Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Guppy Diseases 8

FAQs on Guppy Disease: Guppy Disease 1, Guppy Disease 2, Guppy Disease 3, Guppy Disease 4, Guppy Disease 5, Guppy Disease 6, Guppy Disease 7, Guppy Disease 9, Guppy Disease 10,
FAQs on Guppy Disease by Category: Environmental, Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Genetic, Treatments,

Related Articles: Guppies, Poeciliids: Guppies, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies by Neale Monks, Livebearing Fishes by Bob Fenner,

Related FAQs: Guppies 1, Guppies 2, Guppy Identification, Guppy Behavior, Guppy Compatibility, Guppy Selection, Guppy Systems, Guppy Feeding, Guppy Reproduction, Livebearers, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies,


Guppy Mystery?   Camallanus?     /RMF      12/17/14
I have a 35 gallon tank with approximately 50 guppies, fry included. One female really has me stumped and I hope you can help. Maybe a week ago I noticed her rubbing on objects and settling near the bottom of the tank.
She developed a red spot on her abdomen and it became pointy until it broke through her skin.
<Mmm; sounds a lot like nematodes...>
What emerged was very pointy. I did isolate her and it fell off of her last night leaving quite an ulcer behind. Whatever she passed I scooped out and it broke in three pieces. I expected it to feel organic but it was stiff and sharp at one end. I can't find any literature that describes a parasite exiting this way? Any ideas what I'm dealing with? Thanks in advance for
your ideas,
Angela Shaler.
<Yes; let's have you read here:

and the linked files above; and oh, look up the genus Camallanus. Is this it? Bob Fenner>

Guppy Mystery? /Neale       12/18/14
I have a 35 gallon tank with approximately 50 guppies, fry included. One female really has me stumped and I hope you can help. Maybe a week ago I noticed her rubbing on objects and settling near the bottom of the tank.
She developed a red spot on her abdomen and it became pointy until it broke through her skin. What emerged was very pointy. I did isolate her and it fell off of her last night leaving quite an ulcer behind. Whatever she passed I scooped out and it broke in three pieces. I expected it to feel organic but it was stiff and sharp at one end. I can't find any literature that describes a parasite exiting this way? Any ideas what I'm dealing with? Thanks in advance for your ideas,
<FWIW, I wonder if this female swallowed something, a tiny shred of stiff nylon for example from a brush, mistaking it for a midge larvae. Over the last few days its worked its way through. I doubt it's a parasite as such.
The ulcer is the bigger problem. While fish have amazing abilities when it comes to healing, a puncture of this sort will be a significant risk of infection. Keep an eye on her, and ideally, medicate as per Finrot.
Cheers, Neale.>

Guppy and Pale Spots   11/12/14
One of my guppies got sick and died. It had a pale spot on its back that had not been there before when it died. What could this be?
<Impossible to say. Necrosis (death of skin tissue) is one possibility.
Opportunistic bacterial infection is another. Many other possibilities as well. Cheers, Neale.>
Sick and dying guppies
I have a 28 gallon tank with a 350 gph power filter. Ph is 8. I stated several times now my guppies have been dying and I have not understood why.
You have suggested it could be bacterial. Well another of my guppies has died with the same symptoms. Lying at the bottom of the tank, discolored scales, bloated. Then swimming for a while normally before passing on.
Whatever it might be it strikes quickly. I think it had white stringy poop before it died. And now another of the 2 remaining guppies is sick. This one appears to have yellow slime by the gills, something hanging from her
vent, and two tiny ulcers on her side. You may not be able to see the ulcers in the photo. They may just appear as 2 red or pink dots, if at all.
Pictures provided below.
Photo of back side of vent.
Photo of yellow by gills and ulcers (the pink patch).
Whatever it is that is killing the guppies appears to be effecting only them and my ghost shrimp. The neon tetras that share the tank with them seem to be doing fine.
Photo of thing hanging from vent.
What do you think the problem here is? Thank you.
<Photos too small/blurry to really be useful. But will repeat the basic point. Guppies aren't particularly healthy fish any more, and because they're farmed to a price not a quality, they're intensively reared allowing diseases to swap between specimens before they get to you.
Mycobacterial infections are common ("random" deaths, usually preceded by lethargy and wasting). Tetrahymena is common (similar symptoms). Hexamita is common (again, similar symptoms, though often with white, stringy faeces -- can be cured with Metronidazole alongside a Nitrofuran drug antibiotic/antimicrobial). And this is before we even get to the old favourites like Aeromonas and Pseudomonas spp, Costia "slime disease", and all the others. Invariably, quarantining is best, probably with the use of Metronidazole and a Nitrofuran. Reviewing water chemistry and quality are crucial. Conditions that suit Neons (soft, acidic) won't suit Guppies (hard, basic). Nitrate is a hidden killer with all Poecilia spp, particularly Mollies but also, to some degree, Guppies. In short, without microscopic inspection (by a vet, university microbiologist, even a skilled
amateur with necessary equipment) identifying the cause of "random deaths" is impossible, especially where the symptoms are non-specific. Would perhaps add the opinion that if you don't have quarantining facilities,
store-bought Guppies aren't anything other than a crap shoot. You pays your money and you takes your chance. Me? I don't buy them or recommend them.
Not for freshwater tanks, anyway (they are usually hardier in brackish conditions, presumably because at least some microbes can't survive in such, and on top of that, brackish water provides osmoregulatory support
that helps weaker Guppies survive better). Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick and dying guppies   11/12/14
Thank you Neal! :)
<Most welcome.>

dying male guppies       10/2/14
Hello WWM Crew,
I made the mistake of adding 6 new guppies to my 25 gallon planted tank which is home to one polka dot loach, 3 peppered Corydoras, and a Peckoltia. One of the guppies died with no symptoms other than looking a bit pale, which is how we received him. Another yellow guppy is now suffering, at first he was staying in one corner at the surface, now he is hiding on the bottom doing head stands and swimming/ rolling on an angle.
He had a small red spot on his back which has turned into a giant red spot, but doesn't appear to be a sore, it resembles what internal bleeding would look like on a human or animal. I can't seem to find a similar case on the current forum posts.
<...? Have you read our archives on Guppy Disease (FAQs); on WWM? This reads disturbingly like Columnaris/Chondrococcus>
We are checking the water every other day with results of GH 120 KH 40 PH 6.5 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 10. I am wondering if the behavior of my yellow guppy is indicative of a disease or not.
<Can't say w/ the info. provided definitively>
I have moved him to a 5 gallon tank with salt, but do not want to add salt to my 25 gallon because of the loach. Yellow guppy is basically almost dead, but I'm wondering, should take any action with my 25 gallon tank?
<Again... see the FAQs mentioned above>
Thank you for your time!
<Bob Fenner, saving for NealeM>
Re: dying male guppies       10/2/14

Thank you Bob!
I couldn't find any white fuzzy stuff on the guppy's mouth or any other part of him which is what confused me,
<Mmm; well; that symptom may not show... the disease/bacteria taking/killing the guppies so rapidly>
though I'm sure that all the symptoms do not manifest equally in every case, and he is dead now but the other fish in my tank seem perfectly fine.
<Often only guppies (and to a lesser degree other Poeciliids) are affected>
Thank you for responding, I will keep a close watch on the rest of my fish and read more of the FAQs.
<Life to you. Bob Fenner>
dying male guppies /Neale     2/2/14

Hello WWM Crew,
I made the mistake of adding 6 new guppies to my 25 gallon planted tank which is home to one polka dot loach, 3 peppered Corydoras, and a Peckoltia.
<I see.>
One of the guppies died with no symptoms other than looking a bit pale, which is how we received him. Another yellow guppy is now suffering, at first he was staying in one corner at the surface, now he is hiding on the bottom doing head stands and swimming/ rolling on an angle. He had a small red spot on his back which has turned into a giant red spot, but doesn't appear to be a sore, it resembles what internal bleeding would look like on a human or animal. I can't seem to find a similar case on the current forum
posts. We are checking the water every other day with results of GH 120 KH 40 PH 6.5
<There's your problem. Guppies must have hard, alkaline water. They aren't at all tolerant of soft water, and acidic pH levels quickly stress them. Fancy Guppies are particularly sensitive.>
Nitrite 0 Nitrate 10. I am wondering if the behavior of my yellow guppy is indicative of a disease or not. I have moved him to a 5 gallon tank with salt, but do not want to add salt to my 25 gallon because of the loach.
<The salt/scaleless fish thing is a bit of a myth (plenty of marine fish don't have scales, such as Eels) but Peckoltia, Corydoras and Polka Dot Loaches are all soft water fish, so raising the hardness and alkalinity to that suitable for Guppies needs to be done carefully. Merely adding salt won't do what you want. But you could make use of the Rift Valley Salt mix, described here:
You don't want full strength, but something like a quarter to a half dose could do the trick nicely. Note that it uses tiny amounts of salt, Epsom salt and baking soda -- not enough to stress your loaches or catfish. But nonetheless use judiciously, adding small amounts once per day across a week or two, raising the hardness and pH to something around 10-12 degrees dH, pH 7-7.5. That will be acceptable for the loaches and catfish as well as much more suitable to livebearers like Guppies.>
Yellow guppy is basically almost dead, but I'm wondering, should take any action with my 25 gallon tank?
Thank you for your time!
<Welcome, Neale.>

red spot on my guppy      8/23/14
Ok, I have 2 large (look pregnant but their not, just big girls) female guppies, 3 boy guppies,
<Three males and two females really isn't very nice to the females!
Recommended ratio is 2 females (at minimum) per male. Much less likely to get harassed or stressed... which is a clue to the problem here!>
3 black skirted tetras, 2 we call them red eyes cause we forgot what they are,
<Red-Eye Tetras perhaps?>
3 zenios,
<What are these? Zebra Danios?>
and 2 neon tetras.
<Both Danios and Neons are schooling fish, as are the other tetras. In groups of less than six you can get social problems, ranging from shyness (e.g., Neons hiding) through to aggression (e.g., chasing) even fin-biting.>
We've had them all for over a year in a 48 gal. tank with good water.
<Would be curious how you define "good" here. Why? Because Neons need/prefer soft water, while Guppies are hard water fish, so at best, there's a compromise favouring neither, at worst, one species is stressed. This is relevant because if you have soft water (which Neons need) then Guppies will be more prone to problems... a second clue!>
Now one of the female guppies has a red spot on her nose. Its small. She isn't acting any different that I can tell, but if she's sick I need to do something with her and prevent the others from getting it.
<Without a photo hard to say, and without useful data on the tank, I can't comment on environmental factors except to remind you to review water chemistry (see above) and to restate that ammonia and nitrite levels should be zero. Nonetheless, damage to the snout is commonest when fish are panicked and bump into things, or else have been engaging in some sort of fight or tussle. Because you have more male Guppies than females, and male Guppies are sex pests (I'm being kind here) that will attempt to mate with
(rape is probably more accurate) any female within range, female Guppies are easily stressed and damaged. Seems a surprise given how big females are compared to the males, but as I say, the males are nothing if not persistent. My money would be on the female having been damaged or stressed this way, and it's evens odds whether the red spot is mere damage or a secondary infection (in which case, treating as per Finrot would be useful if the spot isn't healing).>
<Let me direct you to a starting point article on Guppies; virtually all problems with them come down to lack of understanding their needs and appreciation for the fact fancy Guppies aren't "hardy" fish:
Cheers, Neale.>

Strange swollen red area on guppy?      6/21/14
Hello crew, Jessica here. I had a question about something very strange on my male fancy guppy. He has a large red sort of sore just behind his right fin (picture attached) Just last night I could tell that something was kind of off about the way his side looked, but later today it had gotten much more swollen and a lot redder. It can't be seen from the angle this picture was taken at, but it appears that all of the scales in that area are sticking up, like dropsy, but only in that one red area. Because it's right around his fin, he has a lot of trouble swimming and ends up wobbling a whole lot.
<... could be "just color", stress from poor water quality, an injury, possibly infectious disease...>

I thought it might have been something that could have been carried in from a new bamboo shrimp and Pleco that I just recently added to the 25g tank (I didn't have a quarantine tank available, so I just put them in right away)
But I think he's had this for a while because for the past two weeks he hasn't been eating much, up until around Monday when he stopped eating altogether. I have no idea what could have been caused by, and the rest of my fish are healthy (three other fancy males, two female platies and one female molly) I just checked the water parameters two days ago and the Nitrate is at 0, Nitrite at 0, Ammonia just under .15 ppm,
<Needs to be 0.0>

and pH somewhere around 7.8 or 8.0.
I've looked everywhere for something about this but all I find are pictures of something similar but no information about whatever it is. I was wondering if you guys have seen this and know what it is and what's causing it. Thanks!
<Uhh, read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/GupEnvDisF.htm

and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

I need help please... Guppies; real trouble/losses... Columnaris?     5/16/14
One day suddenly I started having guppies die no symptoms at first.
<You pics show (disturbingly) what appears to be Flexibacter "disease" (Chondrococcus columnaris)...>
Then I noticed a little spot like Ich on the fin under his belly he died super fast. I started using Kordon's Ich
<Won't cure this>

plus then I started seeing other symptoms like discoloration it would spread fish would die. I added Furan 2
<Nor this>
did no good. I switched to Cephalexin took some moss out of tank just because it was getting caught in filter. Anyway the deaths stopped after 5 days off 500 mg Cephalexin per 20 gallons. I lost at least 20 guppies. I have went 2 weeks without any symptoms I put moss back in that was in Betta tank 3
days ago Betta is fine, now I have 5 guppies showing same symptoms. My ammonia is 0 nitrates 40 nitrites 0 pH 7.6. I have enclosed pictures. The first and her scales have turned white on half her body they look swelled. The second one is another one where the discoloration is starting. I have started
Cephalexin and Kordon's plus again.
<Do a quick read re the disease; esp. search on WWM re the few cures (look for Neomycin sulfate)... Bob Fenner>

