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FAQs on Guppy Diseases 3

FAQs on Guppy Disease: Guppy Disease 1, Guppy Disease 2, Guppy Disease 4, Guppy Disease 5, Guppy Disease 6, Guppy Disease 7, 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

pH stuck at 6.6.   7/25/07 Dear WWM, <Hello Giuseppe,> I have the following setup: 10 G planted tank started 8 months ago 2 Corys 1 Otocinclus 2 neon tetras 2 male guppies (planning to add 3 neon tetras and 3 rosy tetras...would that be ok?) <You'll get best results from all those fishes by keeping them in groups of 6 or more. Schooling fish tend to be shy and nervous when kept in pairs or trios... and then they die, prematurely. The fact you have a 10 gallon tank complicates things somewhat. Rosy tetras are FAR TOO active for a 10 gallon tank, but Neons and Otocinclus are fine. Corydoras are borderline. Small species are OK, but the bigger ones less so.> The tank values are: Nitrite 0, Nitrates 5, Ammonia 0, PH 6.6 <All good except the pH -- too low for guppies.> I do 30% water changes once or twice a week by deeply siphoning all the gravel (should I clean only the top part of the gravel to avoid any damage to the bacteria living in it?). <What you're doing is fine. But I'd kick up the water changes to 50% weekly or 25% twice weekly, since you have a small tank. By the time you have the bucket out, how much water you change doesn't add to the workload. But the bigger the water change, the healthier a tank is.> The two guppies are not doing well (see photo attached). The yellow one is always hiding behind a plant and close to the surface. The blue one is always resting on the gravel. I treated them with Maracyn/Maracyn 2 combination for 3 times over the last couple of months due to suspected fin rot, each treatment lasted 5 days. Since the PH was stable at 7 and dropped to 6.6 only in the last few months, I suspect that this may be harming the guppies. <Low pH is bad for guppies. But it isn't specifically the pH that causes the problems. Low pH generally goes along with low hardness, both general hardness (GH) and carbonate hardness (KH). Guppies, like most other livebearers, need high levels of both of these. Ideally, at least a GH of 15 degrees dH and 10 degrees KH. Or thereabouts, anyway. Basically the harder the better, and in fact guppies will do better in seawater than they'll do in the soft/acid water Neons enjoy. It sounds as if you have a lack of carbonate hardness in your water. All aquaria have a pH drift towards the acidic. It's caused by the accumulation of organic wastes. Water changes "resets" this upwards, which is why water changes are so good. But increasing the carbonate hardness slows down the pH drop by buffering the water against acidity. Now, Neons and Otocinclus don't care much, since they come from soft/acid conditions. But guppies DO care, and this is why yours are getting sick.> Even after changing filter and carbon and doing two 30% water changes weekly there's no way to lower the PH under 6.6. <Well, you can start by throwing out the carbon in my opinion. Other than the fact it removes medications, making your treatments a complete waste of time and money, it's wasting space that could be given over to more useful biological filtration.> To be honest I would like to keep the PH at this level due to the other fishes in the tank and the ones I'm planning to introduce, but I'm worried for the guppies. <You do not want to mess about with pH until you 100% understand water chemistry. There are articles here on the topic, and any good aquarium book should explain the subject too. More fish are killed by people misusing pH buffers without understanding them than die from simply being kept at the wrong pH to begin with. My suggestion would be to aim for medium hard water at around pH 7. This will suit all your livestock. The idea Neons and other South American fish need acid water is erroneous. They prefer it, yes, but they don't need it. They'll do much better at a neutral pH and moderate hardness than your guppies will do at an acid pH and low hardness. So, start by adding portion of crushed coral to your filter and see how that changes the pH and carbonate over the next few days. A tablespoon or two should be fine to begin with. If the pH goes way over 7.0, then remove some. If it stays below 7.0, add some more. What you're aiming for is a carbonate hardness around 8-10 degrees KH and a general hardness around 10-15 degrees dH. All your fish should thrive at this level. If you get the portion of buffering material right the effect will be slight but steady, and between this and the water changes, you should find the aquarium nice and stable. If this all sounds like too much work, you could alternatively use some Malawi or Tanganyika cichlid salt mix, at around 5-20% dosages, mixed into each bucket of water, so that you the sorts of values suggested above. Or, you could just get rid of the guppies and be done with it.> I would greatly appreciate if you could take a look at the attached photo and tell me if you see any sign of sickness and also give me your advise on the situation I just described. <They look fine, just unhappy.> Thank you, Giuseppe <Hope this helps, Neale>

Re: pH stuck at 6.6.   7/25/07 Hi Neale, thanks for your prompt reply. I have one more questions based on your comments? You suggest to get rid of the carbon and replace it with a better media. What media should I use and how frequently should I replace it. Thank you, Giuseppe <Greetings. I should perhaps explain my objection to carbon first. The only thing carbon is useful for is removing dissolved organic waste, specifically the stuff that turns water yellow over time. If you're doing regular water changes, it becomes redundant, because you're removing organic waste through dilution before it reaches a level where it affects water colour. Freshwater fish don't care about this organic material (called by biologists "gelbstoff", literally "yellow stuff" in German). It's purely a cosmetic problem, and carbon doesn't remove bacteria, parasites, nitrogenous waste, or inorganic toxins like copper. What carbon *does* do is remove any organic materials you deliberately add to the aquarium, such as medications. It is very, VERY common that people treat their aquaria for Whitespot (or whatever) and then wonder why their fish don't get better. The answer: they didn't remove the carbon, and the carbon removed the medication before it had a chance to cure the fish or kill the parasites! Hence by default, unless you have a specific reason to want to use carbon, I always recommend people leave it out of the filter. So what to put in its place? Nothing beats more biological filter media. Doesn't really matter what sort you use, so shop according to your budget. High-end ceramic media like Siporax are the "best" in the sense of providing the highest population of bacteria per unit volume and for lasting the longest period of time before they need to be replaced (10+ years). But even plain old filter floss has its place. As we've discussed previously, some crushed coral in a filter media bag (or the "foot" from an old pair of nylon stockings) could also be used to provide some chemical filtration by adding to the carbonate hardness and moderating the pH a bit. Livebearers especially appreciate this. As for replacing/cleaning media this depends on which you're using. If a durable biological medium like ceramic hoops or sponge, you want to rinse these off in a bucket of aquarium water but otherwise avoid replacing them as much as possible. Good quality ceramic and sponge media lasts for years. Filter wool tends to get clogged quite quickly, and depending on your aquarium you may decide to replace 50% of the stuff every couple of months. Chemical media need (generally) to be deep cleaned or replaced monthly. In part, because they wear out (this is the case with carbon, zeolite, and nitrate-removing media) but also because bacteria coat them, isolating the medium from the water (this is what happens to crushed coral). In some cases you can clean these using hot water and sunshine (e.g., crushed coral) but others simply need to be replaced (e.g., carbon). I hope this helps. Neale>

Re: PH stuck at 6.6.   8/25/07 Neale, your comments are not just useful, but an eye opener for me. I totally understand now and I agree with your point. I will need a big help shortly to confirm the fish community that I would like to have in my tank. As you know I have a 10G tank and it's extremely difficult for me to decide which/how many fishes I can add, even reading the books I have. As I said, I now have 1 Otocinclus, 2 Corys (fairly big unfortunately), 2 male guppies and 2 Neons. I'd like to add 3 more Neons and maybe 2 sparkling Gouramis or fish a bit tall such as Pristella that would differentiate from the slim Neons. Any suggestion would be highly appreciated. Thanks for your help, Giuseppe <Hello Giuseppe. Glad to help. Now, on to your tank. When selecting species for a 10 gallon, you not only have to consider size, but also how active the species is. Neons and Danios are the same size, but the Neons are inactive and basically lurk all day under the plants, while the Danios bomb around the aquarium all day long. So guess which species does best in a 10 gallon tank? Sparkling Gouramis are among my very favourite fishes and an excellent choice. They view space more in terms of up and down than front to back, and if you have lots of floating plants (Indian fern for example) they'll be as happy as anything. Pristella tetras are lovely fish, but in my opinion slightly too active for this aquarium, though it's a borderline case. They are very adaptable and exceptionally hardy, and in my opinion the single most all-round reliable tetra on the market. But I think you'll find your aquarium "more fun" if you went for a large school of one type of tetra than two or three of a bunch of different tetras. 10 Neons, for example, would school nicely and be very eye-catching, especially if you made the tank "dark" by using black sand, shady plants, and blackwater extract to tint the water. Under those conditions, Neons and cardinals really put on a heck of show, equal to anything you can do with coral reef fish or Malawi cichlids. I find Neons and cardinal tetras great small tank fish, because you can use their "glow in the dark" colours to brighten up a dark corner of a room without the need for a huge fish tank. Getting them to school is the trick -- in small groups, they spread out randomly and the colours aren't that impressive, but in big groups, they swim together, and become really amazing fish. Cheers, Neale>


