FAQs on Guppy Systems
Related Articles: Guppies, Poeciliids:
Guppies, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies by Neale Monks,
Livebearing Fishes by Bob
Related FAQs: Guppies 1, Guppies
2, Guppy Identification,
Guppy Behavior, Guppy Compatibility, Guppy Selection, Guppy Feeding, Guppy Disease, Guppy Reproduction, Livebearers, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies,
My guppies. Gen.
Hi, I’m a young fish keeper who started about a month ago, I used to
keep fish a couple years ago but then stopped and picked it up this
year, I have a total of three tanks soon to be four, one was a 10
<Suitable for some very careful fishkeeping.>
a 2.5 gallon,
<Barely adequate for a Betta, and really, smaller than most
and last but not least a 1 gallon.
<This latter not a tank at all, not even a bucket really. Could be
used for plants and shrimps, but that's about it.>
I recently bout a couple guppies three of which were female, I split
them up into different tanks and used my 2.5 gallon tank for
pregnant females and baby’s until the female gets transferred into
the big tank.
<Understood, but if you have very limited space, as you do, getting
male and females Guppies was a bad idea. Sooner or later you get the
babies. Easiest is to let nature takes its course, and most will be
eaten. Better is to add floating plants to the 10 gallon tank,
partly to shelter the females, but also as hiding places for the
fry. As/when you see the Guppy fry, net them out into a floating
breeding trap. Moving females into the 2.5 gallon tank is just
asking for trouble.>
My problem is I had gotten a large tailed black female guppy of
which I do not know the species, however what worried me was when I
added her in with the other two females and my male, after four days
everything seemed to be fine, until I noticed a decent sized white
spot that was a little bit deeper than her scales. At first I though
it could be the plants until I noticed none of my plants have sharp
edges, I thought maybe it could be one of my other fish, i house two
small Cory cats in the main tank and one neon tetra along with the
rest of the guppies.
<All in the 10 gallon tank? Let's recap: Neons need cool, soft, acid
water -- which Guppies would dislike. Hard water, which Guppies
need, sooner or later sends Neons to an early grave. Corydoras do
well with Guppies provided the water isn't too warm or hard, but
since they're only happy in groups of 6 or more, you'd need a lot
more space than 10 gallons for a large enough group of Guppies they
didn't fight and a decent school of Corydoras. Without a photo, it's
hard to know what the white 'blister' might be -- it could be
Whitespot, but it could just as easily be physical damage or
something else entirely. There are so many potential problems with
your set-up, it's really difficult to say.>
Please let me know what you think could be going on, and what I
could possibly do to improve their living.
<Do see above, and read:
And maybe buy or borrow a book:
Guppy tank too soft
I have been a frequent reader for years and have learned much over that
time, your efforts are much appreciated.
I have researched extensively and I think I'm on the right track but
would appreciate some input, apologies if it's been covered.
I have a 20 gallon long tank, it has been up and running for about 6
years with a few ups and downs along the way. Needless to say it is
mature and pretty much maintains itself with semi frequent water
I waited a long while to change my stock as I had the original Danios in
there and was looking to go a different direction. The last Danio died
and left behind a tank with a few merits snails and a small army of
I was living in a house with hard water. I moved recently close by and
upon the death of my Danios I decided to go with an all male guppy
population in addition to the shrimp and snails. I purchased 6 guppies
and after acclimation they were doing ok.
I have prepared myself for the occasional guppy demise due to the poor
quality of the live eaters these days but I was feeling optimistic.
They seemed to be boisterous but happy to be about, no obvious bullying.
It's only been a few days and they all started hiding. I immediately got
out my strips and checked and lo and behold in the new house, a few
blocks from the old, the water is soft.
A lot of plants and obstacles to keep the eyeline blocked.
These are only strips so not as detailed as Id like, the GH color is a
bit mysterious-hovering between 60 and 120, but I suspect on the soft
side due to the low ph.
Over the years my cherry shrimp population has done well and sometimes
not so well, so I tend to view them as a bit of a bellwether. That said,
they are quite happy and numerous so I know my environment is not toxic.
During the day when I'm around the guppies tend to be out and swimming.
When I leave for a few hours and return they are all huddled together
hiding. No bullies. I have cats but they are very old and completely
So....is the ph affecting them? After research I decided to add salt to
the tank, I have not done so yet as I was nervous with the shrimp
although from what I've read it seems ok. I'd like some advice as I've
never really had to tamper with my ph or hardness before, additionally,
when I went to the store for the salt, all they had on hand other than
generic aquarium salt was reef salt. This is what I purchased.
So....is the reef salt correct? Will the shrimp be ok? And, is this the
proper next step?
Sorry for all the info, hope you can advise.
Thank you so much for your time in advance.
<Hello Marya. If the only fish are Guppies, then yes, adding salt is an
option. Within reason salt doesn't seem to harm shrimps, but in my
limited experience, adding salt slowed down the rate at which the
That said, Guppies will eat baby Cherry Shrimps anyway, so maybe
breeding isn't an issue for you. In any case, a specific gravity of
1.002 (just under 5 grams salt/litre water at 25 C) will optimise water
chemistry for your Guppies and should ensure their perfect health. While
Guppies don't need salt, it does make them easier to keep in soft water.
Now, you might simply choose to raise the hardness! Just as easy as
adding salt, but without the risk to your shrimps or plants that salt
might pose! To each 5 gallons/20 litres of water, adding something like
0.5 to 1 *tablespoon* Epsom salt and 0.5 to 1 *teaspoon* baking soda
will raise the hardness significantly. This will be extremely cheap to
do, reliable, and easy! Let
me have you read here for more:
Hope this helps, Neale.>
aggressive guppy 5/15/16
A week ago I bought 1 male & 2 female guppies. I put them in my 5 gal.
aquarium along with another female from my larger aquarium.
<Here's your problem, Evelyn. Five gallons is too small. 10 gallons
would be barely adequate, and 15 gallons is a much more sensible
starting point. Just as zoo animals become aggressive or nervous when
kept in too-small cages, if you put fish in a tank that's too small,
they won't behave normally.>
There is lots of room, to point that at times I don’t see any of them!
<Your ability to see/not see them isn't the issue here, unfortunately.
Though the addition of floating plants can help a good deal in
situations like this by breaking up lines of sight.>
When I put them in the tank one of the females was aggressive towards
the other females. She kept it up to the point that I thought she would
kill the other females. So I put her in a box to separate her from the
population. Today I put her back into the tank & within a minute or so
she was going after one of the other females. She was more that
aggressive - she was out to kill! I put her back into the box & now
assume my only choice is to flush her? Pls, lmk what you think.
<Flushing is cruel and unnecessary. It's a slow death for any fish, but
because it's out of sight, some people can accept that level of
suffering because they aren't able to witness it. It's unnecessary
because most tropical fish shops will take back fish they've sold, and
rehome them for you. Indeed, in the UK the Maidenhead Aquatics chain
prides itself on rehoming fish even if they didn't sell them. Big thumbs
up from me on that score! Even if your local store can't help, there are
tropical fish clubs in many cities that will help out as well. Finally,
it's also ecologically damaging, should the fish happen to survive and
end up somewhere it doesn't belong, like a local stream or pond. Even a
dead fish can carry parasites and pathogens into your local
<Bigger tank; more reading are what's needed here. The "fault", if you
want to look at it that way, is yours, not the fish. In a bigger tank
this/these fish should get along better, though I accept that there is a
hierarchy even among female Guppies, and they can be pushy towards one
another. Given space the weaker females are able to spread out,
minimising harm, and more practically, you can add extra females which
will almost certainly improve things. Meantime, let's have you start by
Rate my water 11/12/13
I'm planning on getting a freshwater tank for my little girl this
Christmas. I've only had marine tanks in the past so this will be a
learning experience for both of us. Here are my local water details
Water supply zone Total hardness (various measurements)Fluoride mgL
CaCO3 (ppm) Degrees Clarke Degrees German(DH) Degrees French Detergent
rating Fluoride(ppm)EAST SYDENHAM253.517.74514.19625.35HARD0.14925
<This is gobbledygook without spaces between the numbers and some
attempt to line the values up with the parameter... copying and pasting
straight from a webpage doesn't always work.>
Are these values ok for guppies?
<South London has hard water, and in theory should be good for all the
common livebearers. If you're at all worried, add a teaspoon or two of
marine aquarium salt per gallon. This will cost very little (a small box
of salt costs about a fiver) but does help Guppies to thrive in less
than perfect water.>
I think these would be the perfect fish for us both to start on.
<You would think so, yes, but the quality of Guppies in UK aquarium
shops varies from mediocre to poor. Many retailers I speak with complain
about this, yet demand for Guppies is so strong they feel compelled to
buy them. So, buy the healthiest you can find, avoid any from tanks with
sick/dead specimens, acclimate them to the new aquarium carefully, and
follow all the important rules about fishkeeping, such as the size of
the tank. While children might find small tanks appealing, remember that
below 10 gallons fish tanks stop being useful expect to expert
fishkeepers, and for beginners, the ideal starter tank is around 20
gallons (75 litres). Might seem big, but it's not, and the size
difference between 10 and 20 gallons makes a vast difference in how
successful your hobby will be. Trust me on this. Meantime, have a
The links on the top of that article will take you to many Daily FAQs on
Guppy health, social behaviour, etc., and as you'll see, these are far
from trouble-free fish!>
Female guppy acting strange ? Sys.
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 does eat and only swims away
when the males come up to her but then returns to her corner at the top
?but all the other fish seem to be perfectly fine and eating , swimming
around , interacting etc. ? Any help and advice as to what to do ? (PS I
apologies in advance for spelling errors and etc. as I'm only 14)
looking forward to your feedback
<Kyra, the problem here is the aquarium. Have a read here:
Guppies aren't especially demanding, but they do need at least 10
gallons, and males WILL bully females given the chance. When stressed,
Guppies are very prone to opportunistic infections including
Mycobacteria infections (note that Mycobacteria infections are
untreatable and invariably fatal) as well as treatable issues such as
Finrot and Fungus. Review what you're doing, upgrade your aquarium,
ensure a ratio of not less than 2 females per male, and stock the tank
with lots of floating plants. Ensure the water is hard and alkaline, and
maintained at around 25 C/77 F. Cheers, Neale.>
Guppies hiding - 12/14/12
I cant seem to find anything on the internet about this... my guppies
hide up at the top of the tank and by the heater and the filter the tank
is plenty warm for them and the three tetra Neons I have in with them.
<Both species prefer different pH and hardness, guppies being alkaline
and hard, Neons acidic and soft.>
I have had fish off and on my whole life but have never seen this. It
would be muchly appreciated if you could help me with this as its
starting to worry me as they have done this since I got them on Dec 2
but they swim at times but mostly they are at the top and hide by the
heater and the filter that has me a bit worried.
<They are stressed for some reason, but more information is needed.
Temperature, pH, hardness, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels would be
a good start.>
Thanks a lot for the help in advance
<Can help more with that information. - rick>
Re: Guppies hiding - 12/14/12
ok what do I need to check on the different pH and temps and hardness,
and nitrates, and ammonia levels?
<Test strips can do the basic tests quickly but not necessarily
accurately. A good liquid test kit is best and will set you back
about $35 in the US. It will last a long time, though. That will
give you the ability to test all those properties regularly and more
accurately. Be sure to follow directions exactly as some tests need
thorough shaking and/or a wait period before reading the results.>
tonight after I left the email they seem to be acting like they would
under normal situations....<encouraging.>I know last night after I
cleaned the tank and put the solution <solution?>in it and then put
water and the heater and filter back in they were hiding up there but
then tonight they seem to be ok...but will test the water and stuff as
soon as I can to make sure I don’t lose my fish I love them lots as the
guppies are the cobras and they are awesome colors.
<Hopefully they are settling in. The water change seemed to help,
so maybe you diluted or eliminated something there.>
Female Guppy 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
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
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.
<Do read, here:
sick guppy 10/6.5/11
One of my fancy male guppies is acting strange. he swims a bit and then
falls to the bottom of the tank.(three days now).
I moved him from the big tank to my nursery where I have 2 month old
babies......is there something I can do .thanks AN
<Do start by reading here:
Without information on your aquarium, we can't know what's the
Check through the requirements for aquarium size, water chemistry,
water quality, temperature and social behaviour. Cheers,
Re: sick guppy 10/6.5/11
He is in a large fish bowl with 9 -2mos old
guppies. About 4-5 quarts of water, that I take out some and add some new
every few days. he has only been in this bowl a few days. he was in the
larger tank and was just laying in the foliage, his tail is a bit
shredded. we use spring water that we buy, there is a
heater and a filter in the bowl. The heater keeps the water 3-5 degrees
above room temp. and the babies are doing fine. I have added some salt
to the water but very little, he comes up to eat and then sinks to the
bottom and lays on the warm rocks over the heater. he seems to look
like he is opening and closing his mouth a lot. but maybe this is
thanks again AN
<You are keeping your Guppies incorrectly. They are being stressed,
killed by the environment you have placed them in. You cannot keep them
in a fish bowl (which, despite the name, isn't a humane way to keep
fish). Guppies need an aquarium at least 15 gallons/60 litres in size
with a heater maintaining a steady temperature of 24-28 C/75-82 F.
Furthermore they must have a biological filter that ensures 0 ammonia
and 0 nitrite. Water chemistry should be hard and alkaline; 10+ degrees
dH, pH 7-8. The addition of 2-3 grammes of marine salt mix per litre is
beneficial but not essential. Until you correct their environment, any
other treatments will be pointless. The fact you think the babies are
"fine" is irrelevant. They won't be healthy for long. Do,
please, read where you were directed, and also here:
difference... Re Guppy disease/killing 10/07/11
Ok so you say iam killing my guppies,
<In a bowl? Yes.>
they have been in this situation for over six months
<Guppies can, should live 3-5 years.>
and this is the only one that is not looking normal.
how do old fish act as I bought him at a little store out in the
<At six months old he should be in the prime of his life.>
He is still eating just not very active, just lays around . I have
checked with a pet store in Calgary where I bought some of my fish and
they told me bottled spring water was fine,
<Bottled water is an expensive way to keep an aquarium. Do bear in
mind you need 15 gallons, minimum, for a HUMANE aquarium for Guppies.
