FAQs on Guppy Diseases
FAQs on Guppy Disease:
Guppy Disease 1,
Guppy Disease 2,
Guppy Disease 3,
Guppy Disease 4,
Guppy Disease 6,
Guppy Disease 7, Guppy Disease ,
FAQs on Guppy Disease by Category:
Nutritional (e.g. HLLE),
Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal),
Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...),
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 Systems, Guppy Feeding, Guppy Reproduction, Livebearers, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies,
Sick guppy? 7/1/10
I have a 30 gallon tank, cycled and planted with 3 female + 1male
Guppies, 3 female +1 male Panda Platies, 8 neon tetras
<Neons are not terribly long-lived in "London Tap" it has
to be said.>
and a few cherry shrimps. Ammonia & nitrites are zero, nitrates
around 25ppm (London water).
The three female guppies have been giving birth over the past few days
(67 rescued!) but one is looking very pale, has not eaten for some days
and has begun to hover either in the air stream of the filter or more
the bottom of the tank and goes through periods of being pretty
<Yes, this can happen. Difficult to pin down the precise problem.
Stress from male attention is certainly one factor, and constant
breeding can perhaps "wear out" females in a way that
wouldn't happen in the wild.
Inbreeding, poor genetics are other factors. Parasitism is possible,
but difficult to determine.>
I separated her when I first noticed her behaviour into a little
nursery net and treated the whole tank with ESHa 2000 (her eyes
appeared a little large and I feared pop eye).
<Not sure eSHa 2000 would have any impact on Pop-eye, and overuse of
medications simply adds another variable to the problem. Remember, all
medications are toxins, stressful, at some level.>
I then gave her a 5 minute dip in some methyl blue and returned her to
the big tank.
I'm not sure what to do next and my only conclusion is that perhaps
there is not enough oxygen despite the water flow from the
filter/aeration device being on full - the tank has been around 82F due
to the hot weather here in
<Shouldn't be causing Guppies undue problems.>
Anything else I could be doing?
<Not really. Isolating the female so she can rest, feed apart from
the male is a good idea, but small floating traps can be intensely
stressful, so I'd avoid those. The larger clip-on ones are somewhat
Re: Sick guppy? 7/1/10
Thanks for all your continued feedback, I am learning if somewhat
Advice/suggestions all taken onboard with much eagerness.
<Glad to hear it!>
Just to let you know, the oddly behaving guppy delivered 32 baby fry
this morning (hence the loss of colour and lack of eating). I've
certainly learned that not all guppies are made the same! Behaviour is
different with each individual.
<Indeed. Also, because of inbreeding and domestication, predicting
behaviour and hardiness is very difficult. The addition of a little
salt can help with Guppies, 0.5-1 teaspoon per litre being ideal, but
that does depend on their tankmates.>
Baby guppy problems and others 6/21/10
Well first of all, hello.
<Hi! Melinda here today.>
So I have a 15.6 gallons fish tank with heater and filter. I've had
this tank for about two months now and I had a rather shaky start.
<Did you cycle this tank? Many times, folks have a really hard time
starting out in the hobby because they don't understand the
nitrogen cycle, and so they constantly have problems due to the buildup
of toxic ammonia and/or nitrite. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwestcycling.htm.
There are WAY too many negative effects of poor water quality to list,
but it's pretty safe to say that if your fish are ill, and
you're not testing your water (you want Ammonia and Nitrite levels
of zero; Nitrate under 20), then the first thing to do is test the
water and rule out poor water quality as a cause of fish
I started out with 3 guppies (1 male and 2 females) Unfortunately, the
male died within a couple of days.
<Please do read re: cycling. It's possible to get a sick fish
from a store, and also, some fish just don't make the trip home
unscathed. But, the stress from a move plus an ammonia spike equals
almost certain death, especially in small fish.>
Later, one of my remaining females had babies (about 20 of them) and
got pretty vicious. She injured my other female who then got
<I would check water quality. The cotton-like fungus could have had
nothing to do with the other guppy, but rather, was Finrot. Also, This
tank is really quite small for guppies, especially if you're
attempting to raise fry, which are going to be more susceptible to
complications due to water quality. Please do read here on guppies:
and the linked files above.>
I bought a treatment and it worked but most of her tail was gone so she
died in a couple of hours.
<Really does make me think Finrot.>
The last female died too. She had red pots all over her body and her
tail seemed to be shrinking or something and had a brown line all
<Bacterial infection, Finrot.>
But the babies survived. So I bought other fishes to put in with
<Why would you purchase more fish without first determining the
cause of the last three fishes' deaths? Plus, there are already 20
fish in your sixteen-gallon aquarium.>
(A Corydoras and one I believe might be a flying fox. Some confusion
about that one)
<Corydoras are a schooling fish, please read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/Catfshbehfaqs.htm , or to get
more specific information, type in "Corydoras" in WWM's
Google search engine. As for the Flying Fox, please do read here:
The photos may help you determine whether what you have is a Siamese
Algae Eater or Flying Fox. If your fish is a Flying Fox, it may turn
out to be too aggressive to be kept in this small aquarium with
I stopped putting salt after I put in the Corydoras. Should I start
<I would not use it.>
Later on, I bought 4 ghost shrimps. I thought the would be eaten but no
all of them are still alive.
<Who is going to eat them? You've got a Cory and a tiny Algae
Eater -- not much chance of predation. Of course, anything that's
dead is food.>
I also bought an apple snail but it died within a few days (I'd
like to know why).
<Likely poor water quality -- in effect, the same reason as all your
other fish are dying. Please do read here on apple snails:
Since then, I bought 4 black tetra's and 2 'loaches
<Are these Black Skirt Tetras or Black Neons? The Black Skirts need
more room than you're offering, but the Neons would work, assuming
you're not keeping the water too warm.>
(Sorry my native language is French and I don't know their name in
English but they're snail eating fishes. Yes. Snail problems).
<I am currently attempting to learn French, and I couldn't
achieve anything near what you've achieved here, so no complaints
from me. Your Loaches will (if they live) outgrow this system, and also
require pristine water quality, as well as lots of water flow. The
snails should be easy to remove by placing a piece of lettuce on a rock
with a rubber band. Place in the tank, then remove the next day. It
should be covered in the little buggers. Manual removal is going to
work best for you due to the small size of the system and its current
instability. The last thing we need to do is keep adding fish. In
addition to growing quite large (at least ten inches or so), Clown
Loaches (which happen to be some of my favorite fish) are schoolers,
and really need the company of four or five buddies to feel
When they arrived, the black tetra's ate one of the 6 remaining
baby guppies, so I put them in a breeding net. another one died,
probably killed by another baby. So I now have 4 remaining (and an
adult one my sister bought because she though he was gorgeous). 2 of
the babies are pretty small and the other 2 have gotten pretty big. One
of the big ones started chasing the smaller ones around so I decided to
put him/her (pretty sure it's a her thought) out of the net and
into the tank. It went rather well, still alive after a week but the
black tetra's are getting rather insistent about their nipping
(they don't chase her around but sometimes it looks like they
attack her though they don't really do so viciously) Could they be
more aggressive when hungry?
<These are some of the nippier tetras (I'm guessing now that
they're Black Skirt Tetras. They don't belong in this small
tank, and they don't belong with guppies. Please do read BEFORE
I feed 3 times a day (I also have special food for my bottom
<Likely too much. Please test your water and compare your results to
what I list above. There's a good chance that, left alone, this
system has cycled by now. However, over cleaning your filter or a
number of other things can cause the cycle to start right back over, so
it's important to know what your fish are swimming in, especially
if they're dying.>
So, since they seemed to be chasing her a little more, I decided to put
her back in the net and see if she would be aggressive again. But the
moment I put her in the net, the other big baby guppy (Almost sure
it's a male that one. He got very colorful while the others only
begin to show colors) stared at her for a while then started an
obsession with her and wouldn't leave her alone, so I put her back
in the big tank where, at least, she isn't constantly followed and
nipped at. So I'm now wondering if he's just aggressive. He
doesn't seem to be attacking either of the smaller fishes. So my
question is: why does he act that way (sorry about the maybe not so
useful information above. It's just in case)? Should I buy another
breeding net (one that I can separate in sections) or just wait
<This fish don't "go" together. Please read.>
I also have another question. My water is kind of yellow. I know the
cause, I bought some Voodoo brand wood to place at the bottom (it says
on the label it can color the water for a while and the clerk at the
pet shop told me it would fade after about 6 months of water changes).
The fishes seem to like it (especially my snail eaters and my flying
fox?) but, unfortunately, the snails too. there are a lot of snail eggs
on it so I'm wondering if it's a good idea to keep it? I also
have a plant (a real one) that the snails seem to love as well. I was
also wondering if it would be a good idea to buy a 'boule
russe' (Russian moss ball in English I think)
<The yellowing of the water is caused by tannins from the wood, and
you can add fresh carbon to the system's filter and remove the
coloration. If you don't mind it, it won't hurt the fish to
leave it in, and I'd start by taking the wood out and cleaning the
eggs off before placing it back in the tank. I would first determine
why your fish are dying and adjust stock so that it's appropriate
for the tank size you have prior to making more changes. I'd do
manual removal of the snails. There's a lot to do to get this
system "right" before you continue to stock it, either with
plants or fish.>
Sorry if there are grammar mistakes but English isn't my native
language so I sometime have some difficulties with it. Thank you for
taking the time to read.
<Not a problem. Please do write back if you have any more questions
Guppy discharge and cloudy eye - 6/12/10
It's been a day of guppy troubles!
Two of my pregnant guppies were discharging a milky white substance
after I did a 10% water change today.
<Discharging from where? The anus? The gills? The skin?>
They seem to have settled and are behaving normally. Could they have
<Easily happens, but you usually see the embryos unless they're
so small or were eaten by other fish.>
As they are due, I thought a small dose of Epsom salts might assist
<No, Epsom salt is a laxative. It helps when used alongside some
other things, and can be used to raise the general hardness of soft
water. But it isn't a wonder drug.>
I hope I didn't do any harm.
Another guppy has been swimming into the water stream near the surface
now for a couple of days solidly - mouth always open, fins flapping
<Usually a good sign of severe distress.>
Today, I noticed that she was much darker on one side of her underbelly
and that one of her eyes had covered over with a white film (it looks
as if her mouth and side might also be covering with the substance). I
a photo the best I could capture after putting her in a breeding trap
to observe. She is obviously sick as she has stopped eating. Any
<Treat as per Finrot, ideally with a medication that also treats
Columnaris/Mouth Fungus, e.g., eSHa 2000; if possible, add tonic salt
at 3-5 grammes per litre.>
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 20
<Should be fine for Guppies, so a bacterial infection would seem
Re: Guppy discharge and cloudy eye - 6/12/10
Sadly my Guppy died -
<Sorry to hear that.>
I am treating the tank with eSHa 2000 and will complete the three day
course so that other fish are protected as much as possible.
The other guppies with discharge (from their anus) are fine and about
to deliver - I think the discharge may have been from the egg yoke I
fed the fry with (they are in a nursery cage inside the main tank).
<Not heard of this before.>
Anyway, just wanted to thank you for your continued help - you
guys/girls are amazing!
<Glad to help.>
Female guppy -- 05/21/10
My female guppy for the last three days has been releasing this
orangish fluid from her anus spot. I thought she was going to have her
fry and I put her in a 2 way breeder. Nothing happened for 24 hours so
I let her back into the community aquarium and she has been active and
still is releasing that orange fluid again. What could this be? Thanks,
<She could have been miscarrying, which is common when female
livebearers are stressed. If you don't have twice as many females
as males, the males will harass the females, and this easily stresses
them. Miscarriages often
follow. Adding some floating plants such as Indian Fern will help, but
if you have too many males, this problem can be persistent. Moving
females into breeding traps or nets -- despite the advertising -- is
even worse. By all means put the fry in the trap once they're born,
and they'll be safe there for 3-4 weeks until big enough to set
loose with their parents. But don't ever put the adults in there.
Guppies, female losses... rapid! 4/30/10
I am losing female guppies at an alarming rate... They seem to be
tearing apart at the anus - no laughing please, I am serious.
<Unlikely tearing apart as such, but could be either Camallanus
worms, or a bacterial infection of some sort. Camallanus infections are
usually obvious because the red worms poke out the anus. Bacterial
infections are more nebulous since there are all kinds of them, but
Mycobacteria infections in Fancy Guppies are not uncommon, but
unfortunately not really treatable.>
This seems to only be happening with the fish that are about 2-3 months
old. The males are not showing any symptoms however, a couple have died
recently without warning.
<Again, you could have a bacterial infection, but the females merely
react differently. For example, livebearing fish can get into
situations where the embryos inside them die and rot, and that is
extremely messy and unpleasant.>
I have had the water quality checked regularly at my local pet store
and nothing obvious has shown up.
<Do need the numbers here, not your/their opinion. For Fancy
Guppies, you need to be keeping them in a tank not less than 15 gallons
in size, ideally a bit more. The water should be hard and basic, i.e.,
10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5-8. Water quality must be excellent, 0 ammonia
and 0 nitrite.>
When I told them about the problem all I got was a raised eyebrow. I
showed them one of the females (still alive) and was just advised to
removed her from the aquarium and "dispatch" her.
Can anyone give me an idea as to what may be wrong? I am new to keeping
fish (6 months) and was quite pleased when they first started dropping
fry. Its becoming quite frustrating seeing them die (and yes, I will
even admit to it being a little upsetting, even for a grown man!!!)
No wisecracks please.
