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FAQs on Infectious Guppy Diseases

 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, 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,

MANY imported (originating in Asia) guppies have entrenched microbial issues... Columnaris, Mycobacteria... that they die simply from.  TRY to buy locally produced stock if you can; OR barring this, fish that have been in stock (and not mixed w/ new) for weeks.

Advice on how to treat hemorrhagic septicemia in female guppy       2/19/20
Hello crew,
<Hello Conrad,>
I wish I was writing under better circumstances, but I would like some advice on how to treat septicemia in a female guppy I purchased last week.
<I am not optimistic.>
The guppy was shipped overnight to me one week ago as part of an order of three female guppies from a popular online vendor. Upon opening the package, one was already dead. I removed the dead fish and put the remaining guppies in a 500ml container (this was sufficient to hold all of the water that the fish came with), adding a drop of methylene blue and prime to hopefully alleviate any ammonia toxicity. I then drip acclimated the guppies to my tank water (the water they came in was much harder than my tank, 450 TDS vs 200 TDS), dripping in water at a rate of ~60 ml/min for 20 minutes, after which I netted the guppies and deposited them in my tank.
<Understood. Unfortunately, the quality of farmed Guppies is generally not that high. Some breeders better than others. But many, many retailers have problems with this species nowadays.>
After adding the guppies to my tank, it was clear that one of them had swim bladder issues and could not swim properly. Unfortunately, this guppy expired overnight. The other female guppy seemed to swim normally for the first four days but soon became lethargic, hiding in the corner and refusing to eat; I fed her Hikari micropellets and frozen bloodworms. The next day, I noticed red streaking along the flanks of the guppy, which signaled to me that the fish had septicemia.
I then moved her to a large breeder box that I hung in my tank. I have kept her in this box for a couple days, however the red streaking is now getting worse.
<I can see this.>
I would like to ask: 1. Is this hemorrhagic septicemia?
<Certainly a bacterial infection of some sort.>
2. If it is, what is the best treatment?
<Really, an antibiotic is the only possible treatment if this is a bacterial infection, but alas, success rate not high. Since the effectiveness of a given antibiotic depends upon identifying the pathogenic bacteria, without sampling the bacteria and identifying them (something aquarists can't do) we end up going with a scattergun approach. Unreliable, but the only option. On top of that, there are viruses that can cause
septicaemia, and these are untreatable. Tetracycline-type antibiotics (such as Minocycline) are perhaps the safest, since they're less likely to affect the filter than, say, Erythromycin.>
A cursory search of the website tells me that the root cause of this disease is water quality issues and people were recommended to do frequent water changes.
<Indeed, but this is more prevention than cure.>
However I don't believe my tank has any water quality issues. My parameters are roughly:
Size: 10 gallon standard pH : 7.2-7.4 GH: 160 - 180 ppm KH: 40 - 60 ppm Ammonia + Nitrite: 0 ppm Nitrate : 0 - 15 ppm depending on how recently I have changed the water (usually once a week) TDS: 200 ppm Temperature: 68 - 76 F depending on the season (the tank is unheated but I keep the
thermostat on 24/7). It has been 73-74 F this whole week.
<I wouldn't be keeping fancy Guppies at such low temperatures: they are more sensitive than wild (or even cross-bred) Guppies and personally, I'd recommend setting a heater to 24 C, minimum.>
The tank water is remineralized RO water. I use a combination of Epsom salt, gypsum and potassium bicarbonate to remineralize. By my calculations, the ionic concentrations I have are: K+: 42ppm Ca2+: 20ppm Mg2+: 8ppm SO42- : 81ppm HCO3- : 65ppm
<Sounds fine.>
The tank is heavily planted and nitrate goes down after water changes (I add a small amount of potassium nitrate when I do water changes). It has been running for eight years and contains a colony of scarlet badis (I think there are seven, but have seen two new juveniles come out of the moss in the past month), a colony of cherry shrimp (too many to count, but at least fifteen), and a single Nerite snail.
I should note that I purchased two male guppies to go with the females, and those seem to have no issues whatsoever (they came in a separate bag). The main reason to separate the female was to prevent the males from harassing her (although it did not seem excessive when I was observing).
I have attached 2 pictures of the poor guppy in question for diagnostic purposes. The first was taken in the tank shortly before moving the guppy to the breeder box and the second was taken from the breeder box earlier today. Thank you for your time!
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Advice on how to treat hemorrhagic septicemia in female guppy      2/20/20
Hi Neale,
Thanks for the quick response!
I wasn't aware guppies needed heaters - I've seen them kept outdoors where I am (southern USA) and the website that I purchased from listed a temperature range of 18-28C. I guess that must be the difference between common and fancy guppies....
<Correct. Wild Guppies will handle anything from, as you say, a barely tropical 18 C to well over 28 C, likely 30 C without much bother.
Similarly, they can live and breed in full-strength seawater, while others are found in acidic ditches in South America. But over the years we've bred fancy Guppies in ways that have eliminated those adaptability genes. It's much like you wouldn't expect a typical pedigree dog to last for long on the Tundra, yet wolves demonstrably thrive in those habitats. In any batch of Guppies you may well get some that are hardier and more adaptable than others, and crossbred (sometimes called 'feeder') Guppies seem to have much of the toughness of wild Guppies. But pedigree Guppies are sensitive fish,
and need to be looked after a bit more carefully if you want maximum chances of survival.>
I don't currently have a heater, but I did turn the thermostat in the room up to 24C. Hopefully this will help boost the immune system.
<For sure.>
The streaking has gotten worse overnight; there are now visible red streaks and red spots on the top of the body as well.
<Yep. As I said before, I'm not optimistic.>
Regarding antibiotics, I have on hand Kanamycin, Maracyn, and Maracyn 2.
<Kanamycin is a good choice for septicaemia and should not harm the filter.
Maracyn is Erythromycin, which isn't a great choice. Although is works really well in alkaline conditions, it can harm filter bacteria. Maracyn 2 is minocycline, which is indeed one of the tetracycline-types, and does work well against septicaemia, but doesn't do well in high hardness, alkaline conditions, and needs neutral to acidic conditions to work best.
Great for Neons, but not for Guppies! So of the three, Kanamycin is probably your "go-to" drug of choice here.>
Are any of these a "tetracycline-type" antibiotic? I'm not sure if my local LFS stocks minocycline. Given the effect on the biofilter, I will probably move the guppy to a separate 2.5 gallon bucket to treat with antibiotics.
<In which case, a zeolite-filled box filter will provide good ammonia removal without any risk of problems when using antibiotics. Do remember to always remove carbon from any aquarium where medications are being used.>
Again, thank you for the quick response. I will update you if I do manage to save this guppy.
<Good luck! Neale.>

Guppy       2/17/19
I have a problem with guppy fish
<I see... the symptoms of Columnaris in your pix>
I've spent all the fish
I tried a lot but to no avail
Please help me and direct me to the medication that will save me from this disease .
<... Need information re your system, what else is in the tank; water quality test results, history of maintenance, treatment. DO READ on WWM re:
Bob Fenner>

Sick male guppy      9/10/17
Dear WWM crew
I have a 5 week old 70 litre tank with 9 male guppies and various live plants. I set the tank up using Tetra Safe Start with 7 guppies and monitored water daily using API liquid test kit. It's currently reading ph 7.6, ammonia 0.25, nitrite 0, nitrate 10-20. I've been doing approx. 30-40% water changes daily and dosing with Seachem Prime. Five days ago I did two things that I'm now regretting. I added 2 new guppies to my original 7
(didn't know about quarantining) and later that same day I fed them all live bloodworms for the first time. All the guppies (including the 2 new ones) seem fit and healthy apart from one of my original guys (a beautiful sunset tail). Within hours of me adding the new guppies and feeding them all bloodworms (which he definitely ate) he was hovering at the bottom of the tank looking very miserable. He keeps away from the others (not that they bother him) and every time he tries to swim even half way up the tank he spirals back down and crashes into the gravel. He has a red lip where he crashed into the gravel (poor thing). He is still eating bits of flake that fall to the bottom and his poop is coloured red and a bit stringy.
He's lost a tiny bit of weight and has paled but there aren't any other visible symptoms. He's been like this for 5 days and has been hiding in one of the ornaments but comes out when he sees me (friendly little guy) but stays at the bottom. I'm worried he perhaps got a parasite from the live bloodworms or has picked up a disease from one of the new guppies (although they are both fine). Any advice would be really appreciated.
Kind regards
<Hello Andrea. When it comes to farmed fancy Guppies, I'm not an optimist I'm afraid. The quality of what you see in the UK trade (and likely elsewhere) is barely fair-to-middling, and they are plagued with bacterial and parasitic problems best dealt with by quarantining before putting them into the main aquarium. In any event, given where you are now, the chances are this chap has some type of bacterial infection similar to Mycobacteriosis. It is definitely worth treating as per Finrot, in the off-chance we're dealing with an Aeromonas or Pseudomonas-type infection.
In the UK, a product such as eSHa 2000 is probably about as good as you're going to get without access to antibiotics from a vet. Red blisters on the skin can be Finrot, and often are in new tanks. But alongside lack of
appetite, loss of colour, and a tendency towards lethargy or unnatural shyness, all point towards the distinct possibility of something more serious. Upping the temperature a bit, to around 28 C, might help (farmed fancy Guppies are more sensitive to chilling than their wild ancestors) and if it's an option, the addition of a little salt, 2-3 gram/litre, can be a useful tonic for most livebearers. Do, of course, keep a close eye on water quality -- non-zero ammonia is a sign that the filter isn't mature, the fish are being over-fed, or there's too many fish in the tank -- so review, and act accordingly. Good advice is to not feed fish when ammonia is not zero! Do double check that your tap water doesn't contain ammonia, because you can get false positives in some situations where Chloramine has been present in the tap water but chemically neutralised by the water conditioner. To check for this, look to see if your water conditioner treats ammonia and Chloramine, draw some tap water, add the water conditioner, and then do an ammonia test. If it is not zero, chances are that the ammonia there is actually 'safely' locked away by the water conditioner. Personally, I prefer using nitrite test kits to monitor water quality immediately after setting up a new aquarium, precisely because of this problem. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppy Disease       2/18/16
At first I suspected my Endler's Guppies contracted Columnaris from a male Cobra Guppy I had just bought recently. I lost about 15 Endler's Guppies in my 2.7 gallon tank and about another 15 in my 5.5 gallon tank. Now I suspect that it was "Guppy disease" caused by the protozoan Tetrahymena.
How do I get rid of this disease/organism from my tanks?
<The last time I researched this was for FishChannel, here:
So far as I know there isn't a surefire treatment. To be sure: this is a rare disease, with other bacterial infections, such as Mycobacteriosis, probably more common, even among Poecilia. It's just that telling all these apart is hard -- their symptoms are very alike.>
Should I bleach my tanks with chloral, hydrogen peroxide, or potassium permanganate?
<Certainly cleaning infected tanks and air-drying them is helpful. If you use any sterilising agents, be sure to rinse thoroughly.>
How do I sterilize my other fish (not guppies) that survived if I want to later move them to my other aquariums?
<Not sure that you can.>
Lastly, where can I go to publish this topic on your website?
<Not sure what you're asking here. If you want to write something for Wet Web Media, you'll need to run the article past Bob Fenner; I'd suggest writing to this address but with a new subject line.>
Thanks, Jason
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: Guppy Disease       2/21/16

