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FAQs on Guppy Disease Treatments  

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 ,
FAQs on Guppy Disease by Category: Environmental, Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Genetic,

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,

As always: CHECK water quality first... where, when in doubt, CHANGE WATER.

Some salt/s can be of use.

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.>

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>

Sick guppy? 7/1/10
Hi there
I have a 30 gallon tank, cycled and planted with 3 female + 1male Guppies, 3 female +1 male Panda Platies, 8 neon tetras
<Neons are not terribly long-lived in "London Tap" it has to be said.>
and a few cherry shrimps. Ammonia & nitrites are zero, nitrates around 25ppm (London water).
<All fine.>
The three female guppies have been giving birth over the past few days (67 rescued!) but one is looking very pale, has not eaten for some days and has begun to hover either in the air stream of the filter or more wrongly near
the bottom of the tank and goes through periods of being pretty lifeless.
<Yes, this can happen. Difficult to pin down the precise problem. Stress from male attention is certainly one factor, and constant breeding can perhaps "wear out" females in a way that wouldn't happen in the wild.
Inbreeding, poor genetics are other factors. Parasitism is possible, but difficult to determine.>

I separated her when I first noticed her behaviour into a little nursery net and treated the whole tank with ESHa 2000 (her eyes appeared a little large and I feared pop eye).
<Not sure eSHa 2000 would have any impact on Pop-eye, and overuse of medications simply adds another variable to the problem. Remember, all medications are toxins, stressful, at some level.>
I then gave her a 5 minute dip in some methyl blue and returned her to the big tank.
<Again, why?>
I'm not sure what to do next and my only conclusion is that perhaps there is not enough oxygen despite the water flow from the filter/aeration device being on full - the tank has been around 82F due to the hot weather here in
<Shouldn't be causing Guppies undue problems.>
Anything else I could be doing?
<Not really. Isolating the female so she can rest, feed apart from the male is a good idea, but small floating traps can be intensely stressful, so I'd avoid those. The larger clip-on ones are somewhat better.>
Many thanks
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick guppy? 7/1/10
Dear Neale
Thanks for all your continued feedback, I am learning if somewhat slowly!
Advice/suggestions all taken onboard with much eagerness.
<Glad to hear it!>
Just to let you know, the oddly behaving guppy delivered 32 baby fry this morning (hence the loss of colour and lack of eating). I've certainly learned that not all guppies are made the same! Behaviour is different with each individual.
<Indeed. Also, because of inbreeding and domestication, predicting behaviour and hardiness is very difficult. The addition of a little salt can help with Guppies, 0.5-1 teaspoon per litre being ideal, but that does depend on their tankmates.>
kindest regards,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Guppy question, sel. sys., dis.    2/17/08 I've had guppies for years and stopped and restarted a few times, out of frustration of how delicate the females are. <Of all fish species... this standard used to be rock solid... the touchy stock from the Far East has ruined a good deal of the hobby the last decades> I also have a 30gallon planted tank with co2 and such, so I'm not quite a beginner. I have almost enough salt to be considered brackish, think between 1Tbls/5gallon to 1Tbls/10gallon. This is a planted eclipse hex 5 gallon. <Small... hard to keep stable... and with the salt... easy for nitrification to vacillate> I have/had 5 females and 4 males. I think I even had another female but she died back 2 months ago. They are all fancy guppies, so delicate it seems. I got them from two different stores, one being PetSmart (sorry). I've had 2 females die now in the past day. I just did a water change 3 days ago, about 20%, as usual for every other to maybe ever week. The two that died were very pregnant and one of them and possibly the other looked like they were about to give birth (both were hanging out down on the gravel or plants being alone). With that background out of the way, is there anything else I can do to make the females more comfortable and less likely to die? <Yes... see below> This is a constant problem and I only got these fish 2 months ago and already have lost almost half my original females. The temp is usually at 76 but can go up to 79 (the eclipse light always has a tendency of heating the tank up if the room is mildly warm). But lately it hasn't been. Is my tank too crowded maybe too? <Is a factor, yes> They seem happy otherwise. Should I instead be buying more reliable females, <Yes> is it possible I've just had bad luck with the ones I bought? <Mmm, not entirely, no> I think the ones that died today were both from PetSmart if that matters. It's just demoralizing. Thanks for any information. -Erin <Too many Poecilia reticulata on the market are infested with Hexamita (perennially) and Columnaris (seasonally, and in more erratic punctuated fashion)... Guarding against the introduction of these diseases can be accomplished only through careful exclusion/quarantining of all incoming livestock... and treatment with antiprotozoal (Metronidazole often) and possibly antimicrobial (most celebratedly Neomycin...). You might have "luck" with buying/selecting better stock from another source... but I would still at least isolate it for a good two weeks (to weaken pathogens) before introduction to your main displays... Having a larger system would be of great benefit here as well as bolstering the fishs' immune systems through improved nutrition... Do see the Net re the disease organisms mentioned... they can be defeated, excluded... Bob Fenner>