<Optimistic, really; being a little sharp to our correspondents is
half the fun!>
<The thing with Guppies is that they're [a] inbred and [b] mass
produced, so sometimes you just end up with poor quality fish. Do start
by reading here:
Now, if you're just keeping Guppies, a good move is to keep them in
slightly brackish water, 3-5 grammes of MARINE salt mix (like you'd
use in a reef tank) per litre will make a world of difference. The
sodium chloride reduces the toxicity of nitrite and nitrate, while the
carbonate salts buffer the pH and raise the hardness. Guppies can
thrive in slightly brackish conditions, and provided you keep the
salinity low, there's no risk to the filter bacteria. A photo of a
sick fish, plus some hard numbers as mentioned earlier, will help us
further. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppies 5/6/10
Thank you for your prompt reply, I have since returned to my local pet
store (I am a British soldier serving in Germany)
<As a Brit who wouldn't know which end of a gun points where,
and received a second opinion.
I was quite "upset" to see my fish keeling over - we soldiers
are supposed to be tough you know - especially when they seemed to be
bursting apart at their backsides :-(
<I bet. Those few servicepersons I have known have tended to be
more, rather than less, sensitive to pain and suffering. I suppose
seeing it up front, and being among the first to be getting shot at,
focuses the mind! I've often heard it argued that it's the
"civvies" who tend to be more casual about this sort of
thing, what Americans so delicately called
The water stats were all fine which is why I turned you guys after not
being happy with the original answer that I got at the store.
You were right, they had Camallanus worms and by all accounts it was
quite extreme with each of the older fish having 4 or 5 worms in
I am now left with half a dozen fry and about as many juveniles. The
aquarium water has now been treated and changed, have to do the same
again in a few weeks time.
How would my fish have become infested with these worms?
<Unfortunately, likely from the wholesaler or breeder, though
possibly at the pet store. Because Guppies breed so readily,
there's a temptation to crank them out to a price rather than a
standard. As a Brit, I'm sure
you're only too aware of our wonderful government's preference
for the cheapest rather than the best goods or services. Same thing
here with Guppies, and what were once lovely, sturdy little fish have
now become a bit of a lottery. There are anti-worm treatments
available, though their availability in the UK and Europe, indeed,
anywhere outside the US, tends to vary. In the UK, a prescription from
a vet is required to get Levamisole, but you can buy Flubendazole over
the counter/online as '
Discus Wormer Plus'.>
Would they have come from the live food that I buy (red mosquito
larvae, brine shrimp, water fleas), or is it more likely that one or
more of the original adults already had them?
<Camallanus worms are exceptional among intestinal worms in that
worms from one fish can infect another fish directly. Most worms
require an intermediate host like a predatory fish or water bird. Since
these are absent from our aquaria, most worm diseases die out
eventually. Camallanus, as I say, is different, and breaking the cycle
of reinfection is hard.
Usually medications are used. Live foods aren't risky if cultured,
collected from a fish-less habitat. Brine shrimps will certainly be
safe because of that. Midge larvae and daphnia should be safe too if
collected from a water body without fish, but if you can't
guarantee that, there's always a small risk. For Guppies, Spirulina
flake plus live brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms and squished cooked
peas would be a fine and dandy diet without any risk at all.>
Guns.... Not true! Ever since the big screen was invented we Brits have
been bombarded with thousands of movies from your side of the
pond,<Not my side of the pond any more, I live in Hertfordshire, and
only lived in the US for a few years. I'm as British as warm beer
and chicken tikka masala.>
with gun-toting cowboys and Indians, mafia gangsters, cops and robbers,
psycho and war movies... It's the little hole at the end that's
the dangerous part! At least that's what Brit civvies think!
<May well be!>
In reality it's the nut-case that's holding one who is
We have our fair share of them over here now. Shame such things have
not remained in the hands our armed forces for the use of homeland
<The argument for gun control as a limit on violent crime can be
argued both ways. Both the US and Switzerland have high levels of gun
ownership, yet the US has far, far higher levels of gun crime. For what
it's worth, I don't think the British are any less violent than
the Americans, but there are differences in how much damage and how
many people you can kill if your nutcase is wielding a kitchen knife
versus a semi-automatic rifle. Plus, a substantial number of
gun-related deaths and injuries in the US come from accidents,
including children playing with guns they've found in their
dad's bedroom. On the other hand, I do appreciate that someone
trained to use a gun in defence, as in the Swiss citizen army, will
also have a greater sense of civic responsibility and self discipline
than perhaps we see here in the UK, where law and order is assumed to
be the job of the police alone.>
A well delivered, good old fashioned punch on the nose should suffice
for civilians protecting themselves against civilians... Sadly, reality
<Yes indeed. A complex issue, and always has been for humanity. How
do you balance the individuals right to protect himself and his family
against the need for government to keep the majority safe from the
In my 21 years service, I have had the honour and pleasure of serving
with guys and girls from your side of the pond
<The Americans, you mean...?>
during Desert Storm in 1990/91, Kosovo, Iraq in 2005 and again more
recently in Afghanistan. Good to see they were nothing like Calamity
Sam from the Bugs Bunny cartoons, in fact there wasn't a cowboy hat
Young people are the same where ever you go, but mostly I found them to
be dedicated and very professional.
Hope they felt the same about us Brits.
<They do, though I'm sure there's a certain degree of
rivalry at times!>
Honour them please.
<Have always done so.>
Yup, it breaks my heart to see kids and animals in pain. What the human
race does to itself dumbfounds and baffles me.
<And others, too. But there's always hope.>
Guppies / Fish... Don't the little fellas just do a great job at
calming our souls, I can watch them for hours!
<That's the general idea!>
Thanks once again for your prompt replies and advice.
We have a fantail guppy who overnight has appeared
with a fluffy sack under
his belly? he is also moving around the top of the tank - can you
<Do read here:
This may be a fungal infection, or it may be some sort of trauma.
Because Guppies are inexpensive, they are often kept in inadequate
aquaria, and the result is sickness and premature death. Proper
maintenance will prevent problems. Without identifying the disease,
it's impossible to be sure what's the situation here. You would
be wise to treat with eSHa 2000, a medication that treats both Finrot
and Fungus, and as such would treat the two most likely issues. But
even the best medications won't help if your Guppies are in an
aquarium with poor filtration, with capacity less than 15 gallons or
so, kept too cold, or exposed to soft, acidic water conditions.
When fish get sick, it's almost always because the aquarist has
done something wrong, rather than bad luck or bad genes. Cheers,
Re: Hi, Guppy, Lernaea, reading -
Hi, thanks for the help that you have given me few weeks ago, I
see that some of my fish's health are improving. I also found
a pair of anchor worms in one of my female guppies (V shape from
her bottom).. I pulled one out with a tweezers.
<Yowch! Easy to kill such small fishes with such
but still am trying to pull the other one out..not sure why but
that other anchor worm keeps going back into her body when I fish
her out to try and pull it out.
<Umm, their name is a hint>
So far that guppy is in quarantine...
<Still need to treat the main system to eradicate the young
Anchorworm crustaceans there... lest they develop, infest your
I removed all fishes that looked sick into a separate tank
(each). Any other ways to treat that guppy with the anchor worm
or I have to just wait for it to come out and try again till I
and the linked files above>
Back then a couple of my male guppies have problems opening their
fins because of fungus. Right now though...although their fins
look fine now..I notice that one of the male started developing
something that looks like
black patches around the fins and tail...I attached the best
picture that I can take..Hope it helps.
Hi... Guppy beh.. reading... 3/19/10
Hi, I wrote to ask a few questions on my guppies. Lately I notice that
they have lost their colours and even the females have suddenly gotten
aggressive and attacking other females.
<How large is this system? If crowded, agonistic behavior
I've been changing the water everyday
<?... Keep reading... re metabolite build up... Test for at least
nitrogenous compounds... Read here:
and the linked files above>
for the past couple of days because I noticed that their gills have
redden and on of the males fin is not opening properly anymore. I
thought it was fungus or maybe white spots so I went to the shop and
bought the medicine
Unfortunately the LFS around my area doesn't sound as professional
as those around these people I see that were asking for advice. When I
ask them something...they just treat it nonchalantly. I am thinking
that they just want me to come back and buy more fish. Anyway, you site
have helped me a lot in trying to understand my guppies behavior and I
am very grateful of that. But when I keep seeing my guppies
deteriorating like that I am so heart broken. I wish I know exactly
what's wrong with them. I cannot find anything that can test for
ammonia levels or nitrate...only tester I saw was for chlorine. But
with reddish gills I'm guessing ammonia poisoning.
Does it mean that future is bleak for all my guppies when they losing
their colours and females getting aggressive?
Thank you for any help that you can give me. I am really desperate
<Read where you've been referred. Bob Fenner>
Fish water is yuck, but is it actually harmful?? Guppy sys.
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!
Orange spots on a Yellow Tail Guppy. RMF's turn
This fish had a completely yellow tail. The orange spots have
depth and appear gritty like sand paper. The tank is 1 month old
but I had the water tested and pH 7.2, no nitrates/nitrites and
they said everything else looked good. The fish is fine
otherwise. So far I have treated with API aquarium salt for 2
days with no change. Any suggestions would be appreciated. The
tank has 7 guppies and 2 Cory cats in it.
<Mmm, I wouldn't be overly concerned here... colour
changes in guppies are not uncommon. The texture note? May also
be due to color expression. Bob Fenner>
Orange spots on a Yellow Tail Guppy. Neale's
better go 3/9/10
This fish had a completely yellow tail. The orange spots have
depth and appear gritty like sand paper. The tank is 1 month old
but I had the water tested and pH 7.2, no nitrates/nitrites and
they said everything else looked good. The fish is fine
otherwise. So far I have treated with API aquarium salt for 2
days with no change. Any suggestions would be appreciated. The
tank has 7 guppies and 2 Cory
cats in it.
<Almost certainly Finrot. Even if the water is good now, it
clearly wasn't in the past, and it does take 4-6 weeks for
new aquaria to become cycled.
So this fish needs to be treated with some sort of antibiotic or
antibacterial. Avoid tea-tree oil medications as these aren't
reliable, and salt will make little/no difference either way.
Guppies need hard, basic water at least 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5,
and in softer water than that tend to be sickly. Keeping Fancy
Guppies in the cool conditions Corydoras appreciate isn't
recommended; Corydoras are best around 22-24 C, whereas Fancy
Guppies invariably do better kept around 28-30 C. Cheers,
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.>
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 liter tank is just over 6 gallons, so good choices for a tank this
size would be things like a Betta or various small shrimps.>
A Guppy Situation -- 02/12/10
Hi there. I have a problem with one of my female guppies. I bought her
earlier today even though I shouldn't because she is in fact
<If you buy a female Guppy from a tank containing sexually mature
males and females, that female will be pregnant.>
I bought her with another boxy pregnant female and a very nice looking
male. Well anyway, she started out okay in my 5 gal tank with water
around 80 degrees, if not, only a little bit lower.
<This is rather too small a tank for Guppies; would recommend not
less than 15 gallons. Males Guppies are semi-aggressive towards each
other, and extremely annoying towards the females.>
Everything seems to be okay with the water and I tried not have the
light on too much. Now I know she should be nervous because she's
big and carrying and I've moved her, but I'd like to know
whether she may die or not.
<Not from being moved, no. But being moved from one set of water
chemistry conditions to another is stressful, and if the new aquarium
has poor water quality or aggressive tankmates, that can also cause
She has the "shimmies" or shakes and her head is up, while
her tail is down in a vertical stance.
<Yes, this sounds like the Shimmies. This is almost always an
environmental thing, so review water chemistry, water quality, and
temperature. Given the right conditions, will fix itself. Although not
essential, maintaining Guppies in slightly brackish conditions (3-5
grammes marine salt mix per litre) helps a good deal, especially if you
live in a soft water area.>
Every time something hits the floor or the stand that they're on
she freaks out and jumps. She keeps sinking and/or goes to the top,
breathing heavily as if gasping for air. I had her originally in a
breeder box with a divider so the other female could be in there too.
Recently I moved her out because I felt so bad and guilty for
something... I don't know what I did wrong other than bringing her
home... I have bigger tanks, but they're home to Koi, comet, Oscar,
crayfish, Pleco, and Arowana. Of course I am breeding guppies for
feeders, but I also choose to keep them as pets for their beautiful
color. WHAT DO I DO!? I know I have to wait, but I don't want her
to die without me trying to do something!!!
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
male guppies dying, no useful data, reading
hello I currently purchased 3 female and 2 male fancy guppies about a
week ago. Well about 2 days later 1 of my male guppies died no clue why
but my 4 females and 2, 4 month old guppy babies where doing fine. Well
about 2 days after that my last male guppy died once again no clue why.
Now all my fish are fine and had no more die. Why are just the male
<... read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
My female guppy is upside down, barely moving.
Hi, I'm wondering what I should do, or what I can do about my guppy
that is laying upside down on the bottom of the 'hospital tank'
and is continually getting weaker each day.
<First of all, check the hospital tank provides at least good
conditions as the display tank. No point at all moving a sick fish into
a small, uncycled aquarium with the wrong water chemistry. Guppies need
tanks upwards of 15 gallons, and the water should be warm (25-30 C),
basic (pH 7.5 to 8), and at least moderately hard (10+ degrees dH).
