Dead Honey Gourami With A Dark Lump

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Offline Fishbeard

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Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« on: December 16, 2017, 10:39:42 AM »
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So I came to clean the tank this morning and found that one of my red honey gouramis had passed. He was stuck to the filter intake, but when I turned the filter off he floated loose, so I'm reluctant to believe that the filter caused it, but I've checked my water this morning and all of my readings are good - 0 ammonia, 0 nitrate, 20 nitrate - but he's had a black lump that I want to call an abscess, but I'm no doctor.

He seemed fine yesterday - was swimming around as normal, and despite earlier concerns that my two gouramis might fight, they both settled down after a couple of days and I've not seen any fighting or chasing. He's been eating well, swimming fine and I've never noticed the dark lump on him before. I always make a point to check everyone's present and correct in the morning and evening. Everyone else in the tank appears to be doing well and the other gourami seems fine, I've made a point of checking him this morning during water change and I can't see any similar marks.

Has anyone got any ideas what this might be?


Offline Sue

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2017, 10:51:38 AM »
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I'm sorry to hear that.


The filter won't have killed the fish, it will have sucked him against it after hew was dead, or possibly too weak to swim any more.

The black lump could have developed after he died - if he passed away just after you last looked in the tank he would have been dead several hours when you found him. If it is a tumour, it won't be infectious.


I know it is upsetting to lose fish but I would put it down to 'one of those things'. So many times our fish die and we don't know why. Fish breeding is big business and the conditions they are bred in leave a lot to be desired. And a lot of breeders use any fish to breed from not just fish in good health, and they don't cull the iffy fry. All this results in fish in shops that are less than 100% healthy I'm afraid. It is common to see fish with bent spines etc in shop tanks, but a lot of problems are internal where we can't see them.



I bought a trio of natural coloured honey gouramis a few months ago. The females are fine but the male never developed his proper colour. He then developed swimming problems and started sitting in the corner behind the filter. I found him dead a couple of weeks ago. Apart from being pale, he looked perfect, and I have no idea what was wrong with him.

Offline Fishbeard

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2017, 11:04:28 AM »
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That's the kind of answer I was hoping for. He was the beta gourami (as far as I can tell them apart - the alpha is still hanging out on his side of the tank), but after your advice previously I was looking out for any signs of bullying.

I'm fine with it being "one of those things", though it's a shame he's only been around for a couple of weeks.

Will the other gourami be alright alone? I know you told me that they don't form pairs like rams, but do they need to see another gourami around? If so, am I better off bringing in a new gourami sooner, rather than later? I'm concerned that he might get used to dominating the tank and then be hostile towards any newcomers.

Sorry to hear also about your gourami's passing.

Offline Sue

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2017, 11:17:28 AM »
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Personally, I would try to get a female. This is not easy with the red variety.
If you would accept a natural coloured gourami - and could find a shop that stocks them - it is much easier to tell the gender. The fish profile on here shows photos of the natural coloured form. The two thumbnails show the male on the left and the female on the right. They clearly show the stripe along the side of the female. That stripe is the way you tell males from females. When the net goes in the tank, they all panic and males lose their colour giving a tank of beige fish - but the females are the ones with the stripes.
The next easiest to tell is the yellow form, and these are more common in shops. Again females have a stripe but not as pronounced as in the wild form. If you want a yellow female, choose the fish with the most obvious stripe.
Red honeys are almost impossible to tell. The fins are supposed to be longer and pointier in males but my females have longer pointier fins than the male did  :-\ It may be possible to tell from their behaviour, though it could well be different in shop tanks. When they have settled in to our tanks, males spend most of their time swimming round while females spend most of their time looking for food. The fish that are more up front, as it were, will be the males.

Offline Rustle

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2017, 11:34:20 AM »
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Sorry for your loss.


Fish Community Creator Tanks
Cherry Barb (6) - Neon Tetra (7) - Harlequin Rasbora (11) - Honey Gourami (2) - Guppy (male) (3) - Otocinclus (5) - Japonica Shrimp (8) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Fishbeard

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2017, 01:37:25 PM »
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Thanks Rustle.

Sue, my LFS had yellow gouramis last time I was in so I'll make a point of heading back there. My only other option is P@H, which is where my red gouramis came from and they only carried the red variety last time I was in there, so I don't know anywhere local that I can find the natural colour. I've made a note of the photos and saved them to my phone so I've got reference for when I'm in the shop.

Offline fcmf

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2017, 01:46:39 PM »
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Sorry to read about the fatality, Fishbeard (and Sue).

An additional option for you, if you're looking for fish that are unavailable in your LFSs, is www.aquarist-classifieds.co.uk - you might just strike it lucky in finding someone who's local and selling/giving away fish (eg due to moving house).

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2017, 04:33:28 PM »
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Sorry to hear about the gourami.

Offline Matt

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2017, 11:18:30 PM »
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Sorry to hear about this.

IIm afraid I dont have much to add over and above what's already beem said, but I must admit I donr know what a burnt fish looks like... but could the dark patch be heater burn? Is your heater near the filter intake?

Offline Fishbeard

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2017, 09:20:57 AM »
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Thanks all for the continued condolences.

@Matt, The heater's at the opposite end of the back wall to the filter. The alpha gourami loiters in the corner with the heater and he's fine, but this is the beta and his territory was nearer to the filter. My heater's tucked away in the back, obscured by my silk plants, but nothing's close enough to trap a fish against the heater - I made sure of that - so I don't think it could have ended up pinned to it.

