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FAQs on Guppy Diseases 7

FAQs on Guppy Disease: Guppy Disease 1, Guppy Disease 2, Guppy Disease 3, Guppy Disease 4, Guppy Disease 5, Guppy Disease 6, Guppy Disease ,
FAQs on Guppy Disease by Category: Environmental, Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Genetic, Treatments,

Related Articles: Guppies, Poeciliids: Guppies, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies by Neale Monks, Livebearing Fishes by Bob Fenner,

Related FAQs: Guppies 1, Guppies 2, Guppy Identification, Guppy Behavior, Guppy Compatibility, Guppy Selection, Guppy Systems, Guppy Feeding, Guppy Reproduction, Livebearers, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies,

Sick guppy - black spots        3/6/19
Hi guys,
<Hello Luciana,>
Could you please help me?
<And if you could help us, too, by not sending 18 MB of photos! Such big files fill up our email mailboxes, causing other people to have their messages bounced back. Some of us travel around the world and rely on using phones or modems to access the Internet, and it goes without saying that big files really cause problems in that situation.>
I was reading through the conversations you published, but I thought it would be better to ask directly.
<Sure thing.>
I have some guppies living in a planted aquarium. I've done a water change 2 days ago and yesterday I noticed one of my white guppies had his tail crumpled. I went to check the parameters and they are fine (no ammonia, nitrites, nitrates), the pH has changed a bit, and the temperature, due a change on the water dropped a bit ( I live in Brazil, so it was quite hot, and now the temperature dropped, so the aquarium has went back to the usual 26 Celsius).
<Guppies are adaptable, but they dislike soft, acidic water chemistry. So when you say the pH has changed, do you mean down? A steady pH around 7.5 is ideal for Guppies; anything below 7 tends to cause problems, at least with farmed 'pet' Guppies. There may well be wild populations living in softer, more acidic water conditions.>
The aquarium is heavily planted (and I use dirt under a layer of 1. 1/2 inches of black basalt).
<Sounds fine.>
I do not know if the last change disturbed the soil or something else, but anyway, my white guppy got black spots. I've checked the other fish and they seem fine, but this guy was very upset since the change, so I'm guessing he is the only one affected.
<Indeed. The two commonest explanations for black patches are these:
Firstly, exposure to ammonia. This causes chemical burns, and the dark patches reflect that. The second is sometimes called Black Spot Disease, and it is caused by a parasite that occurs in ponds and other environments where its complex life cycle is viable. Neascus is one such parasite; there may be others. Because their life cycle needs snails and/or birds, this parasite never lasts for long in aquaria. But in ponds it may persist for a while, infecting healthy fish.>
Besides the spot on his back and had, he had one on his tail too. I believe it's a fluke, but since I did not know for sure, I made a blue Methylene dip of 10 minutes with him
<Methylene Blue is mostly for fungus, and doesn't really help much with anything else. I'm skeptical of a fluke, but since your photos are after the dip, it's hard to be sure. Flukes are very varied, and difficult to
identify without a microscope. Praziquantel is the most popular option for treating Flukes, though other antihelminth medications may work better. Often you need to use several treatments for a complete cure.>
He was not happy, but then went quiet. After the dip, I notice that some of the spots turned vivid red (I'm guessing it's a sign of blood) and he was very prostrated for one hour. Now he seems better, he has eaten, but he still have some black spots.
The pictures are from after the dip.
Could you please help me? And if you can, please tell me what I should do to prevent other fish to get sick.
- Luciana
<Hope the above helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick guppy - black spots       3/7/19
Hi Neale,
OMG, I'm very sorry for the photos sizes! I've forgot to change it. Wont happen again.
Actually, the pH went a bit up, from 7.2 to 7.4, my tap water is alkaline.
And as for ammonia, I check the parameters one per week, 2 days before the water change it was normal (by normal, I mean less then 0,25).
<You do want zero. Any ammonia is bad. Check your tap water. Sometimes this has ammonia in it. Use a good water conditioner to neutralise this.>
Uhn, I have some Ramshorns on that aquarium, they were acquired in a store.
They are there before the fish (this particular one is with me for 2 months, the snails are with me for 4, I guess - I have the red, and I wanted the blue ones).
<Should be harmless.>
Thank you a lot for your considerations. Is there any "soft treatment" that you would suggest in his case? He is quite stressed, and I would not like to go with treatment since is not possible to know if it might not be a fluke.
<If the fish is happy and feeding now, I'd not treat with anything. If you are only keeping Guppies, you could add some salt, maybe 2-3 gram/litre.
This will help recovery.>
And thank you for your time :)
<Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies with PopEye       1/8/19
Hello there!
<Hi Megan, Earl this morning.>
I have an unusual issue. I have several (ha ha, a million really) guppies that were born and raised in my home. These little ones range in age but most are about 5 to 6 months old. They are in 2 separate
tanks, boys in our 55 gallon community tank (once they can be sexed anyway) and the ladies and babies in the nursery, which is a 29 gallon. The 29 is guppy only, besides 2 Amano shrimp, 2 bamboo shrimp and a large apple snail, as well as some Ramshorns. The 55 is mostly white clouds, Danios, and male guppies. Both are well established planted tanks with sand substrate. Water is almost the same for both.
The 55 has PH 7.2, ammonia 0, nitrate 10 ppm, nitrite 0, KH 3 and GH 8.
The 29 has the same except slightly higher nitrate at 20 ppm.
<Seems good. I would look into the other possible causes as shown here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwdistrbshtart.htm and
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwpopeyefaqs.htm . My first step would definitely be to quarantine the fishes in question, then observe all of the guppies for behavior that could lead to eye trauma. Sit by the tanks and watch them for at least 30 minutes particularly during feeding when an
aggressive, larger fish would be more likely to "act up". My hunch is that it's bacterial but don't rush for antibiotics until you have done this much. Only then is it time to treat them with medications, administered as per WWM's pages regarding this. Hope this helps (and please do follow up by sending us an update as to your outcome as this can immeasurably helpful to others down the road).>
About a week ago, I noticed that one of the oldest baby ladies had PopEye.
It was just one eye and after reading up on it I assumed it was from trauma and started watching her more carefully. Since I had a bunch of them in there along with babies I was concerned. I had a LOT of females and I decided to give about 10 ladies away to the LFS so there could be more room for babies. While catching them I found another lady with PopEye.
Strangely it was only one eye, same eye even. These ladies are from the same batch of babies, they look pretty much identical. And then I found another. So, that's 3 identical females at the same age with PopEye in one eye, all on the same side (the right). Really weird. Put them in quarantine.
Meanwhile, in the community 55 there is a young lad, just old enough to know he's a male, with PopEye only on the right eye. It developed overnight since I am now carefully watching the remaining guppies for anything unusual. His is worse than the others.
Anyway, my question is could this be hereditary? Why all the same eye? Why not both eyes, or any of the other fish? I have scoured this site and the internet but it seems PopEye is kind of a mystery illness. Is it even possible for it to be hereditary? I just think its very strange that it's not both eyes on any of them if it is a water quality issue. Plus they are in separate tanks. The male (most likely he's inbred) did come from the 29 of course, but he's been in the 55 for over 2 weeks now. My water is consistent and we are diligent with water changes weekly on all of our tanks, we have 5. Thank you in advance!
Re: Guppies with PopEye      1/9/19

Thanks for the response. I had read through both of the pages you linked for me before I emailed but nothing there about multiple related animals getting PopEye only in one eye and all on the same side.
<I wouldn’t put much stock in that detail, if any. 50/50 chance after all.>
When I feed them occasionally I will give Sera O-nip which is a food pellet that sticks to the glass. Its about 12mm in size. That would be a time when they could injure each other while feeding. They do love that kind of food!
I love watching them and observe them every time I feed them. They are in our living room and they are our TV! I never notice them nipping each other while feeding. Tonight is a fasting night for them so I will have to watch tomorrow.
<Fasting night?>
One of the bamboo shrimp in the 29 died while I was at work today. The baby male guppy has a white fungus on the PopEye now, and a female guppy that doesn't have PopEye has fungus on a fin. Its hard to tell but it is white colored and fuzzy. Looks the same as the stuff on the males eye. All fish in the 55 look good. No other new issues.
The quarantined fish spent most of the first day up at the surface. No gasping for air, just lethargic and almost sleeping for hours after i put them in. Now they are moving about more but the female with fungus is still lethargic. Parameters are the same for the quarantine tank as the others. A bare bottom 10 gallon, a hob filter with carbon and a small sponge filter.
All of my tanks have a sponge filter as well as a hob.
<This screams “infection”. Sponges present a dilemma in that they can’t be replaced hastily yet that means they are not quarantined.>
In the 29 gallon the substrate is Carib-sea river of doubt and also Carib-sea Tahitian moon sand, mixed. We had this in a cichlid tank previously. We had a mass die off of the young yellow labs that were in
that tank from a mystery illness. Some of them acted as if they had seizures occasionally. Some had no symptoms, but just died.
<Red alert! I’d ditch this substrate pending the outcome of the 10g tank. Remove and bleach (“nuke”) decor, rocks, gravel, the works if this illness continues.>
None had PopEye. This sand sat in a bucket for about 2 months before it was washed and then used in this tank. My boyfriend thinks its the sand.
<I am inclined to agree. Either way it’s not doing you any favors.>
I'm just stumped. I guess it must be coincidence that it is on the same eye for all of them, but not both. Im not sure what to treat them with.
<WWM has info regarding this. Typical antibacterial medication. It is also worth considering where you have gotten all these animals. Some have surely cone from outside sources which may be suspect.>
Re: Guppies with PopEye      1/11/19
As for fasting night, i don't feed them every day. Usually every other day.
Is this wrong?
<Hi again. Ideally you would want 2 small daily feedings or more simply, once a day unless you have a special reason.
Certainly better to underfeed than to overfeed as a general rule but I'm not sure why you'd skip feedings normally.>
I'm not sure what you mean by this statement "Sponges present a dilemma in that they can’t be replaced hastily yet that means they are not quarantined."
Do you mean I shouldn't have a sponge filter in the quarantine? The one in the 29 has been there a long time. The one in the quarantine is pretty new.
<Simply that sometimes people set up a QT but bring decor or sponges (for cycling) from another tank,
which defeats the purpose of quarantine, which is to be completely clean and uncontaminated.>
I'm really surprised about the sand. I am not excited to throw out $60 worth of sand but I'll just have to if i want healthy fish. We have the same sand in our 5 gallon Betta tank. Guess that's going bye bye too. He says its cursed sand. He was right!
<Well it's not a 100% surety but you should consider: how long was this stuff sitting, damp, in a bucket (probably dimly lit), how clean could it really be and who knows what's gone on in there? It sucks to lose the money and the nice sand, but ask yourself what $60 is compared to the value of the other gear you pay for, the electricity, the food, and the animals themselves. A proverbial drop in the bucket.>
So far they are ok, the small male still has fungus on his PopEye. Will treat as directed. Thank you so much for the advice! Megan
<Please do let us know how it goes!>

Juvenile Male Guppy Endler's Hybrid    3/1/18
Before I begin with my query I'd like to thank WWM for providing useful, fact-based information.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I wasn't even aware of the vastness of information until I began looking for an answer and spent a couple hours reading pages that dated back more than a decade! After all that time, my head is spinning with newly acquired knowledge, but I have yet to find an answer. I have a juvenile male guppy Endler's hybrid that appears to have his insides outside. All I could find online was about prolapse and tumors.
<Sounds horrible. Cut a long story short, a prolapse will usually look like a certain length of digestive tract emerging from the vent (the combined reproductive and excretory opening in front of the anal fin). Expect to see an off-white tube, perhaps long and thing, but often rounded, even bun-like in shape. But centered on the vent, in any case. Anything thin and reddish-brown or pink emerging from the vent is likely to be Camallanus worms, which may even wriggle obviously. Anything more serious emerging from the vent is likely to be untreatable and probably fatal.>
I know it can't be the former and I doubt it's the latter. It is not a parasite either. The fish is 0.5"-0.75" and the growth or gut is smack dab in the middle of his pectoral fins and pelvic fins.
<Is it not emerging from the vent then?>
It is flesh toned and about 0.375" long. He seems in good health otherwise.
<If it is merely some type of growth, there's nothing you can do anyway, and it's unlikely to be contagious. May as well allow the fish to live its life, and only intervene if there's evidence that it is struggling.>
I prefer to not euthanize my pets, and have 2 small tanks, 1 for each gender, for fish that would normally be culled.
However, if this is a herniated organ, I can only assume it is painful and terminal, and I am willing to make an exception and euthanize.
<If the fish is in pain -- which is difficult to define in fish, given their lack of pain receptors as we understand them -- the fish will likely be skittish and nervous. Rather like when cats are in pain they go hide under beds or wherever, unable to separate the concept of an internal source of pain from the pain caused by a predator, so they hide. But if the fish is otherwise normal, chasing about the other fish, eating normally, and so on -- take that for what it is, the best way we have to judge the stress level of the fish in question. We mustn't anthropomorphise, of course, because that can lead to animal cruelty; but at the same time, being humans, we are able to use critical thinking to try and judge if the animal is not behaving normally. Such would indicate, at the least, stress, and perhaps, whatever the fish equivalent of pain might be.>
If you would like to see a photo, just request it and I'll do my best lol!
I'd take it now, but after hours perusing your site, my mammalian pets are demanding attention. Thanks in advance and keep up the great work.
<A sharp photo of the fish would be useful, but perhaps the above notes help as they are!>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Sick male guppy      9/10/17
Dear WWM crew
I have a 5 week old 70 litre tank with 9 male guppies and various live plants. I set the tank up using Tetra Safe Start with 7 guppies and monitored water daily using API liquid test kit. It's currently reading ph 7.6, ammonia 0.25, nitrite 0, nitrate 10-20. I've been doing approx 30-40% water changes daily and dosing with Seachem Prime. Five days ago I did two things that I'm now regretting. I added 2 new guppies to my original 7
(didn't know about quarantining) and later that same day I fed them all live bloodworms for the first time. All the guppies (including the 2 new ones) seem fit and healthy apart from one of my original guys (a beautiful sunset tail). Within hours of me adding the new guppies and feeding them all bloodworms (which he definitely ate) he was hovering at the bottom of the tank looking very miserable. He keeps away from the others (not that they bother him) and every time he tries to swim even half way up the tank he spirals back down and crashes into the gravel. He has a red lip where he crashed into the gravel (poor thing). He is still eating bits of flake that fall to the bottom and his poop is coloured red and a bit stringy.
He's lost a tiny bit of weight and has paled but there aren't any other visible symptoms. He's been like this for 5 days and has been hiding in one of the ornaments but comes out when he sees me (friendly little guy) but stays at the bottom. I'm worried he perhaps got a parasite from the live bloodworms or has picked up a disease from one of the new guppies (although they are both fine). Any advice would be really appreciated.
Kind regards
<Hello Andrea. When it comes to farmed fancy Guppies, I'm not an optimist I'm afraid. The quality of what you see in the UK trade (and likely elsewhere) is barely fair-to-middling, and they are plagued with bacterial and parasitic problems best dealt with by quarantining before putting them into the main aquarium. In any event, given where you are now, the chances are this chap has some type of bacterial infection similar to Mycobacteriosis. It is definitely worth treating as per Finrot, in the off-chance we're dealing with an Aeromonas or Pseudomonas-type infection.
In the UK, a product such as eSHa 2000 is probably about as good as you're going to get without access to antibiotics from a vet. Red blisters on the skin can be Finrot, and often are in new tanks. But alongside lack of
appetite, loss of colour, and a tendency towards lethargy or unnatural shyness, all point towards the distinct possibility of something more serious. Upping the temperature a bit, to around 28 C, might help (farmed fancy Guppies are more sensitive to chilling than their wild ancestors) and if it's an option, the addition of a little salt, 2-3 gram/litre, can be a useful tonic for most livebearers. Do, of course, keep a close eye on water quality -- non-zero ammonia is a sign that the filter isn't mature, the fish are being over-fed, or there's too many fish in the tank -- so review, and act accordingly. Good advice is to not feed fish when ammonia is not zero! Do double check that your tap water doesn't contain ammonia, because you can get false positives in some situations where Chloramine has been present in the tap water but chemically neutralised by the water conditioner. To check for this, look to see if your water conditioner treats ammonia and Chloramine, draw some tap water, add the water conditioner, and then do an ammonia test. If it is not zero, chances are that the ammonia there is actually 'safely' locked away by the water conditioner. Personally, I prefer using nitrite test kits to monitor water quality immediately after setting up a new aquarium, precisely because of this problem. Cheers, Neale.>

If you look at my guppy you will see that their is something white coming out of its butt.   7/6/16
<Ah, the "texting" generation, bless them! Outgrown pleasantries and politeness -- no need to say hello, please or thank-you; straight to the point!>
What is it?
<Likely an anal prolapse rather than a parasite. Do read WWM regarding these; a combination of Epsom salt, fibre-rich diet, and appropriate antibacterial medications can/should help. Cheers, Neale.>
More texting    7/6/16

Sorry that I got straight into it haha I was really worried that it was a parasite
<It's not. Some good examples here...
Epsom salt, fresh greens, and ideally some antibacterials will do the trick. Cheers, Neale.>

tiny black spots on bottom of breeder     5/8/16
I have a preg. guppy in breeder box. She does/did not look that preg. so I cleaned the tank, yesterday. When I finished there were 2 fry. One lived, one died. Now this afternoon there are about 10 tiny black spots on the bottom of the breeder. She do not look like fry but I guess they could be. She has been in the breeder for 2 weeks. How long should I leave her in it?
<No time at all. Despite the marketing, you're not meant to put Guppies inside the breeder boxes.
Or at least you can, but it won't help. Those boxes stress the female Guppy, usually leading to miscarriages, which is probably why one of your two fry died. They were born prematurely.>
Yes, if I sound like a beginner, that is because I am one!
<Not a problem. Here's the deal with Guppies: All you need to do is ensure two things: females outnumber males, and the tank contains plenty of floating plants. The first thing is important to reduce stress. Males are horribly pushy, and if you keep "pairs" of Guppies, the males will harass female Guppies, and again, miscarriages will happen. The recommendation is at least two females per male, which is easy to do because the females are usually sold cheaply. Anyway, that's step 1. Moving on to step 2, you need somewhere for newborn fry to hide because Guppies sometimes eat the fry.
Guppies evolved in environments where newborn fry swam among plants or into very shallow water where the adults don't go. So they haven't evolved the ability to distinguish between wriggly black midge larvae (that they eat)
and wriggly black fish fry (that might be their offspring). You need to do something to even the odds! Floating plants help, and the fry will instinctively hide among them. Once they're there, you can then use a small net to scoop them up and then put the fry into the floating breeding box for a couple of weeks. That's enough time to grow them on to a size they'll
be safe with adult Guppies. That's what the breeding traps are really for!
Make sense? Once in the trap or box, you can easily feed the fry finely powdered flake food and they'll do very well.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: tiny black spots on bottom of breeder        5/9/16

Thank you.
<Welcome, Evelyn.>
FYI little spots were black at night, but during day they are beige.
<Fish do indeed change colour by day and night. But...>
They are really little ball shaped fry? Go figure! EB
<Do bear in mind that aborted/miscarried embryos will look like small fish with their tails wrapped around their bodies. If the "spots" aren't moving, I doubt they're viable fry. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppy Disease       2/18/16
At first I suspected my Endler's Guppies contracted Columnaris from a male Cobra Guppy I had just bought recently. I lost about 15 Endler's Guppies in my 2.7 gallon tank and about another 15 in my 5.5 gallon tank. Now I suspect that it was "Guppy disease" caused by the protozoan Tetrahymena.
How do I get rid of this disease/organism from my tanks?
<The last time I researched this was for FishChannel, here:
So far as I know there isn't a surefire treatment. To be sure: this is a rare disease, with other bacterial infections, such as Mycobacteriosis, probably more common, even among Poecilia. It's just that telling all these apart is hard -- their symptoms are very alike.>
Should I bleach my tanks with chloral, hydrogen peroxide, or potassium permanganate?
<Certainly cleaning infected tanks and air-drying them is helpful. If you use any sterilising agents, be sure to rinse thoroughly.>
How do I sterilize my other fish (not guppies) that survived if I want to later move them to my other aquariums?
<Not sure that you can.>
Lastly, where can I go to publish this topic on your website?
<Not sure what you're asking here. If you want to write something for Wet Web Media, you'll need to run the article past Bob Fenner; I'd suggest writing to this address but with a new subject line.>
Thanks, Jason
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: Guppy Disease       2/21/16

Hi Neale,
I think I used the wrong terminology. I didn't actually mean publish my topic but post my topic as I've seen a couple of times in the past you had some pages on your website that had people asking questions and then you and/or some other representatives of the website would answer the question.
<Yes; these messages get archived for others to read, as you say.>
A few days ago, I spoke to the fish expert at my downtown Petco and he said that besides Guppies, Comet Goldfish were also highly susceptible to Tetrahymena. Is this true? He also mentioned that Comets had a somewhat better survivability, esp. if they were larger in size. Does this also correspond to what you've read/heard?
<Quite possibly. Tetrahymena pyriformis infects a wide range of fish species, including Goldfish and Carp.>
<<Very commonly found on commercial Goldfishes; esp. "comets"... I use these for "parasitology of fishes" seminars; they never disappoint. RMF>>
I now have mostly just fry in my two formerly Tetrahymena (or Columnaris or Fungal) infected aquariums- a 2.7 and 5.5 gallon. I just noticed that one of the fry in my 5.5 gallon now has some whiteness in the area by its dorsal fin. What disease could this be?
<Hard to say, but if in doubt, treat as per Finrot and hope for the best. With Guppies, running the tank at 25% seawater salinity is also an option, and this can help suppress parasites while reducing stress.>
I'll see if I can get a decent photo of it or not.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy Disease      2/23/16

Hi Neale,
I lost about 15 Guppies in just a matter of 5-10 days for both my 2.7 and 5.5 gallon tanks. Can Mycobacteriosis like Guppy Disease and maybe perhaps Columnaris also wipe out a large number of Guppies in just 5-10 days?
The symptoms I observed were a white saddleback around the dorsal fin area and some white patches around the body.
<This is actually pretty much the standard appearance of bacterial infections of Poeciliidae; I've got a singleton Limia nigrofasciata showing precisely this symptom. Without access to a microscope, it is of course impossible to say precisely which bacterium species is involved.>
During the last 2-3 days of life many of the fish in the 5.5 gallon tank also had a white string hanging out at almost a 45 degree angle from their anuses. Does this sound like Mycobacteriosis?
<The white string is actually mucous, which is caused by irritation of the digestive tract. Often symptomatic of Hexamita infections, but really, all sorts of Protozoans and bacteria could cause this. Again, without sampling hard to say for sure. Not sure any of this helps you much. You could treat as per internal bacteria infections (something like Kanaplex for example)
but I wouldn't hold out much hope. With fast-breeding fish like Guppies, often easier to isolate and/or euthanise infected fish, optimise water chemistry and quality, and hope for the best. Most of these infections are to some degree environmental, though with intensely bred Guppies, there's some other factors in there as well, including genetics and previous exposure to pathogens on the fish farm. Cheers, Neale.>

Questions Regarding Four Situations. Guppy sys., dis. concerns      11/7/15
Dear Wet Web Media Crew,
Greetings from New Mexico!
<Hola from San Diego; antes de!>
I wrote once before about a guppy problem. I'm concerned about a number of issues and am writing in the hope of getting sound advice from one or some of you. I admire your know-how, and am grateful.
Situation 1: Gas Bubble Problems?

The guppies I wrote to you about before are thriving (curious, vivacious, eating well, interacting with me and each other very well), although the clear 'bubbles' on their dorsal fins persist. The guppy I'd written to you about earlier still has the white cyst through his dorsal fin, but seems unaffected by it. I've been trying to research what the problem could be.
I'm still stumped on the whole, but wonder if there is something occurring between the daytime pressurized CO2 and the nighttime air stone 'relationship' that could be causing gas bubbles to develop, if that is what the clear bubbles on their fins are. I run the CO2 at 2-3 bps. As it the usual, the timer turns off the CO2 at night and immediately turns on the air stone. The air stone is vigorous, so I added a valve that allows me to regulate it.
I have turned it down to a gentler bubbles release. I saw some images online that showed fish with gas bubbles covering eyes and other body parts. Also, I understand that gas bubbles can damage fish internally.
However, I don't quite understand about water column gas exchange and pressure, or even if this is what's causing my guppies to get the clear bubbles under the skin/scales on their dorsal fins. I'm very worried about unknowingly killing my fish. To add, only three male guppies out of 7 are exhibiting this symptom. Can you shed any light on this situation?
<I've written, and it's archived on WWM; a piece on the condition of emphysematosis in fish (koi in this case); but don't think gas super-saturation is an/the issue here.... though the dissolved CO2/carbonic acid may be a factor in some other way. I'd try cutting it way back to see if this has some effect on the Guppy cysts. Otherwise, my guess on the cause here is Microsporidean; a group of single-celled Protozoans, parasites>
Aquarium Parameters:
20 gallon (cycled since January 2015)
HOB filter that cycles water at ~92 gph, (modified using Biohome Ultimate Media, course, medium and fine filter sponges)
25-30% weekly water changes with properly treated water (more changes when administering meds, as instructed per med treatment)
Dual HP T8 lighting, 18 inches above tank
Fully planted
Fertilizers: Flourish Root Tabs (under swords and Echinodorus), and Flourish Trace every other day
EcoComplete substrate
Rocks and Mopani wood (all well-prepared before adding, and have been in the tank since February)
PH: 7.8 Ammonia: 0 Nitrites: 0 Nitrates: always <20 Temp: steady at 77F
<Fine; do you know your water hardness? Need to know, have sufficient GH/KH to resist the cyclic effects of using CO2, provide for nitrification...>
Situation 2: Male Guppy with Clamped Fins from Unknown Cause

Three weeks ago I purchased two male guppies from a breeder to begin my own breeding program, 1 Half Black Yellow Leopard and 1 Green Lyretail.
Beautiful boys! The HBYL began sporadically clamping his fins. He seemed fine otherwise and was eating well. The GL did bully him so I separated them into their own cycled QT tanks. I researched causes, and decided I was going to have to treat in-the-blind, so to speak, since I couldn't find anything definitive and I don't own a microscope. I've ordered one, by the
way. Obviously since I'm using past tense, the HBYL died last night after first treated him with 1/2 tsp. of aquarium salt per gallon, then after a water change and a couple of days of activated carbon with a Furan product.
I performed many water changes for the week he was not doing well before his death. It seemed that once he stopped eating two days ago, he quickly spiraled no matter what I did to help him. Too, I think the Furan product even at half the dose was too much for him. The QT is being sterilized today.
Now the Green Lyretail has a partially clamped dorsal fin with no signs of unclamping for the last two days. So, I'm concerned about his health. What do you suppose this problem is?
<Don't know; and my confidence in conjecture here is low; too low to simply speculate. Modern "Guppy lines" are tenuous to put it simply... many are very weak... compared w/ fancy Guppies of decades ago. Too much careless in-breeding is oft-cited as a principal cause; but water quality of source/tap nowayears is likely also a strong factor>
How can I treat him with success (hopefully)?
<? Would presume knowing cause>
I am stumped. I read profusely about Columnaris. I am unsure if this is the problem as there are what, 4 different strains? The only exhibited symptom has been clamped fins out of the multitudes of symptoms that are possible.
Situation 3: Pregnant Guppy with Possible Parasites

Since purchasing the male guppies from the breeder, I decided to purchase four females from her program, 2 of each of the types described above. One Green Lyretail died during shipment, the other GL has long white poo.
Guessing parasites. The females are in their own 10 gallon cycled QT right.
She has not eaten vigorously since I've had her for a week and a half. She rallies with the other girls at feeding times, yet takes food into her mouth and spits it out. The 2 Half Black Yellow Leopard females are vigorous and scooping their food like steam shovels. By looking at the GL, I expect to have fry within a week or less. One HBTL should drop her fry a
bit later, and the other HBYL is still early in her pregnancy. I don't expect fry from her for a few weeks. What is safe to treat a pregnant guppy with that will not adversely harm her fry? Also, do you have any suggestion as to how I can encourage the non-eating GL to accept her food. I feed them Angel's Plus The Works Flakes, which has garlic in the base mixture. I did try thawed and rinsed blood worms this morning, but I really don't like to feed blood worms very often.
<I would not period.... implicated in disease all too often. See WWM Re>
My fish get too lethargic, except the 2 Corydoras who LOVE them.
Situation 4: Guppy Nursery with DIY Moving Bed Filters  

I've set-up a 10 gallon aquarium for my 3 pregnant females to be used only during their fry drops, and to grow out their young for a couple of weeks.
Then I plan to transfer them to their respective larger tanks, one for each fry drop, until I need to separate by sex. The reason for proceeding this way initially is economical. My budget allows me to add 2 tanks to my rack system every week. I already have cycled sponges for the new tanks.
Another economical decision and out of curiosity, mostly the latter, I decided to make DIY moving bed filters. I understand from numerous sources they are reliable...quite. I followed the instructions in this video presented by the PondGuru. When I first set up my main tank I learned about Biohome Ultimate media from him and felt confident in his experience.
Here's the link:
<Links didn't come through as such>
How to Make an Excellent Moving Bed Filter |
| | | | | | | |
| How to Make an Excellent Moving Bed Filter |
| |
| View on www.youtube.com | Preview by Yahoo || || |
I understand that this type of filter takes longer to cycle. is there any way to make cycling progress faster?
<Yes; adding bacteria cultures (some are much better than others; see WWM Re); using some old filter media, placing used substrate, mulm from an established tank, live plants, a bit higher, though steady temp.; again, all gone over on WWM>
I'm adding nitrifying bacteria to the water column according to the bottle instructions. The filters appear to be functioning very well. However I am curious to know if this is sufficient enough for a fry nursery, or any tank for that matter.
<Can only "tell" by testing>
Should I attach these filters to another type of large debris filtration/removal device?
Once fry are in the nursery, I can imagine cleaning the bare bottom of the tank will be a challenge. Any suggestions are most welcome.
I think that covers everything. My apologies if acronyms are frustrating. I thought it would help shorten your reading time. I'm looking forward to hearing your excellent advice, and thank you so much.
My best, Stephanie
<It strikes me that you are "so into" and sophisticated an aquarist that you might want to join up w/ other fancy Guppy keepers... there are online Guppy Groups.... and buy/secure your stock from breeders rather than local fish stores.... These too can be sourced through the various Guppy Associations. I'd be looking on the Net Re. Bob Fenner> 
Questions Regarding Four Situations Neale's go     11/8/15

Dear Wet Web Media Crew,
Greetings from New Mexico!
I wrote once before about a guppy problem. I'm concerned about a number of issues and am writing in the hope of getting sound advice from one or some of you. I admire your know-how, and am grateful.
<Will do my best.>
Situation 1: Gas Bubble Problems?

