“ Animal Species: Fish „
Dwarf gouramis - beautiful but doomed is how I'd describe them. If you're thinking of purchasing these fish I'd look up 'dwarf gourami (Colisa lalia) virus / disease' on Google; depsite their current reputation as 'easy to keep' aquarium fish a high percentage (quoted as being over 20% in some countries) of dwarf gouramis from pet shops may already carry disease at the time of purchase. This is almost always eventually a fatal conition for the fish; other gourami types seem to be less susceptible or aren't affected by the disease at all; in my experience it would be far better to select one of these other types.
They do look fantastic - the fish are a very attractive rounded shape with smallish, blunt body fins - apart from the feelers, of course - that flare out towards the tail The males are pattened in a fine chequerboard of bright red-orange on a silver backbround, shading to turquoise blue on the fins an head. The females share the same general body shape but are pure silver all over. Apparently they grow to a max sixe of about 5cm - of course both ours pegged it in less than a year, so I never found out about that in practice.
We're not completely inexperienced tropical fish-keepers by any means - not experts, but we're confident we know what we're doing - my other half especially. We got a new tank for the sprog's Christmas and after populating it with a few community species, the dwarf gourami caught our eye at the pet shop and we bought a pair and introduced them to our well-planted aquarium.
All was well to begin with - the male even spent a lot of his time building bubble nests - ie showing breeding behaviour - which we took as a good sign. But then they began failing - the male first: maybe four or five months after we got them he developed a large mouth ulcer; this caused me to look up diseases of dwarf gourami on the internet and I read that many pet-shop fish may be infected with a virus. The ulcer healed but it was the female who died a month or so later, followed at about 8 months after their purchase by the male - who actually, we euthanized because the poor thing was in such a sorry state.
I can't be positive that it was dwarf gourami disease that killed them - there are all sorts of different symptoms and ways in which this can manifest itself, and towards the end our fish did show quite a range of different types of problem. Also, gouramis are well known for being extremely sensitive to water quality, and of course there are all sorts of other similar ailments that affect tropical fish in general. But I can't help suspecting that despite their bright beginning with us, our poor fish did eventually succumb to a disease they'd brought with them from the pet shop, and were thus basically doomed from the start.
Given that their are other, less-susceptible types of gourami you could select for a pet based on our experience I would advise at least new fishkeepers to choose variety.