Clear blisters on guppies head   2/27/08 Hi, I have a question concerning my guppies. I have a 55 gallon tank with to many guppies to and mollies to count. I use a Aqua Tech power filter, which is only for a 40 gallon tank, but also use another power filter with it, that is for a 20 gallon tank. I make sure everyday the water temperature is stable, and have had these fish for many years. However several of my guppies have developed a severe curved spine, which I thought was maybe inherited. It started with one male with a curved spine, and then some of my females babies were born looking just like him. Now one of my male guppies has a big clear blister on top of his head. (looks like a poison ivy blister). He has been like this for months and it appears to be getting bigger and bigger. He still eats and swims around like nothing is wrong. But I was wondering what this is and if my other fish will catch it. I have been using Quick Cure medicine in the tank, but it has not made any change in him. I would greatly appreciate any recommendations you can give me. <Greetings. The curved spine issue is likely genetic, since Fancy Guppies are very inbred. You need to painlessly destroy any such fry to get rid of these bad genes from the population you have. Obviously it doesn't "get better". As for the blister, it's impossible to be sure, but I'm guessing this is a non-contagious deformity. Again, destroy the fish. Do be careful about randomly adding medications to the tank before diagnosing the problem: many medications contain things like copper that are, at some level, toxic to fish. So used sparingly they can be helpful, but used to excess they may cause problems. Do see our page on Euthanasia re: painless methods of destruction. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppy Problem. Help Please!
Hi, I have read all through your site about the guppies and learned several things I didn't know, but still didn't find the answer to my problem I'm having, so I'm hoping that you can help me or lead me in the right direction.
<Will do my best>
Let me start off by giving you a little history on my tank back to about 3-4 weeks ago. Up until 3-4 weeks ago my tank had been up for a long time (about 7 months) and doing pretty good. It's a 10 gallon tank with heater, outside filter pump, light, hood, etc. Well, I got some new fish and had a breakout of a fungus infection so I immediately got a fungus clear medicine by Jungle and it cleared it up immediately. Then 2 days after that Ich broke out in my tank so I treated that with a different medicine.
<Mmmm, a comment for you, browsers... know that much of these "medicines" are toxic... hard on needed, beneficial microbial life... you may well have to watch for, adjust for nitrogenous anomalies (ammonia, nitrite)...>
All together, most fish survived this process (I had 6 fish at the time) so I was pretty happy. Suddenly about 3 days after stopping treatment for everything since it was all cleared up, my fish started dying.
3 had died in 2 days. I immediately thought it was because of the medicine so I did a 100% water change
(not the best idea I know, but when I was changing it I noticed it was blue from all the medicine) but I did keep some of the "muck" from the bottom gravel to help a little bit in the cycle and I also added a bacteria supplement.
<Good moves>
I added the fish back that same day as I do not have a QT tank and they seemed to do pretty good. Well the next day I was able to get 10 free guppies, only 3 adults (2 heavily pregnant females and one male), the rest are babies and juveniles no more than about 3/4" long,
<This is very likely way too new life for such a small/newly re-set-up volume...>
and everything still was going well. On Wednesday a few of my fish started to get listless, most of which were the 2 very heavy pregnant females I just got on Monday, and on Thursday I had babies! I was very excited to say the least. But that didn't last long as all the babies (about 70) were dead along with a male that I had had for almost a month. So I discussed it with my
mom what could be wrong and we began to think it was our water as we have well water and have never had it tested so to be honest I have no idea what minerals and stuff could be in our water. So we went out and bought some water out of a machine at a grocery store.
<Mmm, this source may well not be any more suitable...>
It's like the water you buy in the jugs, just cheaper and you have to have your own jug. So I bought 10 gallons and did another 100% water change
<Oh my friend...>
replaced gravel, ornaments, filter, everything, basically starting from scratch. So there is the background on my tank, now to my fish behavior. Starting after the one female had her babies, all the fish began hanging at the top of the water, not gasping or anything, just hanging out, but they had stopped eating, and still haven't eaten yet as of today and I have put in flake food, Spirulina, and algae chips.
<Do stop offering much of anything till you've tested your water...>
2 fish have nibbled on the food today but that's it. I'm frustrated and don't know what to do because they won't eat and they aren't very
active and I can't figure out what's wrong.
As far as tank parameters: (as of today after 100% water change)
Temp: 78 degrees
I also do not have a freshwater test kit but I do have a saltwater test kit and I have been using it hoping I could at least get a rough idea of my ammonia and nitrite levels.
<Mmm, maybe not... Can you read re what the reagents are here?>
However the nitrate test is a fresh/salt water test, so I can trust that one.
Ammonia: 0
Nitrates: 0
Before the 100% water switch my nitrates were 25, which I didn't think were good. Sorry for such a long email I am just hoping that you can help me and tell me what is wrong with my guppies.
Oh yeah I forgot to mention that I have 10 fish as of right now, 5 adults (1 pregnant female) and 5 juveniles, and a few of them have been flashing (I think that's what it's called when they are scratching up against objects) for the past 2-3 days. Thanks for any help you can give me!
<I do think most of the issues you and your guppies have suffered are due to simple "stress"... being moved about, so much water changes, medicine exposure... rather then infectious or parasitic disease... And that the best route for you to go at this point is to be very patient, offer VERY little food, making sure it's being consumed or offering no further at that time... And to keep monitoring your water quality, avoid large/wholesale/complete water changes... I do encourage you to have your well water tested (there may well be a free county service for doing so)... and to at least mix some (maybe half) of this water with any "purified" commercial drinking water, to provide needed mineral, alkalinity/buffering capacity. I am hopeful that your system will stabilize, that your remaining guppies will live from here on out. BTW, the present number is about all this small volume can sustain population wise. Perhaps a few small catfish for the bottom (when the system is stable) would be all I would add here. Bob Fenner>