Ceramic media, & air pumps FW  08/26/07 Hello Neale, I bought the ceramic cylinders yesterday to be used as filter media. I wanted to ask you how should I place them inside the power filter and how many of then I'm supposed to use? Should I also bury some cylinders in the gravel and use them to jump start an eventual new tank? I also wanted to ask you if using an air pump inside the tank is really beneficial or not. As always, thanks a lot for your helpful insights. Giuseppe <Greetings Giuseppe. How you use the ceramic media depends somewhat on the design of your filter. Some filters have "compartments" that you stuff with the media of your choice. If this is the case here, place the ceramic media in the last compartment (i.e., the one that water enters last of all) for best results. This will stop it getting clogged with solid waste quickly, allowing the media to perform as biological media better. If your filter doesn't have compartments, then place the media in a media bag (or something similar, like the "foot" from a pair of stockings) and stuff it somewhat after the mechanical filter media (again, so that it doesn't get clogged too quickly). There's no "wrong" way to use media, just more or less efficient ways, so if this all seems to complicated, just cram the ceramic hoops in wherever you can. The filter should have some instructions explaining this. You likely can't use "too much" or the filter won't go back together. As for burying them in the gravel -- pointless. If you have spare, buy another filter and put them in there. Otherwise, leave them somewhere dry to use at another time. The gravel in a tank without an undergravel filter is basically "dead" as far as biological filtration goes, and the ceramic media won't do anything useful and won't get significantly colonised with bacteria. Better to remove 50% of the media from the filter after a few months, and use those to "seed" a new filter in a new aquarium. You can replace up to 50% of the filter media from a mature filter and not lose too much biological filtration capacity. Obviously you add new media after you do this. This process is called "cloning" a filter, and it's how I set up all my tanks, and totally removes the cycling process. Now, as for air pumps: here's the deal. Air pumps don't put oxygen into the water. That's a myth. What they do is improve circulation. By doing this, de-oxygenated water at the bottom of the tank is brought to the surface, where CO2 diffuses out and oxygen diffuses in. That's really all air pumps do. Obviously, an air pump connected to an airstone at the bottom of the tank will be more useful than the same pump connected to an airstone that's bubbling away at the top of the tank. Do you need an airstone? Generally not. A decent filter should be providing adequate circulation on its own. This wasn't always the case in the past, where air-powered filters were common, but modern electric filters generally offer a lot of circulation. The ideal for regular community fish is 4x the volume of the aquarium in turnover per hour. For goldfish, cichlids, Plecs, etc. this goes up to around 6-8x per hour, and for marines anything from 10x upwards is required. Your filter should have a "gallons per hour" or "litres per hour" quote on it somewhere; compare this to the volume of the aquarium, and draw your own conclusions as to whether you need to add extra circulation. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Ceramic media, air pumps, guppy dis., FW reading...  8/28/07 Hello Neale, unfortunately the blue guppy died last night. Anyway, after a 50% water change done 2 days ago and 1 tablespoon of crashed coral in the filter I reached a PH 7 and I'm monitoring it every day. I wanted to ask you where I can find detailed information on fish profiles, compatibility with other species, behavior, recommended tank size and community fish samples. I have a number of books, but they only provide few comments on each fish. Do you have books that you would recommend? I would also like to have an excellent book on how to choose the right equipment and how to maintain the aquarium properly. I have beginner books, which are ok but still don't give a lot of details. You probably understand that I'm getting passionate about tropical aquariums and I appreciate your guidance on how to increase my knowledge. Thank you, Giuseppe <Hello Giuseppe. Sorry about your loss. Keep tracking the pH. You want 7.0, or perhaps slightly more, like 7.2. That's a nice pH for a wide range of fish. Now, as for books: in my opinion, the single best book for descriptions on species is Baensch's Aquarium Atlas. It covers lots of species giving things like preferred water chemistry, social behaviour, diet, etc. There are a few errors, or at least things I'd argue with, but it's basically sound and much better than most other fishkeeping atlases. It's obvious rival is the Axelrod Mini Atlas, which is similar in size and price. On balance, I prefer the Baensch book: it has fewer fish perhaps, but covers them in more depth (usually each species has half a page of text and half a page of pictures). The Axelrod book has half a page per species, mostly a photo, with just a strip of symbols and abbreviations to cover things like size, behaviour, etc. But it's your choice which one you prefer. I'd recommend looking at each first though. I bought my copy of Baensch volume 1 around about 1990, and still use it today as my primary reference when writing fishkeeping articles or going shopping. There are a few more volumes containing new and rare species. If you're into specific groups of fish, then the Aqualog books are the ones to track down. They have books on Corydoras, puffers, cichlids of all kinds and more. They're books for the serious aquarist, so don't cover basics like how to set up a fish tank, but they are well priced and beautifully illustrated. TFH is another big publisher, and their web site lists their books and gives information on them too. Hope this helps, Neale>


Dead pregnant guppy  8/16/07 Hi, <Hello.> I had a pregnant fancy guppy who was in fine health. I put a new male fancy guppy in the tank with her 2 weeks ago, he was quite active and a bit aggressive which is why I chose him, as my previous male guppy had been picked on by my tetras. (I have 3 balloon mollies, 2 painted tetras, 1 Pleco, and these 2 guppies). <Surely the better solution would have been to remove the tetras? Painted tetras are, I believe, albino Gymnocorymbus ternetzi that have been injected (into the muscles) with fluorescent dyes. Do you realise that this is done without anaesthesia and large numbers of them die in the process? It also weakens their immune system. It's possibly one of the nastiest and more venal aspects of the fishkeeping hobby, and if I could, I'd run up to the guys who do it and inject their muscles with massive amounts of fluorescent dye and see if they liked it! Please please please do not support this evil trade, and do not buy painted fish. In addition, Gymnocorymbus ternetzi are notorious fin-nippers. A guppy is a swimming buffet as far as they are concerned.> The male had always 'bothered' the female and constantly swims by her side (maybe trying to mate??). She has given birth before (by mating with my previous male) and been fine afterwards. <Yes, he's partly trying to mate, but he's also "guarding" the female to prevent another male from mating with her. This way, he monopolizes what, in his mind at least, is a limited resource: fertile females. Now, guppies should ALWAYS be kept either as single sex groups or in mixed sex groups where the females OUTNUMBER the males by at least 2 to 1. No-one listens when experienced fishkeepers tell them this, because they think it's cute to have a boy and a girl, and the boys are prettier anyway. And then, they end up with stressed or dead female guppies.> I did a 30% water change 36 hours ago and they all were acting fine. She may have had a slight decrease in appetite, not too sure. I did not see any signs of health problems with her. She was a big slower due to her swollen belly. In any case, I came home today to find, sadly, my pregnant female guppy dead with her tail and fins bitten off. <Well, the Gymnocorymbus ternetzi may well have eaten her fins, and the Plec will eat a dead fish given the chance.> I was expecting her to give birth within a week or so. (I'm so sad she died!). <Yes, I understand, and I'm sorry for your loss.> 1) Is it possible the male killed her?? If so, how can I prevent this in the future? I'd prefer not to get him more females as I am afraid of overloading the tank. <Yes, the male could well have stressed her. In a small tank (anything less than 20 gallons in this case) the female would have had no place to hide. He would stress her by chasing, and also preventing her from feeding properly. While male guppies generally don't kill the females outright, what they do is make it more difficult for the female guppies to stay healthy.> 2)The male guppy is now swimming alongside the mollies and bothering them... Is he trying to mate? Does he need a female guppy's company? <Yes, he's treating the mollies as if they were guppies. Mollies and guppies are members of the same genus, Poecilia, and will even (occasionally) hybridise. Both guppies and mollies should be kept in groups. They aren't schooling fish as such, but they are sociable.> I'm very upset about her death, and would really like to prevent it from happening again. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! <My advice is that you go buy or borrow a book about Livebearing fishes. Or at the very least read some of the articles here at WWM (see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm ) on the subject. Lots of people get even the basics wrong. These fish need hard, alkaline water. Some (mollies for example) need brackish water to do reliably well. All are more or less herbivorous, so at least half the diet should be green foods, not standard flake. Get these things wrong, and livebearers won't do well. Simple as that. Cheers, Neale>