I need help please. Neale's take on mass guppy losses      5/17/14
One day suddenly I started having guppies die no symptoms at first. Then I noticed a little spot like Ich on the fin under his belly he died super fast. I started using Kordon's Ich plus then I started seeing other symptoms like discoloration it would spread fish would die. I added Furan 2 did no good. I switched to Cephalexin took some moss out of tank just because it was getting caught in filter. Anyway the deaths stopped after 5 days off 500 mg Cephalexin per 20 gallons. I lost at least 20 guppies.
<Not good.>

I have went 2 weeks without any symptoms I put moss back in that was in Betta tank 3 days ago Betta is fine, now I have 5 guppies showing same symptoms. My ammonia is 0 nitrates 40 nitrites 0 pH 7.6. I have enclosed pictures. The first and her scales have turned white on half her body they look swelled. The second one is another one where the discoloration is starting. I have started Cephalexin and Kordon's plus again.
<Now, here's the thing. Usually when a big number of fish die within a very short space of time (hours, days, a week or two) then the problem is almost always environmental. So review the aquarium. Guppies need hard, alkaline conditions; 10+ degrees dH, preferably 10+ degrees KH as well, and a pH around 7.5 to 8. Don't mistake pH for hardness. Worry about the hardness, and the pH will take care of itself. In other words, don't add pH-up products, but do instead use mineral mixes to raise the hardness. Have a
read here:
The Rift Valley Salt Mix is a cheap, reliable way to raise hardness (and pH) for pennies a time. Alternatively, if you're keeping the Guppies all by themselves, then keeping them in brackish conditions, SG 1.003-1.005, makes them much hardier and resistant to some common diseases. Fancy varieties of
Guppies also appreciate warmth; aim for 26-28 C. With all this said, farmed Guppies do suffer from some bacterial problems that are essentially untreatable. So-called "Wasting Disease" and "Guppy Plague" are names applied to these. They're probably varieties of Mycobacteria infections. No solution, except to say that environment probably plays a role in making the diseases more deadly. Buying Guppies from local breeders is pretty much the best way to get healthy Guppies, but certainly don't buy ones from stores with sick fish visible in the tank. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Guppies....sick   10/19/13
I bought guppies off the internet. American whites. I kept them separate from my tanks for months. Something is wrong with them. I’m not sure what it is. I thought maybe it was their genetics but I have since added a female from my other tank that is now very ill. She was the fattest and plumpest most beautiful fancy female. Now she has removed herself from the herd. She is droopy and looks likes she’s starving. Her big fat belly is gone and she is full of babies that I can see. There is nothing protruding from her. No spots, growths or wounds.  My water is hard. I practice regular water changes and they have a heater to keep the tank warm.
<How warm? Fancy Guppies are much less tolerant than wild or crossbreed ("feeder") Guppies and it's a wise idea to keep them warm; 28 C/82 F seems good.>
I regularly use salt.
<How much? If the Guppies are kept alone, and you either don't have plants or keep salt-tolerant ones (like Java ferns) then you can afford to be quite liberal with salt. This won't cure everything, but it will inhibit the spread of many parasites and does seem to help farmed Guppies stay healthy. Aim for a specific gravity of around 1.002 at 28 C (or 1.003 at 25 C) -- in other words, about 5 grams salt/litre of water.>
She is quarantined currently. I’m hoping she doesn’t die. I don’t like to see any of them die. Please help me. She is not the first. This is how they die. They just get thin, lethargic and droopy. I’ve got to be missing something...
<The bad news is that farmed Guppies are delicate, seemingly getting worse every year. Inbreeding may be a problem, but the widespread use of antibiotics on fish farms is surely a problem too. Mycobacterial infections ("Wasting Disease") seem to be extremely widespread among fancy Guppies, to the degree that I've had candid conversations with retailers who consider Guppies so bad they only order them in because people buy them before they get sick -- if it was up to these retailers, they wouldn't touch 'em with a bargepole. Certainly buying fancy Guppies from a local breeder is a better option, or failing that, pass over them in favour of a more reliable species, like Endler's or Limias. In any case, treating Mycobacterial infections is virtually impossible, but if you want to try something, then a combination of Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 could be used but it's hard to make an economic case for medicating. Isolate infected fish completely from healthy ones (i.e., separate tank, bucket, nets, etc.) while medicating to prevent infection of the remaining livestock. Unfortunately Mycobacteria can infect "vertically" meaning that mothers can pass to embryos, so removing youngsters after they're born doesn't achieve much. Likely the easiest option is to humanely destroy the infected specimens (immersion for 10-20 minutes in a bath of 30 drops clove oil in a litre of aquarium water works well). The British Fancy Guppy Club has an informative page that may help you decide if Mycobacteriosis is what you're dealing with; see here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Stocking for 63-gallon tank; FW; mixing/matching organisms by water quality and temperament      9/4/13
I have just been able to jump back into fishkeeping after moving to Mexico and being fishless for two years. The tank I'm going to get is 63 gallons and already cycled, and I'm going to fill it up with Cryptocorynes and sword plants, both of which I have previously had success with.
I was thinking of getting a couple of discus and angels
<Mmm, better one or the other. These two have issues; don't really go together>

 and pairing them up with a few livebearers, a male Betta, maybe a Hatchetfish and other characin or two (or six), and a bunch of micro Corydoras. Is that a suitable stocking idea?
<The Angels would be better w/ what you list otherwise... Can reach hard/er, more alkaline and cooler (temp.) water quality better than Symphysodon>
I was also planning to put in some cherry or ghost shrimp, a few ADF's and some mystery (aka Briggs) snails. Is that OK?
<Might be hard to feed the frogs in this setting, size system, but should mix>
 I know discus require higher temperatures, so I would like to know if that is OK for the other fish?
<Not the livebearers especially; no>
 Or, if not, then what sort of fish would go well with them?
<See WWM re Compatibility (FAQs) for input here; for whatever species, group you're principally interested in>
Thank you so much in advance!
<Ah, welcome. So send along your revised list; further sharings. Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking for 63-gallon tank; guppy hlth. as well now    9/5/13

Thanks a bunch, Mr. Fenner!
I guess I'll go with the angels, then. My mom is mad for them​ and they do seem to be hardier than discus, from your description.
<Yes they are>
Anyway, today I bought 2 pairs of guppies (one pair's for my friends and one's to put in my quarantine tank to await the arrival of the big one), and one of them just decided it was an excellent time to give birth on the way home. She had 11 fry total, which I was thankfully able to save, but I have nowhere better to put them than a tiny glass jar that used to contain cherry/plum jam.
<No larger container? Ask the neighbours what they have>
They seem healthy and OK. I put my *Elodea* strands in with them to help them feel more at home.
Three of the four adults seem healthy and very active; however, I haven't seen any of them eat (I may just not have been paying enough attention), and one of them has some white stuff on her mouth and isn't moving around too much. If it's fungus, what can I do?
<See WWM re Guppy Disease... do you know how to work the search tools?>
Since all the fish were bought together, should I medicate them all?
<Depends on what the cause is; the perceived need>
Would Methylene blue kill the *Elodea*or the babies?
<It will not>
 I don't want to lose these guppies, I am already attached to them and they are the most beautiful ones I've ever seen. The males are a deep sapphire blue and one has a bright red/orange tail, and both females have orange tails.
Back to the stocking for the tank. Fish-wise, I was thinking guppies, swordtails, Neon or Cardinal tetras, marble Hatchetfish, clown killifish, angelfish, zebra Danios, a male Betta and a couple of micro Corys, maybe a pair of *Heterandria formosa* (I think they're called Mosquitofish?).
As far as plants go, I wanted to use the *Elodea* I already have, as well as some crypts, hornwort, Java fern and Amazon swords (I've had those before and love them).
And as for other animals, I wanted to put in the aforementioned snails, frogs and shrimp; but I found out something unusual today at my LFS--tiny turtles
<Not a good choice... too messy, and eventually predaceous
>  being kept in an aquarium with some guppies, snails and platies; all they had to rest on was a platform attached to the tank with suction cups so they could climb out of the water. I don't know what species they were, but I thought they were adorable. They couldn't have been over three and a half inches long. Is it truly possible to keep these tiny buggers in a fully aquatic tank, if they can climb onto their platform at the surface?
Or is this a bad idea for some reason?
<A poor choice. See/search this on WWM as well>
I also love reptiles but have never been allowed to have a terrestrial one, like a lizard; but I know if it were in the tank my mom would love to watch some turtles and would let me get one (or two, LOL).
Thanks again, and sorry for the long e-mail :$
Have an awesome day!
<Cheers, BobF>

I think my guppy is sick.      8/15/13
I just recently noticed that one of my female guppies has gotten whitish scales towards the head.
<I see this in your excellent photograph... Looks more like an injury here>
They look sort of dried up and she has also gotten quite the belly. I don't think she is pregnant because I don't see the gravid spot. I have put her in a separator for the time being and would really appreciate your help.
<I'd take this fish out; more damage likely from dashing about in small confinement. I wouldn't "treat" this fish, but would have you look up "Chondrococcus/Flexibacter", and read through the Guppy Disease FAQs... starting here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Thank you

Damaged guppy scales    7/6/13
I was doing a water changed when my female guppy managed to get into my filter and was stuck for around 15 hours before I realised what had happened. The scales on the top of her head are now white and look damaged, apart from that she looks in good health and is swimming around fine, is there anything I can do to fix the scales?
<Mmm, just time going by and your good care. Proper, consistent water quality and nutrition. They will grow back in weeks. Bob Fenner>

Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?    3/4/13
I have had 2 guppies for a few months then suddenly one started acting odd  and going to the top of the water,
I thought it might of been because of fertilizer dosing
<Both would be similarly affected>

 so I did a 45% water change and put prime in then 2 days later: today
Thought it may of been from the dying Anubias which was because the co2 I squirted on it was contaminated with vinegar so I threw the Anubias out
I tested the water and it came back with about 3 nitrate so just incase it was from that I did a 40% water change and added prime But today I noticed he isn't eating and has a hollowed stomach basically I think he is starving to death
I fed them and he didn't eat
None of my other fish are affected (rainbow shark,
<This fish is often a bully of others...>

 guppy, 6 Kuhli loaches)
What do I do? has he got a internal parasite or some incurable illness?
He seems weak and keeps resting on things..
ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0, ph is about 7.6
nitrate WAS 3 now its probably half since I did that water change The tank has been cycled for a long time
What could he possibly have and how do I treat it? I don' think he will last long?
<Mmm, can't tell w/ the information presented... Read here:
and the linked files above>
I think maybe an internal parasite or gill infection or swim bladder virus just something that causes them not to eat and to not swim around much I am so worried :(
<No need/use... Read, consider the possibilities you learn about. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     3/7/13

He died :(
I'm watching the other fish
the shark never picked on the guppies
<... have you read where you were referred? BobF>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     3/7/13

I read all the posts in the link you gave me, i can't find anything similar to what happened to my guppy.
The tank is 55 gallons and has been cycled for 6 going on 7 years (2 of the Kuhlis and the shark are about 6-7 years old and the other 4 Kuhlis are younger, I also suspect 2 extra Kuhlis may be in one of my filters but anyway).
There were no odd feces or anything, just gasping at the top then slow lethargic swimming then not eating.
No visible marks on the body, a bit of color loss
<Perhaps "something" internal... senescence (cumulative genetic defects... old age; how old are these guppies?)>
Now my remaining guppy is being a bit jumpy and when I fed the fish I didn't see him eat, of course he may eat later over night but I am not sure if this Is just jumpiness from being the only guppy or if he has the same as what the other guppy had.
I don't think its a good idea to add more guppies until at-least a few weeks of monitoring this one for symptoms.
What do you think?
Thanks Bob :)
<Welcome. Sarah. B>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     3/8/13

Thanks for your fast reply Bob,
It seemed a bit sudden to be old age?
<Mmm, no; not really... deaths from such do occur w/o notice in wild animals quite often. It's sometimes said/stated that they "have to put on a good face" to avoid predators/predation... that "letting on" re poor health signals that one is an easy/easier target>
When I got them I suspect they had just reached adult hood?
<Yes... often sold at 4-6 mo.s of age... grown up quickly by numerous feedings, constant water changes... only live a couple/three years>
knowing breeders?(but I don't know for sure) and they were from a 'pet shop', so anywhere from 3 months to 5 months old I suspect and I have actually had the guppies for 4 months
<Oh! Then should have lived longer>
I specifically picked him out at the pet shop, he was my favorite :( :/
Is this usual for guppies? or a rare occurrence? because it kind of put/s me off them,
Which is sad considering I always wanted to have them, then when I finally do he dies...
<Guppies do "die mysteriously" for the most part... And livebearers (Poeciliids in this case) nowayears are not nearly as tough/hardy as they were decades back unfortunately. Perhaps Platies would be a better choice for you. BobF>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die? 3/8/13

Thanks for your fast reply Bob,
It seemed a bit sudden to be old age?
<Mmm, no; not really... deaths from such do occur w/o notice in wild animals quite often. It's sometimes said/stated that they "have to put on a good face" to avoid predators/predation... that "letting on" re poor health signals that one is an easy/easier target>
When I got them I suspect they had just reached adult hood?
<Yes... often sold at 4-6 mo.s of age... grown up quickly by numerous feedings, constant water changes... only live a couple/three years>
knowing breeders?(but I don't know for sure) and they were from a 'pet shop', so anywhere from 3 months to 5 months old I suspect and I have actually had the guppies for 4 months
<Oh! Then should have lived longer>
I specifically picked him out at the pet shop, he was my favorite :( :/ sigh
Is this usual for guppies? or a rare occurrence? because it kind of put/s me off them,
Which is sad considering I always wanted to have them, then when I finally do he dies...
<Guppies do "die mysteriously" for the most part... And livebearers (Poeciliids in this case) nowayears are not nearly as tough/hardy as they were decades back unfortunately. Perhaps Platies would be a better choice for you. BobF>
Re Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     5/3/13