Hi Neale,
I think I used the wrong terminology. I didn't actually mean publish my topic but post my topic as I've seen a couple of times in the past you had some pages on your website that had people asking questions and then you and/or some other representatives of the website would answer the question.
<Yes; these messages get archived for others to read, as you say.>
A few days ago, I spoke to the fish expert at my downtown Petco and he said that besides Guppies, Comet Goldfish were also highly susceptible to Tetrahymena. Is this true? He also mentioned that Comets had a somewhat better survivability, esp. if they were larger in size. Does this also correspond to what you've read/heard?
<Quite possibly. Tetrahymena pyriformis infects a wide range of fish species, including Goldfish and Carp.>
<<Very commonly found on commercial Goldfishes; esp. "comets"... I use these for "parasitology of fishes" seminars; they never disappoint. RMF>>
I now have mostly just fry in my two formerly Tetrahymena (or Columnaris or Fungal) infected aquariums- a 2.7 and 5.5 gallon. I just noticed that one of the fry in my 5.5 gallon now has some whiteness in the area by its dorsal fin. What disease could this be?
<Hard to say, but if in doubt, treat as per Finrot and hope for the best. With Guppies, running the tank at 25% seawater salinity is also an option, and this can help suppress parasites while reducing stress.>
I'll see if I can get a decent photo of it or not.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy Disease      2/23/16

Hi Neale,
I lost about 15 Guppies in just a matter of 5-10 days for both my 2.7 and 5.5 gallon tanks. Can Mycobacteriosis like Guppy Disease and maybe perhaps Columnaris also wipe out a large number of Guppies in just 5-10 days?
The symptoms I observed were a white saddleback around the dorsal fin area and some white patches around the body.
<This is actually pretty much the standard appearance of bacterial infections of Poeciliidae; I've got a singleton Limia nigrofasciata showing precisely this symptom. Without access to a microscope, it is of course impossible to say precisely which bacterium species is involved.>
During the last 2-3 days of life many of the fish in the 5.5 gallon tank also had a white string hanging out at almost a 45 degree angle from their anuses. Does this sound like Mycobacteriosis?
<The white string is actually mucous, which is caused by irritation of the digestive tract. Often symptomatic of Hexamita infections, but really, all sorts of Protozoans and bacteria could cause this. Again, without sampling hard to say for sure. Not sure any of this helps you much. You could treat as per internal bacteria infections (something like Kanaplex for example)
but I wouldn't hold out much hope. With fast-breeding fish like Guppies, often easier to isolate and/or euthanise infected fish, optimise water chemistry and quality, and hope for the best. Most of these infections are to some degree environmental, though with intensely bred Guppies, there's some other factors in there as well, including genetics and previous exposure to pathogens on the fish farm. Cheers, Neale.>

Seeking advice for sick fish. Guppies; Finrot     6/26/15
Hi, I was wondering if you could help us out. Rus Wilson over at Aquarimax.com recommended that I ask you for your thoughts.
I would be grateful for any advice at this point. We have 3 male Guppies we got in December 2014.
For over a month now we have been fighting fin rot. All of our water parameters are always good,
<Need actual values... pH, hardness... The water should be hard and alkaline>
we have started adding a small amount of salt to the tank, they are active and eating well but we cannot shake the fin rot. We used Melafix and Pimafix.
<Of no use; other than disturbing nitrification... what re NH3, NO2, NO3 here?
Then we used Furan-2. Now we are using Maracyn-2 and Maracyn.
We are trying everything. We love these fish. We had four- sadly last night one passed away. I have done a ton of research online and everyone seems to suggest different things- it's very confusing.
<Time to stop skipping around>

So we are just working our way down the list of meds we know of.
<A poor course of action>

We are planning on trying Kanaplex next. If you think you could offer any advice that would be amazing!
<Not without data>
They are not pet store Guppies, we got them from a breeder online. We have one Albino Blue Sky and two Black Moscow.
The Albino blue gets red edges on his tail fin. The Black Moscow get white edges. Their tails are not too bad- a bit tattered, some are in better shape then others. All the fish are active and have been eating well for the whole duration of the Fin Rot.
<Usually this condition is the result of poor and/or vacillating environment....>

The one who passed away was active and eating up until the day before he died.
Tank is five gallons with two teaspoons of salt.
<This system is too small to be stable... this is the primary issue here.

What sort of filtration do you employ? What re nutrition?>
We do 25% water changes weekly.
All water Parameters are good. PH is 7.6 and everything else is at 0.
<? Everything?... hardness?>

We have been feeding Hikari Guppy food and I recently started feeding frozen Brine Shrimp.
We are going to add VitaChem to the water starting tonight to try to boost their immune systems.
We have two live plants- a Java Fern and an Anubias.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope to hear from you.
<The data please. Bob Fenner>
Re: Seeking advice for sick fish     6/26/15

Sorry about the missing details I'm not an experienced hobbyist. These are my first fish as an adult.
pH: 7.6
KH: 5 dkH
GH: 10
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrates: 0
<? Am very surprised at the Zero reading for Nitrate; Please "check the checker" by taking a water sample to your fish store and have them check for the three nitrogenous waste compounds. To be clear/er; in small volumes it is unusual to not have nitrate accumulation>

The filter is the one that came built in with the tank. It's a Fluval Spec V. It has a foam block, carbon and biological media. I attached a picture of it.
<Ah yes; thank you>
We feed Hikari Guppy food and Recently started feeding Frozen Brine Shrimp.
We added Vitachem to their water tonight.
We keep our tank clean, we do the 25% change every week, we use Prime and Safe Start. We cycled the tank for four weeks before we ever put the fish in it. I test the water regularly with the API Freshwater Master Kit and we have never seen the numbers rise or spike at any time while we've had the fish.
<I see>
I feed small amounts and avoid over feeding.
<Good practice>
In addition to the live plants I mentioned in the last email, we also have Malaysian Driftwood and twisted Rose Wood in the tank.
<Oh! I would remove these for now. It may (well) be that the decomposing wood is a large contributor to the guppies plight (Fin Rot)>

The salt we use is API.
<Fine; though unnecessary>
Temperature range is: 77-82 but usually it stays at 79. We always bring new water up to temperature before adding it to the tank.
<I would allow the temp. to drift down into the low to mid 70's... Yours is too high>

They do have an air stone.
We don't see much Algae but we do get some Black Beard Algae.
<A real tough one to beat. Adding some small bit of more active/metabolic live plants would be of help here... My fave is water sprite (Ceratopteris); or a few sprigs of "bunch plants" left floating>
Another thing I will just mention in case it means something is on the Drift Wood we have tiny little white specks that appear to be a tiny bug we have had them as long as we've had the fish. We've never seen them on the fish- only on the wood. I asked about them once in a forum and was told not to be concerned about them that the fish will even eat them. They don't go on your fish.
<Again; I'd remove the woods for now; add the plants>
I apologize this is so long but I want to provide you all I can, so if you have any other questions that may help you help me please ask away. Thank you for getting back to me and I hope to hear from you soon.
<Thank you for your thoroughness and follow-through. I still suspect the real issue/s here are environmental... since the guppies you have came from a local breeder (the imported ones from the orient can be absolutely terrible health-wise) Bob Fenner>

Re: Seeking advice for sick fish     6/27/15
Thank you so much. We are going to take your advice and try the things you mentioned. (removing the wood, getting the water tested tomorrow, getting those plants and lowering temperature.)I'll let you know what the fish store says about the water when they test it. Thanks again! I'll be in touch.
<Thank you; BobF>

