Stressed Thick Lipped Gourami

Dadpants33
  • #1
Hey All,

So I have 3 thick lipped gourami in my community 20 gallon. I believe I have 1 male and 2 females. Everybody has been in there for 2 to 3 weeks now. I think I'm witnessing some mating behavior and it is stressing my females out. I think I see a little bubble nest (hard to tell, I could be wrong). Then the male is wrapping around one of the females and they hold for a couple of seconds, then he chases her offer VERY aggressively. In fact, he won't let anyone near that side of the tank (danios or either of the other gourami). Both the females are glass surfing (one like crazy) on the other side of the tank. I don't have a seperate tank to move anybody in to and I want my girls to be happy. Is there anything I can do to help my girls out so they aren't so stressed? Is this male gonna terrorize my tank indefinitely? Will they cut it out at some point? Would more females help? I'll provide pictures below. They will be crappy quality, sorry.

Tank parameters:

0 ammonia
0 nitrites
20ish nitrates
72-75 degrees

3 Thick Lipped Gourami
6 Danios
4 Hillstream loaches
2 mystery snails

I'm probably a little overstocked, but I do at least weekly water changes and monitor water quality often.
 

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WRWAquarium
  • #2
You could try adding some extra wood and large vegetation at height to break lines of sight and give refuge for the females.

Even fake plants could work as a temporary solution.

Hope it works out for you. Nice tank and fish :)
 
Dadpants33
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
You could try adding some extra wood and large vegetation at height to break lines of sight and give refuge for the females.

Even fake plants could work as a temporary solution.

Hope it works out for you. Nice tank and fish :)
Thanks! The opposite side of the tank has some fairly tall java fern + there's a sword and anubias. Is there any ready made decor designed for something like this?
 
MommyGourami
  • #4
Hmmm, this is pretty normal thicklipped gourami behavior. My boys have staked out opposite ends of my 55 gallon; I have a group of four gouramis. I'd say the solution would be to start a bigger tank for a group of 3 (a 29 or 30 gallon would work, 40 gallon even better) so the girls feel like they can have some space on the other side of the tank. Bonus, if you have the room and budget for a bigger tank for them, you can add a fourth with no issues! If that's not possible, the line of sight breaks will help a lot.

Just bear in mind that you will still see this behavior from the male no matter what, there's just a bit more space to 'get away' and do their own thing in a bigger tank.
 
Dadpants33
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I was under the impression that a 20 gallon could house 3 thick lipped gouramis without any issue. Would you say upgrading tank size is an imperative? I'm at a loss because I didn't think they would breed in my community tank. I thought they would require a specialized breeding tank with shallow water (6 to 8 inches) that was hotter.
 
MommyGourami
  • #6
I wouldn't say it's imperative -- it could help because they are a bit on the larger side for a small gourami species and a bit more active and less shy than honey gourami. If there is no physical violence and the fish are still out and about and eating well, I think it'll work with a bit of rejiggering of decor.

I'd love to know the secret to breeding, though. :D Mine haven't bred in my community tank (I've had them for quite awhile now), even though the flow is low and I have plenty of floating plants. I was going to use my 20 gallon as a potential breeding / conditioning tank when I was ready to give it a go.
 
Dadpants33
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
I wouldn't say it's imperative -- it could help because they are a bit on the larger side for a small gourami species and a bit more active and less shy than honey gourami. If there is no physical violence and the fish are still out and about and eating well, I think it'll work with a bit of rejiggering of decor.

I'd love to know the secret to breeding, though. :D Mine haven't bred in my community tank (I've had them for quite awhile now), even though the flow is low and I have plenty of floating plants. I was going to use my 20 gallon as a potential breeding / conditioning tank when I was ready to give it a go.
I really have no insight to give. Like I said I was caught off guard and didn't expect them to breed. I kinda hope they cut it out because the male really is being a jerk. Do you have any idea how long this will take place for? Or how often Gourami mate?
 
MommyGourami
  • #8
I don't know how long because it's an ongoing process. Fish will get in the mood to breed, mate, and rest a bit, repeat ad nauseum. A nest-guarding male thicklipped gourami will be aggressive for as long as the eggs and nest are still around. You can try removing the eggs and increasing the surface flow/agitation to prevent a bubble nest from being built again.

The male will always have a tendency to chase the females in your tank, though. That's pretty normal gourami behavior. He'll stake out his 'corner' of the tank and chase away the others, usually nonviolently, until he tries to coax them over for breeding.
 
Dadpants33
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Okay, so update. I'm pretty sure the eggs in the bubble nest hatched because I saw all the danios swarming by the bubble nest and they're bellies were full. Everything chilled out for a few days and now the male built ANOTHER nest! He's again attacking the females and it's bad. I'm pretty sure one of my females is missing scales. I've tried my best to break up this new nest, but he just keeps at it. I'm afraid I'll have to rehome the male for the good of my tank.
 

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