Hi again...
He died so I got new ones but now. Everything seemed to be fine. I got the guppies about 4 days ago, the tank has been cycled for a long time. The water has no ammonia or anything and i got new guppies and one died it has a really red gill and fat stomach some of the others have reddish gills and are a bit bloated; what should I do? :(
I'm scared this is going to wipe my whole tank out..
Thanks :(
<As Bob said before, farmed Guppies and Mollies are much less hardy nowadays that they were in the past (or are in the wild). Keeping in slightly brackish water, around a teaspoon of marine salt mix per 3-4 litres/1 US gallon makes a big difference. Obviously this won't suit other species, so choose tankmates accordingly (much to be said for keeping Guppies and Mollies in single-species set-ups). Mycobacterial infections seem ubiquitous; abdominal swelling, bloody sores on the flanks, and general emaciation/failure to thrive are common symptoms. Best advice: choose some other species if "easy to keep" matters to you… X-ray Tetras, Zebra Danios, Bronze Corydoras, Bristlenose Catfish all the fit the bill and can do well in tanks from 15 gallons upwards. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?   5/3/13

Hi Neale thanks for your fast reply, I dosed using PimaFix do you think it might save the rest?
<Wouldn't bank on it. Pimafix, Melafix, and other "herbal" cures are at best preventatives, and likely do little/nothing to cure established diseases. Some, like Bob, actually feel they cause more problems than they solve. In any event, Wasting-type diseases such as Mycobacteriosis are very difficult to cure even with real, medically-testing medications, let alone Pimafix, Melafix and the like. Better to understand the background to Wasting diseases (poor stock to begin with, and/or failures in care, such as overstocking, diet, wrong water chemistry). Then you can prevent or avoid the problem through better choices, planning and execution. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     5/4/13

Hi again Neale
<G'day Sarah,>
Yes I heard it is fairly weak in terms of a medication so I picked up some tetracycline today and some stress zyme in-case it puts my tank back into cycling. I also have prime to protect the fish from the ammonia if it does cycle again. I also have some stress coat too. Would that help to clear it up, should I dose it right now?
<I'd be leery of overmedicating. Do remember any/all medications tend to be poisons at some level (it's the dose that differentiates between "beneficial" and "lethal") and the interactions between any two medications is virtually never tested, so what happens when you mix medications is unpredictable. If a fish is basically okay, feeding and responding to the medication you're using, I'd recommend finishing off that course of medication (as described by the manufacturer) before switching to another course of medications, and even then, I'd wait a few days between them to see if the fish is recovering under its own steam anyway. With all this said, Tetracycline is an antibiotic and should be tolerably safe, though its effects on the filter bacteria may be undesirable (it does, after all, kill bacteria) and Stress Coat is pretty mild stuff, not really a medication so much as "ointment" for fish like you'd rub onto a child's cut or graze, and about as useful (i.e., you wouldn't use an ointment to deal with gangrene or tuberculosis!). Prime is a water conditioner rather than a medication, and should be safe to use during all water changes.>
Also tomorrow I have to go down to the place where I got the fish with a water sample to prove the water quality is all right. Would adding the tetracycline cause an immediate ammonia spike?
It says on the bottle if it is used for a while it will cause it, so it won't cause it immediately?
<It's really difficult to predict, but yes, it can (though often doesn't) kill filter bacteria, so act/plan accordingly. If you have another aquarium then chances are you can take some live filter media from that tank's filter and put in into the filter in this aquarium, assuming the two filters are more or less compatible. Alternatively, have some zeolite ("ammonia remover" filter media) to hand and stuff into a simple box or canister filter, and use this during the period of medication. Generally, be prepared to replace this every 2-3 days, depending on the amount used and the messiness of the fish being treated.>
Just wondering since the place I got the fish obviously wouldn't refund if I have ammonia (even if caused by antibiotics, probably).
<Understandable, they'd go out of business if they did! Seriously, nine-tenths of the premature fish deaths in the hobby are caused by poor water quality.>
The fish are still all alive, they don't look like they are 'dying' per say. But then again neither did the other guppy that died. Particularly.
<Quite so.>
Thanks again Neale
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     5/5/13
Thanks for your reply Neale,
I added tetracycline yesterday and been treating with prime incase the ammonia rises.
<Ah, do understand that Prime will do little/nothing to prevent ammonia poisoning. Big source of confusion here among aquarists. Prime (and other "ammonia removers") neutralise ammonia in tap water, either directly or via the breakdown of chloramine to chlorine + ammonia. What Prime and others don't do is neutralise ammonia produced in real time by respiring, excreting aquarium fish. May have some slight positive benefit I suppose in the hours after a water change, but the Prime is otherwise used up, metabolised by the filter bacteria.>
It hasn't so far even though when I took it to the store i got it from, they said i had ammonia. I actually bought a new test kit and tested and compared it with tap water and it was identical so they must have contaminated their sample by not washing the tube out properly.
<Or your tap water contains ammonia and/or chloramine; I find nitrite test kits infinitely more useful, being less likely to report false positives (from the chloramine). Ammonia is, of course, toxic whether it comes from the tap water or your fish, but most modern water conditioners neutralise tap water ammonia; what's added subsequently by your fish is where your filter steps in and earns its keep.>
I am kind of worried that the ammonia will rise too high to be treated with prime, since it only detoxifies like 1ppm.
I don't want to mess with the filter though so is there anything else I could do /add that will make it lower?
<Filtering through zeolite is the best, in fact only way to reliably remove ammonia without using bacteria. Everything else is just a waste of money.>
I added beneficial bacteria to help (stress zyme) and a little of stress coat. None have died, which is good
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     5/21/13

Hi again Neale
I cured that guppy.
<Well done!>
A lot has happened since the last email, 5 fish were looking bad including the one I cured which showed some signs of something wrong. Signs: Odd coloration/goldishwhiteness, random holes in fins, fin rot and splits, extra respiration and some reddened gills, lethargicness
<Ah, yes, does sound bad… in the case of Guppies, do check water chemistry (should be hard and alkaline -- 10+ degrees dH, pH 7-8); up the temperature (to around 26-28 C); add a little salt if possible (1 teaspoon per US gallon is a good start). These will perk up Guppies if they're merely unhappy with ambient conditions. It's also a good idea to think about opportunistic bacterial infections, some of which are treatable.>
So surprisingly I gave the fish to the fish 'expert' guy where I got them from and basically he said they would live. I said they need treatment asap or they will die. Anyway I followed up a week later and he told me they ALL died except one.
Now 3 in my tank were looking odd, 2 with all those symptoms and 1 with just some. I took them into a quarantine tank and have been battling to keep the ammonia under check and treat. Needless to say the Tetracycline treatment didn't work, well at least not on these. Ich treatment didn't work. I am starting to think it is Columnaris disease and I am going to get Methylene blue or potassium permanganate tomorrow to do a bath with them. How do I do this exactly? how much parts water to how much parts of one or the other? and for how long?
<I would recommend neither medication. Methylene Blue is a mild anti-fungal more than anything else; it's used in breeding tanks for example to keep eggs from going mouldy. Problem is that Columnaris isn't a fungus. As for Potassium Permanganate, it's toxic stuff, nasty to you, your fish and your filter.>
They are all looking slow and bad, one has been going through periods of corkscrewing, i tried the pea method but it doesn't seem to be working… I really don't think these guys have much time left at all. So tomorrow fingers crossed I can get that stuff I can give it a try. Hopefully that doesn't mean sacrificing a uni lecture. Its either that or waiting till after 10pm to treat them...
<I'd review water conditions as outlined above, and then use a broad spectrum antibiotic, such as the classic Maracyn 1 and 2 combination. As ever, give your aquarium a decent clean and water change before using it, and then remove carbon from the filter (if used).>
So really hope they hold out. My loaches have been swimming around a lot and respirating more than usual.
<These definitely wouldn't like the Potassium Permanganate!>
Had a big disaster in the morning where the tank temperature plummeted to 13 degrees Celsius because someone fiddled with the power point but it got back up slowly and they seem to be ok but I'm worried they might have it. If they do, how can I treat them in the main tank?
<Loaches should perk back from brief exposure to chilling without any further medication.>
Thanks so much ah I hope they all live
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     5/21/13

Thanks for your fast reply Neale
Unfortunately I hadn't got your email yet and was desperate to try something on my fish so I got the permanganate and did it in a bucket. They still don't look good and obviously didn't like the potassium permanganate bath.
<I bet.>
Thing is I don't know if I can get Maracyn in Australia. If this doesn't work, and they are still alive I will try it.
<Maracyn is only sold in the US over the counter… in most other countries antibiotics are prescription only. A vet can supply equivalents -- Maracyn 1 is Erythromycin, Maracyn 2 is Minocycline. But there are often non-antibiotic antibacterial medications sold as alternatives. Here in the UK, a typical product is eSHa 2000 that works well against external bacterial infections. Do consult your local retailer, and ask for good quality anti-Finrot medications if the problem is with the fins, scales or skin; avoid products based on tea-tree oil and suchlike as these tend to better used to prevent infections than to treat acute infections.>
I also called the fish guy at the pet shop back up to tell him what is going on and ask about my fish and he said it died too... Said it was looking fine then just died... hmm. Good news is the guppies in my main tank look ok so far. One a tiny bit fat though, loaches are fine and back to their hiding selves. My water is relatively hard. I don't know about salt, the pet shop guy put salt in with the others and they all died so hmm.
<In and of itself, salt, if used correctly, will NEVER do your Guppies harm; Guppies positively thrive in low-end brackish conditions! Something like 5-6 grams per litre of marine salt mix in a freshwater aquarium creates low-end brackish conditions than Guppies (and Mollies) adore, often doing better than in freshwater conditions. Loaches, on the other hand, dislike saline conditions, so should not be exposed to such conditions.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?    6/29/13

Hi again Neale,
now for an update, 2 of the guppies died and one actually lived and is now fully healed in my 55 gallon aquarium.
5 total guppies lived out of the 14 i had,
<Sadly not uncommon with Guppies these days.>
and my shark and all my Kuhlis lived and my peppermint Pleco.
<I see.>
I believe they had an internal parasite, since they are all ok now (no more deaths) after i dipped the 5 guppies in potassium permanganate then a bit later treated the whole aquarium with Praziquantel for 2 weeks. One does have a split in his fin, so i believe there may still be a mild bacterial infection (fin rot) in the tank. I'm wondering how should I treat that? and should i treat the whole aquarium? or just the individual?
<Either. Any good Finrot remedy can be used; most are safe with filter bacteria but check the packaging. Treating in a hospital tank is fine because Finrot isn't "catchy" so you don't need to treat all the fish.>
also one of the other guppies has slight light patches in spots of his tail, not sure what it is? any ideas on how to treat?
<Would treat as incipient Finrot and act accordingly.>
I have now unfortunately gotten myself involved in my boyfriends mothers problems with her fish tank. The filter stopped working and she just left it for i don't know how long, without a filter. I went over his house and saw the fish and it is very swollen and has cloudy eyes (it is a cichlid or ram) and doesn't move much, it just was kind of staying somewhat tilted
near the glass. So after some instruction, i got my boyfriend to change 100% of the water and order a hang over filter which should be on its way.
He also added some Epsom salt. But now I don't know how the fish can be treated and how we can do so cheaply, because his mum doesn't have much money and well basically would rather ignore it and wait till it dies then shove a bunch of new fish in. Which i am against.
<I bet.>
So anyway I really think it has some kind of bacterial infection and maybe internal parasites but I'm not sure how to treat it. Praziquantel
<Specifically treats worms, nothing else, so not much use for most internal parasites.>
and just a broad spectrum antibiotic? or tetracycline?
<Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, but no antibiotic treats all bacterial infections. Without information on what's in the tank, the water chemistry, the sickly species involved, and ideally a photo, it's hard to recommend anything specific. Would assume it's an opportunistic bacterial infection (like Finrot) and treat thusly.>
Also the tank is not cycled so what can be put in/done to make sure there is no ammonia?
<You can't "add" anything to a tank to make ammonia go away. Zeolite may be used in lieu of biological filtration, but you need a fair amount, and it needs to be replaced every few days (hence zeolite is primarily of use with small fish and/or short-term situations like hospital tanks).>
I don't think large water changes can be an option because there would be medication in there and it would need to be topped up every time right?
<If you need to medicate (say) 8 PM one day, but do a daily water change 7:30 PM, then you should be fine. Most medications work for about a day before being completely absorbed and metabolised by the filter bacteria and others, so provided you leave the medication in there for 23 hours or so, daily water changes aren't a major problem.>
It's a tricky situation, also the tank is about 30 gallons.
Thanks Neale :)
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?    6/29/13
Awwwe don't worry about the last part of the previous message, the cichlid/ram died how sad :(
it didn't even get to receive medication yet how could that family not notice its condition -.-
<Too bad. Yes, it's often a wonder why people get pets when their desire to maintain them is minimal. Let's hope the Boyf. appreciates your better intentions and experiences. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies dying after gravel clean     2/18/13
Hi crew,
I've have a well planted 2ft tank that has a LOT of guppies, a yoyo loach & a Siamese flying fox.
<... this may be "the butler... who "did it"">