The guppies I wrote to you about before are thriving (curious, vivacious, eating well, interacting with me and each other very well), although the clear 'bubbles' on their dorsal fins persist. The guppy I'd written to you about earlier still has the white cyst through his dorsal fin, but seems unaffected by it. I've been trying to research what the problem could be.
I'm still stumped on the whole, but wonder if there is something occurring between the daytime pressurized CO2 and the nighttime air stone 'relationship' that could be causing gas bubbles to develop, if that is what the clear bubbles on their fins are. I run the CO2 at 2-3 bps. As it the usual, the timer turns off the CO2 at night and immediately turns on the air stone. The air stone is vigorous, so I added a valve that allows me to regulate it. I have turned it down to a gentler bubbles release. I saw some images online that showed fish with gas bubbles covering eyes and other body parts. Also, I understand that gas bubbles can damage fish internally. However, I don't quite understand about water column gas exchange and pressure, or even if this is what's causing my guppies to get the clear bubbles under the skin/scales on their dorsal fins. I'm very worried about unknowingly killing my fish. To add, only three male guppies out of 7 are exhibiting this symptom. Can you shed any light on this situation?
Aquarium Parameters:
20 gallon (cycled since January 2015)
HOB filter that cycles water at ~92 gph, (modified using Biohome Ultimate Media, course, medium and fine filter sponges)
25-30% weekly water changes with properly treated water (more changes when administering meds, as instructed per med treatment)
Dual HP T8 lighting, 18 inches above tank
Fully planted
Fertilizers: Flourish Root Tabs (under swords and Echinodorus), and Flourish Trace every other day
EcoComplete substrate
Rocks and Mopani wood (all well-prepared before adding, and have been in the tank since February)
PH: 7.8Ammonia: 0Nitrites: 0Nitrates: always <20Temp: steady at 77F
<Gas Bubble Disease almost never happens in freshwater tanks. That's because Gas Bubble Disease (basically a type of gas embolism) requires the water to become supersaturated with oxygen, and for that happen you need water that is being mixed with air extremely vigorously. It is therefore more common in marine tanks (particularly older designs) that rely on
trickle filters, wet/dry filters, and other types of filter where water is sluiced over biological media exposed to the air. These types of filters aren't much used in freshwater tanks. While the same thing might happen if you had lots of strong powerheads or canister filters using spray bars, rarely do aquarists use these devices in sufficient quantity for the water
to become supersaturated with oxygen, and therefore the risk of fish absorbing unusually high amounts of oxygen is pretty small. Carbon dioxide concentration in a planted aquarium should never be high enough to cause gas embolism, so while there are reasons to be cautious about using CO2, causing Gas Bubble Disease isn't one of them. If you added too much CO2, your first problem would be a dramatic drop in pH, followed by suffocation-like symptoms as the fish start gasping for air at the surface.
Almost always, when aquarists see bubbles on their freshwater fish what they're seeing are gas bubbles or even silt trapped on the mucous of the fish. Completely different problem, and much easier to fix by simply improving mechanical filtration and/or turning down any aeration by a small amount. When aquarists genuinely see bubbles underneath the mucous of
freshwater fish, then the problem is usually a bacterial infection causing some sort of decay. Gas bubbles become trapped in the decaying tissue, which become visible.>
Situation 2: Male Guppy with Clamped Fins from Unknown Cause

Three weeks ago I purchased two male guppies from a breeder to begin my own breeding program, 1 Half Black Yellow Leopard and 1 Green Lyretail. Beautiful boys! The HBYL began sporadically clamping his fins. He seemed fine otherwise and was eating well. The GL did bully him so I separated them into their own cycled QT tanks. I researched causes, and decided I was going to have to treat in-the-blind, so to speak, since I couldn't find anything definitive and I don't own a microscope. I've ordered one, by the way. Obviously since I'm using past tense, the HBYL died last night after first treated him with 1/2 tsp. of aquarium salt per gallon, then after a water change and a couple of days of activated carbon with a Furan product.
I performed many water changes for the week he was not doing well before his death. It seemed that once he stopped eating two days ago, he quickly spiraled no matter what I did to help him. Too, I think the Furan product even at half the dose was too much for him. The QT is being sterilized today.
Now the Green Lyretail has a partially clamped dorsal fin with no signs of unclamping for the last two days. So, I'm concerned about his health. What do you suppose this problem is? How can I treat him with success (hopefully)? I am stumped. I read profusely about Columnaris. I am unsure if this is the problem as there are what, 4 different strains? The only exhibited symptom has been clamped fins out of the multitudes of symptoms that are possible.
<There are, unfortunately, a wide range of bacteria that affect farmed Guppies. Finrot and 'Mouth Fungus' (= Columnaris) are two of them, but Tetrahymena is another (so-called Guppy Disease). To save me writing everything out again, let me link you to a piece on Tetrahymena I wrote a while back:
On top of these, there's a lot of Mycobacterium infections among farmed Guppies that are difficult to treat (basically, untreatable so far as small fish go). Again, let me direct you to some reading:
In all honesty, once you've treated for the common bacterial infections, things like Tetrahymena and Mycobacterium are pretty much dealt with by euthanising suffering fish, optimising living conditions for the survivors, quarantining any newcomers, and hoping for the best. Let me stress the importance of optimising living conditions (social interactions as well as diet, water quality, water chemistry) as well as the significance of quarantining in terms of ensuring these nefarious bacterial infections can't spread. I'd like to say the ornamental fish market had a 100% track record of ensuring contagious diseases were carefully controlled at each step of the chain from fish farm to retailer, but I can't. Indeed, Guppies are among those fish "bred to a price rather than a quality" and UK retailers have often complained to me how difficult they find maintaining them without significant losses, sometimes losing money on them by the time the few survivors have been sold for only a couple pounds a piece. Some have gone so far to say they'd like to stop selling them, but the demand remains so strong they have no choice but to take the risk.>
Situation 3: Pregnant Guppy with Possible Parasites

Since purchasing the male guppies from the breeder, I decided to purchase four females from her program, 2 of each of the types described above. One Green Lyretail died during shipment, the other GL has long white poo.
Guessing parasites. The females are in their own 10 gallon cycled QT right.
She has not eaten vigorously since I've had her for a week and a half. She rallies with the other girls at feeding times, yet takes food into her mouth and spits it out. The 2 Half Black Yellow Leopard females are vigorous and scooping their food like steam shovels. By looking at the GL, I expect to have fry within a week or less. One HBTL should drop her fry a
bit later, and the other HBYL is still early in her pregnancy. I don't expect fry from her for a few weeks. What is safe to treat a pregnant guppy with that will not adversely harm her fry? Also, do you have any suggestion as to how I can encourage the non-eating GL to accept her food. I feed them Angel's Plus The Works Flakes, which has garlic in the base mixture. I did try thawed and rinsed blood worms this morning, but I really don't like to feed blood worms very often. My fish get too lethargic, except the 2 Corydoras who LOVE them.
<Guppy fry are very tough, all else being equal. So feel free to use most fish medications as required; antibiotics certainly, antihelminths should be fine too, Methylene blue is fine for sure, as is salt/heat for Whitespot. Formalin and copper are risky with all fish, let alone fry, so if you use those, observe and act accordingly. I've used eSHa 2000 and eSHa EXIT with livebearer fry, and would heartily recommended obtaining those two medications in particular.>
Situation 4: Guppy Nursery with DIY Moving Bed Filters

I've set-up a 10 gallon aquarium for my 3 pregnant females to be used only during their fry drops, and to grow out their young for a couple of weeks.
Then I plan to transfer them to their respective larger tanks, one for each fry drop, until I need to separate by sex. The reason for proceeding this way initially is economical. My budget allows me to add 2 tanks to my rack system every week. I already have cycled sponges for the new tanks.
Another economical decision and out of curiosity, mostly the latter, I decided to make DIY moving bed filters. I understand from numerous sources they are reliable...quite. I followed the instructions in this video presented by the PondGuru. When I first set up my main tank I learned about Biohome Ultimate media from him and felt confident in his experience.
Here's the link:
How to Make an Excellent Moving Bed Filter
<Link didn't come through.>
I understand that this type of filter takes longer to cycle. is there any way to make cycling progress faster? I'm adding nitrifying bacteria to the water column according to the bottle instructions. The filters appear to be functioning very well. However I am curious to know if this is sufficient enough for a fry nursery, or any tank for that matter. Should I attach
these filters to another type of large debris filtration/removal device?
Once fry are in the nursery, I can imagine cleaning the bare bottom of the tank will be a challenge. Any suggestions are most welcome.
<Transferring a substantial amount of live media from an established filter to a new one is the only sure-fire way to jump start it without any cycling. Adding water from an established tank has barely any effect because the bacteria stick to solid surfaces; they don't float in the water. On the other hand, adding floating plants or even plants with feathery leaves helps a good deal because they're covered with bacteria.
Magic potion bottles sold in aquarium shops have had mixed reviews. Some people find they work, others think they don't, and the scientists debate whether they should work at all. So, whatever. Use/don't use, as you prefer but keep track of things using an ammonia and/or nitrite test kit (I recommend the latter for a variety of reasons).>
I think that covers everything. My apologies if acronyms are frustrating. I thought it would help shorten your reading time. I'm looking forward to hearing your excellent advice, and thank you so much.
My best, Stephanie
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Questions Regarding Four Situations      11/14/15

Good day Bob!
Thank you for sharing your know-how!
<A pleasure to share>
If it is true that microsporidia are hard to get rid of because of the spore stage, then it makes sense that if I utilize Hikari CyroPro (contains cyromazine:N-cyclopropyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4,6-triamine)____my understanding is that this is a cyclopropyl derivative from melamine) to kill off any possible host parasites, such as helminth types, then this will break the cycle?
<Am not inclined to be encouraging here. For one, am just guessing as to the pathogen....>
Hm, thinking now, it most likely will not. So it seems that one recourse could be to break down my entire aquarium and start over. But this is an extreme measure in my mind. I read an article wherein researchers performed a study using UVsterilizers to test the efficacy of killing/controlling a microsprodial form that effects the gills in Zebrafish. So I just set up my UV sterilizer in that aquarium in the hopes of ridding/reducing the water column of any free-floatingmicrosporidia. Without a microscope and knowing what to look for, I’m just going to keep my fingers crossed until my microscope arrives.
Regarding the clear ‘bubbles’ on my guppy’s dorsal fins, I've turned down the CO2 a bit and will watch for positive effects. Thank you for that suggestion. You asked me what the KH/GH are in the aquarium. They are off the charts and have been since I started that tank last January. I decided that I could see no adverse effects on the guppies, Corydoras and Otocinclus (surprisingly), so I've not tried to change it in any way. You asked me about KH/GH. Our water is as hard as a rock here in the desert. I tested just now to get a current reading, as follows:
KH: 125.3ppm
GH:304.8 ppm
<Wow; liquid rock!>
I'll see what I can find on the Internet about this and the CO2 cycling relationship. I read your emphysematosis article, by the way. What a disconcerting situation. I bet they were glad to have you and your partner’s expertise! Koi are expensive, and all I want to do is raise guppies!!! Chuckle! I cannot imagine finding myself in that kind of situation.
<Not fun.... needing to remove and weigh and inject each fish>
About the moving bed filters…I’ve added a course sponge to the filter. The water is clear and the readings are excellent thus far. As I should, I’m keeping an eye on the parameters. The maleLyretail Guppy is no longer clamping his fins and has become a little terror. So much so that I had to move two guppies with very long tail fins so he’d leave them alone. They gave him “what for” when they had the chance, but could not out swim the terrorist! The males are separated according to how they get along. So in the world of male guppies, all is right there.
Other things: 1 Half Black Yellow Leopard dropped her fry over two days time. The Green Lyretail is dropping her fry as I write. All is well there, and life goes on toward new mysteries to solve.
I heartily agree with you about fancy guppies from LFS. They are weak and often don’t survive a day or even a couple of weeks. Too many people buy and return dead fish and the ridiculous cycle perpetuates. I purchased my breeding stock from specific breeder who sells on Aquabid. Having had way too many deaths of LFS fish when I began this venture, I no longer buy from them.
You mentioned online forums. Yes. I am a member of many forums. I find it is hit or miss, mostly miss, when asking questions. But I do conduct quite a bit of research on them and of course, Wet Web Media. WWM is by far superior!
Thank you for your response. As always you have been supportive and helpful. No need to write back because we are both very busy people. However, if you have the time I am curious if you readily know anything about the KH/GH and CO2relationship after you see my tank readings above.
Thank you, and my best, Stephanie
<Am wondering if you have a sticky keyboard. A bunch of your words are run together here. Mmmm. Bob Fenner>
Re: Questions Regarding Four Situations       11/15/15

Hi Bob,
Thanks for writing back. I'll use Word and do a cut and paste the next time I need to write.
Our shared emails are the only one's that have words jammed together this.
<? Strange>
Nevertheless, if you decide to post our correspondence on WWM, I apologize for the hassle.
Thank you once again for always being patient and so very helpful.
Best, Stephanie
<And you, BobF>
Re: Questions Regarding Four Situations; guppy dis.        11/20/15

Good day Neale,
<And to you, too.>
First, let me tell you how very informative your articles are. Thanks for the links!
Sorry to have taken so long to write back. I’ve been busy with life and new fry of two guppy types!!! The Green Lyretail female who would not eat up to a week after shipment is heartily feasting at feeding times, and has dropped her fry.
She only had five live fry, the rest she miscarried most likely due to stress.
<Agreed, but pedigree Guppies often have lower fertility than wild Guppies. Age is another factor. So in reality, oftentimes folks get relatively small batches of fry from their Guppies, maybe 20 fry, which is far fewer than the numbers they read about in books.>
I believe she’s holding the rest as I can still see eyes around the gravid area. She’s doing great overall showing no signs of stress or ill health.
Please see my responses below in brackets.
<Oh, sheesh.... this really isn't the easiest way for us at WWM. In future, just write a new email if possible.>
<Snipping away masses of text for clarity...>
<Something weird going on with your emailer or our browser... having to put spaces between words.>
I do have a water circulator in that tank that is scheduled to turn on and off throughout the day and night, less at night so the fish can rest. The tank is an open top rimless with plenty of surface agitation, so it seems that there would be enough going on to off gas. Or am I wrong in my thinking?
<Nope. Sounds fine, but I'd have the water circulator on 24/7. Fish don't "rest" in the way you do, and if the water is too strong for them at night, it's too strong for them in the daytime too. Review your fish's requirements and adjust any filters, powerheads or airstones accordingly.>
So then, what you’re suggesting is that the clear bubbles I see on some of my male guppy dorsal fins are caused by bacteria. I’ve begun running my UV sterilizer in the tank. Will this, perhaps, aid to improve the situation along with the usual weekly water column maintenance? Too, what is a good general anti-bacterial treatment for this situation to pair with good maintenance and good fish care?
<Here in the UK I use eSHa 2000 for Finrot and suchlike. In the US aquarists have access to antibiotics, which can be very effective if used correctly. Your retailer may be able to help, but I'd be leery of Melafix and the other plant extract medications as being a bit unreliable and sometimes problematic.>
<Snippety snip.>
The male Green Lyretail has unclamped his dorsal fin and appears to be fine. I looked at the fin with a magnifying glass and now see that it naturally comes to a point. The widest part is now open, so this is good. I'm keeping an eye on the situation, and of course keeping the tank well maintained.
Thank you for sending such an informative link. I’ve read about Guppy Disease and have never seen any evidence on my guppies, nor Ich, knock on wood! But do I understand you in that Tetrahymena is not as visible to the naked eye as Ich? If it is readily in the water column like so many other peskies we sometimes battle, then is it possible that even with extreme care in water column and fish maintenance our fish could “get hit”, so to speak, at any time? Sometimes it’s challenging to tell when guppies are in the beginnings of not being well; they eat, they interact well, they poke around, seem fine, etc. Then Boom! There’s a problem. How frustrating when I keep a close eye on my fish and the habitat!
Here’s a challenge that reared its ugly head late last night:Oneof my Half Black Yellow Leopard females, the first to drop fry (November 8th),suddenly has the classic white cottony fungal growth on her vent area. The original ‘patch’ fell off. I suctioned it out of the tank and disposed of it. It quickly developed again, and fell off—and so it has gone throughout the day. I’ve been ridiculous about keeping the environment clean because I read that post pregnancy it is vital to keep females in a clean environment. This makes sense due to the fact that the vent does go through a certain amount of trauma during fry drops. This female’s vent has been a little swollen and ever so slightly pink.
The tank is a bare bottom 10 gallon used for keeping only three female guppies of 2 types. Daily, I perform a small partial water change, and suction out feces and food from the bottom. I test the water column daily. It is great. No cloudy water. The temperature is 78degrees F. Since last night I’ve been slowly adding aquarium salt. Right now the total dose is up to one teaspoon. Should I add more salt? I know guppies can take a fair amount of salt. I'm unsure of how much is too much.
<Farmed Guppies will handle teaspoon/gallon quantities without any trouble. I don't like the spoon/gallon approach though. Much better to use standard units; something like 5-6 gram (about one teaspoon) per litre (about one quarter of a gallon) is ideal for Guppies and Mollies. That would be a specific gravity of about 1.003, about one-tenth the salinity of seawater. So not enough to stress your filter. But some (soft water) plants might object.>
This morning after a larger water change, I started a course of Maracyn and Maracyn2. I do not have Methylene blue or I’d give her a dip. However I do have a product that contains both formalin and malachite green.
<Effective, but toxic to you and your fish if overused.>
The dosage is 1 dropper gallon. Can I dip her in this combination of chemicals? How long should I leave her? I’ve read so many different instructions about dipping methods. Too, it depends on the recommended ppm, type of fish, problem being remedied, etc.I’ve found no sure advice online. It gets frustrating. Some say a few seconds, and others say about 20 to 30 minutes. Of course, I know to remove any fish that shows signs of unexpected stress. Thoughts?
<Follow the instructions on the packaging. These should be 100% safe for Guppies and other common fish (Angels, Danios, Tiger Barbs, that sort of thing). You need to be careful with loaches and catfish though as they can be more sensitive.>
Yes. We are in agreement regarding here. I no longer purchase guppies from my LFS. Too, I have purchased some guppies directly from breeders who subsequently have been crossed off my list for various reasons. It’s a learning process for me asit is for everyone who wants to keep, breed, and enjoy guppies. The mycobacteria article is a jewel. Thank you for sharing the link. It seems, though, that in the end those of us who cannot obtain most of the treatments on the list and have no veterinarian who treats fish nearby must simply do the best we can. It was good to learn about the efficacy of immersion treatments. I do feed my fish medicated fish foods when needed. However the bags of food lose their efficacy after about 6 months. Nor can they be frozen.
<I wonder if they can, but they don't want you to! Better to sell you a new batch of medicated food! No particular reason medications should be harmed by freezing, and many chemicals are kept that way precisely to avoid decay, not least of all food!>
So I’m going to switch to preparing my own medicate foods, as needed. Can you suggest any current books on guppy care that include ‘how-tos’ for prepping foods, i.e. ratios, etc.? As I wrote to Bob Fenner, the internet is so hit or miss regarding specifics, not to mention there is too much mixed information and I don't want to bug you all too much. However, I’m so glad you are here!
<I am not aware of any. I would find a decent Guppy forum in your country/region, and join up. The American Livebearer Association and the British Livebearer Association are two such venues.>
The guppy I thought might have parasites now has normal feces. She is the one with the post-pregnancy fungus problem. She seemed very hardy after arrival from Michigan. So my hope is that she'll pull through and level out with good care. I'm feeding baby brine shrimp to the fry. I plan to feed BBS to the females after I grow them out a bit and feed with vitamins and Spirulina. Yes! I'm witnessing first hand how tough guppy fry are now that two females have dropped their fry. Thank you for being so supportive! I’ve read that copper is not so cool. So I’ve kept it out of the fish medicine cabinet. I did use a formalin product while trying to save my only Half Black Yellow Leopard male. I learned my lesson, unfortunately with his death as a result. I learned that he was much too weak to be able to handle such a harsh treatment. Other than that it might have been best to euthanize him scene he was so far gone...and so darned fast. As I said, I am learning to know the signs for the problems I have had to deal with to date. What are the US equivalents to eSHa 2000 and eSHa EXIT?
<Not sure there are any. I really rate these two products and find them effective and good value. Perhaps eBay or similar would help? But in most situations, an antibiotic would be better than eSHa 2000, and salt/heat can work as well as any anti-Whitespot medication if the disease is caught early.>
Since writing to you I have further modified the DIY moving bed filters. They are functioning very well especially since I added beneficial bacteria Filter Balls I normally use that I purchase from Great Wave Engineering here in the US. I do know about transferring live media, and have done this in the past. I did not with the new breeding tanks because I had to re-cycle my main tank after using meds. Now that it's fully cycled again I am going to make a sponge stack to place in the corner in order to have live media at the ready in the future.
The daily fry tank maintenance has become very straightforward. Guppy fry have great instincts; they quickly learned to get out of the way of the airline tubesyphon. Regarding live plants inthe breeding tanks: I’ve avoided that due to always, and I mean always, gettingbeautiful plants that carry bad stuff even after quarantine. It seems thatevery time I add new plants to my main tank my fish battle some kind ofproblem. The cories and Otos never have problems, only the guppies. I suppose this points to your discussion about how poorly they are bred in most cases. While I try not to, perhaps I’m stirring up too much substrate during planting. Nevertheless, those are fine suggestions, and I thank you, Neale! Never fear, my liquid test kits are my best friends, as they should be for all of us. Neale, I thank you for your response. I hope my formatting comes through without glitches. Bob had trouble with my emails. I hope this time it will be smooth sailing. You are all very patient and generous. Thank you for being here for us!
Best to you, Stephanie
<Most welcome and glad to help. Neale.>
Re: Questions Regarding Four Situations        11/20/15

Good evening Neale,
Gosh. I'm really frustrated about the formatting and not responding to you correctly. Please accept my apology.
<Not a big deal so don't worry too much.>
I'll check into the two livebearer associations you recommended. Just since starting the salt, Maracyn, and Maracyn 2, my female guppy is perking up.
No more white cotton fungus. The slight vent swelling is gone and the ever-so-slight pinkness is gone. I appreciate the warning about toxicity when using formalin and malachite green. Since she's doing much better I'll forgo using it.
I've found a source for the eSHa 2000 and eSHa EXIT. I agree with you about Melafix and Pimafix. Thanks for reiterating! Thanks too for being patient with my emails. I wish you and the rest of the fine folks at Wet Web Media
a wonderful upcoming holiday season, if you participate.
Best, Stephanie
<I love Christmas! So thanks. Cheers, Neale.>

Newbie Question About Guppy Bump-Lump-Growth       9/22/15
Hi there Everyone!
<Howdy Steph!>
First, let me tell you how much your combined expertise has helped since beginning my freshwater aquarium in January of this year. It's my very first 20 gallon high planted, pressurized CO2 ecosystem...well, my first go at serious fish keeping ever. I've taken on this responsibility with gusto having researched every single aspect of properly keeping a balanced tank and its inhabitants.
I love guppies, so for now (even at risk with no females) I'm keeping 5 male guppies, 1 female Corydoras trilineatus, and 2 Otocinclus catfish of undetermined sex. This will change in another month when I go to a larger aquarium with a more diverse community of fish. I plan to keep my current tank going to try my hand at careful guppy breeding after much research.
The male guppies get along pretty well because I've arranged the plants, rocks, and Mopani wood to break up lines of sight and to offer some retreats, when necessary.
Of course, they feed well together. Two of the guys do posture for dominancy or territory, but there have been few incidences of chasing or tail fin nipping. The fish behave as I expected them to with only one (the most gentle natured) who retreats to his established territory under some Cryptocoryne plants next to a large rock if there's too much posturing
going on. At first, I was worried about him, but he does defend his territory upon the rare occasions that one of the most dominant males decides to visit when he's there. So with all males, things seem normal even though I understand that keeping all males guppies can be stressful for them.
Here's some basic tank info, as I see so many other websites requiring it when asking a question:
-20 gallon high rimless; dual T5 HO lamp (10 inches above); heater (average 76 F; small water circulator; modified HOB filter, pressurized CO2 @ 2-3 bps-EcoComplete substrate-Well planted variety -Flourish Tabs -Leaf Zone Plant-Summer cooling with pre-treated water ice cubes (can get up to 85 F in that room with outside temp @ 105 F).
<Leave the lights off, and the top open on these days; try positioning a fan to blow across the tank/water surface>

I'm trying to work with the water I have available and to not use unnecessary chemicals.-Once weekly water changes (more when needed) w/ pretreated tap water (it's very hard; I live in southern New Mexico)-API Liquid Tests; -PH 7.6
<Ours in San Diego, CA is about 800 ppm TDS, regular pH 8.2-8.4.... "liquid rock". Both good for guppies>
-Ammonia 0 -Nitrates 20 -Nitrites 0-Fish are fed Angels Plus The Works flakes, occasional live brine shrimp that have been given vitamin B complex, once weekly fasting, and skinned peas. I keep the entire line of Angels Plus medicated and recovery foods for the guppies, if needed.-Catfish are fed 1 daily sinking wafer. Not sure the wafers are the best brand/balance for them, but they love them. -As yet, I do not have an arsenal of liquid meds since any problems that have occurred have been remedied with healthy water, medicated fish foods, or salt in the small QT tank (no plants).
I hope this is enough information.
Long introduction aside, I was away for two months for my graduate studies and left my aquarium in the hands of my husband, with written instructions.
He was busy with two large sculpture commissions and did not care for the aquarium/inhabitants enough or properly. I'm sure you can imagine what I came home to...a mess, to say the least. He's very forgiven. (chuckle)
However, since returning home I've lost two guppies (down to the 5 now), one from something unknown and one to Camallanus Worms. As a precaution, I've just completed the second Levamisole treatment according the instructions on loaches.com, and all fish seem to be fine.
One fellah suddenly developed a clear fund filled 'blister' on his dorsal fin. I could see that it had burst by the next morning. Then, in the same place a white bump-limp-cyst has emerged that goes through the fin, being larger on one side than the other. I've been watching him and see no difference in his behavior at all. After researching to death, I can get no definitive answer to what it is. I have some guesses, but I'm still not sure. I read your information about Lymphocystis, looked at tons of images, read forums, etc., and still wonder if this it that. Now, another guppy has the beginning of tiny growths on his dorsal fin...no clear bubbles, only tiny growths still covered with his metallic scales.
Can you help me diagnose this from the poor images I took with my cell phone?
<Can guess only>
I understand that lymphocystis is a contagious virus. I read that if it is that, the growths can break apart and infect other fish and lay in the substrate. Should I QT and treat Ritz (red/orange and yellow guy) and Flash (blue metallic guy)? With what and how? What should I do about the 20 gallon aquarium?
I've attached some images.
Thank you for any advice you can offer.
My best to all of you, Stephanie
<Thank you for your reporting. Can't say definitively what these "blisters" are due from... could simply be environmental... the heat, perhaps....
T'were it me, mine, I'd double treat here; with another anthelminthic (Praziquantel) for possible worms, and DTHP/Neguvon.... for crustaceans.... just in case these marks are expressions of Lernaeids/Anchorworms. Please do search on WWM, take a close look, and decide for yourself the best course of action. Bob Fenner>


Re: Newbie Question About Guppy Bump-Lump-Growth    9/24/15
Greetings Mr. Fenner,
<Salutations Steph!>
Thank you for your response. I read many posts in WWM and did not discover
anything like what my fish have. So, as a just in case measure, I'll treat them as you've prescribed. If anything significant occurs I'll report back to you all. Thank you very much for your time and expertise!
My best, Stephanie
<Glad to assist your efforts. Bob Fenner>

