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FAQs on Guppy Behavior

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 Compatibility, Guppy Selection, Guppy Systems, Guppy Feeding, Guppy Disease, Guppy Reproduction, Livebearers, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies

Size of guppies and platies     3/18/13
Hi guys,
<Joe>
WWM has been so useful to me over the years. Once again I need your help.
I am writing a paper (mock, don't worry) about the population trends of guppies and platies in the school ponds.
<I don't know what a mock paper is.>
One thing that I need is the average size of each species. All sources report the same maximum size for females, and that male guppies are usually smaller than male platies.
However from my experience and observations in the ponds, platies in general are way bigger than guppies.
What exactly is the average size of each species?
<There are literally hundreds of resources for this information, from the web to fish guides you can buy at the pet store, to even the signs on the tanks at the store.>
The theory that guppies in general are smaller than platies is the core of the paper. Can you direct me to any reliable source that says that the only thing I found is on Seriously Fish, which is ok, but I would prefer something more substantial. Note that Guppies and Platies refer to those hybridized/inbred varieties usually available in shops.
<You can try Fishbase. http://www.fishbase.org  Here is the platy page:
http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Xiphophorus-maculatus.html
and the guppy page:
http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Poecilia-reticulata.html>
Many thanks,
Joe
<Welcome. Rick>

Color change? Or worse?  1/18/13
So, a few days ago I brought home two guppies and put them in my 5.5 gallon tank. (I know that's small, it gets better.) My friend yesterday gave me a 30 gallon tank, and I realized it was super bare because I only had 2 guppies and 3 tetras(I plan on buying more) so i bough another male guppy. (total of 3 now)I know I should have a heater with them, but I'm broke until Friday. Do you think my guppies will be okay in the cooler water until then? The water is at about 70° also, the newest guppy has one white spot on his dorsal fin, and one on his tail that I didn't notice when I bought him. Do you think that is simple color change or something worse??
<If the house is centrally heated and you keep it at least 18 C/64 F, then tropical fish can survive okay for several days. So on paper, you should be fine. But when kept this cool they may look dull or inactive (unsurprisingly, they're cold) and more seriously they can be more prone to disease (their immune system is working slowly). Don't worry overmuch, but do act quickly to add a heater as soon as you can. Remember to warm them up gently. Stick the heater in, set it to a low setting, maybe 22 C/72 F, for the first day, and only raise it up to the regular 25 C/77 F on the next day. Cheers, Neale.>

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

Guppy losing colour   12/13/11
Hi guys,
I've searched your site but not found a suitable explanation so thought I would e-mail you.
We've got a 60l tank fully stocked with various tetras & 2 guppies.
<Hopefully not too-nippy Tetra species, numbers w/ your guppies... And most small Characoids "like" softer, more acidic water conditions than guppies>
We've had the tank over a year & the guppies were introduced about 4 months & bar a scare in the 2nd week when they showed signs of exhaustion (added more plants) they have been fine.
This past week though one of them has started going dull (no idea on the sex of them!)
<? Very easy to sex. See WWM re... the search tool is on every page... "sexing guppies"...>
s/he has no other signs of illness or stress & is behaving as normal.
Nothing has changed in the tank apart from 3 weeks ago they went a couple of days without the tank light but I provided another light source. Have you come across this before & do you think the colour will come back?
Thank you
Tanith
<Mmm, depends on the cause/s... Likely stress... and if this isn't alleviated, no to the fish returning to health/colour. Could be a genetic issue... Not that likely environmental as both would probably show symptoms. Do use the search tool as suggested above and write back if you still have questions. Bob Fenner>
Re: Guppy losing colour   12/13/11

Hi again,
Sorry your right sexing them was easy! Both male, it's the slightly larger of the 2 that's lost colouring. He's not unwell at all, swimming fine & eating fine! All the fish get on fine & we've had no nibbling issues. Guess
its just wait & see what happens then!
Tanith
<Real good. Please send a follow up. Cheers, BobF>

Female Guppy behavior and tank size issue questions 11/30/11
I just started in this hobby for my son (he's 18 months old and loves looking at fish), so I bought him a 3 gallon 360 degree tank so he can see fish at home.
<Oh dear. Much as I applaud the intention here, the problem with very small children is that they won't be looking after the pet animal. So, whenever this situation arises, it's about sharing a pet that *you* care for and *want*. Three gallons is far, FAR too small for Guppies.>
I cycled the tank for 10 days before putting 2 guppy females in the tank (I was planning to have 2 females and 1 male later). I got one orange tail and one blue tail females. For about two weeks, both females lived fine in the tank and I could see that the blue tail female was in the early stages of pregnancy. Well, I had to go out of town for the weekend, and before that I read on the internet that it was fine if I did not feed them for two days (so I did not get any weekend feeder food). When I came back, I found the blue tail guppy hiding behind the filter. When I gave them some flakes, the orange tail female was the only one eating (very voraciously) and every time the blue tail one came out to try to eat, the orange one would chase her all over until she went back to hiding. Is this typical?
<Yes. Guppies aren't especially social animals, or rather, they don't "like" company in the way we think about friendships. Females may well congregate in the wild for protection, but there's intense competition between them. That's the same as with any gregarious animal species. After all, the worst competition, and therefore the biggest threat, to any animal is from ITS OWN KIND! So, if you keep two Guppies in a ridiculously small aquarium, the natural tension between them will be exacerbated because of the lack of space. Two or three female Guppies in a 15 gallon tank should largely get along, especially if there are plenty of floating plants, which they love (and I'd argue, need).>
I could also see that the orange tail started to have a darker gravid spot and getting fatter (which it turned out to be in the early stages of pregnancy too). Well, I kept watching them for the next day and orange guppy was very aggressive and territorial to the blue one (blue one still swam normal and ate some food when she was not chased by orange one). Two days after I came back, I found the blue one dead :(.  So I decided to just keep the orange tail Fatty (we decided to name her that since she was getting quite fat) by herself and not get the male guppy yet. Four weeks passed (she kept eating voraciously and seemed hungry all the time). I had to go out of town again for 4 days (this time I bought a weekend feeder and put it in the tank, but she did not seem to eat from it at all) and when I came back, I found 5 tiny fry in the tank. They seemed tiny and just swimming at the bottom of the tank (maybe they were just born hours before I came back). I don't have floating trees, but I do have 2 bottom trees, and 3 more ornament in the tank, so many things where they can hide.
<Guppies are surface dwellers. Look at their upward-pointing mouth, ideally suited to taking in floating prey like mosquito larvae. Floating plants, e.g., Indian Fern (in the US, "Water Sprite") is the ideal. Easy to grow, excellent for water quality, and does well even under medium light intensity like that seen in most off-the-shelf aquarium kits.>
Fatty didn't seem to be in labor, but she is still very fat and still have a dark gravid spot. I fed her and she again voraciously ate all the flakes in a minute or so). Since I don't have another tank to put the fry, I was a little worry since Fatty eats so much (I really thought she was going to be a cannibal to her babies). But to my surprise, she swims around looking for food and ignore the fry.
<Good. It's "fry" plural, by the way, like "sheep".>
And when she swims towards any of the fry, the fry would see her and swims away from her fast (boy are they fast!).
<The slow ones were probably eaten already'¦>
On the second day, the fry start swimming up and down and all over the tank and Fatty still ignores them (I have the feeling Fatty will not eat them :)). Now, Fatty started to hide a little behind the filter, and when she swims she's at the top or bottom of the tank looking for food, her gravid spot is orange instead of dark (but she seems more fat and square and sometimes floating up with her tail kind of coiled down). Is she going to drop more fry?
<Perhaps. Impossible to say. After mating, Guppies can produce more than one batch of offspring. So while a female kept away from a male won't produce offspring indefinitely, you could well have one or two more batches of fry.>
Now, I am planning to get a 36 gallon tank sometime in the near future, so I would like to know how long can I keep her and the fry in the 3 gallon tank before I start to run into problems?
<About 15 minutes. Seriously. This is far from ideal.>
I am planning to do water changes more often now, but I am really not sure how to do it without sucking the fry out with the vacuum. Any suggestions? I would appreciate any comments. Thanks.
Regards,
Jimmy
<Do read, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

Male guppy aggression - does colour influence behaviour?  /Neale     10/6/11
Hi Crew,
Please forgive me this entirely curiosity-driven question, but I have been wondering about this for weeks and can find nothing to support or refute the idea. I've ready all the articles and FAQs I could find on WWM on the topic and could find nothing that spoke of it, and none of the papers I found in the scientific literature addressed the question. I'm actually a Zoology post-grad student and much of my interest (and my current research project) is in animal behaviour, so this is where this burning need to have questions answered comes from. Do feel free to entirely ignore what is comparatively an unimportant question if this is annoying - but I figured with all the years of experience behind the crew at WWM someone may know the answer.
I have a community tank [150L] in which I have 3 male guppies. I have been procrastinating from my Uni work by compulsively reading WWM (it's MUCH more interesting than biometry) and have discovered that, contrary to my LFS advice, my angelfish will grow large enough to eat the guppies, so in hindsight this is a terrible move. I decided not to get any more guppies due to this, however two of my males are exhibiting constant aggression so I figure I may have to get some females to ease this (I am leaning towards thinking that having a less stressful life by mitigating aggression is less cruel than being eventually preyed upon, and I may get the funds to upgrade tanks and have the angels in a larger tank before that day comes).
I will get to the point at some point. So, two of my males have mostly orange tails, the third has a yellow and black tail. It is the orange males who are aggressive towards one another. It appears as though these males are contesting for dominance and cannot pick a winner. They will begin by displaying to one another, neither will back down, and so they will begin to parallel swim. I am not sure if this is the correct term in marine biology (this is used all the time in waterfowl behavioural studies, which I am much more familiar with), so if not this is where they are facing towards one another with their faces next to one another and swim in a circle in the same direction (gosh, I am terrible at verbalizing visuals! - picture like a yin yang symbol). It's all mainly display and no one seems to win. On a rare occasions one male will swim away and the other will give chase, but I have not seen it advance to nipping (and there are no nip-marks to evidence that this happens when I am not looking). The male who swims away/chases always varies. The yellow guppy often tries to get involved in these displays but is ignored by the other two - he tries to partake in the parallel swims most of all, but no matter how long he tries they are not interested in his attempts. It is quite adorable to watch, but even though the guppies appear healthy I am sure the constant contests must be stressful for them to some degree.
During my undergrad Zoology degree, we did an experiment on female mate choice in guppies and found the females had a significant preference for orange-tailed male guppies - it appeared to be an indicator of fitness. So this lead me to wonder if this colour preference translates to male-male competition. Is it common in aquaria to see males of a certain colour, or specifically orange males, be more aggressive? Have you ever witnesses colour-specific aggression, or in your experience is it much more random?
Is it just random chance on my part that my two males have orange tails and exhibit this behaviour?
Thanks for indulging my curiosity,
Rhiannon
<Hello Rhiannon. There's nothing stated in the literature that says Guppy colours affects aggression between males. But of course that doesn't mean it doesn't happen, and indeed, among Angelfish, the all-black varieties do have a reputation for being unusually aggressive. Since the colours were selected for by man, there's no particular reason why males or females should react to them in any specific way. But on the other hand, if we've exaggerated some of the colours that males or females respond to, then yes, you might see a heightened reaction of some sort (cf. the oystercatcher and large dummy eggs). You may want to start looking at the literature on wild-type Guppies, of which there's a fair amount. Feeder Guppies are close enough to these to be viable test subjects. From observing them, there may be some interesting extrapolations you could make, testing specific colours by choosing one-colour Guppies as your test subjects. Do also bear in mind that Guppies may not necessarily see colours the way we do (at least some fish are tetrachromatic and can detect UV) and there's also the issue that patterns rather than colours could be the trigger for certain behaviours.
All good stuff for coffee room discussion! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Male guppy aggression - does colour influence behaviour?   10/6.5/11