While not strictly necessary, adding 2-3 grammes of MARINE salt mix per
litre of water helps raise carbonate hardness (something plain aquarium
tonic salt won't do) as well as salinity, and these two things have
a very therapeutic effect on Guppies. This small amount of marine salt
mix (Reef Crystals, Instant Ocean, etc.) won't harm other
livebearers, in fact they'll like it, but some soft water tropical
fish may object. But you wouldn't be keeping Guppies with soft
water fish anyway; not if you're smart, at least.>
A couple days ago, I found that she had fungus growing on her gills and
is refusing food so I ran out of the house to buy some medication and
bought Maroxy from my local PetSmart and returned home.
<Fungus on the gills is pretty unlikely, or at least implies
incredibly poor health. Guppies are NOT hardy, at least not if you buy
So you need to bear that in mind when you keep them. Provide optimal
conditions, and treat them gently. See here:
Most sickness comes down to poor water quality (non-zero ammonia and
nitrite) and the wrong water chemistry (too soft and acidic,
After I had opened it, I read the pamphlet that came with it and found
out that it was the wrong medication and saw that her gills were
swollen along with the fungus growing on it.
<Maroxy is a lightweight, multipurpose medication for treating
slight infections, or rather, preventing wounds becoming infected. It
wouldn't be my first choice for anything severe. If you can't
distinguish between Finrot, Fungus, and "Mouth Fungus"
(Columnaris, a bacterial infection) choose a strong medication that
treats all three: for example eSHa 2000 or Seachem Paraguard.>
I returned to the PetSmart and bought Maracyn two and quickly changed
her water and she turned upside down for some reason and won't turn
upright again. Is it her time to go?
By the way, I put in both the Maroxy and Maracyn two.
<Randomly adding medications is never wise. First of all, identify
why the fish is sick. Secondly, diagnose the problem. Only last of all
choose your medication.
My female guppy is upside down, barely moving.
1/8/10 RMF's go
Hi, I'm wondering what I should do, or what I can do about my guppy
that is laying upside down on the bottom of the 'hospital tank'
and is continually getting weaker each day.
<Mmm, let's see if there is something to do>
A couple days ago, I found that she had fungus growing on her gills
<A very bad sign... What led to this situation?>
and is refusing food so I ran out of the house to buy some medication
and bought Maroxy from my local PetSmart and returned home. After I had
opened it, I read the pamphlet that came with it and found out that it
was the wrong medication and saw that her gills were swollen along with
the fungus growing on it. I returned to the PetSmart and bought Maracyn
two and quickly changed her water and she turned upside down for some
reason and won't turn upright again. Is it her time to go?
By the way, I put in both the Maroxy and Maracyn two.
<These are fine together (I used to answer Mardel's
"800" calls)... Again, what is/are the root cause/s of the
problem here? Please read here:
and the linked files above, particularly the FAQs series on
Health/Disease and Systems. Do write back with pertinent data, history.
This fish may be best euthanized. See WWM re. Bob Fenner>
sick guppy 12/28/09
Hello. I tried to look up any FAQ on your site about my problem but
failed to find anything.
<Oh? Here's a good place to start:
Most fish diseases are limited to a very small clutch of completely
I will admit, however, that I am a fish hobby novice so I'm not
very well versed on how to go about finding the information that I need
anyway. I have a four month old tank with 6 Neons, 1 Cory catfish,
<A social species... will not be happy singly; keep 5 or
<Hope you realise this fish needs at least 210 l/55 US gal., as well
as massive filtration. An extremely bad choice for beginners, and
contrary to what the retailer might suggest, neither cleans the tank
nor eliminates algae. Indeed, more likely to make both problems
6 platys and 9 guppies. I recently noticed that one of my female
guppies had a small white growth on her side just behind her fin.
<Could be either Finrot or Fungus. See the page already mentioned,
and act accordingly. In both cases, usually caused by poor
environmental conditions, often triggered in the first place by
physical damage. Since livebearers need hard, basic water, they often
become sickly in soft, acidic water conditions. Platies prefer cool
water (around 22-25 C), while Guppies need warm water (28-30 C), so the
two species don't mix well and shouldn't be kept together. All
livebearers should be kept in single sex groups or as one male to two
(or more females). Males are aggressive, and often nip the females, as
well as stressing them in other ways too.>
I kept a close eye on her to monitor whether her behavior changed at
After three days I noticed that she stopped eating and stayed pretty
close to the top of the tank. I did a water change and kept further
<"Watching" is fine, but you should be prepared to treat
Two days later she was not only still hanging out at the top of the
tank, but the growth had doubled in size, and started to look like
fungus. On top of this I appeared as though the scales around the site
were separating from her body.
<Treat the darn fish already...!>
It has now been a week and the growth hangs off of her side and seemed
to be shedding from her body.
I have noticed since it started this that there is a dark red spot
under this growth. She looks bloated and still won't eat. Is there
a parasite that causes this that I am missing in my online search or is
this how fungus acts?
<Sounds like Finrot.>
I have medicated that tank with Jungle Brand Fungus Eliminator, but it
does not appear to be helping, and I notice that I have another female
guppy starting to show the same symptoms. All other fish in the tank
appear completely healthy and have good appetites.
<Here's the thing. New aquarists often provide very poor water
Guppies and Platies need hard (10+ degrees dH) water with basic pH
(7.5-8.2). Contrary to popular misconception, adding salt neither
raises hardness nor pH, so if you're adding salt, you haven't
understood water chemistry. Marine aquarium salt mix can raise hardness
and pH, but this is different to the cheap tonic/aquarium salt sold by
retailers to inexperienced fishkeepers. Zero ammonia and zero nitrite
are extremely important. For these, the aquarium needs to be of
adequate size (at least 20 gallons just for Corydoras, Guppies and
Platies, and three or four times that size with a Plec added to the
mix). Filtration should be substantial and the tank should have been
cycled using a source of ammonia *before* adding any fish. A common
mistake is to set up the tank, throw in the fish, and hope for the
best. Anyway, simply because some fish are healthy doesn't mean
things are otherwise fine. Look around you: we're in the midst of a
flu epidemic, and yet most people seem healthy. Luck, diet, genes and
other factors come into play, and some fish will sicken before others
when exposed to poor conditions.
<Sorry, I hit the "send" before adding: Cheers,
re: sick guppy
Thanks, Neale, for your prompt (albeit slightly curt) response.
I suppose I deserve it though since you are correct in the assumption
that I did not do nearly enough research before stocking my tank.
<Not an uncommon situation.>
A mistake I will not make again, I can assure you.
The tank is 30 gallons and was cycled according to your (and other
website) recommendations. I had the aquarium center check my water
conditions to make sure that the water was ideal before purchasing the
fish, and no, I did NOT know that the Pleco had those tank
<Again, not an uncommon event.>
Perhaps the aquarium center will take it back.
I followed their instructions to the letter getting my tank set up in
the first place, and they suggested that I have one, so I suppose that
was my gullibility and lack of research rearing it's ugly head.
<Hence my mentioning it.>
I also did not know that the Cory needed company, I was told to only
get one for my tank size.
All that I have read so far (until I found your site) about guppies and
platys is that they are community fish that can live quite tolerably
together as far as temperament, but I will admit that a couple of
internet sources and the aquarium center where I purchased the fish
have been my only sources for any information to date.
<The phrase "community fish" merely means a fish is not
predatory and not aggressive, so can be kept with other fish. It
doesn't mean that all community fish can be kept together in the
same tank. Angelfish are community fish, and so are Neons, but
Angelfish eat Neons so you wouldn't keep them together. So I say
again, while shopping for community fish is a step in the right
direction, you do have to follow this up with confirming via some
published resource that species X shares the same requirements (water
chemistry and temperature in particular) as species Y and Z you already
I keep the PH level at a constant 8.0, I use marine aquarium salt at
water changes upon the recommendation of the store where I got the
fish, and there is no ammonia or nitrite present in my water (I keep a
constant watch on that).
I have researched your site about Finrot and different fungi, and
according to pictures of Finrot that I have looked at on the internet,
this is not what the guppy appears to have.
<Finrot is classically revealed by erosion of the fin membranes from
the fin edges inwards, hence the name. But it is merely a bacterial
infection of the epidermis, and other symptoms can include things like
sores and patches of dead white skin. In advanced cases it becomes a
systemic infection, i.e., septicaemia, and you end up dealing with
abdominal swelling, ulcers, etc.>
After the growth fell away from her, it left a small red
'bruise' on her side behind her fin, but her fin is otherwise
<As I say, Finrot and Fungus are so common in newly set up tanks
that they are always worth checking for.>
Other than this bruise and the fact that she won't eat, there
appear to be no other signs of illness. I took a look at your link and
the descriptions of fish diseases from a few other places and thought
perhaps that it might be Columnaris, but there is no presence of
ammonia or nitrite in the water.
<Physical damage, e.g., clumsy netting by the aquarist or fin
nipping / fighting between fish will sometimes cause Finrot and/or
One possibility is that the filtration is not sufficient, but I have
undergravel filtration so I will be honest that I'm not sure what
to do about that. I was also wondering, is Dwarf Gourami Disease
contagious for other species of fish or just other gouramis?
<Not really, no. While there are reports of the virus affecting
certain wild fish species, other than Colisa lalia, I'm not aware
of any cross infections to aquarium species. Furthermore,
distinguishing true Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus from simple Finrot is
difficult, and the same symptoms can also be produced by Mycobacteria
infections. These latter absolutely can affect a wide range of species.
Again, while the bacteria involved are disease-causing, fish become
susceptible usually because of poor diet, poor environment or other
sources of stress.>
I had 3 Dwarf Gouramis (yes, the place that I bought the fish from said
that they would live quite well with guppies and platys...apparently I
was persuaded into just buying fish, not necessarily the right
<Indeed. I don't want to make you feel bad, but I do want to
stress that almost all fish sickness can be prevented, and choosing the
right species ahead of the time is a huge factor. We're here to
help, and would be more than happy to listen to your ideas on what fish
you want to buy, and would then let you know which species would work
and which ones wouldn't.>
As I stated before, I will do more research next time, so please
don't tear into me too much).
<Not my intention at all.>
Two died within days, but the last one died two weeks ago and it had
the same type of 'bruise' on it's side. I have 6 female
guppies and 3 males...also one female gave birth, and I was able to
save and quarantine 4 of the fry.
I would really like to save the rest of the tank if possible. Thanks
for your help.
<Personally, would get a combination Finrot/Fungus medication, like
Seachem Paraguard or eSHa 2000, and treat on the assumption one or
other of these is causing the problem. Cheers, Neale.>
re: sick guppy
Thanks, I will try that! By the way, I have been looking more closely
at your site and it's an amazing source of information! Thank you
very much for your help!
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
guppy... chunk missing 12/17/09
hello I just recently noticed a chunk of my guppies head was missing
and she is swimming and acting bad.
<A chunk missing? As in bitten off? In which case, review the
Angelfish for example can, will eat Guppies. But if we're talking
about something like an ulcer, then it is almost certainly a water
quality issue. In short, Finrot.>
I just got her about 1 and a half weeks ago and never saw it so I
don't think she had it the whole time. But it looks kind of caved
in or something and is pretty red.
<Does sound like Finrot.>
I have had trouble with fungus before all my fish died but I did try to
treat it that was about 3 months ago.
<Treating for Fungus or Finrot is POINTLESS unless you identify why
your fish are sick in the first place. Almost always, the problem is
overstocking and poor filtration.>
Also I did have Planaria worms I think that's what it was but I
don't think I do anymore.
<Planarians do best in dirty tanks. Again, check the environment.
Guppies need a tank upwards of 15 gallons, and the filter should have a
turnover of not less than 4 times the volume of the tank (i.e., a
minimum 60 gallon/hour filter for a 15 gallon tank). Water chemistry
should be hard and basic (10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5-8.0). Water
temperature should be a little on the warm side, 26-28 C/79-82
So what could this be and do u think it will hurt my other fish?
<Yes. Cheers, Neale.>
Ich with guppies and newborn fry 11/28/09
I read your thread about Ich and it looks like we should be considering
salt as opposed to "Ich Attack" for our fish.
<Yes, salt/heat is generally safer than standard medications. Since
Guppies are very tolerant of salt, you can keep them in brackish water
conditions and consequently never get Whitespot/Ick or Velvet.>
Here's what we have in our 10 gallon tank:
<Not wild about 10 gallon tanks for Guppies, given how aggressive
the males become.>
2 male guppies (separated by divider) 2 female guppies, 2 upside-down
catfish (male side),
<Tank is too small for Upside-down Catfish; these get to about 8
cm/3 inches in length, and are quite boisterous things.>
8 - 3 week old fry on male side and 3 - 3 week old fry on female side.
This morning we noticed a cloud of newborn fry (both sides). The
problem is we think we have Ich - some of the older fry have what look
like little crystals on their bodies & tails. They are acting fine.
However, one of our adult females, who looked as if she had been sick
for a while but was coming around, just died. We had noticed what
looked like the scales on her back were standing up and shining white,
but it was probably Ich.
<Remove the Upside-down Catfish to a tank of appropriate size. Then
raise the salinity in the Guppy-only tank to SG 1.003 at 25 degrees C
(about 6 grammes salt -- or better still, marine salt mix -- per
litre). Run the tank like this forever, if you want: your Guppies will
be hardier and happier, and unlikely to get sick unless you do
something really silly. The catfish will not tolerate this amount of
salt. If you choose to do the
salt/heat method with the catfish, you'll have to use much less
salt; something like 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per 3.75 litres /1 US
gallon. Should still work, but less quickly and perhaps less reliably,
have quite the same tonic effect on the fish.>
Since we have this influx of newborn fry, I am unsure how to treat - if
"Ich Attach" will kill them.
