Gourami diseases / 10 symptoms


Gourami are tropical fish, so they are especially sensitive to sudden changes in temperature that can cause diseases. They are susceptible to other diseases as well. Monitor your gourami fish for symptoms and ill behavior to find out if your fish are feeling unwell. You can learn more about gourami in our complete guide, but in this article, we are going to talk about gourami diseases.

Frequent symptoms

Typical symptoms that accompany most gourami illnesses are: lack of appetite and unhealthy excrement in gouramis with gastrointestinal problems; lack of mobility usually means internal diseases such as infection or viruses; photophobia is associated with eye problems. Some symptoms correspond not to one disease but to dozens, so you cannot settle on only one variant of the disease and immediately begin treatment.

Lies or sits at the bottom

Usually, fishkeepers face this problem when gourami fish have recently been bought and settled into a shared aquarium. At first, the new inhabitants behave like healthy gourami, but after some time, they begin to swim less, move only when eating, and then do not arise from the bottom. Usually, if the gourami lies at the bottom with a significant tilt towards the substrate, it is difficult to save it because this is the end of the development of diseases.

This condition develops with improper care for gourami in the absence of filtration or overpopulation.

What to do if the fish lies at the bottom:

  • Remove the diseased gourami from the community aquarium and place it in a separate container.
  • Before treatment, check the water parameters for nitrates, nitrites, and other poisons using tests.
  • Replace some of the water with clean water in the general aquarium.
  • Check the rest of the inhabitants for similar symptoms.
  • With an ill gourami fish, by other accompanying symptoms, determine the approximate source of the disease and apply the treatment in accordance with it.
  • If the treatment helps, apply the medicine in a weak concentration to the rest of the aquarium for future prevention. Provided that there is no physical damage.

Gourami lies at the bottom, usually due to several possible diseases:

  • Ecto-and endoparasites manifest themselves by forming abscesses, holes, and rashes in the body and fins.
  • Fungal infections: a plaque forms on the gourami’s body, similar to cotton wool or white fluff.
  • Bacteria cause disorders of internal organs, so the disease is manifested by a change in excrement, mucus from the mouth and gills, and swelling of the viscera.

Has turned black or darkened

A change in color to several tones is characteristic of gourami fish at different periods of life. This fish can lighten or darken a little due to changes in water or food ration composition. The coloration appears brighter before the spawning period to attract females. Therefore, the fishkeeper needs not worry.

It is usual for some gourami species to darken before spawning. This is especially true of the marble gourami, which turns almost into black gourami to attract a female. But pearl gourami, which can be distinguished by a silvery color, becomes purple-colored for spawning. Before breeding, the spotted gourami changes its light olive color to a few shades darker, and its spots and stripes take on a dark color. In honey gourami, the color change is caused in the breeding period, and when they become frightened of something, they turn into honey-brown and dark orange fish.

But the reasons for the darkening of the gourami’s color depend on changes in the composition of the water. Therefore, check the water for nitrates and nitrites and replace some of it in case of a problem.

A swollen belly

With a bloated, swollen belly, gourami has decreased activity and a lack of appetite. There are several causes of bloating, including harmless and incurable ones.


Bloated Gold Gourami Died (7/22/17)
Possible causes of bloating:

  • The most pleasant reason is that the female is full of caviar, and the gourami mother will lay eggs soon. In some females, the abdomen is enlarged so much by the eggs that fishkeepers assume tumors. Prepare the spawning grounds and move the female and male there.
  • A less pleasant reason is that tapeworms are in the belly of the fish. They enter the aquarium with food and usually do not cause severe harm to the fish. But under favorable conditions for worm reproduction, their numbers proliferate, and the gourami’s body weakens due to a lack of nutrients. Get rid of tapeworms with fish anthelmintics.
  • Overfeeding and obesity occur as a result of an improper and unbalanced diet. In advanced cases, the fish does not respond to treatment and dies. Therefore, keep an eye on fish food and dosage.
  • Abdominal dropsy. Symptoms include ruffled scales, pale color, lack of activity, and refusal to eat. The fish swells up due to excessive fluid accumulation in the internal organs and often does not respond to treatment. Overfed, old, and weakfish living in a polluted aquarium are susceptible to abdominal dropsy.
  • The tumors of the internal organs also swell the abdomen of the fish. Not amenable to treatment.

