Bob my Giant Gorami


We all have amazing encounters with animals when we learn about their latent intelligence and that we have all along been underestimating them as no equal to our species. These experiences apart from researchers and scientisis are more common with keepers of pets as they spend their lifetimes observing them and interacting with them. This is usually the case more common with the canine and feline species – Dogs and Cats. We love them interact with them establish communication and rapport and more important get responses from a mere animal which sometimes can equal that of our own kind.

My amazing experience is with a fish not the usual dog or cat or horse etc. For that reason it was something more than amazing and for the reason that I not merely gave to it but actually began to get recognition and response.

Well Ive kept aquarium fish all my life since the age of 12. its been a hobby to observe fish nature and habits and at school, college and during my career in the foreign service and later in retirement the hobby stayed with me and delighted me and added years to my life i suppose. Now nearing 80 i suddenly found a new angle to the hobby. I found by chance that fish have intelligence and can be real good responsive pets like dogs.
I never felt this before till i went to a shop and acquired a Juvenile Giant Gorami about 4 inches long and albino with red eyes. This species in 4 years grows to about 18 inches and more. Well in 3 months it doubled in size and became 6 inches long and kept growing. Unlike other aquarium fish it ate not just fish food but tomatoes cucumber carrots apples bananas cauliflower squash spinich parsley and of course dried prawns. As a fish hobbyist i was amazed at this. All the fruit and veg ofcourse had to be cut small. later I introduced chiken which he loved the most and would not touch veg or fruit after chicken. 
Then with its voracious appetite it began feeding from my fingers holding the food. Unafraid it snapped at my fingers with some encouragement and even thought that my fingers were food!! then i trained it to take the food only after ‘kissing’ my finger so to speak. No kiss and no food. It was intelligent enough like dogs to realise that it had to do my bidding if it wanted to satisfy its voracious appetite which it had because it would grow from 4 inches eventually to more than a foot (thus the name Giant Gorami). It began to love my finger as it portended food of all kinds. It then got trained to kiss my finger before it got food LOL I was delighted at the response from a mere fish. None of the fish i had kept all these years ever exhibited any such fearlessness or response.

Bob kissing my finger – reminded of Michaelangelo’s masterpiece at the Cistine Abbey showing God extending his finger from the clouds to Adam.

Then i started looking down from the top of the aquarium to establish eye contact with him or her and christened him BOB after my departed dear cousin who i loved a lot. I imagined that he had reincarnated briefly to be with me as a fish lol. Bob now was not too shy and would meet my look from the aquarium with his pretty red eyes and it was no more just the love for my feeding fingers. Also when ever i placed my finger on the tank glass he would come and kiss it and begin a crazy merry dance – head below tail up vigourous movement from right to left and flapping of pectoral fins much like a dog wagging its tail when happily excited. I think like me seeing him, he too could vaguely see me from in the tank. The internet says that Giant Goramis are like that very responsive and friendly pets not unlike the canines. Amazing for a fish!! What a wonder in my old age for a fish keeper and lover to discover this.
I then took the next step forward wanting to pet him or pat his forehead. When he came up to kiss my finger expecting a meal later I extended the finger and stroked his forehead. He shied away but I inserted my finger in the tank again and again and each time petted his forehead. He didnt mind but became aressive and next time even before my finger touched the water he poked his mouth right out of the water to kiss my finger. i was delighted at the response.
Then when changing the water in his tank i transferred him to a tank with smaller fish briefly. when i returned him to his tank he had god infected with a deadly fungus called red spot. It put spots all over his body he refused to eat and before long sadly his dorsal fin got eaten up. later his pectoral fins became paralized. i was distraught and sad because i knew he would soon be dead. I searched the internet and found some solutions, went to the pet shop and brought medicines from Singapore and filled the tank with prescribed antifungus and anti tick and bacteria. The tank turned blue green with the strong mixture. In 7 days it had its effect killing the bacteria and fungus and he slowly recovered his appetite. In 10 days luckily he was cured. i also put the required dose of rock salt in the tank to heal his wounds. And the spots finally dissapeared.

Bob recovering in hospital tank

Then to my great delight he came up and kissed my finger one day and fed. In a few days he had his voracious appetite back. My fish friends from the internet site prayed for him and me and yes their prayers were answered.
Today he is fine and fit and now 8 inches long feeding only after kissing my finger on all his favourite foods. Im so relieved to have my pet fish back. My friends on the internet ask what am i going to do when he outgrows the tank. Ill need a 300 gallon tank or the equivalent 1500 litres. Neither can i afford such a massive tank nor is there space to keep it in my home. My wife would think ive gone crazy. So i told my friends , the fish fanciers (there are a lot of crazy people out there like me) that I would have to release very sadly, dear BOB into a lake or pond and it would be ok because Giant Goramis are native to to India. but till then i must enjoy this relationship with my dear fish friend.