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Opaline/Three Spot Gourami acting unusually shy and skittish


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I have a 20g Long planted with 9 White Clouds and 4 female Opaline Gourami. They are normally active and will usually come up to the front of the tank and touch the glass where to put your finger. I have had the Gourami Singh July 16, 2021. But, 2 weeks ago I added 6 Kuhli Loaches. When I did this, a had them in a 2.5 gallon that I was using as a drip acclimation container. I tried to catch them with a net, but after several minutes and some stressed fish, I gave up and carefully poured the 2.5 into the 20. Since then, the Gourami have been getting more skittish and spend all of their time when the light is on hiding. When the light is off they are still apprehensive, but will venture into the more open areas. The water conditions have stayed the same (ph 6.4 ish, KH 0, GH 300+, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 25-50 according to Aquarium Co-op strips, ammonia 0, about 75-78 degrees temp).

About a week ago the second largest Gourami really freaked out and darted around the tank and scratched both of her sides. I also had noticed that the two largest Gourami were in general breathing heavier than normal. All 4 have gotten paler, but the largest has changes the most. At this point, I did decide to put a little less than three tablespoons of freshwater aquarium salt into the tank (dissolved into the water I was dripping in at the time, it was two tablespoons that were a little overflowing). I do my best to see them eat, but some nights they don’t eat at all while I’m there. And I’ve tried turning half the tank lights off and stepping back, but they still don’t always come out. The one who hurt her sides is getting better. I don’t have a picture that shows it, because they won’t come out to get a good enough one :(. 

The white Clouds, Kuhli Loaches, and Ghost Shrimp are doing fine (maybe even better now that the Gourami aren’t out and about). 

I’ve done my best to keep everything the same: same feeding time, same routine when I take out excess floating plants before feeding, the same foods, and the same water parameters. In the two weeks that the Loaches have been in, the Gourami have become more shy. Has anyone else had a problem like this with Gourami? Is there something I can do to help them relax? I have been hoping they would get comfortable again, but now they freak out when I approach the tank, and it’s been getting worse, not better.

Here is a video I took tonight of them. They’re hard to see, and I turned one light off and they all went to that side immediately. But they spend a lot of time in that corner. The video also shows the white clouds after I just feed them. The Gouramis didn’t eat while I was in the room with the tank. 

Pictures are of the latest water test I did (which is about the same as they always are). And one when I took a photo of a Kuhli loach, but is has one of the Gourami in it taken the day after I added the Loaches. 



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On 10/7/2021 at 7:26 AM, laritheloud said:

That's a lot of larger gourami for a 20 gallon long. Do you have any plans to move them to a larger tank as they grow?

Aside from that, low KH could be part of it and it's worth a try.

I do plan on upgrading them. In the long run they will go to my brother, who has been thinking about adding some Opaline or Sparkling to a 55. When I got them there were only 4, and I really didn’t want to get more than 3 until I had a 55 up, but I didn’t want to leave one alone. I was going to have my own 55 up, but a week after I got the gourami, my roommate discovered he was going to need way more space for work while he’s home. 

I’ll try the crushed coral. Thank you both for the help!

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