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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 50 gallon, NPT that's been going for almost a year now. It's heavily planted, and I waited months before adding any fish. But I feel like the behavior I've gotten from my pearl gourami's has been untypical and I'm not sure what to do! I'm mostly having a problem with aggression at the moment.

I started off with 3 pearls, 1M:2F, and everything was fine, the occasional chasing, but nothing dramatic and everyone was eating well. Fast forward a few more months, I added a school (14) of espei rasbora. My male became extremely shy to the point of starving himself to death. I did what I could, and he was starting to get a little more comfortable (or desperate, not sure which), but he still passed away. Has anyone else had this problem? I've read that they are shy, but this seemed a little ridiculous. I've been scared to add another one for fear of this happening again.

Now though, my females have been having a rough time, mostly during feeding time, and I'm scared I'll have a repeat of what happened with my male. My one female is clearly more dominate than the other, and she ends up chasing her away during feeding time. It's hard to tell, but I think my non-dominate girl may be getting a little skinny. Neither are scared of my schoolers, they only have a problem with each other, which wasn't as present when I had my male.

So what do you guys suggest I do? Should I get more pearls? Does it matter what gender? I currently can't separate them, I just don't have the room.
 

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I'm almost in the same boat. First had 2 males but had to much aggression. So i bought a female and got rid of the more aggressive male.

I have 14 harliquin rasboras. The male hides except to eat but still shy.
The 1m/1f is definitely better but was planning on 2f, but it is hard to get pearl gouramis. Out of the 3 fish stores in a 2hr drive only 1 sometimes carries them.
 

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Try offering food in different places throughout the tank. Especially in different areas across the top so the shy fish can feed in a hidden area, perhaps behind some floating plants. You can also add vitamins to the food, or a garlic flavored additive that encourages the fish to feed.
Offer sinking food for the fish that swim lower so they are not competing with the shy Gourami.

When you have 2 Gouramis, and one is more aggressive then make sure the top of the tank can provide some hiding places, and ways to separate the fish. In nature, Gouramis are not social, and do not live together. Females are not usually territorial, but the range of personalities can include pushy females and shy males.
As a general guide Pearl Gouramis are among the easier Anabantoids to keep when you want more than one, but not always! As each of you have found each fish is an individual, and some combinations do not work out so well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I am currently offering a floating pellet, flakes, and crushed sinking flakes, as each fish has their preferred type (I've got some picky, picky eaters!). I do try to accommodate my shy gourami and offer food where she normally hangs out, but I still don't feel like she's not getting enough. The tank does have lots of floaters for the gourami's comfort as well.

I suppose that's all I can do though, huh? Just do my best to give her food and leave it at that?
 

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The other option is to move her to another tank-
yours, a friends or back to the store.

You could try more attractive food. Most fish will go for frozen foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp and others.
Also, add the garlic flavor to the dry foods. You can crush fresh garlic and soak the food.
 

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I kept 3 females and 1 male for a year. The male got really shy after adding others to the community tank and stop eating for a while. Eventually it picked back up. Same deal with the largest female being a bully.

They are just mean to each other and will sometimes not let others eat. I eventually got rid of them due to aggression, I hate watching it.

I now keep a group of geophagus tapajos, while there is aggression I find it far more harmless compared to that of the gouramis.
 

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In My experience keeping many Pearls 7+ or preferably 9 + with a 1 :2 Male female ratio works well. But even here they will not be able to compete with fast moving fish like Danios, Rainbows etc.
 
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