FAQs on Smelly Freshwater, Aquarium Water
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freshwater aquarium water chemistry by Neale Monks,
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The Soft Water
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Related FAQs: Cloudy Water, Bubbles, FW H2O
Quality 1, FW H2O Quality 2,
FW H2O Quality 4, Cloudy Water , Aquarium Maintenance, Treating Tap Water for Aquarium Use,
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Guppy behavior/water smell
I got 2 guppies a while back, I`ve been keeping them in a small
aquarium (about a gallon and a half) without a heater or filter.
<Insanely small aquarium, and the need for heat and filtration is
Recently I found out they do need a heater, filter and larger aquarium
(no thanks to the fish store...),
<This is why we always tell people to read before they spend their
There's lots of stuff here about Guppies, and your local library
will have any number of aquarium books. There's really no
I`ve been bought the filter and I`m saving for a heater (I already have
a 10 gallon) but, being a juvenile and not old enough for a job, that
money is unfortunately coming too slowly.
<The problem is that science doesn't give a rip about how much
money you or I make. Science is what it is, and you either meet the
requirements of the animal, or you don't, and in the latter case,
the animal will likely die.>
In the meantime one dies,
<There you go.>
I give the tank an extreme cleaning (just in case) and get a new guppy
for the still living one.
<No no no!>
A few months later the power goes out and the bubble maker`s air stone
breaks (it was old), the new air stone blows air faster than the old
one causing slightly rougher water. Recently the water started smelling
like mushroom juice (like when you get mushrooms from a can), so I gave
it a good scrub, now about a day later the smell`s back. What could be
creating that smell?
<Lack of filtration. Let's read here:
They both seemed to be doing fine though until today, when I found the
oldest one lying on his belly in the gravel next to the rock I have the
air stone under.
He didn`t respond when I tapped the aquarium (though clearly alive and
doesn`t seem to have labored breathing or anything really out of the
ordinary) so I reached in and nudged him, he darted off swimming
normally so I went ahead and fed them, but he just went back to his
spot and seemed uninterested.
He`s probably around roughly a year old.
<Should live 4-5 years.>
Is there anything immediate I can do for him while I get the larger
aquarium set up? Is there anything wrong with him or could he be
<Many, many problems. Read the linked articles. You need at least 10
gallons, I'd argue 15 gallons for Guppies because males are quite
aggressive. You need a filter, and the ammonia and nitrite readings
have to be 0 all the time. The water temperature needs to be a steady
25-30 C/77-86 F. Water chemistry should be hard and basic; 10+ degrees
dH, pH 7-8. It's a good idea to add 2-3 grammes of marine aquarium
salt mix per litre of water
in the aquarium (about half an ounce per US gallon). This isn't
regular salt, it's the stuff used in marine aquaria -- if you
don't know what I'm talking about, tell your pet show clerk you
want marine aquarium salt, not the stuff for freshwater aquaria. Marine
aquarium salt will raise the hardness, steady the pH, and provide
sodium chloride that slightly reduces the toxicity of nitrite and
nitrate. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy behavior/water smell 6/3/10
The guppie`s fine, I think he was resting.
<Guppies don't rest on the ground. It's actually damaging
for them, since the scales on their bellies are easily damaged.
Sleeping Guppies will be close to the surface, ideally resting among
floating plants. Be very careful not to force preconceptions based on
humans onto animals.>
It was late and the light had been turned out and I had just turned it
back on for feeding. He`s back to his normal self and eating.
I`m about to cycle the aquarium, so that at least they`re in something
larger and filtered while I get the heater.
I didn`t know about your site and I never knew there were fish books
until a few months ago (after I bought them).
I`ve checked out and read most of them now.
<I assume you don't mean most of the aquarium books in print,
but rather the ones at your local library!>
I did study up on them though on a site or 2 (I never get an animal
without studying) I`m not going to those sites again.
<Indeed. The Internet is wonderful in many ways, but it's a
hopeless research tool. Books are much more reliable. Here at WWM we
happen to be aquarists who write books, so you get a 2-for-1 when
visiting. But ordinarily, think carefully about whose written those
words you see on a web site. An expert? Someone selling something? Some
kid in his mom's basement?>
I don`t have room for 15 gallons, I barely have space for 10 and I had
to really stretch to make that space, otherwise I would.
Once set up, how many guppies would be good for a 10 gallon heated,
filtered, and bubbled aquarium?
<Just about. One male, two females should be okay. They will breed
of course, and so you'll soon have too many. Plan around that.
