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Suddenly Shy Gourami


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Got an odd fish behavior question for some more experienced gourami keepers. On March 24th, I brought home 3 pearl gourami. Two girls and one boy. They're currently the only inhabitants in a heavily planted 40 breeder. They were shy for a week or so, but eventually came around and would hang by the surface waiting for food and eat brine shrimp straight out of a dropper. Everything seemed to be going well. They were healthy, eating and generally hanging out all over the tank.

Cut to 5 days ago, and they've suddenly become incredibly shy. Sometimes, if I come into the room too quickly, they'll spaz out swimming around the tank to hide. They spend all day at the very back of the tank underneath a large amazon sword or huddled in the back corner. Since they live in my office, I know they haven't had any traumatic experiences with people. Based on the glimpses I can get of them, they still look healthy. They're just always hiding. When I noticed the behavior, I checked the water and everything is normal, 0/0/5 nh3/no2/no3.

I don't have any experience keeping gourami other than these guys, so maybe I'm overreacting to a normal behavior change. I've adjusted the light to give them a larger, dimmer space without any impact. I've considered adding my large school of CPD to the tank to provide some dither fish, but since things are a bit wonky in there I'm hesitant to make changes.

Any thoughts or advice?

Edited by Schwack
mixed up my gender ratio
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  • 2 weeks later...

Went ahead adding a dozen CPD to their tank to entice them to come out more, and things seem to have only gotten worse. The CPD are perfectly happy and behaving normally, but the gourami seem more shy than ever. I came into the room this morning, slowly and calmly as I have been for the last week or so. One of the females was out, I believe it was the most outgoing fish before all this. When she saw me, she completely flipped out. Swam straight away into the sponge filter, down into the substrate, up and off the lid and finally into the back corner. 

I can't see any sense in keeping these guys if they're miserable all the time, but I just can't understand what changed. They were happy and generally outgoing for 2 months, to suddenly become so panicked of people, basically overnight, just makes no sense to me.

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