G'day Bob and Neil,
Thank you both for taking the time to answer my email. You've both given me a lot of food for thought and brought up points I both had and hadn't considered, no doubt I will be mulling over ideas for some time to come.
Neil, thanks for the suggestion re the literature on wild guppies, shall have a read next time I have an assignment I'm trying to avoid!
Interesting thoughts about angelfish: I have 3, one zebra, one marbled (mostly black in colouration) and one Pearlscale. Have seen a lot of aggression from the zebra -- it wanted to peck everything for the first week it was in my tank, but then settled in until a few days ago when it suddenly sort of 'turned on' all it's stripes as well as developing a new dark patch behind it's eye and the eye itself went very red and it started chasing my Opaline Gourami. I rearranged the tank's ornaments when doing a water change/gravel vac and it stopped being aggressive, though I think it is just starting to mature/become aggressive, may even be pairing up (no sooner than I get a hint of aggression and think the angels are turning on one another, they start schooling together instead). This one also has a bit of a belly, but I can't tell if its a fat male or a gravid female. But I'm yet to see any aggression from the black angel, despite it being easily the biggest of the three.
<Interesting. The thing about the black Angelfish is coming from the depths of my memory. It may well no longer be true, if the black Angelfish in the trade now are different to those from 20, 30 or 40 years ago. Pure black Angels were notoriously difficult to breed in the first place, and may well have been created multiple times since from different ancestors and therefore having slightly different genes.>
So much personality and so much more variation in behaviour in these fish that I thought possible before getting into this hobby a few months ago. I'm learning so much every day, many thanks to you guys. Will be donating some funds come pay day as a thanks for all the hard work you guys do answering all our questions and archiving them for all to see. This is an invaluable resource.
Kind regards,
Rhiannon
<Always glad to talk fish! Cheers, Neale.>
Male guppy aggression - does colour influence behaviour?  /RMF
    10/6/11
Hi Crew,
<Rhi>
Please forgive me this entirely curiosity-driven question, but I have been wondering about this for weeks and can find nothing to support or refute the idea. I've ready all the articles and FAQs I could find on WWM on the topic and could find nothing that spoke of it, and none of the papers I found in the scientific literature addressed the question. I'm actually a Zoology post-grad student
<Oh! I was as well once>
and much of my interest (and my current research project) is in animal behaviour, so this is where this burning need to have questions answered comes from. Do feel free to entirely ignore what is comparatively an unimportant question if this is annoying - but I figured with all the years of experience behind the crew at WWM someone may know the answer.
<Let's see>
I have a community tank [150L] in which I have 3 male guppies. I have been procrastinating from my Uni work by compulsively reading WWM (it's MUCH more interesting than biometry)
<Or ethology for that matter!>
and have discovered that, contrary to my LFS advice, my angelfish will grow large enough to eat the guppies, so in hindsight this is a terrible move. I decided not to get any more guppies due to this, however two of my males are exhibiting constant aggression so I figure I may have to get some females to ease this (I am leaning towards thinking that having a less stressful life by mitigating aggression is less cruel than being eventually preyed upon, and I may get the funds to upgrade tanks and have the angels in a larger tank before that day comes).
I will get to the point at some point. So, two of my males have mostly orange tails, the third has a yellow and black tail. It is the orange males who are aggressive towards one another. It appears as though these males are contesting for dominance and cannot pick a winner. They will begin by displaying to one another, neither will back down, and so they will begin to parallel swim. I am not sure if this is the correct term in marine biology (this is used all the time in waterfowl behavioural studies, which I am much more familiar with),
<There IS a bunch of jargon... descriptive terms... For our purposes (here), as long as we understand one another...>
so if not this is where they are facing towards one another with their faces next to one another and swim in a circle in the same direction (gosh, I am terrible at verbalizing visuals! - picture like a yin yang symbol).
It's all mainly display and no one seems to win. On a rare occasions one male will swim away and the other will give chase, but I have not seen it advance to nipping (and there are no nip-marks to evidence that this happens when I am not looking). The male who swims away/chases always varies. The yellow guppy often tries to get involved in these displays but is ignored by the other two - he tries to partake in the parallel swims most of all, but no matter how long he tries they are not interested in his attempts. It is quite adorable to watch, but even though the guppies appear healthy I am sure the constant contests must be stressful for them to some degree.
During my undergrad Zoology degree, we did an experiment on female mate choice in guppies and found the females had a significant preference for orange-tailed male guppies - it appeared to be an indicator of fitness. So this lead me to wonder if this colour preference translates to male-male competition.
<Maybe so>
Is it common in aquaria to see males of a certain colour, or specifically orange males, be more aggressive?
<Mmm, well warm colours period (reds, oranges, yellows...) are warning, and more in significance>
Have you ever witnessed colour-specific aggression, or in your experience is it much more random?
<Did a "senior report" years back on aspects of colouration and behavior of the Garibaldi, Hypsypops rubicunda... some are more deeply orange than others... the more colourful were more dominant... However these were almost always the larger, "more resident" individuals... with steady loci on rocky reefs where they could/did "culture" species of sponge for food (and algae) that in turn were known to influence colour>
Is it just random chance on my part that my two males have orange tails and exhibit this behaviour?
<Got me Rhi... Perhaps this will become your thesis material. Bob Fenner>
Thanks for indulging my curiosity,
Rhiannon

Male guppy aggression   9/17/11
Dear Crew
I have bred some lovely dragon tail and lyre tail guppies. The males and females are in separate tanks. Some of the male lyre tails are now maturing to adults and have become extremely aggressive towards the dragon tails to the point where several have chunks missing from their tails and one or two have died (no other signs of illness so it could possibly be from stress).
<Yes, not uncommon with male Guppies.>
I'm thinking of taking some back to the shop but wanted to check a) are lyre tail male guppies usually aggressive towards other guppy types?
<It's likely more about one variety being genetically stronger or physically faster that enables one variety to pick on the other. As far as they're concerned, they're all Guppies.>
and b) how many should I be keeping in my 30 gallon tank? I have the following:
30 gallon fully cycled and well planted tank with:
5 forktail blue-eyed rainbow (2 male, 3 female)
2 male dwarf cherry Gourami (males)
1 neon tetra (hanging on in there!)
6 mature dragon tail guppy males
about 6-8 juvenile dragon tail guppy males (about to mature to adults)
about 6-8 mature lyre tail guppy males
about 12 juvenile dragon tail guppy males (about to mature to adults)
What's the right amount to reduce aggression? Or should I just stop keeping lyre tails?
<May well come down to that. Unlike Mbuna, male Guppies don't really hold down territories, so overcrowding doesn't diminish fighting. More floating plants can, will help.>
thank you so much!
best Patrick
<Cheers, Neale.>

Swamp guppies; env., soc. beh., repro. 11/7/10
Hi, I have two established male swamp guppies and a few days ago introduced two pregnant females. The two boys and one girl are in good health but one female is showing signs of stress, she has hidden since entering the tank and is now in the open, at the bottom of the tank, finning and breathing rapidly in one spot. She has a very dark grey colour and abdomen is very large. I have done a water change this morning so water quality is ok. Is there anything I should be doing? I this a sign of her giving birth? Advice would be appreciated, Many thanks,
<Hello Louise. Swamp Guppies (Micropoecilia picta) are tricky fish to keep successfully. One problem is that they really do need brackish water to do well. There are some wild populations that occur in freshwater, but under aquarium conditions slightly brackish water, from 5-6 grammes marine salt mix per litre is necessary to maintain them consistently well. A second problem is that the males are highly aggressive and will pester the females. Do not keep fewer than two females per male, and be sure to use lots of floating plants including Indian Fern. Do both these things and you should find your specimens pep up. In plain freshwater Swamp Guppies seldom last long, and harassed females are prone to miscarriages and stress. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Swamp guppies 11/09/2010

Hi Neale, many thanks for your prompt response, I'll try what you suggest, thanks again, Louise.
<Glad to help. Good luck, Neale.>

Guppy behavior/water smell   6/3/10
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 non-negotiable.>
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 money.
There's lots of stuff here about Guppies, and your local library will have any number of aquarium books. There's really no excuse.>
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:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwset-up.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm
>
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.
<Dying.>
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.
<Dismal.>
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 resting?
<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.
<OK.>
I`m about to cycle the aquarium, so that at least they`re in something larger and filtered while I get the heater.
<Hmm...>
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.
<I see.>
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?
<Do read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm
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.
<Fingers crossed!>
Oops, just the ones in the library...amazing what 2 or 3 words can do for a sentence...
<Indeed.>
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 got females...
<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 anyway.
So with a male, about 3 females?
<Sure. Try and choose a variety where the females are pretty, too.>
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 eaten.>
Could it be a small area, like 1/8 of the tank or should it be bigger?
<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.... -- 07/16/10

To scoop the fry, should I use a brine shrimp net, I`ve heard that`s the best thing to use...
<It couldn't matter less. I use the large plastic dosing caps from laundry detergents (obviously unused ones!). Dixie cups, regular fish nets should work too.>
Could I use an artificial plant? I never can seem to keep real plants alive. :\
<Indian fern will live in most tanks with minimal effort. Do try to buy some, online if necessary. It works very much better than plastic plants, and also helps improve water quality.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plantedtkssubwebindex/ceratopteris.htm
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy behavior/water smell  716/10

Ok, thanks! :)
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>  
Re: Guppy behavior/water smell   9/26/10

Finally got everything in the 10 gallon set up and cycled.
<Good.>
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 should
make any improvements I also plan to ad a mountain or 2 and some fake plants possibly).
<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 weeks.>
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 shrimps. :)
<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.>
Re: Guppy behavior/water smell   11/24/10

Ok, I know this is getting a little ridiculous, but I`ve got another problem and I`ve seen several possibilities from Google search and they all part fit but then don`t fit.
I`ve got the 10 gallon set up and cycled, it has filtration, heating, and aeration, and put in the 3 guppies. They were all seeming fine, but the one that I`d had in the tiny tank (from way back when I first contacted ya`ll and you helped me get everything back on track) was swimming at a slight angle. I didn`t think anything really of it and attributed it to stress and figured it would clear up. It didn`t, of course. He`s now swimming vertical (head toward the surface) in any direction he swims in, but seemingly whenever he wants, he swims normal, so I attributed it to personality quirk. Now I don`t know what`s going on, today he`s acting different. When I`m not looking toward the tank (watching through the corner of my eye) he
starts seeming to struggle and dip a little, then I look and he swims vertically like he`s been doing for a few months and he`ll chase the other 2 guppies a little, perfectly normally. I added 6 ghost shrimp this week,
could something have transferred or cause him to act different? I don`t know what to make of it. He doesn`t appear larger or thinner, his fins are in normal positions, his scales are normal. He looks like any other guppy, but vertical. If it would help I could send a video. BTW, PetSmart doesn`t have live or plastic floating plants, and I don`t trust the little local fish store all that much. Any ideas on what I could use to substitute or something easy to make?
<It's entirely possible that poor conditions in the cramped tank caused deformities in one of the guppies. At least, if it was still small and growing at the time. It's a common problem facing fish breeders, if they
don't move growing fish into steadily bigger tanks, they end up with deformed or sickly fish. On the other hand, the quality of fancy livebearers isn't that high because the ones sold in most stores are bred
to a price, not a quality. Inbreeding is extremely common. End result, things like deformed swim bladders and crooked spines are extremely common. There aren't any cures, but you do want to prevent such fish from breeding and passing on their genes. Serious breeders will euthanise obviously poor quality fish. As pets they're fine, even quirky, and provided the fish can swim and feed normally, it won't be suffering in any meaningful sense. As for floating plants, here in England the best way to get plants such as these is by mail order. I assume that similar companies exist in Canada, the US, and Europe, so depending on where you live, try shopping online.
Some people on tropical fish forums share plant cuttings, and I've sent bags of floating Indian Fern to aquarists in England from time to time. You can also try your local aquarium club. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy behavior/water smell  11/24/10

Ok, thank you! I`m glad its nothing too bad. Conditions were excessively small during growth time and the water quality horrible, so quite likely my fault. His spine is crooked a little. He can feed well and can swim
decently, though his condition seems to be worsening, seemingly a little disoriented every great once in a while, then he`s back to swimming.
Ok, I`ll try that! Thanks!
<Glad to help, and it sounds like you've analysed the situation carefully.
Good luck finding your plants! Cheers, Neale.>

Male aggression??? Guppies...  -- 5/17/10
We started our tank with 3 guppies (2 female, 1 male) and a zebra...one female had 3 babies and died within the day. About 2 months later the other female gave birth to 9 babies and we upgraded to a larger tank (now 10 gallons).
<Still a bit small for these feisty fish; I'd consider 15 gallons a squeeze, and 20 gallons about right. This assumes you have lots of floating plants, which really are crucial for these fish, providing shelter for the females and hiding places for the fry.>
We intend to adopt the 9 new babies out to friends that will take good care of them as I know that the tank is crowded with 15 fish in it. We plan to keep the 3 original babies and they are now almost full grown (2 females
and 1 male). Everything seemed fine till a couple of days ago. Our original female is acting perfectly fine, but she's turned a lighter yellow than she was and a couple of her scales seem to be standing on end.
<If she looks like a pine cone when viewed from above, then the issue is most likely Dropsy, a syndrome rather than a disease, and related to poor environmental conditions. Do read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/dropsyfaqs.htm
Make sure you're providing the right conditions for Guppies, otherwise the treatment won't work.>
She doesn't appear to have Ick or fungus (like I've seen on my goldfish in the past), but is it normal for their scales to not all lay flat and for them to change color?
<Not normal at all.>
Also, my oldest male (a beautiful Tequila Sunrise) today has a big chunk of his tail missing, it was not like that this morning.
<Is it clean, like a bite, or ragged? If it's a clean bite, then aggression is the issue. If it's ragged, then we're looking at Finrot, again, another problem associated with poor environmental conditions.>
The 2 males (one almost adult now) do not seem to be fighting, at least I've never seen then, but I have no idea what else could cause a big chunk of his tail to be gone all of a sudden...well except the fact that his tail looks exactly like their flake food, but I doubt that's what happened.
Please help, we love our fishies and they were doing so well up to this point.
Thank You soooo much!
-Kirsten
<Cheers, Neale.>

Orange spots on a Yellow Tail Guppy. RMF's turn   3/9/10
This fish had a completely yellow tail. The orange spots have depth and appear gritty like sand paper. The tank is 1 month old but I had the water tested and pH 7.2, no nitrates/nitrites and they said everything else looked good. The fish is fine otherwise. So far I have treated with API aquarium salt for 2 days with no change. Any suggestions would be appreciated. The tank has 7 guppies and 2 Cory cats in it.
Thanks,
Tom
<Mmm, I wouldn't be overly concerned here... colour changes in guppies are not uncommon. The texture note? May also be due to color expression. Bob Fenner>