That's a lot of bottled water! But provided the water chemistry is
right, i.e., hard and alkaline, then sure, go ahead and use it. As
you'll learn if you prod about this site, pet stores aren't
always the most reliable sources of information. Does the pet store
specialise in fish? Or are fish sold alongside rodents, cat and dog
food, etc.? Generic pet stores may be great places to shop, but
don't assume their advice is reliable. Go ahead and borrow or buy a
book on aquarium fish, and you'll see what I'm telling you is
true. Unlike a pet store, I'm not selling you anything. I'm
here to help.
we live in the country and don't drink our well water..I was also
told I could use it for fish but all the gold fish died when I did that
so now trying guppies.....maybe I should forget FISH
<If you can't provide the right conditions for a pet animal,
then no, you shouldn't keep them. But before you throw in the
towel, do read here:
Keeping fish properly needn't be hard or expensive; just
He was a really active fish up until now, he is still the first one up
for food and then goes back to the bottom, are those kits that are sold
at Wal-mart reliable for testing the water.
<They're useful enough. At minimum, you want a nitrite (not
nitrate!) test kit and a pH test kit. These tell you the two most
important things: how well your biological filter is working, and
roughly what sort of water chemistry you have. For healthy Guppies, you
want zero nitrite and a pH between 7 and 8.5.>
Should I be keeping this fish with the others or by himself, he has a
tattered looking tail.........
<Raggedy fins are a common symptom of Finrot, hence the name. But
physical damage (e.g., from fighting or fin-nipping) can cause fins to
become tattered too, and complicating things further, once fins are
damaged, Finrot becomes more common. If fish have damaged fins, and
you're not 100% sure water quality is excellent, it's a good
idea to treat for Finrot just in case. Tea-tree Oil products like
Melafix might be used successfully to prevent infections, but I'd
suggest something more reliable if the fins are infected, for example
an antibiotic like Maracyn.>
the pet store I inquired at has fish only and the man who runs it seems
to know his stuff and cares ,
<Good to know.>
he is the one that got me up to 2 months with the babies I rescued from
the big tank. I think they are almost big enough to put into the big
tank(30gal) They aren't having any problems with the filter now and
I don't think they are so small that they will get sucked up in the
bigger filter, should I put them in the big tank to give them a better
chance? Thanks AN
<Once Guppies are more than 3-4 weeks old they're generally big
enough to live alongside their parents. If you're not 100% sure
though, try using a breeding trap or breeding net. Put the trap or net
in the main aquarium, put the baby fish in there, and keep them safely
corralled inside the breeding trap or net until they're a good
size, say, 1 cm long. You can then turn them loose. Don't put
adults in breeding traps though -- despite the marketing, females get
stressed in them, and there's nothing to stop a cannibalistic
female turning around and eating her fry anyway! Much better to put
lots of floating Indian Fern (Water Sprite) in the tank, and then wait
for the babies to instinctively hide among those plants. Every morning
check the plants and then scoop out the fry and place them in the
breeding net. Easy! Cheers, Neale.>
Thanks all this fish stuff stresses me ,my Granddaughter says the tiger
barb in the tank may be a problem with the fry.
<Yes, Tiger Barbs will eat Guppy fry and they will also nip at the
fins of male Guppies. Singleton Tiger Barbs are especially dangerous,
and Tiger Barbs should always be kept in groups of 6+ specimens.
They're amazingly pushy, feisty little fish!>
It's her fault I am trying fish, I am a very responsible pet owner
but these little beggars are trying my patience.
<Well The thing with fish that you're being given the keys to a
zoo. There are literally hundreds of species on sale. And just like a
real zoo, just because you've got a tiger, a kangaroo, and a
gorilla doesn't mean you're going to keep them in the same
enclosure! Yet folks buy fish assuming they'll all get along. But
they won't! And each species has its own demands. Yes, lots get
along just fine, and many are tolerant of a wide range of water
chemistry values. But most aren't, and most will only get along
with certain sorts of fish. Angels eat Neons, so can't be kept
together, but Neons and Corydoras catfish make great companions!
It's all about doing your research up front, and choosing your fish
carefully. There are lots of good books out there, and we're always
glad to help make sensible choices. Why not have a read here:
These offer up some advice on options and choices. Choose the right
fish for the size of tank you have and your local water chemistry
conditions, and honestly, fish couldn't be easier! A bit of food,
some water changes, that's about it. Holidays are easy-peasey
because you can leave fish for 2 weeks without food and they're
fine. If you're spending more than half an hour a week on your
aquarium, or more than a couple of bucks in food across a month, then
you're doing something VERY WRONG.>
Over the years my one horse lived until she was 30, her daughter is now
19, a cat well into his teens, 2 romping dogs, and 6 budgies some over
10 yrs, now these fish giving me gray hair.
<Do suspect it's not the fish that are causing the problems, but
the CHOICES of fish you've made being poor ones.>
Thanks again for all your help, we are going to get our water tested,
my hubby says the water for the fish is probably the same deal as when
we had the swim. pool...test, test, test. AN
<Really shouldn't be anything like this hard. Cheers,
Re: difference 10/9/11
I choose the fish that the pet store guy told me would get along.
<Not a sensible approach.>
Will gold fish be okay with the guppies??
<Not really, no. Goldfish need a 30+ gallon aquarium and heavy
They are not nearly as easy to keep as people think, which is why the
majority of Goldfish sold die prematurely. Bear in mind they should
live 20-30 years and reach sizes of at least 20 cm/8 inches. Most of
the ones sold live a few months or a couple of years, and even if they
do survive in small tanks and (shudder) bowls, they don't have much
of a life, and basically hang there in midwater looking glum, slowly
being poisoned or suffocated. Guppies are best kept on their own or
else with things like Red Cherry Shrimps that don't pose any sort
of threat to them. These will tolerate any salt you add, something you
can't be sure of with other aquarium fish.>
just may give my granddaughter the tiger. thanks AN
Re: Guppy/Glo Fish Care
Sorry for taking so long to respond! I did follow your advice and
upgraded to a 20 gallon tank. I also do not have the guppies anymore
and have added more Danios and Corys. I now have 6 Danios (a mix of
regular zebras and Glo), 6 Corys, and my three shrimp (one of which is
carrying eggs). I have been testing my water every few days and had my
water tested at the pet store today and my water is nice and
<Good, but do please understand that "nice and healthy"
doesn't mean anything much to me. For this mix of beasties, I'd
be aiming for 5-15 degrees dH, around pH 6.5-7.5. Low-end tropical
temperatures would also be beneficial, 22-24 C/72-75 F would be
perfect. Naturally, you'd want zero levels of ammonia and
I am now looking at adding a few more fish in the next few months. I
don't want to overstock the tank or throw off the water balance by
adding too many at once. I have been reading all the article on your
site as to stocking the tank, however, I am having a hard time find how
many of each type I should have and even which types are compatible
(obviously, my self-caused issues have made me a little jumpy). I
don't want to stress my Danios and Corys now that I finally have
them healthy and happy. Do you have any suggestions as to what would be
a good fit for my tank? I am not looking for any type in particular, I
just love having fish and the joy they bring.
<I'd be cautious about adding stuff right away, and like you
say, letting the tank settle is important. All your fish will grow
considerably, so bear that in mind. Adult Corydoras paleatus for
example will be at least 5 cm/2 inches once mature, and adult Zebra
Danios not much less. If you wanted to add something else, Platies
would be a good choice if your water is hard (10+ degrees dH, pH 7-7.5)
because they appreciate the same coolish conditions as the other
livestock. But Platy quality varies, so shop carefully. In soft water,
Red Phantom or Black Phantom tetras are good options for low-end
tropical conditions, and should do acceptably well with the fish you
have. X-Ray Tetras and the common Penguin Tetra (Thayeria boehlkei)
would both make excellent alternatives, and both of these tolerate
quite hard water, up to 20 degrees dH, without complaint. All these
choices are midwater fish, so should occupy a level in between the
Catfish and the Danios.>
Also, I want to use the good cycled gravel I have as a substrate and
add a layer of sand over it, since sand is better for Corys (which I
also read on your site, thank you!). I have read varying ways of adding
sand to the tank, but once again, now that my water is balanced,
I'm extremely weary of throwing off my tank. Should I have the
gravel substrate, or should I do only sand at the bottom? What would
you suggest as being the best way to add the sand?
<A good approach is take out enough gravel to leave about a half
inch or so, and then gently stir in VERY WELL RINSED sand into that.
You'll end up with a very naturalistic mix of sand and gravel, and
the gravel will keep enough "good" bacteria to get the sand
working to your advantage. You may choose to bank the gravel up at the
back, and leave the front with a thinner bed of gravel and more sand,
so there's a sort of "play area" at the front where the
catfish can root about. But a mix of sand and gravel works
Thank you so much for having such a helpful site! I look through your
site daily now to get advice and how to properly care for my little
fishy friends! I have learned so much and now have a healthy tank
thanks to you all!
<Glad to help, and thanks for the kind words.>
Mrs. Austin Jackson
Re: Guppy/Glo Fish Care 7/14/11
Thank you for the quick reply. I am at zero for ammonia and nitrites.
The water is on the hard side, usually measuring between 150-300 mg/L.
The pH is around 7.5 and I'm trying to bring the temperature down,
since it is on the high side at 78 degrees. How can I bring the water
temperature down to the acceptable level?
<78 in summer is fine. Turn the heater down a couple stops, so
it's around 72, and with luck, it'll be cooler most of the rest
of the year.>
Are Panda Platys (Xiphophorus maculatus), in your opinion, a good
option, i.e. a typically healthy breed? How many should I stock? I plan
on adding them in 2-3 months.
<Yes, good fish; get virgin females. Males are annoying, and the
babies get tiresome after a while. If you do want to breed them, one
male and two females is fine. A single male can be fun, too.>
I think I will do the sloped gravel/sand, as that sounds like it will
be nice to look at and give the Corys a nice area.
<Cool. Rocks and bogwood can be very useful for shoring up
Thanks for all the help! I would be totally lost without you and your
Re: Guppy Water Chemistry 1/24/11
Thanks you for your response. Pregnant fish delivered and ate all her
fries, but one last week,
I didn't know one small fish can poop out that large of a
<Guppies don't, normally, produce a lot of waste.>
Yesterday, I found her dead as well. There were no signs of disease,
perhaps she ate herself to death.
That was disappointing. Water parameters were good, temp was 78 F; so
now I have only 2 young fish that seems doing good. I set up the larger
tank today and I will let it cycle with some starter fish next week. I
have Sea Clear 46 gallon, marine-land hang filter capable of handling
90 gallon (it has substrate cartilages, so I added crushed coral in
them), 2 air pumps with bubble wands, 2 aquarium heaters that is good
up to 90 gallons, 1 green eating machine UV sterilizer;
<This steriliser probably isn't necessary; generally, UV can be
switched off unless you have a specific need. Remember, UV tubes last
6-12 months before they need replacing; without replacing the tube,
there's not enough UV, so all you're doing is wasting
there is no gravel, I just placed some plastic plants and a resin drift
wood in it. I added 1 table spoon salt/gallon and used the water
conditioner as directed on the label.
1- When do you suggest that I should add the starter fish and how
<Wait at least six weeks after the death of a fish before adding
more, and then add the minimum number viable for a particular species.
If you have two juvenile Guppies, then adding one male and two females
would be sensible, or even just two females. Wait a good 2-3 weeks
before adding new batches of fish.>
2-How much water should I change weekly?
<25% weekly or every other week is fine.>
3- How long do you think the cycling would take?
<A filter takes up to 6 weeks to mature from scratch, but if the
tank has been running for a few months already, a new filter will
become mature in a week or two, the bacteria colonising the new media
from the existing filter, gravel, and solid objects in the
4- I have ordered 7 more blue Moscows, at the end of cycle how many of
the actual fish I should place in /week.
5- Would underground filtration system replace the hang filter?
What system of under-gravel do you recommend for the 46 gallon?
<Any, but you'll want an undergravel filter plate with at least
two uplifts, one at each end of the tank.>
Or can I use the substrate cartilages and add the ceramic /foam
noodles, aquarium floss in them and achieve the same effect?
<Sure. Undergravel filters have specific advantages -- e.g., they
rarely go wrong -- but other filters are popular as well. There's
plenty on WWM re: freshwater filtration. For tanks with small
livebearers, I like to use either in-tank canister filters (e.g., Eheim
Aquaball) or else air-powered sponge or box filters (these being
particularly gentle so ideal for tanks with fry).>
Water is very clear, floss worked well. Thank you, I am keeping my
fingers crossed. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Sule
Re: Guppy Water Chemistry 1/24/11
One more thing
Neale, The hang on filter ( Emperor 400 Pro series) has 2 rotating bio
wheels which also help with colonization as well. I also thought of
replacing filter with aquarium floss and adding crushed coral and
ceramic noodles to the substrate bins which slides in front of the
I had one problem with UGF: My tank is bowfront, I searched but they
don't make UG filter system for these. Any Ideas?
<Indeed. The filter you have is probably fine. Just review its
maintenance and make sure you aren't overloading the filter (e.g.,
by overfeeding) and that you're cleaning the media regularly (see
the instructions that came with the filter). Generally speaking, carbon
and Zeolite are worthless, but biological media are important.>
Re: Guppy Water Chemistry 3/16/11
I like to update you with the Blue Moscows. After all the mishaps, I
took your advise and started with new Moscows. I haven't had any
deaths for over 2 months.
I added floss and additional bio-filtration (noodles and more coral)
the pH is stabilized and fish looks happy and healthy.
<Yes; crushed coral especially will buffer against pH changes and
raise the carbonate hardness, both keys to ensuring Guppy
I find out that it is easier to get younger fish to adjust to new
conditions, I am also watching GH and KH well. One of the breeders
advised me to use salt water mix instead of fresh aquarium salt to
increase KH and GH.
<You will see I often recommend this too. Aquarium salt is just
sodium chloride, but marine aquarium salt mix contains a lot of other
chemicals, including those that raise general and carbonate hardness.
If you're just keeping Guppies and a salt-tolerant plants, then the
use of 2-3 g/l marine salt mix can be extremely helpful.>
Haven't tried it, but everything seems to be working, I am doing
more frequent but smaller water changes and fish seems to tolerate
I also do not change the water and clean the filters the same day.