Re: Seeking advice for sick fish       6/28/15
We had the water tested at the store today. They got the same readings as I did. The three nitrogenous waste compounds are showing to be zero or very close to zero.
<Like Bob, I don't believe in zero nitrate levels. They're like winning lottery tickets. Probably out there, but a billion-to-one chance of finding one. To explain: biological filters make nitrate. It's the end product. So between water changes, nitrate goes up. On top of that, most municipal water supplies have non-zero nitrate levels. If you live on a mountain top and collect your water from a babbling brook you might have nitrate-free water, but otherwise, you're likely dealing with levels between 20-50 mg/l depending on how intensively re-used your local water supply is. Just like biological filters, sewage farms turn waste water from homes, industries and agriculture into (relatively) non-toxic nitrate, which below 50 mg/l is harmless to humans. So, assuming you have relatively good water out of the tap/faucet, you probably have 20 mg/l nitrate right from the start. Add that to the fish tank and do weekly water changes, and you would expect to see anywhere between 25-40 mg/l depending on how much food you put in the tank and how many fish you are keeping. Zero nitrate levels are virtually never seen in fish tanks because you'd need pristine, nitrate-free water to begin with and on top of that a massive amount of nitrate removal by fast-growing plants. Even if you're cropping handfuls of plants out of the tank every week, that's still not going to reduce nitrate to zero. In short: if you have zero nitrate, then either the test kit is wrong or you're not using it properly. And if this is true for the nitrate test, then it's hard to take your nitrite and ammonia readings at face value either. Let's be clear, zero ammonia and nitrite are safe, nearly zero levels of either are not. Even tiny amounts of these can cause real problems for sensitive fish, typically things like Mollies, Guppies, dwarf cichlids, Angelfish and other over bred/inherently sensitive species.>
We removed all the wood. We purchased another plant and some duck weed.
<Duckweed is a good nitrate remover, but a pest in many fish tanks. Certainly buying it is a first! You can usually find out own in pretty much any pond on the planet. But in any event, you need a floating plant that grows rapidly. Other plants have little impact on nitrate because their growth rate isn't sufficient. Furthermore, floating plants have long roots that hold plenty of filter bacteria, so they also help improve biological filtration as well as directly removing ammonia from the water as well!
Win/win. Also bear in mind if the plants are slow growing -- things like Amazon Swords for example -- their impact on water quality is nil. If you aren't actively removing excess growth on a weekly basis, then your plants aren't growing fast enough to improve environmental conditions. As it happens, I just spent an hour on a podcast last night talking about Guppies, floating plants, and how these help keep Guppies happy and healthy:
Possibly worth a listen?>
They did not have water sprite. In your opinion should we wait and see if there are any changes or should we add some kind medication?
<Improve the environment: add an extra filter perhaps; remove junk media (carbon for example) and replace with more biological media; reduce feeding to every other day; get/use a nitrite test kit every day or two. All these before adding medications. Guppy sicknesses are primarily caused by environmental stress and inbreeding; the addition of salt (1 teaspoon/gallon) helps perk them up, especially in soft water, and can reduce the toxicity of nitrite and nitrate. Adding medications is your last action, and only if you can positively identify a disease (Finrot for example) not just random deaths.>
Thank you!
<Cheers, Neale.>

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.>

strange marking on Guppy mouth (RMF, Columnaris?) <<>> 9/26/11
<<Unfortunately appears so. I would IMMEDIATELY aggressively treat for (Neomycin sulfate), and euthanize/remove this most mal-affected specimen. BobF>>
Hi Crew
Trust you have all had a great weekend so far.
<Very good, thanks; and hope yours good too.>
Earlier today I noticed that one of my female guppies had strange white around her mouth and her left eye looked a bit cloudy see pix attached is this something to worry about?
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 5
Tank size 100 lt
6 adults
25 juvenile females (small in size)
3 fork tail blue eye rainbow fish
2 Platies
1 Gourami Colisa labiosa
many thanks for your help in advance.
<Do think this is Columnaris, also called "Mouth Fungus" despite being a bacterial infection. Quite common among livebearers. Usually indicates some environmental stress, typically water that is too soft, too acidic, or too cold. Do review conditions. Fancy Guppies need middling to high temperatures, 25-28 C; moderately hard to very hard water, 10-30 degrees dH; and pH levels between 7.5-8.5. The addition of marine aquarium salt at 2 g/l (about a teaspoon per US gallon) is a major plus, but may stress the
Gourami (the Rainbows won't mind). In any case, medicate as per Columnaris, taking care to remove carbon from the filter. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: More re: strange marking on Guppy mouth (RMF, Columnaris?) 9/26/11
Hi Bob
Many thanks for your reply - I have treated the guppy with Furnol2
<? What is this? According to Google, furniture polish? A Furacyn product?
Not likely efficacious>
for 30 min.s in a separate container.
Have place her back in main tank with in a separate small birthing net.
<... not a good idea to put this fish back in w/ the others>
Is this ok or should I remove her completely (euthanise).
<I would do the latter. Do please search on WWM... the search tool on every page... w/ the term "Columnaris"... NOW. BobF>

Re: More re: strange marking on Guppy mouth (RMF, Columnaris?) 9/26/11
Love your sense of humour your a cool guy I meant JBL Furanol 2.
Will follow your advice.
Many thanks
<As many welcomes. B>

Re: Columnaris 10/4/11
Just wanted to say that after five days of Esha2000 treatment and careful monitoring (as well as euthanasia of four badly infected fish / fish with dropsy), the tank appears to be settling and those with some cotton mouth / eye coverage are in remission.
<Very good news. Generally there's real trouble w/ these cases>
I haven't done any water changes yet but with a combination of less food (brine shrimp rather than flake food) Esha2000 treatment, lowering the tank temperatures (as far as I am able) to 74 degrees, it appears to be having positive results. Hopefully in a few days, all signs of cotton mouth will have gone and I can start to introduce some water changes to bring the tanks back to non-medicated states.
Thanks for all your help and support. I almost gave up on keeping fish but have decided to keep going, but not to replace my stock with guppies (they are just too genetically weak). However, some important learnings have been taken on board!
Many thanks as ever,
<"I'm in the mood for a moray, simply because they're finless... No P1's or pelvics, I'm in the mood for an eel". Cheers, BobF>
Re: Columnaris

"I'm in the mood for a moray, simply because they're finless... No P1's or pelvics, I'm in the mood for an eel"
what's the song Bob? I don't know the original fishless version.
<Ahh, sub "amore" for the corrupted " a moray"...

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.>

Guppy troubles... sys., hlth. 3/4/10
Good Afternoon to you (or perhaps Good Morning/Evening etc!) all.
<It's evening in this corner of England.>
I'm almost ashamed to be asking this, but I've spent quite some time checking the "before you ask..." sections, alongside Google and other search engines, and I can't find a satisfactory answer to my problem.
Please feel free to shoot me down in a blaze of scorn for being too short-sighted/ignorant to see what 's probably right in front of my eyes, but if it saves my fish then I'll happily take it!
<Let's see...>
I have a small 10 gallon planted freshwater tank.
<Honestly, a bit small for Guppies. I know they "fit", but they rarely work well. Guppies are quite aggressive, the males chasing one another a lot. In a 10 gallon tank you tend to end with one bully and a bunch of terrified, battered males. Females get pestered to frustration. Even 15 gallons is tight for Guppies, and I really don't rate them for small tanks at all.
Oddly perhaps, Platies, despite being bigger, can work quite well in 15 gallon tanks. In a 10 gallon tank, I'd tend to skip either Platies or Guppies.>
I introduced my first fish after a month of fishless cycling (back in October last year) and have always followed your advice about slow introduction of tank mates to prevent problems with the bio-load vs. bacterial balance. Up until recently, I had 4 Guppies, 7 Neon Tetras, and 1 Dwarf Gourami (and no intention to add more fish). I undertake partial water changes (varying between 20-25%) at least 3 times each week, and my most recent NH3, N02 & 3 readings from this morning were: NH3/N02 - not registering at all, NO3 12ppm. I understand that these are all within the acceptable parameters.
<Yes. Now, Guppies do need hard, basic water. So you're aiming for pH 7.5, 10+ degrees dH. Across much of England there's "liquid rock" coming out of the taps, but the far west and north have softer water, as does much of
Scotland. In soft water, Guppies rarely stay healthy for long.>
My four male Guppies all seemed (note the tense) to get along very well with one another up until about two weeks ago, when I came home to find two had had rather a brawl in my absence.
<Yes; what happens.>
One had his tail ripped almost to shreds, and the second was not much better. My LFS sells nothing more useful than Melafix - I know WWM's general consensus re: "fixes", but for a preventative rather than cure, I figured it would stave off Finrot to allow them to heal.
<Hmm... actually, for Guppies, the best preventative is salt, since they tolerate quite high salinities very well.
Fungus doesn't grow in brackish water for whatever reason, so this is a cheap and easy fix. The downside is that Neons and Gouramis don't like salty water. But, Neons also need cooler water that Guppies, so the two species aren't a good choice. Neons are best kept around 22-24 C, while Fancy Guppies at least need around 28 to 30 C.
The inbreeding that creates Fancy Guppies diminishes their hardiness dramatically.>
Unfortunately, the other healthy Guppies started bullying their injured tankmates, and the two poorly boys died within two days (probably from the stress of it all), and at the time of death decidedly underweight (hollow bellies - loss of appetite or bacterial infection?!). I have so far only found one of the deceased, and have stepped up my water changes and gravel hoovering to four times weekly until I find the other, as I know the decomposing corpse will otherwise cause problems.
<True up to a point.>
I thought that would be the end of the troubles, but recently another Guppy has started to look very sorry for himself. His spine has suddenly become bent, so he looks a little like a boomerang with his tail and head pointing
gravel wards.
<Crooked spines that suddenly appear (as opposed to being born that way)
can mean a variety of things, including the wrong environmental conditions and an inadequate diet.>
In addition to this, he developed a tendency to shimmy near the heater (I initially thought there might be temperature issues, but the tank's at a constant 26.5 degrees C.).
<That's too cold for Fancy Guppies (and too warm for Neons).>
In the last day or so, he's started hiding in amongst the plants for some peace and quiet, and like the doomed others before him, is now showing no interest at feeding times. For your information, the remaining Guppy, Dwarf Gourami and Neons all appear perfectly happy and healthy.
As I'm loathe to bombard the tank with strong medications that might not be the right ones and end up doing more harm than good, I managed to procure some King British Disease Clear by buying online. I'm not sure whether
you're familiar with this particular UK brand of medication, but the active ingredient is silver proteinate (which appears to be a generic antibacterial used to clear "most fish ailments").
<Silver proteinate is an antibacterial that works on contact with external infections. It won't do much for serious cases beyond a mild Finrot infection.>
It may be that it's already too late for my little chap, but I'd be so grateful for your thoughts on what the cause might be, and if there's anything else I should be doing for him?
<By all means medicate against Finrot and Fungus (I happen to like eSHa 2000 for this) but also check temperature, hardness and pH are appropriate for Guppies. As stated, I think you'll wind up with one dominant male eventually.>
Unfortunately, I don't have a quarantine tank (it's not viable, both in terms of financing the 2nd filter/heater/tank/pump etc, and lack of space to put it all in) so the rest of the tank is going to be exposed to the
sick fish's treatment.
<Often the case.>
Whatever the answer, thanks for your time. Your website continues to be my fishkeeping bible and is always my first point of reference. Keep it up, for all our sakes!
<Thanks for the kind words.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Sick guppies. Columnaris?  10/17/07 Hi, We have had quite a few guppies over the past few months. We recently introduced some new guppy fish and ever since they have been dying, most have developed a white velvety/mouldy substance on their sides. At first we thought it could have been velvet disease however upon further reading we have come to doubt this as velvet is described to be yellowish in colour and this is pure white, we have also used velvet control treatment, however to no avail. Also one of the females has developed large white rings around her eyes which look like they could be some sort of fungal infection. <Mmm, much more likely bacterial> I have searched the internet and cannot find anything relating to this. <Look for the term "Columnaris"... or the genus Chondrococcus... and "fish disease"> We have a catfish, a spotted Plec and three black harlequins in our tank which we have had sense the tank was first set up which have remained unaffected. We have done tests on our ammonia levels, PH, nitrate which have all been fine. Can you think of anything which this could be and what is causing it? <Was likely either introduced with some livestock... and/or favored by "stress", some sort of deficiency...> We are going to completely change the water tonight and clean the tank which we are hoping will get rid of any infection in the water. Any advice would be much appreciated, Best regards Emily and John P.S they have also had more babies recently, will they be affected do you know? <Please see this piece: http://aem.asm.org/cgi/reprint/17/2/333.pdf re Neomycin, Polymixin use... Needs to be addressed ASAP. Bob Fenner>

