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My biggest regret so far… buying 2 f for my m honey gourami.

Karen B.

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Beside the fact that I when I started the hobby, I picked a 20 gallons convinced « I would never need a bigger aquarium », I think my biggest regret is buying 2 females honey gourami for my male.

I had Pikachu for over a year, alone, and I felt guilty because everywhere I read, it said they were social creatures and enjoyed the company of their specy.

Finally I found 2 females but adding them to the tank didn’t have the result I was hoping. Pikachu is on one side, patroling and chasing the female back to their side whenever he sees one. Dahlia and Tiffany are on the other side of the aquarium, picking at plants, minding their business but checking Pikachu. They don’t seem afraid of him though as they do not hide or stay in one spot. The female tolerate each other, don’t actively chase each other but one is clearly dominant.

Very far from the happy family swimming fins into fins together like I had imagined.

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I have had a sparkling gourami for about a yer and a half, and he is the sweetest fish in a tank with corydoras and amano shrimp. My husband keeps pressuring me to get females so that he can "fulfill" his mission in life by procreating (mind you, he is Italian), but I refuse to risk the harmony of the tank on that kind of reasoning.

Is there a way to bring them back to LFS or given them a tank of their own?

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Honestly, this is standard honey gourami (and all gourami) behavior. They are not schooling fish. They are not shoaling fish. They are social fish and appreciate having one another for company. Males are wired, with their hormones, to be the 'tank boss' and patrol the tank; you'll usually see him in the upper corner of his territory, swimming around, chasing away females and resting around plants near the surface.

Usually the breeding and courtship dance goes like this:

Male displays throat
Female ignores him
Male chases female away
Male builds bubble nest
Female doesn't pay him any mind
Male chases female away
Male finally entices the female to swim halfway to the nest
Female changes her mind and tries to swim away to nibble
Male chases female away

Eventually she'll cave, lol. 

It sounds to me like your little harem of honey gouramis is behaving exactly as expected. They are not stressed, I promise you. If the two females are pottering about nibbling on plants, occasionally feelering each other, it's fine. If the male is seemingly constantly chasing the females, that's also fine. This is all completely normal behavior and what they do in nature.

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@xXInkedPhoenixX They have been in the main tank for a bit less then 2 months now.


@laritheloud Wow! You described exactly what’s going on in my tank. I feel releived. Except the black beard - I came back from a 2 weeks vacation and cleaned the tank - trimming down my stem plants, removing all floating plants (stupid duckweed) in the process… and destroying his bubblenest. But I will be adding more floating plants today. I do think he is cuter without a beard tho, hehe.

I think I will also rearrange my tank a little and find a bushy plant to put in the middle (I will move my Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini' a bit forward) to break line of sight a little bit more.

Thank you for your reply!!

Oh, btw, is it harmfull or stressful if/when I destroy his bubblenest? I am not looking to breed them at the moment.

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Ehhhhhh.... The thing is, my male is really terrible at bubble nesting. He blows like 10 bubbles, all fired up, like WHOA I'M NESTING CHECK ME OUT then lets it break up on its own and he forgets about it and continues as he's been. I choose to just leave it and let him get it out of his system, because he never builds a large one. Worst comes to worst, if you ever have eggs in a nest (...or... not in a nest, as sometimes happens), you can scoop them out. Labyrinth fry are really quite difficult to raise past the wiggler stage and there's a high mortality rate, so chances are, if you have a hatch or two, you might not notice it.

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