Re: dead pregnant guppy  8/16/07 Update: I decided to try and dissect the female to see if I would see any eggs/embryos in her, and when I dissected near what I thought was her gravid spot I did not find anything (however, it was a messy, not too accurate dissection... I don't usually keep a mini dissecting kit around =)) Anyways, I found some pale yellowish gel-like liquid, and other organs/intestines... nothing resembling offspring, although I'm not too familiar with fish anatomy. Is it possible she wasn't pregnant? I noticed her 'gravid spot' getting larger and darker in the past couple of weeks, and she definitely looked more swollen this past week. I did not see what she looked like the last time she was pregnant, so this was my first time observing what I thought was a pregnant female. <Interesting. To be fair though, after a couple of hours in a tropical aquarium, decay of the insides of a fish is significant, and you won't see all that much. So it's difficult to explain things from your observation. Female guppies when kept with male guppies are almost always pregnant, but at the early stages of gestation the fry are very small and difficult to see.> Also, could the water change have been too stressful for her? I had my hand in the tank to move around some of the plants/decorations and fix the filter orientation. It took about a half an hour. <Water changes, done properly, aren't a problem. Even a 100% water change is fine. What matters is that the pH and hardness of the new water and the old water are very similar, and the temperature difference is small (a sudden drop in temperature by a degree or two is harmless, and even therapeutic, prompting many species to spawn).> Thanks again for your help! <Good luck, Neale>

Re: dead pregnant guppy 08/17/07 Thanks for taking the time to respond. Very helpful!! I will try to remove the tetras, although I could only return them to the pet store, so I don't know if this is possible. I don't really have the resources to get another tank. My friend actually bought me the painted tetras as a present, neither of us knew how inhumanely the fish are treated in order to dye them... I definitely will not support this in the future. Best case scenario, I can return the tetras and get 2 female companions for my male guppy. Thanks again!! <Happy to help. It sounds like you have a plan. And I'm glad you aren't going to buy any more painted fish. I don't blame the fishkeepers, as they're usually unaware of the problem. But the retailers are surely aware of the problem by now, as it's been in the open for years. So it's really up to them to stop stocking them. I'm sure most fishkeepers wouldn't buy painted fish if they knew how they were painted. Good luck, Neale.>


Guppy Disease - 08/11/07 I am trying to figure out what is going on with my old female guppy. She is acting normally, though she's not very happy having been moved to the 10 gallon hospital tank from the 48 gallon that she was in. The attached pictures are ones I took this evening. She has one area that sort of looks like a small grain of rice. I am currently treating with Pimafix, MelaFix <Am not a fan of such leaf extracts...> and salt which I started two days ago. I am also doing 25% water changes in the ten gallon daily and removed the activated charcoal. It started out looking sort of like a discolored scale. I thought perhaps Columnaris, but am not sure. Her water parameters were good in the 48 gallon (7.2 ph, 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrates, 20 ppm Nitrates). <The last are high> The small tank is very similar. I appreciate any help that you could offer. Thanks so much for your time and for being there when beginners like me have questions. =) Jamie <I've seen such markings before, and yet have encountered a description as to cause... Though I do not think this is "catching"... I would return this fish to your main/display system and do what you can to reduce the concentration of nitrates there on an ongoing basis. Bob Fenner>


Guppies Dying  7/14/07 <<Hi, Carrie. Tom here.>> I set up a 10 gallon tank four months ago. When I first put fish in, I bought three guppies, two platys and a Plecostomus. <<By way of information, Carrie, there are no species of Plecostomus that remain small enough to be housed (properly) in a ten-gallon tank. If yours is of the Common variety (Hypostomus Plecostomus), and I suspect it is, it can grow to over 12 inches in length. Though not active swimmers, they definitely need more room than this to thrive.>> Since then, I have added two tetras and more guppies. However, recently I have had an epidemic with my guppies. In the first month, my guppies were doing well. But then they started dying for no apparent reason. The last week or so, three guppies (two females - (although I think one female died from complications of giving birth) have died. They stayed near the bottom of the tank and their tails began to show signs of clamping or rotting. But there are no marks or anything else that would point a finger to the cause. <<Clamped and/or rotting fins are a sure sign of environmental issues, Carrie.>> I am not sure what to do. I tested the water, and the levels were all fine, so I replaced the two fish with two males thinking maybe my one male was tantalizing the females too much since I had only one male to eight females (all together). <<What are your pH levels? Guppies and Platies both prefer hard water conditions. If your pH levels are low to neutral, you might have found the culprit. (Guppies, like Mollies, have been kept in marine conditions as they both have remarkable tolerances (preferences?) for salt. Your Pleco doesn't, though, so don't start adding salt to solve the problem.)>> But less than a week later the two male fish died the same way. I am not sure what to do. Do you have any suggestions? <<Start by re-evaluating the pH, and hardness if possible, in the tank. Test your tap water, as well. Your Pleco makes adjusting the water parameters problematic so the best that might be gained from this is knowing what you cant keep in this aquarium. Since your other tests appear to reveal no other problems with the water, my best guess, at this point, is that the conditions are simply inappropriate for these fish. (I cant discount the possibility of bad stock from the LFS but this seems a little less likely to me, Carrie.)>> Thanks, Carrie <<Probably doesn't seem like a lot of help, Carrie, but your exact test readings would be a big help. With the number of variables involved, its pretty close to impossible to put my finger on a specific cause for your Guppies dying. Tom>>
Re: Guppies Dying
   7/17/07 <<Hi, Carrie.>> The first time the water was tested, I took some water to PetSmart to test it there. When the woman tested it, she said all the levels were fine. <<Really? (These folks are a testament to why we advise that every hobbyist invest in their own test kits.)>> After reading your emails, I went to the store and bought a kit of my own to test the water. <<Well done, Carrie. There's never a good time to leave these tests to someone else's care but, when you've got problems, its even worse.>> (Note: When I got home, another guppy, a young male, was also dead). <<Sorry to hear this, Carrie.>> The water was hard, had a pH of around 6.2, had a caution (1) level of nitrite, and had a level of around 80 of nitrate. It also had an alkalinity of between 40 and 80. <<Leaping lizards! (Well, I asked for it, didn't I?) First, your nitrates are over the top as you've probably surmised. These alone could be causing the problem as could the nitrite levels at, or over, .05 mg/l (ppm) nitrite can be/are lethal to fish. Next, your pH levels are WAY too low as is the alkalinity, which is a measure of the buffering capacity of the water to resist changes downward in pH. A double whammy, if you will. In other words, waters natural tendency to drop in pH is determined, largely, by the alkalinity. When alkalinity is high, pH can go largely unaffected. When its low, pH can drop dramatically. (This, at face value, categorizes your water as soft but lets confuse the issue a bit more.) Since you said the water was hard, I infer that you've a test for the permanent hardness, i.e. predominantly calcium and magnesium levels. You wont be tested on this, Carrie, but you might run across a term called general hardness (GH), which is a sum of the permanent hardness and alkalinity. Typically, but not always, the GH of aquarium water is very close to the alkalinity. This is because alkalinity (a measure of carbonates and bicarbonates) is usually much higher than the permanent hardness value. Bottom line? You have high levels of calcium and magnesium and low levels of carbonates and bicarbonates. Unusual but not unheard of and it gives me a clearer picture of what's going on. So much for Aquarium Water 101. :) >> After finding this out, I did a water change and cleaned the gravel, leaving some algae for the Pleco. <<A BIG water change, I hope.>> I usually put salt in the water, but did not do so this time since you said the Pleco doesn't like it. <<Good. (We could go into this further since its only part of the picture but lets deal with our primary issue.)>> After a few hours, I am planning on checking the levels again to see it they are better. <<Nitrate levels will have dropped as will, I hope, the nitrite levels. Alkalinity and pH are going to be the readings we're really after.>> But if they are about the same, what do I need to do to solve the problems? <<You already stole some of my thunder by doing the water change, Carrie. Another water change might be in order, however. We definitely need to get the nitrates below 20, and below 10 would be even better. (Without giving you a headache or one that's worse than what you have the process of nitrification, itself, can lower the alkalinity levels. Once we've got the nitrate and nitrite ducks lined up (and shot!), we can investigate the pH/alkalinity issues.)>> If need be, I will get rid of the Pleco. I am really most interested in keeping and breeding guppies, so if I need to get rid of the other fish, I am not opposed to doing so. <<If your trying to make my job easier, your doing well. Lets focus on what you really want and go from there.>> Thanks for the help, Carrie <<Not a problem, Carrie. Be hearing from you. Tom>>