Orange spots on a Yellow Tail Guppy. Neale's better go   3/9/10
This fish had a completely yellow tail. The orange spots have depth and appear gritty like sand paper. The tank is 1 month old but I had the water tested and pH 7.2, no nitrates/nitrites and they said everything else looked good. The fish is fine otherwise. So far I have treated with API aquarium salt for 2 days with no change. Any suggestions would be appreciated. The tank has 7 guppies and 2 Cory
cats in it.
Thanks,
Tom
<Almost certainly Finrot. Even if the water is good now, it clearly wasn't in the past, and it does take 4-6 weeks for new aquaria to become cycled.
So this fish needs to be treated with some sort of antibiotic or antibacterial. Avoid tea-tree oil medications as these aren't reliable, and salt will make little/no difference either way. Guppies need hard, basic water at least 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5, and in softer water than that tend to be sickly. Keeping Fancy Guppies in the cool conditions Corydoras appreciate isn't recommended; Corydoras are best around 22-24 C, whereas Fancy Guppies invariably do better kept around 28-30 C. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies, reading, beh., reading, uncycled sys., reading,    2/28/10
<Hello.>
Hi. I just got some guppies yesterday. I have 1 male and 2 females.
<Okay. Did you read on WWM/elsewhere prior to purchase? Often reading about the species you keep, even before you see problems, can help you feel more confident in your ability as a fishkeeper, and confidence helps a lot when you're making decisions in the hobby. Please begin by reading here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm.>
My male likes to play with the bigger female and she plays back, and I'm wondering why are they doing that.
<Fish do not play. In addition, since you're not describing the behavior itself, I can't be of any help here. Please be more descriptive about the behavior. This is likely not behavior aimed toward amusement, but more likely, toward reproduction on the male's part. Since you have one female who seems to be ill or having a difficult time "settling in," all of the male guppy's amorous attention is directed toward one female, which is going to stress her terribly.>
My other smaller female stays at the top or completely hides in the plants I have.
<This female may be sick, or as I said above, not adjusting as well as the others. Your reading will likely help you determine which, as well as water testing. If this tank does not have a heater, I would add one, and set it for 77 degrees. In order to avoid stress and illness, as well as determine whether the this female is lethargic due to temperature, you'll have a heater and keep temperature steady.>
These are my very first guppies and I have no idea how they're supposed to act.
<Can be solved, to a good degree, by reading the guppy behavior FAQs on
WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppybehfaqs.htm.>
Oh, and my male likes to play with the gravel that I have.
<What do you mean? Again, "play" isn't a useful verb here. I really need for you to explain his behavior.>
They're in a 55 gallon tank right now. I want to put more fish but I heard you're supposed to wait for 5 days.
<Is this tank cycled? Please read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm.>
The pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates seem to be fine as what my test kit is telling me, but how do I know for sure?
<I really, really need for you to provide numbers on these tests. If the tank is not cycled, you may need to do extra work in order to keep them healthy as it does cycle. Since this isn't a huge bioload, you may only need to do a few water changes to keep Ammonia low. However, if your tank is in the process of cycling, I'd wait more than five days until I added more fish. I'd wait the month it takes the tank to cycle, and then add fish slowly, like maybe every week to two weeks. So, rather than "fine," please let me know what the number which corresponds to each test result is. As for whether you know for sure, the liquid test kits are fairly accurate. Test strips aren't much good. You could always take a water sample to your fish store and have them double-check your findings if you're unsure about their accuracy. I think a lot of your worries here can be solved with some good old-fashioned research. Please read where I've linked you above, and feel free to peruse the other information WWM has to offer on guppies. There's tons of it. If you have any further questions after reading, please write back. Also, we ask on the page where you found our e-mail address in order to write us that those who write in take the time to capitalize properly (the pronoun "I" and the first word of every sentence are always capitalized), run spell check, and avoid "text speak."
The reason for this is that we're volunteers, and we want to help people.
When I receive an e-mail such as yours, it takes me almost as long to correct it, so that both native and non-native English speakers can understand it, as it does to answer the query itself. So, to save our time and as a show of respect, it's much better for you to take the time to read over your own work before sending. Thank you.
--Melinda>
? Ongoing, FW... Child    2/28/10

<Hello.>
The male and female like to I guess nip each other, as the little female she does come down moves round and does do things. I'm just a little nervous that she's not doing as good as the others
<As I said earlier, she may be having a more difficult time settling in.>
and as my temp I got it on as 76 to 80
<80 is really too warm for these guys.... how is it a range, and not just one temperature?>
and nitrites are at 0, ammonia is at 0 my nitrates is .5 to 1
<This is a strange reading for Nitrate... usually done in increments of 5>
and as my ph is at 7.2 to 7.6.
<Okay.>
yes I did do the cycle as, I read a lot of information before I got the aquarium.
<Good!>
I got the 55 because I read that its a bit easier and that you have more leeway instead of a smaller tank
<This is right... besides most people get bitten by the bug anyway and end up upgrading tank size, which is costly when you have to also buy new filters, lights, etc. It's really better to start with a larger tank.>
I check my level everyday as I do not want anything to go wrong, the little female does move around but not as much as the bigger one, but the bigger one moves around then comes back to the little one as does the male. They do swim round do all the fishy kind of stuff but I'm just wondering if she's just stressed and needs time to relax and get comfortable.
<Maybe.>
I did research but they really dont tell u much bout their personalities and what to really expect.
<We have a lot of information here on WWM, so I'm not sure who "they" are.>
I think the little female is pregnant as she does have the black spot on her tummy, base of the tale.
<If she was ever housed with a male, she's pregnant now. If she was only kept with females, then you can be pretty sure the father is your male, though.
--Melinda>

Guppy behavior 1/24/10
We have had a large community tank for several months that we've been slowly adding to. Some of the first fish we got was 6 male fancy guppies. We've not noticed any behavior problems till today. One of them seems to be content to lay on a cave like structure.
<As in laying down on the roof of the cave? This isn't normal, and may imply he has problems swimming. Because of inbreeding and poor quality control, Fancy Guppies often suffer from genetic disorders including swim bladder deformities. But that would be apparent from the day he was born.
If he's suddenly adopted this behaviour, consider constipation as a possible problem. Guppies are partly herbivorous, and a common mistake is to feed them just plain regular fish flake. At the very least they need to be given Spirulina or herbivore flake food as the staple, and ideally things like cooked peas, Sushi Nori and strips of blanched lettuce. Do read this article on Goldfish, also common affected by the same malaise:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/gldfshmalnut.htm
>
The one time I saw him leave & join the others they just kept following him. Not really chasing, just following till he got sick of it and went back to the cave. One of the others followed and hung around close by for awhile. I did notice he does seem to have a "pregnant" look.
<Again, a good sign of constipation.>
Is it possible one was a female?
<You tell me. Male Guppies have a distinct crooked, tubular anal fin called a gonopodium, with which they direct sperm into the female's uterus. It's essentially their equivalent of a penis. It looks very different to the more or less triangular anal fin of the females.>
We specifically wanted just males to prevent babies.
<Oh!>
The other fish are all acting normally and I do remember him jumping up to eat when food came floating by and also seems to occasionally pick at the surface like he's eating.
<Cheers, Neale.>

My guppy fish... beh.  9/10/09
Hello there,
I bought 3 guppies 4 days ago, I bought the male and female guppies from different stores.
<Very wise; you've avoided getting brothers and sisters, so the resulting fry should be better quality than otherwise.>
They are both yellow fancy guppies. (the only reason why I bought the guppies separately is that one of the stores sell the females for an extra $4 - total cost, $10 each).
<Gosh!>
I've got 1 big female and one average sized female. The problem is, the male isn't interested in mating.
<Or he has mated, and you just haven't noticed?>
He is not chasing the females. Is this just temporary or permanent?
<Temporary.>
I know he needs to get used to the water parameters... The other thing is that my larger female often attacks the other guppies.. its like she is the dominant one. The other female also sometimes attack the male guppy. Why are they doing this?
<No idea. Generally the females tolerate each other well, but you do find variation, and if the tank is too small for them, or you don't have some floating plants (such as Indian Fern), then occasionally they will snap at each other. They should settle down in time. Do of course check that you really do have three females: don't go by the size or colours, but by the shape of the anal fin.>
Much help is appreciated
thanks a lot
Francis
<Cheers, Neale>

Re: my guppy fish, beh./comp.  9/11/09
Thanks for your fast and helpful reply,
<You are most welcome.>
I'm happy to see that they are slowly getting along. Yesterday, I saw the male chase the bigger female a couple of times.. which is good! But he lefts the other female alone because she always chases him away. Hmmm they are currently in a 47gallon tank so I don't think that they are overcrowd..
<I agree.>
their companions are 5 bronze cories (planning to make it 8), a couple of Otos and Siamese algae eaters. The Otos are as plump as they can be which is good and so are the Siamese.
<Good to hear. Do try adding some more Otocinclus; they are schooling fish, and do much better kept in groups of 6+.>
I do have 2 angelfish which I'm worried about. But they don't seem to mind the guppies.
<Angelfish sometimes nip the tails of Fancy Guppies.>
I have a 2.5 gallon tank set up to breed the guppies and I can't wait to see some guppy fry.
Again, thank you for your helpful advice!
<Good luck with your Guppy breeding. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: my guppy fish 9/13/09
Just to let you know, my big female guppies gave birth to 14 guppy fry!!
<Hurrah!>
I'm so excited and I totally unexpected her to give birth so early. They are currently in the 2.5 gallon tank with a steady temperature of 26C. What food should I feed them?
<Very finely powdered flake food is usually fine. You can buy baby fish food, such as Hikari First Bites, but for livebearers, they're not strictly necessary. The important thing is to offer several meals per day, since the
baby fish only consume very small amounts. 4-6 meals per day is recommended.>
I have microworms and decapusulated brine shrimp. the guppy trios are finally getting along with is good. I guess that there are more guppy fry but the angels got the rest...
<Indeed, is their nature.>
I might buy more Otos in the future but the only downside is that they cost $14 each here in New Zealand! I can't believe it!
anyways, thanks for your advice and information.
<Glad you're had success! Welcome to the world of fish breeding! Cheers, Neale.>

My female guppy 4/24/09
Hi
One of my female guppies appears to be swimming very fast but not actually moving anywhere,
<"The Shimmies" it's called; some sort of disease, usually associated with water chemistry and quality problems. Review the basic needs for Guppies and act accordingly.>
She is visibly okay from what I can see. Any idea why she is doing this?  My second female guppy is heavily pregnant and one of her fins on the right hand side just started sticking out. I've been keeping a close eye on her all day and so far I have not actually seen her move that fin. Can you please tell me what I can do to help both these guppies ?
<Keep them properly.>
Thanks in advance
Deanne
<Most issues with fancy Guppies come down to people keeping them in tanks that are too small, with water that is not sufficient hard and acidic, and with filters inadequate to their needs. Do see here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/guppies.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies, feeding beh.   2/25/09 Hi i have two female guppies that are a nice size and look pregnant, they don't look sick but they wont stop pecking at the heater i wanted to know if it is normal for them to do this? <It's "normal" insofar as Guppies are algae grazers. Instead of feeding them today, give them half an algae wafer of the sort used to feed catfish. They'll spend all day nibbling away. Cheers, Neale.>

Fin Rot... (Poecilia; health, behaviour?)  1/30/09 Hi there, I'm not sure where to start exactly, so I'll give you the set up and situation, then hopefully my question will be clearer. And please forgive the length of this question. The set up is: * 10 Fancy Guppies (8 females, 2 males) in a 29 G tank. * 2 sponge filters stacked and running on and air pump that's circulating 200 GPH * Water temp is 79.4 * Water chemistry is brackish with SG of 1.003 * Water Parameters are: NH3 = 0, NO2 = 0, NO3 = 20 (!!!This is part of my question) This is a fish only tank. By that I mean there have never been, nor are there now, live plants in the tank. Before you say anything, yes, I know that live plants keep nitrates down, but I've had trouble getting plants to live in this tank for some reason, so I gave up on it. But, more to the point, is up until about 3 or 4 weeks ago Nitrates were never more than 5. So part of my question is what may have caused the change? I faithfully test the water in the tank every Thursday. The parameters are always perfect with ammonia and nitrite at 0. I also faithfully gravel vac, and change 10 gallons of water every Friday. That's about a 30% change, which I would think to be sufficient to keep parameters in check. Yes, being guppies I get a litter or two of fry every couple of weeks. The fry are removed from the tank during the Friday water change and (forgive the harsh reality here) fed to my frogs. (Xenopus) So the first part of my question is do you have any guesses as to why Nitrates started rising? Which leads me the second part of my question/situation. Can Nitrates AT or BELOW 20 ppm cause Finrot? Because I can't figure out how this happened. One of the males has a clear case of Finrot. Two red spots on a frayed tail. I've removed him to a 10 gallon Q Tank, and have been treating him with a concurrent course of Maracyn and Maracyn II for the last four days. I'm not really seeing a lot of progress yet, but I'm hopeful. In the meantime, I've treated the 29 gallon tank with a course of API's Fungal Cure which says it cures tail and fin rot. The problem is I can't quite tell if the other 9 guppies need a more aggressive treatment. Some of the females have started to have a mild fading at the ends of their tails, but not all. No one has any noticeable red streaks/spots, or fraying. In addition, I'm not convinced there's a fungus present. There aren't any white spots or patches or whatever the fungus is supposed to look like. Obviously I'm trying to avoid having to treat the 29 gallon tank with antibiotics. But I don't have ten 10 -gallon tanks laying around to individually treat all the fish. But I'm also not interested in having my little friends suffer and die. So I'm at something of a loss as to how to proceed with treatment of this problem. Also, guppies are schooling fish, so does the stress of being alone in the Q Tank for 5 plus days sort of cause more problems than it solves for the poor little guy? Thanks for taking the time to read all of this. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Laura <Laura, the short answer is than 20 mg/l nitrate shouldn't cause any health problems at all. That's a very safe level of nitrate for a freshwater aquarium. So let's move on from there. Your maintenance regime seems fine. Finrot is often caused by water quality issues, but not always. The other common reason is physical damage. Now, I mention this because Guppies are not peaceful fish; indeed, the males are apt to be aggressive. They are not schooling fish as such, but rather the females congregate in groups while the males fight over access to the females. A dominant male will try and bully any other males that get close. Because Fancy Guppies have particularly long fins, they're less able to swim away from danger, but their front ends (their teeth and jaws) aren't any different. So it's still possible for them to bite one another, and quite possibly any damage caused will be more severe. In other words, my gut feeling is that this is a social behaviour issue. Livebearers generally do best in groups where the females outnumber the males by three to one, or more! For example, at the moment I'm keeping a single male Limia nigrofasciata in a tank alongside eight mature females and their fry. Although this species isn't especially aggressive, when kept in groups the males certainly do chase one another and try to assert their dominance. Put another way, removing some males and adding more females could fix the problem. In any event, treat Finrot in the main tank. Since it's not a contagious diseases as such (all tanks have the bacteria that cause Finrot present all the time) there's no need to isolate suffering fish, unless of course that fish can't feed or swim normally. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fin Rot... (Poecilia; health, behaviour?)  1/30/09 Thanks so much Dr. Monks. Once again, you've helped a lot. Just one follow up. When you say, "treat the main tank", do you mean with Maracyn? And, if so, won't that crash the system? Laura <Hello Laura. Yes, treat the main aquarium with Maracyn (or Maracyn 2). No need for a quarantine tank. Maracyn (or Maracyn 2) used correctly should not harm the biological filter, bit do read the instructions CAREFULLY. I mention both drugs because they each treat one of two different subsets of bacteria, the so-called gram positive and gram negative bacteria. Both can cause Finrot and Finrot-like symptoms. Usually Maracyn works, which is why it's the drug of choice, but if after the completed course there's no improvement, do a big water change (25-50%) and then start with Maracyn 2. Cheers, Neale.>