Re: Community tank... guppy hlth.         8/17/15
Sorry to bother you again. I have 2 guppies hiding together. One male and 1 female. All the other fish are fine. There is no signs of aggressive behaviour in any of the fish.
<Are these new? Recently added? How big are the Angelfish? Do bear in mind Angels can/will eat small male Guppies, and even if they fail, their predatory attempts can stress small Guppies.>
They were all introduced on the same day. The only water quality issue is nitrates and nitrites are both high.
<There you go. Water changes, don't feed in the meantime, optimise filtration until such time as nitrite is zero. Fish react poorly to environmental stress, and often appear scared. They are, I suppose, because they can't swim away from what's "hurting" them.>
I only have the test strips at the moment. I do plan on getting a proper test kit soon. My plan of attack at the moment is to do daily water changes. I've never had issues like this before. This tank has been rocking just fine for 3 years.
<Curious. When was the last time you cleaned the filter? Might be overdue having the media rinsed, either in buckets of aquarium water or else a running tap with water the same temperature as the tank.>
It was my winter tank for the pond goldfish. In the summer I would keep a couple cheap feeder minnows in the tank and keep filters running.
This year I lost my goldfish due to those irritating pesticide planes. Guy started spraying too early and nailed the pond dead on.
<Not a problem I have to deal with!>
I kept tank running and a week later a friend moved and in the process his tank broke We checked the water in my tank, added a heater and as soon as it was ready his 2 angels and 5 surviving tetras went in. They did just fine. A month later his new tank was ready so home they went. My tank sat full of water, heater on, filter running but no fish for a week. I then
added the current fish load. Considering the size of my golds (both were about 8 inches and were my pride and joys) and how much waste they produced, is this spike simply due to a new cycle starting?
<Might be, if there was a substantial (at least a few days) period between the last of the old fish being removed and the first of the new fish being added. Without a source of ammonia the bacteria go dormant. Luckily, they grow back much quicker once you add the new fish, so cycling shouldn't take anything like the time it does for a virgin tank. Should be settled within
a week, I'd guess. Of course if the filter media was removed and dried out, like you broke down the tank and had it in the basement, then yes, you're cycling from scratch, and that'll take a month or so.>
I will try to get you a pic. Also, these 2 guppies have been strange from the get go, so is it possible that I just ended up with weak stock? Thanks for any input. Bre
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Community tank         8/17/15
The angels are small, one has a body size of a silver dollar, the other 3 have nickel size bodies.
<So they're very young.>
I changed out the filter media yesterday morn, vacuumed the bottom and did my usual 20% WC. I tested yesterday and both nitrates and nitrites were on the high side of "safe". Today after noticing the 2 guppies I tested and the results said nitrates and nitrites were midway through the unsafe "zone" on the strip. I immediately did another WC of about 30%. Should I up
that to 50% until things get back to normal?
<Yes; and do also test your tap water in case there's nitrite and/or nitrate coming in from there.>
I really don't want to loose these 2 little guys. On that same note, I don't like to use chemicals.
<As a scientist, I'll merely comment that's a meaningless statement. What you certainly want to avoid are those chemicals that are toxic to fish, such as copper and formalin. You're wise to minimise their use as medications, and better still, avoid and use something else. But water's a chemical, and you're want to use it, and antibiotics are, used properly, no risk at all to your fish.>
With goldfish I learned that water is everything.
Good water means no disease, and happy fish.
<Coupled with right diet and right tankmates, yes.>
I had 1 round with ich right after I bought the goldfish, and treated them with a couple drops of tea tree oil.
<Hmm... unlikely the Melafix did anything here. It's fairly unreliable, and has, at best, a mild antibacterial effect. Do understand fish have some resistance to Whitespot, and in good conditions can even acquire some degree of immunity. Salt/heat is the safest treatment.>
I'm lucky that I caught the illness early or I think I might have had to break down and use the brand chem.s.
<See above; used correctly, they're fine. Like a lot of things in life, the devil's in the details, whether it's something trivial like fish tank medications or a big issue like GMO crops, blanket statements about them being good or bad can lead you into undesirable situations. Specifically: holding off using medications because you prefer not to can mean you pass the ideal time frame for treatment, and when you eventually do use those medications, chances of success are lower.>
I hope that the water issue will fix the "sick/unhappy" guppies. Any special diseases I should keep an eye out for? Just in case?
<I'd simply keep the lights off (unless you have live plants) to reduce stress, keep up with the water changes, and hope for the best. They don't look damaged or sick.>
Sending pic of whole tank and the biggest angel. Bre
<Looks a nice tank. Big water volume and robust filtration should sort things out in time. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Community tank         8/17/15

Thanks again. Will take your advise regarding everything. I will let you know the outcome of these guppies. Bre
<Cool. Good luck, Neale.>

re: Community tank       8/18/15
So last night the temp in tank exceeded 85°F. I do not have air conditioning so I removed the top and angled a fan to blow across the water. I also added 2 frozen water bottles.
<This will work nicely. Indeed, 1-litre or bigger ice cream cartons are the best. Get at least two, freeze one while the other is in use, and rotate them as required. Provided there's some cold water in the tank, the fish will swim in/out the cold water current. Also try lowering the waterline a few cm so that outgoing water from the filter splashes about. This helps to drive off CO2 and absorb O2. Finally, ensure water circulation is as good as possible so that oxygen is distributed around the tank. Up to 30 C/86 F is not lethal to most tropical fish; indeed, Angels and Gouramis positively thrive in such conditions, but the more low-end species (Corydoras, Danios, Neons, etc.) will be sensitive to low oxygen levels at high temperatures, so that's your worry rather than temperature as such.>
I managed to lower the temp to 82°F after a stressing 4 hours. The female molly dropped 2 fry and died. The tiny little guys swam into the plants. I do not know if they survived the night with the other fish. The male guppy is gone. I can't find him anywhere. I moved (gently) the caves and plants. I even checked the floor in case he jumped out. There is no sigh if him. Water testing this morning shows everything in the high end of "Good" but I think I will continue with the WC for the next couple of days. Its going to be HOT so I'm guessing that the hot water can cause spikes fast.
<Possibly, but only if oxygen levels drop and the filter bacteria remove too much oxygen from the water (bacteria trump fish when it comes to oxygen, and external and internal canister filters especially are very demanding of oxygen because of their design.>
Plus it will help keep oxygen at decent levels. I now only have one guppy. Will she be OK in there with the others, or should I (after the water is cleared back to healthy) get a couple more? Bre
<Guppies aren't social as such, and adding additional males certainly doesn't help. Extra females can be useful though. Nonetheless, adding any additional fish while the tank is suboptimal in some way isn't recommended. Cheers, Neale.>

See-through and swollen abdomen      5/28/15
Hi there guys,
I have a fish tanks that have both male and female guppies. I have double the amount of females to males so that there is no fighting and to try give the females a rest.
They have fry but I give what survives away. Yesterday I noticed that one of my females abdomen's is blown up hugely. It is almost like someone has pumped her up with a bicycle pump, it is also completely see through.
<Sadly rather common. Difficult to pin down. Can be constipation (in which case Epsom salt helps) but can also be infection (treat as per Dropsy, again Epsom salt, ideally with an antibiotic) or, most seriously of all, dead/decaying fetuses (no real cure, and would euthanise such fish as they'll die anyway). This last condition is sometimes associated with protrusions from the vent. Do see my pictures of a (dead) female Halfbeak on this page:
While not a poeciliid livebearer like your Guppies, the basics are the same.>
This means I can literally see the other side of the tank through her poor body. My first thought was that it might be bloat/swimmers balder but she doesn't seem to be having any trouble with swimming.
<Do try the Epsom salt treatment as a "first pass"; do read:
...towards the end of the article; and also:
Dropsy is sometimes treatable, but not always.>
She neither sinks nor floats nor looks like she is struggling at all. She is also not off her food and still seems to poop with no problem. I have been keeping a close eye on her. I also watched to see how the other Guppies are treating her in the tank and they don't seem to be picking on her or treating her any differently. If it was not for the bloated see through body I would think she was totally normal. Any help you could give me I would be most grateful! Thanks in advance.
<Most welcome.>
Hannah (A huge fan)
<Yay! Neale.>

Bloated guppy           5/12/15
Hi again!! How are you?
<Fine Ms. C; thank you>
One of my male guppies has a very enlarged tummy. He feels in good form, eating, swimming etc. but is quite big. I think it's dropsy as I have been busy and have not changed the water tank in like 6 weeks. I also have far too many fish (being trying to give them away) 10 gallon tank - 9 guppies I took him away on a 2.5 gallon tank, put about 3/4 teaspoon of Epsom salt and same amount of salt.
I changed 50% of water on main tank and added regular salt to it. I think one other fish may have it but his tummy is not crazy big so it may not be.
Is there anything else I should do? I have some tablets for fungus and bacteria - should I use that?
<I would continue with the Epsom salt treatments, replacing as you change water (I'd use the water from your ten gallon for change outs); and not treat either system as yet (more potential trouble than it's worth)>
Thanks a lot!!!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bloated guppy      5/13/15

Thanks! how often do I change the water on the isolation tank?
<I'd likely do (from the main tank) every two-three days>
and how much Epsom salt and aquarium salt shall I put?
<About a level teaspoon for the 2.5 gallons>
Should I replace the water I take from the main tank with new water plus salt or just new water?
<The latter; just new water. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bloated guppy      5/13/15

Thanks! Fish still alive - eating well too
<Ah, good. B>
Re: Bloated guppy      5/13/15

So I change the whole water for the isolation tank?
<I'd only change half at most>

Re: Bloated guppy       5/19/15
<Hello there>
The fish is still alive, eating well, moving well but still balloney :) I have done the water changes with Epsom salts twice - how long until he goes back to normal ?
<Mmm; could be days, weeks; perhaps forever. The bloating may be due to something incurable. I'd keep on doing what you're doing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Bloated guppy        5/20/15
Thanks Bob. I will keep giving him eps salt baths - at what point in time will be safe to put him back on the main tank!
<Is safe anytime. B>

Re: Female guppy pregnant had 2 fry and now a big red lump!!! Help       2/8/15
How are you?
<Well, thank you!>
I have another weird case. Remember my second female that was pregnant? She had her fry 3 days ago. Only one baby survived they were tiny and I think the fish ate them. She is not well though - she is at the bottom of the tank, almost not moving and she is getting redder (like small blotches almost like tons of burst blood vessels) she stopped going for food today.
Her insides are not out like the other one, but something is very wrong.
What should I do?
Thanks for your help
<Without a photo hard to say, but this doesn't sound good. As always, review environmental conditions, and ideally isolate the ailing fish. Bullying and persistent mating attempts are common reasons for livebearer females to become stressed, and this turn leads to all sorts of health problems as well as miscarriages or premature broods with few/no viable fry. Review, and act accordingly. There are no easy cures that I can think of for fish in the situation you describe. Could be bacterial of course, indeed, that's quite likely, but probably secondary to some other problem, including stress and disruption of gestation/labour. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Female guppy pregnant had 2 fry and now a big red lump!!! Help
Thanks Neale,
I think it was stress that lead to bacteria. She unfortunately died yesterday.
<Too bad.>
I took all the fish out the tank on Saturday and put them on 3 different temporary tanks, females, males and fry. I treated her in the main tank with an anti fungus antibacterial remedy that turned the water blue. But I guess it was too late. :(
<Seems so.>
Now my question is what to do with the other fish. Do I clean the original tank completely and start again?
<No. That would unsettle/kill the "good" bacteria in the filter.
Opportunistic infections are latent in all tanks, even healthy ones, but don't do any harm unless the fish are weakened. So provided your other fish are healthy and kept properly, there's no reason to try and eliminate ALL the bacteria in an aquarium.>
Or do I just do a 25% water change or more to get rid of the medicine?
<Yes. Maybe 2 or 3 such changes across the week. But most medicines decompose within 24 hours, so it's really not a big worry.>
I bought a screen and will put the grunion one side and the 8 boys on the other - I will leave the last 3 small females on the 5 gallon tank on their own. 2 of them look pregnant too - I don't want them to die - is that ok?
<Seems to be. What's the Grunion?>
Thanks a lot
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Female guppy pregnant had 2 fry and now a big red lump!!! Help
Thanks... The grunion was my phone autocorrecting "the fry" go figure...
<Ah, I see. Grunion are fish of course, which is what threw me. Cheers, Neale.>

TB or results of Camallanus treatment in guppies       1/18/15
<Hello Eva,>
I'm hoping you can help me with a problem I've been having in my freshwater tank. I came home with a couple of new guppies in October and they had Camallanus worms.
<Not uncommon in farmed livebearers, particularly in the US for some reason.>
I ended up with my whole tank infected. After trying several things I was finally able to get my fish store (not the one that I bought the sick fish from) to sell me some Levamisole, which took care of the worms.
Since they were treated the one neon I had developed a crooked back and died. I figured that he had worms inside him that died and that was why he got crooked and of course died.
<Possibly, or a reaction to the medication, or simply a coincidence. Neons and Guppies require fundamentally different living conditions, so it's unlikely (read: practically impossible) to provide optimal conditions for both. To recap, Neons want cool (22-25 C/72-77 F) water that's soft and slightly acidic to neutral (1-12 degrees dH, pH 6-7). By contrast, fancy Guppies are more sensitive to cold their wild ancestors, so need warmth (25-28 C/77-82 F) and want water that's at least medium hard and slightly basic (10-25 degrees dH, pH 7-8.5). There's a strong argument for adding a little salt to the aquarium where Guppies are kept (2-3 gram/litre is sufficient, and won't affect most hardy plants) and they also do very well in proper brackish conditions too (around SG 1.005 being ideal). As you can see, there's little overlap between their requirements. In hard water,
Neons basically die off one by one, rarely living more than a year, while Guppies are persistently disease-prone when kept in soft water. Chilling weakens Guppies, making them sickly, while overheating Neons shortens their lifespan still further. You could probably keep both if you had precisely 10-12 degrees dH water, pH 7-7.5, at 25 degrees C, but very few aquarists
get that kind of water out of the tap, most either having soft water or hard water depending on what's supplied by their local water company (and do note, softened water as produced by domestic water softeners is not the same thing as naturally soft water, and actually shouldn't be used in a fish tank).>
Now I have a guppy that is also developing a crooked back. My question is:
Could the crooked backs be related to the Camallanus worm infestation or is it probably fish TB. If it's TB do I just give up on the tank and the 20 or so fish in it?
<Do see above. Check the temperature, hardness and pH, and combined with luck and/or genetics, you may well have your answer right there.>
Thank you for taking the time to reply.
<Most welcome.>

Bloated Male Guppy     1/10/15
I'm hoping you can advise me. One of my male guppies Firetail is about 6 months old. He is living in my 20L FW tank with 13 juvenile male Endler's.
<Is this "20 gallons" or "20 litres"? If that latter, far too small for Guppies.>
Firetail has had a bent spine since I got him - I was given him as a tiny fry from a local aquatic shop.
<Quite a common deformity. Sometimes genetic, but surprisingly often a result of poor care (dietary shortcomings for example) at some stage of growth.>
Despite his deformed spine he normally dominates his tank mates 13 or so small Endler's type juvenile males born from my Guppy females who are housed separately.
I keep the males in this 20L tank for a couple of months until they are old enough to take to the aquatic shop who sell them on. But Firetail has become a "pet" because of his deformity. So he has been living in the tank about 6 months now.
Since Sunday Firetail has been bloating. He is still eating but he is finding it difficult to swim below the surface. Today he is finding it hard to control his direction when swimming in the current from the filter. I have fed him some pea today to help if he was constipated, but he seems to be passing faeces OK.
I'm feeding a pinch of good quality flake twice a day (no more than they eat in about 2 min) - some days I feed them small amounts of mashed up boiled fish.
<I would not (often) use this for Guppies, which are essentially herbivores in the wild, additionally consuming partially indigestible mosquito larvae. Between the cellulose of the plant matter and the chitin of the insects, there's a lot of "fibre" in their diet... all too often lacking in aquaria.
Protein sources like fish meat aren't a useful addition to their diet.>
The water parameters are stable (normal for this tank): Ammonia 0.25ppm Nitrates <5ppm Nitrites 0ppm PH 8 temp 79'F.
I do a weekly water change of about 25-30% and wondered if I need to change the substrate as its been in the tank for about 9 months. Other tank mates are two cherry shrimp a couple of assassin snails and a small clan of FW
snails (about 10 remaining). The tank is planted and has small floating plants, some hornweed and a large rock. The other fish in the tank are all behaving normally and seem to be healthy - everyone is eating and being active. Please advise on what I can do to help Firetail recover. I have read that sometimes deformed fish can develop organ problems, but I want to
help Firetail recover if I can.
<Would adjust diet and perhaps use Epsom salt as well; do read:
Goldfish and Guppies have reasonably similar diets, so much overlap there.>
Thanks for your advice
<Welcome. Neale.>

Female guppy pregnant had 2 fry and now a big red lump!!! Help     12/26/14
Hi, my female guppy just had 2 fry last night and she Seemed to be pushing out a large red bump. This morning The lump is outside her body but under her skin- the Size, shape and color like a raspberry She is getting tired.
Tail dropping Please help - could she have had a prolapse?
<Sounds like it. Very difficult to treat. Adding Epsom salt to the water can help, as will reviewing aquarium conditions. To recap: Guppies need hard, basic freshwater or brackish conditions (10+ degrees dH, pH 7-8; optionally with a little salt added). Ammonia and nitrite should be zero.
Do read here about prolapses:
Also here about a different livebearer exhibiting a similar problem where the reproductive system becomes infected:
Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Female guppy pregnant had 2 fry and now a big red lump!!!      12/26/14

Thanks for your reply.
The fish did not make it overnight - she was very tired. :( I did put aquarium salt the first night when I saw her distressed.
<Ah, do understand Epsom salt and salt-salt (such as aquarium salt) aren't the same thing.>
Here are some pictures for you to see just in case - I just want to make sure this is not something my other fish can catch.
<Nothing attached. But no matter: these situations are not catchy, though the underlying stress that led to one fish getting sick and lead to the same thing in other fish.>
Looking closely at the thing. It looks like it had some eggs that did not developed and by the end of last night it got little white dots on it.
<Indeed. Do review my comments on the Halfbeak in the link sent earlier.>
I completely cleaned my tank today with a 50% water change just in case. I wanted to ask you about the carbon filter - I was told never to replace it or change it. Today when I lifted it up it was covered with yuk- slimy
grayish yuk. I cleared it under running water and put it back in. Is that ok?
<Carbon removes organic compounds from the aquarium, including most fish medicines. On top of that, it only works usefully for about a week after being added to the aquarium. Unless you change carbon every week or two, it's a waste of space in your aquarium. Replace with more biological media unless you need to specific benefits carbon provides. Contrast the freshwater situation with the marine, where carbon is very useful indeed:
Make sense?>
I have a 10 gallon tank and had 2 adult females and 10 fry. The fry are now about 1 inch long and they are mainly boys. Which I think were the ones that got the female adult pregnant.
<Stress likely a factor; when female livebearers are harassed by the males, miscarriages and other uterine complaints are commonplace. Do remember to keep at least 2 females per 1 male. Best to rehome surplus males as required. Or add males (no females) to community tank elsewhere, reserving females for the breeding tank. 10 gallons is a bit small for Guppies, but
doable if just one or two males and a half dozen or so females. Adding floating plants will be useful, too, by providing shelter for the
Now I have the 1 female adult, the 10 fry of 1 inch and the 2 baby fry from the girl that just died
Thanks for your help
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Female guppy pregnant had 2 fry and now a big red lump!!! Help       12/27/14
Sorry about the photos. Here they are.
<Grim. Yes, I'd put this down to some sort of uterine problem. Pretty rare with livebearers, but kind of like breech births in humans, these sorts of problems do happen. Hard to say what the underlying problems are. So as usual, genetics, water chemistry/quality, and external stress factors such as diet and male Guppies could be considered.>
I will buy a heater for a spare tank I have and will remove the 3 girls left before they get too stressed too.
<Sounds prudent. Unless you have a burning need to breed your fish, it's often easier to keep just the one sex. I like the female Guppies to be honest, their personalities are often sweeter and they are usually that bit hardier than the males.>
Which biological media do you recommend?
<Doesn't really matter. They're all good nowadays. So go by your budget.
The premium brands (such as Eheim Biomech or even Siporax) do work well, have long useful lives (decades, even) but budget brands are pretty reasonable. For many folks, things like Fluval Bio Max is the sweet spot between price and effectiveness. But honestly, even medium-fine gravel can do the trick! If all else fails, stuffing compartments loosely with filter floss works nicely.>
Here are the photos
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Female guppy pregnant had 2 fry and now a big red lump!!! Help       12/27/14
Thanks a lot for all your helpful advice and knowledge!! I have medium gravel in the aquarium and will be getting some bio media today.
I took the adult female out this morning. She seems to be pregnant (gasp) I can see pink eggs. I do hope she does not go through the same. I did not realized the little guys could reproduce just yet. And they are her fry so now I am worried.
<Male Guppies become fertile between 2-3 months of age. In the wild this is a non-issue: they'd be far too small to get past the adult males and attract the females. But in the confines of the aquarium their regular social behaviour doesn't work. Much the same as why the eat their fry. In the wild the fry instinctively go into very shallow water where no other
fish go. So adult Guppies don't need to avoid eating their babies because they wouldn't encounter them, and instead snap at any small mosquito-like morsel they come across. But in the aquarium, such morsels are likely to be their fry.>
My daughter enjoys seeing the fry being born and taking care of the babies.
She thinks fish are awesome as they can swim as soon as they are born while we humans cannot walk for months! (Her words) so I did let them breed a couple of times.
<Fish are somewhat more nuanced than that. Even something like Angelfish produce fry that take some days from hatching until they can swim, during which time the adults look after them. Indeed, Angels and other cichlids usually extend broodcare for some weeks after that even. Other fish are planktonic for weeks or months before becoming true free swimmers. Herring and Cod would be like that, as well as most reef fish (Nemo included!). It is indeed relatively rare for fish to be born as fully formed youngsters, something like 10% of fish doing so if you include sharks and rays (most of which give birth to live young). Fish reproduction is astonishingly diverse. A few even produce "milk" for their offspring, famously Discus, where the fry graze special mucous from the flanks of the mother and father. I'd heartily recommend getting something like a Dorling Kindersley book on fish or sharks for your daughter to peruse. Of all animals, few exhibit such extreme diversity. Don't even get me started on intrauterine cannibalism in sharks! Terrifying, bizarre and brutally efficient.>
I had a couple of males and the 2 girls. The boys died if a case of itch and the girls and 13 out of the over 70 fry did too. I was quite attached to the girl who died and the one isolated fur having survived the itch that killed almost all my fish :(
I will let you know how it goes with her pregnancy :)
<Good luck! Neale.>

Guppy Mystery?   Camallanus?     /RMF      12/17/14
I have a 35 gallon tank with approximately 50 guppies, fry included. One female really has me stumped and I hope you can help. Maybe a week ago I noticed her rubbing on objects and settling near the bottom of the tank.
She developed a red spot on her abdomen and it became pointy until it broke through her skin.
<Mmm; sounds a lot like nematodes...>
What emerged was very pointy. I did isolate her and it fell off of her last night leaving quite an ulcer behind. Whatever she passed I scooped out and it broke in three pieces. I expected it to feel organic but it was stiff and sharp at one end. I can't find any literature that describes a parasite exiting this way? Any ideas what I'm dealing with? Thanks in advance for
your ideas,
Angela Shaler.
<Yes; let's have you read here:

and the linked files above; and oh, look up the genus Camallanus. Is this it? Bob Fenner>

Guppy Mystery? /Neale       12/18/14
I have a 35 gallon tank with approximately 50 guppies, fry included. One female really has me stumped and I hope you can help. Maybe a week ago I noticed her rubbing on objects and settling near the bottom of the tank.
She developed a red spot on her abdomen and it became pointy until it broke through her skin. What emerged was very pointy. I did isolate her and it fell off of her last night leaving quite an ulcer behind. Whatever she passed I scooped out and it broke in three pieces. I expected it to feel organic but it was stiff and sharp at one end. I can't find any literature that describes a parasite exiting this way? Any ideas what I'm dealing with? Thanks in advance for your ideas,
<FWIW, I wonder if this female swallowed something, a tiny shred of stiff nylon for example from a brush, mistaking it for a midge larvae. Over the last few days its worked its way through. I doubt it's a parasite as such.
The ulcer is the bigger problem. While fish have amazing abilities when it comes to healing, a puncture of this sort will be a significant risk of infection. Keep an eye on her, and ideally, medicate as per Finrot.
Cheers, Neale.>

Guppy and Pale Spots   11/12/14
One of my guppies got sick and died. It had a pale spot on its back that had not been there before when it died. What could this be?
<Impossible to say. Necrosis (death of skin tissue) is one possibility.
Opportunistic bacterial infection is another. Many other possibilities as well. Cheers, Neale.>
Sick and dying guppies
I have a 28 gallon tank with a 350 gph power filter. Ph is 8. I stated several times now my guppies have been dying and I have not understood why.
You have suggested it could be bacterial. Well another of my guppies has died with the same symptoms. Lying at the bottom of the tank, discolored scales, bloated. Then swimming for a while normally before passing on.
Whatever it might be it strikes quickly. I think it had white stringy poop before it died. And now another of the 2 remaining guppies is sick. This one appears to have yellow slime by the gills, something hanging from her
vent, and two tiny ulcers on her side. You may not be able to see the ulcers in the photo. They may just appear as 2 red or pink dots, if at all.
Pictures provided below.
Photo of back side of vent.
Photo of yellow by gills and ulcers (the pink patch).
Whatever it is that is killing the guppies appears to be effecting only them and my ghost shrimp. The neon tetras that share the tank with them seem to be doing fine.
Photo of thing hanging from vent.
What do you think the problem here is? Thank you.
<Photos too small/blurry to really be useful. But will repeat the basic point. Guppies aren't particularly healthy fish any more, and because they're farmed to a price not a quality, they're intensively reared allowing diseases to swap between specimens before they get to you.
Mycobacterial infections are common ("random" deaths, usually preceded by lethargy and wasting). Tetrahymena is common (similar symptoms). Hexamita is common (again, similar symptoms, though often with white, stringy faeces -- can be cured with Metronidazole alongside a Nitrofuran drug antibiotic/antimicrobial). And this is before we even get to the old favourites like Aeromonas and Pseudomonas spp, Costia "slime disease", and all the others. Invariably, quarantining is best, probably with the use of Metronidazole and a Nitrofuran. Reviewing water chemistry and quality are crucial. Conditions that suit Neons (soft, acidic) won't suit Guppies (hard, basic). Nitrate is a hidden killer with all Poecilia spp, particularly Mollies but also, to some degree, Guppies. In short, without microscopic inspection (by a vet, university microbiologist, even a skilled
amateur with necessary equipment) identifying the cause of "random deaths" is impossible, especially where the symptoms are non-specific. Would perhaps add the opinion that if you don't have quarantining facilities,
store-bought Guppies aren't anything other than a crap shoot. You pays your money and you takes your chance. Me? I don't buy them or recommend them.
Not for freshwater tanks, anyway (they are usually hardier in brackish conditions, presumably because at least some microbes can't survive in such, and on top of that, brackish water provides osmoregulatory support
that helps weaker Guppies survive better). Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick and dying guppies   11/12/14
Thank you Neal! :)
<Most welcome.>

dying male guppies       10/2/14
Hello WWM Crew,
I made the mistake of adding 6 new guppies to my 25 gallon planted tank which is home to one polka dot loach, 3 peppered Corydoras, and a Peckoltia. One of the guppies died with no symptoms other than looking a bit pale, which is how we received him. Another yellow guppy is now suffering, at first he was staying in one corner at the surface, now he is hiding on the bottom doing head stands and swimming/ rolling on an angle.
He had a small red spot on his back which has turned into a giant red spot, but doesn't appear to be a sore, it resembles what internal bleeding would look like on a human or animal. I can't seem to find a similar case on the current forum posts.
<...? Have you read our archives on Guppy Disease (FAQs); on WWM? This reads disturbingly like Columnaris/Chondrococcus>
We are checking the water every other day with results of GH 120 KH 40 PH 6.5 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 10. I am wondering if the behavior of my yellow guppy is indicative of a disease or not.
<Can't say w/ the info. provided definitively>
I have moved him to a 5 gallon tank with salt, but do not want to add salt to my 25 gallon because of the loach. Yellow guppy is basically almost dead, but I'm wondering, should take any action with my 25 gallon tank?
<Again... see the FAQs mentioned above>
Thank you for your time!
<Bob Fenner, saving for NealeM>
Re: dying male guppies       10/2/14

Thank you Bob!
I couldn't find any white fuzzy stuff on the guppy's mouth or any other part of him which is what confused me,
<Mmm; well; that symptom may not show... the disease/bacteria taking/killing the guppies so rapidly>
though I'm sure that all the symptoms do not manifest equally in every case, and he is dead now but the other fish in my tank seem perfectly fine.
<Often only guppies (and to a lesser degree other Poeciliids) are affected>
Thank you for responding, I will keep a close watch on the rest of my fish and read more of the FAQs.
<Life to you. Bob Fenner>
dying male guppies /Neale     2/2/14

Hello WWM Crew,
I made the mistake of adding 6 new guppies to my 25 gallon planted tank which is home to one polka dot loach, 3 peppered Corydoras, and a Peckoltia.
<I see.>
One of the guppies died with no symptoms other than looking a bit pale, which is how we received him. Another yellow guppy is now suffering, at first he was staying in one corner at the surface, now he is hiding on the bottom doing head stands and swimming/ rolling on an angle. He had a small red spot on his back which has turned into a giant red spot, but doesn't appear to be a sore, it resembles what internal bleeding would look like on a human or animal. I can't seem to find a similar case on the current forum
posts. We are checking the water every other day with results of GH 120 KH 40 PH 6.5
<There's your problem. Guppies must have hard, alkaline water. They aren't at all tolerant of soft water, and acidic pH levels quickly stress them. Fancy Guppies are particularly sensitive.>
Nitrite 0 Nitrate 10. I am wondering if the behavior of my yellow guppy is indicative of a disease or not. I have moved him to a 5 gallon tank with salt, but do not want to add salt to my 25 gallon because of the loach.
<The salt/scaleless fish thing is a bit of a myth (plenty of marine fish don't have scales, such as Eels) but Peckoltia, Corydoras and Polka Dot Loaches are all soft water fish, so raising the hardness and alkalinity to that suitable for Guppies needs to be done carefully. Merely adding salt won't do what you want. But you could make use of the Rift Valley Salt mix, described here:
You don't want full strength, but something like a quarter to a half dose could do the trick nicely. Note that it uses tiny amounts of salt, Epsom salt and baking soda -- not enough to stress your loaches or catfish. But nonetheless use judiciously, adding small amounts once per day across a week or two, raising the hardness and pH to something around 10-12 degrees dH, pH 7-7.5. That will be acceptable for the loaches and catfish as well as much more suitable to livebearers like Guppies.>
Yellow guppy is basically almost dead, but I'm wondering, should take any action with my 25 gallon tank?
Thank you for your time!
<Welcome, Neale.>

red spot on my guppy      8/23/14
Ok, I have 2 large (look pregnant but their not, just big girls) female guppies, 3 boy guppies,
<Three males and two females really isn't very nice to the females!
Recommended ratio is 2 females (at minimum) per male. Much less likely to get harassed or stressed... which is a clue to the problem here!>
3 black skirted tetras, 2 we call them red eyes cause we forgot what they are,
<Red-Eye Tetras perhaps?>
3 zenios,
<What are these? Zebra Danios?>
and 2 neon tetras.
<Both Danios and Neons are schooling fish, as are the other tetras. In groups of less than six you can get social problems, ranging from shyness (e.g., Neons hiding) through to aggression (e.g., chasing) even fin-biting.>
We've had them all for over a year in a 48 gal. tank with good water.
<Would be curious how you define "good" here. Why? Because Neons need/prefer soft water, while Guppies are hard water fish, so at best, there's a compromise favouring neither, at worst, one species is stressed. This is relevant because if you have soft water (which Neons need) then Guppies will be more prone to problems... a second clue!>
Now one of the female guppies has a red spot on her nose. Its small. She isn't acting any different that I can tell, but if she's sick I need to do something with her and prevent the others from getting it.
<Without a photo hard to say, and without useful data on the tank, I can't comment on environmental factors except to remind you to review water chemistry (see above) and to restate that ammonia and nitrite levels should be zero. Nonetheless, damage to the snout is commonest when fish are panicked and bump into things, or else have been engaging in some sort of fight or tussle. Because you have more male Guppies than females, and male Guppies are sex pests (I'm being kind here) that will attempt to mate with
(rape is probably more accurate) any female within range, female Guppies are easily stressed and damaged. Seems a surprise given how big females are compared to the males, but as I say, the males are nothing if not persistent. My money would be on the female having been damaged or stressed this way, and it's evens odds whether the red spot is mere damage or a secondary infection (in which case, treating as per Finrot would be useful if the spot isn't healing).>
<Let me direct you to a starting point article on Guppies; virtually all problems with them come down to lack of understanding their needs and appreciation for the fact fancy Guppies aren't "hardy" fish:
Cheers, Neale.>

