It’s no secret that gouramis are very popular fish to own. If you already own some of these fish, then you know just how fun they can be.
They’re gorgeous fish that are simple to take care of. However, these fish do have problems with certain diseases and illnesses.
Gourami iridovirus is something that you’re going to want to know about when you’re caring for gouramis. Continue reading to get all of the information on this virus that you need to know.
Having more knowledge about things like this will allow you to do a better job of keeping your fish healthy. If you wish to be able to enjoy keeping your fish for a long time, then you’ll be happy to learn everything about this topic.
Understanding Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus
Understanding this virus will help you to better figure out what to expect. In 2010, people started noticing that dwarf gouramis were dying off at an unusually rapid rate.
It was determined that the cause was this virus. Generally, it’s thought that mass breeding in captivity is the cause of the virus.
Thus, buying dwarf gouramis that are bred in massive quantities will make it more likely that some of the gouramis will carry the virus. To keep this from happening, it’s recommended to only buy dwarf gouramis from trusted local pet stores.
This virus is something that will kill dwarf gouramis off. It has the potential to kill other types of gouramis, too.
Not everything is known about this virus at this point in time. Some researchers fear that the virus could lead to the extinction of certain fish species if it isn’t contained.
It’s something that can kill fish off faster than you might think, too. Continue reading to learn about the signs and symptoms so that you will know what to look out for.
Signs and Symptoms
There are many different signs and symptoms that you should be aware of. Your dwarf gourami is likely going to show many different signs that it is not well if it has this virus.
Even if you catch things early, there isn’t going to be much you can do. Even so, it’s best to isolate infected fish to try to keep the virus from spreading to every fish in your tank.
One sign that something is wrong with the fish will involve behavioral changes. Fish that have the virus will often start swimming in a hyperactive fashion.
Fish that are infected might wind up having red spots on its skin. It’s also likely that the fish will stop eating entirely at some point.
Swelling of the belly area is another common symptom to look out for. Just understand that this doesn’t always occur.
There have been many instances where fish have looked completely healthy and then dropped dead from the virus. This is very unsettling, but it’s true nonetheless.
Is Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus Contagious?
Dwarf gourami iridovirus is a highly contagious virus. If one of your fish catches this, then there’s a good chance that it will spread to the other fish in the aquarium.
There is an addendum to that which you should know, though. Typically, only gouramis are commonly known to get this infection.
This means that the most at-risk fish in the tank will be the other gouramis. Your other dwarf gourami fish in the tank could wind up getting the virus even if they look perfectly healthy.
There are some reports that other types of freshwater fish have been infected. However, this isn’t going to be nearly as common.
Regardless, it’s going to be important to isolate infected fish. This might help you to keep the virus from getting other fish sick if you’re able to catch things early enough.
Does Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus Have a Cure?
Sadly, dwarf gourami iridovirus doesn’t have a known cure. As of the time of writing, no one knows how to treat this virus and make things better for the fish.
This means that infected fish are going to die after a certain amount of time has passed. Typically, fish will live for ten to thirty days after being infected.
There isn’t a way for you to save the fish even if you try. It’s possible that someone will discover a treatment or cure for this disease in the future, but nothing of that nature that exists right now.
All you can do is keep the fish comfortable in the quarantine tank or you can choose to euthanize it. Of course, it’d be prudent to confirm the presence of the virus before making any rash decisions.
How Can You Be Sure If the Fish Has the Virus?
The only way to be 100% sure that the fish has the virus is to get it tested. An exotic veterinarian who treats fish will have the proper equipment to test the fish.
A professional can do a biological examination so that you can see if the fish has the virus. If you confirm that the fish is infected, then it’ll often be best to euthanize the fish.
As mentioned earlier, there is no cure for this virus right now. This means that your goal should be to prevent the spread of the virus.
The fish has no chance of recovering from the virus. You’ll just have to hope that the other fish in your fish tank don’t get sick.
How Do Fish Get Sick in the First Place?
Often, fish will get sick because they were exposed to another fish or to tainted water. If you bought new gouramis from a pet store and added them to the fish tank, then they could have been carrying the virus.
This would then potentially infect other fish in the tank. In a short period of time, all of the fish in your fish tank could wind up dead.
You know that this disease mostly impacts gouramis, but it can impact other fish. It’s important to be very careful if you want your fish to stay safe.
It’s also said that poor water quality can make the situation worse. You should endeavor to keep the fish tank very clean while also keeping the water parameters in the right range.
Remember the importance of weekly water changes. 15% water changes on a weekly basis will be best.
Don’t overfeed your fish either since this can make the water overly dirty. Too much fish poop will throw off the pH balance of the tank.
It might be wise to quarantine fish before letting them in the main tank, too. Every time you buy a new fish, you can choose to quarantine it for up to four weeks.
How Can You Euthanize a Fish?
There are a few ways that you can go about euthanizing a pet fish. Some people will kill the fish using a knife or something like that.
Of course, that’s a bit gruesome and it’s understandable that you might not want to do that. Another option involves giving the fish a clove oil bath.
This acts as a type of anesthetic and it’ll put the fish to sleep before it passes away. When the fish is sleeping, you’re supposed to add more clove oil to finish it off.
It’s a sad thing to have to do this to a fish. When the fish has a virus that cannot be cured, this is going to be the most logical course of action.
You might be able to get an exotic veterinarian to do this for you as well. Many people will simply not want to do this for themselves, and that’s totally understandable when you become attached to your fish.
This is certainly a virus that you’re going to have to take seriously. If you don’t, then you could wind up losing so many fish.
Since this isn’t something that you can treat or cure, it’s going to be best to try to prevent any of your fish from getting the disease in the first place. Be careful where you’re buying new fish from.
Don’t buy fish that don’t come from a local source. You could wind up accidentally buying gourami fish that come from a large-scale breeding operation that will be more likely to be infected with the virus.
It’s likely a smart idea to quarantine new arrivals just to be safe, too. It isn’t hard to set up a quarantine tank for new fish, and it can make it less likely that you’ll encounter problems.
Keep your fish from having poor immune systems by taking care of them. Be mindful of the water parameters and try to fix things as soon as they go out of the right range.
If you’re a proactive fish tank enthusiast, then you’ll have a better experience. Should you notice that one of your fish seems sick, it’ll be best to quarantine it right away.
Even if you aren’t sure that the fish has this virus, it’ll be better to keep it away from the other fish. Hopefully, you’ll be able to prevent the disease from spreading.
You can then have an exotic veterinarian confirm the presence of the virus by doing a biological examination. This is a bit of a stressful thing to have to go through, but you should be fine if you take the precautions mentioned earlier.
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.