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How To Help A Bloated Gourami In Your Aquarium!

With a number of photographs showing gourami going viral in recent months, the popularity of keeping gourami in aquariums is on the rise and more and more people within the fish keeping hobby are looking to start keeping the species themselves.

Due to there being such a wide range of people out there who are new to keeping gourami fish in their aquarium, we have noticed a slight increase in the number of people who are asking for advice on how to help a bloated gourami fish.

The most common reasons that you may have a bloated gourami include the fish being constipated, the fish have dropsy, and the gourami being “pregnant” and ready to lay eggs.

In the majority of cases, all three of these are easy to treat and even beginner fish keepers should easily be able to treat any problems in their gourami to get the fish back to full health quickly.

In less common cases, a gourami may look bloated due to the fish having problems with internal parasites too.

Thankfully, internal parasites are also very easy to treat and the majority of people should easily be able to get a commercial anti-parasite product to dose the water in their aquarium correctly to help their bloated gourami.

Is It Normal For Gourami To Bloat?

It is not normal for gourami to bloat up or swell and bloating in the species is a sign of a problem that will usually need treating as quickly as possible.

If left untreat, most of the causes of bloating in a gourami can end up being fatal for the fish but thankfully, the most common causes of bloating in the species are all very easy to treat.

Thankfully, the bloating is usually very easy to notice early in the vast majority of gourami although the colors and patterns of some fish can hide it for longer.

As soon as you notice the bloating in your gourami you should really be looking to investigate the possible causes of the condition and start a suitable treatment as soon as possible.

As most experienced fish keepers will probably know, the sooner you start to treat any problem with your pet fish, the higher the chances of survival are for your fish.

Not only does your gourami have a higher survival chance if you start to treat the causes of bloating as soon as you notice them but most of the causes of bloating are also much easier to treat the earlier you catch them too.

What Causes Bloating In Gourami?

The three most common causes of bloating in gourami include dropsy, constipation, and the fish being pregnant or ready to release eggs.

Less common causes of bloating in gourami include an infection of internal parasites and a poor or unsuitable diet that causes excess gas in the fish making it look bloated.

You can usually confirm if the bloating is due to dropsy if the scales on your gourami start to point outward rather than laying flush with the body of your fish.

A gourami with dropsy can also start to lose its color, clamp its fins and have problems with its eyes swelling helping you confirm the problem as dropsy rather than any of the other potential problems.

Constipation in your gourami can usually be confirmed by stringy feces that will often fail to detach from your gourami giving you an indication that the bloating is due to constipation.

Most gouramis are omnivores and will do well on most fish food for omnivores but some types of gourami are carnivores and will have to have a meat based food or they can end up bloating so double check the diet requirements of your specific gourami to confirm the problem.

How To Treat A Gourami With Bloat!

If your gourami is bloating due to dropsy then most salt or chemical dropsy treatments for fish should be able to treat the condition in your gourami quickly.

If your gourami is bloating due to constipation or issues with its diet then making sure that the fish is on a suitable food can often be enough to treat the condition in your gourami.

If your gourami is having problems with bloating due to being pregnant and ready to release its eggs then this can be a more tricky problem to treat.

It can be difficult to tell if your gourami is actually blocked and struggling to release its eggs or if it is just taking its time with its egg release.

In some cases, slightly increasing the water temperature of the aquarium with your pet gourami in can be enough to encourage it to release its eggs and end the bloating.

If you suspect that your gourami is bloating due to having problems with internal parasites then the majority of reputable anti-parasitic treatments on the market really are enough to treat the conditions in most fish.

You can usually confirm the cause of the bloating in your gourami as a problem with internal parasites by checking for signs of parasites in the feces of the fish.

Is My Gourami Pregnant Or Bloated?

The easiest way to confirm if your gourami is pregnant of bloating is to check the area of the swelling on your fish.

A pregnant gourami will usually only swell up in a single area towards the front of her belly indicating that she is gravid. If the bloating is all over your gourami then the swelling is probably due to something else rather than the eggs developing in the fish.

This can catch out a large number of experienced fish keepers so if you are new to the hobby and you are having problems working out if your gourami is pregnant or bloated then don’t feel bad.

One way to think of it is if your gourami looks like it has swallowed a marble and the marble is being held towards the front of the belly of your gourami then there is a good chance that the swelling is due to the fish being “pregnant”.

Just keep in mind that gourami are not livebearers and they will release eggs so the fish is not pregnant in the traditional sense but she is just ready to spawn.


That brings our article going over how to diagnose and treat a bloated gourami in your aquarium to an end. We hope that we have been able to help as many of our readers as possible who are having problems with bloating in their gourami but as we covered in our article, this condition does tend to be easy to treat in most gourami, especially if you notice the bloating in your fish early enough and start treatment quickly.