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>

Losing Guppies one after another.   12/15/08 Hello there, I have kept tropical fish on and off for most of my life and have normally considered myself pretty knowledgeable. But much to my poor guppies dismay, I am at a loss with this one. I returned to fish keeping about a year ago and have made the usual hobby progression from, oh lets just get a small 5 gallon all the way to my current 20 gallon tank and plans for a 55. In my current 20 gallon tank before the crisis, I had 5 guppies 1 male and 4 females (all second generations from my first pair) 2 neon tetras (want more but cant find good ones and afraid to overload tank), and a snail problem. Ammonia and nitrite 0 nitrate barely detectable. ph 7.0 and hardness 150ppm I do have pretty hard tap water but all my fish have always done fine. Use Prime for a dechlorinator. Everything has been stable but then I added a few more fish. I'm not only regretting that choice but also that I didn't quarantine. I went to my LFS and bought a pair of guppies to provide some genetic diversity, since all my current ones were related, and a small 1 1/2 to 2 inch clown loach for the snails. (I know they get large and do plan on moving him to a 55 gallon as he outgrows the 20 gallon. Also disappointed I didn't get more and cant really fit more in the tank. I acclimated them to the temp. and the water and introduced them. Then I saw it, the small white spot on my clown loach. Knowing their weakness to Ich I immediately took notice. I didn't want to make any drastic changes as they were just getting acclimated to their new home conditions, so over the next few days I raised temp. from the usual 78 to 82 and added aquarium salt gradually, keeping the dosage low because of the loach's sensitivity. My biggest neon showed specks after a few days but none of my other fish. All of my water parameters stayed in check and I thought I was going to make it through. Then something went terribly wrong. Day 1 of the catastrophe I found that one of my females had given birth, and she looked horrible. She was pale and hovering near the surface in a corner but not gasping for air. 12 hours later she was laying on her side on the gravel, occasionally dashing up towards the surface and falling back down. Removed and euthanized her. All of my other fish seemed fine. Then later in the evening another female started the hovering at surface behavior. Following morning she also was on the bottom. None of them showed signs of Ich just the weird behavior then crash. I now have only 1 female guppy left, my newly purchased one. My new male went down this morning, and quick. From looking fine to bottom flopping in 2 hours. My clown loach is doing great no more Ich, my neon cleared up too. Only issue with him is he likes to sit in a spot and gasp a lot but then goes about just fine after a bit, but he's always done that, the other one doesn't. I did get a baby in my bag of guppies and its doing just fine. The newly born fry are doing just fine, but there was a mass adult guppy genocide and I don't understand why. I'm watching my female. I think she looks fine but I'm paying so much attention to her behavior that every now and then she does something that makes me nervous, and then quickly returns to normal. I'm sure it's just me, being overly alert, but I desperately want at least one of my guppies to survive. Especially since she mated with my pretty 2nd generation male before he withered away. I don't want to go throwing medications at the problem. For one I have no clue what's going on and 2 I know loaches do not tolerate a lot of meds. For the most part I have always had good luck with raising temp and adding salt for Ich, none of my fish ever reacted badly from the change. And I would have thought that the babies or the loach would have fallen victim first. So now I am completely at a loss. I have gone through the forums and tons of websites but can't find anything that seems to match. Any help would be appreciated, and thank you ahead of time. Desperate and confused, Brandon P.S. In case low Oxygen was considered since I raised temp. I do have a large airstone in the tank and surface agitation from filters. <Hello Brandon. Wild and "feeder" Guppies are generally very easy to keep and tolerant of a broad range of conditions, but the Guppies sold in pet stores are typically "fancy" varieties and these have become increasingly delicate and disease-prone. The use of salt can help, and is likely ubiquitous on fish farms. At low doses (1 g per litre) you aren't likely to stress tetras or loaches in the short term, but generally speaking I'd always recommend keeping livebearers with salt-tolerant species so that you can add more salt as required. Sodium chloride does have a useful nitrite/nitrate detoxification function, and the carbonate/bicarbonate salts in marine salt mix (my recommendation) steadies pH and raises the carbonate hardness. With Mollies, the use of marine salt mix is the difference between easy maintenance (with marine salt mix) or persistent health problems (without). Guppies are not usually so delicate, but over the generations it may well be that fancy Guppies are drifting in that direction. So if possible, I'd recommend adding marine salt mix at a dose of, say, 3-6 grammes per litre. This won't harm Guppies or any other livebearers, but would not be compatible with tetras or Clown loaches. The benefit though is you could cross off water chemistry and water quality issues from the list of possible causes. If adding marine salt mix isn't an option, then I'd certainly be monitoring nitrite and pH stability very closely. All this said, I'm not convinced that either water quality or water chemistry are the key issues here. Whitespot/Ick can be dangerous, but it's usually something that becomes an obvious killer: at levels likely to cause death, the fish would be covered in white parasites. But Whitespot can transmit viruses, and I wonder if that's what's going on here. That would explain why the Guppies dies but the other fish recovered. Viruses are essentially untreatable so far as aquarium fish are concerned, so beyond waiting for the cycle to break, there isn't much you can do. Those fish that survive are presumably immune or otherwise able to deal with the virus. Good genes, hybrid vigour in the case of cross-breed babies, overall health and youth may be factors. In any event, I'd wait a few weeks and see what happens. If the other species work out fine, I'd leave the Guppy population to settle down, and as/when you buy some more, get some wild-caught or perhaps feeder Guppies to get some good genes into the system. I'd avoid buying any Guppies from your last supplier, at least until they've sold out whatever variety you bought last time. Do also review diet, water chemistry, etc; most anything that improves overall health will be useful here. Cheers, Neale.>

