Timid gouramis

  • #1
I'm sorry I'm posting so many questions but my questions are not closely linked and I feel like a separate thread is required for each

So I have read and heard people say that I shouldn't keep 2 male gouramis in the same tank but I've been trying it out for a month and it's been alright never seen signs of aggression (flame or honey)

The only problem is the honey gourami is the most timid fish ever! It hides in he many places I built for hiding and only comes out once in a while
The flame however, enjoys when I put my hand in and nips at me like I'm food while the honey just runs

And when it comes out it follows the flame one around and then retreats back to hiding

So I thought HEY let's try it with a female
So I got a female honey gourami yesterday after days of searching.... And now they are hiding together

The flame only eats and floats about but the other 2 just hide especially when I approach the tank.

Are honeys really timid or is it just mine? Because I got my male and female from 1 store and the flame from another store... Could it be the treatment of the fish in the stores?

  • #2

I think there is a possibility that some aggression is occurring when you are not seeing it. Then again, many fish are shy and take a long while to adapt to their new environment.

Even if you are not seeing aggression, there may be some intimidation from the fish that is following the other one around.

My best advice is to keep a close eye on them all and give them more time to adapt to their environment.

Hold on for more responses! Best wishes for your fish!


  • #3
I agree with Ken. It's not normal for honeys to hide all of the time, and it's likely because of the flame gourami. Aggression and intimidation can and will occur when you're not watching - you can't watch the tank 24/7. I'd suggest rehoming the flame DG - you should see much happier honeys!
  • #4
What size tank is this?
  • #5
In my experience with gourami, once scared or bullied into hiding all the time it can take a long time for them to feel comfortable again. My golden gourami is 6 inches and by far the biggest fish in our tank but was bullied terribly by another gourami which died a year ago and he has only just started to come out of hiding all the time.

I would check for anything that might be upsetting it, bullies, lack of cover etc etc. providing a lot of floating plants often helps lure them out and feel more secure. Don't worry too much, they will come out eventually, I have just found that they can take a while to get used to things sometimes
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
I watch my tank fairly often. The honey when it sees the flame liked to follow it around a lot and the flame sleeps under the same log as he honeys which is what really confuses me
They don't bite each other but mostly touch each other with their feelers
I'll try rejoining the flame and see home things go :3


  • #7
I'm not sure ofthe reason, but will add that gourami do that touchy thing a lot and its pretty much out of curiousity, not Aggression.
  • #8
Speaking of timid gouramis.

I saw a golden gourami at a mom&pop LFS, it was love at first sight. After he did a several week stint in a QT we put him into a community tank. He lasted there less than 2 hours and because of his aggression was removed to a solitary confinement. In his solo tank, a 20 g long he preferred to stay hidden inside a cave, a large bowl under a driftwood.

Several attempts to reintroduce him to the community tank failed. Kids appropriately named him Putin.

So we thought of getting him company. We got a female blue gourami, but he did not like her at all. She was named Angela Merkel, and was placed into the community tank. She was fine with other fish, but hid from people, every day I had to make an effort to catch a glimpse of her, to make sure she was OK. At night she swam indefatigably across the tank, back and forth, back and forth, making lots of noise, but the moment lights were turned on in the room she vanished.

The breeder said that gouramis are temperamental babies. He suggested that mine might have been inadvertently scared by some loud sound, like a door banging or radio booming, or even vacuum cleaner.

He said when they get scared gouramis release some sort of hormone into the water, and will stay scared until that hormone disappears.

He suggested daily 80% water changes until gourami starts behaving normally. I did it in both tanks. It took almost a week. First, Ms Merkel stopped hiding, then Putin emerged from his bowl. After almost a year in solitary confinement we moved Putin into the community tank which at that time had half a dozen of platies, eight albino corys and Angela Merkel.

They have been together ever since, and when I approach the tank both gouramis charge towards me, they keep circling around my hands when I am working on the plants. It really feels cool that they are no longer afraid.
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
I see! I'll try that
Because after rehoming he flame gourami the 2 honeys still hide like crazy when I'm around I have to literally find them and put food I front of them for them to stick their head out and eat and then later they are like "cya!" And go back to hiding
  • #10
Good luck. It is pain in the back, but it was worth it for me.
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Omg you sir are a magician I did an 80% water change and 3 days later bam they are always out

Put the flame back in and bam the tickle each other like last time with their feelers and play non-aggressive follow the leader

They are always out now and the male and female have started, I'm pretty sure courting each other or something :3 it's so cute!

I thought because today I did some landscaping with my fish inside (cutting grass and moss and dead leaves) they would run away in fear but now they start nibbling on my hand it's adorable!

Thanks so much for your advice! You sir are a hero!

  • #12
meegoos, glad it worked for you too. The credit goes to Frank Cowherd, a breeder who told me about it. I'll pass your thanks to him.

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