Fin rot? -probably not, Guppy Beh. 01/18/09 Hello again, I have noticed that one of my other guppies (tequila guppy) has discoloration (if that's the right word) coloring on his tail. Recently his tail has been yellow-orange- then a black color. I look five minutes later and the end is clear again like it always has been. When confronted by other fish he bunches up is tail into a-well straight tail. It seems that soon after he bunches it, the black comes on. No part of the tail is disintegrating. Is this an early stage of fin rot? Or what could it be? <Fish often change colors in response to stress (ex: being chased). They often either turn a light or darker shade. Yellow/orange to black might be a little more unusual, but probably not out of the realm of possibilities. I think this is just a stress response, not fin rot. If it were fin rot, you'd likely see the tail starting to shred/disintegrate/etc. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppybehfaqs.htm> Thanks <De nada, Sara M.>

My fancy female guppy... beh./hlth., need for data, reading    12/10/08 My fancy female guppy all of a sudden in the past week has started swimming and staying on her side I just discovered 10 baby fish no clue which guppy they came from but my question is what can cause her to stay like this, she still moves around and tries to eat is it possible that the babies could be stuck inside her? <Mmm, yes...> She appeared to be very pregnant when this first started. PLEASE HELP!!! thank you dawn <Dawn... need to know what your system consists of, its maintenance, feeding... water quality, history of the set-up... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppies.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Re: My fancy female guppy  12/11/08 What can I do to help her? Anything at all? <...? Read please... provide useful data... as per others recorded input. B>

male guppies urgent  10/17/08 I have two male guppies in my ten gallon tank. <Too small of Poecilia reticulata: the males are aggressive and the females need space.> (The female recently died from old age.) <One male to 2+ females is the recommended way to stock these fish; your female was VERY likely stressed to death.> The two males have been chasing each other and shoving themselves in each others faces. Are my guppies just playing? <Fighting.> Or, are they fighting that could soon lead to death? <Certainly not how I'd recommend keeping this species, anyway.> Please help me! Thank you, Brian, a concerned guppy lover <Do see my thoughts on this species, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies, sys., beh.    3/3/08 Hello, A few weeks ago we set up a 5 gallon hex tank and bought a pair of guppies. <Too small...> We have worked with our water and have finally, after we lost the first two, gotten the tank just right. <Just right according to whom?> We bought others, and ended up with 3 males and 2 females. One of the red-tailed males killed a fancy tail male and one of the females. <No surprise at all.> We isolated him, then set up a 10 gallon tank with a divider so he would have more room. We then went and bought him 2 female guppies, and within a day he had bitten one and killed her. <Someone needs to read a book about Guppies. Males are aggressive. Guppies are NOT a good idea in tanks smaller than 20 gallons. This isn't up for discussion. If all you have is a 10 gallon tank, keep something else.> We removed the other female, leaving him isolated once again. <How are you isolating him? Not one of those horrible breeding traps? They achieve precisely nothing except removing money from your pocket.> We called the pet store, and they agreed to exchange him for a different fish. We brought home a new fancy tail male and he seems just as aggressive. <Male Guppies attempt to dominate the area around them. It just so happens that a 10 gallon tank is so small any one male Guppy will treat this as his private kingdom.> He is chasing all of the females around the tank constantly, bumping into them. <Not bumping: either attempting to copulate or else displaying aggression.> I cannot tell if he is trying to bite them, but that is a concern. <For the female Guppies especially, I'd imagine!> We have 2 males ( including him) and four females. All the info I can find talks about increasing the number of females, but I don't know if that will help. <It will, in a sufficiently large aquarium.> I do not have the room to set up a separate tank. <Then Guppies are not for you.> What do you recommend I do next? Is it common for them to be this aggressive, or are we just unlucky? <Completely normal. Please read about fish beforehand in books and fishkeeping magazines that have been fact checked. The only livebearer suitable for a tank this small is the Dwarf Mosquitofish (Heterandria formosa). Nothing else commonly available will work out well. Next up, a 10-gallon tank is ridiculously small. Do read here for more: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestk.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Fighting guppies-will they fight to the death?  2/7/07 Hi, My 7 yr. old son has a 10 gal. tank with 2 male guppies and 3 platys (we've just discovered one is female & pregnant).  The guppies seem to be picking at each other's tails & bodies and chasing each other (with fins up).  We've had a couple of fish losses for unknown reasons which my son has taken very hard.  Will these two guppies fight to the death? <Mmm... is possible that the antagonism could lead to this, yes... A simple fix is to add a greater number of females here...> Is there anything we can do to help them get along better?  They were put in the tank at the same time and have been fighting for past couple of months (well before the female platy came).  I'd hate to go through another funeral & burial if there is something we can do to avoid it. Thanks, Bridget <Sex ratios with livebearing and some egg-laying fish species can be this important. Bob Fenner>

Male Guppy chasing Male Platy -- 09/08/07 Hi, I have a 65 litre tank with 4 neons, 1 guppy (two recently died), 5 platies. My blue spotted platy is constantly being chased by the yellow male guppy. The guppy never chases any other fish on the tank. It seems to be attracted to the area near the anal fin and seems to reach for that area or just chases it around everywhere. I have checked other sites which say that the platy could die from stress caused by constant chasing or is ill (but I am pretty sure it is not ill as I can't see any symptoms of illness). What should I do? Thanks. Regards, Seema <Hello Seema, There is, unfortunately, nothing you can do about this. Male livebearers are "programmed" to always be trying to make with females and chase away rival males. Evolution has pushed them towards a "live fast, die young" strategy, compared with the females, which are usually bigger, slower growing, and better camouflaged (at least in the case of the wild-type fish). Indeed, with guppies particularly females choose males with the brightest colours, apparently because any male that survives to maturity with a brightly coloured tail that attracts predators must have good genes. To compensate for this, male guppies will try to mate with everything and anything they can, because as far as their genes are concerned, tomorrow they could be eaten! In the wild, guppies prefer guppies, platies prefer platies, and so on -- but in the aquarium, where there are no alternatives, male guppies will attempt to mate with almost any other kind of female livebearer, as well as chase away any other kind of male livebearer they deem a possible rival. In other words, there's nothing you can do about this behaviour other than either [a] remove the male to another tank; [b] add two or more female guppies so he chases them instead; or [c] move them all to a bigger tank with lots of plants so the fishes can separate themselves and hide if they want to. Cheers, Neale>

Guppy help? Beh.   9/3/07 Hello, I have a week old 10 gal tank. I have checked the water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate an pH, and all are fine. <? Values please...> I have 2 metallic blue male guppies, 2 neon tetras, and 1 balloon belly. <... these animals all "like" different water quality...> They are all active and beautiful. I have noticed that my guppies especially are swimming right next to the glass wall from side to side and up and down. The other fish swim around but also do the same with the walls. My guppies are very active they swim around fast and eat like little pigs. They hardly let anyone else get any food! I am just wondering if this swimming with their body next to the wall (sometimes bumping the wall, and sometimes with their mouth on the wall) is anything to worry about? <Mmm, no... much aquatic life readily imprints on us, the "bringers of food"... Does "hang out" near the front...> I don't want to find out when its too late. The guppies have a metallic color and their skin does look a little cloudy in certain angles, but I do not think this is any indication (Do you?). <Of?> I am grateful for any advise <advice> you can offer on this wall attraction. I love your site and am going over it with my 6 & 8 year old daughters. Thanks so much for your time and consideration. Terri <Terri, please do take a read on WWM re the Systems of the life you have, intend to acquire before buying... the Balloon... Molly? will not likely "stretch" to living well in the same water as the Neons... Bob Fenner>

Re: guppy help? - 9/3/07 Thanks for the response. I bought all of the fish below at the LFS and the owner told me that they would all do well together. I admit I wish I had done alot <No such word> more reading before going into this, but these were purchased to fulfill a promise to my girls for excellent grades. <Mmm... then you will want to know, do what is necessary to assure their ongoing health> They had been working toward this for more than a year. I won't rely on the expertise at the LFS as they also told me a Beta fish would do fine in the tank. <Mmm, my "real" "advice" is to rely on no one but yourself (yes, not even I, us...) to make final important decisions> When I put the Beta in the tank, it immediately started going after 3 other fish. Scary! I took the Beta out and it is now in a 1.5 gal tank. <Heated and filtered I hope/trust... see WWM...> Our larger 10 gal tank is heated at a temp aprox. 77-80 degrees F. <A bit high for Guppies...> I have tested the water each day and there are 0 nitrites and ammonia. The nitrates are below 20. <Ah, good... do use this as a maximum benchmark> The only reading I see a problem with is that the water is soft. Should I leave that alone and let it work itself out since I have read that there is a possibility that the cycling process will cause fluctuation in all the levels. <You are wise here! I would wait on any such adjustments> I will be doing my first water change (15%) tomorrow. You say that none of these fish like the same water quality. What would you do to accommodate the fish I have? <Read> Should I put the balloon belly or the neons in a separate tank? <This would be best, yes> I do not want any of these darling little creatures to be miserable or sick. Again, thanks for your time. We are grateful! Terri <A pleasure to assist you in your adventure, fulfillment here. BobF>

Abnormal female guppy behavior   -- 06/19/07 Hi! <Hello there - you've got Jorie this rainy (at least in Chicagoland) afternoon)> Thanks for providing such a wonderful resource. <On behalf of Bob, WWM/WWF - you are welcome.> I have a 5 gallon hex tank with two male guppies and I recently added 3 female guppies along with some frill plants. <I've got the *exact* same setup - the 5 gal. hex with two male guppies. My two are very active, somewhat aggressive guys, but able to hold their own against one another. I've been unable to sustain more than 2 guppies in this environment, even with perfect water parameters (no ammonia, nitrite, nitrate less than 20 ppm). In reality, I think there just isn't enough space/swimming room for more than 2 fancy guppies. Also, am unsure as to what you mean by "frill plants" - are these live or fake? If live, what sort of lighting, substrate, etc. are you using?> For about two weeks, everything seemed fine, but about 4 days ago, one of the females became very inactive and started to hide behind the filter intake, or rest on the bottom of the tank. A day or so ago, one of the other females began to exhibit this same behavior. The ammonia and nitrite levels are fine, <Very subjective - need to be ZERO, as measured by a reliable test kit. Also, check the nitrate levels; these need to be at 20 ppm, preferably less.> and I checked the pH which is somewhere between 7.2 and 7.5 (do I need to get a test kit that is more specific?). <What type of test kit are you using? If it's the "dip stick" kind, then I absolutely suggest you ditch it and get a quality liquid test kit, something like the one made by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals or Tetra. Each makes a "master" kit that tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH for around $20 (US). I've personally used both and have found both to be reliable. Although there isn't a drastic difference between 7.2 and 7.5, more precise information is always good. Just remember when dealing with pH (and temperature), stability is most times more important that exact pinpoint precision (within reason, of course)> There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the other guppies. What could be going on? <Assuming your water parameters are as specified above, these could be weakened stock. Sadly, with so many of the "fancy" fish, they are bred over and over and over again, and during this process, their immune systems become weakened, especially when genes are being "manipulated" for certain aesthetic traits. Fancy guppies and bettas are often times just not from good stock, healthy, so many times, I've found. Additionally, I do think you've got too many fish in that tank. Again, male guppies can be pretty aggressive, in my experience; have you seen any bullying going on? If the new female additions were "weak stock" to begin with, constant harassment will only render them more susceptible to disease. Do you have any aquarium salt in this tank? I'd recommend adding that, or alternatively, marine salt (guppies can tolerate brackish conditions, and many times, will even thrive in such waters). The aquarium salt can help promote slime coat growth, which helps keep fish healthy. If you go the aquarium salt route, I'd suggest adding 1 tsp. to your 5 gallon tank; if you go with the marine salt (I've got a huge bucket of Instant Ocean at home for our brackish and saltwater tanks, so this is what I've done), you'll need a device called a hydrometer (a plastic box with a swing arm that measures levels of salinity- readily available at many fish stores for around $6-7 (US)), and I'd suggest raising the salinity to around 1.002 or 1.003. Of course, if we are talking about live plants above, both of these suggestions may well destroy the plants, unfortunately...> Thanks for your help! <Hope I have. It sounds to me like you got weak stock, but coupled with the stress of being in too small of a tank, these girls just aren't happy. Do you have a larger tank you can move them to? Best of luck, Jorie>