Re: Guppies Dying   07/18/07 Tom, <<Hello, Carrie. (Sorry for the little delay in responding, by the way.)>> Thanks for your help so far. <<Glad to do so.>> I am still having a few problems, though. <<Lets see what can be done.>> About 24 hours after I did the water change ( oh, and I did change 95% of the water), I checked the levels. <<Very good.>> All are better but the pH and the alkalinity - they are still about the same. I am thinking that it has to do with the fact that the water is poor quality anyway. <<Depends a great deal on the source, Carrie. I've heard from folks from fairly large municipalities, where you would expect to have a substantial degree of stability in the tap water, complain of fluctuations in pH (as a specific example) that drive them to exasperation, or nearly so anyway. We can work with stable water, whether soft or hard. Its the roller coaster effect that makes things testy.>> The nitrates are still a little high, but not nearly as high as they were. <<Good to hear this. Keep aiming at less than 20 ppm and your set.>> Should I be using bottled water when I change the water? Would this cause the pH and Alk. to get better? <<Again, this depends on the source of the water, Carrie. I would steer clear of distilled water because its lacking in too many of the trace elements that fish need. Actually, there are some pretty simple ways to harden your water, which is, from my perspective, a better problem to have than trying to soften it.>> I put a little bit of pH neutralizer in the water to get it better, but did it just a couple of hours ago. I am not sure what else to do. <<Liquids and powders tend to act a little more quickly than is sometimes safe for the fish. Hard to believe, given the problems you've experienced, but rapid changes in pH are better to avoid than stable levels outside of the ideal range. What were looking for is a slow increase to keep from stressing the fish, first. Beyond that, we naturally want something that will hold the target levels stable over time. A good way of accomplishing this is to add crushed coral (should be readily available at the local LFS), either to the substrate or in a mesh media bag in the filter housing. The benefit, in my opinion, to adding it to the filter is the ease of handling/replacement along with determining, over time, an appropriate amount of product to add. Start with a small amount and test for changes to the water. Hopefully, this wont entail a great deal of experimentation.>> Thanks so much Tom, Carrie PS: a guppy is having fry now - 9 and counting! I am excited! This is the first batch that will have survived for me to find them! <<I'm happy for you, Carrie, and I'm sure this is the start of something special where your goals are concerned. Keep me updated when you get a chance. Your feedback would be most helpful. My best to you. Tom>>

Re: Guppies Dying    7/25/07 Hi Tom. <<Hello, Carrie.>> My fish were doing better for a week after the water change. The fry were happy and nourished. But I am still having a problem. The alkalinity is still off. I bought some pH increaser (haven't found the crushed coral) and it increased the pH (from 6.4 to about 7) half a point - but it didn't seem to help the Alk. too much. I will put more in in the morning and see if it helps more. <<Actually, Carrie, the pH adjusters aren't really the best way to go which is why I suggested the crushed coral. Most often, at least in my experience, there are multiple products/steps to raising both pH and alkalinity - simultaneously - with these. Water changes become problematic, or at least costly, since the product(s) have to be added back in with the fresh water to maintain proper levels. Hardly insurmountable but it sure tends to make things more tedious for the hobbyist and, frankly, not what I would recommend. I say this because part of what I perceive my responsibility to you to be is making life easier, not more difficult. You ask what time it is and I tell you how to build a watch. That smacks of arrogance, which I happen to detest, and doesn't help you a bit. (From a strictly self-serving standpoint, that would make my response a waste of my time as well as a waste of yours.) ;) >> I came in two days ago to find my male guppy floating, and today I found my mamma guppy and a fry floating. <<Cant say that I enjoy hearing about that, Carrie. I'm sorry.>> Is there a reason that some will float to the top and some will drift to the bottom? Maybe some from chemicals and the others from illness? I just found it curious that the first few guppies that died were on the bottom and these were on the top. <<The cause of death is certainly an issue here. Internal bacterial infections can cause gases to build up in the fishs system. This, quite logically, would lead to the fish floating to the top of the tank when it expires. If the death were related to chemical poisoning, for example, there would be less chance of bloat such as what you might find with a swim bladder problem and the fish would tend to sink. Since the latter problem could potentially lead to the former problem, I don't suppose I'm that surprised that you've seen both cases in your tank. (Id prefer that there were no cases of either!)>> After this, I did a 25% water change. <<Not a bad precaution to take.>> I am still looking for a home for the Pleco. I don't want to just kill it. <<And I don't want to see you do this.>> I may take it back to the pet store and see if they want it back. <<Many will if the fish is in good health. The LFS I patronize will occasionally hold healthy fish while a hobbyist does battle with a problem in his/her display tank. Typically this if for large, SW (read that as expensive) livestock but, there are dedicated business people out there who actually put aside their cash registers for the betterment of the hobby. (Now you know why I do business with these fine folks.)>> I am also thinking about maybe changing the type of filter that I have to a type that has inserts for health. It is the AquaClear Power filter. What do you think of this idea? <<Up until a few years ago, I used these filters exclusively. Still have one running on a 20-gallon tank and two more that I'm holding in reserve (one for a QT). I like em.>> Thank you so much for your help. I will be in touch soon. Carrie <<Always happy to help, Carrie. Look for the crushed coral online if you cant find it locally. Its a popular product that cant be too hard to locate. (There's another route we might investigate if all else fails.) Best regards.


Sick Guppies 7/3/07 Hello WWM crew. <Hello> This is my second attempt at keeping guppies. The first three died, they seemed to get bloated bellies and get a kink in their back. <Could be Mycobacterium, see if this fits what you had.> They stayed at the top of the tank. After reading a lot more about raising fish, the answer seemed to be that they needed more frequent water changes. <Never hurts.> I have a three gallon tank. I bought three more. After two weeks, one of the guppies is in distress. He's just resting at the bottom and has only moved once or twice. His belly looks bloated and his fin is resting on the bottom. He doesn't look short of breath. The other two look ok. What do you think? Any help at all would be appreciated, especially by Desi (the beautiful blue guppy with a polka dot tail) Thank you. Sandy <Hard to be sure here, make sure your water parameters are in line with what they should be. Could be a Mycobacterium infection, which is not treatable, or other bacterial infections. You could add some marine salt to the tank, guppies often do better in brackish water, but you will need a hydrometer or refractometer to measure these levels.> <Chris>  


Guppy bulge 06/29/07 Hey Wet Crew, Great site, always use it to expand my aquarium knowledge or if I'm stuck with a problem. I do have one problem right now that I can't quite seem to find the answer and was hoping you could help me out. <Will try> I have a 10 gallon freshwater tank kept at about 80F. Always maintain a clean tank, that holds an assortment of community fish, some being guppies. Two of my female guppies have been very inactive lately. No eating, just staying isolated amongst some of the plants. One has become very skinny because of lack of food, the other is still a little larger. But two days ago she developed a reddish color around her gravid spot, today that has developed into a large red bulge below her anal fin, around her gravid spot, most dominantly on her right side. It looks almost like a clear pink ball stuck in her side. I've enclosed a image of her to better understand what I'm describing sorry about the poor quality. While she did just mate with one of the males a day or two ago, I really don't think this large a bulge could be due to pregnancy. I thought it may be septicemia, so have been treating with Triple Sulfa, aquarium salt and water changes, but so far no good, it seems to be getting larger (the red bulge), do you have any other diagnosis' that may help? Thanks for your time! FishMama <Mmm, what sort of water quality do you have here? Any detectable nitrate? The pH? Something amiss environmentally... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: guppy bulge   6/30/07 Thanks again for the quick reply back, the tank levels are all normal luckily, and none of the other fish have been sick in the past and currently aren't showing any signs of illness. Sadly the two fish I asked about did die shortly after, and when brought in to the fish specialist at the aquarium store, they told me the red bulge was a sort of tumour and the other fish died due to an infection after a bite to her fin. Thanks again for all your input, and please continue the great work you're doing, it is very helpful to aquarium hobbyists old and new. Sincerely FishMama <Thank you my friend. Life to you. Bob Fenner>


Guppy Dying, Columnaris   6/24/07 Dear WWM, <Ws> Good morning. <And to you> I just setup a new fresh water tank for my daughter. 200L, I get the water ready 4 weeks ago and before I put in the new bought fishes, I put in a few of my current batch of fishes from my other tank (which I have it for >1 year). After confirming no problem, I then put in 8 Guppies (2 male, 6 female), 4 gold fish (small one, 1" length). <Not good to mix tropicals and goldfish... see WWM re> The tank is ok for first 2 days, then I put in some stone/rock. The 3rd day, I found 2 male guppies died + 2 gold fish. I notice another female guppy has discoloration at tail (the shape is ok, no broken/rotten). It die on the same day (3rd day night). <I see this and it's not good...> The discoloration is somehow from about 1mm.sq. area propagate to the whole tail then infect the body within 10 hours. On the 4th day, another one was infected and die on the next day too. Today (5th day), found another has discoloration again (attach photos). After reading some of your articles, I put in some anti-bacteria yesterday, but looking at I still get more infection, I quarantine the infected female guppy and put in some Para-guard (from Seachem), and now it turn up-side-down. <Which antibiotic? Most will NOT treat for this> The 2 gold fish is fine, and I put in another 2 new bubble goldfish yesterday and didn't notice any abnormality too. Can you advise? Thanks. Rgds, Ws teoh <This looks very much like Columnaris Disease... see re this term and Chondrococcus on WWM, the Net... Again, I would not mix these fishes... WOULD likely just stick with the goldfish at this point. Bob Fenner>

Re: Guppy Dying - 6/25/07 Hi Bob, thanks. my daughter (8 years old) very surprise that there are "fish doctor" in the internet. Ha! Ha! She ask me to thank you (she has been asking a few times to make sure I do send out this message)... :) thanks a lot. rgds, ws teoh <Welcome my friend. Life to you and your daughter. BobF>