Dropsy Treatment 11/07/08 Hello, I emailed you about three days ago and asked what could cause a female guppy to become very large without having a dark gravid spot. She has seems to be in perpetual pregnancy for the past month. She seems very happy, I just upgraded to a 50 gallon tank and hope to get many more guppies, but I realized that she had not been getting any darker in the anal area. All I could find online was the disease "dropsy," I was wondering what I can do to treat it. And, could this be what has kept her form having the babies? Otherwise she seems absolutely perfect and acts very normal. Thanks Much, Nate <Nate, you can't "cure" Dropsy. It isn't a disease. It's a symptom. It's like a rash or a runny nose on a human. While a clue to a problem, in itself it isn't a disease or parasite. So when fish have Dropsy, you have to review the environment and other possible factors. Very occasionally fish get Dropsy because of things you have no control over: bad genes, viruses, etc. If only one fish gets Dropsy, and all the others seem fine, then there's not much you can do beyond trying to alleviate the symptoms.  Adding Epsom salt (one teaspoon per 5 gallons) can help by altering the osmotic pressure between the fish and the water. Keep adding this to each new bucket of water added to the tank for as long as it takes to reduce the swelling. Otherwise review diet, water quality, water chemistry, etc: all these things can cause problems ranging from constipation through to organ failure, any of which can cause the body to swell unnaturally. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dropsyfaqs.htm Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dropsy Treatment (Poecilia)
11/08/08 Thank you for the advice, but now I have a new question. One of my other females gave birth about three hours ago to eleven fry. She stopped having the babies, and has no "white string" that people sometimes refer to if their guppy is not done giving birth, but she is still very big and has a dark gravid spot. Could she just be tired, or is she done? Is there anything that I can do to help the situation? Thanks again, Nate <The baby Guppies will come out when they're ready. I shouldn't worry too much about white strings or gravid spots. As I say repeatedly on this site, the "gravid spot" isn't a magical thing that Nature put there like a sort of reproductive alarm clock! It's nothing more than the internal organs being pushed against the muscle wall, resulting in a darker than normal appearance. In big females it can be less obvious than in small ones because the muscle wall is thicker, and on larger livebearer species (such as Mollies and Swordtails) it is a completely unreliable characteristic. Much better to go by the size of the female: if she's suddenly become much more svelte than she was the day before, then she's given birth. Normally all the fry are released within a few hours, though I'm sure exceptions occur. Provided your female Guppy has some floating plants to rest among, that's about all you can do to genuinely help her. Cheers, Neale.>