Strange swollen red area on guppy?      6/21/14
Hello crew, Jessica here. I had a question about something very strange on my male fancy guppy. He has a large red sort of sore just behind his right fin (picture attached) Just last night I could tell that something was kind of off about the way his side looked, but later today it had gotten much more swollen and a lot redder. It can't be seen from the angle this picture was taken at, but it appears that all of the scales in that area are sticking up, like dropsy, but only in that one red area. Because it's right around his fin, he has a lot of trouble swimming and ends up wobbling a whole lot.
<... could be "just color", stress from poor water quality, an injury, possibly infectious disease...>

I thought it might have been something that could have been carried in from a new bamboo shrimp and Pleco that I just recently added to the 25g tank (I didn't have a quarantine tank available, so I just put them in right away)
But I think he's had this for a while because for the past two weeks he hasn't been eating much, up until around Monday when he stopped eating altogether. I have no idea what could have been caused by, and the rest of my fish are healthy (three other fancy males, two female platies and one female molly) I just checked the water parameters two days ago and the Nitrate is at 0, Nitrite at 0, Ammonia just under .15 ppm,
<Needs to be 0.0>

and pH somewhere around 7.8 or 8.0.
I've looked everywhere for something about this but all I find are pictures of something similar but no information about whatever it is. I was wondering if you guys have seen this and know what it is and what's causing it. Thanks!
<Uhh, read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/GupEnvDisF.htm

and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

I need help please... Guppies; real trouble/losses... Columnaris?     5/16/14
One day suddenly I started having guppies die no symptoms at first.
<You pics show (disturbingly) what appears to be Flexibacter "disease" (Chondrococcus columnaris)...>
Then I noticed a little spot like Ich on the fin under his belly he died super fast. I started using Kordon's Ich
<Won't cure this>

plus then I started seeing other symptoms like discoloration it would spread fish would die. I added Furan 2
<Nor this>
did no good. I switched to Cephalexin took some moss out of tank just because it was getting caught in filter. Anyway the deaths stopped after 5 days off 500 mg Cephalexin per 20 gallons. I lost at least 20 guppies. I have went 2 weeks without any symptoms I put moss back in that was in Betta tank 3
days ago Betta is fine, now I have 5 guppies showing same symptoms. My ammonia is 0 nitrates 40 nitrites 0 pH 7.6. I have enclosed pictures. The first and her scales have turned white on half her body they look swelled. The second one is another one where the discoloration is starting. I have started
Cephalexin and Kordon's plus again.
<Do a quick read re the disease; esp. search on WWM re the few cures (look for Neomycin sulfate)... Bob Fenner>

I need help please. Neale's take on mass guppy losses      5/17/14
One day suddenly I started having guppies die no symptoms at first. Then I noticed a little spot like Ich on the fin under his belly he died super fast. I started using Kordon's Ich plus then I started seeing other symptoms like discoloration it would spread fish would die. I added Furan 2 did no good. I switched to Cephalexin took some moss out of tank just because it was getting caught in filter. Anyway the deaths stopped after 5 days off 500 mg Cephalexin per 20 gallons. I lost at least 20 guppies.
<Not good.>

I have went 2 weeks without any symptoms I put moss back in that was in Betta tank 3 days ago Betta is fine, now I have 5 guppies showing same symptoms. My ammonia is 0 nitrates 40 nitrites 0 pH 7.6. I have enclosed pictures. The first and her scales have turned white on half her body they look swelled. The second one is another one where the discoloration is starting. I have started Cephalexin and Kordon's plus again.
<Now, here's the thing. Usually when a big number of fish die within a very short space of time (hours, days, a week or two) then the problem is almost always environmental. So review the aquarium. Guppies need hard, alkaline conditions; 10+ degrees dH, preferably 10+ degrees KH as well, and a pH around 7.5 to 8. Don't mistake pH for hardness. Worry about the hardness, and the pH will take care of itself. In other words, don't add pH-up products, but do instead use mineral mixes to raise the hardness. Have a
read here:
The Rift Valley Salt Mix is a cheap, reliable way to raise hardness (and pH) for pennies a time. Alternatively, if you're keeping the Guppies all by themselves, then keeping them in brackish conditions, SG 1.003-1.005, makes them much hardier and resistant to some common diseases. Fancy varieties of
Guppies also appreciate warmth; aim for 26-28 C. With all this said, farmed Guppies do suffer from some bacterial problems that are essentially untreatable. So-called "Wasting Disease" and "Guppy Plague" are names applied to these. They're probably varieties of Mycobacteria infections. No solution, except to say that environment probably plays a role in making the diseases more deadly. Buying Guppies from local breeders is pretty much the best way to get healthy Guppies, but certainly don't buy ones from stores with sick fish visible in the tank. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Guppies....sick   10/19/13
I bought guppies off the internet. American whites. I kept them separate from my tanks for months. Something is wrong with them. I’m not sure what it is. I thought maybe it was their genetics but I have since added a female from my other tank that is now very ill. She was the fattest and plumpest most beautiful fancy female. Now she has removed herself from the herd. She is droopy and looks likes she’s starving. Her big fat belly is gone and she is full of babies that I can see. There is nothing protruding from her. No spots, growths or wounds.  My water is hard. I practice regular water changes and they have a heater to keep the tank warm.
<How warm? Fancy Guppies are much less tolerant than wild or crossbreed ("feeder") Guppies and it's a wise idea to keep them warm; 28 C/82 F seems good.>
I regularly use salt.
<How much? If the Guppies are kept alone, and you either don't have plants or keep salt-tolerant ones (like Java ferns) then you can afford to be quite liberal with salt. This won't cure everything, but it will inhibit the spread of many parasites and does seem to help farmed Guppies stay healthy. Aim for a specific gravity of around 1.002 at 28 C (or 1.003 at 25 C) -- in other words, about 5 grams salt/litre of water.>
She is quarantined currently. I’m hoping she doesn’t die. I don’t like to see any of them die. Please help me. She is not the first. This is how they die. They just get thin, lethargic and droopy. I’ve got to be missing something...
<The bad news is that farmed Guppies are delicate, seemingly getting worse every year. Inbreeding may be a problem, but the widespread use of antibiotics on fish farms is surely a problem too. Mycobacterial infections ("Wasting Disease") seem to be extremely widespread among fancy Guppies, to the degree that I've had candid conversations with retailers who consider Guppies so bad they only order them in because people buy them before they get sick -- if it was up to these retailers, they wouldn't touch 'em with a bargepole. Certainly buying fancy Guppies from a local breeder is a better option, or failing that, pass over them in favour of a more reliable species, like Endlers or Limias. In any case, treating Mycobacterial infections is virtually impossible, but if you want to try something, then a combination of Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 could be used but it's hard to make an economic case for medicating. Isolate infected fish completely from healthy ones (i.e., separate tank, bucket, nets, etc.) while medicating to prevent infection of the remaining livestock. Unfortunately Mycobacteria can infect "vertically" meaning that mothers can pass to embryos, so removing youngsters after they're born doesn't achieve much. Likely the easiest option is to humanely destroy the infected specimens (immersion for 10-20 minutes in a bath of 30 drops clove oil in a litre of aquarium water works well). The British Fancy Guppy Club has an informative page that may help you decide if Mycobacteriosis is what you're dealing with; see here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Stocking for 63-gallon tank; FW; mixing/matching organisms by water quality and temperament      9/4/13
I have just been able to jump back into fishkeeping after moving to Mexico and being fishless for two years. The tank I'm going to get is 63 gallons and already cycled, and I'm going to fill it up with Cryptocorynes and sword plants, both of which I have previously had success with.
I was thinking of getting a couple of discus and angels
<Mmm, better one or the other. These two have issues; don't really go together>

 and pairing them up with a few livebearers, a male Betta, maybe a Hatchetfish and other characin or two (or six), and a bunch of micro Corydoras. Is that a suitable stocking idea?
<The Angels would be better w/ what you list otherwise... Can reach hard/er, more alkaline and cooler (temp.) water quality better than Symphysodon>
I was also planning to put in some cherry or ghost shrimp, a few ADF's and some mystery (aka Briggs) snails. Is that OK?
<Might be hard to feed the frogs in this setting, size system, but should mix>
 I know discus require higher temperatures, so I would like to know if that is OK for the other fish?
<Not the livebearers especially; no>
 Or, if not, then what sort of fish would go well with them?
<See WWM re Compatibility (FAQs) for input here; for whatever species, group you're principally interested in>
Thank you so much in advance!
<Ah, welcome. So send along your revised list; further sharings. Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking for 63-gallon tank; guppy hlth. as well now    9/5/13

Thanks a bunch, Mr. Fenner!
I guess I'll go with the angels, then. My mom is mad for them​ and they do seem to be hardier than discus, from your description.
<Yes they are>
Anyway, today I bought 2 pairs of guppies (one pair's for my friends and one's to put in my quarantine tank to await the arrival of the big one), and one of them just decided it was an excellent time to give birth on the way home. She had 11 fry total, which I was thankfully able to save, but I have nowhere better to put them than a tiny glass jar that used to contain cherry/plum jam.
<No larger container? Ask the neighbours what they have>
They seem healthy and OK. I put my *Elodea* strands in with them to help them feel more at home.
Three of the four adults seem healthy and very active; however, I haven't seen any of them eat (I may just not have been paying enough attention), and one of them has some white stuff on her mouth and isn't moving around too much. If it's fungus, what can I do?
<See WWM re Guppy Disease... do you know how to work the search tools?>
Since all the fish were bought together, should I medicate them all?
<Depends on what the cause is; the perceived need>
Would Methylene blue kill the *Elodea*or the babies?
<It will not>
 I don't want to lose these guppies, I am already attached to them and they are the most beautiful ones I've ever seen. The males are a deep sapphire blue and one has a bright red/orange tail, and both females have orange tails.
Back to the stocking for the tank. Fish-wise, I was thinking guppies, swordtails, Neon or Cardinal tetras, marble Hatchetfish, clown killifish, angelfish, zebra danios, a male Betta and a couple of micro Corys, maybe a pair of *Heterandria formosa* (I think they're called Mosquitofish?).
As far as plants go, I wanted to use the *Elodea* I already have, as well as some crypts, hornwort, Java fern and Amazon swords (I've had those before and love them).
And as for other animals, I wanted to put in the aforementioned snails, frogs and shrimp; but I found out something unusual today at my LFS--tiny turtles
<Not a good choice... too messy, and eventually predaceous
>  being kept in an aquarium with some guppies, snails and platies; all they had to rest on was a platform attached to the tank with suction cups so they could climb out of the water. I don't know what species they were, but I thought they were adorable. They couldn't have been over three and a half inches long. Is it truly possible to keep these tiny buggers in a fully aquatic tank, if they can climb onto their platform at the surface?
Or is this a bad idea for some reason?
<A poor choice. See/search this on WWM as well>
I also love reptiles but have never been allowed to have a terrestrial one, like a lizard; but I know if it were in the tank my mom would love to watch some turtles and would let me get one (or two, LOL).
Thanks again, and sorry for the long e-mail :$
Have an awesome day!
<Cheers, BobF>

I think my guppy is sick.      8/15/13
I just recently noticed that one of my female guppies has gotten whitish scales towards the head.
<I see this in your excellent photograph... Looks more like an injury here>
They look sort of dried up and she has also gotten quite the belly. I don't think she is pregnant because I don't see the gravid spot. I have put her in a separator for the time being and would really appreciate your help.
<I'd take this fish out; more damage likely from dashing about in small confinement. I wouldn't "treat" this fish, but would have you look up "Chondrococcus/Flexibacter", and read through the Guppy Disease FAQs... starting here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Thank you

Damaged guppy scales    7/6/13
I was doing a water changed when my female guppy managed to get into my filter and was stuck for around 15 hours before I realised what had happened. The scales on the top of her head are now white and look damaged, apart from that she looks in good health and is swimming around fine, is there anything I can do to fix the scales?
<Mmm, just time going by and your good care. Proper, consistent water quality and nutrition. They will grow back in weeks. Bob Fenner>

Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?    3/4/13
I have had 2 guppies for a few months then suddenly one started acting odd  and going to the top of the water,
I thought it might of been because of fertilizer dosing
<Both would be similarly affected>

 so I did a 45% water change and put prime in then 2 days later: today
Thought it may of been from the dying Anubias which was because the co2 I squirted on it was contaminated with vinegar so I threw the Anubias out
I tested the water and it came back with about 3 nitrate so just incase it was from that I did a 40% water change and added prime But today I noticed he isn't eating and has a hollowed stomach basically I think he is starving to death
I fed them and he didn't eat
None of my other fish are affected (rainbow shark,
<This fish is often a bully of others...>

 guppy, 6 Kuhli loaches)
What do I do? has he got a internal parasite or some incurable illness?
He seems weak and keeps resting on things..
ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0, ph is about 7.6
nitrate WAS 3 now its probably half since I did that water change The tank has been cycled for a long time
What could he possibly have and how do I treat it? I don' think he will last long?
<Mmm, can't tell w/ the information presented... Read here:
and the linked files above>
I think maybe an internal parasite or gill infection or swim bladder virus just something that causes them not to eat and to not swim around much I am so worried :(
<No need/use... Read, consider the possibilities you learn about. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     3/7/13

He died :(
I'm watching the other fish
the shark never picked on the guppies
<... have you read where you were referred? BobF>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     3/7/13

I read all the posts in the link you gave me, i can't find anything similar to what happened to my guppy.
The tank is 55 gallons and has been cycled for 6 going on 7 years (2 of the Kuhlis and the shark are about 6-7 years old and the other 4 Kuhlis are younger, I also suspect 2 extra Kuhlis may be in one of my filters but anyway).
There were no odd feces or anything, just gasping at the top then slow lethargic swimming then not eating.
No visible marks on the body, a bit of color loss
<Perhaps "something" internal... senescence (cumulative genetic defects... old age; how old are these guppies?)>
Now my remaining guppy is being a bit jumpy and when I fed the fish I didn't see him eat, of course he may eat later over night but I am not sure if this Is just jumpiness from being the only guppy or if he has the same as what the other guppy had.
I don't think its a good idea to add more guppies until at-least a few weeks of monitoring this one for symptoms.
What do you think?
Thanks Bob :)
<Welcome. Sarah. B>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     3/8/13

Thanks for your fast reply Bob,
It seemed a bit sudden to be old age?
<Mmm, no; not really... deaths from such do occur w/o notice in wild animals quite often. It's sometimes said/stated that they "have to put on a good face" to avoid predators/predation... that "letting on" re poor health signals that one is an easy/easier target>
When I got them I suspect they had just reached adult hood?
<Yes... often sold at 4-6 mo.s of age... grown up quickly by numerous feedings, constant water changes... only live a couple/three years>
knowing breeders?(but I don't know for sure) and they were from a 'pet shop', so anywhere from 3 months to 5 months old I suspect and I have actually had the guppies for 4 months
<Oh! Then should have lived longer>
I specifically picked him out at the pet shop, he was my favorite :( :/
Is this usual for guppies? or a rare occurrence? because it kind of put/s me off them,
Which is sad considering I always wanted to have them, then when I finally do he dies...
<Guppies do "die mysteriously" for the most part... And livebearers (Poeciliids in this case) nowayears are not nearly as tough/hardy as they were decades back unfortunately. Perhaps Platies would be a better choice for you. BobF>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die? 3/8/13

Thanks for your fast reply Bob,
It seemed a bit sudden to be old age?
<Mmm, no; not really... deaths from such do occur w/o notice in wild animals quite often. It's sometimes said/stated that they "have to put on a good face" to avoid predators/predation... that "letting on" re poor health signals that one is an easy/easier target>
When I got them I suspect they had just reached adult hood?
<Yes... often sold at 4-6 mo.s of age... grown up quickly by numerous feedings, constant water changes... only live a couple/three years>
knowing breeders?(but I don't know for sure) and they were from a 'pet shop', so anywhere from 3 months to 5 months old I suspect and I have actually had the guppies for 4 months
<Oh! Then should have lived longer>
I specifically picked him out at the pet shop, he was my favorite :( :/ sigh
Is this usual for guppies? or a rare occurrence? because it kind of put/s me off them,
Which is sad considering I always wanted to have them, then when I finally do he dies...
<Guppies do "die mysteriously" for the most part... And livebearers (Poeciliids in this case) nowayears are not nearly as tough/hardy as they were decades back unfortunately. Perhaps Platies would be a better choice for you. BobF>
Re Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     5/3/13

Hi again...
He died so I got new ones but now. Everything seemed to be fine. I got the guppies about 4 days ago, the tank has been cycled for a long time. The water has no ammonia or anything and i got new guppies and one died it has a really red gill and fat stomach some of the others have reddish gills and are a bit bloated; what should I do? :(
I'm scared this is going to wipe my whole tank out..
Thanks :(
<As Bob said before, farmed Guppies and Mollies are much less hardy nowadays that they were in the past (or are in the wild). Keeping in slightly brackish water, around a teaspoon of marine salt mix per 3-4 litres/1 US gallon makes a big difference. Obviously this won't suit other species, so choose tankmates accordingly (much to be said for keeping Guppies and Mollies in single-species set-ups). Mycobacterial infections seem ubiquitous; abdominal swelling, bloody sores on the flanks, and general emaciation/failure to thrive are common symptoms. Best advice: choose some other species if "easy to keep" matters to you… X-ray Tetras, Zebra Danios, Bronze Corydoras, Bristlenose Catfish all the fit the bill and can do well in tanks from 15 gallons upwards. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?   5/3/13

Hi Neale thanks for your fast reply, I dosed using PimaFix do you think it might save the rest?
<Wouldn't bank on it. Pimafix, Melafix, and other "herbal" cures are at best preventatives, and likely do little/nothing to cure established diseases. Some, like Bob, actually feel they cause more problems than they solve. In any event, Wasting-type diseases such as Mycobacteriosis are very difficult to cure even with real, medically-testing medications, let alone Pimafix, Melafix and the like. Better to understand the background to Wasting diseases (poor stock to begin with, and/or failures in care, such as overstocking, diet, wrong water chemistry). Then you can prevent or avoid the problem through better choices, planning and execution. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     5/4/13

Hi again Neale
<G'day Sarah,>
Yes I heard it is fairly weak in terms of a medication so I picked up some tetracycline today and some stress zyme in-case it puts my tank back into cycling. I also have prime to protect the fish from the ammonia if it does cycle again. I also have some stress coat too. Would that help to clear it up, should I dose it right now?
<I'd be leery of overmedicating. Do remember any/all medications tend to be poisons at some level (it's the dose that differentiates between "beneficial" and "lethal") and the interactions between any two medications is virtually never tested, so what happens when you mix medications is unpredictable. If a fish is basically okay, feeding and responding to the medication you're using, I'd recommend finishing off that course of medication (as described by the manufacturer) before switching to another course of medications, and even then, I'd wait a few days between them to see if the fish is recovering under its own steam anyway. With all this said, Tetracycline is an antibiotic and should be tolerably safe, though its effects on the filter bacteria may be undesirable (it does, after all, kill bacteria) and Stress Coat is pretty mild stuff, not really a medication so much as "ointment" for fish like you'd rub onto a child's cut or graze, and about as useful (i.e., you wouldn't use an ointment to deal with gangrene or tuberculosis!). Prime is a water conditioner rather than a medication, and should be safe to use during all water changes.>
Also tomorrow I have to go down to the place where I got the fish with a water sample to prove the water quality is all right. Would adding the tetracycline cause an immediate ammonia spike?
It says on the bottle if it is used for a while it will cause it, so it won't cause it immediately?
<It's really difficult to predict, but yes, it can (though often doesn't) kill filter bacteria, so act/plan accordingly. If you have another aquarium then chances are you can take some live filter media from that tank's filter and put in into the filter in this aquarium, assuming the two filters are more or less compatible. Alternatively, have some zeolite ("ammonia remover" filter media) to hand and stuff into a simple box or canister filter, and use this during the period of medication. Generally, be prepared to replace this every 2-3 days, depending on the amount used and the messiness of the fish being treated.>
Just wondering since the place I got the fish obviously wouldn't refund if I have ammonia (even if caused by antibiotics, probably).
<Understandable, they'd go out of business if they did! Seriously, nine-tenths of the premature fish deaths in the hobby are caused by poor water quality.>
The fish are still all alive, they don't look like they are 'dying' per say. But then again neither did the other guppy that died. Particularly.
<Quite so.>
Thanks again Neale
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     5/5/13
Thanks for your reply Neale,
I added tetracycline yesterday and been treating with prime incase the ammonia rises.
<Ah, do understand that Prime will do little/nothing to prevent ammonia poisoning. Big source of confusion here among aquarists. Prime (and other "ammonia removers") neutralise ammonia in tap water, either directly or via the breakdown of chloramine to chlorine + ammonia. What Prime and others don't do is neutralise ammonia produced in real time by respiring, excreting aquarium fish. May have some slight positive benefit I suppose in the hours after a water change, but the Prime is otherwise used up, metabolised by the filter bacteria.>
It hasn't so far even though when I took it to the store i got it from, they said i had ammonia. I actually bought a new test kit and tested and compared it with tap water and it was identical so they must have contaminated their sample by not washing the tube out properly.
<Or your tap water contains ammonia and/or chloramine; I find nitrite test kits infinitely more useful, being less likely to report false positives (from the chloramine). Ammonia is, of course, toxic whether it comes from the tap water or your fish, but most modern water conditioners neutralise tap water ammonia; what's added subsequently by your fish is where your filter steps in and earns its keep.>
I am kind of worried that the ammonia will rise too high to be treated with prime, since it only detoxifies like 1ppm.
I don't want to mess with the filter though so is there anything else I could do /add that will make it lower?
<Filtering through zeolite is the best, in fact only way to reliably remove ammonia without using bacteria. Everything else is just a waste of money.>
I added beneficial bacteria to help (stress zyme) and a little of stress coat. None have died, which is good
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     5/21/13

Hi again Neale
I cured that guppy.
<Well done!>
A lot has happened since the last email, 5 fish were looking bad including the one I cured which showed some signs of something wrong. Signs: Odd coloration/goldishwhiteness, random holes in fins, fin rot and splits, extra respiration and some reddened gills, lethargicness
<Ah, yes, does sound bad… in the case of Guppies, do check water chemistry (should be hard and alkaline -- 10+ degrees dH, pH 7-8); up the temperature (to around 26-28 C); add a little salt if possible (1 teaspoon per US gallon is a good start). These will perk up Guppies if they're merely unhappy with ambient conditions. It's also a good idea to think about opportunistic bacterial infections, some of which are treatable.>
So surprisingly I gave the fish to the fish 'expert' guy where I got them from and basically he said they would live. I said they need treatment asap or they will die. Anyway I followed up a week later and he told me they ALL died except one.
Now 3 in my tank were looking odd, 2 with all those symptoms and 1 with just some. I took them into a quarantine tank and have been battling to keep the ammonia under check and treat. Needless to say the Tetracycline treatment didn't work, well at least not on these. Ich treatment didn't work. I am starting to think it is Columnaris disease and I am going to get Methylene blue or potassium permanganate tomorrow to do a bath with them. How do I do this exactly? how much parts water to how much parts of one or the other? and for how long?
<I would recommend neither medication. Methylene Blue is a mild anti-fungal more than anything else; it's used in breeding tanks for example to keep eggs from going mouldy. Problem is that Columnaris isn't a fungus. As for Potassium Permanganate, it's toxic stuff, nasty to you, your fish and your filter.>
They are all looking slow and bad, one has been going through periods of corkscrewing, i tried the pea method but it doesn't seem to be working… I really don't think these guys have much time left at all. So tomorrow fingers crossed I can get that stuff I can give it a try. Hopefully that doesn't mean sacrificing a uni lecture. Its either that or waiting till after 10pm to treat them...
<I'd review water conditions as outlined above, and then use a broad spectrum antibiotic, such as the classic Maracyn 1 and 2 combination. As ever, give your aquarium a decent clean and water change before using it, and then remove carbon from the filter (if used).>
So really hope they hold out. My loaches have been swimming around a lot and respirating more than usual.
<These definitely wouldn't like the Potassium Permanganate!>
Had a big disaster in the morning where the tank temperature plummeted to 13 degrees Celsius because someone fiddled with the power point but it got back up slowly and they seem to be ok but I'm worried they might have it. If they do, how can I treat them in the main tank?
<Loaches should perk back from brief exposure to chilling without any further medication.>
Thanks so much ah I hope they all live
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     5/21/13

Thanks for your fast reply Neale
Unfortunately I hadn't got your email yet and was desperate to try something on my fish so I got the permanganate and did it in a bucket. They still don't look good and obviously didn't like the potassium permanganate bath.
<I bet.>
Thing is I don't know if I can get Maracyn in Australia. If this doesn't work, and they are still alive I will try it.
<Maracyn is only sold in the US over the counter… in most other countries antibiotics are prescription only. A vet can supply equivalents -- Maracyn 1 is Erythromycin, Maracyn 2 is Minocycline. But there are often non-antibiotic antibacterial medications sold as alternatives. Here in the UK, a typical product is eSHa 2000 that works well against external bacterial infections. Do consult your local retailer, and ask for good quality anti-Finrot medications if the problem is with the fins, scales or skin; avoid products based on tea-tree oil and suchlike as these tend to better used to prevent infections than to treat acute infections.>
I also called the fish guy at the pet shop back up to tell him what is going on and ask about my fish and he said it died too... Said it was looking fine then just died... hmm. Good news is the guppies in my main tank look ok so far. One a tiny bit fat though, loaches are fine and back to their hiding selves. My water is relatively hard. I don't know about salt, the pet shop guy put salt in with the others and they all died so hmm.
<In and of itself, salt, if used correctly, will NEVER do your Guppies harm; Guppies positively thrive in low-end brackish conditions! Something like 5-6 grams per litre of marine salt mix in a freshwater aquarium creates low-end brackish conditions than Guppies (and Mollies) adore, often doing better than in freshwater conditions. Loaches, on the other hand, dislike saline conditions, so should not be exposed to such conditions.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?    6/29/13

Hi again Neale,
now for an update, 2 of the guppies died and one actually lived and is now fully healed in my 55 gallon aquarium.
5 total guppies lived out of the 14 i had,
<Sadly not uncommon with Guppies these days.>
and my shark and all my Kuhlis lived and my peppermint Pleco.
<I see.>
I believe they had an internal parasite, since they are all ok now (no more deaths) after i dipped the 5 guppies in potassium permanganate then a bit later treated the whole aquarium with Praziquantel for 2 weeks. One does have a split in his fin, so i believe there may still be a mild bacterial infection (fin rot) in the tank. Im wondering how should I treat that? and should i treat the whole aquarium? or just the individual?
<Either. Any good Finrot remedy can be used; most are safe with filter bacteria but check the packaging. Treating in a hospital tank is fine because Finrot isn't "catchy" so you don't need to treat all the fish.>
also one of the other guppies has slight light patches in spots of his tail, not sure what it is? any ideas on how to treat?
<Would treat as incipient Finrot and act accordingly.>
I have now unfortunately gotten myself involved in my boyfriends mothers problems with her fish tank. The filter stopped working and she just left it for i don't know how long, without a filter. I went over his house and saw the fish and it is very swollen and has cloudy eyes (it is a cichlid or ram) and doesn't move much, it just was kind of staying somewhat tilted
near the glass. So after some instruction, i got my boyfriend to change 100% of the water and order a hang over filter which should be on its way.
He also added some Epsom salt. But now I don't know how the fish can be treated and how we can do so cheaply, because his mum doesn't have much money and well basically would rather ignore it and wait till it dies then shove a bunch of new fish in. Which i am against.
<I bet.>
So anyway I really think it has some kind of bacterial infection and maybe internal parasites but I'm not sure how to treat it. Praziquantel
<Specifically treats worms, nothing else, so not much use for most internal parasites.>
and just a broad spectrum antibiotic? or tetracycline?
<Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, but no antibiotic treats all bacterial infections. Without information on what's in the tank, the water chemistry, the sickly species involved, and ideally a photo, it's hard to recommend anything specific. Would assume it's an opportunistic bacterial infection (like Finrot) and treat thusly.>
Also the tank is not cycled so what can be put in/done to make sure there is no ammonia?
<You can't "add" anything to a tank to make ammonia go away. Zeolite may be used in lieu of biological filtration, but you need a fair amount, and it needs to be replaced every few days (hence zeolite is primarily of use with small fish and/or short-term situations like hospital tanks).>
I don't think large water changes can be an option because there would be medication in there and it would need to be topped up every time right?
<If you need to medicate (say) 8 PM one day, but do a daily water change 7:30 PM, then you should be fine. Most medications work for about a day before being completely absorbed and metabolised by the filter bacteria and others, so provided you leave the medication in there for 23 hours or so, daily water changes aren't a major problem.>
It's a tricky situation, also the tank is about 30 gallons.
Thanks Neale :)
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?    6/29/13
awwwe don't worry about the last part of the previous message, the cichlid/ram died how sad :(
it didn't even get to receive medication yet how could that family not notice its condition -.-
<Too bad. Yes, it's often a wonder why people get pets when their desire to maintain them is minimal. Let's hope the Boyf. appreciates your better intentions and experiences. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies dying after gravel clean     2/18/13
Hi crew,
I've have a well planted 2ft tank that has a LOT of guppies, a yoyo loach & a Siamese flying fox.
<... this may be "the butler... who "did it"">

