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Discussion Starter #1
So last week I picked up 2 honey gouramis from my LFS for my 20 gallon high. They are the natural color varient, and display as such.

I'm quite certain I have a male and a female, but from reading around, I guess I can't be certain from coloration. The "male" is bright orange, yellow dorsal fin and dark lined face and belly. The "female" is a light tan, with a dark line through the middle and no other significant coloration. I can try to add pictures later if this description is not enough.

The two are almost always tense with each other. The "female" has chosen the left corner/side of the tank as hers (with a large rock and Driftwood as cover), and the "male" has pretty much taken up residence in the rest of the tank. I feed both sides of the tank, and both are eating well.

The male will chase the female back to her corner throughout the day, and while the female is bold and travels out and about frequently, it almost always results this way. The male's dark brown will get darker and he will go after her. In the past few days, the female has also taken up chasing him away, but less often. At night (and during the "siesta" period), there doesn't seem to be any troubles, and they hang out a bit together. They will seek each other out occasionally, but it almost never ends peacefully.

In an attempt to distract the male, I added 6 harlequin rasboras yesterday, which are settling in fine, and never picked on by the gouramis. That is in addition to 3 Endlers. Gouramis have shown basically no change in behavior.

I'm just worried that the gouramis are stressed out. Is this natural behavior, mating behavior, or something to be worried about?
 

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Please provide pictures, a lot of places label the wrong fish honey gourami. Honey's are usually very friendly and do better in groups than solo. Most honey's wouldn't act like this, but it is certainly possible
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Here's both of them, as far as I can tell they are colored like standard honeys. The male does get a little blue in it's brown when its really revved up, which I thought was odd.

I'll try to snap a better picture soon here, it's hard with the harlequins darting around right in front of them!
 

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Those are definitely male and female.
I would not worry too much about them occasionally sparring. They may just be feeling each other out and may ultimatley breed and unless you see damaged fins, the sparring is probably natural.
I've had honeys that often bickered and others that got along great most of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok, so it's natural behavior? What I had read said that they were super peaceful, so I was surprised when they started doing this. I haven't seen any damaged fins, so hopefully they work it out.

I think it has gotten slightly less consistent since my floating pennywort has grown out, they feel more secure possibly? I could add more hiding spots for both of them, would that help?
 

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All but the most docile gouramies argue like that (my licorice gouramies did that in the past but now more frequently show shoaling behavior, oddly)...as stated above, no problem unless visible damage occurs. The dark line on the underside of the male is supposed to go dark blue...no prob there.
 

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More vegetation will help keep the Gouramis feeling more secure and will break lines of sight so they will have more privacy from each other.
Now, if they do decide to breed, all bets are off. The Male can often become very aggressive to the point of having to remove one of the fish.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Got it. My pennywort is growing in really quickly, so that should help. I'll try to add more plants over the next week too.

If they do decide to breed (which I would be surprised by, my water is hard and the temp is ~77 degrees), should I just remove the male after the eggs are laid? I've got a 5g hospital tank on standby, so it wouldn't be too difficult, just not sure on the timing...
 

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If your water is hard the eggs will not hatch or survive if they do. What are your parameters?
It's pretty hard to raise Gourami fry or any softwater fish fry. You would need to move them to the 5 gallon and be prepared to feed them infusia or other micro-foods.
 
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