<A wise precaution.>
Sterilizers helping to keep good water quality and algae growth. I just
wanted to thank you.
<Glad to help.>
By the way I used platys to cycle, I have 6 of them in the tank, would
they breed with guppies, if they do, their offspring is also can
<No, Platies and Guppies don't cross-breed.>
I really don't want and mix there. Thanks Sule
My guppies are dying one by one
About a three ½ weeks ago, we bought 4 fancy male guppies, two red
and two yellow. Tank had been running for a week prior to introducing
of fish. 5 days after the purchase, 1 yellow died. He had been acting
fine, and one day after a feeding he started sitting on the top or
bottom, just moving his fins. If you tapped on the glass, he'd move
a little, but died after 2 days. That was last week. This morning, we
found 1 of the red ones dead. We found him last night also just sort of
sitting at the top, though he was much more active than the 1st yellow.
We found him dead this morning.
Water has been tested, and all levels are good, although the pH was
<Unlikely to be a problem pH 7.5-8.5 is optimal for Guppies.>
Our water is very soft.
<Bam! Right here is the problem. Guppies need HARD water.
Aquarium is 20 gallons, with a heater (temp between 76-80). Large
filter with bio-wheel. Has plastic and real plants. My husband added
plant fertilizer this weekend to help the plants, as they are dying due
to lack of substrate (we're redoing the base at this point) and low
light. He also recently changed the light from 15W to 65W. There is
also a black mystery snail in the tank who is doing great. They are eat
tropical flake food, and freeze-dried brine shrimp. We have also
attempted to feed them cucumber, but they wouldn't eat it. We have
been doing partial water changes every other day.
The only other consistency we noticed with both dead fish is that right
before their death, they got a red spot on their back, near their
dorsal fin. Very small, never changed size or color, but it was not
there prior to this. We don't want to keep losing fish. My son has
a small 5 gallon aquarium with Glo-fish that have been doing
excellently. Is this an illness or just bad fish? My husband thinks
that the water coming out of the filter is too rough for them and they
are somehow getting injured. Thank you.
Depending how soft your water is, 50% to 100% the dosage of Rift Valley
Salt Mix should harden the water up enough. You're aiming for at
least 10 degrees dH, ideally 15+ degrees dH. Don't worry about the
pH too much -- so long as it isn't below 7, you should be fine. Too
many beginners get bogged down in the pH without learning about what
matters, the hardness. Do also remember NOT to use water that's
been through a domestic water softener. This water is fine for washing
and cleaning your house, but UNSUITABLE for fish tanks (and arguably
not even safe to drink, which is why the kitchen tap normally bypasses
the domestic water softener). Make a series of water changes, about 20%
at a time, over the next week, replacing old water in your tank with
water that has the Rift Valley Salt Mix added as described in that
article. By the end of the week you should find your Guppies much
happier. Cheers, Neale.>
Platies and guppies in a 5 gallon 12/6/10
First off, I'd like to thank you for your wonderful site!
<We're glad to help.>
Now, I bought an Eclipse 5 system (5 gallons) about two months ago. I
let it cycle, and gradually added 2 guppies (both male), 3 platies (2
female and one male), and 2 ghost shrimp.
<This tank is much too small for the fish. Indeed, even the shrimp
are a bit big! Please read here:
I have a Top Fin Air Pump Air 1000, and I have the filter that came
with the tank- it's a Whisper, but I can't find the original
box and therefore don't know the specific type. I assume it's
the one rated for this size tank.
My ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels are all at 0, however I do not
have a heater.
<Be crystal clear that tropical fish are called TROPICAL FISH
because they need warm water. Platies around 22-25 C/72-77 F; Guppies
24-28 C/75-82 F.
You cannot keep these fish without a heater.>
Here starts the questions:
1. I know this tank is overstocked. I didn't know when I added the
fish, however, and I am 14 and have very little money, so I won't
be able to upgrade for a while. So, this tank must stay. How often and
how much water should be changed per week? I've been doing a small
water change (about 10%) in the middle of the week, and then a 25%
water change on the weekends. Is this fine?
<No. Kept this way, the fish will eventually die, likely within a
few weeks, perhaps a few months. But die they will.>
2. I bought the second male guppy a few days ago. He's currently
chasing around the female platies. . . nipping them, but not the
rip-parts-of-their-fins-off nipping. Is he only trying to show his
dominance, is he trying to mate with them because he doesn't know
better, or is he just a nasty fish? He's only doing it to the
females. With any of these cases, what should I do with him?
<Guppies need at least 15 gallons, preferably 20 gallons. Keep two
females per male, and stock the tank with plenty of floating
3. Is there any way to set up an easy QT bowl? I have noticing three
white spots on my one female platy that look suspiciously like Ick, and
I know that the Ick medicine will kill the shrimp, so I'm a bit
hesitant putting it in. Should I move the shrimp to a separate
bowl/tank and treat the whole main tank in case the Ick has spread, or
should I only treat the affected platy be herself in a QT?
<There's no such thing as a quarantine bowl. Even the tank you
have is dangerous, and a bowl would be little better than a death
4. As I'm already overstocked, will all of the fry be eaten if I
don't do anything to really save them? I have one plant and a
little cave, and I don't mind if one or two survive as I can give
them away, but I really don't want 20 extra fry to take care of. I
really only wanted 2 male platies originally, but the female had her
anal fin kind of tucked up when the LFS guy picked her out, and I
assumed she was male. When I got home, the male kept following her
around, so I added the other female platy (the one that may have Ick)
to decrease her stress.
<Fry are the least of your problems.>
5. If I save up some money and manage to upgrade to a 10 gallon tank,
a) Will it be too heavy to leave on a writing desk? That's what I
have my 5 gallon on now. (It's a very sturdy wooden one)
<Bear in mind one US gallon weighs about 8.5 pounds, so 10 gallons
will be 85 pounds of weight. That's about half the weight of an
adult man. So even a 10 gallon tank will need very strong furniture,
the sort of thing designed to hold large television sets. Really,
it's always best to use furniture designed for aquaria. Do also
read the article linked above for what you can keep in 10 gallons. NOT
Platies and NOT Guppies. Trust me, I've been keeping fish for 30
years now, so when I tell you this isn't the way to keep fish, it
isn't because I'm being bloody minded. It's because I'm
trying to save you hassle and trying to save the lives of your
b) Can I reuse the filter, air pump, and light with it, or will I have
to buy higher power equipment?
<New aquaria usually need new equipment. That's why you should
always invest in the biggest tank you can afford. Without exception, 5
gallon tanks are a waste of money. Even 10 gallon tanks are limiting.
Here's some more stuff to read:
<You're welcome! Neale.>
Re: Platies and guppies in a 5 gallon
I see. . . this is what comes when I don't do my research before
Thanks for all the information and speedy response, I'll be sure to
read up some more and try to scrape together some money for a larger
<Glad to help. And better to learn this learn while you're
young, and it's a fish tank you're dealing with, and not a few
years later when cars, colleges, mortgages, spouses and babies come
into the equation! Cheers, Neale.>
Guppies; cold tolerance 9/27/10
Can you see my smoke?
I have guppies, guppies and more guppies every where. This has just
been a hoot. They are so easy. Also friends of mine shipped some
Endler's to me from down south. The Endler's have responded
perfectly and have propagated pro-fish-antly. Cute huh! All of this
adventure in small fast colorful fish has taken place since last May.
We haven't gone through the cold weather yet. Here in the upper
panhandle the only thing to block the snow and wind is the barb wire
fence. It gets really cold my friend. Yahoo!
My query-- am I going to have to heat them this winter or will room
temperature suffice. I keep the house at around seventy degrees
All new to me as my forte has always been cold water fish. Thanks a
bucket full. Bob
<Hello Bob. The short answer is "it depends". Guppies
aren't coldwater fish, but wild-type Guppies, including cross-bred
Guppies, but excluding fancy Guppies, are quite tolerant of water
temperatures down to about 18 C/64 F, at least for short periods of a
few weeks. If your home is centrally heated to about 22 C/72 F, then
room temperature should be fine.
Fancy Guppies, including the more inbred Endler's, may be somewhat
more sensitive to cold. Obviously you cannot keep Guppies outdoors
unless you live in the subtropics or tropics. If exposed to water
colder than 18 C/64 F for more than a few days Guppies soon die. This
is one reason Guppies haven't taken over the world, and remain very
largely limited to the tropics, despite being among the easiest pest
fish to introduce into the wild. Here in England the odd population has
become established for a few years in hot water pools around power
stations, but otherwise even the relatively mild winters of England are
enough to exterminate Guppies quickly. Cheers, Neale.>
Brackish? SW? Guppies 2/28/10
I have guppies, platies in a twenty-nine-gallon (US) tank. I would like
to go SW, but will the guppies be O.K.? They are a fancy guppy male and
two plain females. The platy is a blotched black-and-white. Will they
Thanks! Any advice is greatly appreciated!
<Hello. Unfortunately, no, Fancy Guppies cannot be adapted to fully
marine conditions. There's some lab work to suggest inbreeding is
the problem, since both wild Guppies and mongrel "feeder"
Guppies can be adapted to fully marine conditions. All Guppies will
tolerate brackish water though, up to around SG 1.010 if adapted
carefully. By contrast, all types of domesticated Mollies appear to do
well in marine conditions, and in the past were widely used to cycle
new marine aquaria. Cheers, Neale.>
Guppies and Neons, env. incomp.
Sorry for bothering you again.
I have a tank with two guppies and eleven Neons and I was just
wondering if I should give the guppies away since the tank temp is
usually about 73-74 F?
<Indeed, and Guppies also need hard water which Neons can't
abide. I'd tend to look at your water chemistry first and see what
you have. If you have soft water, the Neons are the obvious fish to
keep. If you have hard water,
the Guppies will do better. Once you have the right fish, it's easy
to set the heater up or down as required.>
I remember you mentioning that guppies would rather around 82 F and I
am worried that they are stressed.
<"Stressed" isn't perhaps the right word here, but
fancy Guppies at least are more prone to diseases when kept towards the
cooler end of the temperature range. If yours are fine, then you
needn't worry, but if you find you're constantly battling
Finrot and Fungus, then temperature may be an issue.>
GROSS MISINFORMATION!!! Rant re Mollies and guppies brackish
water fish? 3/20/10
I don't know who you idiots are, or where you got your information
but you are either terminally ignorant or just aggressively stupid!
<Hmm... seems a bit of an aggressive way to start an e-mail!>
Mollies and guppies brackish water fish?
<They can be, yes. Mollies are certainly common enough in slightly
brackish water habitats, and in places may be found in fully marine
environments, as in the Gulf of Thailand. Curiously, Mollies are more
common in freshwater
habitats than brackish, but under aquarium conditions, where they are
exposed to varying pH and high levels of nitrate, slightly brackish
water conditions do seem to work consistently better. No-one is arguing
that either Mollies or Guppies are exclusively brackish water fish --
let's be clear about that! -- but under aquarium conditions the
addition of a little marine salt mix can make the difference between
success and failure. In a nutshell, sodium chloride detoxifies nitrite
and nitrate, while calcium carbonate raises pH and steadies it. So in
situations where they aren't being kept in hard, nitrate-free
water, the use of marine salt mix provides key benefits.>
That is just plain stupid!
<It's really not. I don't know how old you are, I'm
guessing you're in your late teens, early 20s, but honestly, the
use of marine salt mix when maintaining Poecilia spp. is well known and
has been established practice for a good 100 years or so.>
I used both mollies and guppies in my mosquito control research at
Texas A&M and they all lived in freshwater.
<Wild caught fish or aquarium fish? Inbred fancy varieties or
crossbred/feral types? Both these factors makes a difference.
There's ample lab work to demonstrate that wild-caught Poecilia
reticulata are much hardier and more adaptable than the inbred fancy
forms sold in pet stores.>
They were all very healthy and reproduced successfully.
<Good for you.>
Your attempt at "educating" the public resonates like nails
on a chalkboard!
<In what way?>
Your misinformation does a lot more damage than good.
<On the contrary. If someone is keeping their Mollies in freshwater
and finding they're constantly having trouble with Fungus and
Finrot, the addition of salt will help significantly.>
Imagine some poor soul losing all his fish because YOU told him they
need to be in brackish or salt water!
<Not going to happen. There are many reasons Mollies die, but being
maintained in brackish water isn't one of them. Go spend a little
time reading about the natural ecology of Poecilia sphenops and its
Definitely some liability there for sure.
<None at all.>
Go buy a guppy and put him in brackish water, it will be dead in 24
hours or less!
<An insane comment. Poecilia reticulata will live a long and happy
life at 10% seawater salinity, around SG 1.003. Compared to its
survivorship in soft, acidic water, the same guppy moved to slightly
brackish water will live much longer and be more healthy. Basically,
you're talking nonsense.>
The fact that they can withstand high salinity levels for a short
period of time does not mean that is their ideal environment! I'm
sure you would last in the desert for a little while too!
<The two issues are unrelated. Guppies and Mollies are freshwater
and brackish water fish in the wild. End of story.>
I'm sure you will not post this message on your site since it only
highlights your ignorance/incompetence.
<Better believe we'll post it.>
I will consult with some colleagues on Monday they will likely be as
appalled as I am.
<If by "colleagues" you mean other uninformed
undergraduates, by all means, go ahead. For what it's worth I have
a BSc in marine zoology and PhD in cephalopod palaeontology, I'm an
assistant professor at Pepperdine University when I'm not writing
books and magazines, I have a fish named after me, and oh yes, I'm
the editor of the TFH book on brackish water fishes entitled
(imaginatively, I know) Brackish Water Fishes. If you have a grown-up
nearby who'd like to debate, I'm game!>
Who knows maybe we can get your site shut down as we have done with
other less than reliable sites in the past.
<Sit down, take a deep breath, and maybe put the kettle on and have
a nice cup of tea. You're wildly overreacting and speaking from a
position that makes not much sense at all. You are quite correct in
saying that Poecilia spp. can live in freshwater habitats, and indeed
do so in the wild more often than they inhabit brackish water habitats.