I say "a lot" because I would have no idea how many - easily over 50, although I did just recently sell off approx 30.
The tank has been in this state for at least 3yrs - usually with more guppies hence selling them off because I was starting to get concerned about inbreeding and was intending to introduce some new stock.  Over the 3 years, the death rate has been negligible - the odd one every month or two but I know my guppies well & recognised them as my older ones.
I have a master test kit and my water parameters have always been very consistent - pH 7.5, ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate 5.
<Good thus far>
About 3 weeks ago, I added some new subwassertang.
<Pellia, a Liverwort; shouldn't be a problem>
 I usually dip any new plants into a bleach solution before introducing them into my tank but I forgot with this one. Since then my guppies have been dying off, like 2-5 a day.  This morning, there were 7 casualties.  One minute they look fine, the next minute, they're dead. 
The biggest indication I get is that one or two may probably be resting on top of the floating plants so I move them to a quarantine tank to find them dead later in the day. 
I noticed one or 2 fish doing a tiny bit of flashing so I upped the temp to 30 degrees and added salt which seemed to stop this.  But still they kept dying so I treated with Meth Blue as well which made no difference.
<Mmm, no; not a very strong treatment for most anything>
  I've been doing about 2-3 water changes a week (25%) & when I tested my water this morning, it was pH 7.5 pH, nitrite 0, nitrate 5 and a slight bit of ammonia (approx 0.1 or 0.15).
 I'm assuming the slight spike in ammonia is from the dead fish
which I clear out as soon as I see them.  I've also searched in the driftwood caves and through the plants in case there were some I missed.
<I would take out the driftwood for now... There have been no recent fish additions?>
The only other possibility is that, about the time they started dying, I did a big gravel clean which stirred up a lot of mulm. Since my water parameters seem ok (except for the ammonia which I'll get down with a few more water changes), I can't understand why they keep dying.  I just found 2 more guppies resting on top of the floating plants so I've moved them into the medicated quarantine tank. One strange thing I noticed is that the dead fish look really ragged - this only happens after they die. 
<After, not appearing like this before?>
They didn't look like that before. Not sure if it's because the other guppies are picking at them as dessert!  At first the deaths seemed that it was affecting mainly the females (95%) but now the males are dying too so that may just be coincidental. BTW, the yoyo & flying fox seem totally happy & unconcerned.
<Mmm... the Epalzeorhynchos...>
Hope you can help otherwise I'm resigned to expecting all my guppies to eventually die.  There are probably about 20 left.  If this does happen (aaargh!), is there any way I can make sure that the tank is completely uninfected before I start up a new community?  I really don't want to rip out all my plants & start again from scratch.  I had to do that 3 years ago when a bad case of Ich decimated my guppy colony even after I'd quarantined the new guppy (obviously not well or long enough) hence the inbreeding this time round from fear of adding the unknown!  I would really like to avoid that if possible.  Would I have to move the yoyo & flying fox to a new tank so all possible hosts are taken out of the equation?  Not sure what to do when I don't even know what's killing them :-(
<I'd remove the Flying Fox... have seen quite a few occasions where this species developed a taste for its tankmates... Safe/compatible w/ larger fishes, not w/ easygoing ones like guppies. Try taking it out and see. Bob Fenner>
Re: Guppies dying after gravel clean    2/19/13

Hi Bob,
>Hey Lynn>
Thanks for the speedy reply.
If my algae eater is indeed hiding an alter-ego of a guppy mass-murderer, I'll be taking your advice & rehoming him.
But I'm a bit baffled as he does seem the most peaceful little fella, usually sharing his algae wafers with the frantic piranha-like guppies.
So I looked up the differences between flying foxes & SAE as there seems to be a lot of confusion out there about which is which.
<Yes; has been for years>
The guy I bought it from called it a Siamese Flying Fox but after comparing pictures online, I can see that it's a Siamese Algae eater, /Crossocheilus siamensis.
/Now these guys are peaceful, right?
<Ah yes; they are>
 Can I take the butler tag off him or should I keep an eye on him at night?
<The former.>
He seems friendly & unperturbed around the guppies during the day but maybe he's doing a Jekyll/Hyde at night!
The good news is there were no casualties last night so hopefully (1) I manage to eradicate whatever was affecting the guppies, or (2) the SAE has reduced the guppy numbers to what he finds acceptable.
I've taken note of what you say about the Meth Blue and frankly, am quite happy to see the back of that messy thing!
Is there any broad spectrum medication you recommend over others? 
What's your opinion on triple sulfa?
<Am not a fan of using any medication unless there is good (known, calculably good chance of use); and do like some antibiotics, antimicrobials over others for particular applications. Oh, and still a backer of sulfa drugs>
You also mention taking out the driftwood. Could you explain why?
<It may indirectly be a source of the transient ammonia...>
It's kinda covered in plants so I'd have to find something large enough to house it if I do.
<Mmm, well; t'were it me/mine, and as you state the anomalous losses have stopped... I'd do naught for now. BobF> 

New Guppies dying, not sure which medication to use     1/16/13
Hello, I am sorry to have to email, but I am not sure what course of action to take next.
We bought 8 guppies (and some danios) 3 weeks ago and now have 3 left, but they seem to be suffering both hemorrhagic septicaemia and fungal infections/fin rot, the problem is the fungal/fin rot medication says I cannot use it with other medications, and since those problems started first I am already using this in the tank.
The details:
We just moved into our first house so were able to buy a much better home for our platys and danios (housed in a 23 l Fluval edge that they outgrew, but which was perfect sized for our rented flat). We bought a 180 l Juwel Rio.
We set up the Rio on 8 Dec 2012 (with cold water from hose) and left the heater to bring the water to room temp overnight and the filter to clear up the water before buying 6 plants to add the next day (2 spiral grasses, 3 Amazon swords and 1 Bacopa caroliniana [I think]) and adding 6 pieces of aquarium driftwood (from the LFS soaked for an hour). In the middle of the week I added another 3 plants (including another spiral grass and 1 elodea).
<The last may be a coldwater (not tropical) species>
At the weekend (tank 1 week running) we fetched the old tank and our fish from the parents (who had not changed the water in the 2 months they had it and at that point we learned we had lost the bully Danio) and added all the old substrate into the tank, added the old filter material to the 1 week-old Rio filter, moved the decorations and the old plants into the tank and then acclimatised our fish (4 female platies and now 3 zebra danios).
Over the next week we kept an eye on our fish and all seemed well, so I went to the LFS to stock our Danio numbers back to 6+ to calm them down a bit and make them school/shoal. I chose 2 pearls and another leopard, golden and 1 longfinned zebra fish (although another sneaked into the bag).
Whilst I was there my partner fancied some guppies so we ended up with 2 males and 6 females.
<... this, is/was your highly likely source of trouble. The non-quarantined, probably sick Guppies>
 I was told water parameters at this time were perfect, and I specifically asked for the pH in case the driftwood was making the water too acidic and was shown this was 7.4
At home we raised the temperature of the tank to 24 C to suit the guppies, acclimatised the fish and released them. Strangely the guppies and danios seemed to school together in 2 mixed groups, apart from the free longfinned zebra who was a loner (the one I had chosen was the bully of the tank, but also smaller than all our fish). The next morning he was schooling with the others though.
I tried to keep an eye on the fish but it was hard with Christmas and a house-load of guests. The tiny free Danio started hanging on his own again, and then he stopped eating, so at the next feeding I was going to catch him to ensure he could get some food and perhaps take him back to the shop, but I never saw him again :(
New Year's eve we'd had the fish 10 days and after being unable to find the Danio I checked the health of the other fish and noticed one males tail looked a bit shorter, the noticed I couldn't see the 2nd male, and found him in perfect condition trapped by gravel that had moved under a decoration - I think he died from the stress of being trapped. I was concerned about the 2nd male but had guests so couldn't do anything.
The next day I tried watching to see if he was being nipped by the danios but couldn't see any aggression, and as the day progressed I started to notice that the scales in front of his dorsal fin looked raised and he appeared to have fungus on his lips. Another 2 females appeared to have fungus on their lips, another seemed to be covered along the dorsal side from head to dorsal fin (not including fin or lips), and a fourth had a few spots of fungus.
I scrubbed the old tank clean and started setting it up to use as a hospital tank but it cracked when half full, so as the shops were shut I decided to give these fish a 5 minute salt dip. First 3 the lightly affected females, then replaced with the male and heavily fungused female. The first 3 swam the entire time they were in the pan, whilst the male hardly moved and the bad female jumped out twice immediately. When back in the tank (now slightly salted with API aquarium salt) all seemed fine - the lip fungus was almost clear, the heavily fungused female looked normal, but the one who had only a few specks stopped swimming and eating and stayed 1 inch below the surface. She didn't eat the next day but went into labour, the first seemed to take her 30 min.s to get out completely, then she ate, then over the next few days she had the rest but didn't eat and kept hiding. Suddenly she disappeared but I never saw anything wrong with her.
The males tail kept getting slowly worse although his scales got better so I added 'Love Fish Anti Fungus and Fin Rot' (only one stocked at LFS) to the tank, and slowly increased the salt level to the 1 tablespoon per 20 l.
Next another fish started getting what looked like creamy worms sticking out of her sides (maybe pus or raised scales) which then became red at the base after a few days looking like septicaemia in humans, her tail started to slowly rot and her side fin was slightly frayed where the creamy/red bit was. She gave birth during this time (again over several days) but died before having them all.
At the weekend with no more visitors and the tank having been set up 4 weeks (fish with enough bacteria for 3 weeks, new fish for 2 weeks) and I decided it was time for a water change and thorough tank cleaning. I changed 30 %. 2 days later I cam home from work and a female who had been healthy at the morning check had only half a tail and all fins were frayed.
I added the salt I hadn't replaced at the weekend. The next morning she had no tail and I was scared I had caused an ammonia spike by over-cleaning the tank and filter and by over-feeding trying to get the male to eat. When I came home I therefore did another 30 % water change (but the filter wool was brown and slimy again), but the next morning I found her immediately nipped by a Danio when I flushed her out to check she was still alive. I bought water testing kits when I could and tested my water: nothing wrong (see below) but unsurprisingly lost this female and the male (found the male first). When I found the (heavily pregnant) female she was covered in a hairy white mould: is this normal ?? ( - she had lost all colour - perhaps had been dead >24 hours?)
<Not normal... this all reads as symptomatic of Chondrococcus/Columnaris... see WWM, the Net, books re>
Now the 2 healthiest females are showing symptoms. The first started getting the creamy/raised scale things, and has slowly been developing the red dots (including on her lips). They both looked like they had septicaemia, but one cleared up whilst the other got worse. She is now hiding, and her tails seems to be splitting along the rays in the centre and has a white ?fungus? speck on her tail, and she seems to not want to fight for food, although she tries. She has also just given birth.
The female that had the cleared-up red dots and the one which had lots of fungus seem to be fine, but are both coming close to giving birth.
Should I continue treating for fin rot/fungus or move onto anti-internal bacteria to treat the septicaemia [I can't do both at once :(  ].
<See where you've been referred. Only certain antibiotics have proven of use here>
Are these just weak guppies from the store (all my fish and the new danios seem healthy), and if so, will their fry survive or will they also overcome by being genetically weak? They are growing fast, eating the flakes and are bravely teasing the danios.
<The fry may survive>
Could an issue be that the tropical fish flakes ran out and we moved onto some goldfish flakes the parents bought?
<Not likely though perhaps a small contributing cause>
Could the haemorrhaging be bruising from the danios/platys attacking the guppies: I haven't seen much inter-species aggression and the guppies seem fast enough to out-run the danios, but usually just school with them.
<Could be also a factor>
Thanks for any help and sorry this is so long.
Water quality (4 days after the 2nd 30 % water change in 1 week).
Ammonia < 0.1 mg/l (although my water is slightly yellow from the driftwood, so this could be 0)
Nitrites < 1 mg/l
<... the two above are toxic in any measurable quantity. Need to be 0.0.

See WWM re>
Nitrates < 10 mg/l
Chlorine < 0.8 mg/l
<Likely, hopefully chloride; not 'ine>
pH - 7
KH - 8 d
GH >= 16 d (max of scale)
<Bob Fenner>

Female guppy acting strange ? Sys.      1/12/13
Hi there , my one female guppy is acting really strangely and in really worried about her ! My tank has had fish in it for about a month and was fully cycled , its a Dymax  IQ3 and had 7 guppies ,
<The Dymax IQ3 contains around 8 litres or 2 US gallons, not nearly enough for even one Guppy, let alone seven! Consider the Dymax IQ3 a "toy" aquarium rather than a real aquarium. Some fun can be had stocking with plants and shrimps, but that's about it. Even a Betta doesn't make much sense in a tank this small.>
3 of which jumped out of the tank after a week since I had no lid,
<As I say, this tank isn't designed for fish.>
and one that was returned due to being a bully. I got 3 more guppies so my tank now holds 6, 4 males and 1 female (who was an accident (supposed to be male)) and a baby.
<Stop adding fish.>
My males were mating with her a couple weeks ago and then like a week after that she started to stay in one corner facing the same direction all day and then she keeps her fins tightly clamped against her (the anal and other fin at the top) she also appears to have red gills and a whole in the middle of her tail (not like a rip but like a whole) and she seems to have a lighter bulge just underneath her gravid spot (which has darkened since her mating) and she doest eat and only swims away when the males come up to her but then returns to her corner at the top ?but all the other fish seem to be perfectly fine and eating , swimming around , interacting etc ? Any help and advice as to what to do ? (PS I apologies in advance for spelling errors and etc as I'm only 14) looking forward to your feedback
<Kyra, the problem here is the aquarium. Have a read here:
Guppies aren't especially demanding, but they do need at least 10 gallons, and males WILL bully females given the chance. When stressed, Guppies are very prone to opportunistic infections including Mycobacteria infections (note that Mycobacteria infections are untreatable and invariably fatal) as well as treatable issues such as Finrot and Fungus. Review what you're doing, upgrade your aquarium, ensure a ratio of not less than 2 females per male, and stock the tank with lots of floating plants. Ensure the water is hard and alkaline, and maintained at around 25 C/77 F. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies hiding - 12/14/12
I cant seem to find anything on the internet about this... my guppies hide up at the top of the tank and by the heater and the filter the tank is plenty warm for them and the three tetra Neons I have in with them.
<Both species prefer different pH and hardness, guppies being alkaline and hard, Neons acidic and soft.>
I have had fish off and on my whole life but have never seen this. It would be muchly appreciated if you could help me with this as its starting to worry me as they have done this since I got them on Dec 2 but they swim at times but mostly they are at the top and hide by the heater and the filter that has me a bit worried.
<They are stressed for some reason, but more information is needed.
Temperature, pH, hardness, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels would be a good start.>
Thanks a lot for the help in advance
<Can help more with that information. - Rick>
Aislon Burnam-Sheets 
Re: Guppies hiding - 12/14/12

ok what do I need to check on the different pH and temps and hardness, and nitrates, and ammonia levels?
<Test strips can do the basic tests quickly but not necessarily accurately.  A good liquid test kit is best and will set you back about $35 in the US. It will last a long time, though.  That will give you the ability to test all those properties regularly and more accurately. Be sure to follow directions exactly as some tests need thorough shaking and/or a wait period before reading the results.>
tonight after I left the email they seem to be acting like they would under normal situations....<encouraging.>I know last night after I cleaned the tank and put the solution <solution?>in it and then put water and the heater and filter back in they were hiding up there but then tonight they seem to be ok...but will test the water and stuff as soon as I can to make sure I don’t lose my fish I love them lots as the guppies are the cobras and they are awesome colors.
<Hopefully they are settling in.  The water change seemed to help, so maybe you diluted or eliminated something there.>

Female Guppy issues -     11/21/12
Dear WetWebMedia,
<Hi, Simona!>
About a month ago, I wrote to you as my female guppy, Missy, had some sort of discoloration from her silver-ish patter on the lower part of her belly and you could see through that transparent bit her red eggs she has in the belly. You advised she might be pregnant. Now, that region is gone dark and she spends all her time at the bottom. She used to feed eagerly and come up to the top swimming happily and now it's just like she is stuck at the bottom, she just shakes there and stays in the same spot, semi hidden most of the time. Is she labouring?
<This is very possible.>
What can we do to help?
<Maintain perfect water quality - 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, less than 20ppm Nitrate - with appropriate water changes.  Provide lots of cover (floating plants are great) for the female to hide in, or optionally remove her to her own tank if you wish.  She needs to feel safe, so lots and lots of places to hide is key.>
We bought algae based flakes and are alternating those with the normal flakes. The male is always next to her but come up when called for feeding (we signal feeding by tapping the tank!).
<This all sounds good.>
What can we do, I wouldn't want to cannot make the labour, if this is what the issue is!
<Other than making conditions optimal for her, there's not much you can do but observe and wait.  With luck, she'll have a good delivery and you'll see some baby guppies soon!  Do be aware, if you do not remove the babies as they show up, they will be eaten by the adults, so if you want to keep some of them, either remove them to their own tank to grow up in, or provide tons and tons of plants for them to hide in.>
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
<Seems to me like you're doing well thus far.>
Thank you very much in advance for your time and help.
<Always glad to help.>
Kindest regards,
<Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Female Guppy issues, continued -   11/21/12

Dear Sabrina,
<Hi again, Simona!>
We need help ASAP, PLEASE!
<I just figured out how to make the webmail system we use work reliably on my phone....  doesn't make typing on it any easier though.  But here I am.>
Missy, laboured today 21 fry!!
<Nice!  There may be more yet to come.>
The male helped her while she swam vertically, biting her belly to let the babies out.
<Uhh, he's not helping her
....  More likely he's discovered that she's releasing snacks into the water, sort of a guppy vending machine....  If he isn't leaving her alone and she can't get away reliably, best to either move her into a tank by herself or separate the two some other way.  You can even use plastic needlepoint mesh like you might get at a craft store as a makeshift divider.>
HOWEVER, five hours have passed and she still looks like she may have one or two fry inside her belly (there is still some darkness),
<Not surprising.  This can take hours, maybe even the better part of a day or two.>
so she is still vertical, trying to hold on to plants and the male still around her, but I'm worried those fry may be stuck or dead
<Likely she's trying to hold on until she instinctively feels the fry will be safe/r....  With the male constantly harrying her to drop more "snacks", she will be likely to hold out longer, get more stressed....>
AND IT'S PARAMOUNT SHE SURVIVES. We are not fish breeder, we love our Miss, she did great, laboured 21 babies, now we WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO SAVE HER...
<Get her some peace from the male.  She's done great so far, and will probably continue to do great - IF she can do what she needs to do in safety and comfort.>
please, any advice would be hugely appreciated.
<Take some deep breaths!  Likely she'll be fine, and likely you will, too. 
Guppies give birth, this is natural....  Nature is being nature, Life is being life, new lives are coming into the world, right before your eyes.>
Thanks, Simona
<Best wishes to you and your fishes this Thanksgiving week! 
Female Guppy issues, continued - 11/25/2012

Thank you so much for the advice. So, we removed the male for a couple of days. Just put him back today. We counted more than 25 fry at the end.
Missy is not well. She cannot swim properly, she breaths heavily, swims vertically and her belly skin looks very loose.
<Some of this may be just recovering from her first pregnancy, some perhaps from the harassment from the male....  The loose belly skin is normal after giving birth.>
I really don't know what to do to help her... I can take the male out again, no problem,
<Definitely do so.  Sounds like she's having a very hard time recovering. 
The male is going to be constantly pestering her.  She needs to be as safe and comfortable as possible right now.>
but she has plenty of hiding places.
<Very good, but even better if it's impossible for the male to mess with her at all right now (by removing him to a separate tank or dividing the existing tank).>
The issue is that she cannot swim, she rests on the bottom or hanging on the plants all the time, what can I do?
<Give her time, and hope.  There's not much else to be done for her right now, aside from letting her rest.>
Please, help! I have read it might be a bladder issue,
<Though resting on the bottom can be an indicator that there's trouble with the swim bladder, that's not always the case.  In Missy's case, she's just given birth, and has a slightly aggressive male to contend with.  There may have been complications or damage from the pregnancy, or maybe she really does just need rest.  The only thing to do right now is make her safe and comfy, and hope.  With luck, in your good care she will come around.  My fingers are crossed.>
I am alternating standard flakes with algae-based flakes, so that should be OK??
<Yes.  If she is eating, that is an excellent sign.>
I am just so worried about her!
<I do understand.  Just give her time, be patient, and hope.>
PS. I also don't know what to feed the fry, I have been giving them just the algae-based flakes...not sure that's good...
<Sure.  Livebearer fry, for the most part, are easy to feed.  Just crumble the flakes to a fine powder between your finger and thumb and sprinkle it in, or even sink some if needed.  They should do fine.  You can expect for some of the fry to be eaten by the adults, and some to just fail to thrive, but I expect you'll have a few squeak by.  If you keep them separate from the adults, you might have all of them live and grow up.  Won't that be great?  Life is so beautiful.>

Guppy with possible fin rot... Uncycled system... for obvious reasons, iatrogenic troubles     11/17/12
Back again!!!  Sorry to bother you once again but I am at my wits end with my tank!  I have a 26 gallon tank running two filters, one is the one that came with the tank and I added a second for a ten gallon just to add surface for good bacteria.  It has one tower decoration, one pirate ship and one treasure chest, all bought at PetSmart, two Marimo( may not be spelling this right) balls and four fake plants with what I felt were soft leaves.  I had done a fishless cycle that was removing ammonia and nitrites quickly using pure ammonia and so I did a large water change and added 4 male sunrise tequila guppies.  I was having nitrite issues after that but never ammonia issues so I do water changes almost every other day and use Prime and water conditioner every time but to no avail!
<This situation, establishing nitrification, just takes time... I'd remove the guppies to a cycled system, add some food to the cycling system and wait, test every few days... till NO2 was gone, there was accumulating NO3>
  Still having them. In the mean time I acquired two Mickey Mouse Platys.
<? You're compounding the problem by adding more biota>
 Still doing 30 percent water changes, vacuuming the gravel
<Don't do this... you're forestalling the establishment of nutrient cycling>
and using Prime but no luck.
<The use of Prime won't help either...>
  It's been two months and now for the main reason I am writing. One of my guppies top fin looks ragged with white tips and I know water conditions can bring on fin rot but I also believe he may have been bullied a little although most of the time they seem to get along.  Then tonight maybe it's paranoia but on of my platys looks kind white and maybe it's eyes look a little buggy  so I ran out and got Maracyn 2 because the booklet said if she showed a decrease in movement it was the one I should choose. I am too afraid to set up a hospital tank and am afraid to break down my main tank for fear I will be starting over the cycling process, not that I have ever really completed it anyway.  What am I doing wrong and how in God's name do I proceed from here?
<Your situation is so very common... and fixable... Review here:
and the linked files above... Best, as stated above, to remove the fishes here... add some food... and just let time go by>
  I'm so frustrated!  By the way, tank temp is at 82 and have floated frozen water bottles to cool it down to no avail, which may be good since I have this bacteria but will invest in a chiller if I don't give up all together soon.  I love them and  don't want to have them suffer so any suggestions would be gravely appreciated!  Thanks!
<Don't panic, or get too bummed... Time will solve this issue assuredly.
Bob Fenner> 

Guppy stress or disease??    11/8/12
Hello Crew! Thanks in advance for reviewing this...I have a 20 gallon long up and running now since August 1st. Since cycling completed I have slowly added the residents in the tank. Currently I have 5 zebra Danios, (had 6 but one mysteriously died while we were away for 7 days) one ADF, ghost and cherries and a zebra Nerite snail. The tank has driftwood and a lot of plants, 2 big Amazon swords, flame moss, hair grass, Amazon frog bit and some weed that came with my snail that is growing like, well-like a weed. There are plants on the bottom middle and top of the tank. The temp is 76, ammonia-0, nitrites-0, nitrates-5, and ph is reading at the top of the chart at 7.6.
<All sounds good.>
I purchased 2 fancy guppies. I specifically chose 2 males with smaller tails to reduce the temptation for the Danios just in case.
<Good luck on that… seriously, the Danio/Guppy combination, though it sometimes works, isn't reliable.>
I quarantined them for 2 weeks in a smaller tank and all was well. Yesterday I acclimated them over the period of an hour to the bigger tank. Other than some initial chasing by the Danios, they did fine.
The Danios only seem to chase each other but will only occasionally chase a guppy. It swims away and everything is fine. I just looked for the yellow guppy and he was sitting on the bottom. He did this for a few minutes then appeared to swim away and act normally. Then 30 minutes later he did it again, then swimming normally and so on. No one is bothering him and he shows no other signs of distress, trauma or illness. Is this stress?
<Could be. Or bullying. Or "one of those things". With Guppies, they sometimes suffer from developmental issues that mean their swim bladders don't grow properly, and such Guppies are known as "belly sliders". On the other hand, wasting disease or simple "failure to thrive" means that fish such as Guppies become steadily less active, and one manifestation is sitting on the bottom instead of swimming properly.>
I am not thrilled with the idea of putting him back in the quarantine tank because I don't want to stress him more after just moving him yesterday.
<I would leave him be for now.>
Should I leave him be and observe or handle it more proactively? Any advice is appreciated, am just unsure if this is an issue or not. Thanks so much, your team is amazing.
<Thanks for the kind words, Neale.>
Re: Guppy stress or disease??    11/8/12

Wow Neale! Thanks for a lightning quick response!
Well the update is that a few hours later both of the guppies were hiding behind the filter intake at the surface behind a plant so I suspect there is some bullying or at least intimidation going on, although I haven't seen it so could just be dirty looks, I don't know.
Anyhow, I fed them and they all came out to eat and are now swimming along merrily.
<Which does suggest something psychological rather than physical.>
As this is the first day I expect some acclimation issues, however, if this continues in the future is there something I can do to alleviate the intimidation?
<Not really. Turning lights off for a few hours during/after adding new fish helps of course. But that time has passed. With possibly aggressive fish like Danios, keeping more of them tends to reduce, even eliminate, any problems they cause towards other species of fish. So if you have fewer than six Danios, then up the school to 6-8 specimens.>
Would adding more guppies help or exacerbate the situation?
<Depends. If the Guppies are fighting each other, then yes, adding more can help. If you get females, then keep at least 2 females per male.>
To be honest the Danios are not my favorite so until I decide to rehome them I will have to deal with their temperament...love your site and your expertise is priceless!
<Thanks for the kind words.>
Sorry to bother you with guppy trivialities but I suppose if we were guppies it would seem much larger...thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Guppy failed pregnancy
Guppy Gravid? Disease? - 10/27/2012

Dear Crew,
<Hi, Pat. Sabrina with you tonight.>
One of my female guppies who became pregnant has not birthed. She is now showing signs of dropsy.
<Can you describe exactly what you're seeing? A photo would help a lot, if possible.>
I believe she is nearly 7 weeks since mating her with a male and she is very large.
<They can get quite impressively huge prior to giving birth. It may be that less time has passed since her eggs were fertilized, unless it's been 7 weeks since all contact with a male. The mating 7 weeks ago may have been unsuccessful and so perhaps she is gravid from a more recent mating.
Or perhaps the temperature is cooler, or for some other reason she's taking longer.... Here is a link to a pictorial essay on YouTube posted by user AquariumCamera that shows the progression from not gravid until ready to give birth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMU5wEsLX7w  As you can see, they can get really, really big.>
Should I perform euthanasia on her?
<I wouldn't, unless you are 100% certain that she has some irreversible disease and you suspect that she is suffering. Are you very, very certain that she is diseased and not just very heavy with fry?>
Will her babies have died?
<If she is in fact sick with something that would cause dropsical symptoms, then this is a possibility, yes.>
Kindest regards,
<To you as well.>
Re: Guppy failed pregnancy
Guppy Gravid? Disease? - II - 10/27/2012

Dear Sabrina
<Hi again, Pat.>
Many thanks for your reply.
<Glad to be of service.>
The guppy is extremely pine-coned and getting more so by the day.
<Ahh. I see.>
Her body has been in the square / box shape for three weeks (the same as previous females when they are about to birth that I have kept). She can only be 7 weeks on as I put her in with a male only for a few minutes and she lives with twelve of her sisters. I should have also said that she isn't such a young female and perhaps here lies the issue (perhaps 2 months old now). The tanks are kept around 23 degrees Celsius / fully planted / 3yrs settled and nitrite/ammonia free.
<All good.>
My main concern here is to prevent her from unnecessary suffering
<I do agree.>
(the usual sign for me is when they stop eating).
<I use this same rule of thumb with the fish at the lab in which I work - we have Nothobranchius furzeri, which have an extremely short lifespan, and so we do see fish "get old" and die very often. When they stop showing an interest in food is when I will euthanise them.>
Any advice would be appreciated.
<I would separate this fish from the rest of the tank, and keep it entirely isolated. There are some possible causes of dropsical symptoms that could be contagious - parasites, bacteria.... But if this fish is pretty old, it may just be a simple case of things "shutting down" - organ failure - due to old age. I would consider euthanising her if she ceases to have any interest in food, or if she seems to suffer. You will know far better than I, as you've had her and observed her.... You know what is "normal" for her, and what isn't. When you feel it's time, I believe you will be right. When a fish gets to the "pinecone" stage (scales sticking out from the body pinecone-fashion) there is rarely any chance of recovery. While she continues to eat and doesn't seem to suffer, I would just give her the best care she can have.>
<Best wishes to you, Pat. I'm sorry for your guppy, and I'm glad that she is in your excellent and observant care. -Sabrina>
Guppy Gravid?  Disease? - III - 10/29/2012

Dear Sabrina
<Hi again, Pat.>
Thank you so much. 
<Glad to be of service.>
All your advice is aligned with my own thoughts and indeed, she has been separated from the others for three weeks already. 
<Ahh.  Very good.>
I did have a young platy go the same way recently from the same tank (although a male of about 1 year).
<Possibly "old age", but do keep an eye on things.  If you see this happen again, there may be worse things at play.  Hopefully this second event is just coincidentally similar, which is not at all outside the realm of possibility.>
The rest of the tank family appear fine (about 12 female guppies and 10 male platies) so I am inclined to think that the platy was just genetically weak rather than any bacterial / parasitical issue. 
<Or old, or any number of things that could cause kidneys or liver to fail....  Any possibility of recent-ish toxic events?  Medications used, anything like that?  If definitely not, then yeah, I'd chalk this up to coincidence for now.>
I'll continue to monitor as you suggested and if she stops eating, do the clover and then vodka treatment.
<Clove oil, not clover *grin*.  One can euthanize with clove oil alone.  My own preference is MS-222 (Tricaine), which is less easily available in comparison to clove oil, but "better" in my experience.  If you do seek it out, just BE SURE to pH adjust AFTER mixing up the MS-222 solution as this anesthetic will lower the pH dramatically.  Sodium bicarbonate will do for raising the pH back to match the tank water.  General rule of thumb is to wait until 10 minutes after cessation of all opercular (gill) movement.  I wait an hour or more, just to be safe.>
All the best to you and your fantastic team!
<Thank you for your kindness, Pat, and thank you for doing your best for your guppy girl.>
<Best wishes to you,  -Sabrina>
Guppy Gravid?  Disease? - IV - 10/30/2012