Or do fish press up to a heater even to the point of burning?

Offline Sue

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2017, 09:57:51 AM »
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It is usually fish that stick themselves on the heater (eg plecs) that get burned. And fish like my last betta which liked to sleep on the sucker with his tail dangling down next to the element - he burned a chunk of his tail. But other than those, most fish won't press their bodies against a heater in a position where it could get burnt.

In the photo, the dark patch looks as it it is inside the fish in the stomach region. It could possibly be its last meal that went undigested because the fish died, or maybe even a blockage somewhere in its digestive system. The only way to be certain would be a post mortem but that is very difficult on such a small body and without the right equipment.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2017, 10:06:01 AM »
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I've seen my bristlenose on the heater several times. My mudskippers also sit on their heaters, or use them to climb out of the water, which was something that I'd read about when researching them, and all information I found stated that the heater must have a cover because of this. Heaters in  my other tanks are just normal heaters and I've not seen any of my other fish resting on heaters.


Offline Fishbeard

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2017, 02:34:49 PM »
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Thanks then, that's one less thing to worry about.

I went to the LFS this morning and they had precisely one yellow honey gourami left. With a big black stripe down the side! Taking this as some sign from the fishy gods, I bought her there and then and she's now finding her way around the tank and getting used to her new neighbours.  :)

Offline fcmf

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2017, 02:47:14 PM »
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Wow - that sounds lucky/promising. Good for you.  :cheers:

Offline Matt

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2017, 03:30:26 PM »
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Wow that's great news, I hope she settles in well.

Offline Sue

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2017, 03:37:18 PM »
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That was lucky! Give her a couple of days to settle in.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2017, 05:29:31 PM »
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I hope that your new arrival settles in well.  :cheers:

Offline Andy The Minion

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2017, 09:38:24 PM »
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I saw @fcmf mention heaters a few replies below. I tend to oversize heaters because a larger heater will not need to get as hot to transfer the same amount of energy as a small one and I would prefer to have the element running 'cool' for longevity reasons as well. Within reason it will not affect the temperature control performance (that is pants already :( ) nor will it cost more as it just on for less. The risky period is always as the tank comes up to temperature and the heater has to be on constantly for many hours - you will see the eliments glowing red inside the glass tube but this is avoided by the normal good practice of matching the temperature during water changes and you don't freeze the fins off the poor little devils either.

Offline Fishbeard

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2017, 08:23:50 PM »
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So, disaster struck today, as I came home to a dead gourami.

It was the other red one I'd bought from P@H a few weeks back. This one was fine last night, and was fine when I fed him this morning, but I came home to find his body caught up in some of the silk plants. I looked him over for a similar "abscess" to the other red gourami, but couldn't find one, and now he's just a dark brown colour - picture below if it helps anyone.

I've checked my tank levels again - 0 ammonia, 0 nitrate, 20-40 nitrates (my tap water comes out at about 20, so I can't get it any lower).

I've got neon tetras, black neon tetras and panda cories in the tank, and they're fine - I believe the neons are meant to be quite sensitive fish, so if there's something wrong with my tank/water, then shouldn't they be showing signs first?

Is this just another of those things? I'm concerned to have lost the pair of them in such quick succession, so I want to know if there's anything else I need to look at that might be the cause.


Offline Matt

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2017, 08:38:45 PM »
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Unfortunately fish will often not look poorly until it's too late. In nature if they look unwell they are more likely to be targeted by predators.

It sounds like you may have had a poor batch of fish. That personally wouldnt surprise me when P@H are involved and I'm sure that others will agree. I'm afraid I'm not sure what else could be wrong with your gourami...

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2017, 08:54:27 PM »
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Sorry to hear about your further loss.
I don't have any experience with gourami, but I agree with Matt.

Offline Sue

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2017, 09:18:30 PM »
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P@H don't have the best reputation, I'm afraid. There are some good ones, but the way the branch is run is down to the individual managers.

It sounds to me like a bad batch as well.

Offline Fishbeard

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2017, 09:23:15 PM »
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Well, blaming P@H was certainly the easy answer in my mind, but I didn't want to jump straight to it. Seems everyone else did though, so I'll just make sure to steer clear of them in future. Good prices on food, especially some of the frozen stuff, but I'll leave the fish well alone.

Offline Helen

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2017, 12:30:41 AM »
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I don't buy fish from our local P@H, though we go in a lot (cheaper than a zoo for the kids).

I've had quite a few different types of gouramis (dwarf, honey, pearl). All from the same MA that I always buy my fish from, and I've not done very well with them. The pearl gouramis lasted the longest. I just came to the conclusion that despite having a heavily planted tank, there's just something about it that doesn't agree with the gouramis. So I'm now planning not to stock gouramis again.

(Because they 'breathe' from the surface, I wondered if there was something in the air that wasn't good for them - as opposed to the water)

Offline Sue

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2017, 08:50:10 AM »
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I can only think that the air wouldn't be OK for them if you use lots of aerosols/scented candles etc in the same room. We tend not to use these things because I have asthma, and I work on the principle that if it makes me wheeze, it might not be good for the fish  :)

Offline Fishbeard

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Re: Dead honey gourami with a dark lump
« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2017, 05:39:41 PM »
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We don't use aerosols or scented candles in the same room as the fish, and the tank's kept in one of the more temperate rooms of the house to avoid the air temperature being too different to the water temperature.

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