Guppies aren't my favourite choices for 10 gallon tanks.>
Would there be any fish I could put in with them?
Guppies need hard, basic water chemistry and a relatively high
temperature; as such, they're not ideal tankmates for all kinds of
community fish. Look over the pH, hardness and temperature requirements
of any fish before choosing it. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy behavior/water smell
I`ve seen other fish doing that, so I assumed...
<Some fish do sit on the bottom, like catfish. But almost all fish
that swim about in midwater sleep in midwater too.>
but he seems OK now so as long as I can keep him going for the next 3
or 4 weeks he`ll probably do good.
Oops, just the ones in the library...amazing what 2 or 3 words can do
for a sentence...
I have 2 male guppies, they seem alright together, as so with other
guppies I`ve seen. I don`t know what I`d do with all those guppies if I
<Selling good quality Guppies isn't terribly difficult, which is
why buying a male and two "virgin" females of a particular
breed is important. Otherwise, yes, you can end up with a lot of mixed
breed fry of little value. Some people like to keep rarer livebearers
such as Endler Guppies that will produce sellable fry and thereby pay
for their fish food. If you know where to look, there are all sorts of
cool livebearers you can keep instead of Guppies. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy behavior/water smell -- 06/10/10
Thanks, I think I might just keep some females. But I have 2 males,
should I get 4 females or just get 2 for the 10 gallon?
<Unless you buy virgin females, there's no guarantee that any
females you buy are not pregnant already. Most pet stores mix the males
and females together, and once that happens, the females will almost
certainly be impregnated. You could keep 3-5 females in a 10 gallon
tank, depending their size. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy behavior/water smell 7/8/10
Actually I meant with the males. The local PetSmart has them separated
out front, but IDk about in the back. But either way, I`d be breeding
So with a male, about 3 females?
<Sure. Try and choose a variety where the females are pretty,
Should I provide a designated area that the fry can escape to, like, a
section closed off with fish netting or is it really necessary?
<Easiest approach is to add some floating plants like Indian Fern.
The fry will go there. Every morning, when you're feeding the fish,
look to see what's there. Scoop out any fry and pop them into a
floating breeding trap for the next 3-4 weeks. After that time you can
set them loose in the main tank. They'll be too big to be
Could it be a small area, like 1/8 of the tank or should it be
<Not worth the hassle.>
I just want to know what I should do before I spend a ton of money on
unnecessary stuff instead of important things.
<Indeed. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy behavior/water smell 9/26/10
Finally got everything in the 10 gallon set up and cycled.
Heating, filtration, and aeration. I managed to get a hood and light as
well. I also have decorations/hiding places (picture enclosed, I would
like to have your opinion on weather this is suitable or not and if I
make any improvements I also plan to ad a mountain or 2 and some fake
<No picture arrived. Guppies couldn't care less about rocks and
plants on the bottom of the tank since they're surface water fish,
but floating plants are helpful.>
I`m planning on having 4 male guppies in the tank. I was curios though,
weather it would be a good idea to also ad a Kuhli Loach and possibly
some ghost shrimp?
<"A" Kuhli loach isn't an option; they're very
sociable, and you shouldn't get fewer than three. In smaller groups
they are so shy you won't see them, so why bother? In groups of
three or more they'll still be extremely shy, but you will at least
glimpse them now and again. Since Kuhli Loaches and Guppies have
somewhat different requirements, particularly in terms of water
chemistry, I wouldn't recommend this combination without first
establishing your local water chemistry. Hard water isn't good for
the loaches, and soft water isn't good for Guppies, but something
around 10-15 degrees dH, pH 7.5 should be okay for both. If you have
hard water, skip the loaches and go with Cherry Shrimps: these are
colourful, enjoy hard water, and tolerate salt quite well should you
need to add salt for the benefit of your Guppies. Both shrimps and
loaches appreciate rocky caves and plants on the bottom of the tank,
the shrimps in particular needing somewhere safe to moult every few
Thanks for all your help, you`ve literally been a life saver!
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy behavior/water smell 9/26/10
Ok, thanks. Everything should be good to go then. Guppies and cherry
<Sounds a good combo. Be sure to get some of the small, clear-pink
male shrimps as well as the bigger bright red females if you want them
to breed, and you do! Besides adding to the fun, the shrimps themselves
only live for a year or so, so having a population that breeds means
you can enjoy them for many, many years.>
And sorry, U`ve been having problems with the email/picture thing.
<Such is life. Cheers, Neale.>