Dear Sabrina
<Hello again, Pat!>
Just to update you.  I put our guppy down today as she had developed a rather large red bulge around her back fin/anus and the dropsy was quite full on.
<Sad to hear this....  my sympathies.>
She was nibbling at food but I sensed she wasn't going to recover
<I am sure I agree.>
and I think the dead babies may have been causing some internal problems (hence the nasty red lump that was extruding). 
<I do doubt that there were dead babies....  I think these would have passed.  I think it likelier that there were other, unfixable, problems, and I think you handled this entire issue as perfectly as possible.>
I think it was the most humane thing to do. 
<I agree.  Completely.>
I looked into MS-222 / Tricaine but it is only available on prescription. 
The clove oil and vodka did the trick. 
Thanks for all your support.
<I am sorry for this loss, but also know she could not have had better care.  Thank you for all you did.>
<Warm regards,  -Sabrina>

Two guppies dead. A third labouring. Cannot identify cause.    10/7/12
First, thank you for the time you take answering so many questions. You have helped me at least twice in the past, and I really appreciated your responses. Unfortunately, I have a new problem to ask you about. I have researched the situation, but it seems I may have two things going on and I don't want to take the wrong route. I would like to save my remaining fish, so I am hoping you will give me your thoughts.
<Will do my best.>
I have had a ten gallon planted freshwater tank for almost two years. The tank was quite stable over the summer with 4 cardinal tetras and a male fancy guppy. Three weeks ago, one of the tetras died (no apparent reason), and I thought to buy a few more fish.
<Maybe old age.>
I waited about 10 days and then went to the local fish store. I may then have received poor advice. I loved my guppy and thought I could get more. I didn't want females because I don't want to deal with fry, so I asked about getting just males. I was concerned about territoriality.
<Guppies aren't really all that territorial.>
The fish store employee said that with a ten gallon tank of my description, I could get three new male guppies. He said with four guppies in a planted tank, any bullying would be diffused among them.
<They should behave without females around. They keep males and females separated in store tanks. And with a decent amount of plants there are places to hide if necessary.>
So that is what I did. I also got two very small cherry shrimp. They all went into the tank and the next morning the shrimp were gone.
<No quarantine period. If the new fish brought an illness home with them, the fish already there are now at risk.>
I have had shrimp in the past with no difficulty, but maybe they were so small they were eaten?
<Or climbed out or hiding.>
The guppies seemed fine and I didn't notice any significant bullying or nipping. I watched quite closely.
About three days later, (about one week ago), I noticed that the resident guppy was labouring. He was close to the top of the water and swimming in a way that seemed slow and, well, laboured.
<How old was this fish?>
The next day, he was swimming vertically, head down. I started to research the problem, but had found no clear answer when I found him dead. I removed him right away.
Last night, I noticed a white cottony fungus on one of the three new guppies.
<Where was the substance? If around the mouth could be flavobacteria instead of fungus.>
It was my son's bedtime so I couldn't address the problem right away. But I read up and tested the water first thing in the morning. Ammonia 0 ppm. Nitrite O ppm. Nitrate somewhere below 5 ppm. (Hard to read the colour card). Ph 7.9-8.0. Temperature 79 degrees Celcius.
<pH is good for livebearers. Are you sure the temperature was 79 Celsius?
Probably Fahrenheit.>
I did a 50% water change. I thought maybe he had been nipped. I was all set to hit the fish store for anti-fungal medication, but he deteriorated fast.
(Lying on the gravel for seconds at a time. Swimming sideways.) Then he also died. I removed him immediately.
<What do you mean by swimming sideways? Shimmying in place or swimming with
the dorsal fin in the horizontal?>
Now I have just put my son to bed and damned if a second of the new guppies isn't labouring near the surface.
<How were these fish acclimated to their new home?>
The third looks fine, but I am not liking this trend. I don't trust the expertise at the LFS and am hoping you might weigh in.
The conditions are as stated above. Any thoughts on preventative action I might take to try to save the remaining fish? Please tell me if you need any more information.
<Any additional symptoms would be helpful, particularly if you see any kind of spots on the imports--that could be guppy disease. But, from what you describe I'm more inclined to lean toward bacterial infection as my first guess, possibly with a fungus in the mix, maybe other things too. If you kept the bodies, I would return the dead and the one or two that are still alive and walk away from that store if you don't trust it.
Since the tetras seem not to be impacted by this, once the guppies are out, I'd do another major water change and just monitor the tetras until you are certain everything is stable. Keep in mind that moving is a very stressful experience for a fish, and stress weakens the immune system and that allows whatever latent illnesses an opportunity to become active.>
As always, thank you for taking the time to read this.
<Hope this helps, if not, please follow up.>
Elisabeth in Canada
Re Two guppies dead. A third labouring. Cannot identify cause.    10/7/12
Thank you for you very fast reply! There is a question at the end of this message.
The additional information is as follows:
No I did not quarantine. I am in a tiny rowhouse and barely have room for the existing tank. I realize that this is not ideal.
<It's not ideal, to be sure. Not quarantining has its risks, as you are well aware.>
I don't know how old the resident guppy was. I suppose I had him for about 6-8 months. Who knows his age when I got him. So he may have died of old age (or old age made him more susceptible to something brought in with the new fish).
<Unless the guppy is born in your tank, there really is no way to know.>
The transition for the new fish was that I put the bag from the store in the water for fifteen minutes. Then I added some tank water and left for 5 minutes. Repeated. Then I put the fish into the tank with a net. I dumped the store water down the drain.
<Ah, good. Usually I will drain as much store water as possible after floating the bag so the tank water is not so dilute. I also usually put the fish into another container to prevent the bag from slipping into the tank.>
The white cottony substance was on the fish's back. Not anywhere near the mouth.
<Fungus is probably a good guess, though it may not be the only thing involved.>
You are obviously right - it is 79 Fahrenheit!
<Not fish soup then.>
The sideways swimming of the second fish (first new fish to go) was horizontal. Not side to side.
No spots on the new fish or any other symptoms that I can see.
I flushed the dead fish and I would return the other two to the LFS but it is 40 km.s away. It was actually a bit of an outing for the child to go there - an outing we will not be repeating!
<Ah yes, cut your losses.>
So here is the question:
I'd really like to try to save the remaining fish. Is there any reason I can't medicate for bacteria and fungus at the same time? I am game to try if it would not harm the tetras.
<Well, I would remove the guppies if possible before treating, but considering this is only a ten gallon tank, you can probably medicate in that tank. The tetras should be fine. I don't like to treat with cocktails, but considering the speed at which this is progressing, it might be worth a try.>
Thanks again. You guys are really wonderful!
UPDATE! Two guppies dead. A third labouring. Cannot identify cause.    10/7/12

Sorry about two emails in a row. Annoying. I reproduced our previous correspondence below as per your guidelines.
New information:
Aye! Having written the below, I went to turn the light on in the tank and the second new fish has a cottony growth around the gills (or gill?) on one side. He looks very unhappy. Does this new information help?
Considering how fast the others deteriorated, I worry that I don't have time to get to the LFS and back to medicate. It will take about 3 hours.
<Next time you stop in the LFS, I'd pick up a variety of treatments so you have them in the house.>
I don't want to euthanize, but will if it is necessary to protect the tank.
The remaining guppy looks fine, but god knows how long that will last. If you do recommend euthanizing, must I do the apparently healthy guppy as well in case it is also infected with whatever is killing them?
<I would get that ailing guppy out of the tank, that's the best way to protect the still healthy fish. I thought you already bought meds for fungus? With a cottony growth that advances that fast, fungus is the best candidate. If you don't have the meds, I'd try to gradually increase the salinity of the water as a long shot. Not in the main tank, mind you. The tetras couldn't handle brackish conditions, but if very gradually acclimated guppies easily can. This might slow the fungus enough to buy some time to get your hands on meds, but it has to be very gradual or the stress of that might make matters worse. It's worth a try before you decide to euthanize. I would leave the guppy without symptoms alone for now. If he survives the first two weeks, his chances for long term are greatly improved. I don't know your area, of course, but big department stores and sometimes feed stores sometimes carry the basic anti-fungus meds. How did you plan to go about euthanizing if necessary? Very controversial topic.>
Panicking somewhat, Elisabeth
<Don't panic. All of us lose fish. It's part of the learning curve and helps you to be a better fishkeeper in the future. - Rick>
UPDATE! Two guppies dead. A third labouring. Cannot identify cause.    10/7/12

Euthanasia: A drop into Isopropyl Alcohol. Quick and hopefully as painless as possible.
<I usually use clove oil and then pith once the fish is unconscious. -

female guppy disorder; env.  – 07/18/12
I have had my guppy tank (5 gal) for about 2 years and everything has been fine.
<Seems unlikely. Your aquarium is far too small for Guppies; needs to be three times larger (i.e., 15 gallons) at least.>
Recently, my female guppies get this condition where their belly gets constricted looking (making their gills look extra big) and they eventually die.
<Or another way of looking at it, the poor environmental conditions your aquarium eventually kills them.>
When the first one died I thought she was just old since nothing was going on with the rest. I have now lost 2 and my best female is showing signs of this now. The males are fine and thriving (and from looking for this condition found I have an improper male to female ratio now).
<Mixing males and females is bad enough if you don't outnumber the males at least 2 to 1 with females, but in a too-small aquarium, harassment from the males -- and continual pregnancies -- positively ensures early death. If you can imagine being the female of any animal species, being constantly pestered by males while also constantly being pregnant would be a stressful, difficult situation.>
So, I hope you can help me fix this so I don't just have a tank of males...thanks in advance. Shelley
<The quality of farmed Guppies is dismal. Mycobacteria infections are extremely common. Your best bet is to [a] set up an aquarium adequately large for them; [b] ensure the best water chemistry for the species, i.e., hard and alkaline; [c] cycle the filter before adding the Guppies, using a fishless method of your choice; and then [d] procure some good quality, locally-bred Guppies, e.g., from a tropical fish club in your area. Organisations like the American Livebearer Association are worth joining, and there are plenty of excellent books on livebearers as well. Cheers, Neale.>

guppy problem    6/18/12
Hi there!
 <Hello Heather>
I have a 5.5 gallon planted tank with a dwarf African frog, a guppy and a Nerite snail.  The tank is heated to 80F and has a filter suitable for a 10 gallon tank running on it.  The tank has been up and running for nearly two years but I've only had the guppy a month or so.  I've noticed the guppy has started "flashing" I believe it's called, acting normally but then suddenly twitching/rubbing against a plant in the tank every now and again.
 Is this parasites?
<Mmm, no; or not necessarily. Some such flashing behavior is natural; to be expected... Akin to "scratching" in ourselves>
  How do I treat this with a frog and snail in the tank?  Can I use Quick Cure?
<No; toxic>
  Something else? 
Any help you can give would be gratefully appreciated, thanks!
 Kind regards,
<Unless I was very sure of actual biological (pathogenic) disease presence, I would do nothing to "treat" this system; nothing is required. Most "fish medications" are toxic to frogs and snails. Bob Fenner>
Re: guppy problem   6/20/12

Thank you!  :)
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: guppy problem   6/21/12

Hi again....
So last night my guppy was hanging at the surface and this morning I found him dead.  Any ideas what may have caused this or how I can prevent something like this in the future? 
<Please read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GupDisF6.htm
and the linked files above. BobF>
Re: guppy problem   6/21/12

Wow.  Thank you so much for that.  I will leave the tank empty for a month before getting a new fish.  Can you suggest something more suitable for a 5.5 gallon tank with an African dwarf frog and a Nerite snail? 
<Ah yes. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm
and the related FAQs files above, and on WWM re Compatibility of the other species. B>
Re: guppy problem – 06/23/12

Thank you so much.  There is a lot of info on your site so I appreciate the direct link.
Kind regards,
<And you, BobF>

Sick guppies?    6/2/12
A friend of mine has red spots on his fish. Can this spread?
Bob Had problems sending the earlier photo. try the following link www.fstopsgophotos.blogspot.com   
<Per, saw your pix... I have never seen such bloody marks... the explanation that these may be due to "poor water quality leading to infection" seems plausible... just extreme. Perhaps these images were embellished? BobF>
Re: Sick guppies? – 06/14/12

Spoke to my friend about his fish. Definitely due to poor water quality. He has been breeding guppies in about  2 feet tanks at home. When he does water change for these breeding tanks he recycles the water by dumping them into his six feet planted tank. For some reason he thinks that the water will purify itself thru the plants.
<This takes a while...>
The  water from the planted tank goes back into the breeding tanks.
<I'd run new water into the plant tank... thence to the other systems>
He has been advised by the local guppy expert not to do this. I have been bringing back Guppies from my trips to Bangkok. He tells me some of them these guppies only have a few offspring. Wonder if it's related to the water
<Mmm, possibly; though high temperature, exposure to commonly used chemicals can make these and all other fishes sterile, less-fecund>
Regards, Perry
<Thank you for this follow-up Per. Cheers, BobF>

Guppies   4/2/12
Hello, I am sending this question for my sister, she has a few guppies, some small some larger in a bowl, she found that one has a bent tail and sort of hunched over, swims sideways from one end to the other and she has no idea what to do??
<Don't keep them in a bowl. Sounds like a classic environmentally-mediated developmental abnormality. Very common when fish are kept in tanks, ponds too small for their requirements.>
She has about 4 guppies in a bowl and changes water, she don't do test, these were guppies from a year or so ago that her grandson brought home to her from school
Any suggestions would be helpful
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppies   4/2/12
Ok, I will tell her, they are only about half inch in size if that, she has a time changing water and making sure she gets them out as they are so hard to see, should she get a tank??
<Yes; at least 10 gallons, and really, 15+ gallons makes all the difference with Guppies.>
Use air and filter etc??
<Heat and filtration essential. Air bubbles optional and not worth buying if your budget can only cover the filter and heater.>
Just want to know what to tell her to do, will the one get straight again??
<No; it's a developmental problem, so once done, it's done for life.
Crooked backs are quite common among farmed livebearers. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick fish (again)    3/26/12
I don't know if my fish are prone to diseases but my last two guppies have died recently one like a week ago and one last night.
<Mmm, there are some too common disease issues w/ this cultured species>
But I noticed on the most recent one to die, it looked like a giant spider or a bunch of worms were crawling out of its butt. I saw this on the first one too and I'm seeing it on my Balloon Molly too. I was wondering what it is and if theirs a cure.
<Uh yes. Please read here:
and the linked files above re treatment>
My sisters really sad because one of the guppies was hers and so is the Balloon Molly. Thanks again for you help!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Sick guppy, 15 gallon community tank.?    3/24/12
One of my male guppies appears to sick.
<Unfortunately, Mycobacteria infections quite common with farmed Poecilia spp.>
He has a large bulb in his abdomen, and he was swimming vertically at times.
His tank mates are 2 other male guppies, 9 cardinal tetras, and a zebra snail.
<Guppies do need completely different conditions to Cardinals, so something is wrong here. One species is surely stressed. Guppies need hard, alkaline water; Cardinals soft and acidic, and somewhat warm too.>

I've also seen him barrel rolling around the tank. I have separated him from the community so not to spread any possible diseases. I think it's a swim bladder problem. This fish just finished a quarantine regimen and appeared relatively healthy when placed in the larger tank.
Is there anything I can do for him, or should he be euthanised?
<Likely so.>
The tank is heated, filtered, and water parameters are all proper, I test with an API master kit.
Ammonia : 0
Nitrite : 0
Nitrate : <5ppm
Thanks in advance,
Thomas Daly
<Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>

Swollen Guppy  3/3/12
Dear Crew
I have a female guppy (about a year or two old) who has swollen somewhat. 
She is hovering in the corner of the tank although does swim for food when available.  She has had some trouble keeping balance and her tail points upwards.  I'm guessing some bacterial infection has damaged her swim bladder as she is passing white stringy stuff.  I've fed her cooked peas and it helped a little.  Is there anything I can do?  I'm guessing ESHa
2000 won't help.  Tank param.s are Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrates 10ppm.  30 gallon female tank, well stocked and fully planted, 2 years mature.
thanks, Patrick
<To be honest, I'm not optimistic. Have seen this with livebearers several times, and it tends to be fatal. It's possible that Epsom salt and cooked peas could help, if the problem is merely constipation, but if she starts to look bloated and the scales start to stick out from the body, I'd remove and euthanise her at once to prevent infection of other fish. That's because systemic bacterial infections in livebearers and other small fish are very difficult to treat by the time symptoms become apparent. You'd certainly need antibiotics, and getting these in the UK means visiting a vet, and given the cost of Guppies and their relatively short lifespan anyway, hardly seems worth it. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Swollen Guppy

Thanks Neale. Would Furanol 2 work externally as a dip?
<Probably not as a dip, but if you have a hospital tank, it's worth a shot as a continual bath. When fish become bloated, it's either constipation or a systemic infection; the latter will need an antibiotic that gets inside the fish, which dips won't. Some medications can be used as a continual bath, but they aren't very effective. Dips are even less effective because there's even less chance the fish will consume enough of the medication. Do read carefully:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Swollen Guppy  3/3/12

Dear Neale
Very useful!  Thank you.  I have the medication here should I decide to use it.
<Real good. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies mouth gone black. 2/12/12
I have had five young guppies for three months or so and there doing fine so i bought another one a few weeks ago and it's been looking poorly for a while now. He is a blue tailed male. I have him in a separate tank from my other five guppies so if he has a disease they wouldn't get it too. About a week after I bought him he started laying on the bottom of the tank and standing on his tail. When I cleaned his tank he was happy for about a day and then started doing it again. When I woke up this morning he had a black mouth and he also has a white spot on one of his sides. Please tell me what's wrong with him!?
<Hello Tiffany. I need much more information that you've sent me.
[a] How big is the aquarium?
[b] How long has the aquarium been running?
[c] Did you cycle the aquarium for 4-6 weeks before adding the Guppies?
[d] What is the water chemistry? In other words, the hardness and pH.
[e] What is the water quality? At minimum, I need the nitrite (with an "i") level.
[f] What is the temperature?
[g] Are you adding any salt to the water? Not essential, but can help.
Just to give you the right answers to my questions so you can work out the possible problem yourself: [a] Guppies need not less than 15 gallons of water and preferably 20+ gallons. [b]Fancy Guppies are delicate fish and shouldn't be added to an aquarium less than 3 months old. [c] You must cycle the aquarium filter before adding any fish. [d] Guppies need hard, alkaline water 10-30 degrees dH, pH 7-8. [e] Water quality must be excellent for fancy Guppies, and nitrite and ammonia levels must be ZERO at all times. [f] Guppies are not suitable for unheated aquaria and the fancy Guppies sold in pet stores must be kept at between 24-28 C/75-82 F. And finally, [g] if you're keeping Guppies alone, then it's well worth adding 1-3 teaspoons of aquarium salt (or, even better, marine aquarium salt mix) to each gallon of water. Do read:
By far the majority of Guppy problems are caused by environmental problems, typically people trying to keep them in immature aquaria, tanks that are too small, at room temperature, etc. There are some diseases they're prone to, but until we've eliminated environmental issues (i.e., what *you're* doing to keep them) it's pointless fishing around for other causes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppies mouth gone black. 2/12/12

well he is only in a small tank
<How small? Do read where you were sent.>
because I haven't gotten around to putting him in a bigger one because I only have one tank that didn't get cracked when we moved houses but i put him one as soon as I get. I also don't have a water chemistry tester because my other fish have been fine in purified water.
<Not for long. Zero hardness water isn't suitable for fishkeeping. When you say 'purified' do you mean bottled drinking water? That's fine. But RO water, rainwater, or water from a domestic water softener is NOT suitable
for fishkeeping. In addition, Guppies need hard water with a pH between 7 and 8.>
They are also at room temperature but that is quite warm because of the room that they are in around the 20 degrees C usually.
<Not nearly warm enough. Get a heater.>

No salt in the tanks. He is alone for the time being but as soon as four weeks is up and he is all better I am putting him into my large tank.
<It's clear this fish is being stressed, sickened by poor care. Read where you were sent, and make the appropriate changes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppies mouth gone black. Env. 2/14/12

Well it is a Siamese fighting fish tank so 0.525 gallons or 1.989 litres
<This is why your fish is sick. Even Bettas don't live long in this.>
but I am moving him today into around about 15 litre tank today.
<STOP! Even 15 litres is barely adequate for a Betta. That's 3.2 UK gallons or about 4 US gallons. Be crystal clear that you cannot keep Guppies in a tank this small. Economising on the tank while spending money on medication will be a fool's investment. Good money after bad. Do please understand this tank WILL kill your Guppies.>
I am using a water ager which says it removes harmful chlorine & chloramine from tap water and adds electrolyse.
I will get a heater.
<Good. And quickly. In a centrally heated home maintained around the 18 degree C mark, tropical fish can survive some days, maybe a week or two, before they start sickening. Prolonged exposure to such cool conditions will kill them. The clue is in the phrase "tropical fish", indicating fish from the tropics, where it's around 25 C day-in, day-out.>
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppies mouth gone black. 2/14/12

Thanks for helping. He looks better already but the discolouration around his mouth is still there. Could it be a mouth fungus?
<Mouth Fungus is a common problem with livebearers. It's a bacterial infection, despite the name. Medicate quickly, as it can become fatal within few days, even overnight in some cases. Mouth Fungus almost only ever appears when fish are stressed by poor environmental conditions, so do review how you are keeping your fish and make the necessary corrections.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Guppies mouth gone black.   4/1/12

Thanks for the help.
He is now all better and in with my other guppies and two of the females are now pregnant.
<All sounds very positive. Have fun with your fish! Neale.>

Guppy Stringy Poop 1/9/12
Hi Neale, how are you?
I have a male guppy that I've owned for over a year. For the past 6 months he has been in a 2.5 gallon tank by himself, because he doesn't fit with the fish in my display tank (he attacks the honey gourami, the Rasboras attack him).
<Yes; as often point out here, fancy Guppies best kept on their own. Corydoras make good companions though, and Kuhli Loaches. Red Cherry shrimps too. Basically anything that sticks to the bottom of the tank and can't bite or harass the Guppies.>
I was trying to re-home the guppy but with no luck, so that's why he is still in the small tank. Because of the size of the tank, I do 40% weekly water changes. I have a small HOB filter and a non-adjustable heater that keeps the tank at 78 F.
<I see. Not ideal, as you realise, but perhaps the best you can do under the circumstances.>
So this past Thursday morning, the guppy wasn't eating properly; he kept spitting the food out, maybe eating just a little. Thursday night I did a water change. Friday morning he ate the same way and was mostly keeping to the bottom of the tank.
<Interesting. Did you check water temperature? Water chemistry?>
I tested the water Friday; Ammonia and Nitrites 0, Nitrate 5ppm.
<Sounds fine.>
Saturday morning he had a long white stringy poopy attached to him, longer than his body. He was swimming around slowly. I thought maybe he was constipated. I fed him a tiny bit of freeze dried brine shrimp that has Spirulina added to it, and he ate it. I also gave him a smashed pea, and he nibbled it. Afterwards he began to swim around actively that day and night.
Now today, another white stringy poopy attached.
<What sort of texture? Slimy, white, translucent faeces tend to be rich in mucous, and can imply something like parasites irritating the gut, hence the production of extra mucous. If the faeces are opaque, solid, dense-looking, perhaps coloured with the food eaten, then constipation and/or dietary issues could explain things.>
I offered him a flake and a pea but he won't eat. He is swimming around slowly, and his breath looks a little labored.
<Not good.>
I don't know what to do for him! I started to read that the poop may be a sign of parasites, but he is in the tank alone, and I have not introduced anything new to his tank. Do you have any advice?
<Do see above re: colour, texture of mucous. The commonest gut parasites are Protozoans, and treating as per Hexamita with Metronidazole can be useful.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy Stringy Poop 1/9/12

Hi Neale, thank you for your response. As far as the feces, it's hard to tell if they look slimy. He has another one today. It's long and thin and entirely white. Some tiny bits look solid, while most of it looks fuzzy and see through. So I'm thinking parasites, yes? But how would he have gotten them? Will the medication kill him? He's not eating, but he is swimming around slowly. If it is parasites, then I'm assuming they're contagious? I share equipment (buckets, gravel vacuum, etc.) between the 2 tanks. Thanks again! -Lorie
<Do use Metronidazole; this should help. Used correctly won't harm your Guppies. Treat the tank, and ideally both tanks though usually such parasites affect weakened fish rather than everything indiscriminately.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy Stringy Poop 1/9/12

OK. Thank you so much Neale! -Lorie
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy Stringy Poop 1/12/12

Hi again Neale. I have some questions now on the Metronidazole. I purchased the Seachem brand, which is a powder, and it says the measuring spoon that comes with it is about 100mg.
I treated my tank the past two days, estimating 62.5mg for the 2.5 gal. tank.
<I see. Do understand than 2.5 gallons likely won't provide good conditions. And poor conditions will make medication less effective.
Obviously carbon removes medications as well, so it's important to review filtration beforehand.>
My guppy seems improved; no more stringy poop and he is starting to eat. I was planning a third and final dose tonight. My question is; I'm reading to fully eradicate the parasites, the fish should be fed the medicine.
<Ideally, yes. A vet would recommend a certain dose proportional to the weight of the fish.>
On WetWebMedia, I read the food should be soaked in a 1% solution. How do I make a 1% solution with a 100mg measuring spoon?
<To be honest, I wouldn't. I'd use the dosing as described by Seachem. If you've been using that so far, finish off that way.>
I also read 4 oz. of food per 1/2 teaspoon of Metronidazole; will that work as well?
<No idea. I don't like/recommend the use of "spoon" measurements.>
Then like the article on WetWebMedia states, I'll soak for a few hours in the fridge; can I use flake or freeze dried food? Just one feeding is sufficient? Also, you recommended I treat my main tank as well, but the fish look and act healthy, so I haven't done this yet. I don't want to cross contaminate though so I'm considering treating my main tank, but would it be best to treat the water, feed them the treated food, or both?
Thank you! -Lorie
<Do read the Seachem site. It specifically states two ways to use their medication, either in the water or mixed with wet-frozen food paste. Both approaches look easy.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy Stringy Poop 1/23/11

Hello Neale; I hope this email finds you well. I am writing you again in regards to the use of Metronidazole. I used this medicine in my 2.5 gal tank for a guppy with internal parasites and he has improved (I wrote you earlier explaining I was trying to re-home the guppy because he is not compatible in my community tank; so for now, the 2.5 gal is the best I can do. I perform 50% water changes weekly and have scaled back feedings to once per day). You had recommended I treat my display tank as well, since I share equipment between the two tanks, so I treated the display tank only once. I have 1 Honey Gourami and 3 Corydoras in that tank (I re-homed my Harlequin Rasboras; my display tank is 10 gal. and through observation, I concluded the Rasboras need a longer tank to swim back and forth). Seven days after treatment, one of my peppered Corys is lethargic. I don't see any physical abnormalities. I have since performed two large water changes of about 40-50% a piece, rinsed the filter media (sponges), added a bubbler- would the extra oxygen be helpful?, and have scaled back feedings to once per day. The Cory has been lethargic for 5 days now. He was breathing shallow this morning but did eat a pellet- is that a good sign?
After eating, he began breathing hard though. My question here is- do you believe it's possible the Metro adversely affected this Cory? Is there anything else you recommend I do for the Cory? I tested my Nitrates this past Sunday and they were 15-20 ppm. Thank you for any help you can provide. I find your vast knowledge of animals impressive and your patience is very much appreciated. : ) -Lorie
<Catfish sometimes react badly to medications, particularly copper, but I don't think that's the issue here. One problem for Corydoras is that they're low-end tropical species, especially Peppered Corydoras which really are best kept around 18-22 C/64-72 F, which is much cooler than the average tropical aquarium. Couple this with the use of medication and what is rather a small aquarium, and you could simply be seeing respiratory distress. In other words, yes, adding a bubbler would help if it was placed at the bottom of the tank (bubblers work by drawing water from the bottom to the top, not by mixing air with water). Lowering the temperature, if possible, and increasing overall water turnover rate would also be useful.
Corydoras are generally hardy fish, but inbreeding has meant that their quality varies, and sometimes they fail to thrive even in well-maintained aquaria. Occasionally, diseases such as Red Blotch Disease (which I've recently written about for FishChannel.com) can cause problems as well.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: (Guppy Stringy Poop) Peppered Corydoras, Other Factors? 2/15/12

Hi Neale, how are you?
<Well, thank you.>
I wrote you in January about my Guppy, who showed signs of Hexamita. He was in a 2.5 gallon aquarium, and I explained to you how that was supposed to be a temporary tank until I could re-home him.
I treated him with Metro for 3 days and he seemed to recover completely.