Fin Rot... (Poecilia; health, behaviour?)  1/30/09 Hi there, I'm not sure where to start exactly, so I'll give you the set up and situation, then hopefully my question will be clearer. And please forgive the length of this question. The set up is: * 10 Fancy Guppies (8 females, 2 males) in a 29 G tank. * 2 sponge filters stacked and running on and air pump that's circulating 200 GPH * Water temp is 79.4 * Water chemistry is brackish with SG of 1.003 * Water Parameters are: NH3 = 0, NO2 = 0, NO3 = 20 (!!!This is part of my question) This is a fish only tank. By that I mean there have never been, nor are there now, live plants in the tank. Before you say anything, yes, I know that live plants keep nitrates down, but I've had trouble getting plants to live in this tank for some reason, so I gave up on it. But, more to the point, is up until about 3 or 4 weeks ago Nitrates were never more than 5. So part of my question is what may have caused the change? I faithfully test the water in the tank every Thursday. The parameters are always perfect with ammonia and nitrite at 0. I also faithfully gravel vac, and change 10 gallons of water every Friday. That's about a 30% change, which I would think to be sufficient to keep parameters in check. Yes, being guppies I get a litter or two of fry every couple of weeks. The fry are removed from the tank during the Friday water change and (forgive the harsh reality here) fed to my frogs. (Xenopus) So the first part of my question is do you have any guesses as to why Nitrates started rising? Which leads me the second part of my question/situation. Can Nitrates AT or BELOW 20 ppm cause Finrot? Because I can't figure out how this happened. One of the males has a clear case of Finrot. Two red spots on a frayed tail. I've removed him to a 10 gallon Q Tank, and have been treating him with a concurrent course of Maracyn and Maracyn II for the last four days. I'm not really seeing a lot of progress yet, but I'm hopeful. In the meantime, I've treated the 29 gallon tank with a course of API's Fungal Cure which says it cures tail and fin rot. The problem is I can't quite tell if the other 9 guppies need a more aggressive treatment. Some of the females have started to have a mild fading at the ends of their tails, but not all. No one has any noticeable red streaks/spots, or fraying. In addition, I'm not convinced there's a fungus present. There aren't any white spots or patches or whatever the fungus is supposed to look like. Obviously I'm trying to avoid having to treat the 29 gallon tank with antibiotics. But I don't have ten 10 -gallon tanks laying around to individually treat all the fish. But I'm also not interested in having my little friends suffer and die. So I'm at something of a loss as to how to proceed with treatment of this problem. Also, guppies are schooling fish, so does the stress of being alone in the Q Tank for 5 plus days sort of cause more problems than it solves for the poor little guy? Thanks for taking the time to read all of this. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Laura <Laura, the short answer is than 20 mg/l nitrate shouldn't cause any health problems at all. That's a very safe level of nitrate for a freshwater aquarium. So let's move on from there. Your maintenance regime seems fine. Finrot is often caused by water quality issues, but not always. The other common reason is physical damage. Now, I mention this because Guppies are not peaceful fish; indeed, the males are apt to be aggressive. They are not schooling fish as such, but rather the females congregate in groups while the males fight over access to the females. A dominant male will try and bully any other males that get close. Because Fancy Guppies have particularly long fins, they're less able to swim away from danger, but their front ends (their teeth and jaws) aren't any different. So it's still possible for them to bite one another, and quite possibly any damage caused will be more severe. In other words, my gut feeling is that this is a social behaviour issue. Livebearers generally do best in groups where the females outnumber the males by three to one, or more! For example, at the moment I'm keeping a single male Limia nigrofasciata in a tank alongside eight mature females and their fry. Although this species isn't especially aggressive, when kept in groups the males certainly do chase one another and try to assert their dominance. Put another way, removing some males and adding more females could fix the problem. In any event, treat Finrot in the main tank. Since it's not a contagious diseases as such (all tanks have the bacteria that cause Finrot present all the time) there's no need to isolate suffering fish, unless of course that fish can't feed or swim normally. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fin Rot... (Poecilia; health, behaviour?)  1/30/09
Thanks so much Dr. Monks. Once again, you've helped a lot. Just one follow up. When you say, "treat the main tank", do you mean with Maracyn? And, if so, won't that crash the system? Laura <Hello Laura. Yes, treat the main aquarium with Maracyn (or Maracyn 2). No need for a quarantine tank. Maracyn (or Maracyn 2) used correctly should not harm the biological filter, bit do read the instructions CAREFULLY. I mention both drugs because they each treat one of two different subsets of bacteria, the so-called gram positive and gram negative bacteria. Both can cause Finrot and Finrot-like symptoms. Usually Maracyn works, which is why it's the drug of choice, but if after the completed course there's no improvement, do a big water change (25-50%) and then start with Maracyn 2. Cheers, Neale.>

Blonde female guppy turning opaque   3/3/07 I've been struggling lately because an explosion of baby guppies suddenly overcrowded my tanks. I have recently relocated them to a larger tank. The problem is, the guppies in my female tank have all been acting very strangely. One started hanging out on her own in the corner and died rather suddenly about a week later. Another one has that 'wasting away' problem, but she's been hanging in for a couple weeks. My last blue girl has recently started hiding out in the corner on her own, but I can't see anything wrong with her. There's one really pretty, really special girl guppy I have left that's not acting funny, and I really don't want anything to happen to her. All that was to point out that something is really wrong in the tank. The girl I'm writing about is blonde, almost clear. Lately, she's started developing an unsettling opaque/white patch in her tail, and it's grown a bit over the course of the week. When the hood is closed, she also sits in place with her fins clamped and shimmies. <Very bad signs> I'm fairly certain it's not a fungus, because it's not fuzzy and it looks for all the world like something internal. I have her isolated right now, in case it is something contagious, but I'm not sure what to do next. There is aquarium salt in the water. Nitrites=0; ammonia gauge=safe; nitrates=less than 20ppm. Near as I could tell, it's a problem left over from the overcrowding a week ago. Do you have any advice as to how to proceed? <Yes... please do a search on the Net, WWM with the term/s, "Columnaris", "Chondrococcus columnaris". Bob Fenner>

Sick Guppies...please help!  3/16/07 Hello,   <Charon> I hope you can help me save my guppies; I am at a loss on what to do next.  I have a 10 gallon tank stocked with 2 male guppies, four females (until tonight there were five), three-day old fry (about 20 in a breeding container), three Neons, three ghost shrimp and a mystery snail.  I started the tank approximately three months ago, and it does not have any live plants, <Having some is suggested... for many valid reasons> only plastic ones and some ornamentation (only aquarium safe products).  I have a 10 - 20 gallon filter (change the carbon filter every two weeks and it has a "bio pad" for beneficial bacteria growth), an air stone that I run only about two hours a day, the tank is kept at about 80 degrees give or take a degree or two and the light is on a timer, giving 13 hours of light a day.  I do 20% water changes once or twice a week (vacuum the very thin layer of gravel at the bottom of the tank), using water that has stood for at least two days, water conditioner, freshwater salt and adding bacteria. <Don't need to keep adding>   The ammonia and nitrites are 0, the nitrates are less than 20ppm. <Don't allow any higher> KH and GH are about 100, PH is about 7 - 7.2.  I feed the fish 2 times per day, trying to only feed what can be consumed in about a minute or so (standard guppy flakes, some brine shrimp and the odd treat of blood worms).  Occasionally I will drop in a bit of algae wafer for the snail that the guppies pick at.  All of these creatures are active and all seem to get along just fine.  They investigate when I come sit at the tank and are very excited at feeding time, recognizing my routine and coming up to the top centre of the tank.   Last week, my one female developed a spot on her side, extending from top to bottom and about two to three millimetres wide.  It was slightly raised and looked almost "bleached".  It was slightly opaque and covered her gravid spot.  She did not exhibit any other symptoms that I could see.  No rubbing, no shimmy, etc.  I did some research and decided to start using Jungle Lifeguard All In One Treatment, believing this to be a fungus. <Mmm, no> Yesterday I noticed that the gravid spot became red and she started to hide and become lethargic.  Tonight when I came home, this area had "ruptured".  The skin had opened.  I removed her from the tank and examined the spot.  I could not see any worms or anything else visible to the naked eye.  The area was open but not "burst", some of her flesh missing or gouged but appearing to be "infected" from the inside.     Tonight I see that two of my other females are showing the opaque spot.  The males do not show any signs of this but it would definitely be more difficult for me to see this on them. The latest guppy added was added about a month ago, however, I did add a plastic aquarium safe plant for the anticipated babies about a week and a half ago, after washing very well in fresh water only.    I have tried searching your site and am able to find fungal diseases that are close but not quite (no "rupture").  Please help! Thank you. <This may be a bacterial (Perhaps Columnaris) or related microbial complaint, but like almost all such, environmentally mediated... I would add some "floating grass" type live plant/s here, and increase the depth of gravel (to a good inch and a half or so total), cut the water change schedule to once a week, do away with the bacteria prep. additions, allow the temp. to drift downward a few degrees (the mid 70's F.)... and hope for the best here. Bob Fenner>