Male guppies don't reach full size   06/19/07 Hi there, <Hello Kym> I have a communal tank (2 foot by one foot by 1.5 foot) which has begun to produce generations of fantail guppies (there are tetras, bristle-nose catfish and a miniature gourami in there otherwise). The female guppies grow to full size, but it appears that the males never grow as large as their fathers. they're happy and healthy and live as long as the others, but never seem to grow to full size. Can you illuminate me? <This is absolutely normal with livebearers. Contrary to the myth, breeding livebearers isn't "easy". Sure, getting babies isn't difficult, but producing quality stock requires a lot more effort. Put simply, the fry to need to be kept apart from the adults in their own tank so they are able to eat more and enjoy optimal water quality. Meals need to be 6 times per day, and half those meals should be algae-based, such as Spirulina flake. Water changes should be performed every 2-3 days, at least 10-25% each time. Nitrates must be kept low, but also various "metabolites" have to be diluted. These are chemicals fish produce incidentally to their normal metabolism. In aquaria these chemicals tend to stunt the growth of fish. Social behaviour is also important. Adult males will bully juveniles, and in doing so the resulting stress inhibits growth (in most social fish, the dominant fish tend to grow bigger, while picked-upon fish stay smaller). The bottom line is that it is almost impossible to get full-sized Poecilia spp., whether mollies or guppies, when the babies are left with the adults, unless the tank is really big and has plenty of hiding space. Your tank isn't nearly large enough, so what you're getting is small numbers of stunted guppies. That's fine just for fun, but if you're serious about breeding, setting up a 10-20 gallon tank just for fry is the way to go.> Thanks, Kym <Good luck, Neale>

Re: male guppies don't reach full size  6/20/07 Thanks very much Neale. <Happy to help.> So is the key to separate the babies, or is their growth stunted more in adolescence? <Both. Professional breeders and hobbyists wanting to rear serious numbers of fry separate the parents from the fry as soon as they can.> I don't have room for another tank, so would it help if I kept the babies in one of those breeder areas in their early life? <No, won't help at all. Quite the reverse. Those breeder nets/traps are really a bit of a con. For $5 they make people think they can rear baby fish in the community tank. They can't. Big female fish, like mollies and swordtails and even platies, get stressed when placed in them and often miscarry. If you put the babies in there, they're still exposed to metabolites in the water. They are so small that *at best* you can keep the babies in them for about 3 weeks; after that, leaving the babies in there will stunt their growth.> For how long should I keep them there if so? <Don't waste your time and money.> Or will they be bullied on release and their growth stunted regardless of the early protection? <Pretty much. A 10 gallon tank is about enough territory for a single male guppy. Any other male guppy in there will be viewed as a rival, and chased away. While you can certainly keep, say, two males and six females in such a tank, one of those males will definitely be the "boss", and any fry in the tank will be chased (and possibly eaten). You have to remember that in the wild baby livebearers don't live in the same places as adult livebearers. As soon as they are born, baby livebearers have an instinct to go into very shallow water where other fish cannot go, for example around floating plants or along the edges of the stream. Evolution hasn't bothered to produce a way for adults and juveniles to "get along" because they don't need to in the wild. This is why people get so distressed when they see mama fish eating their babies and papa fish persecuting the babies. For the mama fish, a baby fish is food, for the papa, it's a potential rival.> I guess my key question is, without a spare tank, what is the optimal or most likely way of producing full size fantail guppies? <There really isn't any way. You're basically letting Nature take its course -- but in a volume of water that is far too small. By all means carry on doing what you're doing, but you're not likely to get fancy guppies worth selling. Just a lot of fairly generic looking runts. Breeding guppies just isn't as easy as people think -- or else everyone would be doing it, and fancy guppies would cost 10 cents a pair! The other way of looking at this is an opportunity: if you invest in a 10 gallon tank and rear a few batches of good quality fish, after selling those fish, you'll pay off the investment. Ask your retailer what they would pay for good quality stock, and figure out for yourself whether that income would pay for the outlay on another tank. If it will, then that's the way forward.> I guess this means - is early development the key, or adolescent development? <Both.> My tank has a lot of plants and many places to hide. <Doesn't make a huge difference in a 10 gallon tank. Metabolites will still be in the water, and even if the fry can hide from an aggressive male, they're still stressed.> Thanks again, Kym <Cheers, Neale>


Guppy problems  6/9/07 Hi there <Hello.> Last week I bought 5 female guppies (not sure which kind) from a local fish shop to brighten up my tank, which was looking a little dull with just one sucking loach in it (marvelous though he is). <OK.> By the end of the day one of them was dead and over the next two days another two died leaving me with only two out of the original five, a large red one (Fish) and a smaller yellow one (Chip). <Oh dear.> I checked pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels, all of which were fine, backed up by Loachy who we have had for around eight years. <Ah, it's not as simple as this. Fish in a tank for many months or years will adapt to suboptimal conditions, but if you drop a new fish in there, even the exact same species, the newcomer will die. Furthermore, sucking loaches and guppies want somewhat different water conditions. Sucking loaches want fast-moving, neutral, soft to moderately hard water; guppies, by contrast, want relatively slow moving water with very hard, alkaline conditions. For the two species, I'd recommend around pH 7.2-7.5, 10-15 degrees GH.> A couple of days ago one of them, I assume it was Fish, gave birth to around 16 fry which are all doing okay in the (roughly) 45 litre tank... <45 litres is way too small for a sucking loach. These fish get to about 30 cm long, so ultimately need a tank 3-4 times bigger than yours. They can also be unbelievably aggressive and ill-tempered, though fish as small as guppies are probably ignored.> ...with the other fish (I had no idea one of them was pregnant so don't have another tank, and cruel though it may sound as there isn't enough room in the tank for all of them I'm not to fussed if some die.) <At a pinch, try putting some of the fry in a floating breeding trap. This'll give them some security for the first few critical weeks.> Since then the fish seem to be doing okay except the smaller guppy Chip. She's often chased by Fish and seems to have had most of her tail bitten off, and what's left is blood streaked. <Right, now you need to treat with anti-fungus medication AT ONCE. Fin damage heals very quickly, but if you're unlucky, it gets infected and can eventually kill the fish. Adding anti-fungus medication here serves the same sort of purpose as putting antiseptic cream and a Band-Aid on a nasty cut.> Fish's tail, and Loach whenever he comes out of his log, seem fine. I've put some fin rot stuff in the tank to see if that helps, but was wondering if you had any other ideas. <Finrot cure isn't what you want here. You want anti-fungus. That said, many medications fix both, so check the carton on the medication you have before going out to buy some more.> Can they grow their tails back? <Yes.> Is there anyway to stop Fish's bullying behaviour? <No. Realistically, guppies should be kept either in single sex groups or in mixed sex groups where the females outnumber the males by at least 2 to 1.> Other than that Chip seems okay, she is still eating and can move around, though a little slower than before, but spends most of her time in the corner of the tank away from Fish. <She's unhappy.> Would really appreciate some advice and have sent a photo as well. <For some reason, corrupt, so couldn't see them. Please don't send multi-megabyte TIFF files as attachments. Send JPEGs or some other compressed file, please.> Thanks again. Amy <Cheers, Neale>