But life in aquaria places unique stresses on fish, which is why only a
few hundred fish species out of the 30,000 species known have become
regular aquarium residents. Among other things, nitrate toxicity and
exposure to varying pH can cause problems, and the use of marine salt
mix is good at offsetting these issues. This is why Poecilia spp. can
be, and often are, maintained in slightly brackish conditions. Whether
they MUST be maintained in such conditions has been endlessly
discussed, and is a favourite topic of argument among expert
fishkeepers. But is it EASIER to keep these fish in slightly brackish
conditions? Often, it seems so.>
I SHOULD HAVE WROTE THIS ENTIRE MESSAGE IN CAPS, PERHAPS IT WOULD HAVE
AS ANNOYING AS YOUR PATHETIC ATTEMPTS TO RELAY THE FACTS.
<I'm sorry you feel this way.>
<So far, yes, it's been a lovely day. Cheers, Neale.>
<<Unsigned? More FFA (Future fascists of America) monotribe
monomania idiocy. RMF>>
Re GROSS MISINFORMATION!!! Rant re Mollies and guppies brackish water
fish? 3/20/10 3/21/10
Geez, I don't know how you were able to control yourself answering
that person, but the way you handled it exemplifies your integrity as
to not ranting off like a bloomin' idiot as he had.
He sure has a lot of balls questioning your knowledge/advice. If it
were me, having the knowledge and degrees as you, I'd likely have
told him that if he believed my advice is inaccurate, go elsewhere.
You certainly handled that tactfully. Hat's off to you.
Good Job! 3/22/10
To all my friends (at least I think of you that way!), and especially
Neale, at WWM.
No question this time, just a word of praise.
Thank you very much for all the work you do for all of us out here in
the wonderful world of fishkeeping. I was prompted to write this to
commend Neale on his reply about the guppies and mollies in fresh or
brackish water. He remained polite and on topic - it was a pleasure to
read his reply, even though I have not kept a fresh (or brackish)
creature in at least 30 years.
<Well, thank you so much for saying this.>
Was it an early April Fool's letter?
<Hadn't thought of that! Possibly a little early for that,
Please keep up the GREAT WORK!!!!
<We will certainly try.>
Fish water is yuck, but is it actually harmful?? Guppy
I've been searching for this topic, but can't seem to find
anything, apart from a warning not to siphon dirty aquarium water with
your mouth. If it was answered already, and I just didn't think of
the right keywords, my apologies.
I was given (gee, thanks!) a 10 gallon aquarium with 7 guppies in it--
4 adult and 3 obviously juvenile. To say the tank was filthy is a huge
understatement. It had floating dead cockroaches, clumps of what looked
like pond scum, sheets of algae peeling off the inside of the tank,
decomposing fish at the bottom of the tank, and so much floating
I-don't-even-know-what-but-i-suspect-fish-poop that I could barely see
the inhabitants of the tank.
In cleaning it out, I got a nice big splash of this disgusting water in
my mouth. It was certainly gross, but it is potentially harmful to my
health as well?
<There are two ways to answer this. In theory yes, aquarium water
can carry salmonella bacteria, and salmonella bacteria can cause
stomach upsets of varying severity. In practise, aquarium water rarely
causes health problems
for people with competent immune systems. Indeed, exposure to such
bacteria may even help enhance your immune system. But with that said,
I'm a doctor of palaeontology, not medicine, so my comments here
aren't anything more than personal opinion. Do I worry about
swallowing fish tank water? No, never have done. But if you're at
all concerned, you really should speak to a qualified medical
The guppies seem fine and happy now, despite the emergency tank
cleaning and care by me, a total beginner.
<Enjoy the hobby! A 10 gallon tank is a bit small for Guppies, and I
fear you're going to have some fighting before too long, but if
you're lucky and add lots of floating plants, you might be
Any advice (or reassurance!) you could give would be most
Re: Fish water is yuck, but is it actually
Thank you so very much Neale.
I'm a pretty healthy person (except for a touch of
paranoia/anxiety, apparently) so I think I will wait to see if I
develop any symptoms. If I do, I'll head to the doctor, but if not,
I'll take this experience as a lesson to 1) not splash myself in
the face with nasty water, and 2) never ever let a tank get so dirty
that I immediately think I'm going to die a horrible death with
exposure to the water.
<Honestly, getting sick from your fish tank isn't that common.
Dogs and cats are surely more problematic once you start factoring in
things like fleas and allergies. And of course you're FAR more
likely to contract pathogens from human beings around you simply
because they're more likely to carry bacteria and viruses specific
to our kind. There's an old saying among medics that 50% of staying
healthy is keeping clean, and 50% is getting dirty. In other words,
staying away from disease-causing organisms is no more important than
developing your immune system by being exposed to pathogens over the
years. The tricky bit is knowing when to isolate yourself to pathogens
and when to expose yourself to them! Personally, I wouldn't worry
too much either way. Be sensible around your aquarium, but don't
I'm doing all the reading I can about guppies on WWM now, and I am
amazed by the amount of information posted. The little guys have a
better chance of a happy, pleasant life with each new article I read,
certainly deserve after such an awful time in that tank.
<Glad to hear this.>
Thank you again,
Re: Fish water is yuck, but is it actually harmful?? Guppy
sys., hlth. 3/18/10
Good morning/afternoon, crew!
It's Amy here again, with one more question regarding my new guppy
I was lucky enough to come across a 55 gal tank for sale, and it will--
once it's cycled properly, of course-- be the new home for my
guppies and possibly a few Platies.
<If you have a mature aquarium already, you can cycle instantly.
Move the existing filter to the new tank, make sure the water chemistry
and water temperature aren't too different, and off you go! The
bacteria will happily spread to a second filter if you decide to buy
another filter for this tank. Leave the two filters running together
for, say, 6 weeks, and then remove the small filter from the original
tank. You should find the new filter takes up the slack without
problems. Better yet, you can keep some fish in the new tank all the
time, so long as the number of fish in the new tank isn't much more
than the number of fish in the original, smaller tank.>
I know the guppies breed like crazy, and figure that this size of tank
will give them enough room to have their offspring without having to
worry too much about overcrowding, at least right away.
<Indeed. It's a good idea to either decide whether you want to
remove surplus fish and sell them (in which case keep Guppies of all
one variety, so you get worthwhile fry) or else opt for some biological
control in the form of fish that eat fry (such as Angelfish).>
In closer inspection of the juvenile fish I was given yesterday, I
noticed that one of the young ones has what can only be described as a
He's got a humpback and is noticeably shorter than the rest of the
He seems fine otherwise; that is, he eats just like the others, and
seems to be just as active as well.
<Very, very common. Sometimes you get higher numbers of deformities
because the females aren't getting a good diet or being kept warm
enough, but normally livebearers produce deformed fry because
Despite the fact that I am becoming fond of him, I want to be a
responsible fish owner, and do not want to allow him to pass on a
deformity to any potential offspring. Is a spinal deformity a
hereditary condition, or is it possible that he was born into such foul
conditions that he acquired this humpback from his environment?
<Could be either. A poor environment can cause females to produce
higher than average numbers of deformities, just as with humans. But
usually, such deformities are indeed genetic.>
I'd rather not kill him (like I said, I'm fond of the little
guy, especially since he's been through so much!) so I was thinking
I could put him into the old ten gallon aquarium by himself, or
possibly with another small, non-related fish to ensure he doesn't
<Definitely an option. I think most experienced aquarists have done
this sort of thing at one time or another, setting up a special home
for a one-eyed fish or whatever that appeals to their emotions. That
said, there may be other faulty genes at work here. If the fish is
swimming and feeding fine, then it may do well; but if it struggles to
swim and can't feed normally, then it may not live for terribly
If he has already bred, and passed on the deformity, what should I do
with the fry?
<Male Guppies won't breed until they're about 2, nearer 3
months old. Of course if the fish has mated with a female, and you do
have more deformed fry on the way, then a certain amount of culling is,
unfortunately, part of
Any suggestions would be truly appreciated. Thank you again for all of
your help on my new fishy friends!
Guppy troubles... sys., hlth. 3/4/10
Good Afternoon to you (or perhaps Good Morning/Evening etc.!) all.
<It's evening in this corner of England.>
I'm almost ashamed to be asking this, but I've spent quite some
time checking the "before you ask..." sections, alongside
Google and other search engines, and I can't find a satisfactory
answer to my problem.
Please feel free to shoot me down in a blaze of scorn for being too
short-sighted/ignorant to see what 's probably right in front of my
eyes, but if it saves my fish then I'll happily take it!
I have a small 10 gallon planted freshwater tank.
<Honestly, a bit small for Guppies. I know they "fit", but
they rarely work well. Guppies are quite aggressive, the males chasing
one another a lot. In a 10 gallon tank you tend to end with one bully
and a bunch of terrified, battered males. Females get pestered to
frustration. Even 15 gallons is tight for Guppies, and I really
don't rate them for small tanks at all.
Oddly perhaps, Platies, despite being bigger, can work quite well in 15
gallon tanks. In a 10 gallon tank, I'd tend to skip either Platies
I introduced my first fish after a month of fishless cycling (back in
October last year) and have always followed your advice about slow
introduction of tank mates to prevent problems with the bio-load vs.
bacterial balance. Up until recently, I had 4 Guppies, 7 Neon Tetras,
and 1 Dwarf Gourami (and no intention to add more fish). I undertake
partial water changes (varying between 20-25%) at least 3 times each
week, and my most recent NH3, N02 & 3 readings from this morning
were: NH3/N02 - not registering at all, NO3 12ppm. I understand that
these are all within the acceptable parameters.
<Yes. Now, Guppies do need hard, basic water. So you're aiming
for pH 7.5, 10+ degrees dH. Across much of England there's
"liquid rock" coming out of the taps, but the far west and
north have softer water, as does much of
Scotland. In soft water, Guppies rarely stay healthy for long.>
My four male Guppies all seemed (note the tense) to get along very well
with one another up until about two weeks ago, when I came home to find
two had had rather a brawl in my absence.
<Yes; what happens.>
One had his tail ripped almost to shreds, and the second was not much
better. My LFS sells nothing more useful than Melafix - I know
WWM's general consensus re: "fixes", but for a
preventative rather than cure, I figured it would stave off Finrot to
allow them to heal.
<Hmm... actually, for Guppies, the best preventative is salt, since
they tolerate quite high salinities very well. Fungus doesn't grow
in brackish water for whatever reason, so this is a cheap and easy fix.
The downside is that Neons and Gouramis don't like salty water.
But, Neons also need cooler water that Guppies, so the two species
aren't a good choice. Neons are best kept around 22-24 C, while
Fancy Guppies at least need around 28 to 30 C.
The inbreeding that creates Fancy Guppies diminishes their hardiness
Unfortunately, the other healthy Guppies started bullying their injured
tankmates, and the two poorly boys died within two days (probably from
the stress of it all), and at the time of death decidedly underweight
(hollow bellies - loss of appetite or bacterial infection?!). I have so
far only found one of the deceased, and have stepped up my water
changes and gravel hoovering to four times weekly until I find the
other, as I know the decomposing corpse will otherwise cause
<True up to a point.>
I thought that would be the end of the troubles, but recently another
Guppy has started to look very sorry for himself. His spine has
suddenly become bent, so he looks a little like a boomerang with his
tail and head pointing
<Crooked spines that suddenly appear (as opposed to being born that
can mean a variety of things, including the wrong environmental
conditions and an inadequate diet.>
In addition to this, he developed a tendency to shimmy near the heater
(I initially thought there might be temperature issues, but the
tank's at a constant 26.5 degrees C.).
<That's too cold for Fancy Guppies (and too warm for
In the last day or so, he's started hiding in amongst the plants
for some peace and quiet, and like the doomed others before him, is now
showing no interest at feeding times. For your information, the
remaining Guppy, Dwarf Gourami and Neons all appear perfectly happy and
As I'm loathe to bombard the tank with strong medications that
might not be the right ones and end up doing more harm than good, I
managed to procure some King British Disease Clear by buying online.
I'm not sure whether
you're familiar with this particular UK brand of medication, but
the active ingredient is silver proteinate (which appears to be a
generic antibacterial used to clear "most fish
<Silver proteinate is an antibacterial that works on contact with
external infections. It won't do much for serious cases beyond a
mild Finrot infection.>
It may be that it's already too late for my little chap, but
I'd be so grateful for your thoughts on what the cause might be,
and if there's anything else I should be doing for him?
<By all means medicate against Finrot and Fungus (I happen to like
eSHa 2000 for this) but also check temperature, hardness and pH are
appropriate for Guppies. As stated, I think you'll wind up with one
dominant male eventually.>
Unfortunately, I don't have a quarantine tank (it's not viable,
both in terms of financing the 2nd filter/heater/tank/pump etc., and
lack of space to put it all in) so the rest of the tank is going to be
exposed to the
sick fish's treatment.
<Often the case.>
Whatever the answer, thanks for your time. Your website continues to be
my fishkeeping bible and is always my first point of reference. Keep it
up, for all our sakes!
<Thanks for the kind words.>
Re: Guppy troubles... 3/6/10
Thanks so much for your help Neale.
<Happy to help.>
I honestly had no idea that Guppies aren't suitable for small
tanks, nor that they're not compatible temperature-wise with Neons
(the literature I've looked at on fancy Guppies seems to be
conflicting - temperature ranges anywhere between 25 and 30).
<The temperature issue is much overlooked, and likely one reason so
many people find Neons short-lived: they keep them too warm. As for
Guppies, wild Guppies are very tolerant, and anything from 20-30 C will
do. The same for "feeder" Guppies, which are basically
cross-breed Guppies much like wild Guppies in terms of genetics. But
fancy Guppies are a whole other thing. They need warm water to do well,
and like fancy Mollies, which are also far more delicate than their
wild relatives, should be kept between 28-30 C. There's been some
good laboratory work on fancy Guppies compared to wild and feeder
Guppies with regard to salt tolerance, so it does seem that this
"weakness" so far as fancy Guppies goes is a real,
I now have a moral dilemma - I'm being inadvertently cruel to the
remaining guppies, so to take them to the LFS in the hopes that
they'll be rehomed, or to hold on to them? I think I'll hold on
to them, as however unsuited to my tank I can at least guarantee
I'll take more care over them than anyone at the LFS in a crowded
<I can't answer this one really. Personally, I'd try to
rehome them, but if you're worried the Guppies will end up being
kept badly, then you might find that unacceptable. In some situations,
euthanasia is the humane option (methods for which are described
elsewhere on WWM). It's really down to how harassed and damaged the
Guppies are, and whether life in your aquarium is likely to be worse
than what they'd get at the pet shop.>
I've ordered some eSHa 2000 as you recommended - my sick Guppy is
no worse but no better, and I'm sure it'll come in handy in the
<It's a good, general purpose medication.>
Thanks for being so kind about my accidental Guppy abuse!