Only my Guppies Die?!  3/23/07 Hi All!  Thanks for your time, My problem is I can't seem to keep Guppies alive!  I have a 10 gal tank which consists of 4 neon's, 2 Pristella tetras and a Plecostomus.   <These types/species of fishes like very different water than Guppies/Poecilia... which enjoy cooler, harder, alkaline conditions> I have had probably 15 guppies at different times, (Not all at once.. As is too many fish for small tank) <Yes> I figured my problem in the beginning when I lost about the first 5, My water conditions was really screwed up. I got a master test kit and since have all under control, perfect to the "t". The 6 tetras are all orig. fish from when I set my tank up, they have had no problems at all. But every time I get guppies they hide at top of tank, or bottom corners, and/or "sitting" on the plastic plant leaves.  I used to have my male/female ratios off. (more males then females) realized this is part of the reason was losing them. (which I would be stressed out too if I was the only girl stuck with a bunch of men in a little tank) I don't have any air stones. I use Cycle and stress coat in my water. I have a out of tank charcoal carbon filter. What am I doing wrong? <Mmm... could be a few things... the two that come most to mind as being likely is that the source of your guppies is bunk... that these fish are not healthy to start with (very common in recent years... as almost all places import theirs ultimately from the Far East... and they are absolutely beat by the time they get to the end-user... and raised in very different conditions... precluding their ongoing health... The second major possibility is related to the first... that you have an entrenched bacterial problem that mal-affects Guppies... likely Columnaris... you can look this up on the Net, books...> FYI I delayed getting water testing before due to I used to have a 5gal tank and Never had any fish die.  Didn't realize how difficult it could be to keep these little friends alive.!! Thanks again for your time Jennifer <More to read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Guppy Dying, Columnaris   6/24/07 Dear WWM, <Ws> Good morning. <And to you> I just setup a new fresh water tank for my daughter. 200L, I get the water ready 4 weeks ago and before I put in the new bought fishes, I put in a few of my current batch of fishes from my other tank (which I have it for >1 year). After confirming no problem, I then put in 8 Guppies (2 male, 6 female), 4 gold fish (small one, 1" length). <Not good to mix tropicals and goldfish... see WWM re> The tank is ok for first 2 days, then I put in some stone/rock. The 3rd day, I found 2 male guppies died + 2 gold fish. I notice another female guppy has discoloration at tail (the shape is ok, no broken/rotten). It die on the same day (3rd day night). <I see this and it's not good...> The discoloration is somehow from about 1mm.sq. area propagate to the whole tail then infect the body within 10 hours. On the 4th day, another one was infected and die on the next day too. Today (5th day), found another has discoloration again (attach photos). After reading some of your articles, I put in some anti-bacteria yesterday, but looking at I still get more infection, I quarantine the infected female guppy and put in some para-guard (from Seachem), and now it turn up-side-down. <Which antibiotic? Most will NOT treat for this> The 2 gold fish is fine, and I put in another 2 new bubble goldfish yesterday and didn't notice any abnormality too. Can you advise? Thanks. Rgds, Ws teoh <This looks very much like Columnaris Disease... see re this term and Chondrococcus on WWM, the Net... Again, I would not mix these fishes... WOULD likely just stick with the goldfish at this point. Bob Fenner>

Re: Guppy Dying - 6/25/07 Hi Bob, thanks. my daughter (8 years old) very surprise that there are "fish doctor" in the internet. Ha! Ha! She ask me to thank you (she has been asking a few times to make sure I do send out this message)... :) thanks a lot. rgds, ws teoh <Welcome my friend. Life to you and your daughter. BobF>

Guppy gray color ... Columnaris?   2/23/06 Good morning, <Ah, yes> Sorry to bother you, however I can not find the answer to my guppy question.  I read about it a while back on your site and am unable to find it again.  In our 10 gallon tank we have 3 female guppies, 2 male guppies, and 1 neon tetra.  All the fish are doing well except for 1 female guppy.  The water is perfect on ammonia and nitrate levels-0 and the tank has been established for a year.  Last night all the fish were swimming normally but we had to search for the 1 guppy.  She was lying at the bottom in the rocks.  We fed them a pinch of food to see if she would stir and she did.  She ate heavily and then was semi-aggressive to the other guppies (uncommon for her).  We have had her 5 months and she never acted this way.  Also she was swimming clumsy, had a gray cloudy appearance in her mid section, and her top fin was closed close to her body.   <... good description, bad condition... Likely "Columnaris"...> We dropped at tablet of Metxly (?) to hopefully cure her.  My questions....What do these symptoms appear to indicate? <Put the above term in the Google search tool on WWM>   Can we save her?  Will it spread to the other fish? <Possibly and possibly> Will the medication harm the other fish?   <... depending on what it really is... Maracyn? This antibiotic (Erythromycin) will not hurt the other fishes, Melafix neither... but these won't cure this problem either... Again, see WWM re... folks generally use "Neomycin" here> I forgot to mention (may not be important) but the guppy in question had fry last week.   Thanks in advance for your help!!  Your website has been invaluable for both our fresh and salt water concerns. Carrie <This "problem" is very likely related to age, the stress of reproduction... Bob Fenner<

About male guppies changing color and dying.   7/10/06 Hi, this is kinda long since I'm trying to be as informative as possible, so bear with me. :) <Take your time> I've tried looking over your site and just flat out Googling other websites trying to find similar symptoms to my fish, but haven't had any luck. I hope you can help. Alright, my friend and I bought two guppies about... Probably five months ago or so. We wanted to have company in our dorm and thought fish would be a nice addition. They both did very well, if the male didn't just drive her crazy trying to mate, but she seemed to fend him off well enough. (They were kept in a 2.5 gallon with small filter for reference.)   We moved back home and set up a ten gallon tank, in preparation for the upcoming babies, since Lorna (our female) was pregnant. Once she had her babies we kept them in the 2.5 gallon with a little castle that had an air stone for aeration and when they were big enough we put them in the ten gallon (which has both a filter and air stone). Since we worried they might still be too little to be with the adults, we then moved the adults back into the small tank with the same set up they had had when in our dorm room (small filter and some plants). The babies are now seven weeks old and seem perfectly fine. The problem didn't occur until sometime last week, Gil (our male) started acting listless. He stayed at the bottom, sort of seeming to hide. We worried that maybe the smaller tank had something wrong with it, high levels of ammonia or something, so we moved him to the larger tank with the babies, along with our female who seemed perfectly fine. He continued just resting at the bottom of the tank, though for short periods he would swim around before going back to resting. We noticed his colors grew duller and his gills seemed to be working double time as the day went on he grew weaker and by the end of the day, he was dead. Our female and all the guppy fry are fine though. They swim about normally and it's a frenzy when we feed them. A few days ago we went to our local pet store thinking about replacing our lost male. All of his fish seemed very healthy, well cared for, beautiful colored and so we came home with a gorgeous red one. As recommended by the store owner, we placed the bag into the aquarium for about twenty minutes before placing him in his new home. He seemed somewhat anxious when we did let him out though and didn't do much swimming around. The next day, his back half was a dark blue color and it wasn't long until he was dead as well. I found him caught in one of our plants, nose up. Worried, we went back and talked to the store owner, who recommended we check the levels in our tank by bringing him a sample of our tank water. We did this, but he says all the levels are fine. He asked the temp of our tank, which is typically anywhere from 72-76. He thought maybe it was the temp change that might have been too much of a shock for the male we had bought from him. He gave us another red male free, with the instructions to leave the bag in the water for longer this time. We set the bag in for about a half hour, then opened the bag and let a little bit of our tank water into his bag for another half hour. Then we let him out of the bag and he seemed perfectly fine, swimming around the tank like he owned it. It wasn't until later today that he started going downhill, his tail fin losing some of it's red coloring and getting almost black towards the top. He's losing interest in swimming around and now tends to sit on the bottom of the tank. Occasionally he'll do a little swimming, but not for very long. What swimming he does is frantic, then he just stops and sinks tail first until he meets the gravel or gets caught in a plant, like we found our other pet store male. My friend and I don't have the slightest idea what is wrong. As I said, we've been looking and can't find anything that sounds similar to what's been going on. If this male dies as well, we plan on going back to the pet store along with his poor little body to see if maybe the owner can better give us an idea if he sees him. Again, our female and babies all seem to be perfectly fine. It had us stumped as to why our males are the ones seeming to suffer. Thanks for your time, I hope you can help us. ~Caitie and Raeven <Mmm, my best guess is that this might be a case of Columnaris... though it is odd that the female has not been inflicted. Alternatively, for the new/er males there may be an issue of poor health resultant from hormone treatment (the males are produced, "forced" through such in their country of origin in the Far East for the trade). At any length, I would hold off on procuring other males, and count on some of the young to become such (with their likely acquired immunity)... This and the fact that females can/do store sperm in their tracts will assure you of further generations. Guppies are "line-bred" back to/through their parentage... in-breeding per se is not an issue. Bob Fenner>

Guppies keep dying  - 09/03/06 Hello. I have a problem that no local fish stores can answer neither can several online sites. I hope I have better luck with you. <Me too!> I have a 25 gallon tall as my main guppy tank. I also have a 29 gallon community tank, 20 gallon fry/birthing tank and a 15 gallon ISO tank (currently being cycled and set up). I originally had my tanks upstairs but do to the extended heat wave the temps were getting up around 86*F and I couldn't keep them cool and lost several fish and stressed a lot of them as well. So I decided to move them downstairs, after I bought an air conditioner.  The tanks now are at or near 75*F now.  I transferred the existing water in the tanks so I would not have to fully cycle them again. <Good> The fry and community tank have been doing fine but the guppy tank hasn't. My problem with the 25 gallon guppy tank is the inability of the tank to hold fish.  Since I have moved the tank downstairs I have lost most of my fish from upstairs and have tried to restock it. <Might be due to residual effects of stress from the heat...> I lost all of those fish as well. I estimate close to 40 guppy deaths so far in total. The guppies were not all dying at once either. I would lose 2 or 3 a day more or less over night.  I have tried different stock from the same store and stock  from different stores plus I have tried and lost some of my own stock to this problem. I would buy 5-7 guppies at a time and do a long period of adjustment to get them accustomed to my water.  I put them in a large glass bowl with the LFS (local fish store) water and add 1/4 cup of my water. 15 minutes later I would then take out 1/4 cup of LFS water and add another 1/4 of my water. I do this for 3 to 4 hours.   <May need to add "an airstone" here to the bag> I then net the fish into my tank and discard the bowl water. I have tested my water every 3 days and the results are fine as are  the results from 2 LFSs. I have performed 20% water change every 5 or 7 days for the 5 weeks. I have added salt before but have since stopped after finding out Corys and Otos may burn their skin if it is used. <Yes... and I take it these catfishes aren't dying...> Here are some details without having to put it in story book mode :) 25 gallon tall Aquaclear50 filter 100watt heater consistent temp of 75*F Epoxy coated gravel Florescent light on for about 14 hours a day 3 Plastic plants 2 clumps of Java Moss 6 medium sized broad leaf plants 1 ECO-systems log 7 rainbow chip rocks a handful of floating plastic plants to help fry hide Tank was setup upstairs for 2 months, it has been downstairs (with the same water as before) for 5 weeks now. Testing parameters PH High - 7.6 PH Low - 7.4 Nitrite - 0 Ammonia (0-7.3mg/L) - 0 Ammonia (0-6.1mg/L) - 0 Phosphates - 2.5 Nitrate - 10 GH - 80 KH - 30 Calcium - 20 Calcium Hardness - 50 Iron (chelated) - 0 Iron - (non-chelated) - 0 <This all looks good> 20% water changes  every 5 to 7 days, with Nutrafin cycle, Nutrafin Aqua Plus water conditioner <This too> Fish behavior before/during dying mode Fish general hid and most of them sat at the surface. Some also nestled in the floating plastic plants and sat still till they died. Some of them swam around the tank for a few days then followed the same behavior as the ones who died earlier. The guppies have no sign of disease or trauma, they do not clamp their fins nor are their fins damaged. There is no evidence of a parasite either. I use the same equipment for all 4 tanks and the other 2 that are setup are problem free. I changed the filter media a few days after I started losing fish, I rinsed them in tap water (I now know that tank water rinse are better) A lot of the guppies have the "O" mouth when they die. <A clue...> I have trace amounts of brown algae on the tips of the plastic plants. Tested tap water and the readings are good, PH is a little higher then the tank because of the ECO-log. I have put fry from one of the LFS in my fry tank and they are fine and growing nicely. Physically nothing has changed with this tank from when it was upstairs and I am confused, frustrated and upset at the recent undiagnosed problem. I am hoping you can see something that may of been over looked by me. Please feel free to request any more info or photos as I will be more then glad to forward it to you ASAP. Thanks Brian <I suspect your guppies may have a too-common complaint of Mycobacteria... often imported with from the Far East... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppydisfaqs.htm and the linked file above, Guppy Disease 2. Bob Fenner>