<Yes, will work. Some risk to the fry, but not substantial. Even if
some fry die, you'll have a billion more before you know
And if you recommend salt instead, or along with it, can you describe
how to do that (container, how to deal with divider)?
<See above; also read WWM re: Ick.>
We have a filter that waterfalls water back in and a heater (temp is in
the mid-70s). I am not sure the filter is able to work efficiently due
to the divider in the tank.
<Your suspicions are correct: by definition, anything that divides
the tank up also reduces water flow.>
We've removed the carbon filter because we noticed the Ich
(that's what the aquarium guy told us it may be) and were going to
treat. I'd used tea tree oil 2 days in a row a few days ago but did
not add today when I saw the newborn fry.
<Tea-tree oil products are largely preventatives rather than cure,
and have zero impact on Ick anyway.>
thanks for your help!
problem is that I
have had two guppies and they didn't gain wait
backs started to bend and they could not swim as well they ate a lot
and one already died I
was wondering what it is and what can I
do to prevent this happening I
have like 15
<Like "15" but not actually "15"...? Don't
really understand this...>
guppies and 2 angel fish what should I
<...I... hmm... lower-case "I" for the first-person
singular is often taken
to imply chronic lack of self-worth, not a good way to present
<Hello Stacey. Please do note that we ask people to run their
messages through a spell checker before they send them out to us. It
makes my job easier, and since I'm a volunteer, anything you can do
to make it easier for me to understand your problem is much appreciated
(as well as good manner). Right, as to your problem with Guppies. The
first thing is to make sure you're keeping them properly. You need
a tank at least 20 gallons in size if you're mixing them with
Angelfish, and of course Angelfish will eat small male Guppies, so the
mix isn't a particularly wise one. Guppies need fairly warm water,
I'd say around 26-28 C, and the water should be hard (10-25 degrees
dH) and basic (pH 7.5). Guppies will not survive for long in soft,
acidic water. Also, despite their reputation as "beginner's
fish", Guppies need to be kept in clean, well-filtered water; 0
ammonia and 0 nitrite are essential. Would suggest you start by reading
Now, if you are very unlucky, you may be dealing with one of the
chronic Wasting Diseases caused by Mycobacteria infections. These are
rare, but they do exist, and Guppies are one of the species for which
Wasting Disease has been observed. There is nothing you can do to treat
Mycobacteria infections, and if your local retailer sells Guppies that
are so infected, stop buying them, and instead find another source,
perhaps through your local fish club. If I was a betting man, I'd
say you have about a 90% chance of environmental conditions being the
issue, but there's a 10% chance it's Wasting Disease. So rather
than using Wasting Disease as an "excuse" (the temptation, I
know) I'd be open-minded about how you're keeping them, and
only if you're absolutely sure you're doing everything right,
put your losses down to Wasting Disease. Cheers, Neale.>
Guppy Deaths 10/7/09
We have a 60 litre fish tank with an Elite Stingray 15 filter for up to
75 litre tanks.
<Not a particularly good filter, unfortunately. And honestly, 60
litres/15 gallons isn't enough for the numbers of fish you seem to
be keeping. Male guppies are fairly aggressive, and I don't
recommend guppies be kept in tanks less than 90 l/20 gal.>
It was set up 15 weeks ago. We gradually stoked with fish, starting
with 2 neon and 2 guppies, followed 2 weeks later with 4 more neon.
Then after another week, we added 2 Dwarf Gouramis, another week and we
added a male fighter.
<Did you do any research on what these fish need? Guppies need hard,
basic water; Neons soft and acidic, or at least, not particularly hard.
Neons need fairly cool water, around 22-24 C, whereas Fancy Guppies
need warm water, 25-28 C being optimal. Gouramis also need warm water,
as do Bettas.
Bettas and Gouramis don't get on, and Neons fin-nip Bettas.
It's very important to read up on the needs of fish *prior* to
purchase. Keeping fish together that have different water chemistry
requirements or temperature requirements means at least some of them
will be exposed to suboptimal conditions. Social behaviour issues lead
to stress, and stressed fish are prone to sickness. Do buy an aquarium
book, or at least, borrow one from the library.>
After a two more weeks, we added 6 glow light tetra. All was well. A
month later, the male fighter suddenly died. He showed no obvious sign
<Could be anything. How did you cycle this aquarium?>
I had been doing a 10% water change every week, so I did a 25% water
change, just in case something was amiss. I had the water tested the
day the fighter died, but there didn't seem to be anything
<The thing with having water tested hours after the fish died, is it
doesn't tell you *anything* about what might have caused the
Suppose there's a nitrite or ammonia spike shortly after feeding,
perhaps because the tank isn't properly cycled. The fish gets
stressed, dies a few hours later. By the time you take some water to
the pet shop, the tank has been running with fewer fish (one died!) and
the ammonia and nitrite spike following feeding time as faded
However, the Dwarf Gouramis seem a little listless and are not eating
as much. Their top fin seems to be down and they look a little thin and
perhaps paler in colour than they used to be.
<Dwarf Gouramis are sensitive fish, easily prone to ill-health if
environmental conditions are poor. The combination of a small tank and
a fairly rubbish filter could easily explain this.>
Four days ago, we added 4 guppies and 2 red nosed tetra.
<Why are you *adding* fish when stuff keeps dying? Slow
The guppies died, one each night. I explained the situation to the guy
at the aquatic centre, who said it was likely that the Dwarf Gouramis
had internal bacteria which killed the new fish when they were
<He's talking rubbish.>
He sold me Interpet Anti Internal Bacteria treatment.
<Never yet seen this product cure anything.>
The instructions say to remove any filter containing carbon. But, being
a novice, I can't see that you can remove the filter for 4 days
without killing all the fish!
<You remove just the carbon. One of the problems with these cheap
plastic filters is they rely on filter media cartridges. These limit
your flexibility when it comes to adding media. For a standard
community tank, all you really need is a bit of mechanical media (to
trap silt) and lots of biological media (to process ammonia and
nitrite). Carbon and ammonia remover (Zeolite) are largely
Any ideas on this whole situation would be much appreciated.
<Read. Many bad decisions made here.
Buy, at minimum, a nitrite test kit and test your water daily for the
first couple of weeks. Go easy with feeding. Get rid of fish you
can't keep in a tank this size (essentially, only Neons and
Glowlights are sensible choices, but they don't like hard, basic
water, so that may be a factor).
For beginners, the worst possible start is to buy a tank smaller than
20 gallons. No point to smaller tanks at all. Difficult to stock,
difficult to run. Any "economy" when buying smaller tanks is
completely lost when fish start dying and you end up buying all kinds
of medications. Much written about this here at WWM, and we're
always happy to offer advice even before you spend any money at
My guppy fish
Help!! 6 of my baby guppies have died!!! :( -- 09/19/09
They are in a 2.5 gallon tank with a heater and a sponge filter... I do
daily 50% water changes, or 50% water changes once every 2 days...
<This may be too much>
I've tested the water and it shows 0 ppm of ammonia, nitrite and
10ppm of nitrates... the remaining survivors are in a breeding trap in
my main tank... My angelfish are constantly trying to eat them
<What they do>
but that is the best thing I can do... What shall I do??? Can I rear
this fry in the breeding trap till they are old enough to not be
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: my guppy fish 9/25/09
My guppy fry are 2 weeks old now, they had grown tremendously over the
period of 2 weeks.
My problem is that most of them had died. They seemed to die of one by
<Have you fed them enough?>
I tested my water parameters and its shows 0ppm of ammonia, nitrite and
10ppm of nitrate. the ph is 6 because they are in a 47 gallon
high-lighted co2 injected tank.
<The pH is far too low! Aim for pH 7.5 to 8. I'm sure we've
discussed this before. If the tank only contains Guppies, then the use
of MARINE aquarium salt mix (not common aquarium or tonic salt) will
work fine, at a dose of about 6 to 9 grammes per litre. If there are
other, non-salt-tolerant fish in this aquarium, then use a Rift Valley
cichlid salt mix such as the one described here:
For livebearers, use at about 50% the recommended dosage.>
They are currently in a breeder trap. 10 out of 24 died in a separate
2.5 gallon tank a week ago (the water has no ammonia, nitrate with a
little bit of nitrate) so I moved them to my main tank. I don't
know why they are dying, I feed them baby brine shrimp, Microworms, and
crushed quality flakes. Their bellies are fat and healthy, they are all
active but they just suddenly die of. Before they die, their gills seem
to enlarge and their bellies get skinnier. They are listless and
can't balance properly.
What is wrong?
I think that there is a disease in my tank because my harlequins and
angelfish have white spots on their fins. I'm 100% sure that its
not Ich because I had it before and these white spots are not tiny but
<Incipient Finrot. Check water quality. At pH 6, biological
filtration will be working very poorly. Again, use a Rift Valley
cichlid salt mix at 25-50% the dosages described in that article to
harden the water in a community tank.>
I don't think they are fungus either because its not fluffy.
Instead it looks like that the fish's fins suddenly turned white
and it spreads over the body. The angelfish have spots on their fins (
not as small as Ich but not too big either). The fins of harlequins are
strange, the disease seems to effect only one fin. It turns one of
their fins white, whether its the dorsal or the other fins. One or two
of the harlequins have the white stuff spreading over their body. Any
suggestions on what is happening??
<Fix water chemistry, quality. Treat as per Finrot.>
Re: my guppy fish 9/27/09
I had added some baking soda and magnesium sulfate (gH booster) to my
This had increased the ph from 6/below to 6.6... I will aim for 7-7.5
in the next few days.
I'd moved the remaining guppy fry back to the 2.5g tank that is
constantly monitored for ammonia and nitrites... About the Finrot
outbreak in the main tank, what antibiotics do you recommend for
<Anything other than Melafix.>
I have no idea what to use. Should I treat with Melafix and Pimafix or
Maracyn and Maracyn 2??
<Personally, I prefer medications such as eSHa 2000 or Seachem
Paraguard, but people speak well of Maracyn.>
Do you recommend both or something else? should I treat with tonic
<Salt won't help bacterial infections.>
One of the harlequins have the 'Finrot' white fungus or
bacteria covering its body from the infected fin. It is struggling to
swim, its perfectly healthy but when it stops swimming, its body will
flip so it must constantly swim to balance or it will turn upside
down!! Will it recover if I give it antibiotics?
<Seachem Paraguard and eSHa 2000 treat Finrot, Fungus and Mouth
Fungus (Columnaris) so they should help.>
I tried to euthanize it but its just too fast!! It still eats normally
and acts like if nothing happens. The white area is swollen up. Any
thank you so much!
re: my guppy fish... Neale's out 9/30/09
my 47 gallon tank have a ph of 7.5 now. I fear that it will drop back
to 6 over time as that's what it always do. In my 2.5 gallon tank,
the ph is already 7.5 (ph of tap water) and I added half a piece of
cuttlefish bone to gradually maintain that ph.
<Worth trying... but this form of CaCO3 is not very water
Should I still need to add marine salt? If so, is the brand
'Instant Ocean' recommended?
<I would and yes>
I've currently added 6 teaspoons (6 grams each) of tonic salt to
the small guppy fry tank with one fry remaining. I was very
disappointed with the stuff that the pet stores in new Zealand has to
offer. Even the fish specialist stores doesn't sell
<Likely proscribed there>
So I bought Melafix
<Worthless... Please see WWM before writing us>
and tonic salt. Hopefully they would work... the other solution is to
buy antibiotics online but that would take 2 weeks or more to arrive
here and it would've been too late. I treated as per instructions
with Melafix and
14 teaspoons of tonic salt (1 tablespoon is 3 teaspoons) to my 47
The recommended dosage
is 27 teaspoons of tonic salt. Should I do so?
<? What is this "tonic"? Most are of little value,
Also I need to treat the tank with Melafix for 7 days before a water
change. Will the plants and fish be ok if I leave the salt in full dose
for 7 days?
<... depends on what is in this product. "Fix"es have been
known to interrupt nitrification/cycling...>
I have Otos and Corys which I am worried about as they are both
catfishes. Do you have any other methods of curing my fishes??
I'd noticed that after the treatment yesterday, all of the severely
infected fish (3 in total, harlequins) started producing huge amounts
of mucus or slime coat over the infected area. They still clamp their
fins. Is the slime coat helping them? the other fishes are infected
also but show no reactions at all.
please help me!
<Please learn to/use the search tool on WWM, the indices. Start
reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppydisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Guppy question! Hlth. 09/14/09
<McCoy! Uh, Michelle>
I have a few questions about guppies, they reside in a 33 gallon tank,
with some plants and snails.
I understand that it can be quite normal for the males to harass the
females. I was curious if it is normal for the males to particularly
harass 1 female and ignore the other girls.
They are all pregnant (time to get another tank!) This particular
female has given birth twice already and has been bloated for a while
even when she was not pregnant. Is this normal?
<Not normal to float, no>
Also one thing that bugs me and so far have had no luck finding the
answer to this: Recently, while gazing into the tank I noticed a green
worm like thing (aprox 1/2 inch) climbing on the glass. I removed it
from the tank immediately, which killed it. I am quite curious what
this creature was.
Any ideas? It seemed as if it were sucking on the glass.
<There are many such worms... Most all are innocuous>
Also, I have treated 2 guppies (separate tanks from the others) for Ick
for quite some time. About 2 weeks now, I have removed the active
carbon from the filter as well, changed about 15-30% of the water each
time (although I
will not lie, there have been a few times where I have forgotten to do
so :( ) They are still rubbing their bodies on the gravel. One of them
just sits their at the bottom moving occasionally ( for about a month)
I would love it if there's something I could do to help them back
to their health.
