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Hello!
I’m having a bit of a problem with my neon blue dwarf gourami. I have 3 males (LFS had no females) in a fairly heavily planted 36 gallon (most of the plants are still growing in). I was told by the employee at my LFS that the 3 should do well together, but it seems the bigger one is bullying the slightly smaller two. It’s not constant as they have lots of room to swim, but I’m not sure if I should just let it continue. 

I’ve only seen the bigger one be aggressive, so I’m wondering if it makes sense to return the aggressive one and keep the more passive two. Or will they start fighting amongst themselves once the dominant one is gone? 
 

Also, if I decide to keep just one, will it be able to thrive alone? I read that they like to be in groups, which is why I’m a bit confused about what to do. 

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@LukeOci how long have they been in the tank? They might just be trying to sort out dominance. Every fish has a personality so there could always be one that's "just a jerk" in any group and the bullying might not end. Is the bullying also physically violent? I think that's where I'd draw the line  myself. Something to consider too are you happy with just 3 males or did you eventually want to breed? If so you might consider returning 1 or 2 until you get a group of females. 

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3 minutes ago, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

@LukeOci how long have they been in the tank? They might just be trying to sort out dominance. Every fish has a personality so there could always be one that's "just a jerk" in any group and the bullying might not end. Is the bullying also physically violent? I think that's where I'd draw the line  myself. Something to consider too are you happy with just 3 males or did you eventually want to breed? If so you might consider returning 1 or 2 until you get a group of females. 

100% agree! 

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@xXInkedPhoenixX I’ve had them for about a week, so you may be right, they could just be figuring out their space.

I haven’t noticed any injuries yet, but I have observed the aggressive one trying to nip at the others. I’ve also seen twice, where one will flare its side at the other while both try to take nips at each other. I took a video of it, I can post it if you’d like. But mostly it seems like the big one likes to chase the others away from his spot. 

I really like the look of the three males in my tank but I ultimately just want the best living conditions for them. 

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Well, if it were me, and I liked what I had (but I totally agree, ultimately it's what's best for them)- I would observe them for a while longer and see if they sort it out. If it came to physical violence (you said nip but sometimes I take that as trying but not quite getting there-) if they ARE I'd lean towards returning 1 or 2 and looking for females. I hear the males color up really well when they're around the girls. 

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dwarf gourami are notorious for being aggressive/bullies. You should only get one. I'd look for someone other than the employee you chatted to at your store for advice - see if they will take the other two back. Having said there is a chance it might work out if you give them a few weeks but you should not be shocked if the aggression increases.

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