Color change fish, Guppy beh.    5/22/07 I have a guppy that is about four weeks old, the odd thing about him is that he can change from one color to another to another to another almost instantly. <Sounds very unusual. Never seen this in a guppy.> is this a problem? <Probably not. Fish change colour naturally for a variety of reasons. When stressed, they often either go dark or the colours fade. When communicating with others of the species they may adopt specific colour patterns. Cichlids are famous for this. At 4-weeks old your guppy is probably developing its colour pattern and may simply be changing as it grows, in exactly the same way human hair and eye colour changes as we age.> is this a rare breed? <Maybe! See what happens.> is this a completely new breed that no one has ever seen? am i just a hallucinating weirdo?* <Can't speak for your level of weirdness. Cheers, Neale>

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>

Guppy behavior  4/26/07 Hello, <Howdy.> First let me say your site has been VERY helpful to me when setting up my first fish tank. <Thanks!> I have a 35 Gal Hex tank. Its been up and running for 2 months now. It is live planted and I am using an under the gravel filter. I have stocked it with 5 Black Skirted Tetras, 2 Dwarf Sunset Coral Platys, 1 Red Tailed Shark, and 7 Fancy guppies. <Some nice fish there... but I can tell you that [a] black skirt tetras (if by these you mean Gymnocorymbus ternetzi, what we Brits call "black widows") are *notorious* fin-nippers, so choose any additional fish with care. They will, sooner or later, nip the guppies. Also, [b], red-tail sharks become increasingly aggressive with age, and a 35 gallon "hex" tank is likely too small to satisfy its territorial (or even swimming space) needs. They get to about 12-15 cm long when mature depending on the species.> I have been doing 10% water changes every week since I started the Tank. I have vacuumed the gravel once in that time. I do weekly water checks before and after my water changes. Water temp is about 75 F. <Vacuuming the gravel weekly is probably overkill. Every 2-3 weeks give it a gentle stir with the handle of the net you have and then siphon off the "mulm" (detritus) that comes up. However, water changes could be ramped up a bit. 10% per week is not much, and nowadays "the more the better" is generally recommended. I'd certainly suggest 25% a week, and many aquarists change 50% a week or more.> So here are my main Q's: 1. My PH has been steady between 7.2-7, Ammonia has always been 0 ppm, but lately my nitrites have spiked to 1 ppm and the nitrates is at 5 ppm. To my understanding this is caused by excess food and waste in the tank. The fix is supposed to be 10-20% water changes daily till the levels go down and feed less. I have started doing both of those things in the last week and a half and I haven't seen any change in the levels. Am I wrong? Should I be doing something else? I am using Amquel to treat for ammonia, chloramines and chlorine when I do the water changes. I am also adding API Stress coat during water changes. <For one thing, stop vacuuming the undergravel filter so much. If you agitate it too much, you will keep removing bacteria from the gravel. What you want to do is remove the mulm, because this clogs the flow of water, while leaving the gravel basically alone. What depth of gravel to you have? The gravel is the filter medium, and for a typical aquarium this needs to be at least 6 cm in depth. Now, a complicating factor here is you have a "hex" tank, which is one of the worst designs on the market, and second only to the goldfish bowl in its shortcomings. Specifically, the problem with a hex tank is that it is tall and narrow. This means that compared with a plain rectangular aquaria, it has a smaller area available at the top to absorb oxygen (and lose CO2) and a smaller area at the bottom to be used as an undergravel filter. It is entirely possibly your aquarium is overstocked, not because of the volume of water you have, but simply because the undergravel filter is working at its limits. Adding an additional filter, ideally one that draws its oxygen from the air not the water, would help remedy this problem. A filter would also agitate the water at the surface and increase the movement of water from the top of the tank to the bottom, improving the availability of oyxgen.> 2. My guppies act strange (or at least I think its strange). Several of them have started diving into plant and springing themselves off them. I had read that this is called "flashing" and can be a sign of Ick or that they may be "itchy". I have been watching them for the last week and there has been no change in condition or appetite. No spots, listlessness, nothing that I can see wrong. Are they just playing or is something wrong? I have only had 1 death recently (1 of the platys) that I put down to shock from being introduced to the tank. I am feeding 2 times a day once with flack and once with dried brine shrimp. <Treat for whitespot anyway, ideally using a combination whitespot/velvet/Finrot remedy to nip any one of the possible problems here in the bud. Whitespot is invisible at first, and if it attacks the gills (as it usually does) you won't see those parasites anyway. So when fish show persistent "itching", then it is always worth pre-empting the problem. Fish also do this when water quality is poor though, so fixing the nitrite problem may fix the itching. Regardless, I'd treat for whitespot anyway.> 3. I am having problems getting my Tetras to eat flaked food. I was told they would eat when they were hungry but that I could offer them frozen bloodworms if I was concerned. I tried that and they don't seem to be enticed by them. They also don't seem to care about the brine shrimp. Is this ok and I am worrying over nothing? I have had them for 2 weeks with no noticeable problems other then disinterest in food. <Fish will go off their food if water quality declines. Now, I'll add a few general comments about food. Firstly, flake food goes "off". Would you eat 2-month old cereal? No. But we expect our fish to do so. I find my fish stop being interested in flake food a couple of months after the tub is opened. So instead of letting the flake go stale, keep it in the freezer in an airtight package, and only remove a portion to last a week or two at a time (keep this "on the go" flake in another tub). Secondly, fish don't like to eat the same thing day in, day out. Get 2-3 different brands, and cycle them through the week. Space them out with frozen foods, live foods, and especially kitchen scraps: blanched lettuce, sliced cucumber, cooked peas and spinach, shellfish and white fish, hard boiled egg yolk (in tiny amounts, very messy), and so on. Almost anything without animal fat in it is worth trying: some fish even like boiled rice! If you are up for it, fish love houseflies and mosquitoes, so if you find any in the house, grab 'em and use 'em. In the wild fishes will be eating literally dozens of different things each day. Another thing I've found is not all brands of foods are equally popular. Some brands of frozen bloodworms are greedily accepted, others almost ignored. So try out a few different sorts, and see which they like! Don't be afraid to experiment either. I tried out frozen lobster eggs (used to feed marine filter-feeding animals) and discovered my various fishes adored them!> Any think you have to say is appreciated. Sadie <Happy to help. Neale>

Female Bullies?  4/14/07 Hello WWM, <Polibio> Great Site, I've read thru most the FAQ, but none could answer my question. I had good experience with fish.  Though platies are my favorite I decided to incorporate guppies with my tank.  Since I can rule out all the normal factors (water quality, salinity, etc.) I can get more straight to the point.  In my tank, I had 2 Female Guppies and one baby Male guppy.  These are all pale silver color.  I decided to set out and get myself two males to accommodate these females who joyfully swim along with my platies couples.  Now after I added the males I noticed that immediately one is hidden behind one of my plastic plants.  The other does swim around but is constantly picked on the tale by BOTH females and even the tiny male. <How large is this tank?>   For a second I thought there might be too many males in the tank and in a old Goldfish Bowl (I know, I KNOW!), I placed a "couple" in there. <Is too crowded...> No luck, 10 minutes later, the female was biting the male on the tale.  Since I like my aquarium full with color, I decided to keep my males in the tank, and sent the females the goldfish bowl.  I am stumped and actually don't know what to do.  I though of giving these females away and introducing one new one from my local shop. Regards, Paul Days PS- Sorry for the Pics, camera phone. <What else is in this tank? There is some sort of harassment evidently... Perhaps moving the bullies... to a breeding net, a floating colander... for a few days... will allow the one bullied male to become more assertive. Bob Fenner>

Re: Female Bullies?   4/15/07 I have a 20 gal tank. in there are a 2 Mickey Mouse Platy (F/M), 1 Loach Clown, 1 Zebra (M), and the 2 Male Guppy I told you about, the other 3 are in the bowl, while I figure things out. <Mmm, the reasons I asked re other tankmates is your photo shows an apparently large/r fish... perhaps a barb/minnow of some sort in the foreground, in front of the hiding male... and the guppy does appear to be hiding from it> I have the correct PH levels, and all, <... can't read your mind/heart... Need to read/see actual test values> water temp is OK, salinity is OK. <...> From your email, I think the females are the ones being the bullies.  The males swim and they charge and bite their tales. Paul <BobF> Re: Female Bullies? Woops, must've pressed the wrong key, a 10 gal tank. <Mmm, should be big enough for the species, numbers you list. BobF>

Newby guppy owner: worrying behaviour -- 03/17/07 Hi, <<Greetings, Sharon. Tom with you this morning.>> I have today acquired two minnows and a guppy and have put them into a 30 litre BiOrb tank, with the provided ceramic media in the bottom of the tank rather than gravel.  I am slightly worried because the guppy has twice dived into the media in the bottom of the tank and got itself stuck: why is it doing this?  Do guppies need to be able to burrow, or was it just looking for a dark place? <<Likely looking for a place to hide out, Sharon. Provided the tank has 'cycled' properly and water conditions aren't an issue, your Guppy may be looking to steer clear of the Minnows for now or, may just be stressed by the new environment.>> I am worried that I will come downstairs in the morning, or return from work at the end of the day, to find it dead.  Is there anything I can do to stop this happening? <<The quick solution would be to provide a more suitable hiding place for it. An inexpensive decoration or even a piece of PVC (plastic) pipe from the hardware store would serve the purpose. The less-handy solution would be to remove the ceramic media and replace it with gravel but this really doesn't address the root of the issue. Right now, it just wants some place to feel safe and secure.>> Thanks Sharon <<Happy to help, Sharon. Best of luck. Tom>>

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>

Hello. Guppy beh., dis.    1/30/07 Hello Mr. Fenner, <Amanda> My question isn't very specific... but in my 10 gallon tank I have 2 fancy guppies, 1 male and 1 female... the female had about 30 fry. This event took place about 2 weeks ago. They're coming along quite well. This isn't my problem though. I think it's because of the male but out of all the female guppies I've had (8 in total), the mother of the fry is the only one that has survived. The first 3 that died must have been hiding from the male because I found them in the cave like ornament I have in my tank. The 4th one that died was pregnant and got Finrot or ich which the other 2 females later got. The mother of the fry has it now.. but I think it's because of the male biting her. There's a big white 'blotch?' at the base of her tail fin and her tail, which was once black, is now a horrible white color. Her tail kinda of bends downward from the rest of her body. She kind of resembles a roof? <Good description> I think she's going to die like the rest of them. I want to know how to prevent this because she's a really great fish. Unlike most guppies I've seen, she's about 3.5" including her tail. <Wow!> I also have 4 happy little Neons and an Otocinclus in this tank. The Otocinclus does absolutely fine and seems content as do the Neons. The guppies (just the adult females) are what I have trouble keeping. I don't want to get more female guppies to reduce the problem, because then my tank will be overcrowded as the fry are growing up. Oh yes, the fry are separated from the rest with a plastic partition. They're all happy and fine. I feed them with flake food and they're doing great. I don't feed them live food. Is that absolutely necessary anyways? <Is not necessary, no> For nutritional purposes and enhancing color I believe. I've done a LOT of research but I'm just looking for some advice from an actual person rather than reading stuff. Anyways.. if you help me with this, I'll really appreciate it. Your website is a great source of info. I've learned a lot from other people's questions alone.   Thanks again, Amanda. <I would try separating this rogue male (maybe in a small plastic floating colander in the tank) for a week or so... This often takes the "spit and vinegar" out of a "mean" fish... But do please read on the Net, elsewhere re Columnaris (Chondrococcus) disease... Maybe Google... Images... as I fear this may be at play here as well. Bob Fenner>

