Pearl Gourami - nocturnal and won't eat

onetwothree

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Hello all,

I purchased a pearl Gourami roughly 5 weeks ago. Since then, he's been very shy. I've read that it's common for them to hide a lot, especially while settling in. However, this guy basically never comes out unless he's going up for air, then goes straight back behind my more dense plants. I've never seen him eat (literally, not once), even when I drop food all around him. I've tried flake, frozen worms, sinking pellets etc, nothing.

I have my lights on 6 hours a day and have noticed that at night, when the lights go off and I'm sat next to the tank on my computer (with only the light from my monitor providing light to the room), he'll be swimming around everywhere like the boss of the tank, totally chilled, mainly because I don't think he knows I'm in the room anymore. Whenever you're in the room or the lights on, he sits in one area and doesn't move behind all the leaves.

To survive until 5 weeks in, I'm assuming he must be eating left over food from the tank floor during the night?

Isn't much in the way of floating plants in my tank now, quite a few of my plants touch the surface of the water (image attached). Could this be the cause? I heard they like a lot of cover at the top of the tank. Should I get him a friend? I've heard mixed reports about them liking/not liking same-species company etc, but I'm not sure my tank would be appropriate due to size (it's 100 litres).

Outside of this, he seems totally fine. Appearance, weight wise and functionally, he's swimming and behaving normally when I observe him at night.

Is he sick/unhappy and should I be worried about him not eating?
 

onetwothree

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Tank pic as mentioned
 

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kilnakorr

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I belive dimming the light and slowly increasing it might make him less shy.
Giving him a female or better two, would probable make him feel more secure.
 

Richard40

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I’d agree, I had a similar problem when I owned Pearl gourami. I bought him two females and he completely changed.
 

mort

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As above, they are a social species but I personally wouldn't keep a group of them in a 100l tank as they can reach about 5". You might be better off with a group of the smaller sparkling or croaking gourami.
 

onetwothree

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Gouramies are a Social fish and need to be in groups. They do very poorly if kept alone.
As above, they are a social species but I personally wouldn't keep a group of them in a 100l tank as they can reach about 5". You might be better off with a group of the smaller sparkling or croaking gourami.

Thanks guys - I read frequently that males can be aggressive and fight each other. When you say a group - do you mean male & female or would male and male likely be ok?

I'm considering going up to 145+ litres (maybe all the way up to 200 soon), so I'm not too concerned about size. This is my first ever tank, so naturally I'm desperate to go bigger sooner rather than later. Already upgraded the filter to something that can handle up to 400 litres.
 

kilnakorr

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When you say a group - do you mean male & female or would male and male likely be ok?
In a large tank several males might be ok.
Males can be agressive to other males, so two males is not a good approach.
A male and a female would be ok. Having two females are often better as both females should have a little peace as the male has two women to 'chase':)
 

onetwothree

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In a large tank several males might be ok.
Males can be agressive to other males, so two males is not a good approach.
A male and a female would be ok. Having two females are often better as both females should have a little peace as the male has two women to 'chase':)
I had one Male and two females

Thanks guys. Having looked at sexing the fish, I'm not too sure it's male now. It's fins look quite rounded by comparison to most males I've seen online. Would you agree?
 

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jaypeecee

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A male and a female would be ok. Having two females are often better as both females should have a little peace as the male has two women to 'chase':)

Hi @onetwothree & @kilnakorr

When I kept one male and one female in a 125 litre tank, it was peaceful until feeding time. Then, the male would get very aggressive towards the female. Eventually, stress took its toll on the female and she eventually died. I tried various measures to keep them apart but, sadly, it was all in vain. However, one male and two females may be the answer.