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

Uncertainty on Whether to Medicate FW system ... Credit to the "Nuge"... "When in doubt, I count it out... It's a free for all" Hi Crew.  I have a FW tank and suspect (fear) that something untoward may be brewing with one of my guppies.  I read your site and FAQs daily but I still can't quite get a read on what might be going on or, more importantly, whether I should take any action at this time based upon what I am observing with this fish.   My set up is: 20 gal FW, java moss and plastic plants, strong aeration, two hang on-filters:  30 gal Marineland w/BioWheel and 20 gal Top Fin, water temp usually kept at 76-78 range, tank has been fully cycled since last November.  The readings this morning were 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrites and 10 ppm nitrates, ph is between 7.4 and 7.8.    Fish:  8 adult guppies, about 8-10 half-grown guppies, and probably another 10 guppy fry, 3 reticulated Corys, 1 dwarf Pleco (Peckoltia sp.).  I sell/give guppies regularly back to the LFS because they breed as fast as, well, guppies. <Know what you mean>   Originally, I started with only three guppies (2 female, one male) and all the guppies in the tank now have come from those fish, with one exception.  I purchased a red diamond male guppy about two months ago and he is the only fish from this tank I have had to euthanize (or lost).  I did so because he began to exhibit symptoms of what I believed was whirling fish disease based upon my research, or at least some type of nervous disorder.  He would swim normally and then go into violent spins and seizures.  This occurred well after tank was cycled and the water parameters were all excellent so it was not any type of water quality issue.    I was worried about my other fish but have had no other fish with remotely similar problems since.  I am explaining this because I believe the guppy I have concerns about now is the offspring of the euthanized red diamond guppy as it has similar markings.   I do a 30% to 35% water change (6-8 gallons)  weekly to keep the nitrates down which will spike up to 40 ppm at the end of the week but then drop to 10 ppm or less with the change.      <You may want to read re, do something/s to keep under 20 ppm on a constant basis> Now to my concern.  I have observed the guppy in question recently, and again this morning (one day after a 30% water change), rubbing his side on the gravel bottom in a single twisting motion.  I have observed this fish at length and I have only seen him do this on a couple of occasions when he comes near the bottom to feed on the Pleco's pellet. I know from your site that this could be a number of things:  a first sign of Ich, velvet, parasite, or even a sensitivity to nitrates.   <Yes> The fish's appearance is what is puzzling to me and complicated by his strange markings.  He has the orange and white from the red diamond parent with bluish brown and some yellow from his mother.  He is probably around six to eight weeks old and has always had a sort of iridescent sheen (very beautiful fish).  He shows none of the visual symptoms on his body of Ich.  I can't really see signs of velvet but that is uncertain because of his markings (some of which are a kind of light yellow iridescence).  If I was forced to guess that he had some disease, I guess I would have to pick velvet because of the yellow. <Mmm, if this then you would very likely experience quick mortality... I doubt this is this algal complaint>   However, he seems very content and active at this stage with no real sign of discomfort and, as I said,  I have been watching him closely for some time and have observed the rubbing only a couple of times.  The only other visual issue is seems to have a small discoloration just in front of his dorsal fin where it is lighter than the rest of the surrounding coloration.  This could be a rub mark or it may just be a function of his maturing coloration.  So I am uncertain whether the fish is diseased but obviously concerned about the entire system.   Additionally, all fish in the system appear happy content and with good appetites.    <A good sign> I know this equivocal information is probably insufficient for any kind of precise diagnosis, but my question is really the best way to proceed based upon this uncertainty. <"Do no harm"... I'd keep all under observation at this point> I am hesitant to bombard my tank with chemicals or treatment at this point, because I don't really know what I am treating, if anything, and I don't want to destroy my biological filter unnecessarily.  It seems my options are (1) to simply monitor, (2) remove the fish in question and observe, (3) remove the fish in question and provide some treatment individually, (4) treat the entire system.  The fish is too healthy to even give consideration to euthanizing.   The only thing I have done at this point is to increase the temperature to about 80 degrees.  What would you do? <1)> I note from reading you site regularly that Sabrina seems to get most of the guppy questions, but I would really welcome opinions from any of you.  I apologize for being unable to arrive at a course of action from the information on your site (which I have been otherwise able to do throughout almost every turn in this hobby), but I am just unclear on exactly what to do here and I don't want to jeopardize a system I have worked so hard to get established. Thanks so much for your time and assistance.  Phil         <Thank you for writing... and so clearly, completely. I would not treat this system, fish per se, but strive to improve the environment here. Bob Fenner>