I say "a lot" because I would have no idea how many - easily over 50, although I did just recently sell off approx. 30.
The tank has been in this state for at least 3yrs - usually with more guppies hence selling them off because I was starting to get concerned about inbreeding and was intending to introduce some new stock.  Over the 3 years, the death rate has been negligible - the odd one every month or two but I know my guppies well & recognised them as my older ones.
I have a master test kit and my water parameters have always been very consistent - pH 7.5, ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate 5.
<Good thus far>
About 3 weeks ago, I added some new subwassertang.
<Pellia, a Liverwort; shouldn't be a problem>
 I usually dip any new plants into a bleach solution before introducing them into my tank but I forgot with this one. Since then my guppies have been dying off, like 2-5 a day.  This morning, there were 7 casualties.  One minute they look fine, the next minute, they're dead. 
The biggest indication I get is that one or two may probably be resting on top of the floating plants so I move them to a quarantine tank to find them dead later in the day. 
I noticed one or 2 fish doing a tiny bit of flashing so I upped the temp to 30 degrees and added salt which seemed to stop this.  But still they kept dying so I treated with Meth Blue as well which made no difference.
<Mmm, no; not a very strong treatment for most anything>
  I've been doing about 2-3 water changes a week (25%) & when I tested my water this morning, it was pH 7.5 pH, nitrite 0, nitrate 5 and a slight bit of ammonia (approx. 0.1 or 0.15).
 I'm assuming the slight spike in ammonia is from the dead fish
which I clear out as soon as I see them.  I've also searched in the driftwood caves and through the plants in case there were some I missed.
<I would take out the driftwood for now... There have been no recent fish additions?>
The only other possibility is that, about the time they started dying, I did a big gravel clean which stirred up a lot of mulm. Since my water parameters seem ok (except for the ammonia which I'll get down with a few more water changes), I can't understand why they keep dying.  I just found 2 more guppies resting on top of the floating plants so I've moved them into the medicated quarantine tank. One strange thing I noticed is that the dead fish look really ragged - this only happens after they die. 
<After, not appearing like this before?>
They didn't look like that before. Not sure if it's because the other guppies are picking at them as dessert!  At first the deaths seemed that it was affecting mainly the females (95%) but now the males are dying too so that may just be coincidental. BTW, the yoyo & flying fox seem totally happy & unconcerned.
<Mmm... the Epalzeorhynchos...>
Hope you can help otherwise I'm resigned to expecting all my guppies to eventually die.  There are probably about 20 left.  If this does happen (aaargh!), is there any way I can make sure that the tank is completely uninfected before I start up a new community?  I really don't want to rip out all my plants & start again from scratch.  I had to do that 3 years ago when a bad case of Ich decimated my guppy colony even after I'd quarantined the new guppy (obviously not well or long enough) hence the inbreeding this time round from fear of adding the unknown!  I would really like to avoid that if possible.  Would I have to move the yoyo & flying fox to a new tank so all possible hosts are taken out of the equation?  Not sure what to do when I don't even know what's killing them :-(
<I'd remove the Flying Fox... have seen quite a few occasions where this species developed a taste for its tankmates... Safe/compatible w/ larger fishes, not w/ easygoing ones like guppies. Try taking it out and see. Bob Fenner>
Re: Guppies dying after gravel clean    2/19/13

Hi Bob,
>Hey Lynn>
Thanks for the speedy reply.
If my algae eater is indeed hiding an alter-ego of a guppy mass-murderer, I'll be taking your advice & rehoming him.
But I'm a bit baffled as he does seem the most peaceful little fella, usually sharing his algae wafers with the frantic piranha-like guppies.
So I looked up the differences between flying foxes & SAE as there seems to be a lot of confusion out there about which is which.
<Yes; has been for years>
The guy I bought it from called it a Siamese Flying Fox but after comparing pictures online, I can see that it's a Siamese Algae eater, /Crossocheilus siamensis.
/Now these guys are peaceful, right?
<Ah yes; they are>
 Can I take the butler tag off him or should I keep an eye on him at night?
<The former.>
He seems friendly & unperturbed around the guppies during the day but maybe he's doing a Jekyll/Hyde at night!
The good news is there were no casualties last night so hopefully (1) I manage to eradicate whatever was affecting the guppies, or (2) the SAE has reduced the guppy numbers to what he finds acceptable.
I've taken note of what you say about the Meth Blue and frankly, am quite happy to see the back of that messy thing!
Is there any broad spectrum medication you recommend over others? 
What's your opinion on triple sulfa?
<Am not a fan of using any medication unless there is good (known, calculably good chance of use); and do like some antibiotics, antimicrobials over others for particular applications. Oh, and still a backer of sulfa drugs>
You also mention taking out the driftwood. Could you explain why?
<It may indirectly be a source of the transient ammonia...>
It's kinda covered in plants so I'd have to find something large enough to house it if I do.
<Mmm, well; t'were it me/mine, and as you state the anomalous losses have stopped... I'd do naught for now. BobF> 

New Guppies dying, not sure which medication to use     1/16/13
Hello, I am sorry to have to email, but I am not sure what course of action to take next.
We bought 8 guppies (and some Danios) 3 weeks ago and now have 3 left, but they seem to be suffering both hemorrhagic septicaemia and fungal infections/fin rot, the problem is the fungal/fin rot medication says I cannot use it with other medications, and since those problems started first I am already using this in the tank.
The details:
We just moved into our first house so were able to buy a much better home for our platys and Danios (housed in a 23 l Fluval edge that they outgrew, but which was perfect sized for our rented flat). We bought a 180 l Juwel Rio.
We set up the Rio on 8 Dec 2012 (with cold water from hose) and left the heater to bring the water to room temp overnight and the filter to clear up the water before buying 6 plants to add the next day (2 spiral grasses, 3 Amazon swords and 1 Bacopa caroliniana [I think]) and adding 6 pieces of aquarium driftwood (from the LFS soaked for an hour). In the middle of the week I added another 3 plants (including another spiral grass and 1 elodea).
<The last may be a coldwater (not tropical) species>
At the weekend (tank 1 week running) we fetched the old tank and our fish from the parents (who had not changed the water in the 2 months they had it and at that point we learned we had lost the bully Danio) and added all the old substrate into the tank, added the old filter material to the 1 week-old Rio filter, moved the decorations and the old plants into the tank and then acclimatised our fish (4 female platies and now 3 zebra Danios).
Over the next week we kept an eye on our fish and all seemed well, so I went to the LFS to stock our Danio numbers back to 6+ to calm them down a bit and make them school/shoal. I chose 2 pearls and another leopard, golden and 1 longfinned zebra fish (although another sneaked into the bag).
Whilst I was there my partner fancied some guppies so we ended up with 2 males and 6 females.
<... this, is/was your highly likely source of trouble. The non-quarantined, probably sick Guppies>
 I was told water parameters at this time were perfect, and I specifically asked for the pH in case the driftwood was making the water too acidic and was shown this was 7.4
At home we raised the temperature of the tank to 24 C to suit the guppies, acclimatised the fish and released them. Strangely the guppies and Danios seemed to school together in 2 mixed groups, apart from the free longfinned zebra who was a loner (the one I had chosen was the bully of the tank, but also smaller than all our fish). The next morning he was schooling with the others though.
I tried to keep an eye on the fish but it was hard with Christmas and a house-load of guests. The tiny free Danio started hanging on his own again, and then he stopped eating, so at the next feeding I was going to catch him to ensure he could get some food and perhaps take him back to the shop, but I never saw him again :(
New Year's eve we'd had the fish 10 days and after being unable to find the Danio I checked the health of the other fish and noticed one males tail looked a bit shorter, the noticed I couldn't see the 2nd male, and found him in perfect condition trapped by gravel that had moved under a decoration - I think he died from the stress of being trapped. I was concerned about the 2nd male but had guests so couldn't do anything.
The next day I tried watching to see if he was being nipped by the Danios but couldn't see any aggression, and as the day progressed I started to notice that the scales in front of his dorsal fin looked raised and he appeared to have fungus on his lips. Another 2 females appeared to have fungus on their lips, another seemed to be covered along the dorsal side from head to dorsal fin (not including fin or lips), and a fourth had a few spots of fungus.
I scrubbed the old tank clean and started setting it up to use as a hospital tank but it cracked when half full, so as the shops were shut I decided to give these fish a 5 minute salt dip. First 3 the lightly affected females, then replaced with the male and heavily fungused female. The first 3 swam the entire time they were in the pan, whilst the male hardly moved and the bad female jumped out twice immediately. When back in the tank (now slightly salted with API aquarium salt) all seemed fine - the lip fungus was almost clear, the heavily fungused female looked normal, but the one who had only a few specks stopped swimming and eating and stayed 1 inch below the surface. She didn't eat the next day but went into labour, the first seemed to take her 30 min.s to get out completely, then she ate, then over the next few days she had the rest but didn't eat and kept hiding. Suddenly she disappeared but I never saw anything wrong with her.
The males tail kept getting slowly worse although his scales got better so I added 'Love Fish Anti Fungus and Fin Rot' (only one stocked at LFS) to the tank, and slowly increased the salt level to the 1 tablespoon per 20 l.
Next another fish started getting what looked like creamy worms sticking out of her sides (maybe pus or raised scales) which then became red at the base after a few days looking like septicaemia in humans, her tail started to slowly rot and her side fin was slightly frayed where the creamy/red bit was. She gave birth during this time (again over several days) but died before having them all.
At the weekend with no more visitors and the tank having been set up 4 weeks (fish with enough bacteria for 3 weeks, new fish for 2 weeks) and I decided it was time for a water change and thorough tank cleaning. I changed 30 %. 2 days later I cam home from work and a female who had been healthy at the morning check had only half a tail and all fins were frayed.
I added the salt I hadn't replaced at the weekend. The next morning she had no tail and I was scared I had caused an ammonia spike by over-cleaning the tank and filter and by over-feeding trying to get the male to eat. When I came home I therefore did another 30 % water change (but the filter wool was brown and slimy again), but the next morning I found her immediately nipped by a Danio when I flushed her out to check she was still alive. I bought water testing kits when I could and tested my water: nothing wrong (see below) but unsurprisingly lost this female and the male (found the male first). When I found the (heavily pregnant) female she was covered in a hairy white mould: is this normal ?? ( - she had lost all colour - perhaps had been dead >24 hours?)
<Not normal... this all reads as symptomatic of Chondrococcus/Columnaris... see WWM, the Net, books re>
Now the 2 healthiest females are showing symptoms. The first started getting the creamy/raised scale things, and has slowly been developing the red dots (including on her lips). They both looked like they had septicaemia, but one cleared up whilst the other got worse. She is now hiding, and her tails seems to be splitting along the rays in the centre and has a white ?fungus? speck on her tail, and she seems to not want to fight for food, although she tries. She has also just given birth.
The female that had the cleared-up red dots and the one which had lots of fungus seem to be fine, but are both coming close to giving birth.
Should I continue treating for fin rot/fungus or move onto anti-internal bacteria to treat the septicaemia [I can't do both at once :(  ].
<See where you've been referred. Only certain antibiotics have proven of use here>
Are these just weak guppies from the store (all my fish and the new Danios seem healthy), and if so, will their fry survive or will they also overcome by being genetically weak? They are growing fast, eating the flakes and are bravely teasing the Danios.
<The fry may survive>
Could an issue be that the tropical fish flakes ran out and we moved onto some goldfish flakes the parents bought?
<Not likely though perhaps a small contributing cause>
Could the haemorrhaging be bruising from the Danios/platys attacking the guppies: I haven't seen much inter-species aggression and the guppies seem fast enough to out-run the Danios, but usually just school with them.
<Could be also a factor>
Thanks for any help and sorry this is so long.
Water quality (4 days after the 2nd 30 % water change in 1 week).
Ammonia < 0.1 mg/l (although my water is slightly yellow from the driftwood, so this could be 0)
Nitrites < 1 mg/l
<... the two above are toxic in any measurable quantity. Need to be 0.0.

See WWM re>
Nitrates < 10 mg/l
Chlorine < 0.8 mg/l
<Likely, hopefully chloride; not 'ine>
pH - 7
KH - 8 d
GH >= 16 d (max of scale)
<Bob Fenner>

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

Guppies hiding - 12/14/12
I cant seem to find anything on the internet about this... my guppies hide up at the top of the tank and by the heater and the filter the tank is plenty warm for them and the three tetra Neons I have in with them.
<Both species prefer different pH and hardness, guppies being alkaline and hard, Neons acidic and soft.>
I have had fish off and on my whole life but have never seen this. It would be muchly appreciated if you could help me with this as its starting to worry me as they have done this since I got them on Dec 2 but they swim at times but mostly they are at the top and hide by the heater and the filter that has me a bit worried.
<They are stressed for some reason, but more information is needed.
Temperature, pH, hardness, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels would be a good start.>
Thanks a lot for the help in advance
<Can help more with that information. - Rick>
Aislon Burnam-Sheets 
Re: Guppies hiding - 12/14/12

ok what do I need to check on the different pH and temps and hardness, and nitrates, and ammonia levels?
<Test strips can do the basic tests quickly but not necessarily accurately.  A good liquid test kit is best and will set you back about $35 in the US. It will last a long time, though.  That will give you the ability to test all those properties regularly and more accurately. Be sure to follow directions exactly as some tests need thorough shaking and/or a wait period before reading the results.>
tonight after I left the email they seem to be acting like they would under normal situations....<encouraging.>I know last night after I cleaned the tank and put the solution <solution?>in it and then put water and the heater and filter back in they were hiding up there but then tonight they seem to be ok...but will test the water and stuff as soon as I can to make sure I don’t lose my fish I love them lots as the guppies are the cobras and they are awesome colors.
<Hopefully they are settling in.  The water change seemed to help, so maybe you diluted or eliminated something there.>

Female Guppy issues -     11/21/12
Dear WetWebMedia,
<Hi, Simona!>
About a month ago, I wrote to you as my female guppy, Missy, had some sort of discoloration from her silver-ish patter on the lower part of her belly and you could see through that transparent bit her red eggs she has in the belly. You advised she might be pregnant. Now, that region is gone dark and she spends all her time at the bottom. She used to feed eagerly and come up to the top swimming happily and now it's just like she is stuck at the bottom, she just shakes there and stays in the same spot, semi hidden most of the time. Is she labouring?
<This is very possible.>
What can we do to help?
<Maintain perfect water quality - 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, less than 20ppm Nitrate - with appropriate water changes.  Provide lots of cover (floating plants are great) for the female to hide in, or optionally remove her to her own tank if you wish.  She needs to feel safe, so lots and lots of places to hide is key.>
We bought algae based flakes and are alternating those with the normal flakes. The male is always next to her but come up when called for feeding (we signal feeding by tapping the tank!).
<This all sounds good.>
What can we do, I wouldn't want to cannot make the labour, if this is what the issue is!
<Other than making conditions optimal for her, there's not much you can do but observe and wait.  With luck, she'll have a good delivery and you'll see some baby guppies soon!  Do be aware, if you do not remove the babies as they show up, they will be eaten by the adults, so if you want to keep some of them, either remove them to their own tank to grow up in, or provide tons and tons of plants for them to hide in.>
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
<Seems to me like you're doing well thus far.>
Thank you very much in advance for your time and help.
<Always glad to help.>
Kindest regards,
<Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Female Guppy issues, continued -   11/21/12

