sparkling gouramis, perhaps?

  • #1
So yesterday, I aquired 4 1/4" long fish from the store. I thought they were juvenile female bettas; I was thrilled with their coloring, and the fact that they were tightly grouped together (hoped that if I raised them together, they might be a functional sorority). They were in a tank with a punch of juvenile puffers (they looked pretty similar, the store clerk said he thought they'd come in by mistake with the puffers), and were getting terrorized. I picked them up, spur of the moment, because I have the will power of a 5 year old.

I now believe them to be sparkling gouramis. I'm trying to get a picture, but they're so small, and my camera is so bad, I can't get any pictures that could ever be used for ID, but when I got them back to the house I noticed that their eyes had these iridescent rings around them, and as they become less stressed, their sides quickly became... well, sparkly, kind of like a really happy cory; a greenish sort of shimmer. The larger two also are showing a faint line of red around the outside edges of their fins. I was flipping through a book on nano aquariums, and found a picture that looked just like them. After searching through the forum, I now realize that they could be another species from the same family.

My first question, therefore, is:

1) Is a positive species identification crucial early on? Does their care differ drastically, or will they be ok if I just assume they're sparkling and wait to get a real ID until they grow a little?

2) What I've been able to find doesn't say very much about socialization. There are 4 of them (one or two of them may not make it; one has an open wound under the right eye, and the other rests awkwardly, like a crinkle, but swims fine, but I'd like to give rehabilitation a shot for all of them) in one hospital tank. As of now, they haven't exhibited any aggression; will they be ok together in QT? Would they be ok if they lived together, or will they need to be separated as adults? From what I've read, they are shy and don't care one way or the other about members of the same species, but that is hard to believe. These four are incredibly curious, and seem to like having things going on around them, similar to a betta, but also seem to find comfort in a close grouping, similar to weather loaches (they don't school really, they just like to check on one another, like they're making sure everybody's still there or something; no aggression, just a moment next to each other periodically).

3) Normally, I'd give them a dose of melafix and lots of clean water; but I know I shouldn't use melafix with gouramis (so I haven't). I feel under-armed for the eye wound especially with only clean water; has anyone had any experience with wound healing in labyrinth fish? Can anyone recommend a good mild medication? I don't want to use anything drastic; these guys are REALLY tiny.

4) How do I make these guys happy? They have clean water and hiding spaces atm, and they will (hopefully) wind up in a 20G with some pygmy corys once they are out of QT, with some plants and glass decorations. Would this be suitable? Do they need anything special? Is there something they could be that grows much larger than 2"? There doesn't seem to be a lot of detailed information on them; I don't know anyone who's kept these guys before and it makes me nervous lol.
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  • #2
5) the sparkly bits on the sides are in the same pattern as stress lines on a betta. Are these sparkly bits signs of stress, like in a betta, or health and contentment, like in a cory?
  • #3
Sparkling Gouramis do well in groups.
You might get a bit of aggression if 2 pair off.
When I had a trio, I had to move the 'odd man out' and a guppy to another tank.

The 20 gallon sounds fine for them.
They do well with peaceful tetras.
I had mine with cardinals and glowlights.

They're adorable little fish! You'll love keeping them

Sparkling Gouramis do sparkle. I don't think they are stress lines.
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  • #4
oh good, that's a relief about the lines on the sides.

These guys are pretty cute; if they make it and everybody does ok, I guess I'm going to finally break down and do the "little fish" thing lol; maybe some pristillas or some dwarf pencils to go along with the dwarf corydoras. the glowlights are also really pretty, I may have to pull a copy-cat on that one! if they end up in a larger tank, would full sized corys be too boisterous for these little guys? I don't want them to spend all their time hiding, they're so cool.

If two of them pair up, and I have to remove one or two from the tank, would the "odd man out" be ok without any other members of the same species, or alone entirely? fish that don't care about friends/territory competition; it's so alien to me!

another thought; is juvenile colouring very different from adults?
  • #5
You should be fine with the group.
The trio thing is where I had some trouble.

I kept mine with C. habrosus. (Along with the cardinals and glowlights in a 30)
Not sure about the larger cories. Being that they're peaceful they'd probably be ok but I can't speak from personal experience.

Just think if you went with the smaller cories, you could have so many more and they're so cute!

I have one Sparkler now and he's fine with my cardinals. They often swim together and have no problem eating together.
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  • #6
oh excellent, that's so good to hear Now I'm really excited about getting these guys set up. I'm going to keep them in QT for at least 4-6 weeks, because I'm paranoid, but this could turn out to be a really fun tank. Little fish are a little scary for me, because I feel like I can't tell as easily how they're doing, but I'm learning that they can have just as much personality as my big fatsos
  • #7
We all have our own personalities just like our fish do. Some of us like just a few large fish in large tanks and some of us like lots of small fish in a large tank. Some fish like lots of there own around to feel safe and other can’t tolerate their own kind. One thing about fish-keeping that is for sure, if you look long enough you can find the fish and the setup that simply put, turns you on.

I enjoy my different setups for different reasons. I like the large 125 gallon Angelfish / Gourami tank because they are so relaxing and peaceful to watch but when I want some excitement I go watch my 55 gallon Tetra setup because there is almost always a game of tag going on. I can get so side tracked watching the Mollies in my office that I forget what I was doing from time to time.

I have been asked several times by different people why I don’t open my own fish shop and I always have the same answer for them. I enjoy watching and caring for my fish so why would I want to turn it into a job that causes stress because you have to worry about making a profit. If I ever did start some type of fish business it would be more along the lines of tank maintenance or consulting but never sales.

I hope you enjoy your new fish and are able to learn something new from them that you can pass along to others. I have been keeping fish for over 40 years and I still consider myself a beginner because there is always something new to learn in this hobby.

PS - keeping your fish in a QT for 4 to 6 weeks is not paranoid just smart! Some people just don’t understand how much worry and money a QT tank can save them.
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  • #8
Well, one week update:
one of the 4 didn't make it (not a surprise, it had a large wound under it's eye; I suspect from the puffers they were kept with before I purchased them); I would have treated it, but was too nervous to use medications on a tiny labyrinth fish.

2 seem VERY sparkly and happy, really quite personable fish, I can't tell if they're flirting or if they're just coloring up as they become less stressed.

the last one is smaller, and more shy, but hopefully once they are moved to a more heavily planted tank, the quiet one will perk up a bit. If the larger two pair off, I'll just keep the smallest alone in a planted nano until it's large enough to handle a quiet community aquarium (i'm thinkin similar tank mates to a betta, like a couple ottos, maybe some shrimp, nothing too energetic). I don't mind if I don't see him very often, I just don't want him to be hiding out of stress.

any tips on caring for these guys would be appreciated, they seem pretty unique and most of the information i've found on them is sort of... half hearted.

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