Guppy looking like he has a bad back   1/21/07 Hi!  I have a male guppy, 2.5 gallon aquarium with filter, aquarium salt added, pH normal, temp ~80-82.  He behaves as if he is perfectly healthy, but suddenly he started looking "bent" like he has a bad back or something.   <Does happen... most often with age, some diseases, nutritional deficiency syndromes...> About a week after he started looking like that, he started holding his tail tightly, it is now in a point (before that he had a beautiful tail nicely fanned out)  He is behaving like a normal fish, swimming around fine (although he seems to be struggling a little because of his tail), eating normally.  I had female also, but she died of the exact same symptoms.  However, the male fish did not start getting like this until quite a while after the female died, and she died very quickly but he has been hanging for well over a week with his tail like this.  I don't want to euthanize him because I am very attached to him and he doesn't look like he's in pain. <Is not likely so> I could not find any information about this on the web, and I am very hesitant to drop some medicine ! in there until I know what's going on and what kind of medicine to drop. <Mmm, not really a good idea... not likely efficacious> I am hesitant to even do a partial water change now because I don't want to add any extra stress on him.  Please help!  Thank you. ~Linda <Not really something that is "catching" to most other fish groups... best to do those water changes, feed regularly, hope for the best here. Bob Fenner>

Guppy Woes Hi Crew, I have some guppies that I don't know a whole lot about. The one in particular though is very dark, She was not this way when we purchased her. Recently I have seen her rubbing against the tank & Swimming into the side with some force. <Many causes for this. Ick and poor water quality at the top of the list> I have noticed that she appears bruised, I don't know if she has internal bleeding or what the case is? <Is she showing red patches? Bloody wounds?> I did put some ick medication into the tank. <Ick would show as salt like white spots on the fish. If none of the fish show this we need to get the med out. What did you use?> She is pregnant, <A life long condition for an adult female guppy> She doesn't seem like she's dying? What would cause this? My children really like these fish. We had some in the past but due to a house fire we lost them all. <Great way to help the kids get over such a loss> The tank with this female was a gift to them when we rebuilt & I would like to save her if at all possible. <Pressure ON> Thanks, Kelly <Hi Kelly, Don here. I'm going to need a lot more info before I can help. But the first thing to do is start changing out the water. Unless you see white spots on the fish it was a mistake to add the Ick medicine. Some are very harsh to the fish directly. Others can kill the good bacteria in your system causing the water to foul. I would do a healthy water change of about 30% right away. Make sure you match temp and dechlorinate. Repeat in a few hours and then daily for the next few days. Now the questions. What size tank and type filter? Is the tank heated? How many/types fish? If all guppies, how many males and females? How long has it been running? Do you do regular water changes? If so, how often and what percent? Do you use a gravel vac? Do you test the water? If not take a sample of both your tank and tap water to your local pet store. Get the actual numbers, do not accept "Everything's fine". Better would be to pick up your own test kit. We need numbers for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. Test the pH of both the tank and your source water. We will need the results to continue, but the water changes may help. Good luck. Don>   

Guppies Dying Hi. I have a 2 ft x 2ft x 1 ft tank, and use a overhead box filter, and also a submersible heater. I have about 20 guppies in the tank, 12 neon tetras and a algae eater. Recently, my guppies start to behave strange. They will stay either near the surface of the water, but not gasping, or they stay at the bottom of the tank. Those staying at the bottom of the tank will attempt to swim up, but when they stop swimming, they just sink to the bottom. I have lost about 8 of them over a week, and more seems to be dying. I've added aquarium salt, but no improvement. What should I do? Thanks for  your help. Wally <<Dear Wally; First you need to test your water. I will need to know your results of the following tests: ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. PH also, if you can. I also need to know how often you do water changes, what the tank temperature is, and if you have recently added any new fish to this tank. Do you add salt to this tank? Certain strains of guppy can be fragile, and require excellent water quality, stable temps, and high quality foods. It could be anything from weakness due to parasites or bad water quality, to a bacterial infection. But if it's a water quality issue, and you treat the tank, you could do more harm than good until you get your water into shape. So please get back to me with your test results :) Thanks, Gwen>>