JPC
 

Richard40

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Looks female to me. Need a Male to improve her wellbeing.
That’s the reason why I purchased another female as he was aggressive to the other one. This calmed him down and they got on fine, he didn’t know which one to chase!
 

mort

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I agree that's a female. Pearl gourami are a lot more timid than most gourami so you can keep males together if you have enough females to divert their attention. If you want it to be a really harmonious group then ideally you would give them a fair bit of space and plant coverage. Lots of these types of fish need breaks in their line of site, so plants or decor works well.
 

onetwothree

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I agree that's a female. Pearl gourami are a lot more timid than most gourami so you can keep males together if you have enough females to divert their attention. If you want it to be a really harmonious group then ideally you would give them a fair bit of space and plant coverage. Lots of these types of fish need breaks in their line of site, so plants or decor works well.
Looks female to me. Need a Male to improve her wellbeing.
That’s the reason why I purchased another female as he was aggressive to the other one. This calmed him down and they got on fine, he didn’t know which one to chase!
Hi @onetwothree & @kilnakorr

When I kept one male and one female in a 125 litre tank, it was peaceful until feeding time. Then, the male would get very aggressive towards the female. Eventually, stress took its toll on the female and she eventually died. I tried various measures to keep them apart but, sadly, it was all in vain. However, one male and two females may be the answer.

JPC
In a large tank several males might be ok.
Males can be agressive to other males, so two males is not a good approach.
A male and a female would be ok. Having two females are often better as both females should have a little peace as the male has two women to 'chase':)

Hi all,

I received a male today in the post. He's a lot smaller than the female (female probably about 4 inches and male about 2.5-3). He is different, happy to not hide and will swim around. As soon as they met each other, her behaviour changed dramatically, they pressed lips, kinda wrapped around each other and started shaking tails. For a while, they seemed fine (about 5 minutes), now the bigger female won't stop chasing him and seemingly attacking/biting him! He's hiding in the top right of the tank, she is moving around the tank between her original hiding place and occasionally goes over to have another go and goes back. She's pressing herself into him and he's sort of bending over and trying to escape while being chased.

Strangely enough, I fed my other fish and he ate and so did she for the first time. I've literally never once been able to get her to eat. She's now swimming around nibbling bits off the plants the occasional bit of food.

Is this is good or terrible? I'm happy that she's eating and is moving around, but not sure it's great that she seems to want to fight the male who's a lot smaller. He seems quite scared of her. I'm looking at getting a 180 litre soon, so should provide plenty of space for them (or could separate them I suppose, but that wasn't really my intention?).

Thoughts?
 

alto

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Do you have a fish net breeder :)sorry: can never find a link for this that isn’t a sale page - there are various versions and sizes available) - this would give him some respite while allowing him to remain in sight/scent and hopefully the female will calm down (all that bending about each other is reminiscent of spawning but can also be aggression depending ...)

As he’s hiding in the top corner rather than elsewhere in the tank, I consider this a sign of significant stress and would monitor carefully (especially as he’s so much smaller)
If situation doesn’t improve, I’d remove him for the night, then reintroduce tomorrow into a dim tank
If she instantly chases, I’d remove her (for several hours or overnight) to allow him to explore the tank
Then repeat the introduction again when you’ve several hours to monitor
 

onetwothree

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Do you have a fish net breeder :)sorry: can never find a link for this that isn’t a sale page - there are various versions and sizes available) - this would give him some respite while allowing him to remain in sight/scent and hopefully the female will calm down (all that bending about each other is reminiscent of spawning but can also be aggression depending ...)

As he’s hiding in the top corner rather than elsewhere in the tank, I consider this a sign of significant stress and would monitor carefully (especially as he’s so much smaller)
If situation doesn’t improve, I’d remove him for the night, then reintroduce tomorrow into a dim tank
If she instantly chases, I’d remove her (for several hours or overnight) to allow him to explore the tank
Then repeat the introduction again when you’ve several hours to monitor

Thank, I've just ordered a large one to give him some space. Hopefully it arrives sooner rather than later. I've been observing them for a few hours...when she relents for a while he seems fine having a swim about. They even seem to swim along next to each other for occasionally and then she'll just turn on him and chase. I don't know if they love or hate each other tbh...
 

Richard40

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Having kept these before, for me this is totally normal. It’s basically her way of saying this is my tank, who are you, you’ve come into my territory. After a while it should settle down. Mine did this whenever I introduced new pearls into the tank. He will soon get bigger I assure you and start chasing her. Like alto said, keep your eye on him.
 

alto

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In part this is just natural territorial behaviour (gouramis can be unrelenting)

You can always remove her to a bucket for an hour or 2 tomorrow, rearrange the tank a bit, give him awhile to familiarize himself with various hidden places (besides that upper tank corner that no one really wants to be)
 
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