There are many types of behaviors that you might find to be unusual when observing your gouramis. If you know how they normally act, then you’ll be concerned when you see them doing strange things.
One such action involves the gouramis rubbing against things in the fish tank. You might see the gourami fish rubbing against rocks or plants in the aquarium.
This is certainly not something that the fish would do under normal circumstances. There must be a reason why the gourami fish has started doing this.
Why would a gourami start rubbing up against things? Read on to get all of the details so that you can understand what is going on.
1 – It Could Be Ich
Ich is the most likely cause of the gouramis rubbing against things in the fish tank. This is a condition that can be incredibly uncomfortable for gouramis to experience.
Many different types of fish can get ich. It’s not a disease that is specific to gouramis.
When a fish has ich, it’s likely going to develop white spots on its body. Sometimes the white spots will be on the gills and they won’t be easy to spot at first.
Eventually, the white spots will spread to other parts of the body. The gourami fish will be very itchy and uncomfortable when it has ich.
To try to cope, gouramis will attempt to rub up against objects in the tank. They might rub their bodies against rocks, decorations, or even plants.
Ich is something that can be treated, but you will want to act swiftly. Generally, it’s recommended to treat the water with special medication that can get rid of ich.
Also, you’re supposed to raise the temperature of the water a bit. Ich won’t be able to thrive in higher water temperatures, so raising the temperature to the upper limit of what is acceptable to the gouramis will be a good idea.
Many people also choose to put aquarium salt in the water. This can help the fish to get better faster, but you need to be careful.
Only use as much aquarium salt as is recommended on the packaging. Going overboard could be detrimental to the fish instead of helping them.
Ich is highly contagious and your whole fish tank might wind up getting infected. Daily water changes can help to try to clear things up.
2 – Heightened Ammonia Levels
It’s imperative to keep an eye on the ammonia levels in your fish tank. If you haven’t been doing a good job of keeping the tank clean, then the ammonia levels might be elevated.
Typically, ammonia levels get too high when you don’t change the water often enough. It can also be a problem when you feed your fish too much and leave a bunch of organic debris in the aquarium.
It’s best to monitor the pH balance of the water very carefully. If ammonia, nitrate, or nitrite levels get too high, then you’ll need to adjust things accordingly.
Heightened ammonia levels can make it hard for the gouramis to breathe. It might make them uncomfortable enough to want to rub against objects in the tank, too.
3 – Gill Flukes
Gill flukes could also be the problem. This is a serious condition that is actually a type of parasitic infection.
You see, gill flukes are flatworms that attach themselves to the skin, gill cavities, and mouths of various types of fish. Gouramis can get infected with gill flukes.
Sometimes gill flukes will also attach themselves to the body of the fish. You might see redness near the site of a gill fluke.
It’s also normal for fish to have spots near the site of infection. The spots might look sort of like tiny pimples.
Fish that have gill flukes produce way more mucus than normal. It makes them have a sort of slimy appearance.
Usually, fish that are infected will be very lethargic and they won’t have much of an appetite. It’s hard for fish to breathe at all when they have gill flukes.
Sometimes gouramis might try to rub up against things to give themselves relief. They also might be attempting to remove the gill flukes even though it won’t work.
This is a serious condition that could kill the fish. You’ll want to take action quickly to save your gouramis.
Fish with gill flukes should be placed in a quarantine tank. There are medications that you can use that can get rid of parasites.
You might wish to seek out specific advice from an exotic veterinarian. They will be able to guide you and ensure that you’re treating the fish properly.
Gourami Rubbing Against Each Other
What if you notice that the gouramis are rubbing against each other? This likely seems to be an unusual thing, and you’re probably wondering why gouramis would do this.
It likely isn’t related to ich or gill flukes if they’re rubbing up against each other. Typically, this type of behavior is not anything to worry about.
There are a few different things that could be happening. One is that you might be seeing gouramis acting out some type of mating behavior.
It’s typically for gouramis to get close and sort of swim around each other in circles when trying to form mating pairs. This might look like the gouramis are rubbing against each other.
If you’ve never seen gourami mating behavior before, then it might be that you just don’t know what to look for. In this case, it wouldn’t be a reason to worry at all.
The other likely scenario is that the gouramis are “sizing each other up,” so to speak. When gouramis are fairly new to a fish tank, they might get close and look like they’re rubbing against each other.
This can be sort of a way of getting used to each other. This isn’t anything that should cause you concern either.
You’ve learned the basic reasons why gouramis will rub up against things in a fish tank. If you suspect that your gourami is sick, then be sure to take action quickly.
Whether the fish is infected with ich or if it has gill flukes, it’s going to be important to treat it as soon as you can. You can help your fish to get better with proper treatment in most situations.
Be sure to keep an eye on the water parameters to avoid elevated ammonia levels, too. Poor water conditions will be very detrimental to your gouramis.
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.