<Mmm, please read here:
and the linked files above... Need to know more, relate quite a
I have treated the guppies with Ich-X which says it treats
Trichodiniasis, Ich, Velvet and Saprolegniasis.
<Mmm: formaldehyde (<5%), methanol (<2%), malachite green
Quite toxic... exposure could result in the behavior you list, even
<Read on! Bob Fenner>
Male Guppy with red/orange spots on tail
I set up an aquarium for the first time about three months ago.
Following the instructions from the fish shop I ran the tank for three
weeks and had the water tested before introducing any fish.
<With or without adding ammonia, fish food, or something else to
start the biological filter? An aquarium without livestock is just a
box filled with water. Until you add a source of ammonia for filter
bacteria to "eat", the tank won't mature. Normally, when
running in a new tank, people add a certain amount of ammonia (from a
hardware store) or else a pinch of flake food every day or two.
Let's say you do the flake food technique. The flake food gets
sucked into the filter, decays, and as it does so, produces ammonia.
This "feeds" the filter bacteria, so that after X number of
weeks (typically 4-6 weeks) the ammonia and nitrite levels in the tank
drop to zero because the filter is fully matured. You can now add some
I then introduced 6 male guppies and a couple of weeks later once they
were settled in two bronze albino catfish. All seem to coexist together
<As is often the case... to begin with.>
Yesterday I noticed that once of the navy blue fantailed guppies has a
number of orangey red spots on his tail, there is also an orangey red
streak running through the centre of the tail. The fish is swimming and
feeding normally but I am concerned that the spots are due to some
disease or fungus.
<Finrot; almost certainly your tank is inadequately mature for the
fish you have. If you grab a nitrite test kit -- which, along with a pH
test kit is mandatory for beginners -- you'; almost certainly
detect a nitrite level above zero. Until such time as the nitrite level
is zero, your tank is not mature, and the fish are at risk.>
Are you able to advise what might be causing these spots and how best
to treat the fish?
<Finrot; treat using something such as eSHa 2000, a product widely
sold in the UK and very effective. Remember to remove carbon from the
filter while treating the tank (if you're using it, and you
needn't). Don't waste your time with salt or tea-tree oil
products; neither are helpful in this situation. Also, because it's
the water quality that is making your fish sick, do regular water
changes (25% every 2-4 days, ideally) until the nitrite level drops to
zero and stays there. For the fish you have, you will need at least 75
litres, and a filter rated at 4 times that in turnover per hour, i.e.,
300 litres/hour. If the tank is smaller than this, or the filter
slower, you're unlikely to ever have consistently good water
quality, especially once the fish are mature. Corydoras catfish, by the
way, need to be in groups of 5 or more specimens; in smaller groups
they pine, and often simply die. But don't add any more fish until
water quality is optimised!>
The fish provide so much pleasure and enjoyment I want to do all I can
to ensure their good health.
<Good luck, Neale.>
Fancy guppy... beh. 7/26/2009
Hello crew, love your site I get tons of info from you guys. I have a
29 g tank with all my water levels reading right. Live stock in the
tank, 2 Dwarf Gouramis, 2 Chinese algae eaters, 1 black moor,1 male
Betta, 5 small Endler's and 8 male guppies.
<You do realise that Endler Guppies and Common Guppies will
Provided you pass on any offspring as Common Guppies rather than
Endler's, then there's little harm in this. But pleased
don't give away such offspring as Endler Guppies! It is a constant
struggle to keep the Endler
Guppies in the hobby "pure" because of this problem.>
My question is why is one of my guppy's getting chased around by
one other male and two Endler's? Thank you very much for any
response and help you offer.
<It is in the nature if Guppies to chase. They are *not* peaceful,
schooling fish. In the wild males will chase one another away, hoping
to monopolise access to females. Males will also chase females, trying
to mate with them. The only 100% reliable way to keep Guppies without
aggression is to [a] make sure the tank is big enough, 20 gallons
upwards; [b] keep two or more females per male; and [c] to stock the
tank with lots of floating plants. Floating plants, such as Indian Fern
(Ceratopteris spp.) are important because Guppies are surface fish, so
they use hiding places at the top of the tank, not at the
I hope this grammar is appropriate I don't want to bump heads with
<Not a question of "bumping heads" really. More about
making your question, and my reply, easier for other people to read.
Not all our site visitors have English as their first language. For
such people, as well as those with learning difficulties, careful
grammar and spelling makes reading much easier. Anyway, hope this
helps! Cheers, Neale.>
Ill Guppy? 7/26/2009
I have had 2 male guppies for about 5 months. Both Happy & healthy
and water is perfect.
<By which you mean the water is hard and basic (10+ degrees dH, pH
7-8) and with zero ammonia and nitrite? I mention this because not
everyone's idea of "perfect" matches mine...>
But all of a sudden one of the guppies has something pinky/red
protruding from it's anus.
<Ah, yes, usually Camallanus worms; see article linked below for
descriptions and medications.
Not uncommon among livebearers, and potentially treatable, though how
easy it will be to get appropriate drugs varies from country to
country. In the UK, you may need to approach a vet. Left untreated, it
will eventually cause the death of the sick fish, and potentially, all
the others exposed to that sick fish as well.>
I was just interested to know what it was or why it's happened and
if there's anything I can do for the fish?
<The "why" is largely poor husbandry. Guppies are bred to
a price rather than quality, and while "cheap" fish might
seem like bargains, the flip side is that to cheaply produce profitable
fish, less care will be taken in terms of health.>
Would really appreciate an answer from you.
Many Thanks, Zoe
<Good luck, Neale.>
Sick fancy guppy 7/19/09
I have a couple of questions for you.
First is about a male fancy guppy I have. I've just noticed he has
a rather large round swelling on his upper abdomen. I'm worried
that it's likely a tumor of some sort.
<Not uncommon with inbred "fancy" fish. If the lump is
asymmetrical, i.e., bigger on one side of the body than the other, then
a tumour is a good explanation. If the fish is swollen evenly on both
sides, then constipation could be an issue, and if the swelling is such
that the scales are raised and the fish looks like a pine-cone when
viewed from above, it's dropsy (oedema).>
I hadn't noticed it a few days ago. He is in a 20 gallon tank with
6 other male guppies. I haven't had any water quality issues (that
I'm aware of) and all the other fish seem to be fine. Interestingly
enough he is an odd shape for a male guppy, kinda crooked, not slim and
streamlined like the other guppies, and he's always been this way.
I guess I'm just wondering if this sounds like it could possibly be
something treatable that I should look into more or if it really just
sounds bad and I should watch for quality of life?
<Sounds like it's simply deformed, which again, is very common
with inbred fancy Guppies.>
Once I discovered his new deformity I separated him from the other fish
(some of the other boys have a tendency to chase him around
<Good move. If things are bad for the fish and it can't enjoy
it's life, then euthanasia is an option.
Otherwise, just keep him happy but preferably away from females so any
possible bad genes aren't passed on.>
Other question, in my other tank I have 15 female fancy guppies in a 55
gallon tank. On of these fish has been getting "droopy"
slowly over the last couple of months, her tail sags far below the rest
of her body and she swims funny. Over the last couple of weeks I
noticed that she seems skinnier than normal, like she doesn't have
the round belly that they typically have, and I haven't decided if
she is actually skinny or if it's due to her malformation. She
seems to be eating ok and acting normal. Could this just be a (semi)
normal aging process for guppies, or do you think I need to be
<Depends. If you have good water quality and water chemistry, then a
single sick-looking fish is not too much of a deal. For Guppies,
you're aiming for pH 7.5 to 8, and hard water around 10-25 degrees
dH. If Guppies are the only fish in the tank, adding marine salt mix
(rather than generic aquarium salt) will stabilise the pH and hardness
while adding a little salinity, something that seems to ensure better
all-around health. You don't need much salt; 3-5 grammes per litre
I should mention that I've had both of these fish since I first got
guppies, about 1 year ago.
My last question, should be an easy one I hope. What is acceptable life
expectancy for fancy guppies? Are my 1-1.5 year old guppies becoming
<They should get to about three years in captivity, perhaps a little
Or are they just getting sick?
Female Guppy - Believed to be pregnant, interesting
Thank you for all the useful information available on your site.
I am new to having fish and am looking for a few answers.
I have a 26 gallon bow front aquarium with the following
1 Cory Catfish
<Really should be kept in a group; they're schooling fish!
Singletons are pretty miserable. Get four more.>
3 Pearl Danios
<Likewise, a schooling species.>
2 Rasboras (I think that's their name; they have a black
triangle on their side)
<Again, a schooling fish.>
4 Guppies (2 Male, 2 Female at the suggestion of our local Pet
<A bad suggestion, mostly made because they want to sell them
Male Guppies are notorious with regard to "sexual
harassment" and persecute the females when kept in small
tanks. We always recommend at least twice as many females as
males, and personally, I keep three females per male livebearer.
Reduces stress, and the females are much happier.>
**We had two guppies (both male) when we first set up the tank
and one of them started getting really big on the underside. I
took it to the shop before it died and they said it was "a
genetic issue seen in fish from chain establishments ie
PetSmart". About a week later he expired. We didn't
think anything more was wrong.**
<Never come across this.>
We have had the tank set up for about two months. All of the fish
except the 3 Guppies and the 3 Danios have been in the tank since
we first set it up (well within 2 weeks of set-up). The water was
tested by the shop prior to adding these last six fish. The
results were as follows:
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
GH 8 dGH
KH 4 dKH
We did not do a partial water change before adding the new fish,
at the recommendation of the store.
<Strange recommendation! A 25% weekly water change is always a
good idea, whatever else you're doing.>
Now, five days later, we have noticed that both females look
pregnant. I talked with the shop and they said they probably are.
I am concerned that the female guppy may be going down the same
road as the guppy we did have that expired. However, this one is
female and that one was male.
Today I went back to the shop and had the water retested. The
results were pH 7.6
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrite trace (? - said nothing to worry about, siphon the gravel
and do a 25% water change; probably due to overfeeding getting
used to the number of fish)
<Any nitrite is worth worrying about. Can't say I'm
terribly impressed with this pet store so far. Siphoning gravel
made sense in this situation when people used undergravel
filters; as the gravel got clogged, turnover dropped, and
filtration efficiency declined. If you don't have an
undergravel filter it is still a good idea to keep the gravel
clean, but that won't make much difference either way with
regard to ammonia and nitrite, since most of the filtration is
going on in the filter.>
Nitrate 20 ppm
GH 8 dGH
KH 3 dKH
<A bit on the soft side for Guppies, but if they're happy
so far, no big deal.>
They recommended doing a partial water change and siphon of the
Since we thought the female guppy was pregnant and possibly about
to give birth, we placed her in a 3-Way Breeder inside the main
tank to protect the fry.
<Do understand females *hate* being in these things, and they
can cause miscarriages. Much better to stock the tank with Indian
Fern and other floating plants. The fry will hide among these
plants, and you can then net them out each day and pop them into
the breeding trap. After about 3-4 weeks they should be big
enough to work with most smallish community fish.>
Shortly after doing this we noticed she started "pushing
out" reddish, light brown round stuff. Sorry for the lack of
explanation but it's hard to describe. Whatever it is, it
does not appear to be moving at all and has fallen to the bottom
of the breeder.
<Think these are merely faeces, and not stillborn embryos,
which tend to be silvery.>
The other fish in the tank have come up to try and eat it (which
they obviously can't do through the plastic). At first we
assumed it was poop, but she has excreted about four more of
these things. Kinda like little sausages? I know I may be over
thinking things, but I would rather ask a stupid question and fix
something if need be than to let fish die. Anyway.
while taking pictures to send, some of the "stuff" fell
out and another fish ate it.
Do you have any idea what this might be?
Also, how often should I feed the fish in my tank?
<"A little but often" is a good rule; a portion of
food the size of a fish's eye is about right for one meal, if
offered 2-3 times a day. In any case, add food such that it all
vanishes within 30 seconds or so. Feed catfish at night, in the
case of a school of 5 Corydoras, one or two Hikari Algae Wafers
or similar 5-6 times per week should be ample. Regardless, the
aim is that your fish are gently rounded but not bloated.
Overfeeding doesn't kill, it's the water quality problems
that occur if uneaten food gets sucked into the filter that
causes sickness. So if your fish look healthy, and you have 0
ammonia and 0 nitrite, you're fine. For what it's worth,
your female Guppy looks healthily fed. With Corydoras, look at
their bellies, and check that the belly is slightly convex rather
I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for your help.
| Nematodes? RMF
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
Guppy problems.. 6/14/09
Several months ago I had a wonderful correspondence with you regarding
my guppy tank. It's a brackish system. A 29G fish only tank, with
an in tank sponge filter, fake plants, cave etc. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0,
Nitrate 20, SG 1.0025.
<Do you mean somewhere between 1.002 and 1.003, or seawater
salinity, 1.025? I've not come across a hobbyist hydrometer that
measures to four decimal places!>
Inhabitants: Fancy Tail Guppies; 2 males, 10 females and their fry. The
fry are regularly removed and fed to my frogs.
