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Solo honey gourami or a trio in 20 long community tank


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Hi everyone!

My fish store is ordering honey gourami by my request and I'm looking for advice on how many would do best in my 20g long tank. It's current inhabitants are 8 panda corys and 8 blue dream neocaridina shrimp.

I have two sponge filters running and it's planted with a dwarf aquarium lily, amazon swords, dwarf sag, java fern, and guppy grass. The swords had to be cut back due to melt and the dwarf sag hasn't filled in yet.

What I'm wondering is: should I just get a single male honey gourami, or get a trio with a male and two females?

I'm worried about there not being enough space for three gourami because of my cory school. I'm not worried as much about bioload because of the filters and I stay on top of water changes, but I don't want there to be aggression between the gourami group or the gourami and my corys.

20230710_090018.jpg.6d11f8b081680a62d1a82c1756bfa66a.jpg

Here is a picture of my tank, and thank you in advance!

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Pretty tank!

Depending on your experience in the hobby and your relationship with your LFS, this could go several ways.

I'd personally put in a trio. Honey Gourami are not as boisterous as normal Dwarf Gouramis.

Are your goals just enjoyment? Or are you interested in breeding your Shrimp, Corys, and Honey Gourami?

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@Fish Folk @Lennie I'm not interested in breeding fish at the moment (my corys are too young to breed from what I've researched), and my shrimp are breeding by virtue of being in the tank haha!

I had just read on some different forums that they exhibit more natural behaviors/feel more comfortable in a small group, but if being in a group could bring out aggression then I'll go with a solo male!

Thanks so much for the replies!

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On 7/14/2023 at 3:11 PM, BlackCrappieLover said:

I had just read on some different forums that they exhibit more natural behaviors/feel more comfortable in a small group,

I can't comment on that one as I keep my sparkling gouramis and gold gouramis in groups but honey gourami as a centerpiece fish alone

however in my experience, they love to have fish around it is what makes them feel secure. At least it does for my male honey gourami.

He was in a crowded 29g first(rummy noses, sterbai cories, L199, shrimp), then I moved him into a calm 33g (pygmy cories, L199, red lizard whiptails, so mainy bottom dwellers) but he got stressed and never stopped glass surfing for weeks. Then I moved him to the 42g tank with many other fish again and he directly stopped being stressed. So in my limited experience, they do love to be in a community tank. A community tank that is active and also have mid level swimmers.

If I were you, I would consider adding a schooling fish that won't outcompete the gourami for food. That will surely make him feel comfy and cozy.

Edited by Lennie
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On 7/14/2023 at 8:23 AM, Lennie said:

If I were you, I would consider adding a schooling fish that won't outcompete the gourami for food. That will surely make him feel comfy and cozy.

I was considering adding neon tetras eventually, because they're my dad's favorite fish, but wasn't sure how big of a group I could get with the size of the tank and the other fish I have already.

I'm new when it comes to community tanks and stocking multiple species. I've only had my corys with shrimp for the last year, so I'm trying to be cautious about how much I put in the tank ^_^

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On 7/14/2023 at 7:38 AM, BlackCrappieLover said:

I was considering adding neon tetras eventually, because they're my dad's favorite fish, but wasn't sure how big of a group I could get with the size of the tank and the other fish I have already.

I'm new when it comes to community tanks and stocking multiple species. I've only had my corys with shrimp for the last year, so I'm trying to be cautious about how much I put in the tank ^_^

I won't judge anyone who disagrees, but I would go with the trio.  As mentioned above, most gouramis (with dwarf gouramis being the notable exception) are social and do better in groups.

In the situation you described I don't think adding a trio of honey gouramis and eight or so neon tetras would be a problem.

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Hello everyone! Small update and another question.

I called my LFS and they'll be getting the honey gourami in next week sometime! Very excited.

When I called, the girl on the phone chatted with me about my tank and asked how many I was thinking getting, and I mentioned how I was worried about there being agression if I added a male & two females.

She suggested that if I still wanted three gourami to get 3 females and cut out the male entirely. So, my question now, would this work? Are there any behavioral issues that could crop up with a girls only tank?

As tax here's a gif of my mama shrimp oxygenating her eggs!

ezgif-3-597843cb70.gif.be7dba483801d0f603c256eb99bf1d6f.gif

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On 7/21/2023 at 1:36 AM, BlackCrappieLover said:

Hello everyone! Small update and another question.