Re: hello, guppy beh., hlth. Hi again, <Amanda> Thanks for your help. Unfortunately though, the guppy died. I can't stand losing them. but there's no good pet shops closer than an hour so I don't really have good resources, and we don't travel much. So after I removed her from the tank, I put the fry in with the Neons and the Otocinclus because they're now too big to be eaten by them. <Good> They're not big, they're just too big to be eaten. So since the partitioned side was empty and Tiget [male guppy] was chasing the fry around, I put him on that side all by himself. <Also good> Putting the fry with the others won't bother the Neons will it? <Not at all> They don't seem to be too upset but I just want to make sure so I don't cause unnecessary stress. Thanks, Amanda <Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Guppy Question, beh., repro.   1/19/07 Hi, <<Hi, Goldie. Tom here.>> I don't really have a problem, just more of a question. <<We do that kind of thing, too. :) >> I have two guppies, one male and one female. The female is pregnant. I've read a lot about guppies, and I'm confused by the behavior of my fish. The male keeps hiding and swimming away from the female. Also, the female is the one that keeps attacking the male. Everything I've read says the males are the ones that like to nip at other fish. I'm confused. I'm positive about the gender of my fish, so I know I don't have them confused. I haven't seen anyone else write about this, so I was concerned. Is this normal behavior? <<This can be completely normal, though not typical, as you've already determined for yourself. In larger groupings, this behavior might not be quite as apparent but, in a one-on-one situation like you have, it's pretty sure to get your attention. I would normally suggest a ratio of one male to three-four females to keep a male from stressing a lone female to death'¦sometimes literally. In your case, you have an 'alpha' female in with a fairly timid male. Might actually prove advantageous in your case but it's not unknown for a dominant female to pull a 'reverse' and badger a male to death. Hopefully, she'll simply keep him 'at bay' but keep an eye on them to make sure it doesn't get more out-of-hand than that.>> Goldie <<Tom>> Missing guppy  12/23/06 Dear wet web media crew, First off, thank you for your website.  Since I found it a week ago, I have read it every time I have a spare moment.  I have learned so much and I know that my husband is already sick of me saying, "I read on wet web media..."  But now we have a small problem.  I looked for an answer and couldn't find it, and I hope that the answer isn't somewhere that I just didn't find.  We set up a tank a couple of weeks ago, let it cycle, and added a few male guppies.  Then, after almost a week, we added a few female guppies last night.  However, one of the females is now missing.  I couldn't find her this morning.  I mentioned it to my husband when I went home for lunch, and he spent almost an hour searching the tank for her (just by looking in), but she's still missing.  It's only a 10 gallon tank, but there are quite a few fake plants in there as well as a decoration of a ruin of a castle that has quite a few holes and a hollow underneath (though you can see most of the hollow).  Could she have been eaten in the 11 hours during the night? <Mmm, not likely... You don't have other fish species present? Snails? The great likelihood is this one fish jumped out...> Could she be hiding to give birth?  Or could she be dead and floating in the hollow under the castle? <Again... probably not> If she's hiding in the castle to give birth, would it disturb her too much to lift the castle up to find her?  Thanks for your time, especially so close to Christmas. Celeste <I would look about the outside of the tank... perhaps for a smiling cat? Bob Fenner>

Re: Missing guppy - found!  12/23/06 Well, we found her!!  Tonight, we moved the castle ruin, and not finding her, I convinced my husband to look in the filter, even though he assured me a fish could not be sucked up the filter.  He removed the filter pads and we heard something drop down behind the aquarium stand.  Fearing the worst, we quickly grabbed a flashlight and sure enough, there she was, not moving.  It took us a minute to pick her up and get her back in, but she started swimming and hunkered down into a depression left from the castle ruin.  We turned off the lights in the room she is in and watched by the nightlight until she started swimming a few minutes ago.  My husband gave her a little bit of food, which she ate, and she is now hunkered back down.  We were going to do a water change and a vacuum, but I think we're going to wait until tomorrow to not further stress her. <Good thinking>   Hopefully, she will fully recover (we pray).  We don't think she was sucked up in the filter, we think she jumped up into the opening where the water pours out. <Agreed. Common> We do have a cover, but there's an opening for the filter.  I've included my original e-mail so you know which one you don't need to respond to.  Thanks for your time, Celeste <Thank you for this follow-up. Bob Fenner>

Growth of Guppy Fry - 10/18/06 Hi... <Hello there - Jorie here.> When do the babies start to get there color, 'cause  I've had my guppies for about a month or so and they don't seem to be growing very fast? <Livebearer can take 6-8 mos. to fully develop.  Be aware that the fry are more sensitive to poor water quality than their parents are, so for proper growth and development, it is paramount to keep the water clean.  Also, what type of food are you feeding them? I use Hikari's First Bites for my baby mollies...seems to provide them with all the nutrition they need.  Jorie> Dead Guppy Cannibals 9/18/06 Hi, <Hi> I was wondering if it is possible that a guppy can eat another dead guppy? <Most fish will pick at dead/dying fish, although they will generally not eat the entire carcass.  Not a good thing though due to disease transfer, water quality etc.> <Chris> Bully Guppies?   9/11/06 Hi. <<Hi, Joanne. Tom>> I hope you may be able to answer this question for me. <<I'll give it my best, Joanne.>> I have a 180 litre tank in which I currently have 11 neons and 18 assorted male guppies. The tank is heated, has an internal filter, airstone and fluorescent lighting. My water quality is good and I have had no problems. <<11 Neon Tetras and 18 Guppies in the U.S. equivalent of a 48-gallon tank? Joanne, if I weren't happily married, I'd kiss you! We spend so much time telling hobbyists to get larger tanks for their pets that it's a breath of fresh air to have someone write in that has provided room to spare for their "charges". Well done!>> The fish shoal and seem happy, until now. Last night I realized I was missing one of the fantail guppies. I have 6 of these. The fish in question I had always classed as the alpha male as he had the most beautiful tail! <<"Alpha-ness" is more behavioral than physical but I understand your thinking...>> I eventually found him hiding and his tail was virtually gone. <<Uh oh...>> What remained was in tatters and he was obviously scared, seemed to be shaking and he died minutes later. <<Sorry to hear this, Joanne.>> I haven't been able to find any info that says the other guppies would fight without females present. <<Not likely that you would, Joanne. In the world of Guppies, the females do the 'selecting'. The "boys" will show off and try to attract the attention of the females but an Alpha female is known to kill a male, or males, that she deems unacceptable for breeding.>> This only happened after I had added some more guppies 2 days before. <<It's possible/plausible that the males may have fought over the "right" to breed, whether, or not, females were present. The new additions may have triggered this response but, frankly, this is speculation on my part.>> Is it possible they did this?   <<Highly unlikely, though not impossible, that one, or more, of the new Guppies did this. Typically, the "established" fish have, or display, dominance over fish that are subsequently added to the aquarium. (Timing can be very important when adding fish.)>> If so, do you know why and, can I prevent this from happening again? <<An educated (and I use the term loosely) guess is that the established Guppies viewed the new fish as potential breeding partners. The "subordinate" males went after the most likely candidate (the He-Bull, in a manner of speaking) in order to increase their standing with the "females". Since the "predominant" male is most likely to be chosen to mate with a female, it makes sense, from the fishes' points of view, to get rid of the biggest competition. Whether, or not, utilizing a tank divider to keep the new fish separated from the older ones is really academic. In a sense, you'd be trying to cheat "Nature". (You might like to see a Great White Shark live harmoniously with a seal but, it isn't going to happen.) Bob would have a more eloquent explanation but the fact is that, in some cases, Nature must run its course.>> Thank you in advance Joanne x <<I hope I've been of some help, Joanne. Tom>>

Mmm, FW guppy damage  9/10/06 Hi. <<Hi, Joanne. Tom>> I hope you may be able to answer  this question for me. <<I'll give it my best, Joanne.>> I  have a 180 litre tank in which I currently have 11 neons and 18 assorted male  guppies. The tank is heated, has an internal filter, airstone and fluorescent  lighting. My water quality is good and I have had no problems. <<11  Neon Tetras and 18 Guppies in the U.S. equivalent of a 48-gallon tank? Joanne,  if I weren't happily married, I'd kiss you! We spend so much time telling  hobbyists to get larger tanks for their pets that it's a breath of fresh air to  have someone write in that has provided room to spare for their "charges". Well  done!>> The fish shoal and seem happy, until now. Last night I realized  I was missing one of the fantail guppies. I have 6 of these. The fish in  question I had always classed as the alpha male as he had the most beautiful  tail! <<"Alpha-ness" is more behavioral than physical but I understand  your thinking...>> I eventually found him hiding and his tail was  virtually gone. <<Uh oh...>> What remained was in tatters and  he was obviously scared, seemed to be shaking and he died minutes later.   <<Sorry to hear this, Joanne.>> I haven't been able to find  any info that says the other guppies would fight without females present.   <<Not likely that you would, Joanne. In the world of Guppies, the  females do the 'selecting'. The "boys" will show off and try to attract the  attention of the females but an Alpha female is known to kill a male, or males,  that she deems unacceptable for breeding.>> This only happened after I  had added some more guppies 2 days before. <<It's possible/plausible  that the males may have fought over the "right" to breed, whether, or not,  females were present. The new additions may have triggered this response but,  frankly, this is speculation on my part.>> Is it possible they did  this?   <<Highly unlikely, though not impossible, that one, or  more, of the new Guppies did this. Typically, the "established" fish have, or  display, dominance over fish that are subsequently added to the aquarium.  (Timing can be very important when adding fish.)>> If so, do you know  why and, can I prevent this from happening again? <<An educated (and I  use the term loosely) guess is that the established Guppies viewed the new fish  as potential breeding partners. The "subordinate" males went after the most  likely candidate (the He-Bull, in a manner of speaking) in order to increase  their standing with the "females". Since the "predominant" male is most likely  to be chosen to mate with a female, it makes sense, from the fishes' points of  view, to get rid of the biggest competition. Whether, or not, utilizing a tank  divider to keep the new fish separated from the older ones is really academic.  In a sense, you'd be trying to cheat "Nature". (You might like to see a Great  White Shark live harmoniously with a seal but, it isn't going to happen.) Bob  would have a more eloquent explanation but the fact is that, in some cases,  Nature must run its course.>> Thank you in advance Joanne  x Re: Mmm, FW guppy damage  9/10/06 Hi Tom, <<Hi, Joanne.>> Thanks for your reply. It was nice for someone to appreciate that I was trying to keep my fish happy by having a large tank, rather than people telling me I need more fish in there! <<First, you're most welcome. As for your tank, you have plenty of "fans" here at WWM! If more folks followed your lead our mail would be cut by 30%, at least.>> I wanted to update you, since the sad demise of my favourite guppy I spent a lot of time sat in front of the tank watching their behaviour, sad I know. <<Not true! I can't pass either of mine without stopping to check things out.>> I did notice a newer addition behaving quite aggressively towards some of the other guppies. After half an hour of tail nipping I separated him for 10 minutes and then reintroduced him, mainly as he didn't seem pleased and I felt bad about it! <<Sure he wasn't pleased. You took away his "chew toys". Interesting that one of the new additions appears to be the culprit. That certainly wasn't my take on the situation, was it? Unusual, but I should be used to fish doing things out of character by now. (I believe they do it to embarrass me.) :)>> He had calmed down and since then the guppies have resumed their playful existence, much to the delight of my 9 month old daughter! <<Excellent. Good move, by the way.>> I must add also that I 'lost' 5 of the newly introduced guppies. I had bought them from a store I had not been to before, nor will be returning to as the assistant who netted the fish did not seem concerned for their welfare and I wish I had walked away as instinct told me to. <<I think we've all had purchasing experiences like that. I certainly have, regrettably.>> I have never lost a  fish before as I always take the utmost care of them and found it quite distressing. My tank readings are optimal so I know it isn't a water quality issue and can only assume that they came from a bad batch or were stressed beyond recovery. <<Considering what many fish go through before coming into our hands, it seems nothing short of a miracle that more aren't lost.>> I will wait a few weeks before adding any more and will stick to my regular stockists in future. <<A wise choice.>> I also wanted to say that I have found this site invaluable, the best by far on the net! Thanks again Joanne <<Nice chatting again, Joanne, and thank you for your kind words. Keep up the good work! Tom>>

Aggressive Female Guppy   5/27/06 Hi Crew, <Good morning - Jorie here.> I was wondering if you could help me. <Will try!> I have six Guppies ( four females and two males ) in a 61 litre tank, along with two Weather Loaches and four Chinese Hillstream Loaches. They have all been getting along with each other until recently, when one of my female guppies has started to attack another female, I have had to separate the aggressive guppy from the others as she was beginning to cause damage to the other female. The other fish are all fine with the female who is being picked on and she still seems healthy, the aggressive female leaves the other fish alone. Do you know what causes this behaviour, and is there anything I can do to stop it, short of getting rid of the aggressive female? <Livebearers can be very territorial with one another - I see this sort of behavior with my mollies all the time.  Making sure there are plenty of hiding spots within the tank (e.g., ornaments, rocks, plants, etc.) can help the problem.  Also, rearranging the tank's current setup can help, as it allows each fish to "stake out" new territory.  Ultimately, however, if all else fails, you will have to separate the two fish, as the one will tear the other apart.> Many Thanks <You're welcome.> Krissi <Jorie>

Fantail Guppies  03-21-06 Hello <Tom> My Fantail guppy has had 2 babies <I might suspect more> and the 3 males keep chasing her around the tank <Not at all surprised by this> and, she also keeps getting fat then skinny again. Is she going to have more? <I'd count on it> What do I look for if she is going to have more? <The "gravid spot" at the back of her belly will likely darken as fry mature. She may stop eating, hide away from the males (if possible), may brighten in color. A number of possibilities here. Observe and take note of different behavior/appearance.> Also, when the 3 males are chasing her it seems as though she doesn't like it. Is that a sign that she is ready to mate or that she does not want to be bothered by them? <Your ratio of males-to-females should be reversed. Far too stressful for one female to deal with three males. Could ultimately stress her to death.> Should I take her out of the tank and put her in my 5-gallon? <For her sake, yes. Having already mated, she may very well continue to have fry even without a male present, perhaps for the next few months. Be prepared to separate "mother" and fry.> They are in a 29-gallon right now. Thanks for your attention on this. Missy (You're most welcome. Tom> Hey again Tom, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to answer all my  questions. It was very nice of you. I know ya'll probably get a lot of them.  But anyhow, thanks again.. Missy <My (our) pleasure to help whenever possible. Tom>