<Good luck, Neale.>
Brackish? SW? Guppies 2/28/10
I have guppies, platies in a twenty-nine-gallon (US) tank. I would like
to go SW, but will the guppies be O.K.? They are a fancy guppy male and
two plain females. The platy is a blotched black-and-white. Will they
Thanks! Any advice is greatly appreciated!
<Hello. Unfortunately, no, Fancy Guppies cannot be adapted to fully
marine conditions. There's some lab work to suggest inbreeding is
the problem, since both wild Guppies and mongrel "feeder"
Guppies can be adapted to fully marine conditions. All Guppies will
tolerate brackish water though, up to around SG 1.010 if adapted
carefully. By contrast, all types of domesticated Mollies appear to do
well in marine conditions, and in the past were widely used to cycle
new marine aquaria. Cheers, Neale.>
Guppies, reading, beh., reading, uncycled sys.,
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:
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
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
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:
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
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.
? Ongoing, FW... Child 2/28/10
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
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
and as my ph is at 7.2 to 7.6.
yes I did do the cycle as, I read a lot of information before I got the
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
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
I did research but they really don't 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
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.
Guppies in 2.5 gallons (!!!) 2/18/10
Hi, I have had two fancy tail guppies for over 2 years in a 2.5 gallon
<Dismal. 2.5 gallons isn't an aquarium, it's a vase; stick
some flowers in it.>
and as of late the fish seemed to be laying on the bottom of the
I had my water tested numerous times and everything comes out fine.
They suggested I look on line for more info.
<Who "they"? If the shop didn't tell you 2.5 gallons
is far too small for Guppies, then I wouldn't trust them to advise
me on anything.>
One fish recently died but it was the one that seemed to be swimming
around more. Still have one left and wondering if you have any
ideas. I did change the gravel and put a different fake plant in the
tank but rinsed them very good before I put them in. And this was
before the weird behavior.
<Yes. This is cruel, unstable, rubbish aquarium. I can't believe
anyone would think 2.5 gallons is adequate for Guppies. It makes me
really, really sad (and a bit angry, to be honest) reading this. The
fact I love animals is why I spend an hour a day volunteering here;
hearing about animal cruelty like this, whether out of ignorance or
sheer indifference, just goes straight to my heart. Stick the guppies
in a mature aquarium 15 gallons or larger, with good water quality (0
ammonia, 0 nitrite) and the right water chemistry (pH 7.5-8, 10+
degrees dH) and nice and warm (28-30 C/82-86 F) and they'll pep
right up. And before you write back and tell me they've been fine
until now, that's like saying you've played Russian Roulette
once, survived, and therefore it's a safe game for children.
fact is these Guppies are unhealthy and that's why the one died
prematurely, and that the others have survived thus far is a testament
to your good luck more than anything else. So let's get real, put
the needs of the animals first, and move them to a proper aquarium.
Re: Guppies in 2.5 gallons (!!!) 2/22/10
I thought I was going to get some advice from you not nasty
<I actually gave you good advice, served, I accept, in a forthright
Nothing I said was wrong, and nothing I said was a personal attack
Thanks for nothing.
<You are most welcome.>
I will not be asking for advice from you again!
<We have a saying here in England that you can take a donkey to a
stream, but you can't make it drink. I've done my best to tell
you why your fish are sick, and that you're keeping your fish in a
very inhumane, unhealthy way. If you choose to ignore that, well,
that's between yourself and your conscience.>
And the place I purchased this tank from said I should be able to have
one fish to every gallon.
<Well they're making a sale! Could I put a Great White Shark
(one fish) in a gallon of water? Obviously not. Perhaps they told you
the rule about allowing one inch of fish per gallon. That's
somewhat right, but depends on
two things. Firstly, the fish are small, such as Neons, that are only
an inch long. Secondly, it assumes a minimum aquarium size of about 10
gallons; anything smaller is too difficult to maintain properly and
unlikely to provide the space needed for swimming and normal social
behaviour. It's entirely possible they explained these two facts,
and you either overruled or ignored their advice, so I may be doing
them a disservice. But all experienced aquarists, like me, will tell
you the same basic thing. That's why I write books and for
magazines about tropical fish -- I know what I'm doing, and I'm
trying to lay that out to you.>
PS....I am an animal lover also and these fish have been living for
quiet some time in this tank.
<It's great you consider yourself an animal lover. That's a
valuable character trait. But now prove it. Keeping Guppies in 2.5
gallons is cruel.
Was, is, and always will be. What more do you want me to say? Cheers,
One of my guppies is in danger, sys., hlth.
Dear Sensei, :)
Thank you very much for the wonderful website, I find it extremely
<Glad to hear it.>
I have 25 ltr tank (with some Egeria Najas growing) and bought 5 (male)
guppies for it.
<Too small for Guppies. Contrary to popular belief, Guppies are
somewhat delicate fish thanks to inbreeding, and the males are also
distinctly aggressive. In small tanks they tend to fight, and the
wounds quickly become infected. I wouldn't recommend Guppies in
less than 60 l (15 gallons), and really, they do need quite a bit more
Two weeks later three of them were dead (I think first one because of
bad water, second because of the fish fungus and third died because of
one guppy kept attacking him). Now I have two guppies left, both male
same one keep attacking the other one. He bites his tale and fins
<No surprise at all.>
The end of the tale that he bit is now rotting so I bought some of eSHa
2000 (http://www.eshalabs.com/esha2000.htm) to cure that, but I am
afraid that the bullying of the other guppy will kill poor fish.
A guy in a pet shop told me that my tank is too small (25ltr) for
guppies, even two of them, although another guy in the same shop that
sold me the guppies knew the size of my tank and said that it is fine.
Is it true? or shall I get some females/other kind of fish to destruct
the evil guppy.
<Destruct the Guppy? You mean kill it? Or distract it? Yes, keeping
one male alongside two or more females will generally produce a happy
situation with minimal fighting. But 25 litres is far too small. Female
Guppies are quite sizeable fish.>
I also read somewhere that sometimes healthy guppy can attack a sick
I don't know what to believe :(
<Male Guppies fight. In the wild, their colours attract predators,
and females choose males with the brightest colours. For the female,
the rationale is simple: any male that avoids predators long enough to
reach sexual maturity must be genetically "fit". But this
also means the males have a real struggle for survival, and they're
not about to tolerate another male snatching away chances to mate with
females in their pond! So males spend all their time driving away rival
males, while trying to avoid predators, and hopefully snatch a few
matings into their day as well! It's a hectic life being a male
Guppy, and they all die young. Females, being bigger and well
camouflaged, live longer. Once you get inside the male Guppy mindset,
it's pretty easy to understand why they behave the way they
Thank you for your help and advise.
<Do read here:
A 25 litre tank is just over 6 gallons, so good choices for a tank this
size would be things like a Betta or various small shrimps.>
Re: pH (first aquarium; poor decisions; don't listen to
Will I need a heater?
<Unless you live in lowland Mexico or Trinidad, where Guppies come
from, the answer is yes, you'll need a heater.>
Also at my local Petco, they only sell "male guppies" and
I don't think they have Endler's, but would plain guppies be
okay in my tank?
<Personally, I think regular Guppies, Poecilia reticulata, are too
big for a 10 gallon tank. The males are prone to being nippy in such
small tanks, and because of their long fins and generally low level of
hardiness, this often turns into Finrot or worse. So best avoided in
very small tanks, though your retailer I have no doubt at all will
happily sell them to you, and maybe even recommend them for small
tanks. The Endler Guppy, Poecilia wingei, is a much smaller fish, and
consequently better suited to 10 gallon tank. There's an old
saying, "Marry in haste, repent at leisure"; what this means
is that if you jump quickly into doing something because you're
impatient, you'll end up with plenty of time to regret your
decision. Ask your retailer to order in Endler's; if they are even
halfway decent, they'll be able to do so. Male Endler's are
very distinctive, being tiny, brightly coloured and with a
characteristic black comma-shaped marking on each
flank. Some unscrupulous retailers may try and push plain regular
Guppies on you telling you they're Endler's; if they don't
have the black comma, they're probably not Endler's! Cheers,
Re: pH (first aquarium; poor decisions; don't listen to
most websites say that 72-about 80 is a good guppy temperature. my
water is 74 F.
<I'm not "most websites", I'm a guy who writes
fishkeeping magazines and books for a living; I have a PhD and a BSc; I
know what I'm talking about.
Yes, WILD guppies will tolerate a broad range of temperatures, but the
Guppies sold in pet shops are fancy Guppies, and these need a steady 25
C/77 F to do well. Buy the damn heater. These are tropical fish, and
the word "tropical" is the clue. Your house will get too cold
in winter, and the Guppies will sicken or die.>
And if I do get a heater what temperature should my water be?
<There's no "if". 25 C/77 F is fine. If you don't
want to buy a heater, then look at some non-tropical fish, perhaps a
subtropical Paradisefish (Macropodus spp.) if you wanted something
colourful, though a single male would terrorise anything else added to
a 10 gallon tank. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: pH (first aquarium; poor decisions; don't listen to
mom!)... A good general FW aquarium book for bday, Xmas?
why will it get too cold in the winter? we heat the house.
<If you heat your house to 25 degrees C (77 F) or higher all year
around, 24 hours a day, then fine. But you don't; keeping a home
that warm would be insanely expensive, hundreds of times more expensive
than an aquarium heater. So can we stop arguing about this now?
Seriously. Guppies and Endler Guppies are both tropical fish, and
therefore need to be kept in tanks with heaters. End of discussion.
Now, either decide if you want to buy a heater or not. If not,
don't keep Guppies. It's really as simple as that. Cheers,
Re: pH (first aquarium; poor decisions; don't listen to
Do you have any recommendations on heaters. I'm not looking to
spend over 30$ and may upgrade to a 20 gal tank so it should fit both
thank sizes. Also what temp. should I set it to?
<I'm sure a little time spent online would help, but otherwise
just go to the aquarium shop, and look at what they have. Do note that
most heaters will say on the boxes what size aquaria they are suitable
for. Get a heater suitable for a 20 gallon tank, and it'll be
perfectly safe in a 10 gallon tank. Unless your aquarium is in a very
cold room, a 50 to 75 Watt heater should be ample. As for price,
I'm in England, so my experience won't be terribly helpful, but
I'd budget about Â£15 for heater in this size range. Avoid
suspiciously cheap heaters: these have a tendency to fail, which causes
problems. A good quality heater should last for many years, maybe ten
years or more. Cheers, Neale.>
i got the "submersible aquarium heater" 100 watt
<Sounds a bit big for a 10-20 gallon tank, to be honest. Cheers,
Re: pH (first aquarium; poor decisions; don't listen to
Will it stress out guppies to have a light? 7/9/09
<Not if there are plenty of floating plants or similar to provide
shade; Indian Fern is ideal. No fish likes bright, direct light, and
under such conditions their colours often fade. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: pH (first aquarium; poor decisions; don't listen to
I have put 2 male guppies and 1 female in my tank. I
have had them for three days and they are doing fine.
<Feel sorry for the poor female; in mixed sex groups, females should
outnumber males 2 to 1, otherwise the poor females get harassed and
nipped by the amorous males.>
I am feeding them:
Monday: 1 TetraMin tropical flake in the morning. 2 baby shrimp at
Tuesday: no feeding.
Wednesday: 1 TetraMin tropical flake in the morning and few bloodworms
in the evening.
Thursday: same as Monday.
Friday: no feeding.
Saturday: same as Monday.
Sunday: same as Monday.
Does this seem okay?
<For the cycling stage, yes; but do check the nitrite level once per
day for the first 3-4 weeks. Once nitrite is consistently at zero, you
can add up to 2 small meals per day. Use an algae-based flake food
flake") in preference to tropical fish flake; livebearers are
herbivores, and their diet should reflect this. Cheers, Neale.>
Guppy Help... env. dis./Ammonia, reading
Hi, I am a new fish owner. I recently purchased a 10 gallon tank, and
put 6 guppies in it in hopes of breeding them.
<Mmm, a small volume for this enterprise>
I currently have 2 males and 4 females. I'm convinced some are
<A pretty much constant state in healthy Lebistes...>
Not long after having the tank, several fish died. I believe they died
of injured swim bladders
<... not likely>
but I am not sure. I don't think I had the tank set up long enough
before adding them.
<Oh? What of water quality tests, measures?>
But I have had them replaced, and now have the 2 males and 4
Tonight I realized their gills were slightly red, and I am worried
about ammonia poisoning. The ammonia level is slightly higher than it
<... must be zero, nada, zip>
I am having troubles lowering it.