Guppies dying off   5/22/07 Hi all, <Hello.>     I've scanned through the guppies disease FAQ trying to find out what is wrong with my daughter's guppies.  I've hit on some discussions that are close to my example, but not exact matches where I'm comfortable to proceed. <OK.>   My daughter's tank is a 10 gallon tank with some live plants and a pair of 15 watt compact fluorescent bulbs.  The tank was set up and run for 6 weeks prior to any fish being added to it.  It had 4 neon tetras, 3 female guppies and 1 male guppy.  About 6 weeks after the tank was set up, all the fish started getting white specks on their fins and moving to their bodies. <99% certain this was Whitespot/ick. Easily treated with commercial preparations.> I moved them to a hospital tank and treated for Ich using Copper Power Green (which contains copper sulfate, zinc sulfate, and nickel sulfate) and left the display tank fallow at elevated temperatures for a total of 28 days. <First question: was there carbon in these tanks? Activated carbon removes medications, so cancels out the therapy. One of many reasons I consider the stuff not only useless but positively harmful to most freshwater aquarists.>   2 of the tetras started getting ragged fins and arched backs (I looked up on your site and found that this matched a common tetra disease).  I put these fish down. <Sadly NTD is very common, I'd suggest ubiquitous.> Her tank was fine for another 6-8 weeks, but then, one of her adult females died without warning.  The next day, her male was looking very lethargic, either swimming vertically (nose up at the top of the water, tail to the bottom) or bobbing around on his side.  He would try to eat, but it seemed to be too much effort for him to get to the top for food. <These "vague" symptoms ring water quality and water chemistry alarm bells. What's the water chemistry? Guppies need hard and alkaline, the precise opposite of what Neons enjoy.> A couple of days later, he was on the bottom of the tank, just being swept around by the current.  That night, I put him down too. (small amount of water in a Ziploc baggy, placed in the freezer). <OK, not the most humane way to kill a fish. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm >   Another female is starting to look listless and she seems to be having a hard time maintaining her equilibrium.  There are about 30 fry in the tank, and although we've lost a few, most are still alive (in a breeder box).  The female, last night, had an orange color fecal pellet followed by a long trailing, transparent mass (long poop?) coming from her anus.  Not sure if this is a parasitic issue or not. <Unlikely to be parasites; intestinal parasites generally cause emaciation before anything else happens.>   Husbandry - I typically do a 1-2 gallon water change every 2 weeks, using either store vending purified water or bottled distilled water.   <Distilled water? For guppies? How awful for them. In fact not that great for the Neons either. Guppies at least thrive in standard tap/faucet water. A pH of 7.5-8 is ideal, and the harder the better frankly.>   Water parameters = 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, ~ 10 Nitrate (measured just prior to the male being put down).   <Ah, the water quality is good, but I'm worried about the chemistry.>   The fish get spectrum small fish pellets.  The fry get daphnia (seems to be small enough for them to eat). <OK.>   When the female died and the male was looking woozy, I did a 25% water change (using purified water from our local stores vending machine).  Yesterday, after putting down the male, I did a 5 gallon water change, using 2.5 gallons of bottled distilled water and 2.5 gallons of bottled purified water (in case the problem might have been removing trace minerals).   <If you use hard water, trace minerals will be there in abundance. The science is actually not at all clear on the degree to which fish absorb minerals from the water. While it is often assumed they can, the actual evidence for it is slight, and diet is at least, probably more, important. Really, there's bucket loads of biology we don't understand about fish.>   Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated! <First check the pH and hardness. If the water conditions are too soft and acidic, as I suspect, then make small (10-15%) changes each day removing the soft water in the tank and replacing it with  regular tap water (dechlorinated, of course). The Neons won't be wild about the hard water, but it won't kill them. (The Neon Tetra Disease, on the other hand, probably will.)>   Thanks, David <Cheers, Neale>

Re: Guppies dying off   5/22/07 Neal, <Robyn> Thank you for your swift reply. <No problem.> In answer to some of the questions you raised in the previous email. When the fish were in the hospital tank, there was no carbon present, just a powerhead and a heater.  I placed the neon tetras in a separate hospital tank and they got a smaller dose of the treatment.  The 10 gallon tank, that was left fallow, did have carbon in it, but no meds. <Sounds fine. There's really no reason to use carbon in a freshwater tank, and the space in the filter is better used filled with biological media.> I'll have to get a pH and alkalinity test kits (I had these for my salt water tank prior to it being sold) and I'll be able to get these measurements.  I hadn't thought about the pH differences between the fish species (my bad for not researching better), hopefully they will find a happy medium. <Up to a degree, freshwater fish can adapt to non-optimal conditions rather well. A pH of 7.0-7.2, and "medium hardness" on whatever scale you use will suit practically all freshwater you are likely to keep, with the exception (perhaps) of the hardcore blackwater fish and Rift Valley cichlids.> Our tap water is very hard, however it does come with an ample amount (10 ppm) of nitrates present, which is why I've been doing the distilled water route (again, I need to think fresh instead of salt water, since my salt mix had the minerals/buffering agents in it whereas the distilled water doesn't). <10 ppm nitrates is nothing. Toxic levels for ultra-sensitive freshwater fish is between 50-300 ppm, and if exposed to increasing nitrates gradually, most freshwater fish will stand *far* higher levels. This isn't to excuse sloppy aquarium maintenance, but simply to underline the point that doing bigger and more frequent water changes with municipal water at 10-50 mg/l nitrate levels is far better than doing fewer, smaller water changes with "perfect" water you get from RO or whatever.> I'll try the tap water and see if I can maintain lower nitrates while using it. <At 10 ppm don't worry about the nitrates. Focus on pH and hardness.> So far so good on the NTD with the remaining 2 Neons, they look plump and their fins are in good shape. <Very good. This is somewhat my experience as well -- the fish die off one at a time and then the NTD just seems to fizzle out. Breaking the cycle by removing sick fish helps a lot.> Thanks again for your help! David <Cheers, Neale>  

Re: Guppies dying off 5/22/07   5/25/07 Hi Neale (David again), <Hello David. I suspect I used Robyn's name in the last e-mail. I apologise -- I looked at the e-mail address rather than your signature.>   I've performed 3 water changes (~ 15%) in the last 3 days.  The general water hardness has increased from 4 dH to 8 dH (our tap water is 11 - 12 dH). <Very good. Your tap water is about perfect: almost all fish will thrive at the moderate level of hardness.> I purchased a low pH range kit (6.0 - 7.6) and the tank pH has been in the 7.4 - 7.6 range.  Of course, since the kit only goes up to 7.6, the actual tank pH may be higher, but I have seen 7.4 readings in the tank and our tap water also measures at 7.4. <Good. If you stick with water from the tap, the conditions in the aquarium should be identical. This is especially true if you do big, regular water changes (50% a week) because the water changes will "buffer" any water chemistry changes in the tank, effectively diluting them.>   There has been little change in the status of the female.  She is now mostly on her side, floating at the top of the tank at a 90 degree angle. She can swim, but she only can right herself to maybe a 45 degree angle. <Not good.> There appears to be a small bulge/bubble in her abdomen that acts like a swimming bubble.  In the photo, it would be at the apex of her side at the water level. (see attached blurry photo).  There does appear to be a small gravid spot next to this area. <I'd destroy her. I had a female halfbeak (also a livebearing fish) that developed something very similar. Seems to be a swelling of the ovaries, possibly caused by infection, and in her case blocked the vent. Would eventually kill the fish because she can't defecate properly and the baby fish certainly can't get out. In the short term, almost certainly painful. Best to destroy the fish to prevent suffering.>   Any other suggestions/ideas that I might implement?  Otherwise, I'll keep up with the daily water changes. <Very good. Once you're happy the water quality is good, feel free to buy some more fish. Guppies are, oddly enough, not as hardy as they once where because of all the inbreeding to create fancy varieties. So things like genetic abnormalities are common and resistance to water chemistry or quality problems is lower than for wild fish. "Feeder" guppies are much closer to wild guppies in terms of hardiness, and being cheap, are well worth trying out. They come in lots of colours, and are no less fun for not being "fancy".>   Thanks again. David <Cheers, Neale>


Losing Guppies 5/9/07 Hi, please say you can help my son has 2 male mollies, 2 platies, 3 guppies well 2 now and 1 male Siamese fighter. The first guppies we found dead yesterday with hardly any tail but all the others were ok now today one of the other guppies has had nearly all its tail eaten can you please help me by telling me which fish you think is killing them so I can remove it thanks Gemma <Most likely the Betta.> <Chris>

Re: Losing Guppies 5/10/07 Thank you so much we have now removed the Betta and all the other fish seem much more happy. Gemma <Good to hear.> <Chris>


Sick Guppy, Small, un-cycled system   5/8/07 Dear WWM crew <Shaun>     Recently I have decided to get a aquarium again. But I have encountered problems this time around. I will run you through the details. I have a 25 Lt aquarium, which has a 'hang off' filter (you know the type which hangs off the side), <Yes> the gentleman at the store said that I would not need an air pump and airstone with this type of filter, is this true?. <Likely so> Any way I waited until my reading were Ph - 6, <... a bit low... What is the pH of your source/tap water?> Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate 7.5 mg/I, KH - 17.9, GH - 107 before adding fish, I added 4 fish, 2 flame tetras (I think that they are the 'flame' variety), 2 Guppy's, and a couple of live plants. Exactly one week later (yesterday) one of the Guppy's started to show substantial signs of some disease (well I don't actually know what it is). See attached photos (I know they are horrible photos but it was the best I could do). It is swollen on one side, and the fin seems to be rotting away, he also cannot effectively use this fin, his body from the top looks bent and the swelling is quite noticeable although this morning it is eating normally, and doesn't seem to labouring for oxygen, or have too much trouble swimming. The eye on the same side seems to have 'pop eye' as well. <There is a bacterial complaint here at work... at least secondarily...> I took all the readings again and got the results of Ph - 7, Nitrate - 10 mg/I, Nitrite - 0, Ammonia 0.75 mg/I, <Deadly toxic> GH - 107, KH - 35. with these readings I immediately replaced 50% of the water and installed a new filter cartridge. I plan to do a 10% change for the next 5 days as well. I feared that it was also a lack of oxygen in the water contributing to the problem, so I lowered the water level in the tank to make the cascading water fall further to try and assist the oxygen transfer. <Good move> This morning the Ammonia was at 0.3 mg/I. What could be causing this, is it possible that my Tetras are bullying it? <This system is very small... unstable... not completely cycled...> How can I help assist the healing? Or (god forbid) am I too late? Also my plants seem to be dying slowly, I cannot seem to figure out why, any ideas? <The same as above...> Your assistance is greatly appreciated, thanks in advance from Australia. Regards, Shaun P.S. Kudos for such a great site it has been of great assistance, looking forward to your help. I wouldn't have bothered you with this but I could seem to find something that described the illness that my guppy has succumbed to. <Please see WWM re Guppy Disease, Columnaris... Cycling... Maybe start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above... on to the other topics... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppydisfaqs.htm... Bob Fenner>