I continued with weekly water changes of 40-50% and feeding once per day. I tested the water in January and Ammonia and Nitrite were zero, and Nitrates 5 ppm. I had switched to Marineland bonded filter pads from using poly-fiber. The filter on the 2.5 gallon tank is a small HOB power filter made by Red Sea with an adjustable flow. It has a small cloth insert that stays inside the filter, which I'm assuming is the biological filtration,
<Possibly, though some of these "pads" are chemical filters, e.g., Carbon.>
so I thought it was safe to completely remove the poly-fiber and replace it with the bonded filter pad. It was after this switch my Guppy became ill with Hexamita; I don't know if there is a connection (at this point I had my Guppy for 1 year and 2 months). I also changed the filter media to the bonded filter pad on my display tank (which has a bio-wheel in the filter) and an Albino Corydoras died a week later; at the time my Nitrates had spiked (30 ppm), so I attributed the death to Nitrates (Ammonia and Nitrite 0). After treating the display tank with Metro for good measure, a Peppered Cory then died a week later.
I could not figure out why the Peppered Cory passed (Ammonia and Nitrite still 0, Nitrates now 10 ppm).
<May simply be unrelated. Albino fish aren't as hardy as the real McCoy, so to some degree there's an element of unpredictability.>
I added a bubbler to the display tank (which is 10 gallons). I have 2 Corys and 1 Honey Gourami in that tank. Since my issues began when I switched filter media, I recently returned to the poly-fiber (again, I don't know if there is a connection or not. Are you aware of any issues with Marineland bonded filter pads?).
In my 2.5 gallon tank with the Guppy, I switched out half the filter media for the new, and a week later switched out the rest along with the usual weekly water change, which took place this past Wednesday. Sunday, my guppy did not come for his morning feeding right away, which is not normal.
He did eat eventually but spent a large bulk of the day hiding. Monday he was slow to come out for food again, and once he did, he almost seemed senile. Like he didn't see the food and just wasn't with it, and once he finally found it, he struggled to grasp the flakes.
<When fish aren't hungry, don't feed them, and remove uneaten food. If water quality is a problem, adding food won't help.>
He did eat though and I took the opportunity to observe him. I think I saw a slight reddish coloring near his gill but I'm not 100% sure. He seemed like he had a lack of energy and hid the rest of the day. I performed a water change and added some aquarium salt to the new water before adding it to the tank. That evening I put a fish net in his tank and slightly agitated it in the water, to see if i could get his attention to try feeding him, but he did not respond. So I put the wet fish net in a bucket I use strictly for the fish and let it sit there overnight. This morning my Guppy was dead : ( I took him out with the fish net and observed him to see if I could detect any abnormalities. That's when I noticed, on the outside of the net, there was a worm crawling- it was tan and thin, less than 1/2 an inch long, had many legs like a caterpillar, and a brown "nose".
<Unlikely to be the cause of death, though possible. Intestinal worms don't have any appendages at all, so if you saw "legs", then it wasn't a nematode, planarian or tapeworm. Worms with legs (Polychaetes) aren't common in freshwater so when you see leggy worms in freshwater aquaria, they're usually aquatic insect larvae. As you rightly suppose, like caterpillars.>
I did not see any worms in the tank. Given the history here, would you know what this worm is, and could it be connected to the Guppy dying?
<Think not.>
Any other ideas or helpful information you could impart?
<Do think your problems are down to a combination of small tanks and less than fortunate stocking. Even when water conditions look good, the simple fact is that small tanks aren't reliable in the sense of offering stable conditions. Concentrate on the 10 gallon tank (use the 2.5 gallon system for snails or shrimps if you must) and stick with species that generally do not have health problems (i.e., not fancy Guppies or albino community fish, but instead something like a school of White Cloud Mountain Minnows or a pair of Florida Flagfish, both viable options for 10-gallon tanks and in centrally-heated homes may not even need a heater. They aren't fussy about water chemistry either. Otherwise, check water chemistry and temperature, and select species accordingly.>
I forgot to mention, the Guppy's mouth area also looked like it was turning black. Thank you very much- Lorie
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: (Guppy Stringy Poop) Peppered Corydoras, Other Factors?

Thanks Neale, it helps a lot! -Lorie
<Real good. Have fun, Neale.>

Guppy - curved spine 1/9/12
Hi Crew,
I have a question for you about a guppy of mine with a curved spine.
Back-story: This is my 150L community tank. I admittedly have been a terrible tank owner of late (16 hour days at Uni with a 3 hour commute will do that. Sigh).
I went away on holiday for two weeks in late Dec and gave my housemates strict instructions not to feed to fish. I was home intermittently and fed them twice in that period. I didn't do a water change (and obviously no gravel vac) for perhaps a month. When my boyfriend noticed my dwarf gourami acting funny I tested the water and had ammonia, nitrite and pH issues (I don't recall values, but it was bad. Ammonia was probably 1ppm,
<Deadly toxic at high pH>
<Likely Nitrite, NO2, also toxic>
was around .5ppm and pH was off my test's scale - some maybe 8 or more).
<Very toxic then>

This was a week ago and I have since done a few water changes and added stress zyme and bio booster (after the first water change the ammonia reading was higher but nitrite is now at trace amounts). When the dwarf started looking really bad I treated with ammo lock, but I ended up losing him anyway (probably helped along by the fact that the Bristlenose Pleco started munching on him!). I'd lost a few guppies (at least 3, maybe one or two more, I honestly am so scatterbrained I can't recall how many I had before leaving) at some point whilst I was away but did not notice in my inattentiveness. Yeah, I feel like a pretty terrible person right about now.
My thoughts are that the lack of gravel vac-ing was the reason for the ammonia spike?
<Mmm, maybe a contributing cause... but someone has over, mis-fed this system>
I hadn't added any stock for months (and have no plans to replace the deaths) and over feeding certainly wasn't the issue.
<? Where did the protein come from? Dead fish perhaps? Unlikely. Inadequate filtration?>
This is the third ammonia issue I've had since beginning the tank in June so I'm quite frustrated with myself. The only other thing that coincided with this was a heat wave we had in Melbourne that caused the temp in my tank to reach temperatures of 32C and above
<Mmm, could be a factor>
(even after turning the heater completely off during the day), but I figured that was not a trigger.
Anyway, while I'm dealing with that, my main concern is the guppy. I don't recall her spine looking like that. I remember (back when I had time to peruse the site) reading about crooked spines, TB,
<There are other, and much more common causes for this... genetics, environmental and nutritional factors... Put the words: "Bent spine" in the WWM search tool... found on every page, and read>
how that can be contagious and how you should euthanise the fish if you see it. So I was hoping you guys could give me some guidance on how to identify the cause and how best to proceed with her.
<I'd leave all in the system and NOT add any further life till your schooling time commitment is more reasonable>
I've attached an (albeit terrible) photo if that helps at all (snapped it on my phone, which is a lost cause with those zippy fish)
Thanks for your time,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Guppy with internal spot 12/30/11
<Hello Eric,>
My guppy has a been showing a few strange symptoms for months and I was hoping you might have some insight.
<Will try.>
In the summer, he had "fin rot" with a bright red edge where the fin was deteriorating. He also had what seemed to be some kind of internal infection with shimmying, hanging at the surface, turning in circles and clear stringy feces.
<Unfortunately quite common with Guppies.
The farmed, fancy Guppies sold in most pet stores vary in quality from mediocre to poor, and infections exhibiting non-specific symptoms like wasting and lethargy are common.>
The "fin rot" improved with 2g/l of added salt.
<Which says a lot about Guppies. If in doubt about your water chemistry, keep them in low-end brackish, ideally between 5 and 9 grammes of marine aquarium salt per litre. Marine aquarium salt contains carbonate hardness (ordinary aquarium salt doesn't) and this buffers the pH and raises the hardness levels. It also provides that slight salinity which makes Guppies much, much easier to keep. Of course, not all other aquarium fish tolerate brackish water, but fancy Guppies shouldn't really be kept in community tanks anyway, so that's not really a serious objection.>
It came back a little bit but eventually ran it's course and stopped. I treated him with Maracyn/Maracyn2 (erythromycin and Minocycline) for the internal problem. He seemed to recover fully. Unfortunately about a month later, I went away for a 3 week vacation and came back to see him showing similar symptoms to the internal infection as before. This time the "infection" cleared up with some water changes and he recovered again.
When he was sick the first time, I noticed a tiny internal dark spot visible on his organ sack from the left side. It was tiny, probably 1/3 -1/2 mm. I didn't think much of it. When he was sick the second time in October, I noticed that the spot had grown. Since then it has become denser and darker. It may have grown a tiny bit more. Maybe it's 1 or 2 mm now.
It is also visible from both sides now. See attached pics. Although it has changed, the rate of change has been fairly slow.
<Don't know what this is. Could be a cyst, a tumour, or something else entirely.>
I have also observed another strange phenomenon and don't know if it has any relation to the first. Although his tail fin appears normal under regular lighting, there is blood pooling in the veins of the fin. It can only be seen in bright light shining through the fin at the right angle.
I've attached a pic of this too. His fin is normally a fluorescent yellow color, but different areas of the fin go pale. This changes fairly rapidly, with different sections of the fin going pale and then going back to normal coloration in the course of a day. It seems like this could be related to blood flow. Additionally, his caudal fin, which had deteriorated significantly during the first illness, has been growing back beautifully, until it got to the last few mm of edge, which is normally very thin and clear. At this point it got jagged and one corner seemed to bunch up or fold over on itself.
Have you ever seen anything like this? Any theories on what it might be?
<Does look like Finrot in the tail fin.>
The fish's behavior is normal. He is alert, active with a good appetite and swims at all levels. He is the lone fish in a 20 gallon long tank.
Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5ppm, gH 50 ppm, kH 90 ppm, pH 8.0, Temp 78 deg (sometimes room heats up raising tank temp to 80, but I have corrected room temp a couple of days ago so tank shouldn't go above 78 deg anymore).
No added salt.
Best regards,
<Your water is quite soft despite the favourable pH, which I hope isn't being maintained there via "pH up" chemical products. Guppies dislike soft water. Would switch to slightly brackish conditions and see if things improve. Otherwise, nothing obvious explains the internal swelling, while the Finrot in the tail should respond to the usual treatments. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Guppy with internal spot 1/2/12
Thanks Neale.
<Most welcome.>
I am hoping this problem is curable and not something congenital that can't be helped. I am afraid that it may be the result of poor quality breeding, etc. Last time the addition of regular aquarium salt helped the fin a lot, so perhaps I will try it this time with marine salt.
At the concentration you recommend, what is the corresponding specific gravity?
<SG varies with temperature, so it's not always the best way to estimate these things. You can use Brack Calc to easily convert between salinity and specific gravity at different temperatures, over on my web site:
But at 25 C/77 F, 5 g/l should be ~1.002, and 9 g/l should be ~1.005.
Anything within that range is sufficiently brackish to be useful, while low enough not to be stressful. Obviously you'd keep to the low end if you had live plants in the tank.>
I have been trying to correct the soft water problem. It was even softer before I started adding a Lake Malawi buffer at one quarter dosage.
Unfortunately, the buffer has raised pH more than hardness.
<That's fine, and actually helpful. Ideal conditions for Guppies would be hard to very hard water (10-20 degrees dH) with a basic pH, 7.5 to 8.2.>
I also started adding seashells and that has raised the hardness a little further.
<These are made from calcium carbonate and raise carbonate hardness as well as pH, pH being largely affected by carbonate rather than general hardness.>
As you can see it's still soft though.
Best regards,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: 55 Gallon Middle Brace... A clamp. Now Guppies... killed by CAE? 12/17/11
Hello WWM!
<Jer... sixteen plus megs for your pix? We require that folks only send hundreds of Kbytes due to storage restrictions on our mail program>
Thank you for your replies in re: to the 55 gallon tank and middle brace I was asking about. I am happy to say that, although maybe an eyesore for most, that same tank is doing well, with a 24" clamp bought from home depot! :)
<Not a route I would go>

(Pic included. Some of those larger goldfish are almost two years old. "Colby-jack" as we call him/her, is the largest fish in the tank, weighing in at about 10 oz (hard to tell, I don't have a proper scale. And I try not to net these guys unless I absolutely have to).
I digress;
My question today, is in regards to my guppy tank. I have had an established guppy community of 4 females and 3 males for almost a year.
The tank sits on a window-sill in the kitchen next to the window and therefore gets a lot of natural light during the day. Tank-mates included a neon yellow and red tetra (both tetras were added when guppies were first obtained - tetras came from goldfish tank, as old as the oldest goldfish; almost 2 years), and the smallest of 3 "common" plecostomus from our goldfish tank (also as old as the oldest goldfish).
The females had multiple batches of fry (maybe 6 or 7) from all females throughout the 9 or 10 months I had them.. During this time, right before I changed their tanks, the Pleco randomly dies. I find him underneath one of the ornaments he liked to hide under. I know for sure he didn't starve as there was a lot of algae in the 10 gallon tank... My yellow tetra also is showing signs of something being wrong.. not eating, swimming very erratically, staying close to the bottom, not responding to taps... He ends up dying as well :( So a few days before I commit to the tank change and after the two losses, I obtain two small algae eaters to kind of "clean up" until then.
<Gyrinocheilus? Not compatible... see WWM re>

They were all very content in the 10 gallon tank for a while until they started having lots of babies... Then I fed some fry to the goldies (kind of the whole point of having the breeding gups), and the beta we have, and also gave some to our good friend and neighbor who has a really good 2.5 gallon tank running (at least I think it's good, I set it up!). By some I mean 3 fry.. who are doing well i am happy to report!
At any rate, I still needed to upgrade my guppies tank, so I moved them to my 30 gallon Oceanic. (I love this tank - so classic and pretty). I kept the same filter, gravel, ornaments, fake plants, and most of the original water when I did the tank change but here's what I added:
-Larger Algae eater (picture included - I stupidly lost one of the algae eaters, I think in the sink, when moving the community to the new tank.. Stupid!!)
-some live plants
-additional fake plants
-gravel (fluorite - from the same source bag as the original)
-2 guppy males (one blue tail - one yellow tail)
-1 female (yellow tail)
-underwater pump (low-end; Wal-mart bought 120gph) to help with keeping surface flow since I kept the same 10 gallon filter.
-larger heater (100 or 125w, I can't remember).
So right away, the newest additions (the males) are dead overnight. I had the heater right behind the pump in the corner, and they were both dead next to it. So i figure they cooked themselves somehow..
<Not likely; no>
I clean them out, add some stress coat to the tank, and move the heater over to the corner next to the filter. I know none of them will try to "hang out" next to it, if it's over there.
I take the males back and get replacements. These males end up dying as well within a few days. No real indicators, just overnight. I come to the kitchen in the morning, and one of them will be sucked up against the pump intake, or hovering around upside down in one of the plants.
Now, slowly, all of my guppies are dying off one by one. I am down to my 3 original males, and one of the newest females. And as of this moment, this female is exhibiting the same symptoms as the others (she just had a batch of fry the night before last)!
All of the other females have died. The first 4 were my originals.
The first two looked like they were ready to give birth when they died.
And they had horrible, gut wrenching expressions on their faces (big "O" mouths). Both of them looked very "worn out" when I netted them in the morning (separate days). Belly scales were very rough.
The third one to die, actually had a "split" in her front belly when I found her. And was very-very pregnant.. poor fry :(
The fourth one actually had her batch of fry, and then died the next day.
Looking the same way as the others, very "weathered".
The last female (picture included) is now showing the same symptoms after having just had a batch of fry two days ago. Her belly scales are very rough looking and her color is very opaque.... (picture included).
I apologize for the quality (or lack there-of) of the pictures. I am using my phone, and it's hard for it to focus in the water.
In the pictures hopefully you will see:
The female in her current state at the time of this email:
The males (to a certain degree)
the remaining tetra
the fry (there are bigger ones closer to the camera in the shot, the first batch... and the freshly birthed in the back)
the larger algae eater (the picture with the flash going off)
the smaller algae eater
the pump, the heater, and the filter
the overall tank location
Tank stays between 78-80 degrees, and the drop is usually at night recently with the colder weather. But it's always gradual.
At this point, it could be any number of things killing them off. The original males seem fine for now, and the guppy fry are all thriving in the current tank (growing rapidly, I think due to the current in the tank from the pump).
I feed a big variety of foods. I drop small pieces of algae wafers every other day foe algae eaters, and I feed the gupps twice a day. in the morning it's flake food, in the afternoon I feed either bloodworms, freeze dried river-shrimp, or just more flake. Anytime I feed the shrimp or bloodworms, I meticulously crush them up very fine in my fingers before I sprinkle in the tank (so they can eat the pieces).
Please help me figure out what's killing these guys off! My first suspect is the pump, with the current causing too much physical stress.. I can get a smaller pump, or larger filter or both. I just would like to know the best way to do this without stressing them out too much more.
Actions I have taken so far:
- tank antibiotics (arithamyacin - after the first two died, I tried a few days of this with no apparent affect either positive or negative so i stopped after the 4th day).
- stress coat (every time one dies, i add a capful to the water, since the dead fish has usually been in the tank overnight at that point)
<Killed by the CAE?>
- turning off the pump - at one point I though the pump may be stressing them out, so I unplugged it for two days. during this time my first two original females died one after the other. I turned it back on, since the water seems to "stand" too much with just the smaller filter running - partial water change - I did ~%30-40 water change with fresh, treated water hoping to cleanse the tank of whatever might be in there. This was following the antibiotic regiment.
- adding fake plants - I did this to help break the current by the filter.
As it is set up now (see attached pictures) I have the pump in one corner, pointing the flow towards the surface, and towards the filter on the opposing side of the tank. This has proved to be the best setup in this particular tank, to maximize the circulation in the tank. I have put some aquarium sand in the "flow" of the jet to watch how the current moves, and I have witnessed a multitude of "spots" where fish can sit out of the current completely. I also have ornaments in the tank, "fake log" type of ornaments, that provide a dark, enclosed space for hiding and ducking, along the bottom within the gravel.
immediately at my disposal I have available:
-55 gallon tank (older tank - cosmetically ugly but functional - otherwise it would be used currently)
-filtration for 55 gallon tank (tetra brand 55-75 gallon filtration system,
dual filter cartridge, yatta yatta yatta)
Or I can take out anything in the tank that might immediately be harming them... I've tried to research the relationships between the guppies and the algae eaters, but due to my ignorance on what species the algae eater is, I can't find much.
Thanks for taking the time to read my novel, and thank you also in advance for all of your help.
Bring on the critiques! I'm not the best fish owner, but I really do try to
do the best I can with what I have. I love my fish!! :(
<No useful information provided... re water quality tests, well-resolved images of lost fish...>
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GupDisF7.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Guppy Health Issues, Please Help. 11/27/11
I have recently restarted a fish tank, It's a ten gallon half moon tank.
<Somewhat small for a first aquarium, and these tanks tend to have a poor surface area to volume ratio, which means when compared to a typical low rectangular aquarium of similar volume, they contain fewer fish adequately well.>
I have the base moderately planted, and it has an aeration bubbler in the back, as well as a heater set to keep it around 76 f, and a Tetra whisper 10i, which I have been frequently changing the filter in.
<What do you mean by "changing the filter"? At most, you should be rinsing off the biological media every month or two, and if you're using carbon, you need to replace that every 2-3 weeks. In all honesty, carbon is massively misunderstood in the hobby, and if you have the option, remove the carbon and replace in its compartment with regular biological media, like a sponge or ceramic noodles.>
I have done a 2.5 gallon water change for the tank about every two weeks.
The fish I have been keeping in there have been mostly guppies (currently have 2 females and 3 males (just had two females pass on me)), but at first I did start out with 5 female betas.
<Bettas, pronounced "Better", not "Beater". A generally poor choice for community tanks, despite their wide availability.>
Other tank mates are 2 oticintlis (algae eaters),
<Otocinclus need to be kept in groups, need coolish water (22-25 C/72-77 F) and lots of water turnover. Hard to imagine them living for long in an aquarium designed for poor swimmers like Bettas and Guppies.>
2 peppered Corys and a bamboo shrimp.
<This latter is difficult to keep and will be quickly killed by copper and formalin, making it difficult to treat the tank for Whitespot and the like.>
The problem that I am having is that the female guppies seem to be either getting nibbled on, or catching a disease.
<Yes. Bettas can, do bite fancy Guppies, and the male Guppies harass the females. Guppies also need hard, alkaline water conditions, and are perhaps ideally kept in slightly brackish conditions (it seems that's how they're often farmed to avoid health problems).>
The typical fungal symptoms don't seem to be present, just a white patch on the body, which have expanded on some to be white stripes right behind the eyes, where the scales look like they're missing, almost like a wound.
<Likely Columnaris, Finrot, or both.>
It has happened with numerous female guppies and I have had a few male guppies pass on me as well. I daily have been testing the nitrites, nitrates, ph, Alk, and chlorine, and chloramines, and the only thing that
is high is the nitrates.
<What is the pH and alkalinity? Nitrite and ammonia need to be zero.
Nitrate level 50 mg/l will be safe. The pH should be between 7 and 8, and the alkalinity "moderately high" to "high" on whatever scale your test kit comes with.>
But that shouldn't be harmful for the fish, should it? And also, any thoughts on what could be causing these white spots? I'd appreciate any and all help with fixing this and thank you for your time.
<Problems likely a combination of environmental conditions and the generally delicate nature of farmed Guppies. Can be easier to keep in brackish water, but that rules out Bettas and the other tankmates you've chosen. Cheers, Neale.>

Suicidal guppies 10/19/2011
Hi Crew,
<Hello Rhiannon>
I come to you to seek some advice regarding a sudden bout of guppy deaths I'm experiencing. <Happy to help as best I can>
First the tank specs: 150L freshwater tank. Currently has 4 angel fish of varying sizes (the largest is probably about 8cm, smallest 3 cm), <Do keep in mind that angels can be aggressive at time to each other and smaller tankmates, in particular, when they form mated pairs. Likely will establish territories as they mature.> 4 clown loaches (two approx 8cm, smallest 3cm, and yes these guys will be moving to a 500L+ tank when they get a bit bigger/I can afford it), <Aha good, they do get quite large so I would look at this soon. There is a risk of stunting in this tank> 1 dwarf Gourami, 1 Opaline Gourami (I know, bad mix these two as I have discovered the hard way), <agree>1 black widow tetra <a likely fin nipper for your other fish>, 6 phantom glass catfish, 7 rummy nose tetras, one Bristlenose catfish and a fluctuating number of guppies. Temperature usually sits at 25C, but fluctuates slightly as the Melbourne weather so often does. pH stays fairly constantly at 7. I do weekly water changes/gravel vacs.
So I started off with 3 male guppies. After incessant sparring between them, I bought 6 females to both try disperse the aggression <You have a large number of fish your your tank size>, and to get some surface-dwelling dither fish. Everything was great until about 2 weeks ago when I found two guppies dead in a net atop my tank (one male, one female). At first I assumed they'd jumped, however the more I thought about it, the more I figured it made more sense that I was probably a murderer and accidentally scooped them up without realising when extracting the net from the tank.
There was also a missing guppy nowhere to be found. I did a thorough search of the tank and found nothing. I figured it was possible that this had also been scooped up and flipped onto the floor and been picked up by my husky puppy who loves to play with anything and everything he finds. I decided to replace these with another male and 3 more females. A few days later, along with the weekly water change I did my weekly test of water parameters and found my ammonia was at 0.5ppm. <Toxic!> As this is an established tank I was surprised. I am at an absolute loss as to why it has spiked. <Have you added livestock recently? Likely the stocking> The only think I can think of is that the missing guppy was in the tank somewhere decomposing <perhaps but I would imagine it would be taken care of by one of the other fish> , but I've found nothing, not even with the gravel vacs.
For the last week I have been doing daily or twice daily 50-75% water changes to bring the ammonia back down to zero and have dropped feeding down.<stop completely till you get the ammonia to 0. Fish can go a week or so without feeding> Nitrite and nitrate have been at zero the whole time (which confuses me more).<Should not, as ammonia starts to settle, you may well notice a nitrite spike. As for nitrates, what are you doing to keep them that low? Plants perhaps?> It is STILL relentlessly spiking to .5ppm.
If it was a decaying fish problem, how long would that last? <Depends on the size of the fish. A guppy should have been consumed quite quickly given its size.> I was trying to reestablish the cycle without chemicals, but I think I am going to have to buy some ammo lock to treat the issue. <You may want to consider some bacteria starter products. A more permanent solution.> This is going to give me a false positive reading, though, so I won't know when the problem is fixed (it's starting to feel overwhelming!).
<Relax, breathe! The problem is manageable with the right actions. By monitoring and trying to control, you are already on your way. For water changes, try doing smaller changes often rather than large changes occasionally.> Oh, I also just realised, I also have ammonia absorbing rocks in my filter back from when I was completely ignorant to the notion of tank cycling and was killing all my brand new fish after cleaning out the tank and replacing everything from the gravel to the filter. <How long have these been in use? May well be saturated>
Anyway, back to the guppies. They're dropping like flies. But only the females, the males are acting fine. <I find that angels can and will be aggressive towards fancy guppies. Gouramis too at times> My favourite girl disappeared overnight 2 days ago - I only found her when another disappeared. They'd both jumped out of the tank and were on my floor! <Is your tank completely open? Aside from the husky becoming an issue as it grows, I do prefer tanks with a good hood. Believe it or not, fish do jump out more often than you think.>I've since found another 2 dead. None of the other fish are exhibiting signs of ammonia stress, <to the eye, surely stressed though> not even the rummynoses, which I read act like miners canaries when water quality gets bad (i.e. they lose their red faces), but they even look as healthy as ever. <are indeed quite demanding> The clown loaches, too, which I read are very sensitive to bad water quality all also look very happy and healthy. So I want to make sure that this guppy behaviour/deaths is because of the ammonia spike: are they particularly sensitive to ammonia, more so than the other fish? Or do you think something else is going on here? <While fancy guppies are indeed sensitive, it is likely a combination of the ammonia spike and stress from tankmates.
Based on the larger fish you have, perhaps you want to think about keeping similar larger species. Alternately, if you are set on guppies, you will want smaller, docile tankmates. As for your ammonia issues, you tank seems to be going through a minor cycle. Do keep monitoring and diluting and if necessary, use a bacteria starter product to assist. Levels should stabalise in a week or two.>
Appreciate any help or advice, <Hope the above helps>
Rhiannon <Cheers - Sugam>
Re: Suicidal guppies 10/19/2011

Hi Sugam, <Hello again>
Okay, relaxing and breathing! Your advice is really valuable, so thank you very much. <Glad to help>
Regarding the angels, I am aware that aggression can be an issue, but my love for them overrode my logic. <Understandable as long as you realise the risks and take appropriate measures> That was the main reason behind opting for the school of rummies, to act as ditherfish and disperse aggression.
<Will work somewhat but do keep in mind that these angels are going to get large. From your description, they are quite tiny right now. Will like get more aggressive as they mature> Have read on WWM that overcrowding with small fish can reduce aggression/make it hard to establish territories.
<Works but to an extent. When these angels get to breeding age/size, I am concerned about how big a territory they will select for their eggs.>All has been surprisingly well on the aggression front. <As above> Only twice in about 6 months of having them have I seen aggression from the zebra angel. Once seemingly unprovoked it started displaying aggressive colouration and chasing the Opaline Gourami (who was in turn chasing the dwarf Gourami - doh!). I moved the ornaments around and this ceased. <Works for a while but not a surefire solution> Second time was recently when I bought the 3cm Koi angel. I knew this was a bad move given it was less than half the size of the biggest angel, <I have found size to be less relevant with angels than established territory. I have seen a tiny little angel chase around my large Koi when the Koi was a new addition.> but I fell in love with its beauty and somehow convinced myself it'd be okay -- the zebra (who is second biggest) was immediately and predictably aggressive towards it. Immediately regretted my moment of stupidity, but when I moved the ornaments again it stopped and all has been peaceful since. <Good. Do keep an eye on things> Am considering putting the angels in the big tank when it happens, though. <Aha good! assume the clowns will follow as well?>
Regarding the clowns, how big do you think is big enough to necessitate the move? <Hard to say. I would suggest keeping them in a large tank to begin with. As they reach maturity, the first signs of stunting are not always visible but these early issues can have long standing impact.>I've read they're slow growing, <true> so am not sure how soon it will be, but now I'm worried that I'll mistake slow growing for being stunted. <As above, as soon as the means allow, I'd look at moving them.>
Black widow tetra is surprisingly aggressive. <Can be indeed> Have avoided getting a school of them as LFS said they can be aggressive in a school, and tetra seems happy. <I don't have personal experience with this fish but have read that they are best in species tanks.>
As for the guppies, it is not so much that I am set on them than I am stuck with them. I (clearly) made some very poor, uninformed stocking choices for my tank when I first set up. <Understandable. We have all been there and made many of the same mistakes. The key is to keep learning and do the best for the fish you plan to keep. Trust me, I have made some horrific stocking choices in my time!> I had had a tropical tank as a young girl and we never knew about cycling or stocking rules or anything aside from the idea that they needed warm water, a neutral pH and de-chlorinated water. I set up this one with the same attitude and just bought what was both pretty and available at my LFS. <Like I said, as you read/learn, this will sort itself out.>I wish now I hadn't brought the guppies (LFS, amongst other horrid advice, said angels and guppies are fine together), so now I'm just trying to make the best of what I have. <Do remember that they are a business and not always inclined to offer neutral opinions.> I was considering getting surface dwelling ditherfish, but when the male guppies were incessantly fighting I thought it may be nicer to them to get some girls instead.
<While the females would help solve the male aggressive, it will only aggravate the stocking issues.>
I have added livestock recently: those guppies mentioned, a baby clown loach the week prior and the Koi angel the week before that. <Wow! Slow down please. Give your tank some time to adjust.>A few weeks before that I bought the school of rummy noses, and have intermittently added 4 phantom glass catfish around the same time as the rummies. I think it was also around a month or two ago that I bought the Bristlenose Plec (who is growing faster than I can believe) <They get huge!>Do you think this is enough to have caused the spike?<Very likely> I suspect I may have overfed during this period. <Please remember that you are always more likely to overfeed than underfeed and adjust as such. A simple rule of thumb, a fish has a stomach about the same size as its eye.> I did have 4 goldfish in the tank while waiting for my housemate's new cold water tank to cycle, and they were pinching a lot of the food, so was giving more so the less gutsy fishes got some. <Very messy fish and misplaced in a tropical tank. Would have added to your bio-load.> So the answer is too much waste too soon has caused a recycling event? <Quite likely too much stock, too much waste combined.>
Good point re: the saturation of the rocks. I hadn't considered that. <Do keep in mind that the ammonia came from somewhere to saturate the rock.>
Regarding nitrates, yes, my tank does have some live plants. Though none are faring well and are eventually killed by my fish. <Do research the appropriate types/conditions and stock accordingly. Te plants will consume the nitrates to an extent.> However, the cold water tank mentioned during cycling had a nitrate spike when the cycle first began, <Nitrates are the last phase of the cycle and should have shown up as the ammonia and nitrites dropped to 0.> but has been zero ever since (along with nitrite, even while ammonia was still spiking) -- this tank has no live plants. I gather from your reply this is not normal and I should be seeing a reading?
<You should usually find trace amounts of nitrates in the region of 10-20ppm. Great if you don't but not a hassle if you do.>
Yep, tank is lidless. I am planning to get a Perspex cover for it ASAP to stop the fish jumping issues (one of my clown loaches likes to feed from my hand, and every now and then I hear him sucking around the surface for food so also want to cover it to stop an accident happening here, too), as you rightly point out, I'm just waiting on someone who said they'd have one for me. <Excellent!> Husky, though still a puppy, is fully grown and has shown a complete disinterest in the aquarium (though water changes are party time as far as he's concerned), so I have no worries about him trying to get at the fish, but anything on the floor as far as he is concerned is fair game.
<I can imagine! My concern was he might see it as a drinking bowl!>
Regarding ammonia + tankmate stress - is there any reason for the female bias in this do you think (would the girls be being picked on more?), or is it just chance that only the females have reacted this way? <Likely just chance. Perhaps also some added stress from the males being in their face.>
I have seen no aggression towards the guppies from any tank mates other than each other, though this of course doesn't mean it isn't occurring. <May not be yet but there is physical aggression and then there is psychological crowding. Likely the latter here so far.>
Thanks again for your help. I do apologise for the blabbing. <No worries. Happy to help.> As a beginner to aquaria, trying to get a handle on all the complexities is taking some time, so it is an incredible help to have and knowledgeable person point out the gaps in my logic. The word thanks doesn't sum up my appreciation for the time and effort by all the crew here. <Thanks for the kind words. Don't let the amount of information overwhelm you. Just take things slow and make a plan for what you want your tank to be a year, two years and so on down the line. You may want to consider speaking to your LFS about taking some of the fish back for store credit. This gives you some breathing room to sort things out and make plans. Do keep reading and researching. It is the only way to learn.>
Many kind regards, <Good luck!>
Rhiannon <Sugam>
Re: Suicidal guppies 10/20/11