<One way to control numbers!>
Anyway, I do 30% water change and gravel vac weekly. I set this system
up in Nov 2008 and have had problems since then. Most recently in
Feb/March I was in touch regarding red spots on one male's tail
fin, and fading of two female's tails. After much back and forth
and testing and observation and even treatment with Furanace, I was
advised to let them be. It seemed it was likely just aggression. Since
then everything's been fine, until yesterday. One of my females
died suddenly. I didn't notice any strange behavior. She was VERY
large with fry, so I assumed she was resting at the surface a bit more
often due to her girth.
<As certainly happens.>
When I removed her I looked her over carefully and could not see any
evidence of fungus, parasites, or the like. I also tested my water, all
parameters were as stated above BUT the pH was 6.2!
<Ah, that's very stressful for Guppies, and indeed livebearers
KH was very low as well, less than 40 (GH over 300).
<Are you using marine salt mix or tonic salt (sometimes called
aquarium salt)? Marine salt mix contains carbonate hardness, and used
liberally should add the required alkalinity. If you're using
marine salt mix, consider upping the amount you add such that the
specific gravity is 1.005 at 25 degrees C; this is about 9 grammes per
litre. While this isn't good for live plants, Guppies will thrive
under such conditions.>
So I assume this had something to do with the death and began a slow
process of raising the pH with baking soda. I also added a bubble wand
because I read that the increased gas exchange can help with increasing
<Aeration does indeed drive off CO2, but the effect is negligible
unless the tank is heavily stocked.>
I have no idea what caused the pH to crash, but today I was looking a
bit more closely at the fish to see if anyone else looked
<The pH crash is related to the lack of alkalinity, i.e., carbonate
There are only 4 with anything "interesting". The female
who's tail fin faded at the first of the year has not recovered her
color. I honestly can't tell if it's just faded or if
there's a "white patch". The male who's had red spots
on his tail, has acquired a few more. One female seems to be having
trouble maintaining a horizontal position, especially at night. Another
female cannot close her mouth. I've checked and can see no
obstruction or "cottony" fungi or anything. She can and does
continue to eat. Her mouth is just agape. All of the fish, including
these four are behaving normally in all other ways. Everyone is
<I'd be aggressive about deciding which fish to keep; if you
have fish that simply linger rather than thrive, there's sometimes
mileage in euthanising the dodgy specimens and adding new specimens of
the best possible quality you can find. In some instances, the weak
fish are suffering from genetic or viral issues you can't do
anything about; limiting infection of other fish, and preventing their
genes getting into the babies, will all help in the long term.>
The faded female and the "vertical" female just had litters
last week, and the gaping female is due in a few days. They're all
eating, and swimming normally. No one's flashing or swimming
backward or resting on the bottom or at the surface. I just don't
know what I'm doing wrong. It's very distressing really.
I've read that the "swimming vertically" thing can be
damage to the swim bladder caused by mating or poor water
<Not sure how mating would cause damage to the swim bladder, but
yes, if the swim bladder is damaged or infected, yes, fish will swim
I'm not sure what, if anything, can be done about that. It seems
the faded tail, tail spots and gaping mouth might be consistent with
Columnaris, but can fish survive with Columnaris for MONTHS?
<Not usually no.>
<<All the "certified" cases/incidences of Columnaris I
am familiar with are/were very "fast onset" with Poeciliids
et al. perishing within hours to a day or two. RMF>>
Because that's how long the tail fin has been faded, and Mr. Fenner
suggested Columnaris as a possible source of the tail spots and fading
back in Feb. As usual, I apologize for the length of this question, but
I'm trying to give as much information as I can. Can you help?
<Have you used an antibiotic? If you have, e.g., Maracyn
(Erythromycin), consider switching to another, such as Maracyn II
(Minocycline) or Seachem PolyGuard (Sulfathiazole,
Any ideas on what I should do at this point?
Thanks in advance,
Re: Guppy problems.. -- 6/14/09
Thanks, as always for the prompt response. Let's see, yes, I meant
SG somewhere between 1.002 and 1.003.
Yes, I'm using Marine Salt Mix and can certainly increase the
<Would do so.>
Is it inappropriate to also use the baking soda?
<By all means, but I'd actually add some Epsom salt as well, as
per Rift Valley salt mix: 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt, one teaspoon
Baking Soda per 5 gallons, alongside however much marine salt mix
you're using. This will round out the mineral content of the water
a bit. Guppies enjoy "liquid rock" rather than salinity,
though they can be adapted to marine conditions, at least in the case
of wild/feral guppies.>
I've found in my Betta tank that baking soda has kept the pH
alkaline and (above all) stable. Not sure why it hasn't occurred to
me to use it in my other tanks as well. Are you suggesting I euthanize
all four of the
<I would if they're not getting better and haven't done so
There's no real point to keeping fish that could compromise any
healthy fish you add, either disease-wise or genetically. Do see WWM
re: humane modes of euthanasia.>
I'm not averse to the idea, just wanting to verify what you're
thinking. I was considering starting a treatment of Maracyn again.
<Would switch between antibiotics if one doesn't work; each
targets a particular subset of bacteria: gram-positive or gram-negative
Do read the article on Mycobacteria in the current Conscientious
Aquarist elsewhere on this site.>
I did so several months ago to no avail, but it has been several
Re: Guppy problems.. -- 6/14/09
<I'm a PhD of rocks, so that doesn't really matter much
here. Call me Neale!>
Just one more question. Can low pH and KH in the absence of other poor
water conditions trigger parasitic infections like Velvet and Ich?
<Not directly, no. Both Velvet and Ick are contagious diseases, so
for a healthy fish to "catch" them, it has to be exposed to
an infected fish, either directly (e.g., by placing an infected fish in
the aquarium) or
indirectly (e.g., by swapping nets or buckets between healthy and
infected aquaria). That said, poor water conditions will reduce the
immune system of a fish, making it more susceptible to a variety of
complaints, of which Finrot and Fungus are by far the most
Re: Guppy problems.. -- 6/14/09
Call you Neale...Yes sir! I'm just of the opinion that if someone
takes the time an effort to earn a PhD, they've also earned the
right to be addressed by their proper title.
<Having "Dr" before your name is mostly of use when you
want your bank or some other faceless bureaucrat to not treat you like
So...Neale :-) If I don't have Velvet or Ich in the house and
haven't introduced any new fish etc.. they're not going to
get/have it now, right?
<Correct. It has sometimes been said that Ick can lie dormant in
tanks, just waiting to spring into life, but there's no evidence
this is the case, and the vets who's work I've read don't
believe that happens.>
I'm freaking out because I'm leaving town for two weeks.
It's the first time my fish will be w/o me for so long and I'm
nervous I'm going to come home to a bunch of dead guppies.
<Well, that may or may not happen, but it won't be because of
Ick! Here's my tips: Do a 50% water change the afternoon before you
leave. That way, you can see if something went amiss that day, for
example the heater not being switched back on, and put things right.
Next up, decide either to leave them no food at all, or carefully
measured portions. Since Guppies are herbivores, I'd by preference
just throw in something like a few slices of cucumber to graze on most
of the time, but regardless, if you want them fed, put 3-4 meals in
paper envelopes. Leave these for the babysitter to use, and hide
everything else! Before you leave, just check the fish are healthy, and
that's it! Nothing more need be done.>
Re: Guppy problems.. -- 6/14/09
You know, one question seems to lead to another! Your instructions are
interesting. I was going to leave them with automatic feeders,
scheduled to feed them twice a day.
<Eek... no, no! The whole point to fish as pets is they don't
need food every day, and for up to two weeks, most species will go
without food without the least trouble. I routinely have my fish
"baby sat" with single
meals every 3-4 days. This has a variety of advantages. Firstly,
there's less nitrate build up while you're gone. Secondly, the
fish are less likely to be overfed by a well-meaning baby sitter.
Thirdly, there's no risk of the feeding device jamming or otherwise
adding all the food at once, gumming up with stale flake, or whatever.
Fourthly, if the filter fails, there's less ammonia being added to
the system, so less chance of dead fish on your return.>
Mostly, because 2 weeks seems like a really long time.
<It's nothing. Seriously.>
I do have a sitter coming for my land critters, and it sounds like you
recommend just having him feed them once every 3 days or so?
Would the same rules apply for my Betta and African Clawed Frogs (is it
xenopi or xenopusses?)
<Would be fine for these too, and indeed any cold-blooded
Warm-blooded animals have to eat constantly because they expend vast
amounts of energy on homeostasis, including warming themselves; hence a
cat will need to eat daily, whilst a predatory snake of similar mass
will only need to eat once a week, if that.>
Guppies are herbivores? I always thought they were omnivores.
<Yes, you're right; what I meant was that they can easily get by
on plant foods for long periods of time. But in the wild they'd be
eating algae, zooplankton and insect larvae. Mollies by contrast are
algae-eaters in the wild and have specially modified mouthparts that
let them scrape away at algae.>
That's SO interesting because the livebearer food I've used
includes dried blood worms. And, I've even given them bloodworms as
an occasional treat.
<Domesticated Guppies will eat just about anything, but I recommend
all livebearers be given predominantly plant-based foods (such as
Spirulina flake) as a staple, with animal foods such as bloodworms as a
treat. That said, unless your Guppies show consistent signs of
ill-health or constipation, I wouldn't be too worried about this
aspect of their care.>
And why do they eat their fry?
<Because evolution has programmed them to do otherwise. In the wild
Guppy fry will immediately seek shallow water or hiding places around
floating plants. This keeps them away from the adults which are in
different parts of the pond or whatever. So there's no selection
pressure on Guppies in favour of adults that can tell the difference
between a baby Guppy and a mosquito larva. Hence, adult Guppies view
anything small and wriggly as dinner, whether it's a baby fish or a
baby insect. Biology is replete with stuff that makes no sense at all
until it's viewed in terms of evolution rather than practical
usefulness. Cheers, Neale.>
Thanks, Neale. You rock!
<Indeed I do.>
My guppy, hlth., reading... - 05/03/09
Dear WWM Crew
Unfortunately, my guppy has died before I could find out what is wrong
But still I would like to know for future references.
Here are the symptoms:
He would swim with his head pointing up and swim in circles, then jolt
around and fall to the bottom. Then he would get like a hyper rush and
swim really fast around my tank and then fall to the bottom and he
continue to do that. To me he seemed like he was drunk or has gone
insane from being in a tank.
<Sounds like a water quality or water chemistry issue. Just to
recap, Guppies need an aquarium at least 15-20 gallons in size, with 0
ammonia and 0 nitrite. Fancy Guppies cannot be used in immature
aquaria: they are too delicate. Water chemistry should be hard and
alkaline; pH 7.5-8, 10-25 degrees dH. The addition of marine salt mix
to the water at around 3-5 grammes per litre dramatically improves
their health, and makes it much easier to ensure the hard, alkaline
conditions they enjoy. But note that while Guppies don't mind salty
water, lots of other fish do.>
I got him a couple days ago with a female guppy and she is doing
<For the moment, at least...>
My tank is a 5 gallon tank and it has 1 sucker fish, 1 frog (previously
2), 1 crab and now one guppy. It is a fairly new tank, I have had it
for about a month and a half.
<Your tank is far too small for Guppies, let alone all these
I have no idea what a "sucker fish" is, but if either
Pterygoplichthys or Gyrinocheilus, you are going to regret buying this
As for Frogs, they're best kept in their own aquaria; see here:
Crabs are mostly terrestrial, and don't belong in aquaria at
Thank you in advance,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Please help my female guppies 04/23/09
I've just discovered this site and cant find any faq that refer to
<Sure you can. Start here:
We did have 7 female guppies and 4 males. When we bought our females we
soon realized every one of them were pregnant so quickly invested in a
breeding net for the heavily pregnant ones. So far 2 of our females
have given birth to over 100 fry who have been placed in a different
tank. The problem we
are having is that every couple of days our females seem to be just
dying for no apparent or visible reasons!
<When fish "randomly" die, it's almost always an
Review what it is that Guppies need: a tank 20 gallons or larger in
size; a reasonably good filtration system; hard, basic water (pH 7.5-8,
10+ degrees dH), and a temperature around 25 C. Water quality has to be
good: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite.>
in the last week alone we have lost 5 of our females including the two
that have given birth. We had our water checked with our local pet
store and the water was fine, we have a good filter, heater and air
going through the tank.
<"Good" and "fine" mean nothing to me. I need
We also have 9 Neons and a Plec cat fish.
<Well, a Plec is a big fish, and if it's an adult, that means a
55 gallon or larger aquarium. Even a youngster around 10 cm/4 inches or
smaller is a very messy fish. So my guess here is your tank is
under filtered. That's the usual thing when people have
Our males are swimming around absolutely fine as are the Neons and the
But our last 2 remaining females seem sluggish. admittedly both are
pregnant so they have been put in separate breeding nets. All our
females ate well, swam well and were generally healthy there colours
were lovely and still were when they died. We bought our females all
together so I'm worried our last two might be going the same way as
our previous 5. Can you offer us any help please.