Strange Guppy Behavior   5/5/07 Hi There,   I have a peaceful 80 gallon community tank with platies, Cory cats, zebras, cardinal tetras, monk tetras and furcata rainbows with my 6 fancy guppies.  I recently treated for Ich after bringing home a new marble horned Pleco which was evidently affected with it. (No, I didn't QT the Pleco... big mistake).  The fish store recommended Quick Cure. <Mmm...>   The directions on the bottle recommended treating with a half-dose for tetras and scaleless fish, which I did.  After several treatment cycles, about 9 days, the Ich was still present so I went to full dose and increased the temp to 85 degrees. <This last was a good idea> It took 10 more days to finally (hopefully) eradicate the Ich. <The temp. alone...> I have done many water changes, about every 3rd day, removed the charcoal as directed, and added aquarium salt to the water, and I hope we are through with Ich, but my guppies are now acting strange.  Several of the females seem to have a humped back and are swimming stiffly. <Poisoned... mostly by the formalin...>   They also seem to be absorbing their unborn fry. <Effects/ditto> They look very uncomfortable and almost lethargic. I have had the guppies for over 6 months and they have been healthy till the Ich breakout. <... not the Ich... the treatment> I lost one of the males today so I know something is really wrong.  The other members of the community seem to be OK.     I have tested the water and it seems in good order.  Ammonia 0, Nitrate 0, Nitrite 0, Hardness in the moderate range, PH about 7.6.  Temp is still set at 85 degrees as I read that the Ich cannot reproduce at this temp in case there is any still lurking.  Any ideas what may be wrong with the guppies??? <Toxified>   I really don't want to lose them.  Could it possibly be stress from medicating for so long? <Mmm, yes>   Thank you so much...  I have been searching for answers but have been unable to figure out what is wrong.     Thank you!!   Sharon <See WWM re the product... Malachite and Formalin. BobF>


Sick emaciated guppy   4/27/07 Hello from Australia, <Hello from England.>   I have searched all over the web and can't find answers, can you help? I am fairly new to guppy keeping (2 months). I bought a quite colourful female, but since she came home she has never been 'quite right'. At first we wondered as the males did not pay her the same amount of attention as the other girls and we wondered if there was such a thing as neuter fish (thus her name 'Neut'). <From the photos, definitely female.>   She is now however, quite emaciated, swims in a very laboured, cramped manner, often with tail down (i.e. upright posture in the tank) and rests a fair bit in weed. <Sounds like swim bladder problem. May be genetic, in which case nothing to be done. Can be a disease. Can also be constipation. How much green stuff does she get to eat? Squashed cooked peas are the ideal "roughage" source for many fish. Also be sure and use livebearer flake, not tropical flake, or at the very least alternate meals of flake with things like sushi Nori or algae. Also include some "whole" prey in the diet: daphnia, mosquito larvae, etc. All these things will clear out the digestive tract, and this helps fix some swim bladder problems. Sounds bizarre, but works.> Lately she swims with her body bent behind her pectoral fins (almost S shaped). <Sounds gloomy.> I separated her into another tank as she didn't compete very well for food. She eats flake food (good quality), but not with gusto, though she has enjoyed peas, cucumber, a little boiled egg yolk and some mosquito wrigglers. <Well you pre-empted my advice above! Very good.> She is also in with some older fry (who were separated but kept getting past the divider in the tank) and will chase them on occasion. She's still very fast if alarmed.   I first treated for fungus as she had a spot on her dorsal fin. That's cleared now but her fins are tatty (even though there was nothing to make them that way - it happened before she was with the fry). I also tried Jungle brand 'Internal Parasite Guard'. Nothing really changes her sickly demeanour. <Indeed. Scatter-gun approaches with medication rarely work. ID the problem, then treat.> I tried her back in the main tank briefly as more fry were coming, but the others picked on her so she's back with the big fry. When in the main tank, her bent swimming was much more pronounced.   I attach some photo's and desperately hope you can provide some insight - or will she just gradually waste away? <Maybe, maybe not. Depends whether she eats or not. A certain number of fry in each fish batch just have bad genes, and in livebearers especially these seem to be quite common in the batches of fish sold, presumably because of all the inbreeding. Anyway, there isn't much you can do. When I breed fish, I tend to destroy obviously weak or deformed fry, but once the fish grows up, I admit to being more squeamish about this! At the least, don't breed from her.>   Thanks,   Tich <Cheers, Neale>   PS. Do you answer via email or on the web page? <On the web pages and via e-mail.>



Guppy problem need help soon... - 4/6/07 Hi, <<Hello, Shilpi. Tom here.>> I have a 3 gallon tank.. I have 2 Guppies one male, one female... 1 Neon Tetra... 1 Gold Algae Eater (Scavenger)... Yesterday, I saw the Gold Algae Eater going and sitting on the male guppy (Do not know if it was biting the fish or what was it probably up to?) So, I moved gold algae Eater from the tank to a different place... but the next day I saw the male Guppy with white round spot (kind of fungus) on its fin near the gills.. and the in a couple of hours it was dead... I removed the dead male guppy from the tank.. but I am afraid that remaining 2 fishes might get infected. Please tell me how to treat the tank so the other fishes are safe (I also think that my female Guppy is expecting babies)...... <<Shilpi, a Gold Algae Eater is a color variant of the Chinese Algae Eater, a fish notorious for feeding on the slime coats and flesh of its tank mates. You don't mention how old the CAE is but this murderous behavior usually manifests itself as the fish approaches adulthood. The wounds inflicted are round matching the shape of the CAEs mouth. These wounds are also terribly susceptible to fungal infections since the protective slime coat is missing. Now that I've shared the bad news, the good news is that the fungus that developed on the wound of your Guppy was already present in the tank, anyway. Your healthy fish weren't, and likely wont be, affected by it. You took care of the problem by removing the Algae Eater.>> Thanks, Shilpi <<Your welcome, Shilpi. Best regards. Tom>>


Only my Guppies Die?!  3/23/07 Hi All!  Thanks for your time, My problem is I can't seem to keep Guppies alive!  I have a 10 gal tank which consists of 4 neon's, 2 Pristella tetras and a Plecostomus.   <These types/species of fishes like very different water than Guppies/Poecilia... which enjoy cooler, harder, alkaline conditions> I have had probably 15 guppies at different times, (Not all at once.. As is too many fish for small tank) <Yes> I figured my problem in the beginning when I lost about the first 5, My water conditions was really screwed up. I got a master test kit and since have all under control, perfect to the "t". The 6 tetras are all orig fish from when I set my tank up, they have had no problems at all. But every time I get guppies they hide at top of tank, or bottom corners, and/or "sitting" on the plastic plant leaves.  I used to have my male/female ratios off. (more males then females) realized this is part of the reason was losing them. (which I would be stressed out too if I was the only girl stuck with a bunch of men in a little tank) I don't have any air stones. I use Cycle and stress coat in my water. I have a out of tank charcoal carbon filter. What am I doing wrong? <Mmm... could be a few things... the two that come most to mind as being likely is that the source of your guppies is bunk... that these fish are not healthy to start with (very common in recent years... as almost all places import theirs ultimately from the Far East... and they are absolutely beat by the time they get to the end-user... and raised in very different conditions... precluding their ongoing health... The second major possibility is related to the first... that you have an entrenched bacterial problem that mal-affects Guppies... likely Columnaris... you can look this up on the Net, books...> FYI I delayed getting water testing before due to I used to have a 5gal tank and Never had any fish die.  Didn't realize how difficult it could be to keep these little friends alive.!! Thanks again for your time Jennifer <More to read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>


