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Why Is My Dwarf Gourami Swimming Up and Down the Glass?

Why Is My Dwarf Gourami Swimming Up and Down the Glass?

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Dwarf gouramis are among the most popular types of gourami fish. These are incredibly hardy fish that are also quite beautiful.

For the most part, dwarf gouramis are really hardy fish. They aren’t too tough to take care of, and you should be able to keep them in good health.

Sometimes you might notice dwarf gouramis doing unusual things. For instance, your gourami fish might be swimming up and down the glass.

Since it normally doesn’t do this, it’s something that will give you pause. Is this an indication that the fish is ill in some way?

Keep reading to learn about why gouramis might exhibit this behavior. It should help you to better understand your dwarf gourami fish.


Stress is the most common reason why gouramis will swim up and down the glass of the aquarium. There is a term for this that is called “glass surfing.”

It’s just a simpler way of referring to this odd behavior. If you notice that your gourami fish is glass surfing, then it’s a sign that something is wrong.

Typically, gouramis will get stressed and then wind up exhibiting this behavior. They won’t usually do this unless they are experiencing significant stress.

Many different things can cause gouramis to become stressed in a fish tank. Problems with water quality can easily make a fish stressed.

You might not be keeping the water parameters in the right range. It’s also possible that the water is too dirty because you’ve been skipping water changes.

Another potential problem involves overcrowding. Gouramis don’t like being put in tanks that are too small for them.

You could have your gouramis living in a tank that is a bit too small. It also could be the case that you stuffed too many fish in the aquarium and overcrowded it.

It should also be said that smaller fish tanks are actually harder to keep clean. So you could have tank size issues as well as water quality issues.

Try to recognize what is causing the fish stress. If you can remedy the situation, then the behavior of the gourami fish should return to normal.

Look out for signs of stress and do what you can. Start keeping a better eye on the water parameters and make a conscious effort to avoid overcrowding the fish tank.

Incompatible Tank Mates

Incompatible tank mates might cause your gouramis to start glass surfing as well. Many people make the mistake of putting gouramis in community tanks with fish that they aren’t compatible with.

You see, gourami fish have a reputation for being excellent community tank fish. This is certainly true, but that doesn’t mean that they’re compatible with every freshwater fish.

If you’re a beginner to this hobby, then you might not understand the importance of researching fish compatibility. Putting incompatible fish in the same tank can lead to fighting and many other issues.

Putting gouramis in with fish that they don’t get along with will cause them to experience stress. When the fish aren’t happy with their environment, they will start glass surfing.

You can take this as a sign that the fish is trying to find a way out. It wants to find better waters that won’t have the same problems that your fish tank does.

In the future, you need to research tank mates carefully. Pick tank mates for the gouramis that will get along with them properly.

Remember that each type of gourami fish is going to have different compatible tank mates. Fish that are compatible with dwarf gouramis will be different from the fish that are compatible with kissing gouramis.

It’ll take some time to find your ideal tank mates for your gourami fish. In the end, it’ll be worth it since you’ll be able to create a peaceful community tank that is enjoyable to watch.

Some Gouramis Might Jump Out of the Tank

You should know that gouramis are labyrinth fish and that they need to have access to the surface of the tank. For this reason, people often leave fish tanks uncovered.

This opens up the possibility that a gourami fish might try to jump out of a tank. Gouramis will do this when they aren’t satisfied with the conditions in the tank.

If your gourami fish is already glass surfing, then it might try to jump out of the tank eventually. This is certainly not a good thing, but you should be prepared for the possibility.

When a gourami fish jumps out of the fish tank, it might be able to survive if you get to it fast enough. These fish can survive outside of water for a bit of time due to possessing the labyrinth organ.

The fish could get severely injured and die because of that, though. Whether the fish will live after jumping out of the tank will depend.

Try putting the fish back into the water and do your best to take care of the water conditions in the tank. If you can address the issues that made the fish want to jump, then the fish might improve if all goes well.

Final Thoughts

If you see your gourami fish swimming up and down the glass of the tank, it’s not something that you should ignore. This is a sign that the fish isn’t happy with its current environment.

It really all comes down to the fish being stressed. The environment isn’t ideal for the gourami fish and this is making it feel stressed.

Many things can cause the fish to feel this way. It could be related to water parameter issues or forcing the fish to live in dirty water.

It’s also possible that the fish tank might be severely overcrowded. You should never try to cram too many fish into a fish tank.

Putting fish in the tank with the gouramis that they aren’t compatible with will cause them to feel stressed as well. So many things can make gouramis feel stressed, but you can avoid such issues by just doing your best to take care of the aquarium.

For the most part, gouramis are easy to take care of. If you feed them well and keep the water quality high, gouramis will likely thrive under your care.

You should also strive to keep them in a fish tank that is big enough for them. Avoid putting them in a fish tank with incompatible tank mates and all will likely be well.

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