Fins turned red

Reddening fins in gourami usually means a disturbance in the nitrogen balance of the aquarium and chemical poisoning. Do water tests.

The fins also turn red after treatment with some drugs in an improper dosage.

The scales are peeling

Reasons for peeling scales:

  • Physical damage caused by accidentally hitting sharp objects in the aquarium. Gourami is also capable of losing scales in fights and skirmishes with other inhabitants. Some species nibble on the scales of other inhabitants.
  • bacterial or fungal infection causes disturbances in the functioning of the body and internal organs, so scales fall out of the skin, causing partial baldness.
  • Osmotic stress can be caused by deep wounds and damage to the skin of the gourami, which is accompanied by discoloration, unusual behavior for the inhabitant, and rapid breathing. Healthy gourami maintains water and salt balance in the body. In wounded gouramis, water will seep through the wounds and wash out salts, upsetting the balance and causing osmotic stress. Treat any wounds that appear on the body to prevent it.

Floats on the surface

If the gourami constantly swims on the water’s surface and is unable to dive into the depths, this indicates infringements of the gourami’s internal organs.

The reasons:

  • The lack of oxygen in the water makes the gourami float near the surface, where the oxygen concentration in the water is much higher. In this case, install a compressor in the aquarium to improve the life of the pets.
  • Poor water quality, pollution, waterlogging. Gourami is uncomfortable in such an environment, so it swims near the surface. In rare cases, when the water is poisoned with toxins, the inhabitants will even jump out of the aquarium, even if this leads to possible death. Fish do this hoping that there will be a clean pond nearby suitable for life.
  • Respiratory problems. The fish feels suffocated and tries to find a place with high oxygen content.

Does not eat

The reasons for the lack of appetite in gourami:

  • Stress after moving to a new aquarium. This is normal, and the gourami will start eating soon.
  • The new inhabitant does not suit/does not like your food. Try to give the squeamish fish live foods like bloodworms and earthworms. The movement of worms will increase the appetite of the fish. Gradually switch to other types of food.
  • If the gourami has been living in an aquarium for a long time and has never given up food before but now has stopped eating, this indicates an illness or ailment. If it swims for food, takes it in its mouth, but then spits it out, then check the fish’s throat for foreign bodies. Round bodies can be picked out by yourself, but a veterinarian should treat objects with sharp edges.
  • The stress of overpopulation also causes a lack of appetite.
  • Constipation due to the change in feeding. In most cases, a short hunger strike for a couple of days will solve the problem.

Red spots

Red spots can be a coloration feature of particular gourami species, clearly manifested during stress or spawning. But the red spots are possibly bruising due to internal abnormalities or open external wounds caused by physical injury or ectoparasites. Treat parasites with antibiotics, minor wounds will heal on their own, and large and deep wounds need to be treated with your own hands.

Symptoms of the disease:

  • Bluish tin appears on the edges of the fins.
  • Red spots form due to blockage of blood vessels and hemorrhages.
  • Fins are rotting and decaying.
  • Cloudy eyes.
  • White ulcers at the base of the fins.


  • Raising the temperature to the maximum value possible for gourami species (unless other fish kinds are in the aquarium).
  • Add a grated chloramphenicol tablet (1 tablet for 20 liters) to the water and mix it thoroughly until it dissolves completely. Change 40% of the water every three days and add the tablet again.
  • Streptocide treatment. 1.5 g per 10 liters of water. Dissolve in a small jar first, then gradually add to the general aquarium.
  • Treatment with bicillin-5 or similar. Dilute 1/6 of the bottle in 10 liters of water and move the sick fish there for half an hour. The treatment is six days long, which means a full vial will be consumed during treatment.
  • Salt baths – 2 teaspoons per 5 liters. Place the fish in such a bath for 10 minutes.