My guppies have ick I've been treating my tank for Ich for 3 days now. It doesn't seem to be clearing up. I have 6 guppies and 2 babies (guppies also) . I'm using Cure-Ick. The ick doesn't look horrible. It is just sprinkled on. It is small little spots. all of my Syno-cats came down with the ick first but then started to develop a white film over their body. Which also covered their eyes. The medication I'm using says use for three days. It is a Malachite Green-Formalin base. Should I try something else? < That is the right stuff.> Unfortunately where I live the only place that is slightly fish experts is Pet Smart. I'm really worried about losing the babies. They are still going strong but I've noticed that now they have a little bit of ick. they are only 4 days old. The Ph is around 7.4-7- < Make sure the water temp. is around 80 degrees. And do a 30% water change every other day. The parasite likes under the skin of the host for a couple of days and can only be killed when it is off the host and free swimming. Your catfish do not like the medication so make sure you follow the directions when it comes to treating catfish. Watch for ammonia spikes because the Ich medication may affect the good bacteria that breaks down ammonia and nitrites.-Chuck>

Injured guppy Hi I have a 65L tank with 10 guppies (all male) and 1 Bristlenose catfish in it.  I was recently doing a water change when one of the guppies found itself sucked into the end of my syphon hose.  I managed to cut the flow before it got too far into the tube but it has still caused some damage to the fish.  His right flipper has been damaged but he does still move it and also there is some damage around his upper lip, though it does look like he is still able to open and close his mouth. I would like to know about what the best procedure would be for treating this fish.  Also after this all the other fish in the tank look 'spooked' and remain quite still in the water and are hiding in plants.   Tried to take a photo of it.. Its not very good because he didn't want to come to the front of the tank and pose. Thanks Matt <I would administer "aquarium salt" as per here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm and maintain excellent water quality. No "medicines" are needed or likely useful here. Bob Fenner>

Guppy with Dropsy  10/2/05 Hi, I noticed last week that the body of one of my guppies started swelling and he stopped swimming around as much as usual. Based on what I've read, this appears to be dropsy. <... yes, as a description of symptoms... not an indication of proximate or ultimate cause/s> I've moved him to a hospital tank and have been treating him with KanaPlex. He is swimming around and eating, but the swelling does not appear to be going away (it's not getting worse either). Should I be using salt as well in the hospital tank? <Yes, I would. Epsom> I have read some places where salt helps extract the fluids from the fish that are causing swelling, but have also read that you should not use salt when treating a dropsy. If I should use salt, what kind should I be using? Thanks, Rob <Epsom, magnesium sulfate. You can read on WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Clear Discharge From Pregnant Guppy - 10/20/2005 I have several female guppies with one lucky male in a large 40 gallon tank. One of the females, whom I knew was pregnant and about due suddenly just started having clear, heavier then water, almost oily looking discharge. I am going to assume this was a "miscarriage", so to speak. <I think I agree.> Is there anything that may have caused this, <Well....  it happened, so obviously something caused it....  but what is a mystery, especially with so little information about your system.  Hopefully it was nothing contagious or indicative of health problems.  If she is acting well and healthy, I would not worry at this point.> or that I could have done to prevent? <Not anything off the top of my head - but you may want to add Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to the water at a rate of 1 to 2 tablespoons per ten gallons to help her pass anything further that she might need.> Thanks for any help,  -Gail <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