<Let's stop here... and have you do what you should have done:
and the linked files above, esp. ammonia. Bob Fenner>
I then added too much aquarium salt
<... not a good idea>
by mistake, but over time, not all at once. My friend suggested doing a
50% water change to help the ammonia reduce and the salt reduce. Are my
fish going to die like the ones before them? What can I do to keep them
alive? I am going to try feeding them less, as I think I may have fed
them too much also. I have a small filter in one corner, a heater that
is set around 80, usually less then that though, and I have a homemade
filter in another corner using an air lift effect, and another homemade
filter intaking water from the tank and pumping it through a filter
cartridge and rocks and back into aquarium. How can I save my fish
Fancy Guppies (salinity, calculations thereof) 03/02/09 Dear Crew, I
am keeping fancy guppies. I have several ten gallon tanks for breeding
them in. I am using the Jungle six in one test strips and nitrates are
0-20, nitrites are 0-20, hardness is 150+, chlorine is 0 (well water),
KH is 180, and PH is between 7.8 and 8.4. These tanks have been set up
a week now. I would like to complete the set up using instant ocean. My
question is: Is there a cooking spoon measure that corresponds with the
proper amount of salt per gallon and if so, what is it. Thanks for the
help. Bill <Hello Bill. There's a reason we don't recommend
weight or volume measurements for adding salt: once a salt package is
opened, it absorbs water from the air, so over time a given weight or
volume of salt actually contains a bit less salt than you think,
because some of that measurement is water, not salt. Once you've
added some salt to the water, you use a hydrometer to test the salinity
via a proxy measurement, density (in this case called specific gravity,
or SG for short). For guppies, a low salinity is ample, around SG 1.003
being perfect, and even a bit less being more than adequate. It
isn't essential to add salt, but it does help if you live in a soft
water or high nitrate area. Now, a salinity of 6 grammes per litre is
roughly SG 1.003 at 25 degrees C, and very conveniently, 6 grammes of
salt happens to be about the same as one level teaspoon. So if
you're prepared to use the metric system, estimating the amount of
salt couldn't be easier! Roughly one teaspoon of marine salt mix
per litre of water will get perfect Guppy water! If you absolutely must
work in US gallons and ounces, you'll find my Brack Calc tool flips
between both measuring systems as well as salinity and specific
gravity. It's a free application and runs on Macs and Windows PCs.
http://homepage.mac.com/nmonks/Programs/brackcalc.html Hope this helps,
Guppy water chemistry... 11/25/08
I've been having some problems recently with my fancy guppies. My
problems were NOT, however, related to water chemistry. I had been
using a 50% dose of a Malawi Salt Mix recipe Dr. Monks had given me
that gave me ideal conditions for livebearers; pH=7.8, KH = 180, GH =
300. Then, due to some health issues in the tank, I was adding tonic
salt in addition to the Malawi Mix. Dr. Monks suggested that I could
perhaps save myself a step and use Marine Salt Mix to both increase the
salinity AND perfect the water chemistry. So, over the course of the
last couple of days, I've switched to the Marine Salt Mix (Instant
Ocean). As I was changing the water only 25% at a time, I waited until
the change had been "complete" before testing the water
chemistry. So here are the numbers: SG=1.003, pH=7.6, 40<KH>80,
GH= I'm not sure. It's not a color that matches the chart.
It's either WAY over 300ppm or I need some other kind of chart,
maybe for saltwater?
<You're JUST using marine salt mix right now? Not adding
anything else, like the Malawi salts? If all you're doing is adding
a little marine salt mix, then the water chemistry should be perfect.
Of course, if you have very hard water out of the tap, the carbonate
hardness in the marine salt mix will add to that hardness. In any case,
it shouldn't cause any problem for Guppies: for them, the harder
the better! Your pH and specific gravity are spot on, so I wouldn't
And now for my question: Should I be adding a small amount of Epsom
Salt and/or Baking Soda to the Marine Salt Mix?
Should I go back to the old/hard way of getting the water right?
<No real point. The marine salt mix should keep things "just
right" without any further thought from you, assuming you're
adding the right amount (6 g/l, about 0.8 oz. per US gallon). Guppies
can be adjusted to very high salinities, even seawater in the case of
wild/feeder Guppies, without
problems. So used properly, marine salt mix is entirely safe.>
Is there some other kind of test kit I should be getting to get more
accurate KH and GH measures? (If so, what kind, please?)
<Some test kits may be sensitive to the presence of marine salts.
I'd concentrate on pH and KH though, as these are the things
you're worried about with livebearers.>
OH! I almost forgot! Last night I dosed the tank with an anti-parasitic
that contains Metronidazole and Praziquantel. Could either or both of
these effect the GH and KH?
<Can't think why.>
Thanks for the help.
<I'd mostly go by your livestock: if the Guppies are happy and
healthy, don't sweat the water chemistry. The marine salt mix will
keep them in perfect water conditions without any further need to
change or add anything. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy water chemistry... 11/26/08
Thanks. In answer to your question, yes, I'm only using the Marine
Salt Mix at a dose of 6g/l. The guppies seem ok. I'm getting some
liquid test kits for GH and KH to see if that will give me a better
idea of the numbers. I am a little concerned about the low KH, though.
I've read that a low KH can make one's tank susceptible to pH
swings. Is this not the case?
<Hi Laura. With this much marine salt mix, you aren't going to
have pH swings. Trust me on this! That's why I recommend marine
salt mix over tonic/aquarium salt. This really is the "no
brainer" way to keep livebearers! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy water chemistry... 11/26/08Need immediate help with guppy
Trusting you I am! :-) Thanks. I'm also doubling the tank size to
give them more adequate space. (Read in one of your many EXCELLENT
<Happy to help! Honestly, once you get used to keeping livebearers
in big tanks with a bit of marine salt added, you'll wonder why
everyone else doesn't do it this way. Incidentally, many fish farms
maintain their guppies and mollies in brackish water ponds, or so
I'm told. Cheers,
I have a "tequila sunrise" (orange and
yellow) guppy that has recently become ill. <What's the water
chemistry? Water quality? Fancy guppies are extremely sensitive to poor
water quality. If you can detect ammonia or nitrite, then that's
the likely problem right there. Guppies also need hard, basic water;
hardness 10-25 degrees dH, pH 7.5-8.0.> I have a 25 gallon tank with
only three small neon tetras, one guppy, and one Pleco that has been
established for about a year. <Please buy at least as many more
Neons; they're sociable animals and very unhappy in such small
numbers. The Plec will obviously get way to big for this tank. The
average Plec gets to about 45 cm (18 inches) within 2-3 years.> I do
water changes weekly and the water quality is fine.
<"Fine", unfortunately, covers a lot of ground! Some
aquarists imagine all sorts of things as being "fine", when
in fact they're idea of "fine" is actually
"Hell" from the perspective of the fish. So please, give me
the numbers. At minimum, you should have a pH and a nitrite test kit.
Use them.> Only the guppy has become ill but he is eating and
swimming normally. On one side of his head, which has become bright
orange, his scales are sticking out around his gills and his fin on
that side also has some orange color while the other fin is still
clear. He has an ulcer that has become larger over the past couple of
days and some of his scales are falling off. He doesn't stay near
the water surface or scratch on anything. I tried treating with
tetracycline for several days with water changes but it did not help. I
couldn't get a good picture so I attached a short movie.
<Let's talk about the ulcer. That's a secondary bacterial
infection, almost always related to poor water quality. The redness of
the head is also likely a bacterial infection, and the orange spots on
the fin surely Finrot. While there may be situations where these things
happen outside of water quality problems, ninety-nine times out of a
hundred they're related to water quality or physical damage. Given
the tankmates here, I don't believe physical damage is the
issue.> Please Help! <Review water quality and water chemistry.
Give me the numbers if you're not sure what they mean. Treat with a
suitable anti-Finrot medication (such as Maracyn or eSHa 2000),
remembering to remove carbon from the filter (if you use it) any time
you add medications to an aquarium.> Thanks, Jessica <Cheers,
Re: need immediate help with guppy 11/19/08
Neale, Here are the
numbers after testing the water: nitrate - 40 ppm, nitrite - 0,
hardness - 150 ppm, chlorine - 0, pH - 7.8. I am getting ready to
move the Pleco to a larger tank since he is already 8 inches long
and I was going to get a few more tetras but I wanted to help the
guppy first before risking the spread of a disease. I will try the
Maracyn treatment and remove the carbon from the filter. Would you
suggest another water change before adding the medication? Thanks
for your help. Jessica <Hello Jessica. Zero nitrite is obviously a
good thing, so from that angle at least things seem fine. As for
water chemistry, your water is only moderately hard, and while
excellent for Neons and catfish, it's a little softer than I'd
recommend for Guppies. That said, I doubt that's the problem here.
So there's nothing obviously "wrong" with the environment. Bottom
line, I'm now mystified about precisely what the cause of the
disease is. My advice for treating with Maracyn holds, and if it
doesn't work, do a big (50%) water change and switch to Maracyn 2.
Between them, these two antibiotics should cover most of the common
causes of ulcers and Finrot. As for doing water changes prior to
medication, that's never a bad idea. Just remember, don't do water
changes between the first and final doses of any course of
medication. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: need immediate help with guppy
11/25/08 Hi Neale, I tried adding both Maracyn and Maracyn 2
to the tank after a 30% water change - now on day 5 and the guppy looks
terrible - now scales are protruding and the ulcer is very deep though
he is still swimming and eating normally. I also replaced the old
filter with a newer one that circulates the water better. I just today
noticed that the small upside-down catfish I have (sorry - forgot to
add him to the list of tankmates) has very red gills and is just
floating at the top of the tank and is very sluggish. Is this from the
addition of the medication? Should I remove the catfish from the tank,
the guppy, or both? I do have a 10 gallon tank I could use as a
hospital tank but it is not yet set up. Thanks again, Jessica <I
suspect not much can be done about your Guppy. By the time the
Dropsy-like symptoms appear, small fish are usually so ravaged by
bacteria that their organs are failing and nothing much will save them.
Isolating the Guppy could help, and for want of anything better I'd
also consider raising the salinity to at least 25% seawater (SG 1.005)
by adding 9 grammes of marine salt mix (not tonic salt) per litre of
water. This will reduce the osmotic pressure on the fish, and hopefully
draw some of the fluid out of the body cavity. The salt will also have
a mild sterilising effect on the ulcer. When you set up the hospital
tank, use some mature filter media from the other tank, and raise the
salinity in stages, by first almost filling the tank with freshwater,
and then adding one-fourth of the required salt (dissolved into jugs of
warm water) at four intervals, separated by an hour or two. This will
allow the fish and the filter time to adjust. As for the Synodontis,
this could be a reaction to the medication; some catfish are sensitive
to some medications, though seemingly not in a consistent, predictable
way that is easy to explain. In any case, once the Guppy is removed you
can do two big water changes (50% each time, with 6-24 hours between
them) to flush out most of the medication, and then see if the catfish
settles down. If that doesn't help, get back in touch and we'll
discuss further. Cheers, Neale.>
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:
Planted tank with female guppies,
Dear Wet Web Guys:
You helped me before, so I am writing you again in the hopes that you
will provide me with more solid information on keeping a healthy
I have three planted tanks, two of them holding guppies I raised from
fry. But it is the tank with females guppies that I am concerned with.
Unlike the 14G tank with (I'm guessing) 20 males, plus 2 Oto cats,
4 shrimp and numerous snails, and which is staying fairly clear of
algae, the tank with the 11 females stays a little cloudy despite 1/2
water changes sometimes as frequently as every other day.
<Females are substantially bigger than males, so that's a higher
biological loading on the filter, water changes, etc. Generally cloudy
water comes down to either diatom/bacterial blooms on the one hand, or
silt on the other.>
I am debating these options: (A) adding a DIY CO2 injection to try to
grow the 8 plants in the tank so they can handle this amount of
<Algae will certainly diminish in tanks with healthy plant growth,
but adding CO2 fertilisation is an expensive solution to a problem that
may simply be the need for more/better filtration. Mechanical
filtration (filter wool for example) is critical to removing silt from
the water column.>
(B) buy an Otocinclus and a male apple snail for this tank,
<Neither will have any impact on cloudy water. Otocinclus are
gregarious, so "an" Otocinclus isn't an option; you buy
them in groups of six or more. I'm not a big fan of this genus for
a variety of reasons, not least of which is their appalling survival
record in the average community tank. Apple Snails are sensitive
animals easily harassed by fish that peck at them, which Guppies surely
will. They also need a cool winter "break" or they fail to
live long. Essentially not suitable for fish tanks, though great fun on
their own. Kept and bred them many times. Nerites and Cherry Shrimps
are infinitely better algae-eaters for small/medium aquaria.>
(C) Get rid of a few guppies and hope they are not eaten by larger,
more aggressive fish in somebody else's tank
<Well, sooner of later you will have to "thin the herd".
That's where your local retailer or fish club comes in. Nowadays
people advertise their excess fish on forums too. In any case, guppies
of decent quality shouldn't be difficult to rehome.>
or (D) some combination of the above.
<Would tend to look at why the water is cloudy first, and then
establish whether diatoms (golden colour); bacteria (usually
off-white); or silt (typically grey, and happens after a new tank is
set up usually).>
These guppies (11 total) seem to have stopped the growing spurt as
their appetites have started to slow down.
<There's "negative feedback" in aquaria. As the fish
get bigger, the water becomes polluted faster, and that slows down
growth rate. Invariably, you need to increase water changes to maintain
the same level of growth. Indeed, if you ignore this, stunting or even
ill-health become very real risks. Ten gallons is fine for rearing fish
up to around 2-3 cm (say, an inch or so in old money) but after that
you do need to be rehoming them. Overstocking may be part of why this
tank isn't "balanced", and why the water is
They are in a 10G tank with a little over an inch of substrate, 3
pieces of Mopani and 8 plants. I am inept at applying the one inch
rule. Can you help me calculate the largest number of female guppies I
can reasonably keep in this tank if I add an Oto cat and perhaps a male
<These "inch per gallon" rules only make sense in context.
An Oscar is the same length as 12 Neon tetras, both coming out at about
18 inches. But would they both fit into an 18 gallon aquarium?
Obviously not. So you need to put any rules of thumb into context.
Females Guppies simply aren't (in my opinion) suited to 10 gallon
tanks because of their size, and while you could in theory keep, say,
half a dozen alive in there, they'd be crowded and you'd have
your work cut out keeping water quality good. Male Guppies are
aggressive, and if mixed with females would pester them to distraction.
The poor females wouldn't be able to find resting places away from
the males. So you need to be intelligent and consider the size,
activity level, diet, social behaviour and other relevant factors when
stocking your tanks. That's where reading up on the needs of a fish
come into the equation.>
Of the three tanks, I prefer this tank because of the way the females
watch me... they remind me of puppies begging at a table. They get
excited when they see me looking at them and are very aware of what I
am doing in the room. Really cute.
<Yes indeed. Livebearers generally become tame very easily, and
respond positively to good care by being all-around excellent pets.
It's a shame historically they've been written off as
"beginner's fish" or worse.>
Nearing stocking limit, somewhat urgent...
4/16/08 Hello everybody, my name is Jeremy. I want to first and
foremost compliment your site as one of the best fishkeeping websites I
have found, even after extensive searching. I have a bit of a problem.
