it in some fish stores - tons of tanks on the same water system. It just seems like a recipe for disaster. I don't even share equipment between my own tanks. o_O
Me too. This store always has sick fish in their tanks and it was recently purchased by two other people so you would think they'd cull the sick fish and figure out that the recirculating tank thing is no bueno. I mostly buy fish from the side of the store that has individual sponge filters. You'd be shocked to know that most of those fish are fine lol.
My favorite fish store has tanks that all have their own filtration and they never ever have dead fish. I have never seen ich and nothing I have purchased there has died in quarantine. They're amazing, though, so I can't really compare the two stores.
As far as the op's concern goes, as much as I love the different types of gourami, I couldn't buy one from a store that has issues. My pearly guy came from the good store, and even their occasionally stocked dwarfs look amazing.
 

JenC

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PascalKrypt

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JenC said:
@PascalKrypt, what are your thoughts?
Oh sorry, I typed a lengthy response to some of these posts but seem to have closed the tab instead of posting it, haha.
Thank you very much for the additional reading, it was very informative. I did see a similar study about australian fish being exposed to the virus in a laboratory setting but that one only identified some wild species at risk, this is the first I had seen about other ornamentals. But good point, it might just be a related virus from the same family. It is rather frustrating how little skilled we are with fish health problems.

Along the lines of what @Cognac82 was saying, I always wonder why those rows of smaller tanks (~2.5 gallons) that are popular in shops here for selling shrimp, betta, adolescent kuhli's, scarlet badis, pea puffers, etc. are on shared filters at all instead of just using one air pump with a sponge filter in each. It will probably be cheaper than constantly moving all that water, and most fish in those tanks would really appreciate less current. It seems like a no-brainer but I've only seen private breeders with that set-up.
I do applaud one of LFS' and another specialty store about an hour away that keep either shrimp or bettas in separate nano tanks. In that one store I've seen up to 30 individual tanks running on a shelf, I thought at first they were promoting and selling the set-up as a whole but turns out they use it just for sales displays. It does make for a very attractive picture!
The LFS with the shrimp keeps some 10 different types of shrimp and has a different tank with different water values for each, or so I have been told. Which seems like a rather amazing about of effort. But I for sure would feel confident buying from them (if my soft, soft tap water would not be the bane of 95% of shrimp).

As for buying from that store, I saw a beautiful apisto but after seeing that tank I was set on not buying anything from there. I have learnt my lesson about buying fish from stores with questionable health protocols.
In fact, after all the misery I've seen with dwarfs on here and reading the statistics on DGIV prevalence I made up my mind months ago not to buy a dwarf until they get that virus eradicated or at least get the incidence under control. In other words, not any time soon. Such a waste, they do look beautiful.
 

DoubleDutch

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There are all kind of Iridoviruses and a lot of fish seem to have a specific one in them (GBR's, Angels, Neons etc etc...)

None have the disastrous outcome like the DG's face. What makes me angry is the LFS's still order and put half dead fish in their display tanks and simply SELL. Unbelievable.

There is a lot unknown about when exactly it is caught / contagious, etc.... I don't have reports about this one affecting other fish.
But as we all know viruses can change.
The way this disaster is handled, I wouldn't think it strange if that happens.
 

treadingwater

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I lost 2 beautiful blue dwarfs to DGIV. It struck fast and hard and before I knew it they were gone. I will never purchase another DG until this is solved. Those fish suffered horribly in the few short hours they started showing symptoms. I had no idea what it was until it was done and over with or I would have ended it quickly. Its just not ok to continue to support the sale of something like this with an issue this big.
 
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