I called my LFS and they'll be getting the honey gourami in next week sometime! Very excited.

When I called, the girl on the phone chatted with me about my tank and asked how many I was thinking getting, and I mentioned how I was worried about there being agression if I added a male & two females.

She suggested that if I still wanted three gourami to get 3 females and cut out the male entirely. So, my question now, would this work? Are there any behavioral issues that could crop up with a girls only tank?

As tax here's a gif of my mama shrimp oxygenating her eggs!

ezgif-3-597843cb70.gif.be7dba483801d0f603c256eb99bf1d6f.gif

the thing is, males are the ones that are usually colorful. Females usually look paler in general.

Like in the given examples below, where the female is wild colored or more yellowish toned(some call them "sunsets"), you can see how colorful the males are:

Male vs. Female Honey Gourami (What's the Difference?)

F on left, m on right:

honey-gourami-4-jpg.163471

again M:

image.png.f6b31186c86775f92759a4aa8fde0fd8.png

 

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On 7/20/2023 at 6:49 PM, Lennie said:

the thing is, males are the ones that are usually colorful. Females usually look paler in general.

If I'm being honest, I can't really tell a huge difference between the female and male gold honeys colors XD and that's what my LFS is getting in. I think they're beautiful fish either way so I'm really just trying to figure out the best combination of fish.

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@BlackCrappieLover Experiences with smaller gourami like honeys and dwarves are highly varied, so it is difficult to advise and/or predict how your experience will go. You may just have to decide to roll the dice, but be willing and prepared to make adjustments after the fact. Trichogaster Chuna (the true honey gourami) is very rarely a problem individually, paired, trio'ed or grouped (not saying problems never occur, but it is not the rule). Trichogaster Lalius (some of them are very close in color to sunset honey gourami) are almost always a problem, in just about any combination, even a group of all females can be contentious at times.

I wouldn't worry too much about it and I certainly wouldn't be discouraged from moving forward. Most likely, you will be okay with 1M, or 1M/1F, or 1M/2F (I would probably avoid only having 2M or 3M with no females. If color is an issue, you might try 1M honey (yellow or sunset) and then add Trichogaster Lalius 1F powder blue (it is the most colorful of the female dwarf gouramis being a solid powder puff blue all over). Most other female dwarves and honeys are pretty chill, but as you have noted they are not very colorful. Chuna and Lalius will not pair together or interbreed, but you indicated you weren't interested in that anyway.

Hope this helps.

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I don’t think a male with two female would have any serious issues.  You also would have have room for the neons in my opinion- you could avoid fish similar in size to the honeys to avoid bullying.  The neons would be pretty zippy and they will be happy if they have decent cover if needed and a decent sized group of them.  Sounds like a great setup!

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Hello everyone! Another update.

They're here! I have my honeys. I got three. They're unsexed juveniles unfortunately, but my LFS assured me that if I had multiple males or any aggression I can bring the fish back for credit. Fingers crossed these guys work out together, they're so cute and they're all swimming around together right now!20230727_180352.jpg.c4ed07b5eb6948a01352201f0742e124.jpg20230727_180621.jpg.d95a44618a036c94490552f1964d4d0e.jpg20230727_180701.jpg.5771d698b870c546dbf55a197f60ad85.jpg

Here's some individual pictures of each one. Does that darker bottom fin mean male? Or do all juvenile honeys have it. I'm already a big fan of the 3rd one, they have an orange patch right on their forehead that's super cute.

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On 7/28/2023 at 1:32 AM, BlackCrappieLover said:

20230727_180621.jpg.d95a44618a036c94490552f1964d4d0e.jpg

Here's some individual pictures of each one. Does that darker bottom fin mean male? Or do all juvenile honeys have it. I'm already a big fan of the 3rd one, they have an orange patch right on their forehead that's super cute.

The body shape reminds me of paradise fish very much. They don't look like my honey gourami when I got him vs now. I feel kinda lost at what Im looking at. But I don't wanna say anything wrong.

I will tag some other honey gourami keepers, maybe they can also comment. @laritheloud @Cinnebuns  @Hobbit  @Guppysnail

Please check this out

 

Edited by Lennie
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On 7/28/2023 at 10:03 AM, Lennie said:

The body shape reminds me of paradise fish very much.

They do look like paradise fish. 
@BlackCrappieLover can you get video (upload to YouTube to be able to share here) their body shape and bottom longer fin def looks paradise  

Paradise fish swimming is very distinct from gourami. 
 