My tank, (29 gallon with AquaClear 30 gal hang on box filter, separate
sponge, carbon and biomedia with old net attached to intake to protect
fry.) currently has 4 Otos, 3 Corys, 4 ghost shrimp, 6 espei Rasbora,
2 adult guppies, three 6-week-old guppies, and about a dozen week-old
babies. I currently am following a schedule of changing 50% of the
water every Saturday. (They seem to enjoy it.) I know that I won't
be able to keep all the guppies , but I am unsure at exactly what point
to start giving them away. So the essence of my question is: How many
adult guppies can this system support with the current water change
schedule? A thousand thanks in advance! <Hello Jeremy; thanks for
the kind words. A good basic rule to start with is that small fish
(like Guppies) can be housed at about one inch of fish per gallon of
water. In practise though filtration and especially water changes can
substantially alter this. Another factor is the buffering capacity of
the water: in very hard, alkaline water the inevitable pH drop that
happens in heavily-stocked tanks is slowed down. So really your task is
to check that nitrite stays zero, pH stays steady, and nitrate stays
relatively low (ideally less than 50 mg/l). Provided you are seeing
these results, your tank is safe, even if it isn't
"optimal" in terms of stocking. Now if you're asking for
a ballpark figure, you can probably keep about 30 up to 1-inch long
Guppies alongside your other fish without having major water quality
problems *assuming* the filtration is good (check nitrite!) and you are
doing at least 50% water changes weekly (ideally more!). Once the fish
are above an inch in length, it's time to move them out. Adult
Guppies pose two problems: males are aggressive, and females are quite
big, up to two inches in length. So the females especially will pull
down water quality, while the males may start nipping the fins of one
another. Cheers, Neale.>
Question about my tequila sunrise guppy
4/12/08 Hello, I tried to ask this question on your website but it
asked me for a login which i don't know. <???> I recently
bought a Tequila Sunrise Guppy from our local PetSmart along with a
blue/silver guppy exactly a week from today. I put them in the tank
with my Betta fish, and they were doing great. I woke up this morning
and my tequila sunrise guppy was at the top of the tank floating on
it's side. <Almost always when people tell me stories like this,
it's because of the following issues: tank too small, tank
under-filtered, tank not properly matured. So let's review. Guppies
MUST have an aquarium at least 10 gallons in size, and in all honesty
fancy guppies are so delicate (and the males often so aggressive) than
a 20 gallon tank is ESSENTIAL. Water chemistry needs to be hard and
alkaline. Adding a little MARINE MIX (not aquarium/tonic) salt, 3-6
grammes per litre, helps, especially if you live in a soft water area.
The aquarium needs to be very well filtered, certainly the filter
should have at least 4 times the volume of the tank in turnover per
hour. There should be ZERO ammonia and nitrite at all times.
Temperature must be not less than 25 C, 77 F. What you CANNOT do with
Guppies is stick them in a small, unfiltered aquarium of the sort
(sadly) used for Bettas by some people. They are completely unsuitable
for that sort of maintenance.> I thought it was dead and when i
approached the tank it swam, while still being on it's side just a
little. In fear that my beta fish had done something to it, i moved it
to a different bowl. When i first moved it, it swam like normal then
after a bout 30 seconds turned over on it's side and slowly swam
that way then just sits at the top of the bowl. I don't know
what's wrong with my guppy. I've searched yahoo, and I've
looked all over your website typing in key points for my question, but
all i found was a plenty on it's side and the rest was about
pregnant guppies and nothing about being on it's side. If i could
get an answer a.s.a.p.. i would greatly appreciate it. I don't know
if my fish is sick or not, or hurt. -Lori <Honestly need more
information re: aquarium size, filtration, water chemistry, water
quality, etc. So, before going further, I'd suggest you read over
this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm Once
you're done and you've got some information together about your
aquarium and how the Guppies are maintained, we can try to move things
forward. 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:
Guppy question, sel. sys., dis.
2/17/08 I've had guppies for years and stopped and restarted a
few times, out of frustration of how delicate the females are. <Of
all fish species... this standard used to be rock solid... the touchy
stock from the Far East has ruined a good deal of the hobby the last
decades> I also have a 30gallon planted tank with co2 and such, so
I'm not quite a beginner. I have almost enough salt to be
considered brackish, think between 1Tbls/5gallon to 1Tbls/10gallon.
This is a planted eclipse hex 5 gallon. <Small... hard to keep
stable... and with the salt... easy for nitrification to vacillate>
I have/had 5 females and 4 males. I think I even had another female but
she died back 2 months ago. They are all fancy guppies, so delicate it
seems. I got them from two different stores, one being PetSmart
(sorry). I've had 2 females die now in the past day. I just did a
water change 3 days ago, about 20%, as usual for every other to maybe
ever week. The two that died were very pregnant and one of them and
possibly the other looked like they were about to give birth (both were
hanging out down on the gravel or plants being alone). With that
background out of the way, is there anything else I can do to make the
females more comfortable and less likely to die? <Yes... see
below> This is a constant problem and I only got these fish 2 months
ago and already have lost almost half my original females. The temp is
usually at 76 but can go up to 79 (the eclipse light always has a
tendency of heating the tank up if the room is mildly warm). But lately
it hasn't been. Is my tank too crowded maybe too? <Is a factor,
yes> They seem happy otherwise. Should I instead be buying more
reliable females, <Yes> is it possible I've just had bad luck
with the ones I bought? <Mmm, not entirely, no> I think the ones
that died today were both from PetSmart if that matters. It's just
demoralizing. Thanks for any information. -Erin <Too many Poecilia
reticulata on the market are infested with Hexamita (perennially) and
Columnaris (seasonally, and in more erratic punctuated fashion)...
Guarding against the introduction of these diseases can be accomplished
only through careful exclusion/quarantining of all incoming
livestock... and treatment with antiprotozoal (Metronidazole often) and
possibly antimicrobial (most celebratedly Neomycin...). You might have
"luck" with buying/selecting better stock from another
source... but I would still at least isolate it for a good two weeks
(to weaken pathogens) before introduction to your main displays...
Having a larger system would be of great benefit here as well as
bolstering the fishs' immune systems through improved nutrition...
Do see the Net re the disease organisms mentioned... they can be
defeated, excluded... Bob Fenner>
Proper water conditions for fancy guppies
2/10/08 I have a 75 gallon established aquarium that I would love
to fill with fancy guppies. I also have 2 ten gallon tanks for sick
fish, fry or a brine shrimp hatchery. We have extremely hard well water
here, the tank was used for Malawian African Cichlids with great
success for many, many years. I understand guppies prefer hard water,
but will they thrive in this extremely hard, limestone water? I would
prefer to choose a fish that would thrive in our type of water than to
constantly amend the conditions. <Yes, they'll love this stuff.
"Liquid Rock" is a Guppy's idea of heaven.> Also, is
it such that ALL guppies prefer brackish water? I noticed from one of
your articles, the aquarium water should be amended with "proper
marine salt, not tonic salt". Is this true with fancy guppies as
well? If so, should I exclusively use marine salt in lieu of regular
aquarium salt when setting up the tank and changing water? <Guppies
don't need salt added to the tank, but it does help, and is
probably essential for people who live in areas with soft/acid water.
Salt also helps prevent Finrot and Whitespot. You can in fact use
either tonic salt or marine salt mix, but marine salt mix is better,
which is why I recommend it. What's the difference? Tonic salt is
plain sodium chloride, essentially cooking salt without the iodine.
While it has helpful properties with regard to disease and reducing the
toxicity of nitrate/nitrite, it does nothing much in terms of water
chemistry beyond raising the salinity. Marine salt mix does all that
tonic salt does, but it also contains a lot of calcium carbonate and
various other minerals. These raise the pH, making the water basic
(which tonic salt doesn't do) and increases the buffering capacity
of the water as well, inhibiting rapid pH changes. The result is water
that is not only slightly more saline, but also chemically much more
stable. If you have very hard, basic water (as seems to be the case)
then choosing between tonic salt and marine salt will likely make no
odds. Go for whatever is better value. But for people with soft/acid
water, marine salt mix is a better all-around solution.> What is the
recommended dosage of marine salt for a 75 gallon aquarium?
<There's really no ideal dosage since Guppies can adapt to
anything from freshwater to marine conditions equally well. Indeed, you
don't need to add salt at all. But as a basic supplement, a 3
grammes per litre/0.5 oz. per gallon is about right. The resulting water
should have a specific gravity around 1.001 or so, i.e., about 10%
seawater salinity. This is well within the tolerances of most other
livebearers, so you can easily add Platies, Swordtails or whatever to
the system without worrying. Mollies obviously love salt -- the more
the better! If your Guppies are thriving there's no big need to add
salt as your water is likely hard enough for them to thrive. But if you
find your Guppies are prone to Whitespot and fungus or Finrot, this
will certainly help. As I say, the salt is most useful to those
aquarists in soft water areas.> Thank you so much in advance for all
your help! I look forward to your reply. Pamela <Cheers,
Guppies... systems, water
changes 12/26/06 Dear Crew, I have a 20
gallon tank with about 6 large mollies and down to about 5
guppies. There are also 4 or 5 young mollies that have been
born in the tank over the past few weeks. I haven't had
great luck with the guppies. One had white-looking spots, so
I had to let her go. One had a ripped tail and couldn't
swim. I have no idea how that happened, but I think he was a
"dragon tail" guppy. Then, yesterday, I discovered
a bloated female dead on the bottom of the tank. She looked okay the
day before. The guppy with the torn tail also couldn't
swim, and sank to the bottom of the tank to die. Some weeks
ago there was another male guppy who sank to the bottom of the tank,
couldn't swim for no obvious reason, and also died. None
of the mollies have died so far. None of the original three
female guppies has looked pregnant, nor have I found any baby guppies.
There is no ammonia in the water, and the pH is at around 8. I always
thought that when fish died they floated to the top of the tank. That
never seems to happen with our fish. Why is that?
<Something new...> We have had this aquarium for close to three
months. I have a very good filter, but have never changed
any part of the water, only added some water when the level was low. I
have read that it's a good idea to change some of the water on
occasion, but I'm a little worried about doing it myself.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2ochgs.htm
and the linked FAQs file above> A friend of ours set up the whole
thing, and he doesn't change the water, only cleans the filter
every three months. <... a foolish mistake> How essential is it
to change some percent of the water? Thanks. BLS <Very useful... to
dilute metabolites, prevent "heavy water" syndrome (what
happens to all the solids you're adding?), refresh some essential
nutrients to your systems microbiota... Bob Fenner>
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>
2.5 Gallon Stocking, Guppies... 2/26/06 Hi!
I have a 2.5 gallon mini bow front with
10 plants, 1.5 inches of gravel, a heater, and a nano
filter. I wanted to know how many guppies I could have in
this aquarium. <I would go with three, one male and two females, or
three males> It has been cycling without fish for 3
months, so I'm not worried about cycling. Also, could I have 1 Oto
cat with them for clean up? <Yes... but this fish is not
really a scavenger... Maybe read re Corydoras...> Would this
interfere with breeding? <Nope> (My intention) If this
will not work, what fish do you recommend for this setup?
<Whiteclouds... Paradisefish (Macropodus)...>
(Excluding Bettas) Also, what type of maintenance regimen
would I have to carry out to sufficiently care for this
tank? <Posted... on WWM> Thanks in advance for your advice,
Anthony <Bob Fenner>
Lost Cycle in Guppy Tank 11/3/05 Hi
Crew! Thanks for a GREAT resource! I am at the end of my rope
here!! OK, back in "The Day" (late 70's early
80's) I had 42 million guppies. I had them in fish tanks, in pickle
jars, and in 5 gal buckets. Once in a while a fish or 5 would die. I
started with just two humble fancies. I loaded all my guppies
(except the 2 original in their 20 gal tank) and took them to the pet
store for credit, got some cardinal tetras, some Neons, some
swordtails, platys, and mollies and killed off a lot of fish because of
Ich and that great blue stuff that stained everything before it killed
your fish. That was when I learned that room temperature water is
NOT the same temp as aquarium water, and that even an overall drop of 1
degree could stress your fish enough to cause Ich. (Especially on the
mollies, so it seemed.) After 3 times of being wiped out by Ich I gave
up. The Plecostomus, and the Chinese algae eater that refused to die
each time their tank mates did, were traded for a pair of green anoles,
and that was the end of my tropical fish days. <Thanks for the
background. Although it's a little late to help fish that have been
dead for 30 years I do want to clear something up. A one degree drop in
temp is not what causes Ich. It's is a living parasite that must be
introduced into your system to affect your fish. If you use a proper QT
whenever you add new fish a temp drop will not cause Ich to
spontaneously generate in your tank. However any stress can cause your
fish to loose their ability to fight it off. But not a one degree drop.
I regularly subject my Plecos to a 10 degree drop to trigger a spawn.
They never get sick from this.> Fast Forward to the year 2005.
My son is born in July, and at 2 weeks of age shows a definite
fascination for fish in an aquarium. So I decided to go back to the
simple hobby of fancy guppies. Now I am in a bind. The boss, and mother
of my child has put her foot down. No more money being spent on fish
that just die. I am managing to save babies. (Currently about 10 from
what I can count in a 1 gal tank full of Java Moss) But the
inhabitants of my 15 gal seem to struggle daily. The first major hurdle
was a fungus that I used Binox to kill off (along with my ornamental
Java Moss, and my duckweed,). The Binox also seemed to kill some of my
good bacteria, because the day before using it all my levels were
"perfect" according to the clerk at the pet store. Sadly this
is the same man who told me to use Binox in a 3 week old tank. (I had
the flirtation (filtration, mayhaps?) up and running for 2 weeks
before the first fish moved in. (8 very small feeder guppies). Then a
week later my nitrates were elevating. Out of a total of 4 pairs of
fancy guppies bought and 16 "feeders" I now have 2 fancy
males, and 2 fancy females, as well as 4 common female 2 common males,
and one multisexed fish that may or may not be a guppy, or a
swordtail (see Mystery Guppy - Just a Sweet Transvestite From
Guppselvania? - II - 10/29/2005). The problem is that the
fish are always swimming around like they are being electrocuted
randomly. Most of the time they swim about just fine. But occasionally
one at a time they will all at one point or another "crash"
into the bottom of the tank, swim erratically, or lay on the bottom of
the tank between a rock and the side of the tank. There is
aggression displayed by both males and females. Including female to
female fights. The two female fancies, which are the biggest fish in
the tank had rich dark tails, (One blue, and the other black) now they
are transparent, but still show dark coloration. The Boss
won't let me get a test kit so I am testing the "Free water
Test With Purchase" rule at my local store. I guilt them into it,
because they were the ones who sold me infected feeder guppies in the
first place. The problem is conflicting information EVERYWHERE.
