You want to do your best to take care of your gouramis. Of course, you never want any of your fish to become unhealthy.
This is why it can be so disheartening when one of your gourami fish appears to be bloated. You might be scratching your head and wondering how this could have happened.
Below, you’re going to get important information about gourami fish bloating. This will give you a better understanding of what is going on.
Don’t fret when you see that something such as this is happening to the fish. The best thing that you can do for the fish is to gain knowledge so that you can figure out how to help it.
Gourami Swollen Belly
If your gourami fish has a swollen belly, then what could that be a sign of? Is there a specific condition that causes the belly to swell?
There are actually a few different things that could be causing the gourami fish to have a swollen belly. Read on to learn about common bloat causes.
1 – Swim Bladder Disease
It’s possible that your gourami could appear to be bloated due to having swim bladder disease. A swim bladder is a type of organ that many different types of fish possess.
This organ is responsible for controlling the buoyancy of the fish. It allows them to swim through the water normally.
If a fish becomes constipated, then it’ll wind up developing a swollen belly. When the belly gets swollen, it’s going to push on the swim bladder and cause it to malfunction.
This makes it so that the swim bladder won’t work as intended. If you notice that your gourami fish is swimming upside down or otherwise having trouble swimming normally, then there’s a good chance that you’re dealing with swim bladder disease.
The best way to fix this problem is to feed the gourami fish a frozen pea. It should make the fish poop a lot so that the constipation issues will be cleared up.
In the future, you’re going to want to avoid making the fish constipated. Don’t feed the fish more than you’re supposed to.
You should only be feeding the fish as much as it can eat in a few minutes. If it takes more than that for the fish to finish eating, then you’re giving it too much.
Gouramis are meant to eat two or three times per day. If you’re feeding the gourami three times per day, then you need to spread the food out instead of giving it more than usual.
2 – Dropsy
It’s possible that your fish could have dropsy. Dropsy is something that fish sometimes have to deal with when they’ve been infected in certain ways.
This can be fatal if you don’t get the gourami the proper treatment as soon as you can. Dropsy is considered to be the last stage of a severe bacterial infection.
It’s also worth noting that dropsy can be caused by viral infections. Treating dropsy can be approached in a few different ways.
Typically, exotic veterinarians will recommend treating the fish using antibiotic medications. It’s also common to add Epsom salt to the tank to try to help the gourami fish get better.
When adding Epsom salt to the tank, you’re supposed to add one teaspoon for every five to ten gallons. It’s also said that raising the temperature to 84 degrees Fahrenheit can help.
To get the best results, you should quarantine the sick fish. This will allow you to focus on treating the fish without impacting the rest of the fish in the tank.
3 – Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus
Dwarf gourami iridovirus is another potential cause of bloating. This is a very serious condition that will lead to the death of the gourami fish.
This is a type of illness that came about due to mass breeding practices. In certain places, people bred gouramis in poor ways that led to them developing genetic problems.
These gouramis made their way into some pet stores and infected other fish. Sadly, this is an incurable disease.
If you have a gourami fish that has dwarf gourami iridovirus, then it’ll need to be euthanized. You can only 100% verify that the fish has this illness by taking the fish to an exotic veterinarian to have it tested.
Euthanizing the fish is the best course of action because you don’t want other fish to get the disease. Do what you must for the sake of your other fish.
4 – Pregnancy
Of course, female gouramis might have swollen bellies when they’re getting ready to lay eggs. If the belly of a female looks swollen, then it might just be natural.
As you get used to caring for gouramis, you’ll learn to recognize the telltale signs that a female is about to lay eggs. For example, you might notice that the male gourami is off making a bubble nest somewhere in the fish tank.
This situation would be the best-case scenario since breeding fish will be a positive thing. Hopefully, your fish isn’t truly bloated and you just have a female fish that is about to lay eggs.
Bloated Gourami Treatment
The treatment for a bloated gourami will depend on what is wrong with it. A gourami fish might become bloated for several different reasons.
As mentioned above, sometimes apparent bloating will just wind up being a sign that a female gourami is ready to lay eggs. In this situation, you don’t need to worry about anything at all.
If the gourami fish is bloated due to becoming constipated, then you’ll need to address that situation. The best way to get the fish back to normal is to make it poop the excess food out.
This is normally done by feeding the gourami a frozen pea. It’ll make it poop a whole lot and everything will be fine.
Sometimes gouramis will experience infections that will cause them to get dropsy. This condition can kill the fish if you don’t take action.
Treatment will involve giving the fish antibiotic medications and putting Epsom salt in the water. It’s best to put the fish in a quarantine tank until it gets better.
Dwarf gourami iridovirus has no known cure. It’s a fatal condition and it’s recommended that you euthanize any fish that show signs of the disease.
Learning about the different things that can cause bloating should help you out. You now know what to look out for.
You’ve also learned about the ways that you can treat this issue to help the gourami fish get back to normal. Sadly, if the fish has dwarf gourami iridovirus, it’s not going to be able to recover.
Dropsy can wind up being fatal as well if you don’t treat the fish in time. This is why it’s imperative to be a proactive fish owner.
Do what you must to get the fish back to good health. If the fish can’t be saved, then you’ll need to euthanize the fish for the safety of the rest of your fish in the tank.
Hopefully, your fish doesn’t have a condition that can’t be treated. It’s even possible that your gourami fish is just getting ready to lay eggs if it only has a bit of a swollen belly.
Swim bladder disease is usually easy enough to deal with as well. Fixing a constipation issue won’t be that big of a deal, but you will want to be sure to avoid overfeeding the fish in the future.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.