Guppies With Fungus Okay, different address, same person. With the 37 gal guppies, Neons, ADFs and angelica Botia loaches.  The clamped fin guppies?  Now they have fungus. (White, fuzzy, stringy stuff)  They're all female from our newest batch that was apparently not quarantined long enough.  This presents us with a two-fold problem.  One, hospitalizing the guppies and two, we'll have a bad ratio of females: males in the 37 gallon when we pull out the infected. We're going to pull out about 6-8 females.  My husband is out buying a 10-gallon tank.  We're going to put one of our heaters in, one that's "stuck" at 77.8 degrees.  We're going to wrap it in towels and put one of our space heaters on low near it to try to kick it up a bit.  We're going to fill it half with water from our established tank and with the rest of the water, add salt (1-2 t. per gallon).  (Is a filter absolutely necessary in a hospital tank?) <No> Then in our 10-gallon quarantine tank, we're going to put the males until the females are well enough to go back into the big tank. Then watch all three tanks.  Is there anything else we should do or not do? < Treat the infected fish with Nitrofurazone. The white stringy things are the result of a bacterial infection and the fungus is a secondary infection. The Nitro will take care of both.> Oh, and about the pH in my last e-mail. we tested our quarantine tank, our filtered tap water, and our non-filtered tap water.  They all now have the 7.2 pH, so our water must have shifted.  It wasn't the CO2 like we thought. Celeste < In a well planted tank the CO@ may be quickly absorbed by the plants. Check the pH in the morning before turning on the lights and then once again before turning the lights off. Any difference is due to the plants absorbing the CO2.-Chuck>

Diseased guppies and fry. help!!! Fast!! Please help me if you can....I searched and searched the WWM site plus the web all over, and I can find no for-sure answers for this problem, and I'm scared if something isn't done quickly, all my guppies will die.    Just to let you know before I go into detail, all water parameters are good, with Nitrites and ammonia at 0, Nitrates at around 5.(lowest # on chart) and pH around 7. Temp. is between 78 and 80. I have also treated the tanks with salt, and have not seen much, if any improvement as of yet....(1 tbsp/5gall)...yes salt for FW aquariums also....my not so sick guppies have become a little more active. but that is the only improvement.  Here are the symptoms...    15 gallon tank...has 2 Corys., 1 Pleco, 1 Betta...all doing well as if nothing is going on!!!  Also 5 guppies....not doing good at all.  Recently lost one other female guppy...thought it was old age...she was around 2, but maybe not because of old age. and thinking she may have spread disease....her symptoms incl...thinning of caudal peduncle and partial paralysis in that she mainly used her pectoral fins to swim, weakness and paling...she still ate somewhat, but not much.  Eventually, when I knew she wasn't going to improve, I euthanized her.  Now one male is displaying the same symptoms....especially loss of color...almost turning white, paralysis of tail to the point where he is tail-standing...head up vertical, tail resting on substrate, weakness, and not eating...also thinning of peduncle.  One other male is still rather healthy, but will tail stand occasionally in a corner, not on the substrate.  All the rest, which are 3 females, only move when fed, they do eat, but besides this they just hang motionless in the water....not active, but appear strong, and healthy. no weakness or wasting of tail region yet.  What could this be??  I've read numerous things. but I guess without a microscope I could never be sure, any ideas??  TB??  Skin flukes??  Columnaris??  It is so hard to treat when I do not know if it is bacterial, fungal, or parasitic!!  I am treating with salt..1 tbsp / 5 gall. but maybe I should increase dose...and it's obvious the whole tank has something...but the Corys, Pleco and the Betta are unaffected!!   Also. a 5 gall tank full of guppy fry...water parameters also good. I do a 2L water change daily....fry were doing well, then...I'm thinking I passed over what was ever in the 15 gal tank to the fry tank, when I found a fry in the 15 and put it into the 5....I have slowly been culling the sick ones, trying to stop it from spreading....but it seems hopeless...about 1/3 of the fry are floating at the surface, not looking good...you can see there caudal fin turn pin shaped as if its all stuck together or they are keeping it clamped.  I have found no dead ones as of yet...and also have salt in this tank...1 tbsp....plus Melaleuca in the hopes it will help...seems like there is no improvements....   Do you have any suggestions or ideas what could be going on??  Should I kill of the sickest male??  Is this hopeless, are they all going to die??  Please reply as fast as you can, my guppies need you!!      Sorry to seem so demanding, but I am desperate and hate seeing my fish suffer.  Thank you so much....for any help you have. <With the tail clamping that you are describing I am thinking columnaris. Treat with Kanamycin or Furanace. Remove the carbon in the filter. The medication will affect the good bacteria in the filter and in the gravel so be prepared to recycle the tank after medicating.-Chuck>    Gupp-arama
Re: Diseased guppies and fry. help!!! Fast!!..to Chuck...
Hi Chuck...Thanks for you reply and your help... So you also think it may be columnaris....the medications you mentioned, Kanamycin or Furanace, is there any other way??  Is it that serious to absolutely need strong medication, or will more salt and high temp help. plus water changes??  All I currently have for medications are..........1)..Fungus Eliminator. contains. sodium chloride, Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone, potassium dichromate and 2)..ICH guard. contains ..triethylene glycol, Victoria green, Nitromersol, acriflavine.  My LFS is over 1 hour away, and all I have here is a Wal-mart..and the above is all they have for medications.  (If any of them are any good for this problem???)   I had to euthanize my sickest male guppy.  I do not want to lose any more...plus I want the fry to survive also...so you think that they have the same thing??  Does columnaris cause this partial paralysis and weakness, thinning (knife-back look),  loss of appetite, and paling??  If medication is the only way to put a stop to this, let me know, and I will make the trip to the LFS...or if the medications I have on hand that I mentioned above will help. let me know and I will use them.. If needed, what products contain Kanamycin or Furanace??                                                           This problem is such a mystery to me....I was getting ready to invest in a larger tank. but now I am very discouraged and stressed over the state of my guppies.  Also, why are the Corys, Betta, and Pleco not affected??  And, if I do have to use the meds you mentioned. are they harmful to any of the above mentioned fish??  Or to plants or snails??  (snail  death would cause massive decay as their population is large and in need of serious culling)  Thanks Again...Gupp-arama < You will not be able to cure this with salt and higher temperatures. The parasite covers the body and the fins and immobilizes the tissues and causes that faded look. The fungus guard may help and it is worth a try. Some fish seem immune to everything while others seem to catch every thing. Guppies are fairly social fish and are constantly bumping in to each other and then probably spreading the disease to each other. The Furanace turns the water green and it would be harmful to plants. Try DrsFosterSmith.com to order medications online. Their catalogs also contain some good info and tips. They sell both medications by their name.-Chuck>