Dear Sabrina,
<Hi again, Simona!>
We need help ASAP, PLEASE!
<I just figured out how to make the webmail system we use work reliably on my phone....  doesn't make typing on it any easier though.  But here I am.>
Missy, laboured today 21 fry!!
<Nice!  There may be more yet to come.>
The male helped her while she swam vertically, biting her belly to let the babies out.
<Uhh, he's not helping her
....  More likely he's discovered that she's releasing snacks into the water, sort of a guppy vending machine....  If he isn't leaving her alone and she can't get away reliably, best to either move her into a tank by herself or separate the two some other way.  You can even use plastic needlepoint mesh like you might get at a craft store as a makeshift divider.>
HOWEVER, five hours have passed and she still looks like she may have one or two fry inside her belly (there is still some darkness),
<Not surprising.  This can take hours, maybe even the better part of a day or two.>
so she is still vertical, trying to hold on to plants and the male still around her, but I'm worried those fry may be stuck or dead
<Likely she's trying to hold on until she instinctively feels the fry will be safe/r....  With the male constantly harrying her to drop more "snacks", she will be likely to hold out longer, get more stressed....>
AND IT'S PARAMOUNT SHE SURVIVES. We are not fish breeder, we love our Miss, she did great, laboured 21 babies, now we WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO SAVE HER...
<Get her some peace from the male.  She's done great so far, and will probably continue to do great - IF she can do what she needs to do in safety and comfort.>
please, any advice would be hugely appreciated.
<Take some deep breaths!  Likely she'll be fine, and likely you will, too. 
Guppies give birth, this is natural....  Nature is being nature, Life is being life, new lives are coming into the world, right before your eyes.>
Thanks, Simona
<Best wishes to you and your fishes this Thanksgiving week! 
Female Guppy issues, continued - 11/25/2012

Thank you so much for the advice. So, we removed the male for a couple of days. Just put him back today. We counted more than 25 fry at the end.
Missy is not well. She cannot swim properly, she breaths heavily, swims vertically and her belly skin looks very loose.
<Some of this may be just recovering from her first pregnancy, some perhaps from the harassment from the male....  The loose belly skin is normal after giving birth.>
I really don't know what to do to help her... I can take the male out again, no problem,
<Definitely do so.  Sounds like she's having a very hard time recovering. 
The male is going to be constantly pestering her.  She needs to be as safe and comfortable as possible right now.>
but she has plenty of hiding places.
<Very good, but even better if it's impossible for the male to mess with her at all right now (by removing him to a separate tank or dividing the existing tank).>
The issue is that she cannot swim, she rests on the bottom or hanging on the plants all the time, what can I do?
<Give her time, and hope.  There's not much else to be done for her right now, aside from letting her rest.>
Please, help! I have read it might be a bladder issue,
<Though resting on the bottom can be an indicator that there's trouble with the swim bladder, that's not always the case.  In Missy's case, she's just given birth, and has a slightly aggressive male to contend with.  There may have been complications or damage from the pregnancy, or maybe she really does just need rest.  The only thing to do right now is make her safe and comfy, and hope.  With luck, in your good care she will come around.  My fingers are crossed.>
I am alternating standard flakes with algae-based flakes, so that should be OK??
<Yes.  If she is eating, that is an excellent sign.>
I am just so worried about her!
<I do understand.  Just give her time, be patient, and hope.>
PS. I also don't know what to feed the fry, I have been giving them just the algae-based flakes...not sure that's good...
<Sure.  Livebearer fry, for the most part, are easy to feed.  Just crumble the flakes to a fine powder between your finger and thumb and sprinkle it in, or even sink some if needed.  They should do fine.  You can expect for some of the fry to be eaten by the adults, and some to just fail to thrive, but I expect you'll have a few squeak by.  If you keep them separate from the adults, you might have all of them live and grow up.  Won't that be great?  Life is so beautiful.>

Guppy with possible fin rot... Uncycled system... for obvious reasons, iatrogenic troubles     11/17/12
Back again!!!  Sorry to bother you once again but I am at my wits end with my tank!  I have a 26 gallon tank running two filters, one is the one that came with the tank and I added a second for a ten gallon just to add surface for good bacteria.  It has one tower decoration, one pirate ship and one treasure chest, all bought at PetSmart, two Marimo( may not be spelling this right) balls and four fake plants with what I felt were soft leaves.  I had done a fishless cycle that was removing ammonia and nitrites quickly using pure ammonia and so I did a large water change and added 4 male sunrise tequila guppies.  I was having nitrite issues after that but never ammonia issues so I do water changes almost every other day and use Prime and water conditioner every time but to no avail!
<This situation, establishing nitrification, just takes time... I'd remove the guppies to a cycled system, add some food to the cycling system and wait, test every few days... till NO2 was gone, there was accumulating NO3>
  Still having them. In the mean time I acquired two Mickey Mouse Platys.
<? You're compounding the problem by adding more biota>
 Still doing 30 percent water changes, vacuuming the gravel
<Don't do this... you're forestalling the establishment of nutrient cycling>
and using Prime but no luck.
<The use of Prime won't help either...>
  It's been two months and now for the main reason I am writing. One of my guppies top fin looks ragged with white tips and I know water conditions can bring on fin rot but I also believe he may have been bullied a little although most of the time they seem to get along.  Then tonight maybe it's paranoia but on of my platys looks kind white and maybe it's eyes look a little buggy  so I ran out and got Maracyn 2 because the booklet said if she showed a decrease in movement it was the one I should choose. I am too afraid to set up a hospital tank and am afraid to break down my main tank for fear I will be starting over the cycling process, not that I have ever really completed it anyway.  What am I doing wrong and how in God's name do I proceed from here?
<Your situation is so very common... and fixable... Review here:
and the linked files above... Best, as stated above, to remove the fishes here... add some food... and just let time go by>
  I'm so frustrated!  By the way, tank temp is at 82 and have floated frozen water bottles to cool it down to no avail, which may be good since I have this bacteria but will invest in a chiller if I don't give up all together soon.  I love them and  don't want to have them suffer so any suggestions would be gravely appreciated!  Thanks!
<Don't panic, or get too bummed... Time will solve this issue assuredly.
Bob Fenner> 

Guppy stress or disease??    11/8/12
Hello Crew! Thanks in advance for reviewing this...I have a 20 gallon long up and running now since August 1st. Since cycling completed I have slowly added the residents in the tank. Currently I have 5 zebra Danios, (had 6 but one mysteriously died while we were away for 7 days) one ADF, ghost and cherries and a zebra Nerite snail. The tank has driftwood and a lot of plants, 2 big Amazon swords, flame moss, hair grass, Amazon frog bit and some weed that came with my snail that is growing like, well-like a weed. There are plants on the bottom middle and top of the tank. The temp is 76, ammonia-0, nitrites-0, nitrates-5, and ph is reading at the top of the chart at 7.6.
<All sounds good.>
I purchased 2 fancy guppies. I specifically chose 2 males with smaller tails to reduce the temptation for the Danios just in case.
<Good luck on that… seriously, the Danio/Guppy combination, though it sometimes works, isn't reliable.>
I quarantined them for 2 weeks in a smaller tank and all was well. Yesterday I acclimated them over the period of an hour to the bigger tank. Other than some initial chasing by the Danios, they did fine.
The Danios only seem to chase each other but will only occasionally chase a guppy. It swims away and everything is fine. I just looked for the yellow guppy and he was sitting on the bottom. He did this for a few minutes then appeared to swim away and act normally. Then 30 minutes later he did it again, then swimming normally and so on. No one is bothering him and he shows no other signs of distress, trauma or illness. Is this stress?
<Could be. Or bullying. Or "one of those things". With Guppies, they sometimes suffer from developmental issues that mean their swim bladders don't grow properly, and such Guppies are known as "belly sliders". On the other hand, wasting disease or simple "failure to thrive" means that fish such as Guppies become steadily less active, and one manifestation is sitting on the bottom instead of swimming properly.>
I am not thrilled with the idea of putting him back in the quarantine tank because I don't want to stress him more after just moving him yesterday.
<I would leave him be for now.>
Should I leave him be and observe or handle it more proactively? Any advice is appreciated, am just unsure if this is an issue or not. Thanks so much, your team is amazing.
<Thanks for the kind words, Neale.>
Re: Guppy stress or disease??    11/8/12

Wow Neale! Thanks for a lightning quick response!
Well the update is that a few hours later both of the guppies were hiding behind the filter intake at the surface behind a plant so I suspect there is some bullying or at least intimidation going on, although I haven't seen it so could just be dirty looks, I don't know.
Anyhow, I fed them and they all came out to eat and are now swimming along merrily.
<Which does suggest something psychological rather than physical.>
As this is the first day I expect some acclimation issues, however, if this continues in the future is there something I can do to alleviate the intimidation?
<Not really. Turning lights off for a few hours during/after adding new fish helps of course. But that time has passed. With possibly aggressive fish like Danios, keeping more of them tends to reduce, even eliminate, any problems they cause towards other species of fish. So if you have fewer than six Danios, then up the school to 6-8 specimens.>
Would adding more guppies help or exacerbate the situation?
<Depends. If the Guppies are fighting each other, then yes, adding more can help. If you get females, then keep at least 2 females per male.>
To be honest the Danios are not my favorite so until I decide to rehome them I will have to deal with their temperament...love your site and your expertise is priceless!
<Thanks for the kind words.>
Sorry to bother you with guppy trivialities but I suppose if we were guppies it would seem much larger...thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Guppy failed pregnancy
Guppy Gravid? Disease? - 10/27/2012

Dear Crew,
<Hi, Pat. Sabrina with you tonight.>
One of my female guppies who became pregnant has not birthed. She is now showing signs of dropsy.
<Can you describe exactly what you're seeing? A photo would help a lot, if possible.>
I believe she is nearly 7 weeks since mating her with a male and she is very large.
<They can get quite impressively huge prior to giving birth. It may be that less time has passed since her eggs were fertilized, unless it's been 7 weeks since all contact with a male. The mating 7 weeks ago may have been unsuccessful and so perhaps she is gravid from a more recent mating.
Or perhaps the temperature is cooler, or for some other reason she's taking longer.... Here is a link to a pictorial essay on YouTube posted by user AquariumCamera that shows the progression from not gravid until ready to give birth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMU5wEsLX7w  As you can see, they can get really, really big.>
Should I perform euthanasia on her?
<I wouldn't, unless you are 100% certain that she has some irreversible disease and you suspect that she is suffering. Are you very, very certain that she is diseased and not just very heavy with fry?>
Will her babies have died?
<If she is in fact sick with something that would cause dropsical symptoms, then this is a possibility, yes.>
Kindest regards,
<To you as well.>
Re: Guppy failed pregnancy
Guppy Gravid? Disease? - II - 10/27/2012

Dear Sabrina
<Hi again, Pat.>
Many thanks for your reply.
<Glad to be of service.>
The guppy is extremely pine-coned and getting more so by the day.
<Ahh. I see.>
Her body has been in the square / box shape for three weeks (the same as previous females when they are about to birth that I have kept). She can only be 7 weeks on as I put her in with a male only for a few minutes and she lives with twelve of her sisters. I should have also said that she isn't such a young female and perhaps here lies the issue (perhaps 2 months old now). The tanks are kept around 23 degrees Celsius / fully planted / 3yrs settled and nitrite/ammonia free.
<All good.>
My main concern here is to prevent her from unnecessary suffering
<I do agree.>
(the usual sign for me is when they stop eating).
<I use this same rule of thumb with the fish at the lab in which I work - we have Nothobranchius furzeri, which have an extremely short lifespan, and so we do see fish "get old" and die very often. When they stop showing an interest in food is when I will euthanise them.>
Any advice would be appreciated.
<I would separate this fish from the rest of the tank, and keep it entirely isolated. There are some possible causes of dropsical symptoms that could be contagious - parasites, bacteria.... But if this fish is pretty old, it may just be a simple case of things "shutting down" - organ failure - due to old age. I would consider euthanising her if she ceases to have any interest in food, or if she seems to suffer. You will know far better than I, as you've had her and observed her.... You know what is "normal" for her, and what isn't. When you feel it's time, I believe you will be right. When a fish gets to the "pinecone" stage (scales sticking out from the body pinecone-fashion) there is rarely any chance of recovery. While she continues to eat and doesn't seem to suffer, I would just give her the best care she can have.>
<Best wishes to you, Pat. I'm sorry for your guppy, and I'm glad that she is in your excellent and observant care. -Sabrina>
Guppy Gravid?  Disease? - III - 10/29/2012

Dear Sabrina
<Hi again, Pat.>
Thank you so much. 
<Glad to be of service.>
All your advice is aligned with my own thoughts and indeed, she has been separated from the others for three weeks already. 
<Ahh.  Very good.>
I did have a young platy go the same way recently from the same tank (although a male of about 1 year).
<Possibly "old age", but do keep an eye on things.  If you see this happen again, there may be worse things at play.  Hopefully this second event is just coincidentally similar, which is not at all outside the realm of possibility.>
The rest of the tank family appear fine (about 12 female guppies and 10 male platies) so I am inclined to think that the platy was just genetically weak rather than any bacterial / parasitical issue. 
<Or old, or any number of things that could cause kidneys or liver to fail....  Any possibility of recent-ish toxic events?  Medications used, anything like that?  If definitely not, then yeah, I'd chalk this up to coincidence for now.>
I'll continue to monitor as you suggested and if she stops eating, do the clover and then vodka treatment.
<Clove oil, not clover *grin*.  One can euthanize with clove oil alone.  My own preference is MS-222 (Tricaine), which is less easily available in comparison to clove oil, but "better" in my experience.  If you do seek it out, just BE SURE to pH adjust AFTER mixing up the MS-222 solution as this anesthetic will lower the pH dramatically.  Sodium bicarbonate will do for raising the pH back to match the tank water.  General rule of thumb is to wait until 10 minutes after cessation of all opercular (gill) movement.  I wait an hour or more, just to be safe.>
All the best to you and your fantastic team!
<Thank you for your kindness, Pat, and thank you for doing your best for your guppy girl.>
<Best wishes to you,  -Sabrina>
Guppy Gravid?  Disease? - IV - 10/30/2012