FW Fish Losses Adding Up for Doug & William The Fish Watcher, Supreme Ruler of Gupticon 5  11/12/2005 Hi crew, I am pretty frustrated today! I did as I was told, and saw no real change. Lost 3 fish. I saw a decrease in flashing from the survivors, but not much of one. The aggression seems to have eased up a bit, but I suspect it is because the primary aggressor, a large female, was put into the QT tank heavy with fry. In the QT tank before the move were 2 Cory cats, and 2 fancy females.  Since one of the females was not as pregnant as the other 2 occupants I caught her, put her in a new breast milk storage baggie half full of the water she lived in, and floated her in my main tank for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes I totally submerged the bag to mix the water and let her swim out on her own. That took about 20 min.s. That was 4 days ago I did the same with the Cory cats.  The day before the move I did a partial water change in the 15 gal tank (4 gallons) and I did another last night. This morning from what I have been able to determine in the FAQ, the newly moved female from the QT tank seems to be suffering from septicemia, as she has red blotches over most of her body. Should I start the non-iodized salt in the water again??? < All that salt does is increase the slime coat on the fish.  <<Actually, it also reduces the physiological "work" for the animal (has to keep balance in regards to osmotic pressure, "osmolarity".  This can work in reverse for marine fishes, though for both FW & SW care must be taken when using differing salinity/specific gravity levels to aid healing), though of course there are some FW fishes that appreciate salt not at all.  It also increases efficacy of many antibiotics.  An interesting read can be found from the University of Florida IFAS extension website (scroll down, just above the article summary).  "Most tropical fish can tolerate a salt concentration of 1-3 g/L, and this level is not harmful to the biological filter."  MH>> < Once they are already infected I would recommend keeping the fish in a hospital tank and treating with Nitrofuranace with doing a 50% water change in between treatments. Salt could be added too but the antibiotic is what you really need.> And does this mean my nitrates are spiking again???? < You really need to get your own test kit until you get your water system stabilized. Nitrates should be below 25 ppm. Even lower for some fish. You tap water may already have nitrates above this level if you live in an area with agricultural run off. Check your tap water. In many areas this information can be obtained from your local water company, but they usually have a range of results and may vary over time. Excess food from over feeding is usually the main cause of excessive nitrogenous waste.> I haven't had a water test because I don't have a kit, and the LFS is following its "free water test with purchase" rule. < I would till get a test kit so you can check the water every time you make a change.>  The Boss has put a freeze on guppy spending as it has breeched by far its original budget! But the last water test showed slightly elevated NITRITES! I know the bacteria that consumes ammonia produces nitrites, and that the bacteria that consumes nitrites create nitrates. I just don't understand how the 2 can fluctuate so! < This can vary from excessive feeding to the addition of dead bodies that are not quickly removed. Check you tap water and then check your tank water and compare the two. Do not feed the tank for three days. Don't worry they will be fine. Check the tank water again. Ammonia and nitrites should be zero and the nitrates should be under 25 ppm. The bacteria are affected by everything you put in the tank, salt, food, fish everything!  Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Add carbon to the filter to remove any residual chemicals and drugs in the water. If the ammonia and nitrites are high then ad Bio-Spira from Marineland to replace the bacteria. If the nitrates are high then vacuum the tank under ornaments and rocks to get the rest of the mulm out of the tank. Reduce the nitrates to acceptable levels toding {doing?} water changes until they get down to acceptable levels. When you feed you fish you only feed them once a day and then only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes. Siphon the left over food out after two minutes. Then you will know how much to feed.> Final question... A separate fish store tells me that the modern guppy is very inbred to maintain desired traits, making them much more delicate than the guppies of the 70's and 80's. < There could be some truth to that but I have never seen any hard data to support this.>  <<Empirical evidence suggests this is also happening with Betta splendens.  MH>> He went on to suggest I try cichlids, as they are much heartier than community fish,  <<<G> Could he have meant "hardier"?>> and that if I change out my gravel and swap it with crushed coral my 15 gal tank should eventually be able to hold 4 small cichlids, and 3 small tiger barbs.  Suggesting that I add the fish in pairs, and stagger the stocking of the tank over 2 mos. Does this sound accurate to you? < Changing over to hardier fish does not solve you aquarium management problem. I would suggest that you learn to keep the fish you have first. Read up on cichlids to see if that is what you really want to keep. If you don't like your fish then you won't care about them.> By the way, I know that the cichlids, and barbs will outgrow this set up, but I have been promised a one for one swap as the fish get bigger.  Thanks again for this great resource! I just hope I can over come my current difficulties so that I will be able to continue to enjoy this increasingly expensive hobby with my new son! Doug & William The Fish Watcher, Supreme Ruler of Gupticon 5  <<I have a friend who visits Legton often, ever been there?>> < If you want cichlid then there are no shortage of species to fill any size tank you have.-Chuck>

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