Thank you for taking the time to read this
My female guppy 4/24/09
One of my female guppies appears to be swimming very fast but not
actually moving anywhere,
<"The Shimmies" it's called; some sort of disease,
usually associated with water chemistry and quality problems. Review
the basic needs for Guppies and act accordingly.>
She is visibly okay from what I can see. Any idea why she is doing
this? My second female guppy is heavily pregnant and one of her fins on
the right hand side just started sticking out. I've been keeping a
close eye on her all day and so far I have not actually seen her move
that fin. Can you please tell me what I can do to help both these
<Keep them properly.>
Thanks in advance
<Most issues with fancy Guppies come down to people keeping them in
tanks that are too small, with water that is not sufficient hard and
acidic, and with filters inadequate to their needs. Do see here:
Re: My female guppy 4/26/09
Just an update both our females did die in the end. Our tank is a 25
gallon. ammon 0.6
<Right here is why the fish are not well. Ammonia, even at very
small amounts, is dangerous. Usually, if you detect ammonia, there are
three things going on: [a] overfeeding; [b] under-filtration; [c]
Review, and act accordingly. Do also check your tap water; some
supplies may have traces of ammonia, in which case you'll need to
treat with an ammonia-remover before use.>
night 0 ph 7.4 temp 26 degrees c. But thanks for your info on our
Guppy Grave? 4/11/2009
Dear WWM Crew,
a few weeks ago, I had purchased 7 guppies from my LFS. Over the weeks,
I noticed that many of my guppies were dying.
<Are these fancy Guppies? Fancy Guppies are much less hardy than the
wild type of the "mongrel" guppies we call Feeder Guppies.
Fancy Guppies are less adaptable in terms of water chemistry, and much
more fussy about temperature and especially water quality. To keep
Fancy Guppies you need a fairly large tank (I'd recommend 15-20
gallons, minimum) equipped with a filter and a heater. Water chemistry
*must* be hard (10+ degrees dH, and the harder the better) and the
water must be basic (pH 7.5-8). There needs
to be zero ammonia and zero nitrite. The addition of marine salt mix,
while not essential, is extremely helpful; generic aquarium salt by
contrast won't raise the pH and hardness, so does remarkably little
in terms of
optimising their living conditions. If you aren't doing ALL the
things listed above, then your Guppies are almost certainly dying not
because of some mystery disease, but rather environmental
After a few days, one male guppy showed signs of SBD, but then I
noticed a white cotton looking thing on his eye.
<SBD is "swim bladder disease"? If so, this is almost
never what is actually going on! When aquarists use this term, it's
rather like telling your doctor you're "under the
weather" -- completely meaningless. When fish
get sick, constipated, exposed to chilling, or any one of a variety of
other problems, they can act as if their swim bladder isn't working
properly; in other words, they become lethargic or lose balance. This
doesn't point to any one disease any more than a heartburn in
humans, and to extend that metaphor a bit, just as heartburn can mean
anything from eating too fast through to a heart attack, so can
"swim bladder disease"
mean a variety of different things, from a lack of fibre in the diet
through to systemic bacterial infection.>
I removed him from the tank and placed him in a separate bowl.
<Why? Was this bowl heated and filtered? Do always remember that the
idea of treatment is to improve, not worsen, conditions. If someone had
the 'flu in your house, would you dump them in a forest? No. To get
better, they need optimal living conditions. Just so with fish; when
they get sick, and you decide to treat them, then treat them in a tank
*at least* as good as their home aquarium.>
I treated him and came back a few hours later to find him barely
The next day, I found one of my snails trying to eat him, and I knew he
<No surprise here; you moved the sick fish into an unfiltered,
unheated bowl where it was exposed to worse conditions. If it was sick
before, your actions here simply accelerated (and perhaps caused) its
death. If I'm labouring this point a bit, understand I'm
writing this not just for you but for other readers. It is extremely
common for people to try and "help" sick animals without
actually realising they're making things worse.>
The next guppy that died was a female, who, some how, was sucked up to
the filter, and suffocated.
<No; healthy fish don't get sucked into filters. Even baby fish
can swim strongly enough to avoid this grisly fate. When a dead fish is
found in a filter or stuck to the inflow nozzle, it's almost always
because the fish
was dead or at least moribund first.>
Then, a few days later, a bright orange male guppy completely
disappeared, with no trace of body or fight. Some time later, two
guppies mysteriously died, one F, one M, which I found lying dead at
the bottom of my tank. The last remaining guppies were carefully
<When you say "monitored" what do you mean? Looking at
fish is fine, but that's no more useful than your doctor simply
glancing at you. As a doctor would take your pulse, listen to your
heartbeat, have you say "ahhh" and so on, you, the
fishkeeper, need to do diagnostic tests. In this case, there are two:
pH and nitrite. Without those key bits of data, separating out
environmental issues (too low a pH/hardness; poor water quality) from
genuine disease is impossible.>
When I got my other tank set up in my room, I moved the male guppy into
the tank, leaving the female with my other fish. So far, nothing else
has happened, and both tanks were 40 gals. Is there something wrong
with the way I took care of them?
<Impossible for me to say without knowing [a] water chemistry; and
[b] water quality.>
There wasn't much temperature change in those days, as I've
read guppies can die from a rapid change.
<Fancy Guppies certainly don't tolerate rapid changes.
They're "delicate" fish, and need to be treated as
I hope there's a reply soon! I want to protect my last two guppies!
<Hope this helps, and happy Easter. Cheers, Neale.>
I'm baaaack...Guppies Fin Rot/Fish TB --
03/07/09 Crew, <Laura> I know by now I'm becoming
something of a pain in the neck. I tried consulting with a couple of
exotic pet vets and one of the better local fish stores before
contacting you again, but no one knows what to tell me. This is about
my guppies again. For a quick review, I've been treating for what
appeared to be fin rot. Dr. Monks and Mr. Fenner, after I told them it
spread to my Betta tank somehow, figured I was dealing with something
more like Fish TB and recommend I use a Furan Compound. Three
treatments over the course of nine days. Well, I'm half way through
the second treatment and I'm not noticing a substantial improvement
in any of the fish. One of the guppies may be improving, but that could
also be just wishful thinking on my part. Should I see evidence of tail
re-growth, or diminishing of red spots or streaks at some point during
the 9 day treatment? <Not necessarily... these "things take
time"> All the fish seem fine in all other respects, eating,
swimming and behaving normally. Though, they don't particularly
like the Q Tank. I don't want to give up on them, I have quite a
large emotional and time investment in them, but, goodness, what's
going on? Thanks for the input. Laura <Patience. BobF>
Fin Rot still... guppies, Columnaris? 04/03/09
Several weeks ago I wrote regarding some mysterious "fin rot"
looking illness effecting my guppy and Betta tanks. It didn't
respond to Maracyn or Maracyn II treatment so Mr. Fenner recommended I
use a furan compound. I used Furanace, and it didn't seem to be
working after about 9 days.
Mr. Fenner advised patience. I waited a bit ,and decided to try one
more round of treatment with Furanace to see if there would be any
improvement. I'm sad to report, there has been no improvement in
either tank. I lost one guppy, but I think this might have been due to
complications during the birthing process. The remaining guppies show
no improvement. They're not getting worse as far as I can tell,
however. The Betta, on the other hand, is getting worse. I don't
know what to do at this point. The systems are as follows:
Ammonia, Nitrite, 0 in both tanks. Nitrate in both tanks is less than
20ppm. Both tanks have live plants, that seem to be thriving. The guppy
system is Brackish with a SG of 1.003. It's 29 gallons with 10
guppies and their fry. Water temp is 79 F. The Betta system is fresh
with a Malawi Salt mix added in hopes of stabilizing a very low KH and
slightly acidic pH.
It's 10 gallons.
Water temp is around 79 F. The Betta is the only inhabitant. Both
systems have sponge filters running on air pumps that turn the full
tank 4 times an hour.
Thanks for any help.
<Next in line of a possible fix here: Neomycin Sulfate... Please do
read re this antibiotic's use... and the symptoms of Columnaris...
Re: Fin Rot still... 4/3/09
Thank you for your response. I looked up Columnaris, and it doesn't
lookalike a match. What I read said that the acute kind of Columnaris
kills in hours, and the chronic kind kills in days.
<Yes... this is usually the case/etiology... However... it can be
"forestalled" by salt, the use of other antimicrobials... Do
allow me a small comment here... this process (a blitzkrieg) of testing
by treating is entirely unsatisfying... likely to you, definitely to
me... But is the too-patterned method employed by home-hobbyists. Do
you have access to a 400 or higher power microscope? Some basal micro-
tools, dyes...? If so... we could have a much more directed
The fish have had this now for months, literally. Also, there
aren't any white patches, spots, or cottony areas.
<Oh... then we're very likely, make that VERY... talking
environmental roots of your troubles here>
In the Betta, the only symptom is the tail splitting.
In the guppy tank, the symptoms are even more elusive. One male has two
red spots on his tail. The other male's tail looks uneven, but not
splitting like the Betta, and no red spots. All of the females have
what appear to be perfectly healthy finnage.
<Could be just chasing each other...>
The only exceptions are two females who have some very faint reddening
of the tail edges and one female whose tail seems to be fading at the
edges. Other than that, everything is perfectly normal.
The eating, swimming, and behavior of all fish, (affected and
unaffected alike) seem to be perfectly normal. Should I still try the
<Mmm, no... let's move back to square one... and you please give
me all detail you have on the system/s, water quality, any decor that
is in the tanks... What you do with what water you employ... There is
"something" amiss here... metal, shells, an agate... in the
tank/s that is causing your fishes to be too stressed. You have read on
WWM re Guppy systems, diseases?
Re: Fin Rot still... 4/3/09
First, thanks for taking the time to help me with this. I can't
tell you how much I appreciate your support. Now for the information
* 12 Fancy Guppies (10 females, 2 males) in a 29 G tank.
* 2 sponge filters stacked and running on an air pump that's
circulating 200 GPH
* Water temp is 79.4 F
<A bit high, but not intolerable>
* Water chemistry is brackish with SG of 1.003
* Water Parameters are: NH3 = 0, NO2 = 0, NO3 = 20 (these were the
parameters since the establishment of the bio-filter 5 months ago)
<NO3 at about the maximum I'd allow. This may indicate, be an
indicator of the real source of trouble here>
I use Prime as the de-chlorinator and water conditioner. This is a
relatively new practice. Until about one month ago I used just a tap
water de-chlorinator. I was told that Prime helped fish that were
stressed or ill, so I thought I'd try it.
For lighting I have a full spectrum florescent 18W bulb in the standard
There is one live Anubias plant. I dose twice weekly with Seachem
Flourish. As for the ornamentation, there is black gravel, about 15
<?! Where did these originate? Did you collect them? Do you have an
Alkalinity test kit... Please see below>
5 fake "planted" plants, and some fake floating plants for
fry to hide in. There is a small "treasure chest", a small
fake rock made to look like there's coral on it, a larger fake
rock/coral thing all with holes and spaces for the fish to swim in and
out of. Not sure what they're made of but they were purchased at
the local pet store, and made by TopFin. I don't know if that helps
or not. I faithfully test the water in the tank every Thursday. The
parameters are always perfect with ammonia and nitrite at 0.
I also faithfully gravel vac, and change 10 gallons of water every
<Good amount, interval>
Yes, being guppies I get a litter or two of fry every couple of
<A good sign>
The fry are removed from the tank during the Friday water change and
(forgive the harsh reality here) fed to my frogs. (Xenopus) I feed them
once a day, dry flakes that say they're for livebearers. They also
get an occasional treat of frozen bloodworms, but that's only about
once per month. Also, when there are fry present, I feed Hikari Fry
Food. Again, just once per day. They clear the food in about 3 minutes
or less. I should point out that, since treating with Furanace the KH
has dropped substantially to about 40ppm, ph has come down some from
7.2 to about 6.8,
<Yes... to be expected>
and I had a partial loss of the bio filter, so the parameters are no
longer "ideal". I'm doing more frequent small water
changes to help re-cycle the tank.
Now on to the Betta tank:
1 male Betta in 10G tank
1 sponge filter running on an air pump that's circulating 40GPH
Water temp is about 80 F
Water Parameters are: NH3=0, NO2=0, and NO3<10. (these were the
weekly parameters since the establishment of the bio-filter 6 months
I began using Prime in this tank at the same time I started using it in
the guppy tank.
For lighting I have full spectrum 8W Compact Florescent bulbs in the
standard hood fixture.
There is one live banana plant. I dose twice weekly with Seachem
There is a "Sphinx" ornament(also made by TopFin),
multi-colored gravel, five river rocks,
and fake plants floating at the surface. Water level is about 1.5
inches from the top. My maintenance regime is the same as for the guppy
tank. I faithfully test the water in the tank every Thursday. The
parameters are always perfect with ammonia and nitrite at 0. Of course,
I only change about 3 or 4 gallons of the water during the weekly
I feed him once a day. Almost always frozen Spirulina Brine Shrimp,
though I occasionally switch it up to frozen bloodworms. As with the
guppy tank, since treating with Furanace KH dropped to about 40ppm and
ph has dropped to 6.8. In this tank, I've had a complete loss of
the bio-filter and am in the process of a complete "fish in"
re-cycle. For this tank, because of the drop in KH and the worsening of
the fish's tail, I decided to try a 50% dose of a Malawi Salt Mix
recipe given to me by Dr. Monks. It's 1/2 teaspoon each of
freshwater aquarium salt and baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of Epsom
salts. I've only started this in the last week, again hoping to
stabilize KH and pH. I was also hoping the salt might aid in
To answer your question, yes, I've read the WWM articles and FAQs
about both the guppy and Betta systems. But I've also gone one
better, the system I have set up for the guppies was recommended by Dr.
Monks in another correspondence. My original email on this was way back
on Jan. 29th of this year. So you see I've been dealing with this
for some time. Dr. Monks also more or less blessed my maintenance
regime during that correspondence. In the interest of full disclosure,
I also have a 55g tank set up with 4 Xenopus laevis, and 6 Otocinclus.
None of the inhabitants are exhibiting any signs of stress or disease.