Dear Sabrina
<Hello again, Pat!>
Just to update you.  I put our guppy down today as she had developed a rather large red bulge around her back fin/anus and the dropsy was quite full on.
<Sad to hear this....  my sympathies.>
She was nibbling at food but I sensed she wasn't going to recover
<I am sure I agree.>
and I think the dead babies may have been causing some internal problems (hence the nasty red lump that was extruding). 
<I do doubt that there were dead babies....  I think these would have passed.  I think it likelier that there were other, unfixable, problems, and I think you handled this entire issue as perfectly as possible.>
I think it was the most humane thing to do. 
<I agree.  Completely.>
I looked into MS-222 / Tricaine but it is only available on prescription. 
The clove oil and vodka did the trick. 
Thanks for all your support.
<I am sorry for this loss, but also know she could not have had better care.  Thank you for all you did.>
<Warm regards,  -Sabrina>

Two guppies dead. A third labouring. Cannot identify cause.    10/7/12
First, thank you for the time you take answering so many questions. You have helped me at least twice in the past, and I really appreciated your responses. Unfortunately, I have a new problem to ask you about. I have researched the situation, but it seems I may have two things going on and I don't want to take the wrong route. I would like to save my remaining fish, so I am hoping you will give me your thoughts.
<Will do my best.>
I have had a ten gallon planted freshwater tank for almost two years. The tank was quite stable over the summer with 4 cardinal tetras and a male fancy guppy. Three weeks ago, one of the tetras died (no apparent reason), and I thought to buy a few more fish.
<Maybe old age.>
I waited about 10 days and then went to the local fish store. I may then have received poor advice. I loved my guppy and thought I could get more. I didn't want females because I don't want to deal with fry, so I asked about getting just males. I was concerned about territoriality.
<Guppies aren't really all that territorial.>
The fish store employee said that with a ten gallon tank of my description, I could get three new male guppies. He said with four guppies in a planted tank, any bullying would be diffused among them.
<They should behave without females around. They keep males and females separated in store tanks. And with a decent amount of plants there are places to hide if necessary.>
So that is what I did. I also got two very small cherry shrimp. They all went into the tank and the next morning the shrimp were gone.
<No quarantine period. If the new fish brought an illness home with them, the fish already there are now at risk.>
I have had shrimp in the past with no difficulty, but maybe they were so small they were eaten?
<Or climbed out or hiding.>
The guppies seemed fine and I didn't notice any significant bullying or nipping. I watched quite closely.
About three days later, (about one week ago), I noticed that the resident guppy was labouring. He was close to the top of the water and swimming in a way that seemed slow and, well, laboured.
<How old was this fish?>
The next day, he was swimming vertically, head down. I started to research the problem, but had found no clear answer when I found him dead. I removed him right away.
Last night, I noticed a white cottony fungus on one of the three new guppies.
<Where was the substance? If around the mouth could be flavobacteria instead of fungus.>
It was my son's bedtime so I couldn't address the problem right away. But I read up and tested the water first thing in the morning. Ammonia 0 ppm. Nitrite O ppm. Nitrate somewhere below 5 ppm. (Hard to read the colour card). Ph 7.9-8.0. Temperature 79 degrees Celcius.
<pH is good for livebearers. Are you sure the temperature was 79 Celsius?
Probably Fahrenheit.>
I did a 50% water change. I thought maybe he had been nipped. I was all set to hit the fish store for anti-fungal medication, but he deteriorated fast.
(Lying on the gravel for seconds at a time. Swimming sideways.) Then he also died. I removed him immediately.
<What do you mean by swimming sideways? Shimmying in place or swimming with
the dorsal fin in the horizontal?>
Now I have just put my son to bed and damned if a second of the new guppies isn't labouring near the surface.
<How were these fish acclimated to their new home?>
The third looks fine, but I am not liking this trend. I don't trust the expertise at the LFS and am hoping you might weigh in.
The conditions are as stated above. Any thoughts on preventative action I might take to try to save the remaining fish? Please tell me if you need any more information.
<Any additional symptoms would be helpful, particularly if you see any kind of spots on the imports--that could be guppy disease. But, from what you describe I'm more inclined to lean toward bacterial infection as my first guess, possibly with a fungus in the mix, maybe other things too. If you kept the bodies, I would return the dead and the one or two that are still alive and walk away from that store if you don't trust it.
Since the tetras seem not to be impacted by this, once the guppies are out, I'd do another major water change and just monitor the tetras until you are certain everything is stable. Keep in mind that moving is a very stressful experience for a fish, and stress weakens the immune system and that allows whatever latent illnesses an opportunity to become active.>
As always, thank you for taking the time to read this.
<Hope this helps, if not, please follow up.>
Elisabeth in Canada
Re Two guppies dead. A third labouring. Cannot identify cause.    10/7/12
Thank you for you very fast reply! There is a question at the end of this message.
The additional information is as follows:
No I did not quarantine. I am in a tiny rowhouse and barely have room for the existing tank. I realize that this is not ideal.
<It's not ideal, to be sure. Not quarantining has its risks, as you are well aware.>
I don't know how old the resident guppy was. I suppose I had him for about 6-8 months. Who knows his age when I got him. So he may have died of old age (or old age made him more susceptible to something brought in with the new fish).
<Unless the guppy is born in your tank, there really is no way to know.>
The transition for the new fish was that I put the bag from the store in the water for fifteen minutes. Then I added some tank water and left for 5 minutes. Repeated. Then I put the fish into the tank with a net. I dumped the store water down the drain.
<Ah, good. Usually I will drain as much store water as possible after floating the bag so the tank water is not so dilute. I also usually put the fish into another container to prevent the bag from slipping into the tank.>
The white cottony substance was on the fish's back. Not anywhere near the mouth.
<Fungus is probably a good guess, though it may not be the only thing involved.>
You are obviously right - it is 79 Fahrenheit!
<Not fish soup then.>
The sideways swimming of the second fish (first new fish to go) was horizontal. Not side to side.
No spots on the new fish or any other symptoms that I can see.
I flushed the dead fish and I would return the other two to the LFS but it is 40 km.s away. It was actually a bit of an outing for the child to go there - an outing we will not be repeating!
<Ah yes, cut your losses.>
So here is the question:
I'd really like to try to save the remaining fish. Is there any reason I can't medicate for bacteria and fungus at the same time? I am game to try if it would not harm the tetras.
<Well, I would remove the guppies if possible before treating, but considering this is only a ten gallon tank, you can probably medicate in that tank. The tetras should be fine. I don't like to treat with cocktails, but considering the speed at which this is progressing, it might be worth a try.>
Thanks again. You guys are really wonderful!
UPDATE! Two guppies dead. A third labouring. Cannot identify cause.    10/7/12

Sorry about two emails in a row. Annoying. I reproduced our previous correspondence below as per your guidelines.
New information:
Aye! Having written the below, I went to turn the light on in the tank and the second new fish has a cottony growth around the gills (or gill?) on one side. He looks very unhappy. Does this new information help?
Considering how fast the others deteriorated, I worry that I don't have time to get to the LFS and back to medicate. It will take about 3 hours.
<Next time you stop in the LFS, I'd pick up a variety of treatments so you have them in the house.>
I don't want to euthanize, but will if it is necessary to protect the tank.
The remaining guppy looks fine, but god knows how long that will last. If you do recommend euthanizing, must I do the apparently healthy guppy as well in case it is also infected with whatever is killing them?
<I would get that ailing guppy out of the tank, that's the best way to protect the still healthy fish. I thought you already bought meds for fungus? With a cottony growth that advances that fast, fungus is the best candidate. If you don't have the meds, I'd try to gradually increase the salinity of the water as a long shot. Not in the main tank, mind you. The tetras couldn't handle brackish conditions, but if very gradually acclimated guppies easily can. This might slow the fungus enough to buy some time to get your hands on meds, but it has to be very gradual or the stress of that might make matters worse. It's worth a try before you decide to euthanize. I would leave the guppy without symptoms alone for now. If he survives the first two weeks, his chances for long term are greatly improved. I don't know your area, of course, but big department stores and sometimes feed stores sometimes carry the basic anti-fungus meds. How did you plan to go about euthanizing if necessary? Very controversial topic.>
Panicking somewhat, Elisabeth
<Don't panic. All of us lose fish. It's part of the learning curve and helps you to be a better fishkeeper in the future. - Rick>
UPDATE! Two guppies dead. A third labouring. Cannot identify cause.    10/7/12

Euthanasia: A drop into Isopropyl Alcohol. Quick and hopefully as painless as possible.
<I usually use clove oil and then pith once the fish is unconscious. -

female guppy disorder; env.  – 07/18/12
I have had my guppy tank (5 gal) for about 2 years and everything has been fine.
<Seems unlikely. Your aquarium is far too small for Guppies; needs to be three times larger (i.e., 15 gallons) at least.>
Recently, my female guppies get this condition where their belly gets constricted looking (making their gills look extra big) and they eventually die.
<Or another way of looking at it, the poor environmental conditions your aquarium eventually kills them.>
When the first one died I thought she was just old since nothing was going on with the rest. I have now lost 2 and my best female is showing signs of this now. The males are fine and thriving (and from looking for this condition found I have an improper male to female ratio now).
<Mixing males and females is bad enough if you don't outnumber the males at least 2 to 1 with females, but in a too-small aquarium, harassment from the males -- and continual pregnancies -- positively ensures early death. If you can imagine being the female of any animal species, being constantly pestered by males while also constantly being pregnant would be a stressful, difficult situation.>
So, I hope you can help me fix this so I don't just have a tank of males...thanks in advance. Shelley
<The quality of farmed Guppies is dismal. Mycobacteria infections are extremely common. Your best bet is to [a] set up an aquarium adequately large for them; [b] ensure the best water chemistry for the species, i.e., hard and alkaline; [c] cycle the filter before adding the Guppies, using a fishless method of your choice; and then [d] procure some good quality, locally-bred Guppies, e.g., from a tropical fish club in your area. Organisations like the American Livebearer Association are worth joining, and there are plenty of excellent books on livebearers as well. Cheers, Neale.>

guppy problem    6/18/12
Hi there!
 <Hello Heather>
I have a 5.5 gallon planted tank with a dwarf African frog, a guppy and a Nerite snail.  The tank is heated to 80F and has a filter suitable for a 10 gallon tank running on it.  The tank has been up and running for nearly two years but I've only had the guppy a month or so.  I've noticed the guppy has started "flashing" I believe it's called, acting normally but then suddenly twitching/rubbing against a plant in the tank every now and again.
 Is this parasites?
<Mmm, no; or not necessarily. Some such flashing behavior is natural; to be expected... Akin to "scratching" in ourselves>
  How do I treat this with a frog and snail in the tank?  Can I use Quick Cure?
<No; toxic>
  Something else? 
Any help you can give would be gratefully appreciated, thanks!
 Kind regards,
<Unless I was very sure of actual biological (pathogenic) disease presence, I would do nothing to "treat" this system; nothing is required. Most "fish medications" are toxic to frogs and snails. Bob Fenner>
Re: guppy problem   6/20/12

Thank you!  :)
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: guppy problem   6/21/12

Hi again....
So last night my guppy was hanging at the surface and this morning I found him dead.  Any ideas what may have caused this or how I can prevent something like this in the future? 
<Please read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GupDisF6.htm
and the linked files above. BobF>
Re: guppy problem   6/21/12

Wow.  Thank you so much for that.  I will leave the tank empty for a month before getting a new fish.  Can you suggest something more suitable for a 5.5 gallon tank with an African dwarf frog and a Nerite snail? 
<Ah yes. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm
and the related FAQs files above, and on WWM re Compatibility of the other species. B>
Re: guppy problem – 06/23/12

Thank you so much.  There is a lot of info on your site so I appreciate the direct link.
Kind regards,
<And you, BobF>

Sick guppies?    6/2/12
A friend of mine has red spots on his fish. Can this spread?
Bob Had problems sending the earlier photo. try the following link www.fstopsgophotos.blogspot.com   
<Per, saw your pix... I have never seen such bloody marks... the explanation that these may be due to "poor water quality leading to infection" seems plausible... just extreme. Perhaps these images were embellished? BobF>
Re: Sick guppies? – 06/14/12

Spoke to my friend about his fish. Definitely due to poor water quality. He has been breeding guppies in about  2 feet tanks at home. When he does water change for these breeding tanks he recycles the water by dumping them into his six feet planted tank. For some reason he thinks that the water will purify itself thru the plants.
<This takes a while...>
The  water from the planted tank goes back into the breeding tanks.
<I'd run new water into the plant tank... thence to the other systems>
He has been advised by the local guppy expert not to do this. I have been bringing back Guppies from my trips to Bangkok. He tells me some of them these guppies only have a few offspring. Wonder if it's related to the water
<Mmm, possibly; though high temperature, exposure to commonly used chemicals can make these and all other fishes sterile, less-fecund>
Regards, Perry
<Thank you for this follow-up Per. Cheers, BobF>