Last week my NITRATES were high. I was told to do multiple water
changes. I get the nitrates down, and now my NITRITES are
"borderline". The LFS tells me not to use treated tap, and to
use spring water. But the Cycle FAQ seems to prefer treated tap. The
LFS says to be sure and clean the gravel when I do water changes, and
that will help lower the nitrites...But won't that remove
beneficial bacteria???? How can I go from "dangerously
high" nitrates in a week, and then to "slightly
elevated" nitrites a week later? Nothing has changed as far as
feeding (4 very small feedings a day, typically what is left from
crushing a small pinch for the fry), or temperature (74 with no light,
78 with). And there is no new stock...I do have 2 Cory cats, and
2 fancy females in a T tank. I did use some Stress Coat after my last
water change, and I had put 5TBS of salt in my 15 gal tank twice in a
week after 5 gal water changes. Is there something I am missing that
are causing my fish to "FREAK OUT!"? Most of the fish are
showing redness around their gills and mouths. PLEASE help! My son is
not old enough to appreciate Green Anoles yet! Doug Alley, &
William, President of Gupticon 5 and supreme drooler! <These are
water quality problems caused my the meds or the newness of the tank.
There are two different bacteria that control water quality. The first
converts the ammonia in fish waste into nitrite. The second converts
the nitrites to nitrates. The second is a very slow growing bacteria.
It sounds like you need some more time to allow them to grow in numbers
great enough to handle all the nitrite. Continue with water changes,
using dechlorinated tap water. Drop the Stress Coat and the salt. Use a
gravel vac to keep the bottom clean. A high amount of organic matter
will cause the red streaks, fin problems and the flashing. Don>
"New Tank Syndrome", Guppies, Fatalities.... -
10/19/2005 Hi, <Hello.> I had an absolutely crushing
experience yesterday. I could NOT figure out what
happened. <Uh-oh....> I had put my guppies into a 10
gallon tank with heater and filter. They weren't crowded
up and they were doing fine....for about a week. <Uh, so
the tank was just set up a week ago?> Suddenly yesterday I came home
and looked in the tank and realized immediately that something was
terribly wrong. The first thing I noticed was that the water
was cloudy. I had checked the tank every day during the
previous week and the water was always clear and the fish were swimming
normally about. <Clarity of the water speaks nothing
about the quality of the water.... You absolutely must test
for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.... Especially during this
critical cycling time of the aquarium....> They had light during the
day via a window and they had darkness at night and
evening. I fed them with the food from the container I'm
feeding the other fish which are still alive and healthy, with the
possible exception of some old food left at the bottom of the
container, but I did not see any of that upon inspection. I
fed them the evening of night before last, I think, or if that
wasn't the last time, it was early yesterday before going to
work. They did not attract my attention to anything unusual
at that time. I checked the pH of the water after
I found them dead, and I found it to be pretty close to normal and
possibly a little alkaline, which is what livebearers like.
<pH is not the issue here, but the toxicity of ammonia and nitrite
present.... this is what's killing them.> The
temperature was not too hot or too cold. When I found them
there was one small one still alive so I immediately put her (him?) in
my healthy tank in the side container with two molly fry. I
thought I'd saved at least that one and it seemed to be
ok. About an hour or so later I checked it and it was also
dead! <Too badly burned from ammonia or nitrite to
recover, I'm sure.> I inspected the dead fish and found a number
of them seemed to have big openings at the stomach area.
<Possibly just coincidence, possibly something else pathogenic - but
the root cause here is a toxic environment.> Can you shed any
possible light on the possible cause of this???? I would be ever so
happy to find out because I'm afraid to put anything else in there
and I am, to tell the truth, disillusioned about keeping any fish at
all now!! <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm
and also in the Set-Up and Maintenance portions of the Freshwater
section of the website.> Thanks for your help. Looking
forward to hearing your thoughts if any on the possible
cause. I haven't emptied the tank, thinking that if I
need to test the water I'll still have it. <Begin reading, and
learning about water quality and how it affects your
fish. You will do fine in time, no worries.> Leslie W.
<Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Urgent question about
my 2 female and male guppies Hi there, <Hellooooo!> Good day
to you. I really need your help. <Hope I can> I have two pet
guppies, one male and one female. The female has given birth about 6
times since last November, but for the last 3 times when I awaited the
birth of her fry, nothing came out, instead the water gradually turned
very cloudy, with a foul-smelling thick white fluid that made the whole
bowl <A bowl? I do hope it is filtered, aerated...> stink and
almost opaque. But there's been no sign of any fry. Almost
overnight, clean water turns absolutely white, filthy and very smelly.
What's happening? The female (her name's Daffy) looks
noticeably thinner every time after the water turns putrid. Then she
starts getting fatter and fatter again and the same thing happens after
another 3 weeks. <...> Another thing is the male's tail looks
quite raggedy and like it's getting smaller. There's no sign of
remnants of tail on the fish bowl floor though. He had a small case of
fin rot, but jumped out of his bowl when I quarantined him, and was
almost dead when I found him quite a long way from the bowl. He's
been fine since (I add aquarium salt to the water) except for his tail.
What could be happening? Please help me. Best wishes, Rosie. <Thank
you for writing. I think we should start nearer the beginning here...
Have you read the materials archived on our site re Guppies? Please do:
Scroll down... particularly the FAQs files on Systems... Bob
Re: Urgent question about my 2 female and male guppies Hello
Bob, <Rosie> First off, thanks for writing, really appreciate
your time, hope you can reply me again, to this? <Yes> I've
read the FAQ on guppy systems and so on. I started off with a small
bowl that the fish shop said would be okay for 2 guppies, but as time
passed, the guppies grew and I bought a much bigger bowl. I buy oxygen
crystal balls, which I change every 7 days to ensure fresh oxygen
though the guy at the same shop said the balls should last 6 months.
Apart from that, there's no substrate. <... this is not a good
system for guppies> I wanted to add some fish toy or something for
them to play with but the guy at the shop said no need. Do you think
they'll be dead bored? The female always excitedly greets me every
time I approach the bowl. <Not bored> Anyway, the oxygen
balls are in the bowl, and I add some aquarium salt. The surface area
is large and the guppies seem happy, I am just very worried about the
female who's gives off a smelly thick white fluid discharge every 3
weeks with no sign of fry even though she gets fatter and fatter
leading up to that time, like in 3-week cycles. The male's tail is
smaller now, and he refuses to eat, I am so worried. I keep them
company whenever I can. Hope to hear from you soon. Best wishes
Rosie. <Please read where you were referred. Your fish's health
is impaired due to poor and vacillating water quality... If you want to
keep them in bowls, you will need to add at least undergravel (and
gravel) filtration, or an air-driven sponge filter... Bob
Guppy quest 'ello, <'ello.> I'm thinking
about using my 10 gallon tank for guppies so I was doing some research
before I went ahead and made plans to convert it to a proper guppy
home. <Yay! Glad to hear you're researching
first!> After doing a lot of reading I noticed there are a lot of
conflicting ideas on the proper care of guppies. Most sites seemed to
deal with the idea of breeding & showing guppies. That isn't
something I'm into just yet (what would I do with all the babies?
lol), so I was wondering if it is possible to have a tank with just
male guppies and no female guppies without them harassing each other?
<This is possible, to some extent. Keep an eye on fins
and tails and aggression, just in case.> My tank currently has white
gravel which I heard is harmful for guppies, is this true? <As long
as it's gravel, not crushed coral or aragonite, you should be
okay.> If it is, should I get a different type of gravel or get rid
of it completely? <I always stick with a natural
look. Seems more 'realistic' to me; I like having a
slice of a river carved out and put in my world.> Also, I have
plastic plants, would it be better to have live ones? <Personally, I
prefer live - but that's completely up to the individual.> Some
sites stated that live plants will promote harmful elements while
others said they're beneficial to the guppies. <As long as you
stick to 'easy' plants (Vallisneria sp., java fern, java moss,
Anubias sp., Anacharis/elodea, so many others.> I have a 'bubble
stone' to help add oxygen to the water and in the past my fish
loved to swim against the current it created, is it okay to use with
guppies? <Absolutely!> I can adjust the strength of the bubbles
if needed. I was also reading about 'cycling' and how that
works, I have a single female platy in my tank right now. Is it okay to
add a duo or trio of guppies right away or should I clean the tank and
wait the suggested 2 month period? <It shouldn't take two months
to cycle - here's a link to cycling FAQs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/estcycfaqs.htm
> What about 'mystery' snails, can I add one to a guppy
tank? <Sure.> Thank you for answering my questions! -Dream
<You bet. -Sabrina>
Guppy Temperatures <Hi, MikeD here> I know that cold
water guppies can be turned into warm water guppies. But can warm water
guppies be turned into cold water guppies?<That's a yes and no
question. While they can tolerate less than tropical conditions, they
still can't survive in temperatures that approximate freezing or
nearly so> If so how is this done?<Veeeery slowly! As long as the
temperatures are allowed to drop gradually, I've seen guppies in 60
degrees F. water, but any sudden changes in temperature will still
cause systemic shock, often followed by an outbreak of "ick",
a protozoan parasite of fishes.>
Guppy disease I have a female fancy guppy in a
new tank with rather high nitrates - I think maybe 40ppm but using
strips so it's hard to tell. When I bought the fancy, she looked a
little tired, but was in a mixed tank, so I took a chance on her. Now
her body is drooping, especially her tail. I remember that this
had happened to me once before, but I don't remember what medicine
they gave me for her. Anyway, the other guppies are rubbing up against
her and a second one is showing symptoms. Also there are fry that were
born yesterday in that same tank which are now in another tank (my fry
tank). What disease or parasite would cause this? <Not a
parasite... age, poor nutrition, lacking water quality... can
though> I see no other noticeable signs or symptoms. Also, is it
possible that the fry may have caught this also? <Look to your water
chemistry... doing regular water changes, keeping pH and alkalinity
middling to high, offering a mix of fresh and prepared foods... Bob
Re: guppy disease Okay, here's the deal on
water quality. The hospital tank and the "clean" tank I never
bothered testing, because the "clean" tank was brand new, I
knew it needed to start cycling, and I just added aquarium salt and
Bio-Spira. But within 48 hours, I was adding meds to the tank which I
knew would mess up water quality. <Yes> Same with the hospital
tank. I have two other tanks - one has the fry in it, the other had
Neons and a Cory catfish. Both had Bio-Spira and initially were testing
well, but suddenly shot up in nitrites - I don't know about ammonia
(using test strips for the moment), but I assume they were high also. I
did 50% changes on both tanks, and added more Bio-Spira. It shot up
again in nitrites, which normally doesn't happen with the
Bio-Spira. Two of the guppies showing no symptoms were taken from a
medicated tank and put in with the Neons. Then I started reading
the labels on "tank starters" that I had used before the
Bio-Spira came in (I have it shipped in). One of them has some kind of
"miracle granules" in it that absorb the NITRATES! So the two
tanks that haven't been medicated are off the charts in nitrites,
the nitrates are getting absorbed, and there's nothing I can do
about it until I can restart the "clean" tank and more
Bio-Spira arrives (hopefully today). <Yikes... some of the dangers
of not cycling/waiting... and mixing products> The clean tank I KNOW
has no granules in it, because when I cleaned it I took the whole thing
apart and washed the undergravel system, the gravel and everything
(which I dread having to do again). That is the tank I want to
"re-start", and that is the tank I was afraid held some kind
of disease. I cannot do anything about the fry tank, because I will
kill them trying to suck out the granules from the gravel. They will
just have to try and get by on water changes until they are big enough
to transfer to another tank. To the best of my knowledge, there are no
diseases in either the neon tank or the fry tank, but of course I
can't put sick fish in there either. The nitrites will definitely
kill them - I can't believe the Neons have made it! <Can
be tough, make it through cycles if start off healthy> The reason I
have not said anything about water conditions in the two tanks I was
asking about - the "clean" tank and the hospital tank - is
because I know they never had a chance to cycle, and they were being
medicated, so they COULDN'T cycle. I haven't bothered wasting
expensive test strips testing something I know isn't right.
<> My tap water comes out with 6.8 ph and between 20 and 40 in
nitrates. <! This is way too high... even for your drinking, cooking
use... I would look into a means of getting better source water...>
<Editor's note: The EPA has set
guidelines for what substances are allowable, and at what levels, in
potable/drinking water. If in doubt, ask your municipality for a
copy of their "Consumer Confidence" report, a.k.a.
"Water Quality Report".> pH in the neon and fry tanks
is fairly high - 7.4 to 8.0 - and the only reason I can think of is
because the gravel IS old gravel, and it was mixed with a little coral
gravel from when I lived in Nashville and the city water was so hard,
and my tanks were overcrowded, it was the only way to keep the tanks
balanced. The gravel in the neon tank was never even rinsed after
being brought up from Nashville, as was the case originally with
my "clean" tank. <I see... well-written> The two Popeye
fish are actually looking a little better this morning, and they WERE
being treated with extra aquarium salt as well as the Kanamycin. I have
no Epsom salts though. <Can be gotten from grocery stores,
pharmacies... over the counter> Your email cut off halfway through a
sentence, so I am assuming you were suggesting doing a fishless cycle
on the "clean" tank. <Yikes... didn't see this... Ahh,
perhaps this is the message Jorie was referring to> I think
that's a great idea, I just don't know where to put the three
sick guppies (two Popeye guppies who had fungus which I think is now
gone - it was on some damaged scales up around the head areas of both
fish; one birthed prematurely and is rather young, has some red on her
belly up near the gills, is bent all the time with her tail hanging
down, sometimes rests on the bottom on her tail, and one time started
going into sideways contortions while still bent downwards behind the
head - she is the one I am treating with Spectrogram). The only thing I
know of to do is put all three sick guppies in the hospital tank after
it has been rinsed and some salt put in, and then start that other tank
cycling. Then I guess I just keep doing water changes on the Neons and
fry, and pray that they make it until there's a clean tank ready.
<I would "risk" putting them in with the Neons... what
they "have" (environmental) not likely "catching".