The bio-filter is intact, and everything is wonderful. If only that
were the case in all my tanks. Thanks again for your help.
<Of all that you mention Laura... the rock is most suspect. If it
were me, mine, I'd buy and place a pad of PolyFilter in your
circulation, filter flow path... and see what colour/s develop... I
suspect something is present here, presenting a low-grade toxicity. The
color on the pad will tell us a bit re what this might be. Bob
Help! Female guppy with red line protruding from her anus,
and thin guppy. 03/04/09 Hello, I'm no newbie at keeping
fish, but my female guppy has developed a really strange problem, which
I think is caused by my male guppy harassing her trying to mate.
<This certainly will stress females. Do remember the three golden
rules of mixing male and female livebearers: [A] Lots of space; for
Guppies, that's 20 gallons (90 litres) minimum. Smaller tanks just
don't give the females any space to find some peace and quiet. [B]
Lots of floating plants; these give the females hiding places as well
as places for the newborn fry to hide. [C] Lots of females; always
always always have at least twice as many females as males. Anything
less means the females get constantly harassed. It's cruel to keep
them in "pairs", despite them often being sold as such. Me? I
keep a single male livebearer with 5-6 females. Works much better.>
basically there is a red line, not dangling, but protruding from her
anus. <Most probably Camallanus worms, which will need treating with
a suitable anti-Helminth medication (Levamisole, Piperazine or
Praziquantel often recommended, but Fenbendazole or Flubendazole seem
to be much more reliable.).> (by the way, for a guppy do they have
separate birthing canal and digestive canal?) It looks sharp and
pointy? <Good question! In the case of Poeciliid livebearers, the
birth canal and the digestive system share a common opening called a
'cloaca'. This is similar to most vertebrates except for
placental mammals.> And its very thin--like a line on a page.
<Sounds very like a nematode.> She is eating well, is pregnant
(but not heavily pregnant), and is able to poop with no problems. Prior
to this, her anus hole looked big, and I thought she might have been
ready to give birth. <Hmm...> Have you heard of this before? Do
you think this could end up being a fatal problem? <Unfortunately it
is rather common among farmed livebearers, and usually when I hear
about it via WWM, it seems to be livebearers and cichlids, both farmed
under intensive conditions and consequently exposed to parasites more
readily. It's fatal if not treated, but can be treated
successfully.> Then the second part of my question, Have you ever
come across guppies that are just thin? I have this other female guppy
that has a thin abdomen, no matter how much I try to fatten her up to a
normal looking size. Meaning that her abdomen has a slight curve rather
than a straight line. <Could be a parasitic infection, or a
"wasting disease", or simply skinny genes... Would treat all
your Guppies with Fenbendazole or Flubendazole in the same tank, on the
assumption all may be infected to some degree, even if only the one is
obviously infected.> When she was pregnant, she became
"normal" sized, then after giving birth (and having all her
fry eaten by the other guppies), she went back to being thin again. She
has a good appetite, and if I put her in a large net and feed her, she
eats all the food and puts on weight, then the next day she is skinny
again. Is it possible for guppies to have worms...? <Yes.> Could
you advise me on this please? Thanks for your time....! Regards, --
Wanda <Cheers, Neale.> PS: I now think my other male guppy has
caught the "thinness problem". None of the other fish have
it, so I don't think it is contagious but I am not sure!! =[ and
that male has been swimming as though its tail is dragging it down, and
not been eating much. sadness. <Treat them all together! NM.>
Re: Help! Female guppy with red line protruding from her
anus, and thin guppy. 03/04/09 Thanks for
your help! the male guppy died half an hour after I sent the
email...[?] <Oh dear!> One last question: would
it be a problem if the guppy fry get dosed by the medication too? I am
keeping them in a breeder tank within the main tank for now. <They
should be fine. Generally fish medications don't harm baby
fish.> And would the mediation affect the snails I have living in my
tank? <I'd remove them to another tank if possible, especially
if they're big/messy things like Apple snails.> Cheers,
Guppies - male swimming funny -- 03/03/09 Good morning, I
have a 10-gallon tank, and I'm a very conscientious new aquarist
(about 6 months) with some success. We have some Corys, male guppies
and lampeye tetras in our tank. I've been testing the water,
cleaning the tank & filter, feeding not too much/too little,
feeding high-quality pellets and changing 30% of the water every week
since we started our tank. All except for this past month. I went on
vacation and bought an automatic feeder. I set it for once in the
morning and once at night, and I used cheaper flakes because the
pellets seemed to fall out too fast. I went a bit over 2 weeks before
changing the water prior to vacation, changed it right before I left,
and then the poor guys went another 2 weeks while we were gone. When we
came back, they still had lots of food floating in the tank, so I
immediately changed the water. We lost one guppy, and now another is
swimming head up/tail down, a bit jittery, and a majority of the time
in one place. He's still eating, and he does swim around sometimes.
But, he's not swimming like his normal self, though I will mention
he doesn't look as bad as the first one we lost. Since then (about
a week ago), I've cleaned the filter, changed the water (30%) every
day, and tested it: Nitrates: 0-5 PH 7.0 These numbers seem fine, are
they not? I don't have an ammonium tester - could that be the
problem? Could the cheap food flakes have caused this? How often do you
think I should change the water now? It did seem to help when I changed
it last night, but I'm certain this guppy is still a bit unhappy.
I've read about constipation (and feeding peas) and about using
salt treatments, but I'm not quite sure what the little guy has.
He's eating and pooping. There are no white spots, red spots,
scratching along the gravel...just looks jittery and is swimming tail
down. All the other fish seem quite fine. I think I might be pushing
the overstocked limits, but these fish seem(ed) fairly well conditioned
to the environment, except when I went 4 weeks with only 2 water
changes. Well, I've been obsessing over your site and over my fish.
Any advice you have would be most welcome!! Thanks, Lynne in San
Francisco <Lynne, part of your problem is that the tank is far too
small. A 10-gallon tank isn't useful for Guppies, and certainly not
in conjunction with Corydoras and tetras. In very small tanks you have
an uphill struggle to maintain a steady pH, adequate oxygenation, and
above all reliably good water quality. For the fish you have, a tank
not less than 20 gallons would be essential. Period. End of discussion.
Trying to recommend "fixes" for this tank are akin to
rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic. In terms of specifics, your
Guppy likely has something called the "Shimmies", a
neurological complaint apparently related to water quality and water
chemistry problems. When livebearers are stressed, they often react
this way. Behaviours including rocking from side to side, treading
water, and other odd swimming movements. Improving water conditions
will help, though there's no treatment as such that can be
guaranteed to cure it. Just as a reminder, Guppies are classic hard
water fish, and you're aiming for a pH of between 7.5 and 8, and
the hardness should be upwards of 10 degrees dH. Adding 3-5 grammes of
marine salt mix (not tonic salt, not aquarium salt) per litre will
dramatically improve their health, though tetras and catfish should not
be kept in a tank with brackish water. If you cannot move the tetras
and cats, then don't use marine salt mix at all, and instead
concentrate on raising the carbonate hardness by incorporating some
calcareous media (e.g., crushed coral) in the filter, but use small
amounts at first so you don't raise the carbonate hardness, and
thus the pH, too far or too quickly. Just a reminder: adjusting the pH
isn't the aim here, so don't go pouring pH potions into the
tank; livebearers care about carbonate hardness, which would seem to be
low in your tank if you have a pH of 7. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppies - male swimming funny -- 03/03/09 Thank you for
this response. I really appreciate getting your advice. <You're
welcome.> I'll try the coral to see if that helps. <Don't
confuse a media bag filled with crushed coral with just sticking a dead
coral into the aquarium! A dead coral will not have the desired effect.
Water has to be flowing past the crushed coral under pressure to absorb
the calcium carbonate fast enough. For a 10-gallon tank, I'd be
trying maybe 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of crushed coral in a media bag (the foot
of an old pair of nylons works fine). Stick this into the filter, and
off you go. If you have an undergravel filter, mix the crushed coral
into the gravel. But again, just dumping crushed coral in a regular
gravel substrate won't work either; there needs to be water
flow!> I've been feeling like the tank is too small too, but was
advised as such by the fish store. <Oh.> I'll be considering
getting a new tank then. <Make sense. Saving a couple bucks getting
a 10-gallon tank is invariably wasted by the dead fish, medications you
end up having to buy. It's a fool's economy. A 20-gallon tank
will absorb a lot more punishment before things go wrong, and is easily
the best recommendation for casual aquarists. Who don't want to be
fiddling with dead fish all the time.> Thanks a ton. Lynne
Guppies, babies, Ich trtmt. 3/2/09 hi I have found
Ick in my tank on a neon tetra ,I have treated before with Ick guard
and it worked. I would like to use it again but I have found some baby
fish in my tank if I lower the dose will it harm the babies? and will
it work? <Ick medication used correctly should do no harm to
livebearer fry. Do not reduce the dosage or it won't work! Remember
to remove carbon from the filter while treating the fish. Cheers,
HELP!!!! Guppies with the shimmy shimmy shakes... and worse
2/17/09 Hello everyone. I have a major problem! <Oh?> My
guppies had the shakes, they were closed fin and kinda shaky I did a
half tank water change on my 55 gallon and noticed they were still sick
two days later. <Hmm... with Poeciliids generally, the
"shakes" is often a sign of severe stress, typically induces
by water chemistry issues. Guppies need at-least moderately hard water
with a pH above 7.5 to do well. Arguably, the addition of a small
quantity of marine salt mix helps by raising pH and carbonate hardness
as well as salinity. In any event, if exposed to a sudden pH drop, as
can happen in old tanks with limited carbonate hardness, they are among
the first fish to show signs of stress. This is doubly true with Fancy
Guppies, which are an order of magnitude less robust than wild-type
Guppies (be they feeders or genuine wild Guppies).> I noticed one of
my 30 Cory cats had a white fungus spot on her fin so I put some
Melafix in along with Prime for the new water change. These fish had
been doing wonderful for the last 10 years. My cats breed like crazy.
<Well, Melafix is completely unreliable, and in terms of fixing a
Fungus problem is only marginally better than praying to the Fish Gods.
I would certainly be using some appropriate (and scientifically tested)
anti-fungal, e.g., one based on Acriflavine or malachite green. Here in
England, I recommend eSHa 2000; in other parts of the world you will
doubtless have other brands available.> Since then all my guppies
(60 or more) have passed on. They were dead on the bottom every morning
6-10 each day. I did another water change thinking it was the Melafix.
Maybe quarter tank. <Hmm... if there's a massive fish loss,
there are two steps. Firstly, check the water chemistry and
temperature. Write them down. Next up, change as much of the water as
is practical, 75% or more. If the water chemistry is the same as it
usually is, then replace the old water with new, dechlorinated water
that has similar water chemistry and temperature. (Note: big water
changes only cause problems *if* the water chemistry and temperature
changes are severe.) This will flush out any problems such as ammonia,
nitrite, or toxins like bug spray or detergent. If the old water
chemistry was way off, e.g., instead of being the normal pH 7.5, it was
down at pH 6.2, you'll have to gradually acclimate the fish to the
"correct" conditions. Do this by adding new water with the
right water chemistry a bucket at a time, or such that it takes 60
minutes to fill the whole aquarium up, with 10 minutes between each
bucket (or fraction/multiple buckets) of water. This way, you're
acclimating the fish to new water conditions, just as if you were
introducing new fish you'd just bought from the pet store. By the
way, take care to leave the filter running through all this, even if
that means lowering the inlet/outlet pipes. If you absolutely cannot
leave the filter running, then disconnect but then put the biological
media in a nice shallow basin of aquarium water so the oxygen can get
in and keep the bacteria happy. Switch off and left closed up, some
filters (e.g., canister filters) can die back after 20 minutes or so.
The last thing you want to deal with is an ammonia crisis. You can
safely disconnect the heater though; for the sake of an hour or so, the
lack of a heater won't make any difference.> Still my guppies
were dropping like flies. Now it has moved on to my beloved Cory
catfish. Fish the pandas started dying two three at a time. Their fins
and bodies started deteriorating. Now my albinos and greens are dying 4
or 5 at a time. It looks like their bodies are turning to stone, then
they start going nuts, swimming erratically and are belly up. <Do
review water chemistry and water quality, quickly! Whenever you get
lots of fish across different species, it's almost never a
"disease" as such, but an environment. Think of it this way:
if you came across a bunch of sick people, you'd assume an epidemic
of some sort, but if you say sick people, sick dogs, sick cattle, sick
birds, you'd assume pollution. Just so in a fish tank; if lots of
fish are all getting ill at the same time, it's time to review
environmental conditions. The death is moving faster and faster through
the tank. My mollies (3 of them) and banjo cats are unaffected. <So
far...> I have 2 whiptail and Farlowellas they are fine too. <So
far... Farlowella spp. catfish are notoriously sensitive to poor
conditions.> My plants are green and healthy. What is going on
here???? I have done another water change and major filter cleaning in
case it was the meds but still the cats are dying, the guppies have
seemed to stabilize just one or two look bad. I only have maybe 10
left. Help me...... <As I say, the "triage" element is a
big water change, but first do the "investigation" element to
test for ammonia and/or nitrite (i.e., water quality) and also the pH
and ideally hardness (to test for water chemistry stability). To me,
this sounds like either a pH crash, accidental poisoning of the
aquarium (e.g., by bug spray or paint fumes), or an ammonia/nitrite
spike (e.g., by overfeeding or a blocked filter).> Jamie <Good
luck, Neale.> <<RMF also suspects Columnaris here>>