Bacterial Infection, Mysterious seasonal Guppy et al. losses  3/23/07 Hi Robert I have a tank with Guppies that have been dying off, on by one now for about 2 weeks <"Tis the season", unfortunately> The one who died today,  I could see that his scales didn't look sleek and shiny but kind of rough, and now the female seems to have started at the tail and the condition is spreading forward. No red spots can be seen <Good description> My platies are healthy and one other male guppy is so far too.  They eat and swim fine up until about the day before they die.  Water is fine, I replace about 10-15% each week.  I let the water stand for a week to ensure any chlorine has evaporated off before adding it. <Good practice... allows for a few other beneficial things as well>   This is a 10 gallon tank that has had fish in it non stop for about 4 years now but I added my first guppies about 3 or 4 month ago and now they've started dying off.  Maybe I introduced bacteria to the tank with a new addition??? <Mmm, possibly> Sounds bacterial?  Someone advised adding some Epsom salts-before I do that I wanted to check with you as I'm not so sure on their knowledge. <If the other life there can tolerate this, "aquarium salt" would be better... But please read below> Also, if my 2 guppies die, does the bacteria stay in the tank for a certain length of time and will kill other guppies? <Yes, can> Should I wait a length of time before replacing them ? <Not likely efficacious... can "wait" a very long time... using other life there as "reservoir hosts" Thanks for your help and expertise. Janet <What I alluded to at the beginning is a sort of pandemic that occurs with these (and some other fishes, like Dwarf Gouramis, Colisa lalia) this time most years... Usually involving Flukes (Trematodes) as well as Chondrococcus (Columnaris)... I would do a bit of reading re... the Net, Books... and consider treating all such new/incoming livestock prophylactically with two courses of treatment... as presented on WWM for these groups. Bob Fenner>


Sick Guppies...please help!  3/16/07 Hello,   <Charon> I hope you can help me save my guppies; I am at a loss on what to do next.  I have a 10 gallon tank stocked with 2 male guppies, four females (until tonight there were five), three-day old fry (about 20 in a breeding container), three Neons, three ghost shrimp and a mystery snail.  I started the tank approximately three months ago, and it does not have any live plants, <Having some is suggested... for many valid reasons> only plastic ones and some ornamentation (only aquarium safe products).  I have a 10 - 20 gallon filter (change the carbon filter every two weeks and it has a "bio pad" for beneficial bacteria growth), an air stone that I run only about two hours a day, the tank is kept at about 80 degrees give or take a degree or two and the light is on a timer, giving 13 hours of light a day.  I do 20% water changes once or twice a week (vacuum the very thin layer of gravel at the bottom of the tank), using water that has stood for at least two days, water conditioner, freshwater salt and adding bacteria. <Don't need to keep adding>   The ammonia and nitrites are 0, the nitrates are less than 20ppm. <Don't allow any higher> KH and GH are about 100, PH is about 7 - 7.2.  I feed the fish 2 times per day, trying to only feed what can be consumed in about a minute or so (standard guppy flakes, some brine shrimp and the odd treat of blood worms).  Occasionally I will drop in a bit of algae wafer for the snail that the guppies pick at.  All of these creatures are active and all seem to get along just fine.  They investigate when I come sit at the tank and are very excited at feeding time, recognizing my routine and coming up to the top centre of the tank.   Last week, my one female developed a spot on her side, extending from top to bottom and about two to three millimetres wide.  It was slightly raised and looked almost "bleached".  It was slightly opaque and covered her gravid spot.  She did not exhibit any other symptoms that I could see.  No rubbing, no shimmy, etc.  I did some research and decided to start using Jungle Lifeguard All In One Treatment, believing this to be a fungus. <Mmm, no> Yesterday I noticed that the gravid spot became red and she started to hide and become lethargic.  Tonight when I came home, this area had "ruptured".  The skin had opened.  I removed her from the tank and examined the spot.  I could not see any worms or anything else visible to the naked eye.  The area was open but not "burst", some of her flesh missing or gouged but appearing to be "infected" from the inside.     Tonight I see that two of my other females are showing the opaque spot.  The males do not show any signs of this but it would definitely be more difficult for me to see this on them. The latest guppy added was added about a month ago, however, I did add a plastic aquarium safe plant for the anticipated babies about a week and a half ago, after washing very well in fresh water only.    I have tried searching your site and am able to find fungal diseases that are close but not quite (no "rupture").  Please help! Thank you. <This may be a bacterial (Perhaps Columnaris) or related microbial complaint, but like almost all such, environmentally mediated... I would add some "floating grass" type live plant/s here, and increase the depth of gravel (to a good inch and a half or so total), cut the water change schedule to once a week, do away with the bacteria prep. additions, allow the temp. to drift downward a few degrees (the mid 70's F.)... and hope for the best here. Bob Fenner>


Mysterious guppy infection?   3/7/07 Hi, I have learned tons from your site, love it.  I have read and searched your site since finding it a month ago and found it invaluable, however I have a question that I have yet to find the answer to and hope you can help.  I have a 75 gal. freshwater set up, with power filter (sized for 100 gal), temp. is stable at 76 degrees, no ammonia, nitrites, 12.5 nitrates. no ph # sorry, but I have hard well water. The tank holds 1 male Betta, 2 swordtails (m&f), 3 balloon mollies (2m&1f), 5 guppies (2m&3f). I recently introduced the 2 female guppies and 1 balloon molly, the guppies had red gills, but all of them did in the tank at the store, <You would do well to incorporate a quarantine protocol... to avoid introduction of pests, parasites, and infectious disease...> and as I am new to guppies and their coloring I didn't worry, or didn't know enough to know better. The guppies seemed fine, but then began flashing (but mostly on the one live plant, not on the gravel or plastic plants. At first I thought Ich, but no white spots appeared.  Today one of them began hovering on the bottom in a corner and the breathing was accelerated, or labored.  I removed them both to a QT <Too late...> and noticed what looks like blood under ones scales near the gills and 3, scale sized blood spots on the back part of her stomach, she flashes once or twice a minute, and now the other female purchased with the "bloody" fish in question, is now flashing. I have looked and can not see and worms or bugs on her gills or any other signs of disease except of the flashing behavior, blood red gills and now the blood spots on one.  They do eat normally and even ate in the QT .I am wondering if this could be gill flukes in your opinion, <Possibly...> or some other irritation of the gills, or ammonia poisoning from the store? <Also at least a probable component> I know that something is wrong as the other fish seem fine especially the other 3 guppies, <All this... takes time...> and I am very worried that the other fish in the 75 gallon have been exposed, I need some professional help and don't trust the LFS as they said no big deal or it is Ich. <...> Thank you for any help that you can give as I am unsure what to do to, or if it is necessary to treat the main tank and if so, how and what to use. Thank you for any help you can give. Lynette <The only way to "tell" what is going on here is microscopic examination... Again, I would adopt and adhere to a quarantine process for all new introductions. As posted on... WWM. Bob Fenner>


Blonde female guppy turning opaque   3/3/07 I've been struggling lately because an explosion of baby guppies suddenly overcrowded my tanks. I have recently relocated them to a larger tank. The problem is, the guppies in my female tank have all been acting very strangely. One started hanging out on her own in the corner and died rather suddenly about a week later. Another one has that 'wasting away' problem, but she's been hanging in for a couple weeks. My last blue girl has recently started hiding out in the corner on her own, but I can't see anything wrong with her. There's one really pretty, really special girl guppy I have left that's not acting funny, and I really don't want anything to happen to her. All that was to point out that something is really wrong in the tank. The girl I'm writing about is blonde, almost clear. Lately, she's started developing an unsettling opaque/white patch in her tail, and it's grown a bit over the course of the week. When the hood is closed, she also sits in place with her fins clamped and shimmies. <Very bad signs> I'm fairly certain it's not a fungus, because it's not fuzzy and it looks for all the world like something internal. I have her isolated right now, in case it is something contagious, but I'm not sure what to do next. There is aquarium salt in the water. Nitrites=0; ammonia gauge=safe; nitrates=less than 20ppm. Near as I could tell, it's a problem left over from the overcrowding a week ago. Do you have any advice as to how to proceed? <Yes... please do a search on the Net, WWM with the term/s, "Columnaris", "Chondrococcus columnaris". Bob Fenner>


Dying guppies... Aquarisol? Env.?   2/28/07 Hi there I'm hoping you can help me, I have a tank with a variety of fish in it along with it I had 12 guppies, 10 blue and I'm not sure what the others were. This last week all but 2 of my guppies died, one is dying now and the last one looks listless and strange, gills are red and protruding and the tail looks shredded. I'm new to keeping fish; I had this tank about 5 months. All my other fish are healthy. I've changed the water, added salt and I usually treat the water weekly with Aquarisol. <Mmm... Aquarisol is nowadays (used to be a Silver salt), a solution of Copper... toxic, too toxic for continuous exposure... This may well be the source of trouble here. Otherwise, likely environmental... You offer no useful information on set-up, gear, water quality tests... I'd be reading on WWM re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm> Please help Letisha <Oh! One of my nieces names. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dying guppies As for the testing, i don't have a kit yet....my mistake, I have a 10 gallon tank that i was told only yesterday is overstocked. All of my guppies are dead now, the last 2 died after I sent the e-mail. I have angels, <In a ten gallon? Not enough room> tetras, swordtails, mollies and an albino rainbow shark in there and i had 4 snails in there but 2 of them have also died with the guppies. The other fish don't show any sign of being ill but what precautions can I take to safeguard my remaining fish? I can't bear to flush any more of them <... Frequent partial water changes (see WWM re)... use of activated carbon... an understanding of cycling, stocking, compatibility... See what is posted re the species you list. BobF>

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