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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought 2 3-spot gouramis a couple of weeks ago. They're still young. I was only going to get one but I took the advice of the owner and got 2... Anyway, one of them has been bullying the other, to the extent that the bullied one lurks in amongst the plants and I haven't seen it eat for days. It's not coming to the surface as much as the other one either (they need to swallow air.)

Is there a way I can break the bullying? If I were to put the bully in time out (my hospital tank) for a couple of weeks do you think my other one would gain confidence while it was on its own? Is there anything else I could do, short of taking one of them back to the LFS? It's a 55g tank, there should be plenty of room for both of them.
 

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net out the bully and slap it a couple of times... that should do it :)
just kidding, i'm not too sure about gouramis but some fish form pecking orders which is natural, and for those who don't just return the bully and get a new one (preferably smaller or same size). but sometimes when you take out one, a new bully emerges.
 

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i used to keep 3 spot gourami's, and i had 1 male lavender, 2 female blues, and 1 gold female. the male loved to chase the females, and having three helped spread his aggression out. the gold female was bigger than the blues, and she would try to bully the others, but the male would step in and chase her around. i kept them with tiger barbs and kuhli loaches for over a year, and they were all healthy. i think it may just be a gourami trait. try adding some females to the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I should have mentioned the sexes. They're both female.

Hmmm, they're both out at the moment, taking in air at the surface. The problem is I haven't seen the bullied one (gold) eating anything for a while.
 

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I should have mentioned the sexes. They're both female.

Hmmm, they're both out at the moment, taking in air at the surface. The problem is I haven't seen the bullied one (gold) eating anything for a while.
It's odd for females to do that. Normally trios and sixes seem to be the best way to diffuse aggression with gouramis. It may be advisable at this time to add one more or four more to balance things out. Gouramis in general are social fish and do best with a shoal with only a few exceptions like giant gouramis who are fine on their lonesome. For me, six has always been the magic number keeping most of the more common species, like honeys, pearls and moonlights. The dwarfs are another matter entirely.
 

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after trying pearl gouramis and smaller sparkling gouramis in another tank,
I have given up on gouramis forever, they are persistent bullies and not
what I consider a "community" fish - but at least they are plant safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The LFS woman said I was better off getting 2 females and a male. I'd never heard that before as I'd always thought they were better on their own.

So I should get at least one more you think? The potential problem there is obvious... if it makes things worse I have 2 extra fish to find a home for instead of 1. Still, I will think about it and do some more research. I have room for more.
 

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Normally trios and sixes seem to be the best way to diffuse aggression with gouramis. It may be advisable at this time to add one more or four more to balance things out. For me, six has always been the magic number keeping most of the more common species, like honeys, pearls and moonlights.
I just acquired a beautiful trio (1 male 2 females) of pearl gouramis. If I want to add more, would you suggest another trio, or just more females?

On the problem of bullying, it is definitely worth a try to separate the fish for a few weeks. If nothing else, it will let the bullied fish recover and become stronger.
 

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Definitely use that ratio, two females to every male keeps things very peaceful.
 

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No. You cannot fight nature.

Males are territorial and will defend the nest area (which can include the whole tank) from all other fish, even females of the same species.

Odd for females only to be so pushy, but not unknown. Try adding more stuff so they cannot see each other. Each can have half the tank.

Best way I have kept them is ONE Gourami (any sex, any species) per tank.

3 spot and all the color variations: A single male claimed all of a 6' long, 125 gallon tank. The only fish that would stand up to him were some Jewel Cichlids.

Moonlight: My male was OK with the first female, he grew up with her. When she died and I added another he chased her almost to death. I had to separate them.

Pearl: Generally more peaceful, but still only one per tank. I had one pair that were OK together, but only that one pair.

Honey: OK 1M + 2F in a 29 gallon (30" long) tank, with lots of tall or floating plants.

Snakeskin: 1M + 2F in 6' long tank. Lots of hiding places, but they are often together, or at least close enough to see each other.

Betta splendens: IME a single male or several females are OK community fish as long as no one nips his fins. This is not always the case. Some males are too aggressive, and can only be kept by themselves. Some females are almost as aggressive as the males, but generally several females will get along just fine.

Sparkling and Croaking: I have only ever tried one per tank, but with other species of fish (no other Anabatoids) and they were OK.
 
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