Guppy Coloring  - 1/30/2006 Hi there. I have been trying to research why guppies may not be as bright as they once were. I feed them the same food and all the water levels are where they should be, as well as temp. Could there be a reason why they aren't quite as bright? Sharon <Yes... most importantly "water quality"... The breeders I have known are fanatics re doing very regular water changes (to dilute "wastes" as well as other chemicals that have negative feed-back loops on the growth and color of their guppies (and other aquatic life). Do you change water at least once a week? I would be treating, storing and changing a good quarter of the water out as often as you can develop a routine/discipline for. Of course food/nutrition plays a role here... but you state you have not changed this parameter. Bob Fenner> Guppy Aggression?    1/19/06 We had 2 male guppies in a 1 gallon tank. <... too small> Everything seemed ok until I discovered the smaller guppy lying at the bottom of the tank with the top of his tail all torn up. The only explanation I have is that the bigger fish attacked him - I did see the bigger fish nipping at him when he was down. He was hurt enough that I had to put him down. My question is - should I bother getting another fish, or am I just condemning him to a similar fate?   <Not another guppy... Please read re what you're up to... FW aquariums, guppies... on WWM. Bob Fenner> Thanks. Jill

Guppy scared of Corys   1/4/06 Hi Guys Greetings from Sydney, I hope you had a pleasant holiday season.   I was just wondering if you could give me some advice on guppy behaviour. I have a 22 litre tank which I got 4-5 weeks ago. I set the tank up and on the advice of the aquarium put 2 male guppies in after a week. I monitored the pH levels and nitrite levels and after 2 more weeks had passed (and all the levels were fine) put in 2 Corys and 1 Ancistrus Bushynose Plec.  The problem is that for the first 2 weeks both my guppies were happily swimming around, when I did maintenance on my tank they would happily swim up and interact with me, whenever I came within eyesight of my tank they would come over and "say hi". Since  I put the 2 Corys in (30/12/05), one of my guppies (the previously "dominant" one) has taken to hiding.  If the Corys come near he tries to get away , he also appears to "shake" for a while after they've been near him. He won't eat and is now staying on the bottom of the tank in a corner in amongst some of the (live) plants behind a rock. This morning I noticed a whole heap of the plants had been uprooted, <Maybe by the Ancistrus... not the Corydoras or Guppies> while I was replanting them the Corys stayed away from me and only then did Ulysses (as I call him) start acting like his old self, I even managed to feed him. However, once I finished my maintenance and half an hour had elapsed he went back into his corner and hasn't come out at all.  I have a funny feeling that he is scared of the Corys (they do seem to be a bit rambunctious) and was wondering if I should return the Corys back to the aquarium. <Mmm, I wouldn't... I suspect something else is going on> I've noticed that the Corys chase my other guppy as well, but I think he is coping just a little bit better as he isn't hiding, but he does seem to be a little bit more listless then previously and he also tries to stay as far away as possible from them. Is it possible that my Corys are "bullies", or does my poor little guppy have some strange disease? Many thanks, Rachelle <I think you're experiencing a sort of "new tank syndrome" here. I would add some carbon/charcoal to your filtration/flow path, and let this livestock be for a few weeks more. Bob Fenner> Guppy Question  - 01/03/2006 *My son has a 10 gallon tank with 2 male fancy guppies and one ghost shrimp.  Recently we've noticed on one of the guppies a long BLACK string coming out from his belly.  He seems fine otherwise.  It's not clear like I've read on your site (with the pregnant females) and is just about an inch long.  We've recently moved and completely emptied the tank to clean it. I'm sure this was stressful on them.  I haven't noticed any changes in the other guppy or the ghost shrimp.  Do you know what this "string" is?  Is it something we need to be concerned with or do something about? Thank you very much for your time. < Probably fecal matter reflecting the fiber in its current diet.-Chuck> * Questions about  Danios, Guppies and Tetras and English 12/22/2005 Hi there.   I'm new in this fish hobby, n currently am having 4 neon tetras, 2 zebra danios, 3 male guppies n 1 female guppy.    1) I just read that danios are best kept in a group. However I've not enough space for adding more danios. <How large is this system?> Is that OK if I only remain it 2 ? <Likely so> They never seems stop swimming, even when it's night n <and> the other fishes r <are> sleeping. Is that normal? or should I <I> turn off the dim light beside? <I would leave this light on at night> Their stripes seem to be fading in colour since I brought them back from the shop. How can I cope with it? or maybe it's just the lights in the shop brighten their colour?    <Color change can be a clue as to temperament/mood, as well as health...>   2) my tetras r just about 1/2 inches. How long do they take to grow up n what is their maximum length?    <Is posted on WWM... about 3/4 inch overall, 3 cm...>   3) I bought 2 male guppies at first (for I had mistaken the male as a female) I'll name it A n B here. A seems to be always swimming up n down rapidly at the corner n side of the aquarium for the first few days. Y is it so? <Likely interacting with its own reflection> After a few days, it started to chase B, which I notice its behavior as courting (bites its fins under, turns into a sigmoid curve n vibrates rapidly) This is weird, I supposed it had get confused as B is bigger in size than A. I added a female n a male guppy after 2 weeks ( I should name it C n D). B seems to be attracted to C, for he is also showing the behavior of courting, but C won't accept when B tried to pose it's anal fin towards her (or sort of) Is she already pregnant or just not attracted to B? <Possibly either or neither> How could I know if she's pregnant? <The vent area will become clearer, transparent, the young's eye pupils evident> And A is still continuing 'chasing' B non stop although I added the female. How can I stop this from happening again? <Bigger tank, more females, more plants, decor> I assumed that D is still new here that he is always alone. How could I know whether he had reached his maturement? (He's less than 1 inch)    <Is mature physically, perhaps not behaviorally>   I apologized for bothering u with so much questions, but am curious. I'll be grateful to have your reply soon. Thanks a lot. <I/we don't mind input, queries, but spelling and grammar issues are a cause for consternation. I take it from clues here that you're not a native English writer/speaker. Nonetheless, you would do well to learn to/use the "checkers" that come with your software to become proficient... Bob Fenner>

I need a straight answer please  12/8/05 <Hello, Crew member John here with all the straight answers this morning.>  I've asked different people the same question and got different answers. I recently bought some Male Guppies. I bought 2 Phantom Deltas, 1 Sunrise and 2 I'm not sure. One of the ones I bought that I'm not sure the breed, is quite larger than the others and the other males seem to chase it constantly.  A couple of days ago 2 of the males started to protect that particular guppy not allowing the others near it. I'm slightly confused, the guppy was sold to me as a male, however, I was told to look for particular aspects to find out if it is a female. However, I also read in the book, that sometimes the female can have some male characteristics.  This guppy is dull color in body, but has a zebra striped tail, the only other color on its body is on one side has a tiny orange dot. This fish is either constantly hiding or being chased. Can you please help? How can I tell 100 % if it is a female I was sold? <You will be able to see the gonopodium if it is a mature male. I have seen male guppies apparently attracted to each other when no females were present in the tank. Maybe it makes sense that they would choose the most "girly" of the fish in the tank. So the answer may not entirely be "straight" after all... (!)> Thank you in advance. Sincerely, NoviceGuppy <Best regards, John>

New Guppies  11/30/05 Hi! I just got my guppies and they all seem to stay near the surface and in one corner. Is there something wrong? <Maybe. It is normal for them to be scared and try to hide when you add new fish. The "at the surface" part of your question may mean a lack of O2. You should have a filter, or at least an airstone, to help with gas exchange. Don>

Stop Touching Me!!!! (And No Need to Yell) 11/3/05 I still can't find a satisfactory answer on how to stop the males from poking each other's bellies!! <What?> I go to the links but they all LEAD TO THE SAME PLACE! It would be more helpful if you would be more specific as to where the information is! I HAVE LOST MANY GUPPIES BECAUSE OF THIS AND IT SEEMS RIDICULOUS THAT OTHER PEOPLE CAN BE SUCCESSFUL AND THAT I STILL CAN'T EVEN GET PAST THE BIRTHING STAGE!!!!!!  I thought you guys were experts! -Ayu.Kura <I'm wondering what you're referring to... BobF 

Guppy food question & a few other Guppy questions, esp. breeding traps  8/31/05 Tetra Min used to make "Guppy food Special Diet" (purple lid), but they no longer make it. It was nice since it was regular flakes broken up into Guppy size flakes and you didn't have to break it up with your fingers (which always seems to end up with dust and large flakes, and few flakes the 'right size'). You could just use it 'straight'. I've tried HBH 'Guppy bites', but my Guppies don't seem to like that, nor do I since the food won't break down small enough to be drawn into the gravel filter. Within days it decomposes and floats through the water. <I see> The only thing I've found is the regular tropical fish flakes. I'm currently using 'Nutrafin MAX Color Enhancing Flake Food' which, again, must be broken up. Since food is usually sealed and the pictures on the front are all the same and not at all indicative of size, I was wondering if any of you know a good quality small flake food (primary criteria) that perhaps also enhances color (secondary concern). <Mmm, am thinking of a couple of things... One, that you might have luck locating a set of "sieves" that used to be sold for sorting sizes/flakes for aquarium use, the other to advise having small catfishes (likely of the genus Corydoras) for "clean-up", fun as well with your guppies. Don't know of any given size/shape foods that might be better shaped... I would try Omega-Sea's fine line though> Second issue: I've just recently started up one of my 20 Gal tanks after a 15-20 year hiatus from having Guppies, so I'm not 'up to speed' on the details of pregnant Guppies (darn memory). I have one that had about 17 fry yesterday. It looks like she has another 3 in her, but it's been about 36 hours since she had the last one. <Likely done then> She was put in the breeder (another issue) a few times last week (I thought she was ready) but when she didn't start in 12-24 hours, I put her back in the main tank. She was caught starting and I immediately put her in the breeder where everything went fine except for the last 3 that she still appears to be carrying. Is this normal? <Happens> Is it possible she can't push them out right now, but will later? <Could, but not likely> I left her out back into the main tank about 4 hours after she produced the last one she had yesterday (a dilemma - is it better to keep her confined where she may feel, well, confined, or let her at the mercy of the males?) <When, where in doubt, I would wait, leave in the breeding trap> Third issue: I found 1 fry about a week after getting my initial stock (2 males + 2 females) about 4 weeks ago. I'm not sure which one it came from, but there was only one left (I'm assuming all others were eaten). About a week later, I found three more. I don't think they were hiding, although that is possible. Anyway, the point is that I had small fry in my breeder and didn't want to cramp them in, so I bought a second breeder, but the new one is built so poorly that the fry are getting through the cuts in the bottom plastic tray due to manufacturing tolerances, I think. It's not built anything like my old one, which does not seem to have that issue. The old one is made by Lustar. <Ah, yes... a fine company... no longer extant> I could not find that brand in any stores (incl some local fish stores, PetLand, PetCo, PetSmart, and another chain I forget the name of). The new one that is poorly made (for Guppies at least) is made by Penn Plax model "12345 Plus" (Cat #BT-5). Is there anyone who makes this type of breeder that is tight enough to not let fry swim between the plastic plates and the outer 'tank'? <Not as far as I'm aware. I would either go with net-types or use a separate tank entirely> I've been looking at some of the models that use air to 'suck' the fry into another section of tank. Your thoughts on those models? <Am not a fan... too much likelihood of damage to young> The ones I have are the type with the metal straps that fold over the top of the tank. I wouldn't trust suction cups in the long term. I saw a model with that, too, that was based on suction from an air line. BTW, I solved the above problem, or at least lessened it, by filling the bottom inch with gravel and spreading it up the sides where the 'rails' are on the 'tank' and the cutouts are in the bottom plate (which is the place the fry are getting through). I don't care for that solution much, but it's the best I can think of other than sealing the bottom plate with silicone. (would that even be recommended?) <Could be done... will "stick" enough, fill the void, be chemically inert...> BTW, including the fry, I'm up to about 26 guppies in about a month.  I suppose soon I won't care as much about losing some as 'food', but I'm still at the stage where I really don't want that to happen. One last question: It seems after about 3 weeks the fry are large enough that they don't get picked on by the adult Guppies. Does that sound about right? I waited until they were significantly larger than 'bite size'. <With good feeding... is about right> Also, found your site looking for info on sexing the fry. Haven't looked at the fins yet but I found some great info in your FAQs. Thank you for your time and help, Joe M. <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Guppy Aggression - 08/27/2005 Hi Sabrina, I just wanted to know if you knew or had any ideas to why  my fancy guppy keeps chasing and attacking my lionhead fish? <Could just be simple aggression, perhaps.  It would probably be best to try keeping the two in different tanks - guppies (and other tropical fish) and goldfish have different preferences for water parameters, as well.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Guppy Behavior? 8/3/05 Hi Gang!  Thanks for the great resources! <Welcome> I have recently inherited a neighbors 1/2 abandoned tank.  I am not even sure how the 2 poor fish had managed to live in the nasty tank (not even full of water)!  After a few weeks of diligent maintenance and getting everything balanced and on target we added some fish.  The tank came with a Blue Gourami and a male guppy.  That Gourami (Mean Fish, as we have named him) was sure being a pain to the little guppy.  Our solution? <Best to trade in... for species that are more compatible> Add a few more guppies.  We now have 3 male guppies, the gourami and a Cory cat.  Mean Fish seems to be very happy with this balance and is behaving now.  My question is about the guppies... I added a bubble stone in the back, under the gravel. One of the guppies (Tate) is obsessed with "chasing bubbles" (as my 4 yr old son calls it).  He sprints to the top, doesn't surface, back down a bit slower and up again.  He does this pretty much all day. Occasionally one of the other males join him.  I think the 3rd just sit there laughing at their stupidity.  Is there something I should be checking for? <Water quality... ammonia, nitrite principally> I had the store check our water yesterday and everything was perfect.  Should we be concerned or is he just "playing"? <Likely is "just playing"... many fishes (and humans... including myself) "do" this... for no apparent gain, reason... Bob Fenner> Thanks gang! Beth Guppy Behavior 7/17/05 I have three female guppies and two male guppies in a 10  gal. tank with one ram and three Corys. Of late, both males have been following  and bothering one of my females. This female is VERY round although I can see  her gravid spot I cannot see any eyes. Could she be near the end of her  pregnancy or is she not at all pregnant now? Why are the two males just  following her instead of the other two females? Love your website! Chris <Please read... here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppybehfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Guppies motionless at top of water, facing same direction  07/02/05 Hi~ Could you please enlighten me? I have 13 guppies (2 months old) and they are normally very active. Recently I have noticed that they would stay at the top of the tank only (not gasping for air), but more weirdly, started to huddle in one corner, motionless, and all of them facing similar directions! http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y297/160685/Picture3002.jpg http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y297/160685/Picture3001.jpg These guppies were fry from my previous batch of guppies, and the water quality etc is the same all along (nothing new added, water change every 4-6 days) I'm really puzzled and would appreciate if you could help! Thanks J <Mmm either something is toxic in your water, or a "fright contagion" has been established chemically from/with these fishes (please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrightChemsFWArt.htm I would add some activated carbon in your filter flow path. Bob Fenner>