White slime on scales

Possible diseases that are known by the release of white mucus:

  • AlkalosisSymptoms: white mucus, restlessness, and nervousness in fish, discoloration, rapid breathing. Treatment: transplant gourami into a clean water reservoir with an acidity of 7.5–8 pH, gradually increasing to normal.
  • AcidosisSymptoms: anxiety and fearfulness of fish. It swims in circles and looks for secluded places, and discharges white mucus. Treatment: reduce the acidity of the water.
  • IchthyobodoSymptoms: white mucus, anxiety, fish rubbing against plants, objects, glass, lack of appetite, fins sticking together, and blue spots. Treatment: baths with salt or malachite green. You can also add methylene blue, bicillin-5, and hydrochloride.
  • ChlorosisSymptoms: anxiety and fearfulness. The color brightens, white mucus is released on the scales, and the gourami does not respond to provocations. Treatment: replace the water with clean water and monitor the chlorine levels.

Chasing or fighting each other

Reasons for gourami fish fighting and chasing:

  • The approach of the spawning period is accompanied by mating games of females and males of the same species. They swim and chase after each other.
  • If there are different types of fish in the aquarium, then check the compatibility of the fish. Due to temperament, character, and habitat conditions, some fish cannot live together and fight with each other.
  • When lack of food causes fish to take it away from others, which causes fights and hassles, hungry inhabitants are prone to nervousness and quickly attack those swimming nearby. Calculate an adequate feed intake and ensure that all the fish have enough food. Bottom fish often remain hungry, for which the food sometimes simply does not have enough time to fall. In this case, buy special heavy food for bottom dwellers, which quickly falls to the bottom.
  • Overcrowded aquarium. In cramped conditions, gourami fish become hostile and attack others.
  • Territoriality in fish. Some species tend to delimit the aquarium into zones, and they will defend their territory to death from enemies and invaders. In this case, you need a large aquarium or a separate fish tank. After all, living in such an aggressive neighborhood only leads to stress and nervousness.

Why do gouramis die?

Common causes of death for gouramis:

  • Poisoning with chemical toxins such as ammonianitrates, and nitrites. Their excessive accumulation is caused by the decomposition of uncleaned food residues and organic excrements of fish. To control it, conduct water tests and replace some of the water every week with clean water.
  • Stress often manifests itself in fish and does not harm them, but daily nervous tension (from proximity to predators, lack of food, aggressive neighbors, overcrowding) undermines the health and immunity of the fish and, if the problem is not solved, will lead to the death of gourami.
  • Infection and viruses. Penetrating the body, they multiply rapidly, affecting the internal organs. If left untreated, even a weak and harmless disease can lead to death.
  • Physical damage or injury. Through wounds, an infection gets inside, which leads to disease and death.

Causative agents of diseases

The most common pathogens in gourami are:

  • Viruses.
  • Bacteria.
  • Tapeworms.
  • Infusoria.
  • Fungi.

They enter the aquarium through poor quality food, untreated soil, and decorative elements with fish that have not passed quarantine.


Common gourami illnesses:

  • PseudomoniasisSymptoms: dark spots form, turning into red sores and rounded abscesses, through which pathogenic bacteria enter the body. Treatment: Dilute 1/6 of the bottle in 10 liters of water and move the sick fish there for half an hour. The treatment is six days long, which means a full vial will be consumed during treatment. You can also dissolve 0.5 g of potassium permanganate in 10 liters of water in which the fish is placed twice for a quarter of an hour.
  • Infectious dropsy. Most often, it affects pearls and spotted gourami. It gets into an aquarium with contaminated and poor-quality food. Symptoms: the scales rise and bulge, there is no appetite, activity decreases, the fish lie at the bottom. Later, bruises on the abdomen appear. Treatment: antibiotics, baths with potassium permanganate as in the treatment of bacterial diseases. Chloramphenicol tablets are dissolved in water, and the fish are placed in baths for half an hour. It is less commonly treated with synthomycin—1 liter of 600 mg of the drug.

Prevention of gourami diseases

Most diseases are caused by improper care: dirty and muddy water that is rarely changed, lack of equipment in the form of aerating devices and filters, water poisoning with ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, overpopulation of the aquarium, inadequate diet. If you prevent these factors and adequately care for the fish, they will live healthy until the end of their lives. And don’t forget about quarantine for newly acquired fish!

Rather than treating diseases, endangering the health and lives of the aquarium inhabitants, it is easier to combat them through prevention. And in return for good care, the fish will delight the eyes with their beauty and health.