pH change & Dead Guppies  3/16/04 I had an excruciatingly painful experience last night with my guppies!  I had put a bowl with the water from the aquarium itself inside this aquarium.  So it was the same water - I thought.  I put fish in it that were pesky or causing trouble to the community and so it was kind of like a "jail house" for bad fish.   <Hmmm, that's what breeder nets or quarantine tanks are for.> I had this bowl inside the aquarium for at least a week, maybe two, with a male platy who kept trying to "eat" my albino cat fish.  I was afraid he'd eat him alive eventually, so I put him in there.   <Kind of odd... My Cory catfish can hold up against dwarf puffer teeth.> Then there was a female guppy which had given birth to about 6-7 babies and was being hotly pursued by about 4 male guppies, so thinking she needed a rest, I put her in there.  I noticed that she had scoliosis, so wasn't expecting her to fully recover.   Then about two days later, I found her dead in the bowl.  I thought she'd died from the skeletal deformity she'd had, or something related to the stress from giving birth. <Probably tuberculosis, extremely contagious to humans-- http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-07/sp/feature/index.htm> The thing that got me yesterday was this:  I saw these 4 male guppies had begun to harass the other female guppy and were relentlessly chasing her, so I put all 4 of them inside the bowl to "do some time for bad behavior," and to give the female guppy a little rest.  Then, to my amazement, about an hour later, I was going to turn off the light to go to bed and I looked and saw that ALL 4 MALE GUPPIES WERE LYING DEAD IN THE BOTTOM OF THE BOWL!    I fished them out, and thought I noticed one's tail had disintegrated, but I'm not sure about that.  There others' were all intact, but they were all dead. I then checked the ph in the bowl and found the ph to be acidic, about 6.2 or so.  The water in the main aquarium was at about 7.0 or maybe 7.2.  So that's about 1.2 points difference!  I didn't think the water would be that variant since it was the original water from the aquarium, but I hadn't tested it since I put it in there about two weeks ago. <If there is no water flow getting into the bowl (like it would in a net breeder) then the ammonia & waste produces by your fish will build up in there, causing the pH to drop.  Your fish probably died from ammonia poisoning.> Meanwhile, the original platy is still alive inside the bowl with the acidic water and is showing no signs of stress.  Why, then did all 4 guppy males die within one hour or so after being put into the bowl???  The only possible explanation I can think of is that the ph change was too drastic for them!  Is that a possibility?   I thought they would be maybe stressed out by such a change, but not DEAD!!!  Please advise.  Is there some other possibility that I am not able to see?    <I'm afraid your platy is doomed in that bowl also.  Get a breeder net, or set up another tank for quarantine or to keep your more aggressive fish in.> Thank you very much for your thoughtful advise! <You're welcome & good luck.  ~PP>

Guppy Tale Dear Wet Web Media Crew, <Sabrina here, this evening> Yesterday morning I noticed that a part of my guppy's tail was missing and that there was a tin red line (blood probably) on the tail edge where the part was missing. During the day it got worse. The red line spread onto the rest of the tail edge and it looked like it was "eating" the tail.  The fish is eating well, there are no signs of aggression in the tank (as I could see, they all have been very friendly: 3 guppies, 3 platies, 2 very small gold algae eaters), the water in the tank is fine, <What were ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH readings?  Be sure none of these are out of whack> and the rest of the tank community seems fine. I isolated the fish anyway <GOOD MOVE> but its tail is still getting worse and I have no idea what to do. Please help! <It sounds like the guppy has fin rot; I would treat this fish with Kanamycin sulfate (sold by Aquatronics as 'Kanacyn') or Spectrogram (also made by Aquatronics), which is a combination of Kanamycin and Nitrofurazone.  Just follow the instructions on the box, and maintain impeccable water quality; with all due luck, this should be fixable.  Kudos to you for quarantining, excellent move.  -Sabrina> Alisa

Fungused Guppies Hi, <Hello.> I have just discovered that my guppies have fungus. I have also noticed the largest female has very red gills on one side and it seems to be protruding compared to the other side and the other fish.  Is this caused by a bacterial infection from the fungus? <Probably not.  I would assume this is a minor genetic deformity.> If so, what treatment should I be using?   <If it *is* genetic, there's probably nothing to do about it; believe it or not, some angelfish are actually bred to have inadequate gill covers, so their gills are visible or exposed.  Often seen in goldfish, too.> I have done a 50% water change and am using a treatment for fungus, have removed the charcoal from my filters (running two while the new ones sets up its biological filter).   <Wonderful.  What are you treating with?> I have added a new plant and am wondering if that has contributed to the problem. <Although it is *possible* to bring in illnesses with plants, it is usually external protozoan parasites that this happens with.  I highly doubt the plant brought the fungus.> I have two Plecos in the tank who seem to be doing fine.   <Check to see if the fungus treatment has special instructions for scaleless fish; plecs are scaleless.> My only problem is that they don't seem to like the algae discs I have been feeding them and it is difficult to remove all the remaining food without disturbing the plants and tunnels that the Plecos like to hide in. <What kind of plecs are they?  Some are strictly carnivorous.  The 'generic' Plecostomus usually only takes algae wafers as a last resort; try sliced, blanched zucchini (to blanch, boil very briefly - like 10 seconds or so).  Weigh it down with a plant weight or a rock, and you'll be all set.  They should absolutely love this.  I also like to feed my 'veggie' plecs frozen Formula Two cubes, made by Ocean Nutrition.> I realize that the food remains have probably caused the problem of the fungus in the guppies <Uhm, might possibly have contributed, but water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH) should also be suspect; please test these levels, fix if necessary.  Keep up with regular water changes, too.> so have cut down the amount I am feeding the Plecos. <I think a change in diet will please all.> Is there anything else I should/could be doing? <Other than testing/fixing the water and changing the plecs' food, it sounds like you're on the right track.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Regards Dawn (NZ)

Infected Guppy I bought four male guppies four days ago, three seem fine but one seemed poorly the next day. He looked like he had very ragged scales on the front of his body. <Sounds like he may have been roughed up a bit by some other fish or developed some sort of infection from transport.> Tonight however, he is moving from side to side and the part where the scales looked ragged now, seems red. <Aha! Definitely sounds bacterial in nature. Try a broad-spectrum antibiotic such as Melafix.> He seems to be eating so I assumed it was stress which would clear as I use Stress Coat in my tank a lot. I've done a partial water change and added some more Stress Coat. <Editor's note: the only purpose of Stress Coat is to help replace lost mucus coating/slime coating of fishes.  It is not a "stress reliever".  PLEASE read labels!> <The water change was a good course of action. I don't see Stress Coat being of any use to healing his infection, though. Personally, I try to minimize adding chemicals to my tanks unless absolutely necessary.> The levels in my tank are all fine. <That could mean anything. Saying that the "levels are all fine" does not aid in pinpointing the problem, which often lies in the water quality. Please, next time you ask a question, give us the numbers. :-) > Do you think he will die? <I can't say for sure. I think that with regular partial water changes and the addition of a broad-spectrum antibiotic he has a chance, especially if it is caught early.> Is it contagious to my other fish!!!!!! <It may very well be contagious, as it is probably a bacterial infection. Keep your water quality up with water changes and medicate, and you should be met with success. Good luck, Mike G> 

Guppy Issues Good afternoon, <And to you> I thought I found a case similar to mine on your site, but unfortunately, the response wasn't detailed enough for me to be sure. The spec.s: I currently have four guppies (two males, two females) in a 20 gallon tank with a few live plants, about five baby zebra snails (the largest about 75 mm snout to tail, the others smaller than the gravel stones), a piece of driftwood from my local fish store.  Temp was at about 25C, and as of last Wednesday, water parameters were all excellent (pH was about 7.5, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates where they should be).  I currently feed them staple flakes, freeze-dried bloodworms, and some vegetable-based flakes (recommended by my LFS) The problem: This morning, one of my girls (affectionately known as Nodoka) had a slightly discoloured patch on her left flank, just behind her belly.  It is kind of grayish around the edges, and gets faintly red towards the centre.  It is quite large, but seems to be underneath her scales.   <Good description> I have been having some bad luck with regards to guppy fatalities (for various reasons, mostly related to human error, o.0;;), but this is the first time I have seen this kind of discolouration.  The other three seem fine.  All of them are eating well, and otherwise in good colour. I hope this is enough info for you.  If I've left anything out, please let me know. <Might be a coloration issue only, but possibly infectious disease... like Columnaris... only time, microscopic investigation, perhaps culture can tell. Bob Fenner>

Guppy Missing Fins 7/4/05 Dear Sir, I am incredibly new to aquariums, but got talked into it by a 4 year old last November. We bought a complete warm-water aquarium from our local dealers, and nothing strange happened until we went away for Easter. We had a neighbour check in on the fish and she fed them once a day. We cleaned the tank before we went away. When we came back, the tank was very green, the plants looked unhappy and the fish didn't look too chuffed. We cleaned the tank instantly. We had set a timer to turn the light on and off, but apparently it didn't work. Then again, nothing happened for a quite a while, and the gunging up may be completely irrelevant. However, recently the male guppy (we bought 1 male and 5 females) started to look a bit weedy next to his females who regularly reproduce, and his tail started to lose bits. First we thought the other fish were bullying him, but once it got really noticeable we looked it up in a book. The book said it may be tailrot and the conditions weren't right. Therefore we changed the water again and are now doing so on a weekly basis, and still keeping an eye on the bloke. His tail is still getting smaller, but I thought he'd get better until we found another dead fish at lunchtime (tail and fins missing, but that could be decomposition). What do we do? Thanks Sarah < If it is tail rot, then you will need to medicate for stubborn cases. Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero and the nitrates should be under 25 ppm. Guppies like a little salt in their water so add a teaspoon of rock salt per every 10 gallons. Treat the tank with Furanace as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>

Guppy Infection? - 10/27/2005 Hi !! <Hello.> We have a female guppy that gave birth and now she has some transparent (fungus like) thing around the anal fin on both sides of the part that gets dark and bigger when they are pregnant. <Okay....> I tested the water and everything is fine, <Fine is subjective; doesn't give me any information to work off. If ammonia and nitrite are anything but ZERO, or nitrate is more than 20ppm, you'll need to do water changes to correct these.> and I have a 100L tank with just guppies. Is that normal and what is it? <Possibly a bacterial infection.... if good water quality alone does not fix it, I would quarantine this fish and medicate with an antibiotic like Nitrofurazone.> Thanks, -Sweden <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

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