Guppies   4/2/12
Hello, I am sending this question for my sister, she has a few guppies, some small some larger in a bowl, she found that one has a bent tail and sort of hunched over, swims sideways from one end to the other and she has no idea what to do??
<Don't keep them in a bowl. Sounds like a classic environmentally-mediated developmental abnormality. Very common when fish are kept in tanks, ponds too small for their requirements.>
She has about 4 guppies in a bowl and changes water, she don't do test, these were guppies from a year or so ago that her grandson brought home to her from school
Any suggestions would be helpful
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppies   4/2/12
Ok, I will tell her, they are only about half inch in size if that, she has a time changing water and making sure she gets them out as they are so hard to see, should she get a tank??
<Yes; at least 10 gallons, and really, 15+ gallons makes all the difference with Guppies.>
Use air and filter etc??
<Heat and filtration essential. Air bubbles optional and not worth buying if your budget can only cover the filter and heater.>
Just want to know what to tell her to do, will the one get straight again??
<No; it's a developmental problem, so once done, it's done for life.
Crooked backs are quite common among farmed livebearers. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick fish (again)    3/26/12
I don't know if my fish are prone to diseases but my last two guppies have died recently one like a week ago and one last night.
<Mmm, there are some too common disease issues w/ this cultured species>
But I noticed on the most recent one to die, it looked like a giant spider or a bunch of worms were crawling out of its butt. I saw this on the first one too and I'm seeing it on my Balloon Molly too. I was wondering what it is and if theirs a cure.
<Uh yes. Please read here:
and the linked files above re treatment>
My sisters really sad because one of the guppies was hers and so is the Balloon Molly. Thanks again for you help!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Sick guppy, 15 gallon community tank.?    3/24/12
One of my male guppies appears to sick.
<Unfortunately, Mycobacteria infections quite common with farmed Poecilia spp.>
He has a large bulb in his abdomen, and he was swimming vertically at times.
His tank mates are 2 other male guppies, 9 cardinal tetras, and a zebra snail.
<Guppies do need completely different conditions to Cardinals, so something is wrong here. One species is surely stressed. Guppies need hard, alkaline water; Cardinals soft and acidic, and somewhat warm too.>

I've also seen him barrel rolling around the tank. I have separated him from the community so not to spread any possible diseases. I think it's a swim bladder problem. This fish just finished a quarantine regimen and appeared relatively healthy when placed in the larger tank.
Is there anything I can do for him, or should he be euthanised?
<Likely so.>
The tank is heated, filtered, and water parameters are all proper, I test with an API master kit.
Ammonia : 0
Nitrite : 0
Nitrate : <5ppm
Thanks in advance,
Thomas Daly
<Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>

Swollen Guppy  3/3/12
Dear Crew
I have a female guppy (about a year or two old) who has swollen somewhat. 
She is hovering in the corner of the tank although does swim for food when available.  She has had some trouble keeping balance and her tail points upwards.  I'm guessing some bacterial infection has damaged her swim bladder as she is passing white stringy stuff.  I've fed her cooked peas and it helped a little.  Is there anything I can do?  I'm guessing ESHa
2000 won't help.  Tank param.s are Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrates 10ppm.  30 gallon female tank, well stocked and fully planted, 2 years mature.
thanks, Patrick
<To be honest, I'm not optimistic. Have seen this with livebearers several times, and it tends to be fatal. It's possible that Epsom salt and cooked peas could help, if the problem is merely constipation, but if she starts to look bloated and the scales start to stick out from the body, I'd remove and euthanise her at once to prevent infection of other fish. That's because systemic bacterial infections in livebearers and other small fish are very difficult to treat by the time symptoms become apparent. You'd certainly need antibiotics, and getting these in the UK means visiting a vet, and given the cost of Guppies and their relatively short lifespan anyway, hardly seems worth it. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Swollen Guppy

Thanks Neale. Would Furanol 2 work externally as a dip?
<Probably not as a dip, but if you have a hospital tank, it's worth a shot as a continual bath. When fish become bloated, it's either constipation or a systemic infection; the latter will need an antibiotic that gets inside the fish, which dips won't. Some medications can be used as a continual bath, but they aren't very effective. Dips are even less effective because there's even less chance the fish will consume enough of the medication. Do read carefully:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Swollen Guppy  3/3/12

Dear Neale
Very useful!  Thank you.  I have the medication here should I decide to use it.
<Real good. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies mouth gone black. 2/12/12
I have had five young guppies for three months or so and there doing fine so i bought another one a few weeks ago and it's been looking poorly for a while now. He is a blue tailed male. I have him in a separate tank from my other five guppies so if he has a disease they wouldn't get it too. About a week after I bought him he started laying on the bottom of the tank and standing on his tail. When I cleaned his tank he was happy for about a day and then started doing it again. When I woke up this morning he had a black mouth and he also has a white spot on one of his sides. Please tell me what's wrong with him!?
<Hello Tiffany. I need much more information that you've sent me.
[a] How big is the aquarium?
[b] How long has the aquarium been running?
[c] Did you cycle the aquarium for 4-6 weeks before adding the Guppies?
[d] What is the water chemistry? In other words, the hardness and pH.
[e] What is the water quality? At minimum, I need the nitrite (with an "i") level.
[f] What is the temperature?
[g] Are you adding any salt to the water? Not essential, but can help.
Just to give you the right answers to my questions so you can work out the possible problem yourself: [a] Guppies need not less than 15 gallons of water and preferably 20+ gallons. [b]Fancy Guppies are delicate fish and shouldn't be added to an aquarium less than 3 months old. [c] You must cycle the aquarium filter before adding any fish. [d] Guppies need hard, alkaline water 10-30 degrees dH, pH 7-8. [e] Water quality must be excellent for fancy Guppies, and nitrite and ammonia levels must be ZERO at all times. [f] Guppies are not suitable for unheated aquaria and the fancy Guppies sold in pet stores must be kept at between 24-28 C/75-82 F. And finally, [g] if you're keeping Guppies alone, then it's well worth adding 1-3 teaspoons of aquarium salt (or, even better, marine aquarium salt mix) to each gallon of water. Do read:
By far the majority of Guppy problems are caused by environmental problems, typically people trying to keep them in immature aquaria, tanks that are too small, at room temperature, etc. There are some diseases they're prone to, but until we've eliminated environmental issues (i.e., what *you're* doing to keep them) it's pointless fishing around for other causes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppies mouth gone black. 2/12/12

well he is only in a small tank
<How small? Do read where you were sent.>
because I haven't gotten around to putting him in a bigger one because I only have one tank that didn't get cracked when we moved houses but i put him one as soon as I get. I also don't have a water chemistry tester because my other fish have been fine in purified water.
<Not for long. Zero hardness water isn't suitable for fishkeeping. When you say 'purified' do you mean bottled drinking water? That's fine. But RO water, rainwater, or water from a domestic water softener is NOT suitable
for fishkeeping. In addition, Guppies need hard water with a pH between 7 and 8.>
They are also at room temperature but that is quite warm because of the room that they are in around the 20 degrees C usually.
<Not nearly warm enough. Get a heater.>

No salt in the tanks. He is alone for the time being but as soon as four weeks is up and he is all better I am putting him into my large tank.
<It's clear this fish is being stressed, sickened by poor care. Read where you were sent, and make the appropriate changes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppies mouth gone black. Env. 2/14/12

Well it is a Siamese fighting fish tank so 0.525 gallons or 1.989 litres
<This is why your fish is sick. Even Bettas don't live long in this.>
but I am moving him today into around about 15 litre tank today.
<STOP! Even 15 litres is barely adequate for a Betta. That's 3.2 UK gallons or about 4 US gallons. Be crystal clear that you cannot keep Guppies in a tank this small. Economising on the tank while spending money on medication will be a fool's investment. Good money after bad. Do please understand this tank WILL kill your Guppies.>
I am using a water ager which says it removes harmful chlorine & chloramine from tap water and adds electrolyse.
I will get a heater.
<Good. And quickly. In a centrally heated home maintained around the 18 degree C mark, tropical fish can survive some days, maybe a week or two, before they start sickening. Prolonged exposure to such cool conditions will kill them. The clue is in the phrase "tropical fish", indicating fish from the tropics, where it's around 25 C day-in, day-out.>
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppies mouth gone black. 2/14/12

Thanks for helping. He looks better already but the discolouration around his mouth is still there. Could it be a mouth fungus?
<Mouth Fungus is a common problem with livebearers. It's a bacterial infection, despite the name. Medicate quickly, as it can become fatal within few days, even overnight in some cases. Mouth Fungus almost only ever appears when fish are stressed by poor environmental conditions, so do review how you are keeping your fish and make the necessary corrections.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Guppies mouth gone black.   4/1/12

Thanks for the help.
He is now all better and in with my other guppies and two of the females are now pregnant.
<All sounds very positive. Have fun with your fish! Neale.>

Guppy Stringy Poop 1/9/12
Hi Neale, how are you?
I have a male guppy that I've owned for over a year. For the past 6 months he has been in a 2.5 gallon tank by himself, because he doesn't fit with the fish in my display tank (he attacks the honey gourami, the Rasboras attack him).
<Yes; as often point out here, fancy Guppies best kept on their own. Corydoras make good companions though, and Kuhli Loaches. Red Cherry shrimps too. Basically anything that sticks to the bottom of the tank and can't bite or harass the Guppies.>
I was trying to re-home the guppy but with no luck, so that's why he is still in the small tank. Because of the size of the tank, I do 40% weekly water changes. I have a small HOB filter and a non-adjustable heater that keeps the tank at 78 F.
<I see. Not ideal, as you realise, but perhaps the best you can do under the circumstances.>
So this past Thursday morning, the guppy wasn't eating properly; he kept spitting the food out, maybe eating just a little. Thursday night I did a water change. Friday morning he ate the same way and was mostly keeping to the bottom of the tank.
<Interesting. Did you check water temperature? Water chemistry?>
I tested the water Friday; Ammonia and Nitrites 0, Nitrate 5ppm.
<Sounds fine.>
Saturday morning he had a long white stringy poopy attached to him, longer than his body. He was swimming around slowly. I thought maybe he was constipated. I fed him a tiny bit of freeze dried brine shrimp that has Spirulina added to it, and he ate it. I also gave him a smashed pea, and he nibbled it. Afterwards he began to swim around actively that day and night.
Now today, another white stringy poopy attached.
<What sort of texture? Slimy, white, translucent faeces tend to be rich in mucous, and can imply something like parasites irritating the gut, hence the production of extra mucous. If the faeces are opaque, solid, dense-looking, perhaps coloured with the food eaten, then constipation and/or dietary issues could explain things.>
I offered him a flake and a pea but he won't eat. He is swimming around slowly, and his breath looks a little labored.
<Not good.>
I don't know what to do for him! I started to read that the poop may be a sign of parasites, but he is in the tank alone, and I have not introduced anything new to his tank. Do you have any advice?
<Do see above re: colour, texture of mucous. The commonest gut parasites are Protozoans, and treating as per Hexamita with Metronidazole can be useful.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy Stringy Poop 1/9/12

Hi Neale, thank you for your response. As far as the feces, it's hard to tell if they look slimy. He has another one today. It's long and thin and entirely white. Some tiny bits look solid, while most of it looks fuzzy and see through. So I'm thinking parasites, yes? But how would he have gotten them? Will the medication kill him? He's not eating, but he is swimming around slowly. If it is parasites, then I'm assuming they're contagious? I share equipment (buckets, gravel vacuum, etc.) between the 2 tanks. Thanks again! -Lorie
<Do use Metronidazole; this should help. Used correctly won't harm your Guppies. Treat the tank, and ideally both tanks though usually such parasites affect weakened fish rather than everything indiscriminately.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy Stringy Poop 1/9/12

OK. Thank you so much Neale! -Lorie
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy Stringy Poop 1/12/12

Hi again Neale. I have some questions now on the Metronidazole. I purchased the Seachem brand, which is a powder, and it says the measuring spoon that comes with it is about 100mg.
I treated my tank the past two days, estimating 62.5mg for the 2.5 gal. tank.
<I see. Do understand than 2.5 gallons likely won't provide good conditions. And poor conditions will make medication less effective.
Obviously carbon removes medications as well, so it's important to review filtration beforehand.>
My guppy seems improved; no more stringy poop and he is starting to eat. I was planning a third and final dose tonight. My question is; I'm reading to fully eradicate the parasites, the fish should be fed the medicine.
<Ideally, yes. A vet would recommend a certain dose proportional to the weight of the fish.>
On WetWebMedia, I read the food should be soaked in a 1% solution. How do I make a 1% solution with a 100mg measuring spoon?
<To be honest, I wouldn't. I'd use the dosing as described by Seachem. If you've been using that so far, finish off that way.>
I also read 4 oz. of food per 1/2 teaspoon of Metronidazole; will that work as well?
<No idea. I don't like/recommend the use of "spoon" measurements.>
Then like the article on WetWebMedia states, I'll soak for a few hours in the fridge; can I use flake or freeze dried food? Just one feeding is sufficient? Also, you recommended I treat my main tank as well, but the fish look and act healthy, so I haven't done this yet. I don't want to cross contaminate though so I'm considering treating my main tank, but would it be best to treat the water, feed them the treated food, or both?
Thank you! -Lorie
<Do read the Seachem site. It specifically states two ways to use their medication, either in the water or mixed with wet-frozen food paste. Both approaches look easy.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy Stringy Poop 1/23/11

Hello Neale; I hope this email finds you well. I am writing you again in regards to the use of Metronidazole. I used this medicine in my 2.5 gal tank for a guppy with internal parasites and he has improved (I wrote you earlier explaining I was trying to re-home the guppy because he is not compatible in my community tank; so for now, the 2.5 gal is the best I can do. I perform 50% water changes weekly and have scaled back feedings to once per day). You had recommended I treat my display tank as well, since I share equipment between the two tanks, so I treated the display tank only once. I have 1 Honey Gourami and 3 Corydoras in that tank (I re-homed my Harlequin Rasboras; my display tank is 10 gal. and through observation, I concluded the Rasboras need a longer tank to swim back and forth). Seven days after treatment, one of my peppered Corys is lethargic. I don't see any physical abnormalities. I have since performed two large water changes of about 40-50% a piece, rinsed the filter media (sponges), added a bubbler- would the extra oxygen be helpful?, and have scaled back feedings to once per day. The Cory has been lethargic for 5 days now. He was breathing shallow this morning but did eat a pellet- is that a good sign?
After eating, he began breathing hard though. My question here is- do you believe it's possible the Metro adversely affected this Cory? Is there anything else you recommend I do for the Cory? I tested my Nitrates this past Sunday and they were 15-20 ppm. Thank you for any help you can provide. I find your vast knowledge of animals impressive and your patience is very much appreciated. : ) -Lorie
<Catfish sometimes react badly to medications, particularly copper, but I don't think that's the issue here. One problem for Corydoras is that they're low-end tropical species, especially Peppered Corydoras which really are best kept around 18-22 C/64-72 F, which is much cooler than the average tropical aquarium. Couple this with the use of medication and what is rather a small aquarium, and you could simply be seeing respiratory distress. In other words, yes, adding a bubbler would help if it was placed at the bottom of the tank (bubblers work by drawing water from the bottom to the top, not by mixing air with water). Lowering the temperature, if possible, and increasing overall water turnover rate would also be useful.
Corydoras are generally hardy fish, but inbreeding has meant that their quality varies, and sometimes they fail to thrive even in well-maintained aquaria. Occasionally, diseases such as Red Blotch Disease (which I've recently written about for FishChannel.com) can cause problems as well.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: (Guppy Stringy Poop) Peppered Corydoras, Other Factors? 2/15/12

Hi Neale, how are you?
<Well, thank you.>
I wrote you in January about my Guppy, who showed signs of Hexamita. He was in a 2.5 gallon aquarium, and I explained to you how that was supposed to be a temporary tank until I could re-home him.
I treated him with Metro for 3 days and he seemed to recover completely.