 

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The pictures are unclear to me. It is not a honey gourami, that doesnt have the underfin. It is most likely a paradise fish, as they do not have the thin feelers honeys have and their underfin does start in the middle of the body like on the picture. Based on the tail shape I would say it is not a standard paradise, could be the roundtail one. My best guess it is a black paradise fish, Macropodus spechti, there is a picture of an adult one, I  cant see the feelers though. https://rybicky.net/fotogalerie.php?sekce=atlasryb&c=5079 New picture or a video will be needed

 

Paradise fish does not a good community fish make 🙂 but a trio could work in a 20 gallon. Carefully

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I uploaded a video of them. I'm so confused if they ARE paradise fish, as my LFS didn't have those labeled for sale anywhere. The inhabitants of the tank I bought them from were these guys (labeled Gold Honey Gourami), two pearl gourami, and two powder blue gourami. The girl that scooped them for me even keeps honeys and was telling me how well they do in her community tanks.

If they are paradise fish though, my LFS has a 3 day return policy, so I'll be doing that if these guys aren't honeys...

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Called my LFS. The girl that answered looked at their orders and said they absolutely have not gotten any paradise fish in at all, so if they're not honeys then she's confused as to what they could be.

She suggested they could still be stressed from shipping and skinny? Either way she said I can take them back within the next 3 days, so I'll keep them another day since I can't make it over there today...

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On 7/13/2023 at 6:10 PM, BlackCrappieLover said:

Hi everyone!

My fish store is ordering honey gourami by my request and I'm looking for advice on how many would do best in my 20g long tank. It's current inhabitants are 8 panda corys and 8 blue dream neocaridina shrimp.

I have two sponge filters running and it's planted with a dwarf aquarium lily, amazon swords, dwarf sag, java fern, and guppy grass. The swords had to be cut back due to melt and the dwarf sag hasn't filled in yet.

What I'm wondering is: should I just get a single male honey gourami, or get a trio with a male and two females?

I'm worried about there not being enough space for three gourami because of my cory school. I'm not worried as much about bioload because of the filters and I stay on top of water changes, but I don't want there to be aggression between the gourami group or the gourami and my corys.

20230710_090018.jpg.6d11f8b081680a62d1a82c1756bfa66a.jpg

Here is a picture of my tank, and thank you in advance!

You could even do multiple males tbh. A 20 long is a great size for 3 honey gourami. Male honey gourami will chase each other from time to time but they don't fight like other species. You could do 2f 1m if you wanted to try to breed but if it's just for keeping its not a big deal. 

I do want to make you aware that the gourami will likely eat shrimp. I know the tank is planted but 8 shrimp is a small starter colony. Typically I suggest people establish the shrimp colony and have it going good and strong before adding a fish that may predate on them. Just a heads up. 

I now read the comments too and not just the original post. I agree that is not a honey gourami but I'm not entirely sure what it is. The LFS may have ordered honey gourami and gotten in something different. That happens. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/19/2023 at 9:55 AM, Hobbit said:

@BlackCrappieLover any updates on what you decided to do with the fish? Did you keep any? I agree that they don’t look like honeys, but sometimes the hobby throws us a curveball and it ends up being fun!

Hi! I didn't end up keeping them. Took them back to my LFS and told them they were not honey gourami, and a manager confirmed they looked like paradise fish to her. If I had the space for another large tank I probably could have kept them!

I'm still waiting on news about my LFS getting in honeys as well, but I've started another semester of college so I'm fine with waiting since I'll be busy now. 👍

I did have my shrimp give birth though! Lots of tiny babies swimming around, so maybe adding a honey if I got one would've been bad 😅

20230814_124038.jpg.fe6c40db1b50d4a039462a8ce2ff4de7.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Hello everyone! The thrilling conclusion to my honey gourami hunt!

LFS called me yesterday to say they got in some honeys! So, made a day of it with my fiancée and drove down to get a fish (just one, I decided.)

I'm pretty sure they're male, based on that spikey little dorsal fin. But they're the cutest shade of pale yellow and orange with a shimmery belly. I've had them in quarantine for a couple hours now and they've colored up and are swimming good.20230922_160735.jpg.613f78e67c5b2342cfb7c9a87c38272c.jpg20230922_160810.jpg.4a2c468588ccb8ec526a6c933921fb41.jpg

The new addition. Not naming them until they're cleared from quarantine, feel free to drop suggestions!

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