Aggressive Guppy 6.14.05 Hi! I have 2 male guppies and 2 female guppies. One of the males is constantly attacking or should I say poking both of my female guppies. One of them is pregnant and I don't think she'll be able to release her babies if he doesn't leave her alone for even a second. I would like to get the net or whatever it's called for pregnant female guppies but I don't know what it is or what it looks like. Do you have a picture of the net for pregnant guppies? If you do, can you send me one? Before my other male guppy (the one that doesn't attack) kind of chased the attacking male guppy away most of the time but now he doesn't care it seems. I wish I could do something so that he won't attack and chase the females so much. Thanks!-Eunhae- <This is pretty normal behaviour for male guppies, I would not worry too much, maybe add some more females so he can spread the aggression to some of the others.  I did a google search for breeding net and found the following image, hope it helps, Gage  http://www.aquatics-warehouse.co.uk/acatalog/breeding-net.jpg  >   Boys being boys... Guppies Hi there, <Hello> Just a quick question:  I currently have 3 male fancy guppies (the little sign at the store said "Mosaic").  They're happy and healthy so far in the 20 gallon tank that I have set up for them. I've noticed that they are starting to fight, which according to everything I've read on this treasure-trove of a site says that I should get some girls for them to focus their attention on.  Would 5 females be an okay number to have?   <Yes> I'm still new to this.  I'm going to the fish store tomorrow to get my water tested.  I realize that with 5 females and 3 males, I may soon be swimming in fry.  Can you recommend a tankmate that would help to control the fry population without harming the adults?   <Mmm, I'd rather encourage you to give away young to others, your fish shop... A predator of the fry would better be placed in a separate system...> I'm planning to have some (probably 2) snails for garbage duty -- partly because snails are neat to look at, but also because my sister has a puffer who would be all too glad to "take care" of any extras. <Including the guppies...> The tank came as a kit with filter, heater, fish net, hood with a full-spectrum fluorescent light built in, and a variety of water conditioner and food samples, by Marineland.   <Very nice> I have a filter (hangs off the edge, has a charcoal replaceable cartridge and a BioWheel.  The heater keeps the tank at a steady 76 degrees F.  As I said, I haven't had the water tested yet, but the guys at the store I frequent said to come in this week to have that done.  If I'm not being specific enough, please let me know.  Thanks for your time. Gayle K. in Ottawa <So far so good. Bob Fenner>

Guppy Male in Guppy Mail... I just bought some guppy males and females (one of which just had some fry). The one male has a really nice tail, but doesn't have it fanned out a lot. He is half red/gold. Is there something wrong with him, or is he just being modest and not showing off in front of the females. <Well, it's hard to say from just this info. - would you say he has clamped fins (do a search on Google to see a picture if you aren't sure what I mean) or his tail just isn't as flaring as some of his mates? If he's one of the smaller, less dominant males, he may just not be fanning out his tail as much as the "alpha" male, perhaps. If he's showing other signs of sickness, such as listlessness, not eating, swimming, etc., then you may have a sick fish on your hands. Just to be sure everything is A-OK, check your water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate...is any are present, do a water change ASAP. He could be reacting to poor environmental conditions, so I'd definitely check that out - maybe he's just the first to react.> Thanks for the help <Hopefully I gave you a starting point...based on the info. you gave me, it really could be any of those things, so please do some research and let me know if you have follow-up questions!> Tim <Jorie>

Fancy Lady Guppy- Problems Recently (Three days ago to be precise) I bought a "Fancy Lady Guppy".  The fish itself is a nice fish to look at and looks good in the tank with the accompanying fish and surroundings. But the problem is, it is displaying aggressive behavior towards the other fish in the tank. I thought that possibly I am/was doing something wrong -example: wrong breeds/species sharing tank space-, when I bought the Guppy it happened(s) to be pregnant and is displaying a form of protective behavior, or whether this breed of fish is just naturally cantankerous. <Maybe... even just this individual> The behavior the Guppy is displaying consists of fin/body nipping, chasing the other fish around the tank and " ramming " them, and just generally being mean to all of the other fish in the tank other than my " bottom feeder/Algae Eater " and my three " Zebra Striped Danio's ". What action(s) could I take to curb, or prevent this behavior? <Putting the female guppy in a "breeding trap" or such for a week... where it can be kept separate but in view/smell of the other livestock may well take the "spit and vinegar" out of it. Bob Fenner> Thank you for your time, Dan. Cote

Guppy Questions Hi... I came across your site and I thought that you may be able to answer my question about my guppy I got the other day. I am new to the guppy hobby, but I bought two new guppies and I got them yesterday from my local fish store... One male and one female to add to my 10 Gal. Tank already containing one female guppy, two platies (one male one female) one female swordtail and then algae eater and a Cory fish. I observed yesterday that my Male guppy was trying to mate with not the female guppies in the tank but instead my male platy! Is this something to be concerned about!?!?!?! Is it possible to have a Homosexual or Bisexual fish? I'm kinda wondering if his decided habits are something that are "normal", or not... I have never seen it happen before in fish, so I was wondering if you had heard of this ever before. I also woke up this morning and noticed that the female guppy I got yesterday happened to give birth to two (from what I could find) baby guppies! I wasn't expecting her to drop her babies as of yet but I guess sometimes in life we are surprised by those things! HUH? But what I was wondering was is it possible that she only had the two? or is it just most likely that the others weren't so fortunate to make it? :( I appreciate any words of advice that you can give me! Thanks, Derek >>Hello Derek; Congrats on having babies :D It is possible your female is still young, age and size will determine how many babies she will have at a time. The other problem is that with the swords and platies in there, most of the babies will be eaten before they have a chance to grow up. You can add some java fern, duckweed, or other multi-leaved live plants to give them somewhere to hide from the adults (ask at your LFS). Your male guppy sounds young, also. No, he is not gay, but he is confused :D :D Just kidding. Are you positive that your platies are male? Do they have gonopodiums? Instead of a normal fin on their belly like the females do, males will have a pointy gonopodium pointing backwards, near the tail. I would not worry about it, your male will have plenty of energy to chase the females around :D One thing that does concern me is your stocking ratio...this tank is full up! I advise regular partial water changes, weekly. Same temp, please. Make sure you have a good thermometer, to use at the sink. Also, please buy yourself a nitrate test kit, and keep your nitrates low, say around 60ppm or lower, 20 is better. Good luck! -Gwen<<

Guppies Gulping I have a tank of guppies that are fairly new along with some Cory cats.  All of the guppies have started swimming at the top and just hang around there but wont ever go to the bottom. <You didn't mention how large the tank was, but it probably is due to a lack of oxygen for the fish.> I thought maybe they weren't getting enough oxygen and switched to a stronger filter/power head but they are still doing it.  Can you tell me what it may be?  Thanks! <I suggest you get a air stone and an air pump.  Adding this to the tank will raise the oxygen level in the water dramatically.  Good luck. -Magnus>

Fancy guppies acting strange and water levels Hi, my name is Ashley and I have a 10 gal. tank with 2 fancy guppies (I think they are both males), 2 glass fish, 1 algae eater, and as of tonight only 1 Gourami. I have had these fish for almost 2 months now and they have all been living together from the beginning. I have a few questions actually. One is that I don't know how to tell if the guppies are males or not. < Female guppies tend to be larger and have less color than males. In the back lower section of the fish females will have a regular fin and males will have a tube like structure instead.> Two (this is my main question) my guppies tend to stick together, but I have noticed that the two of them will seem to 'gang up' on one of the glass fish and follow it around the tank all the time. I don't know if the glass fish are male or female either. I don't really know if this behavior is normal for guppies or not. < There is something about this glass fish that has gotten your guppies attention. Either they see something on this glass fish that reminds them of something to eat or if you have two boys then they may be trying to breed with the glass fish. Hard to tell why fish do these things sometimes.> Finally, my last question is that my water levels have been going crazy and I don't know what to do about them. The first thing that was wrong was the ammonia level was high, when I got that under control I noticed that the nitrate and nitrite levels were going up. I went to the pet store and they told me to put something called a Nitra-Sorb that would remove the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, but it hasn't seemed to help. Please help me I think that my fish are in stress because of the nitrite and nitrate. < All new aquariums go through an adjustment period. Go to Marineland.com and look at Dr. Tim's library and you will see articles how a tank normally cycles. Some products tie up the ammonia in the water but the bacteria are still able to break it down causing nitrite spikes. High nitrates require that the filter be serviced and maybe the gravel vacuumed too during a water change. Make sure you are only feeding them enough food so it is all gone in a couple of minutes. Excess food causes many of the problems you are describing.-Chuck> Thank you. P.S. -- All of the other water levels (pH, ammonia, alkalinity, and hardness) are fine.

Lady Killer I am wondering if you can help me with my "killer" guppy. He has killed 5 females in the last month. <I'd name him "Ted"> Right now he is the only fish in a 10 gal tank other than my Plecostomus. <If this is a common Pleco he will get very large. Over a foot! And he makes tons of waste. Not good in a 10 gallon> I have done my best to keep 2 females in with him at all times. I don't know what to do with him. He is a very pretty fish and I would like to breed him but it is beginning to get rather expensive to keep replacing the ladies! How long does it take for a male to impregnate a female? <A second, poor things> Could I put a couple more in, wait a week and take him out? <Yes, but see below> I am so angry with him today I just want to flush him! <Don't EVER do this! Mean and cruel. Take unwanted fish back to the fish store and donate them.> Also, are things like temperament genetic for fish? Do we have any idea? <Not sure. Some species are naturally aggressive. But each fish within a species is an individual> Because I would really hate to breed him and have all the babies be the same way. <All male guppies are aggressive to the females, but not all to this degree.> Any help would be greatly appreciated because I really hate to see my fish suffer. <Then never send one the Big Tank in the Sky via the toilet> Anna <Male guppies can be very aggressive breeders. Best to spread the aggression by adding 4 or 5 females for this extra randy fellow, along with some hiding places. Dense plants like Java Moss would be good for both the female and the fry to hide in. Be aware that most of the females you buy will already be pregnant. They can store sperm and use it for several batches of fry. Breeders will keep very young virgin females away from all males until they pair them up to ensure they know who Dad is. So just because he's the only male in your tank does not mean he is the father. Don> Help! Fighting Guppies! Hi, I really need help. I've had a male guppy all summer and I recently added another. They are the only one's in the tank. The problem is, is that they seem like they are fighting. The one I've had longer, who is bigger seems like he's using his tail as a shield to get closer to my new one and once he gets close enough he tries to nip him. If my new one (Hermies) turns to get closer he swims back a little. My older one kind of seems like he is circling Hermies too and the keep swimming sideways to flash their tails at each other. Is this for territorial reasons? Will it stop or should I take Hermies out? I really don't know what's going on. < When guppies are being well kept they seem to concentrate all their efforts on breeding. Males will try and chase other males away while trying to attract females. Try lowering the temp by a couple degrees and see if they cool off.-Chuck> Freak Out Guppy! Hi WWM crew! <Hi...you've got Jorie this time.> I know I've been asking a lot of questions lately, but its because I just found out about your web site! ( and I love it!) <Excellent...and welcome!> I had a female guppy 2 and a half weeks pregnant and I moved her to my smaller tank( 10 g). It took me a while to catch her but when I did she seemed pretty freaked out. <I've never seen a fish that really appreciates being moved, but sometimes it is necessary, in the fish's best interest...they usually get over it.> So I put her in the smaller tank and she went and hid. Four hours later I came back to check on her. She was hiding and her gravid spot was gone but there wasn't any babies. And now when ever I go near the tank she swims around franticly and hides. I brought the rest of my female guppies into the tank to see if that helps. She seems calmer but still freaks out when I come near the tank. <Well, to be honest, this is pretty drastic, but I have heard/read that undue stress during a fish's pregnancy can cause a miscarriage.  Generally, it's  not a good idea to move the fish when pregnant unless absolutely necessary.  If you're trying to keep the fry, perhaps consider mating the fish in the "birthing" tank, then removing the male when her pregnancy becomes apparent?  I'm sure in time she'll get over this...how long has it been? And, is there adequate coverage (i.e., plants, decoration, hiding spots, etc.) in this new tank? Is the tank in a particularly high-traffic area?> If there is anything I can do please let me know. Also why is she acting like this? Thanks for your help:      ~Lena~ <Lena, I'm sorry your fish lost her babies, but trust me, she's a livebearer and will soon enough become pregnant again! Again, try not to move a fish during it's pregnancy (especially later on in the process) and perhaps try the method I specified above, with regards to moving the male out of the tank when it gets closer to the time your girl is ready to give birth.  Good luck, Jorie>



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