Hi Sugam, <Hiya Rhiannon!>
So far no one else is dying (or looking ill) so there's a positive.
<Excellent news> Interesting to note that the prettiest guppies are the ones to have died, so I'm wondering if the less pretty ones are a bit hardier (though no doubt still stressed). <Like I said, fancy guppies are a touch more sensitive due to inbreeding. Perhaps part of the reason.> I've stopped feeding, bought bacteria booster <go easy on the dosing> and am doing smaller water changes as you suggested. <Sounds like a plan!> Ammonia tests are being a bit odd: initially they will come up as yellow (0ppm) but after a longer than usual period (10-15 minutes rather than 5) will turn green (between 0.25-0.5 ppm). <Odd. Do check the test kit expiration date.
I would have suggested taking water to an LFS for testing but from your description below, that seems pointless.> But after they've been sitting a while (a few hours) they will turn yellow again (This is before the addition of the bacteria booster). I've never had that happen with the tests. <Check expiration and if budget permits, double check with a second kit of a different brand. It does sound from your description previously that you do have some ammonia in the tank.>
Apologies in my last email I said that the black widow was aggressive - that was a typo, I meant unaggressive. Oops. <Huh! so much for that theory.
Read here to learn about this fish
Yep, clowns will follow the angels, or rather vice versa. Priority is to get the clowns in a larger tank (LFS told me they'd be fine in a 150L tank - wish I had of realised then the importance of independent research).
<Never too late.> They're unfortunately very expensive, so am keeping a look out for listings of second hand tanks within my price range. <Don't overstretch yourself. You could also perhaps look at local message boards for used tanks.>(If it can wait till March next year I get a scholarship payment then, so that may be the ideal time to buy) That's an amazing story with the Koi angels - thanks for sharing, I was under the impression size was everything here. <No rules of thumb here but I have usually seen the established fish give the new one trouble (in the case of angels)>
Appreciate the advice. I did read around WWM that sometimes having 6+ angels can induce schooling behaviour, so I'm considering getting 2 more angels once they move to a big tank. <Don't do this. Not really a schooling fish but the numbers you have read tend to instead help establish a pecking order. Your tank size does not permit this for now. In any case, do not add anything for at least 3-4 weeks after ammonia is a stable 0> Already the 4 I have seem to school together <Not exactly schooling but I do tend to hang out together.> and will usually crowd in the same corner and sleep together at night. <Will change as mated pairs are formed> But is this just because they're not mature enough yet?
You raise a good point re husky and drinking bowl. Tank is on a stand and the top is at least 1.5m off the ground, so I think mere logistics is keeping them safe there. <Aha! good> There's actually an unfinished pond in my backyard from previous tenants which I intend to finish in future - will have to brainstorm ideas to husky proof it (playing in water is his second favourite thing in the world, second only to running - when he can combine both it's like all his dreams have come true at once). <Oh boy! that's going to be a fun project! >
Did bring up the topic of returning stock with my LFS -- was at one point considering getting a female Gourami(s) in an attempt to stop aggression towards the dwarf and wanted to know if they'd take them back if it made the problem worse (was subtly trying to suss out if returning the dwarf was an option, also). They said they won't take returns, mainly due to concerns regarding inheriting diseases from customers' tanks, which I understand.
<Fair enough. Again there is the option of forums and message boards in the local area. I live in a fairly immature market as regards the hobby so I have the same issues with stores as the ones you describe. I have found a group of folks who have a passion for the hobby and we trade with each other.>That one is a general pet store (hence the bad advice - only two staff members I've discovered know anything about fish, the others were probably just saying anything to get through their shift). <unfortunate reality of this business and perhaps many others.> There's only one aquarium in my vicinity, which has changed owners recently and has since dived. It stinks something awful and has the saddest looking fish I've ever seen. No one really swims around, they all just sort of hover there unmoving, and there's usually many a dead fish in the tanks - before the days of my tropical tank, I bought three goldfish from there. One was dead not 5 minutes after leaving the store. It's really sad because the previous owner was awesome.
They will buy fish off customers, but I'd rather not condemn a fish to that place! <Fair enough, I would not either.>
Thanks again. Will file all that you've said away in the memory bank for future use. <Good luck! Don't let these early hiccups get you down. You are doing the right things and with time and practice, you should be well on your way. When you do plan your restocking, start with the hardy fish to gain some experience and then move from there. Just remember that these creatures depend on us totally for their needs and have no real way of showing us they are in distress. That makes it even more incumbent upon us that we are diligent in our rhythm and routine in their care. Keep a journal with test readings and prepare care sheets of your own. It has always helped me keep information in order.>
Rhiannon. <Cheers - Sugam>

Need help with my Guppies
Guppy deaths/fry care - 10/16/11

Hi <Hello!> im new to your website and I love it. <Glad you find it a useful resource.> Well I purchased a male and a female guppy about a month ago the male only lived 4 days but the female was still alive. <What kind of tank do you have them in? Have you figured out why the male did not make it?> Bout <About> 2 days ago I notice she had given birth to 12 babies I went to da <the> store and purchased a bigger tank but this morning when I went to feed them I found her dead. What could be the reason she died and will her babies survive. <The answer to your question lies in the conditions you have provided for the fish. Fancy guppies are not exactly beginner fish. They tend to be a touch sensitive in my experience. If there is no external sign of disease, the problem likely lies with the water chemistry and environment in your tank but without information on the same, I can only suggest that you read more about the care of this fish here -
Please also read the related FAQs linked at the top of the page. If you tank is fully cycled and your water parameters measure up to those suggested, they fry will likely be okay. You may want to consider First Bites or the like for feeding since adult food is likely going to be to large to start with - Sugam>

sick guppy 10/6.5/11
One of my fancy male guppies is acting strange. he swims a bit and then falls to the bottom of the tank.(three days now).
I moved him from the big tank to my nursery where I have 2 month old babies......is there something I can do .thanks AN
<Do start by reading here:
Without information on your aquarium, we can't know what's the matter.
Check through the requirements for aquarium size, water chemistry, water quality, temperature and social behaviour. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: sick guppy 10/6.5/11

He is in a large fish bowl with 9 -2mos old guppys.about 4-5 quarts of water, that I take out some and add some new every few days. he has only been in this bowl a few days. he was in the larger tank and was just laying in the foliage, his tail is a bit shredded. we use spring water that we buy, there is a heater and a filter in the bowl. The heater keeps the water 3-5 degrees above room temp. and the babies are doing fine. I have added some salt to the water but very little, he comes up to eat and then sinks to the bottom and lays on the warm rocks over the heater. he seems to look like he is opening and closing his mouth alot.but maybe this is normal.
thanks again AN
<You are keeping your Guppies incorrectly. They are being stressed, killed by the environment you have placed them in. You cannot keep them in a fish bowl (which, despite the name, isn't a humane way to keep fish). Guppies need an aquarium at least 15 gallons/60 litres in size with a heater maintaining a steady temperature of 24-28 C/75-82 F. Furthermore they must have a biological filter that ensures 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. Water chemistry should be hard and alkaline; 10+ degrees dH, pH 7-8. The addition of 2-3 grammes of marine salt mix per litre is beneficial but not essential. Until you correct their environment, any other treatments will be pointless. The fact you think the babies are "fine" is irrelevant. They won't be healthy for long. Do, please, read where you were directed, and also here:
Cheers, Neale.>
difference... Re Guppy disease/killing -- 10/07/11

Ok so you say iam killing my guppies,
<In a bowl? Yes.>
they have been in this situation for over six months
<Guppies can, should live 3-5 years.>
and this is the only one that is not looking normal.
<So far.>
how do old fish act as I bought him at a little store out in the boonies'
<At six months old he should be in the prime of his life.>
He is still eating just not very active, just lays around . I have checked with a pet store in Calgary where I bought some of my fish and they told me bottled spring water was fine,
<Bottled water is an expensive way to keep an aquarium. Do bear in mind you need 15 gallons, minimum, for a HUMANE aquarium for Guppies. That's a lot of bottled water! But provided the water chemistry is right, i.e., hard and alkaline, then sure, go ahead and use it. As you'll learn if you prod about this site, pet stores aren't always the most reliable sources of information. Does the pet store specialise in fish? Or are fish sold alongside rodents, cat and dog food, etc.? Generic pet stores may be great places to shop, but don't assume their advice is reliable. Go ahead and borrow or buy a book on aquarium fish, and you'll see what I'm telling you is true. Unlike a pet store, I'm not selling you anything. I'm here to help.
we live in the country and don't drink our well water..I was also told I could use it for fish but all the gold fish died when I did that so now trying guppies.....maybe I should forget FISH
<If you can't provide the right conditions for a pet animal, then no, you shouldn't keep them. But before you throw in the towel, do read here:
Keeping fish properly needn't be hard or expensive; just thoughtful.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: difference

He was a really active fish up until now, he is still the first one up for food and then goes back to the bottom, are those kits that are sold at Wal-mart reliable for testing the water.
<They're useful enough. At minimum, you want a nitrite (not nitrate!) test kit and a pH test kit. These tell you the two most important things: how well your biological filter is working, and roughly what sort of water chemistry you have. For healthy Guppies, you want zero nitrite and a pH between 7 and 8.5.>
Should I be keeping this fish with the others or by himself, he has a tattered looking tail.........'¦
<Raggedy fins are a common symptom of Finrot, hence the name. But physical damage (e.g., from fighting or fin-nipping) can cause fins to become tattered too, and complicating things further, once fins are damaged, Finrot becomes more common. If fish have damaged fins, and you're not 100% sure water quality is excellent, it's a good idea to treat for Finrot just in case. Tea-tree Oil products like Melafix might be used successfully to prevent infections, but I'd suggest something more reliable if the fins are infected, for example an antibiotic like Maracyn.>
the pet store I inquired at has fish only and the man who runs it seems to know his stuff and cares ,
<Good to know.>
he is the one that got me up to 2 months with the babies I rescued from the big tank. I think they are almost big enough to put into the big tank(30gal) They aren't having any problems with the filter now and I don't think they are so small that they will get sucked up in the bigger filter, should I put them in the big tank to give them a better chance? Thanks AN
<Once Guppies are more than 3-4 weeks old they're generally big enough to live alongside their parents. If you're not 100% sure though, try using a breeding trap or breeding net. Put the trap or net in the main aquarium, put the baby fish in there, and keep them safely corralled inside the breeding trap or net until they're a good size, say, 1 cm long. You can then turn them loose. Don't put adults in breeding traps though -- despite the marketing, females get stressed in them, and there's nothing to stop a cannibalistic female turning around and eating her fry anyway! Much better to put lots of floating Indian Fern (Water Sprite) in the tank, and then wait for the babies to instinctively hide among those plants. Every morning check the plants and then scoop out the fry and place them in the breeding net. Easy! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: difference
Thanks all this fish stuff stresses me ,my Granddaughter says the tiger barb in the tank may be a problem with the fry.
<Yes, Tiger Barbs will eat Guppy fry and they will also nip at the fins of male Guppies. Singleton Tiger Barbs are especially dangerous, and Tiger Barbs should always be kept in groups of 6+ specimens. They're amazingly pushy, feisty little fish!>
It's her fault I am trying fish, I am a very responsible pet owner but these little beggars are trying my patience.
<Well'¦ The thing with fish that you're being given the keys to a zoo. There are literally hundreds of species on sale. And just like a real zoo, just because you've got a tiger, a kangaroo, and a gorilla doesn't mean you're going to keep them in the same enclosure! Yet folks buy fish assuming they'll all get along. But they won't! And each species has its own demands. Yes, lots get along just fine, and many are tolerant of a wide range of water chemistry values. But most aren't, and most will only get along with certain sorts of fish. Angels eat Neons, so can't be kept together, but Neons and Corydoras catfish make great companions! It's all about doing your research up front, and choosing your fish carefully. There are lots of good books out there, and we're always glad to help make sensible choices. Why not have a read here:
These offer up some advice on options and choices. Choose the right fish for the size of tank you have and your local water chemistry conditions, and honestly, fish couldn't be easier! A bit of food, some water changes, that's about it. Holidays are easy-peasey because you can leave fish for 2 weeks without food and they're fine. If you're spending more than half an hour a week on your aquarium, or more than a couple of bucks in food across a month, then you're doing something VERY WRONG.>
Over the years my one horse lived until she was 30, her daughter is now 19, a cat well into his teens, 2 romping dogs, and 6 budgies some over 10 yrs, now these fish giving me gray hair.
<Do suspect it's not the fish that are causing the problems, but the CHOICES of fish you've made being poor ones.>
Thanks again for all your help, we are going to get our water tested, my hubby says the water for the fish is probably the same deal as when we had the swim. pool...test, test, test. AN
<Really shouldn't be anything like this hard. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: difference 10/9/11

I choose the fish that the pet store guy told me would get along.
<Not a sensible approach.>
Will gold fish be okay with the guppies??
<Not really, no. Goldfish need a 30+ gallon aquarium and heavy filtration.
They are not nearly as easy to keep as people think, which is why the majority of Goldfish sold die prematurely. Bear in mind they should live 20-30 years and reach sizes of at least 20 cm/8 inches. Most of the ones sold live a few months or a couple of years, and even if they do survive in small tanks and (shudder) bowls, they don't have much of a life, and basically hang there in midwater looking glum, slowly being poisoned or suffocated. Guppies are best kept on their own or else with things like Red Cherry Shrimps that don't pose any sort of threat to them. These will tolerate any salt you add, something you can't be sure of with other aquarium fish.>
just may give my granddaughter the tiger. thanks AN
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: help! 9/30/11
hi again guys, I have wrote to you before about my Danios. that problem is solved thank you. this time its my 4 coral red guppies. I am feeding them bloodworm and tropical fish flakes alternately. day by day one of them are lying on their side at bottom of the tank, then he gets a lease of life and swims erratically around the tank. have I gave him swim belly by feeding him blood worm and should I feed them blood worm so often.
I also have 9 neon tetras, 2 male guppies, 2 mollies, 1 sucker fish and 2 cat fish. what am I doing wrong please help have only had my 95 litre tank for 2 months. thank you. jen
<Hello Jen. Do need some details here. At first glance, your aquarium sounds overstocked, or at least will be soon: the Common Plec and the so-called Chinese Algae Eater -- both traded as "sucker fish" -- would need an aquarium at least twice the size of the one you have. Even if small now, both will reach full size within 12-18 months, and before that time the Chinese Algae Eater especially can cause major problems through its aggressive behaviour. Neons and Corydoras catfish are soft water fish, while Mollies and Guppies are hard water fish, so it's not really possible to keep them together. My guess would be that your environmental conditions are wrong for the species concerned. To summarise:
Neons, 2-10 degrees dH, pH 6-7.5, temperature 22-25 C; no salt.
Corydoras, 2-20 degrees dH, pH 6-8, temperature 22-25 C; no salt.
Guppies, 10-25 degrees dH, pH 7-8.5, temperature 24-28 C; salt is beneficial but not needed.
Mollies, 15-30 degrees dH, pH 7.5-8.5, temperature 24-28 C; the addition of salt at 5-6 grammes/litre is makes Mollies much easier to keep.
As you can see, there's little overlap. Cheers, Neale.>

strange marking on Guppy mouth (RMF, Columnaris?) <<>> 9/26/11
<<Unfortunately appears so. I would IMMEDIATELY aggressively treat for (Neomycin sulfate), and euthanize/remove this most mal-affected specimen. BobF>>
Hi Crew
Trust you have all had a great weekend so far.
<Very good, thanks; and hope yours good too.>
Earlier today I noticed that one of my female guppies had strange white around her mouth and her left eye looked a bit cloudy see pix attached is this something to worry about?
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 5
Tank size 100 lt
6 adults
25 juvenile females (small in size)
3 fork tail blue eye rainbow fish
2 Platies
1 Gourami Colisa labiosa
many thanks for your help in advance.
<Do think this is Columnaris, also called "Mouth Fungus" despite being a bacterial infection. Quite common among livebearers. Usually indicates some environmental stress, typically water that is too soft, too acidic, or too cold. Do review conditions. Fancy Guppies need middling to high temperatures, 25-28 C; moderately hard to very hard water, 10-30 degrees dH; and pH levels between 7.5-8.5. The addition of marine aquarium salt at 2 g/l (about a teaspoon per US gallon) is a major plus, but may stress the Gourami (the Rainbows won't mind). In any case, medicate as per Columnaris, taking care to remove carbon from the filter. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: More re: strange marking on Guppy mouth (RMF, Columnaris?) 9/26/11
Hi Bob
Many thanks for your reply - I have treated the guppy with Furnol2
<? What is this? According to Google, furniture polish? A Furacyn product?
Not likely efficacious>
for 30 min.s in a separate container.
Have place her back in main tank with in a separate small birthing net.
<... not a good idea to put this fish back in w/ the others>
Is this ok or should I remove her completely (euthanise).
<I would do the latter. Do please search on WWM... the search tool on every page... w/ the term "Columnaris"... NOW. BobF>

Re: More re: strange marking on Guppy mouth (RMF, Columnaris?) 9/26/11
Love your sense of humour your a cool guy I meant JBL Furanol 2.
Will follow your advice.
Many thanks
<As many welcomes. B>

Re: Columnaris 10/4/11
Just wanted to say that after five days of Esha2000 treatment and careful monitoring (as well as euthanasia of four badly infected fish / fish with dropsy), the tank appears to be settling and those with some cotton mouth / eye coverage are in remission.
<Very good news. Generally there's real trouble w/ these cases>
I haven't done any water changes yet but with a combination of less food (brine shrimp rather than flake food) Esha2000 treatment, lowering the tank temperatures (as far as I am able) to 74 degrees, it appears to be having positive results. Hopefully in a few days, all signs of cotton mouth will have gone and I can start to introduce some water changes to bring the tanks back to non-medicated states.
Thanks for all your help and support. I almost gave up on keeping fish but have decided to keep going, but not to replace my stock with guppies (they are just too genetically weak). However, some important learnings have been taken on board!
Many thanks as ever,
<"I'm in the mood for a moray, simply because they're finless... No P1's or pelvics, I'm in the mood for an eel". Cheers, BobF>
Re: Columnaris

"I'm in the mood for a moray, simply because they're finless... No P1's or pelvics, I'm in the mood for an eel"
what's the song Bob? I don't know the original fishless version.
<Ahh, sub "amore" for the corrupted " a moray"...

My fancy guppy has a red infection on trailing edge of caudal fin 8/22/11
<Hi there Eric>
About 36 hours ago, I noticed that my fancy guppy has developed a red infection at the edge of his tail fin (see attached photo). There is a larger red area of infection at the top corner, as well as a much smaller red area about 2/3 of the way down on the trailing edge. The photo was taken about 3 hours ago and the larger area has doubled in size since I first noticed the problem.
Otherwise, he is acting normally, is very active and has appetite.
He is the lone fish in a 10 gallon tank. Temp is 78-80, pH 7.8, kH 50, gH 70, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0. Tank has been set up since June, and there have never been any detectable levels of any nitrogenous wastes ( even when cycling, I guessed that this was because there was so little biomass in the tank).
I believe the cause of this was a buildup of organic waste on the tank bottom.
<May be>
The small gravel vac that I had purchased for the small tank didn't work very well ( tube was too narrow and it kept sucking up gravel).
<Ahh, perhaps you can attach an expanded bit like a funnel to the working end>
The day before I noticed the infection, I had taken large amounts of gravel from the 10 gallon tank and placed it in a larger 20 gallon tank that I was planning on moving the guppy to. When I did this I noticed that it stirred up a lot of organic waste from the bottom, which the guppy was exposed to after it got stirred up. Unfortunately I didn't think to take any measures (like a water change) at that time.
After noticing the infection, I changed 25% of the tank water and added a first dose of Triple Sulfa by API.
<Mmm, not efficacious>
That was last night. This morning I noticed that the affected area had doubled.
I would hate to lose this little guy as I have grown very attached to him, and I am taking care of him for a friend that moved out of the country.
I am worried that the infection is spreading fast. I would appreciate any suggestions for trying to cure it.
<Better water quality, reducing the amount of detritus will help of course.
This is really all I would do, other than perhaps adding a bit of aquarium salt (Please see here re:
When will I be able to tell if the meds are working?
<Sulfa drugs will not likely be of use here. IF this were a definable bacterial infection (DO see the net re Columnaris, Chondrococcus...), Neomycin Sulfate might be of use>
If they are not, will I have time to try another treatment before it's too late?
<Better to take ones time in such circumstances... MUCH more harm to be done by mis-treating. Bob Fenner who wants to state that this may just be "normal" colouration for the breed>

Re: My fancy guppy has a red infection on trailing edge of caudal fin 8/23/11
Thanks Bob.
The infection has spread further along the edge of the fin and eaten away a few millimeters of the edge.
<Yikes. Bad>
the original top corner of the fin is no longer red. The infection moved towards the middle of the trailing edge. I've attached photos of the infection taken on 3 subsequent days. Do you have any idea of what this could be?
<Again... not w/o sampling, looking under a scope, possibly culture, staining... Could be "just" environmental... perhaps infectious along with...>
I did a 50% water change last night and added 3rd dose of triple sulfa.
<... as prev. stated of no use here>
According to directions, I am supposed to add one more dose. If as you say it is not effective, then I would rather not add the final dose. Is it ok to stop in the middle, or is this like an antibiotic where we are supposed to complete the course of treatment?
He is looking a little stressed. He seems easily frightened. I don't know if this is because I removed rocks and he feels more exposed, because I added an airstone for more water circulation, or if there was pH stress from the large water change. When the water comes out of my tap, it's at pH 7.4. The water in my tank is pH 7.8.
<Not a worry for this species>
I don't know why, perhaps it's the gravel or rocks I have in the tank (shouldn't be though, as the gravel and rocks are supposed to be inert).
<Mmm, as you suspect...>
I took the rocks out anyway. I have been afraid to make large water changes due to this pH discrepancy. How much of a difference in pH and how large a water change is safe?
<The pH range is fine, about 50% changes are the maximum... lest you disrupt biofiltration>
For last night's 50% water change I used Seachem Malawi buffer to raise the pH of the water to 7.8 before I added it, but I'm not totally confident with using this as it seemed kind of inexact to get to a specific pH . I am also hoping that without the rocks in the tank the tank pH will start to lower to match the tap water pH.
<I would not try to alter the pH here>
I also got a new gravel vac and cleaned out the mulm.
I read the page on salt and will try to use a 2 g/l dose after I've cleaned out the Triple -Sulfa.
my ammonia, nitrites and nitrates have always been zero.
<Both good>
I've tested with Tetra test strips, API liquid test kits, and also have a Seachem ammonia alert installed. Others have told me that if my nitrates are zero, then the tank isn't cycled.
<Mmm, not so... denitrification in balance can result in such readings>
I've been assuming the tank is cycled, but with a regular regimen of twice weekly 10% water changes, shouldn't some nitrates build up?
<Again, not necessarily, no>
Thanks for all your assistance.
<Glad to help you. BobF>

Re: My fancy guppy has a red infection on trailing edge of caudal fin 8/23/11
<... do NOT send files of more than a few hundred Kbytes... see our guidelines re asking questions>
Ok, so I did not add the 4th dose of triple- sulfa. Hopefully it's not that bad to stop treatment before the full course. Ammonia tested a little high last night almost .25 according to API test kit. That is why fish was acting weird.
<Yes... your actions have likely suppressed nitrification. See WWM re this and Poecilia reticulata disease>
I did a 50% water change. Ammonia is still zero this morning and he is back to his friendly, happy self. Meds must have killed the bio- filter. So this puts us back to square one, except that the infection has progressed.
The good news is that the area that it started at has seem to run its course and has returned to normal. I attached a latest pic from this morning. You can see that the upper portion of the trailing edge is no longer red. I guess I will just go with water changes and salt, unless there is a different med I should use. Thanks again for all your help. Eric
The infection has spread further along the edge of the fin and eaten away a few millimeters of the edge. <Yikes. Bad> the original top corner of the fin is no longer red. The infection moved towards the middle of the trailing edge. I've attached photos of the infection taken on 3 subsequent days. Do you have any idea of what this could be?<Again... not w/o sampling, looking under a scope, possibly culture, staining... Could be "just" environmental... perhaps infectious along with...>
<... B>

Re: My fancy guppy has a red infection on trailing edge of caudal fin 8/24/11
Thanks for the advice. I am keeping the ammonia level at zero or close to zero with 50% daily water changes. Hopefully the nitrification will start to rebound soon. I added some cycling additive.
I added the aquarium salt last night, and by today the redness is almost totally gone! Unfortunately some of the tail fin got eaten away. It's not too noticeable, however.
<It can and will likely regrow... perhaps be a bit less colorful, marked as original>
Is there anything besides salt I should use to aid recovery and regeneration of the fin?
<Nothing I would add. B>
Re: My fancy guppy has a red infection on trailing edge of caudal fin 8/24/11
Excellent! Thanks again, Bob.
<Welcome Eric. B>
Re: My fancy guppy has a red infection on trailing edge of caudal fin 8/25/11

Unfortunately, he has taken a turn for the worse. He hangs at the surface and occasionally flashes around, gulps at the surface and makes tight turns.
Redness on fin is pretty much gone. I've been doing 50% daily water changes since the nitrification has still not recovered.
Not sure if there is anything else I can do at this point other than wait and keep ammonia/nitrites down.
Don't think he is going to make it.
<Please review all our emails... did you look up Columnaris?>
Re: My fancy guppy has a red infection on trailing edge of caudal fin 8/27/11

yes I have, but there are no external symptoms, so I am not sure.
<Please search again... the reddening, loss of tail tissue...>
Re: My fancy guppy has a red infection on trailing edge of caudal fin 8/27/11
I looked more carefully, it's possible that there are pinkish reddish patches on the back below the dorsal fin. Hard to tell though.
For Columnaris, I can get Maracyn from the store.
<... Erythromycin... of no use...>
Should I increase salt level too?
<Keep reading. B, in Fiji>

Platy and Guppy problems 8/22/11
Dear WWM Crew,
<Ni hao, Jiahao!>
First of all, I'm Jiahao (I know, hard to pronounce). Second, I have several questions pertaining to my platies and guppies.
<Go for it!>
Third, I love your website and I have learned a great deal from it. I pretty much use your website like it's Google, but better because I know it's reliable, fast, and will always relate to fish.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have had a 10g fish tank for almost a year and a half now and it was doing fine until I added some new fish.
<Ten gallons is not a lot of space. I'd always recommend at least 15 gallons. The extra space makes a huge difference with Platies and Guppies.>
Up to just last week, all my fish were doing fine (ammonia-0, nitrite-0, and nitrate-30). I thought platies were supposed to be peaceful, but I noticed one of them started to nip the others fins.
<Males of both species can be aggressive. Sometimes the fight each other, and sometimes they harass females who don't want to mate with them. It's best to keep at least two females per male. With Platies, that's not a problem because females are just as pretty as the males. Indeed, keeping just females would be a sensible way forward. With Guppies it's less easy to sell this idea because females tend to be rather plain, though some females of the more modern varieties are much more colourful than wild-type females.>
Right now I have 3 platies and a guppy. The guppy and the biggest platy (I think male) are doing fine. It is the other two that worry me. First, I cannot tell their gender because they both have very long, flowy, and round fins near their pectoral fins.
<Do look at the anal fin; females should be obviously different to the males.>
They have two fins near their gills and two more which I think are the pectoral fins near their anus. Gender might be the problem, but I am not sure. One of the platies' fins are ripped, almost like scissors cut them, but there are also signs of fin rot on him. Please help and tell me what I can do to fix this problem.
<Well, part of the problem is you've bought long-fin Platies, and frankly, these rarely look good, especially in small tanks. You have a species where the males are semi-aggressive, and giving them long fins is asking for trouble! It's in their nature to fight.>
If it is gender issues, what should I do and it it's fin rot is there any help or recommend any medication.
<If you've got just Platies and Guppies, you could try to minimise the risk of Finrot or Fungus by adding a small amount of salt to the water, perhaps 2-3 grammes per litre. That won't cure Finrot or Fungus, but if the fins are basically clean and healing, salt will have a useful tonic effect on livebearers such as Platies and Guppies.>
Also, will my platies/guppies eat store-bought cabbage/lettuce that's been cleaned and softened, but uncooked?
<Worth a shot, but my guess is not. Cooked lettuce, sliced cucumber, Sushi Nori, and cooked peas are more likely foods. Vegetarian flake food is sold for livebearers, and worth using.>
Sorry for the long email but I hope you can help me. Thanks in advance.

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