Chasing, Fighting, Nipping, & Aggression

Topic: I have an aggressive gourami fish that is chasing and attacking my other fish. What can I do to fix this problem? I was told at the fish store that these fish would be fine to keep together… Now I have problems with chasing and fighting? How can I fix this problem in my fish aquarium? Thanks for the help.


*Awarded Answer
Posted by Megan B: It would help to know what species of gourami fish you have but I guess it really doesn’t matter because you have to do this the same thing no matter what. Here is a list of variables you can do to try and fight the aggression issue and make it work in your tank. If none of these work.. you will just have to remove the fish and bring it back to the pet store or get rid of it.

How to Stop the Fighting:

1. Re-arrange your Decorations

This spreads out aggression and gives more hiding spots. Not only that but it gives fish more pivot points to run away from. It also gives the idea of a “territory” being owned to change. A fish might think he/she owns a specific spot in the tank but if you move things around… that screws that up.

Buy a Large Decoration! Sometimes really intricate and large decorations help split up hiding spots in aquariums. It has saved me numerous times!

2. Add another Aggressive Fish

You need to research this one in depth because your playing with danger here. It could either work or NOT. I’ve thrown in other aggressive fish and it changes the ENTIRE aspect of the tank aggression. Fish are weird like this. A fish can go from being the meanest and baddest in the tank to being the nicest… sometimes their hierarchy scale is SO hard to understand.

3. Tank Divider

They do make specific dividers that you can put inside of fish aquariums to split up fish. A lot of breeders use them to split up large tanks into smaller tanks. You can buy them specific sizes.. here is post for you to see

4. Return to Fish Store

Almost every fish store has a good return policy because they know not ALL fish get along together. Bring the fish back and tell them it isn’t working out in your tank because they are chasing and fighting each other.


Posted by Nick H: We seem to have a lot of issues with gold gourami species fighting with other fish. I think they are the most territorial of all the gourami species but that’s just my personal opinion. What I did for every aggression problem I had with gouramis was add more larger size fish. Sometimes you have to realize all aquariums need to have a top dog fish that’s always in charge.

Compatibility charts will tell you mixed results and fish keepers will all have their own stories and opinions on what gourami species can be kept together peacefully. I’ve seen all species of gourami fish show aggression in certain scenarios. I’ve had good luck with dwarf gourami aggression. What it really comes down to is each individual fish because they all have different personalities like humans. There are some neutral variables that can be taken action on to reduce aggression or in other words.. even it out. Here they are:

First step I would take is to heavily plant and decorate your fish aquarium. Cichlid caves work great for fish because they can jump into a hole and disappear from being chased. Hiding really helps reduce stress because fish can actually get away from being chased. It’s a lot like that kid bully that used to chase you around the playground.. except now you found a good hiding spot.

Second aspect you can look into is “evening aggression”. If one fish is being super aggressive because he is the biggest and most dominant fish… then add a bigger fish. The idea here is to add a larger fish that holds a less aggressive tendency. An example, I had a gourami community tank with a large gold gourami that was bullying everyone around. I then added a South American Cichlid that was calm and nice.. That new Cichlid was bigger and a bright color. It totally destroyed %90 of the aggression in the tank. Problem solved.

Posted by Sarah K:
All gourami fish are going to have different personalities. I’m not talking about the different species of fish either what I’m talking about is each and every individual fish in itself is going to have a different personality. I mean… I’ve seen piranhas that were nice to goldfish.. People seem to figure out that each animal and itself as an organism has its own personality when you Compare it to every other of the same species.

Posted by Mason D:
What really helps is adding a lot of heavy decorations and what I usually do is pull apart the fake plastic plants that you bye and just have them kind of float and sink midway into your aquarium and it works out quite well. Especially for younger fish don’t like to just kind of sit in the weeds and the top of the level of surface and it really helps for the fish to kind of leaning on when they’re trying to sleep.

Posted by Warren J:
What you should do is take out the aggressive fish and switch around your entire tank so it’s completely different with all the tank decorations and such and then put your aggressive Fish back in the tank. You should also help spread out the aggression a little bit for a while and maybe do it after a week or so and keep doing it again and tell the aggression levels lower.

I have a 55 gallon aquarium with all types of Gourami fish. The setup is brand new and I’m worried about the fish hurting each other. The gold gourami is harassing the dwarf and kissing gourami. Then they gang up together on different ones.. I just can’t keep up with who is more in danger or who is aggressor. How can I stop this and should I be worried about fish getting hurt?

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