I continued with weekly water changes of 40-50% and feeding once per day. I tested the water in January and Ammonia and Nitrite were zero, and Nitrates 5 ppm. I had switched to Marineland bonded filter pads from using poly-fiber. The filter on the 2.5 gallon tank is a small HOB power filter made by Red Sea with an adjustable flow. It has a small cloth insert that stays inside the filter, which I'm assuming is the biological filtration,
<Possibly, though some of these "pads" are chemical filters, e.g., Carbon.>
so I thought it was safe to completely remove the poly-fiber and replace it with the bonded filter pad. It was after this switch my Guppy became ill with Hexamita; I don't know if there is a connection (at this point I had my Guppy for 1 year and 2 months). I also changed the filter media to the bonded filter pad on my display tank (which has a bio-wheel in the filter) and an Albino Corydoras died a week later; at the time my Nitrates had spiked (30 ppm), so I attributed the death to Nitrates (Ammonia and Nitrite 0). After treating the display tank with Metro for good measure, a Peppered Cory then died a week later.
I could not figure out why the Peppered Cory passed (Ammonia and Nitrite still 0, Nitrates now 10 ppm).
<May simply be unrelated. Albino fish aren't as hardy as the real McCoy, so to some degree there's an element of unpredictability.>
I added a bubbler to the display tank (which is 10 gallons). I have 2 Corys and 1 Honey Gourami in that tank. Since my issues began when I switched filter media, I recently returned to the poly-fiber (again, I don't know if there is a connection or not. Are you aware of any issues with Marineland bonded filter pads?).
In my 2.5 gallon tank with the Guppy, I switched out half the filter media for the new, and a week later switched out the rest along with the usual weekly water change, which took place this past Wednesday. Sunday, my guppy did not come for his morning feeding right away, which is not normal.
He did eat eventually but spent a large bulk of the day hiding. Monday he was slow to come out for food again, and once he did, he almost seemed senile. Like he didn't see the food and just wasn't with it, and once he finally found it, he struggled to grasp the flakes.
<When fish aren't hungry, don't feed them, and remove uneaten food. If water quality is a problem, adding food won't help.>
He did eat though and I took the opportunity to observe him. I think I saw a slight reddish coloring near his gill but I'm not 100% sure. He seemed like he had a lack of energy and hid the rest of the day. I performed a water change and added some aquarium salt to the new water before adding it to the tank. That evening I put a fish net in his tank and slightly agitated it in the water, to see if i could get his attention to try feeding him, but he did not respond. So I put the wet fish net in a bucket I use strictly for the fish and let it sit there overnight. This morning my Guppy was dead : ( I took him out with the fish net and observed him to see if I could detect any abnormalities. That's when I noticed, on the outside of the net, there was a worm crawling- it was tan and thin, less than 1/2 an inch long, had many legs like a caterpillar, and a brown "nose".
<Unlikely to be the cause of death, though possible. Intestinal worms don't have any appendages at all, so if you saw "legs", then it wasn't a nematode, planarian or tapeworm. Worms with legs (Polychaetes) aren't common in freshwater so when you see leggy worms in freshwater aquaria, they're usually aquatic insect larvae. As you rightly suppose, like caterpillars.>
I did not see any worms in the tank. Given the history here, would you know what this worm is, and could it be connected to the Guppy dying?
<Think not.>
Any other ideas or helpful information you could impart?
<Do think your problems are down to a combination of small tanks and less than fortunate stocking. Even when water conditions look good, the simple fact is that small tanks aren't reliable in the sense of offering stable conditions. Concentrate on the 10 gallon tank (use the 2.5 gallon system for snails or shrimps if you must) and stick with species that generally do not have health problems (i.e., not fancy Guppies or albino community fish, but instead something like a school of White Cloud Mountain Minnows or a pair of Florida Flagfish, both viable options for 10-gallon tanks and in centrally-heated homes may not even need a heater. They aren't fussy about water chemistry either. Otherwise, check water chemistry and temperature, and select species accordingly.>
I forgot to mention, the Guppy's mouth area also looked like it was turning black. Thank you very much- Lorie
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: (Guppy Stringy Poop) Peppered Corydoras, Other Factors?

Thanks Neale, it helps a lot! -Lorie
<Real good. Have fun, Neale.>

Re: My fancy guppy has a red infection on trailing edge of caudal fin 8/23/11
Thanks Bob.
The infection has spread further along the edge of the fin and eaten away a few millimeters of the edge.
<Yikes. Bad>
the original top corner of the fin is no longer red. The infection moved towards the middle of the trailing edge. I've attached photos of the infection taken on 3 subsequent days. Do you have any idea of what this could be?
<Again... not w/o sampling, looking under a scope, possibly culture, staining... Could be "just" environmental... perhaps infectious along with...>
I did a 50% water change last night and added 3rd dose of triple sulfa.
<... as prev. stated of no use here>
According to directions, I am supposed to add one more dose. If as you say it is not effective, then I would rather not add the final dose. Is it ok to stop in the middle, or is this like an antibiotic where we are supposed to complete the course of treatment?
He is looking a little stressed. He seems easily frightened. I don't know if this is because I removed rocks and he feels more exposed, because I added an airstone for more water circulation, or if there was pH stress from the large water change. When the water comes out of my tap, it's at pH 7.4. The water in my tank is pH 7.8.
<Not a worry for this species>
I don't know why, perhaps it's the gravel or rocks I have in the tank (shouldn't be though, as the gravel and rocks are supposed to be inert).
<Mmm, as you suspect...>
I took the rocks out anyway. I have been afraid to make large water changes due to this pH discrepancy. How much of a difference in pH and how large a water change is safe?
<The pH range is fine, about 50% changes are the maximum... lest you disrupt biofiltration>
For last night's 50% water change I used Seachem Malawi buffer to raise the pH of the water to 7.8 before I added it, but I'm not totally confident with using this as it seemed kind of inexact to get to a specific pH . I am also hoping that without the rocks in the tank the tank pH will start to lower to match the tap water pH.
<I would not try to alter the pH here>
I also got a new gravel vac and cleaned out the mulm.
I read the page on salt and will try to use a 2 g/l dose after I've cleaned out the Triple -Sulfa.
my ammonia, nitrites and nitrates have always been zero.
<Both good>
I've tested with Tetra test strips, API liquid test kits, and also have a Seachem ammonia alert installed. Others have told me that if my nitrates are zero, then the tank isn't cycled.
<Mmm, not so... denitrification in balance can result in such readings>
I've been assuming the tank is cycled, but with a regular regimen of twice weekly 10% water changes, shouldn't some nitrates build up?
<Again, not necessarily, no>
Thanks for all your assistance.
<Glad to help you. BobF>

Re: My fancy guppy has a red infection on trailing edge of caudal fin 8/23/11
<... do NOT send files of more than a few hundred Kbytes... see our guidelines re asking questions>
Ok, so I did not add the 4th dose of triple- sulfa. Hopefully it's not that bad to stop treatment before the full course. Ammonia tested a little high last night almost .25 according to API test kit. That is why fish was acting weird.
<Yes... your actions have likely suppressed nitrification. See WWM re this and Poecilia reticulata disease>
I did a 50% water change. Ammonia is still zero this morning and he is back to his friendly, happy self. Meds must have killed the bio- filter. So this puts us back to square one, except that the infection has progressed.
The good news is that the area that it started at has seem to run its course and has returned to normal. I attached a latest pic from this morning. You can see that the upper portion of the trailing edge is no longer red. I guess I will just go with water changes and salt, unless there is a different med I should use. Thanks again for all your help. Eric
The infection has spread further along the edge of the fin and eaten away a few millimeters of the edge. <Yikes. Bad> the original top corner of the fin is no longer red. The infection moved towards the middle of the trailing edge. I've attached photos of the infection taken on 3 subsequent days. Do you have any idea of what this could be?<Again... not w/o sampling, looking under a scope, possibly culture, staining... Could be "just" environmental... perhaps infectious along with...>
<... B>

Re: My fancy guppy has a red infection on trailing edge of caudal fin 8/24/11
Thanks for the advice. I am keeping the ammonia level at zero or close to zero with 50% daily water changes. Hopefully the nitrification will start to rebound soon. I added some cycling additive.
I added the aquarium salt last night, and by today the redness is almost totally gone! Unfortunately some of the tail fin got eaten away. It's not too noticeable, however.
<It can and will likely regrow... perhaps be a bit less colorful, marked as original>
Is there anything besides salt I should use to aid recovery and regeneration of the fin?
<Nothing I would add. B>
Re: My fancy guppy has a red infection on trailing edge of caudal fin 8/24/11
Excellent! Thanks again, Bob.
<Welcome Eric. B>
Re: My fancy guppy has a red infection on trailing edge of caudal fin 8/25/11

Unfortunately, he has taken a turn for the worse. He hangs at the surface and occasionally flashes around, gulps at the surface and makes tight turns.
Redness on fin is pretty much gone. I've been doing 50% daily water changes since the nitrification has still not recovered.
Not sure if there is anything else I can do at this point other than wait and keep ammonia/nitrites down.
Don't think he is going to make it.
<Please review all our emails... did you look up Columnaris?>
Re: My fancy guppy has a red infection on trailing edge of caudal fin 8/27/11

yes I have, but there are no external symptoms, so I am not sure.
<Please search again... the reddening, loss of tail tissue...>
Re: My fancy guppy has a red infection on trailing edge of caudal fin 8/27/11
I looked more carefully, it's possible that there are pinkish reddish patches on the back below the dorsal fin. Hard to tell though.
For Columnaris, I can get Maracyn from the store.
<... Erythromycin... of no use...>
Should I increase salt level too?
<Keep reading. B, in Fiji>

Platy and Guppy problems 8/22/11
Dear WWM Crew,
<Ni hao, Jiahao!>
First of all, I'm Jiahao (I know, hard to pronounce). Second, I have several questions pertaining to my platies and guppies.
<Go for it!>
Third, I love your website and I have learned a great deal from it. I pretty much use your website like it's Google, but better because I know it's reliable, fast, and will always relate to fish.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have had a 10g fish tank for almost a year and a half now and it was doing fine until I added some new fish.
<Ten gallons is not a lot of space. I'd always recommend at least 15 gallons. The extra space makes a huge difference with Platies and Guppies.>
Up to just last week, all my fish were doing fine (ammonia-0, nitrite-0, and nitrate-30). I thought platies were supposed to be peaceful, but I noticed one of them started to nip the others fins.
<Males of both species can be aggressive. Sometimes the fight each other, and sometimes they harass females who don't want to mate with them. It's best to keep at least two females per male. With Platies, that's not a problem because females are just as pretty as the males. Indeed, keeping just females would be a sensible way forward. With Guppies it's less easy to sell this idea because females tend to be rather plain, though some females of the more modern varieties are much more colourful than wild-type females.>
Right now I have 3 platies and a guppy. The guppy and the biggest platy (I think male) are doing fine. It is the other two that worry me. First, I cannot tell their gender because they both have very long, flowy, and round fins near their pectoral fins.
<Do look at the anal fin; females should be obviously different to the males.>
They have two fins near their gills and two more which I think are the pectoral fins near their anus. Gender might be the problem, but I am not sure. One of the platies' fins are ripped, almost like scissors cut them, but there are also signs of fin rot on him. Please help and tell me what I can do to fix this problem.
<Well, part of the problem is you've bought long-fin Platies, and frankly, these rarely look good, especially in small tanks. You have a species where the males are semi-aggressive, and giving them long fins is asking for trouble! It's in their nature to fight.>
If it is gender issues, what should I do and it it's fin rot is there any help or recommend any medication.
<If you've got just Platies and Guppies, you could try to minimise the risk of Finrot or Fungus by adding a small amount of salt to the water, perhaps 2-3 grammes per litre. That won't cure Finrot or Fungus, but if the fins are basically clean and healing, salt will have a useful tonic effect on livebearers such as Platies and Guppies.>
Also, will my platies/guppies eat store-bought cabbage/lettuce that's been cleaned and softened, but uncooked?
<Worth a shot, but my guess is not. Cooked lettuce, sliced cucumber, Sushi Nori, and cooked peas are more likely foods. Vegetarian flake food is sold for livebearers, and worth using.>
Sorry for the long email but I hope you can help me. Thanks in advance.

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: