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FAQs on Guppy Diseases 5

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

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

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

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

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

Baby guppy problems and others 6/21/10
Well first of all, hello.
<Hi! Melinda here today.>
So I have a 15.6 gallons fish tank with heater and filter. I've had this tank for about two months now and I had a rather shaky start.
<Did you cycle this tank? Many times, folks have a really hard time starting out in the hobby because they don't understand the nitrogen cycle, and so they constantly have problems due to the buildup of toxic ammonia and/or nitrite. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwestcycling.htm. There are WAY too many negative effects of poor water quality to list, but it's pretty safe to say that if your fish are ill, and you're not testing your water (you want Ammonia and Nitrite levels of zero; Nitrate under 20), then the first thing to do is test the water and rule out poor water quality as a cause of fish illness.>
I started out with 3 guppies (1 male and 2 females) Unfortunately, the male died within a couple of days.
<Please do read re: cycling. It's possible to get a sick fish from a store, and also, some fish just don't make the trip home unscathed. But, the stress from a move plus an ammonia spike equals almost certain death, especially in small fish.>
Later, one of my remaining females had babies (about 20 of them) and got pretty vicious. She injured my other female who then got cotton-like fungus.
<I would check water quality. The cotton-like fungus could have had nothing to do with the other guppy, but rather, was Finrot. Also, This tank is really quite small for guppies, especially if you're attempting to raise fry, which are going to be more susceptible to complications due to water quality. Please do read here on guppies: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppysysfaqs.htm and the linked files above.>
I bought a treatment and it worked but most of her tail was gone so she died in a couple of hours.
<Really does make me think Finrot.>
The last female died too. She had red pots all over her body and her tail seemed to be shrinking or something and had a brown line all around it.
<Bacterial infection, Finrot.>
But the babies survived. So I bought other fishes to put in with them
<Why would you purchase more fish without first determining the cause of the last three fishes' deaths? Plus, there are already 20 fish in your sixteen-gallon aquarium.>
(A Corydoras and one I believe might be a flying fox. Some confusion about that one)
<Corydoras are a schooling fish, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/Catfshbehfaqs.htm , or to get more specific information, type in "Corydoras" in WWM's Google search engine. As for the Flying Fox, please do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/saes.htm. The photos may help you determine whether what you have is a Siamese Algae Eater or Flying Fox. If your fish is a Flying Fox, it may turn out to be too aggressive to be kept in this small aquarium with peaceful fish.>
I stopped putting salt after I put in the Corydoras. Should I start again?
<I would not use it.>
Later on, I bought 4 ghost shrimps. I thought the would be eaten but no all of them are still alive.
<Who is going to eat them? You've got a Cory and a tiny Algae Eater -- not much chance of predation. Of course, anything that's dead is food.>
I also bought an apple snail but it died within a few days (I'd like to know why).
<Likely poor water quality -- in effect, the same reason as all your other fish are dying. Please do read here on apple snails: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/MollusksFW.htm/AppleSnailsF.htm>
Since then, I bought 4 black tetra's and 2 'loaches clown'
<Are these Black Skirt Tetras or Black Neons? The Black Skirts need more room than you're offering, but the Neons would work, assuming you're not keeping the water too warm.>
(Sorry my native language is French and I don't know their name in English but they're snail eating fishes. Yes. Snail problems).
<I am currently attempting to learn French, and I couldn't achieve anything near what you've achieved here, so no complaints from me. Your Loaches will (if they live) outgrow this system, and also require pristine water quality, as well as lots of water flow. The snails should be easy to remove by placing a piece of lettuce on a rock with a rubber band. Place in the tank, then remove the next day. It should be covered in the little buggers. Manual removal is going to work best for you due to the small size of the system and its current instability. The last thing we need to do is keep adding fish. In addition to growing quite large (at least ten inches or so), Clown Loaches (which happen to be some of my favorite fish) are schoolers, and really need the company of four or five buddies to feel comfortable.>
When they arrived, the black tetra's ate one of the 6 remaining baby guppies, so I put them in a breeding net. another one died, probably killed by another baby. So I now have 4 remaining (and an adult one my sister bought because she though he was gorgeous). 2 of the babies are pretty small and the other 2 have gotten pretty big. One of the big ones started chasing the smaller ones around so I decided to put him/her (pretty sure it's a her thought) out of the net and into the tank. It went rather well, still alive after a week but the black tetra's are getting rather insistent about their nipping (they don't chase her around but sometimes it looks like they attack her though they don't really do so viciously) Could they be more aggressive when hungry?
<These are some of the nippier tetras (I'm guessing now that they're Black Skirt Tetras. They don't belong in this small tank, and they don't belong with guppies. Please do read BEFORE purchasing.>
I feed 3 times a day (I also have special food for my bottom fishes)
<Likely too much. Please test your water and compare your results to what I list above. There's a good chance that, left alone, this system has cycled by now. However, over cleaning your filter or a number of other things can cause the cycle to start right back over, so it's important to know what your fish are swimming in, especially if they're dying.>
So, since they seemed to be chasing her a little more, I decided to put her back in the net and see if she would be aggressive again. But the moment I put her in the net, the other big baby guppy (Almost sure it's a male that one. He got very colorful while the others only begin to show colors) stared at her for a while then started an obsession with her and wouldn't leave her alone, so I put her back in the big tank where, at least, she isn't constantly followed and nipped at. So I'm now wondering if he's just aggressive. He doesn't seem to be attacking either of the smaller fishes. So my question is: why does he act that way (sorry about the maybe not so useful information above. It's just in case)? Should I buy another breeding net (one that I can separate in sections) or just wait see?
<This fish don't "go" together. Please read.>
I also have another question. My water is kind of yellow. I know the cause, I bought some Voodoo brand wood to place at the bottom (it says on the label it can color the water for a while and the clerk at the pet shop told me it would fade after about 6 months of water changes). The fishes seem to like it (especially my snail eaters and my flying fox?) but, unfortunately, the snails too. there are a lot of snail eggs on it so I'm wondering if it's a good idea to keep it? I also have a plant (a real one) that the snails seem to love as well. I was also wondering if it would be a good idea to buy a 'boule russe' (Russian moss ball in English I think)
<The yellowing of the water is caused by tannins from the wood, and you can add fresh carbon to the system's filter and remove the coloration. If you don't mind it, it won't hurt the fish to leave it in, and I'd start by taking the wood out and cleaning the eggs off before placing it back in the tank. I would first determine why your fish are dying and adjust stock so that it's appropriate for the tank size you have prior to making more changes. I'd do manual removal of the snails. There's a lot to do to get this system "right" before you continue to stock it, either with plants or fish.>
Sorry if there are grammar mistakes but English isn't my native language so I sometime have some difficulties with it. Thank you for taking the time to read.
<Not a problem. Please do write back if you have any more questions after reading.
--Melinda>

Guppy discharge and cloudy eye - 6/12/10
Hi
<Ave,>
It's been a day of guppy troubles!
<Oh dear.>
Two of my pregnant guppies were discharging a milky white substance after I did a 10% water change today.
<Discharging from where? The anus? The gills? The skin?>
They seem to have settled and are behaving normally. Could they have aborted?
<Easily happens, but you usually see the embryos unless they're so small or were eaten by other fish.>
As they are due, I thought a small dose of Epsom salts might assist them.
<No, Epsom salt is a laxative. It helps when used alongside some other things, and can be used to raise the general hardness of soft water. But it isn't a wonder drug.>
I hope I didn't do any harm.
<Unlikely.>
Another guppy has been swimming into the water stream near the surface now for a couple of days solidly - mouth always open, fins flapping oddly.
<Usually a good sign of severe distress.>
Today, I noticed that she was much darker on one side of her underbelly and that one of her eyes had covered over with a white film (it looks as if her mouth and side might also be covering with the substance). I have attached
a photo the best I could capture after putting her in a breeding trap to observe. She is obviously sick as she has stopped eating. Any advice?
<Treat as per Finrot, ideally with a medication that also treats Columnaris/Mouth Fungus, e.g., eSHa 2000; if possible, add tonic salt at 3-5 grammes per litre.>
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 20
London water
<Should be fine for Guppies, so a bacterial infection would seem probable.>
Thanks
Patrick
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy discharge and cloudy eye - 6/12/10
Sadly my Guppy died -
<Sorry to hear that.>
I am treating the tank with eSHa 2000 and will complete the three day course so that other fish are protected as much as possible.
<Very good.>
The other guppies with discharge (from their anus) are fine and about to deliver - I think the discharge may have been from the egg yoke I fed the fry with (they are in a nursery cage inside the main tank).
<Not heard of this before.>
Anyway, just wanted to thank you for your continued help - you guys/girls are amazing!
<Glad to help.>
cheers
Pat
<Cheers, Neale.>

Female guppy -- 05/21/10
My female guppy for the last three days has been releasing this orangish fluid from her anus spot. I thought she was going to have her fry and I put her in a 2 way breeder. Nothing happened for 24 hours so I let her back into the community aquarium and she has been active and still is releasing that orange fluid again. What could this be? Thanks, Jake
<She could have been miscarrying, which is common when female livebearers are stressed. If you don't have twice as many females as males, the males will harass the females, and this easily stresses them. Miscarriages often
follow. Adding some floating plants such as Indian Fern will help, but if you have too many males, this problem can be persistent. Moving females into breeding traps or nets -- despite the advertising -- is even worse. By all means put the fry in the trap once they're born, and they'll be safe there for 3-4 weeks until big enough to set loose with their parents. But don't ever put the adults in there. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies, female losses... rapid! 4/30/10
I am losing female guppies at an alarming rate... They seem to be tearing apart at the anus - no laughing please, I am serious.
<Unlikely tearing apart as such, but could be either Camallanus worms, or a bacterial infection of some sort. Camallanus infections are usually obvious because the red worms poke out the anus. Bacterial infections are more nebulous since there are all kinds of them, but Mycobacteria infections in Fancy Guppies are not uncommon, but unfortunately not really treatable.>
This seems to only be happening with the fish that are about 2-3 months old. The males are not showing any symptoms however, a couple have died recently without warning.
<Again, you could have a bacterial infection, but the females merely react differently. For example, livebearing fish can get into situations where the embryos inside them die and rot, and that is extremely messy and unpleasant.>
I have had the water quality checked regularly at my local pet store and nothing obvious has shown up.
<Do need the numbers here, not your/their opinion. For Fancy Guppies, you need to be keeping them in a tank not less than 15 gallons in size, ideally a bit more. The water should be hard and basic, i.e., 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5-8. Water quality must be excellent, 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite.>
When I told them about the problem all I got was a raised eyebrow. I showed them one of the females (still alive) and was just advised to removed her from the aquarium and "dispatch" her.
<Yikes!>
Can anyone give me an idea as to what may be wrong? I am new to keeping fish (6 months) and was quite pleased when they first started dropping fry. Its becoming quite frustrating seeing them die (and yes, I will even admit to it being a little upsetting, even for a grown man!!!)
No wisecracks please.
<Optimistic, really; being a little sharp to our correspondents is half the fun!>
Mike.
<The thing with Guppies is that they're [a] inbred and [b] mass produced, so sometimes you just end up with poor quality fish. Do start by reading here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm
Now, if you're just keeping Guppies, a good move is to keep them in slightly brackish water, 3-5 grammes of MARINE salt mix (like you'd use in a reef tank) per litre will make a world of difference. The sodium chloride reduces the toxicity of nitrite and nitrate, while the carbonate salts buffer the pH and raise the hardness. Guppies can thrive in slightly brackish conditions, and provided you keep the salinity low, there's no risk to the filter bacteria. A photo of a sick fish, plus some hard numbers as mentioned earlier, will help us further. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppies 5/6/10

Neale,
<Hello Mike,>
Thank you for your prompt reply, I have since returned to my local pet store (I am a British soldier serving in Germany)
<As a Brit who wouldn't know which end of a gun points where, thank you!>
and received a second opinion.
<Always useful.>
I was quite "upset" to see my fish keeling over - we soldiers are supposed to be tough you know - especially when they seemed to be bursting apart at their backsides :-(
<I bet. Those few servicepersons I have known have tended to be more, rather than less, sensitive to pain and suffering. I suppose seeing it up front, and being among the first to be getting shot at, focuses the mind! I've often heard it argued that it's the "civvies" who tend to be more casual about this sort of thing, what Americans so delicately called "Chickenhawks".>
The water stats were all fine which is why I turned you guys after not being happy with the original answer that I got at the store.
<Indeed.>
You were right, they had Camallanus worms and by all accounts it was quite extreme with each of the older fish having 4 or 5 worms in them.
<Right.>
I am now left with half a dozen fry and about as many juveniles. The aquarium water has now been treated and changed, have to do the same again in a few weeks time.
<Yes.>
How would my fish have become infested with these worms?
<Unfortunately, likely from the wholesaler or breeder, though possibly at the pet store. Because Guppies breed so readily, there's a temptation to crank them out to a price rather than a standard. As a Brit, I'm sure
you're only too aware of our wonderful government's preference for the cheapest rather than the best goods or services. Same thing here with Guppies, and what were once lovely, sturdy little fish have now become a bit of a lottery. There are anti-worm treatments available, though their availability in the UK and Europe, indeed, anywhere outside the US, tends to vary. In the UK, a prescription from a vet is required to get Levamisole, but you can buy Flubendazole over the counter/online as '
Discus Wormer Plus'.>
Would they have come from the live food that I buy (red mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, water fleas), or is it more likely that one or more of the original adults already had them?
<Camallanus worms are exceptional among intestinal worms in that worms from one fish can infect another fish directly. Most worms require an intermediate host like a predatory fish or water bird. Since these are absent from our aquaria, most worm diseases die out eventually. Camallanus, as I say, is different, and breaking the cycle of reinfection is hard.
Usually medications are used. Live foods aren't risky if cultured, collected from a fish-less habitat. Brine shrimps will certainly be safe because of that. Midge larvae and daphnia should be safe too if collected from a water body without fish, but if you can't guarantee that, there's always a small risk. For Guppies, Spirulina flake plus live brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms and squished cooked peas would be a fine and dandy diet without any risk at all.>
Regards,
Mike.
<Cheers, Neale.>
re: Guppies
Hi Neale,
<Mike,>
Guns.... Not true! Ever since the big screen was invented we Brits have been bombarded with thousands of movies from your side of the pond,<Not my side of the pond any more, I live in Hertfordshire, and only lived in the US for a few years. I'm as British as warm beer and chicken tikka masala.>
with gun-toting cowboys and Indians, mafia gangsters, cops and robbers, psycho and war movies... It's the little hole at the end that's the dangerous part! At least that's what Brit civvies think!
<May well be!>
In reality it's the nut-case that's holding one who is dangerous.
<Doubtless true.>
We have our fair share of them over here now. Shame such things have not remained in the hands our armed forces for the use of homeland defense.
<The argument for gun control as a limit on violent crime can be argued both ways. Both the US and Switzerland have high levels of gun ownership, yet the US has far, far higher levels of gun crime. For what it's worth, I don't think the British are any less violent than the Americans, but there are differences in how much damage and how many people you can kill if your nutcase is wielding a kitchen knife versus a semi-automatic rifle. Plus, a substantial number of gun-related deaths and injuries in the US come from accidents, including children playing with guns they've found in their dad's bedroom. On the other hand, I do appreciate that someone trained to use a gun in defence, as in the Swiss citizen army, will also have a greater sense of civic responsibility and self discipline than perhaps we see here in the UK, where law and order is assumed to be the job of the police alone.>
A well delivered, good old fashioned punch on the nose should suffice for civilians protecting themselves against civilians... Sadly, reality is different.
<Yes indeed. A complex issue, and always has been for humanity. How do you balance the individuals right to protect himself and his family against the need for government to keep the majority safe from the irresponsible minority?>
In my 21 years service, I have had the honour and pleasure of serving with guys and girls from your side of the pond
<The Americans, you mean...?>
during Desert Storm in 1990/91, Kosovo, Iraq in 2005 and again more recently in Afghanistan. Good to see they were nothing like Calamity Sam from the Bugs Bunny cartoons, in fact there wasn't a cowboy hat in sight!
<Quite so.>
Young people are the same where ever you go, but mostly I found them to be dedicated and very professional.
<Yes.>
Hope they felt the same about us Brits.
<They do, though I'm sure there's a certain degree of rivalry at times!>
Honour them please.
<Have always done so.>
Yup, it breaks my heart to see kids and animals in pain. What the human race does to itself dumbfounds and baffles me.
<And others, too. But there's always hope.>
Guppies / Fish... Don't the little fellas just do a great job at calming our souls, I can watch them for hours!
<That's the general idea!>
Thanks once again for your prompt replies and advice.
<A pleasure.>
Mike.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Help! 4/25/10
We have a fantail guppy who overnight has appeared with a fluffy sack under his belly? he is also moving around the top of the tank - can you advise/
<Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm
This may be a fungal infection, or it may be some sort of trauma. Because Guppies are inexpensive, they are often kept in inadequate aquaria, and the result is sickness and premature death. Proper maintenance will prevent problems. Without identifying the disease, it's impossible to be sure what's the situation here. You would be wise to treat with eSHa 2000, a medication that treats both Finrot and Fungus, and as such would treat the two most likely issues. But even the best medications won't help if your Guppies are in an aquarium with poor filtration, with capacity less than 15 gallons or so, kept too cold, or exposed to soft, acidic water conditions.
When fish get sick, it's almost always because the aquarist has done something wrong, rather than bad luck or bad genes. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Hi, Guppy, Lernaea, reading - 03/30/10
Hi, thanks for the help that you have given me few weeks ago, I see that some of my fish's health are improving. I also found a pair of anchor worms in one of my female guppies (V shape from her bottom).. I pulled one out with a tweezers.
<Yowch! Easy to kill such small fishes with such extraction>
but still am trying to pull the other one out..not sure why but that other anchor worm keeps going back into her body when I fish her out to try and pull it out.
<Umm, their name is a hint>
So far that guppy is in quarantine...
<Still need to treat the main system to eradicate the young Anchorworm crustaceans there... lest they develop, infest your other fishes>
I removed all fishes that looked sick into a separate tank (each). Any other ways to treat that guppy with the anchor worm or I have to just wait for it to come out and try again till I succeed?
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anchorwrmfaqs.htm
and the linked files above>
Back then a couple of my male guppies have problems opening their fins because of fungus. Right now though...although their fins look fine now..I notice that one of the male started developing something that looks like
black patches around the fins and tail...I attached the best picture that I can take..Hope it helps.
<And here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gupdisf4.htm
and the...>
Thank you.
<Welcome. BobF>

Hi... Guppy beh.. reading... 3/19/10
Hi, I wrote to ask a few questions on my guppies. Lately I notice that they have lost their colours and even the females have suddenly gotten aggressive and attacking other females.
<How large is this system? If crowded, agonistic behavior intensifies. Read
here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppysysfaqs.htm <
I've been changing the water everyday
<?... Keep reading... re metabolite build up... Test for at least nitrogenous compounds... Read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
and the linked files above>
for the past couple of days because I noticed that their gills have redden and on of the males fin is not opening properly anymore. I thought it was fungus or maybe white spots so I went to the shop and bought the medicine for that.
<... dismal>
Unfortunately the LFS around my area doesn't sound as professional as those around these people I see that were asking for advice. When I ask them something...they just treat it nonchalantly. I am thinking that they just want me to come back and buy more fish. Anyway, you site have helped me a lot in trying to understand my guppies behavior and I am very grateful of that. But when I keep seeing my guppies deteriorating like that I am so heart broken. I wish I know exactly what's wrong with them. I cannot find anything that can test for ammonia levels or nitrate...only tester I saw was for chlorine. But with reddish gills I'm guessing ammonia poisoning.
<Could be>
Does it mean that future is bleak for all my guppies when they losing their colours and females getting aggressive?
Thank you for any help that you can give me. I am really desperate right now.
Maisie
<Read where you've been referred. Bob Fenner>

