Pearl gouramis at surface of water gasping for air, have red inflamed gills

FishGeek117

I’ve had three pearl Gourami in my 75 gallon for about a month now. Anytime I go In to put my hands in to do a water change, prune plants,clean algae. The three of them go to the surface and gasp like they can’t breathe. In time it subsidies but it always happens when the above happens or I do a water change. I make sure my hands are clean and none of my other fish have this reaction. The pearls also have blood red gills when they are gasping.

The tank is planted and I have small tetras, shrimp, corys and snails as tank mates

Tank parameters

Ammonia-0ppm
Nitrite-0ppm
Nitrate- 10-20ppm
Ph-6.8
Temp- (80)

Anyone have any idea what’s going on?

I attached pictures below of my tank. Maybe someone will see something I might be missing?


IMG_8768.JPG
IMG_8716.JPG

IMG_8769.JPG
 

kallililly1973

I have a pearl but never had that happen to me with him maybe jinjerJOSH22 can be of more help to you.. parameters look ok to me. Temp may be a bit on the high end my 55 my pearl is in is about 75. Warmer water means less oxygen in the water.
 

Rcslade124

Red gills can be ammonia. But gourami are labyrinth fish like Bettas they need to breath air from above the water from time to time.
 

Wickette

Forgive me if you already know this, gourami are anabantoids, they have a labyrinth organ, breathing surface air is perfectly normal behavior. Going up for to the surface looking food when there is water disturbance is also perfectly normal, they normally spend most of their time on the top 1/3 of your tank.

Are you sure this is not gourami being gourami ? That's what is sounds like. I don't see particularly red gills, but the photo is not very close.

Your parameters are fine.
 

PascalKrypt

What do you have for surface agitation? Seems very still to me, could be your oxygen levels are low. Try adding an airstone and see if the problem goes away.
 

Wickette

I have a pearl but never had that happen to me with him maybe jinjerJOSH22 can be of more help to you.. parameters look ok to me. Temp may be a bit on the high end my 55 my pearl is in is about 75. Warmer water means less oxygen in the water.

Pearly prefer is very slightly warmer than the majority of tropical fish 75° is on the lower end for them, 75-85° is the tolerable range, Ideally 77-82°

What do you have for surface agitation? Seems very still to me, could be your oxygen levels are low. Try adding an airstone and see if the problem goes away.
Air stones always good but If his other fish aren't gasping, the gourami are the least likely fish to be bothered by low O2 levels. The gouramis are far more likley to investigate the bubbles... making there natural behavior mask if there is a problem.
 

kallililly1973

Pearly prefer is very slightly warmer than the majority of tropical fish 75° is on the lower end for them, 75-85° is the tolerable range, Ideally 77-82°
I stand corrected thanks for the clarification. I’ll continue to keep my tank temperature where I have it as everyone gets along quite well .
 

Wickette

I stand corrected thanks for the clarification. I’ll continue to keep my tank temperature where I have it as everyone gets along quite well .
it wasn't a criticism on you, just meant that 80° wouldn't cause issues
 

kallililly1973

it wasn't a criticism on you, just meant that 80° wouldn't cause issues
nope didn't take it as one at all . Always learning in this hobby and in the future I don't want to give any wrong info.
 

FishGeek117

Forgive me if you already know this, gourami are anabantoids, they have a labyrinth organ, breathing surface air is perfectly normal behavior. Going up for to the surface looking food when there is water disturbance is also perfectly normal, they normally spend most of their time on the top 1/3 of your tank.

Are you sure this is not gourami being gourami ? That's what is sounds like. I don't see particularly red gills, but the photo is not very close.

Your parameters are fine.

They Come up to breathe periodically. But when I get my hands in the tank for maintenance they gasp for at least 5 mins non stop and then go back down. They come back up and do it some more. Eventually over time they stop but the gills Turn really red. I have two canister filters, an airstone, sponge filter and a power head. I’m also running co2 on a timer. One of pearls has a white mucus on their Gills. It looks like fungus of a bacteria
 

ImpairedFish

My Gourami swims by my hands when they're in the tank, he or she is pretty cool IMO, lots of personality but it does go up for air sometimes but nothing like what you're saying.
 

FishGeek117

My Gourami swims by my hands when they're in the tank, he or she is pretty cool IMO, lots of personality but it does go up for air sometimes but nothing like what you're saying.

I think there is some toxin that is getting in my tank when I do maintenance. But why would it only effect the pearls? All the other fish seem fine. Maybe the pearls have gill flukes? Bacterial infection? Idk what’s going on but it is concerning. They are my centerpiece fish and I don’t like to see them sick
 

JettsPapa

I think there is some toxin that is getting in my tank when I do maintenance.

Maybe there's something in a soap you use when washing your hands, or a lotion, or something similar?
 

jinjerJOSH22

It sounds like a feeding response if it only happens when you put your hands in. Or something you’re wearing, soap would likely leave something visible on the surface perfumes would likely be diluted depending on how much you use and I don’t think it would have an immediate effect.

Anyway you could get pictures of the inflamed gills?
 

Wickette

They Come up to breathe periodically. But when I get my hands in the tank for maintenance they gasp for at least 5 mins non stop and then go back down. They come back up and do it some more. Eventually over time they stop but the gills Turn really red. I have two canister filters, an airstone, sponge filter and a power head. I’m also running co2 on a timer. One of pearls has a white mucus on their Gills. It looks like fungus of a bacteria
Do they start as soon as your hand goes in?
Does the same thing happen when you put something else big in there? They don't like strong flow, your hand blocking the flow path might be triggering it, maybe the other fish hide more when you stick your hand in ans they feel safer breathing. The hate floating things on the surface, something big going in might clear some space to breath from, so theyre filling up with air when the surface layer tastes better. you're going to have to do some test to figure out what aspect of your hand going in causing the response.

I don't find their behavior alone concerning, mine come up for air for 30 seconds every 5-15min but hide when I'm moving stuff around for maintenance, once everything has calmed down they come up and suck down air for 2 full minutes nonstop.

The blue
is breathing normally not gasping. Are yours sucking down air much faster than that gourami?

Red gills could be something, but if it was red for just 5minutes once every few days to weeks... id just monitor for changes rather than act now. The white mucus on the gill is worrysome.

I think we need to see some clear pictures or preferably of video of the gills/breathing to give more than wild guesses.
 

FishGeek117

Do they start as soon as your hand goes in?
Does the same thing happen when you put something else big in there? They don't like strong flow, your hand blocking the flow path might be triggering it, maybe the other fish hide more when you stick your hand in ans they feel safer breathing. The hate floating things on the surface, something big going in might clear some space to breath from, so theyre filling up with air when the surface layer tastes better. you're going to have to do some test to figure out what aspect of your hand going in causing the response.

I don't find their behavior alone concerning, mine come up for air for 30 seconds every 5-15min but hide when I'm moving stuff around for maintenance, once everything has calmed down they come up and suck down air for 2 full minutes nonstop.

The blue
is breathing normally not gasping. Are yours sucking down air much faster than that gourami?

Red gills could be something, but if it was red for just 5minutes once every few days to weeks... id just monitor for changes rather than act now. The white mucus on the gill is worrysome.

I think we need to see some clear pictures or preferably of video of the gills/breathing to give more than wild guesses.

I’ll upload some pictures and a video as soon as I can. To answer the questions above. I put my hands in I make sure I just wash with water and dry them. Even putting a net or plant tongs triggers the reaction. It looks to me like there is a white blotch on one of the pearls gill fins. I’ll try to get some detailed images.
 

FishGeek117

It sounds like a feeding response if it only happens when you put your hands in. Or something you’re wearing, soap would likely leave something visible on the surface perfumes would likely be diluted depending on how much you use and I don’t think it would have an immediate effect.

Anyway you could get pictures of the inflamed gills?

I always make sure my hands are washed with water and completely dry before I do any work in or around the aquarium.
 

AvalancheDave

Stray current?
 

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