Fish water is yuck, but is it actually harmful?? Guppy sys. 3/17/10
Hi everyone!
<Hello Amy,>
I've been searching for this topic, but can't seem to find anything, apart from a warning not to siphon dirty aquarium water with your mouth. If it was answered already, and I just didn't think of the right keywords, my apologies.
<No problem.>
I was given (gee, thanks!) a 10 gallon aquarium with 7 guppies in it-- 4 adult and 3 obviously juvenile. To say the tank was filthy is a huge understatement. It had floating dead cockroaches, clumps of what looked like pond scum, sheets of algae peeling off the inside of the tank, decomposing fish at the bottom of the tank, and so much floating
I-don't-even-know-what-but-I-suspect-fish-poop that I could barely see the inhabitants of the tank.
<Oh dear.>
In cleaning it out, I got a nice big splash of this disgusting water in my mouth. It was certainly gross, but it is potentially harmful to my health as well?
<There are two ways to answer this. In theory yes, aquarium water can carry salmonella bacteria, and salmonella bacteria can cause stomach upsets of varying severity. In practise, aquarium water rarely causes health problems
for people with competent immune systems. Indeed, exposure to such bacteria may even help enhance your immune system. But with that said, I'm a doctor of palaeontology, not medicine, so my comments here aren't anything more than personal opinion. Do I worry about swallowing fish tank water? No, never have done. But if you're at all concerned, you really should speak to a qualified medical practitioner.>
The guppies seem fine and happy now, despite the emergency tank cleaning and care by me, a total beginner.
<Enjoy the hobby! A 10 gallon tank is a bit small for Guppies, and I fear you're going to have some fighting before too long, but if you're lucky and add lots of floating plants, you might be fine.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm
>
Any advice (or reassurance!) you could give would be most appreciated!
Thanks,
Amy
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fish water is yuck, but is it actually harmful??
Thank you so very much Neale.
<My pleasure.>
I'm a pretty healthy person (except for a touch of paranoia/anxiety, apparently) so I think I will wait to see if I develop any symptoms. If I do, I'll head to the doctor, but if not, I'll take this experience as a lesson to 1) not splash myself in the face with nasty water, and 2) never ever let a tank get so dirty that I immediately think I'm going to die a horrible death with exposure to the water.
<Honestly, getting sick from your fish tank isn't that common. Dogs and cats are surely more problematic once you start factoring in things like fleas and allergies. And of course you're FAR more likely to contract pathogens from human beings around you simply because they're more likely to carry bacteria and viruses specific to our kind. There's an old saying among medics that 50% of staying healthy is keeping clean, and 50% is getting dirty. In other words, staying away from disease-causing organisms is no more important than developing your immune system by being exposed to pathogens over the years. The tricky bit is knowing when to isolate yourself to pathogens and when to expose yourself to them! Personally, I wouldn't worry too much either way. Be sensible around your aquarium, but don't get paranoid.>
I'm doing all the reading I can about guppies on WWM now, and I am amazed by the amount of information posted. The little guys have a better chance of a happy, pleasant life with each new article I read, which they
certainly deserve after such an awful time in that tank.
<Glad to hear this.>
Thank you again,
Amy
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fish water is yuck, but is it actually harmful?? Guppy sys., hlth. 3/18/10

Good morning/afternoon, crew!
<Hello,>
It's Amy here again, with one more question regarding my new guppy friends.
<Fire away.>
I was lucky enough to come across a 55 gal tank for sale, and it will-- once it's cycled properly, of course-- be the new home for my guppies and possibly a few Platies.
<If you have a mature aquarium already, you can cycle instantly. Move the existing filter to the new tank, make sure the water chemistry and water temperature aren't too different, and off you go! The bacteria will happily spread to a second filter if you decide to buy another filter for this tank. Leave the two filters running together for, say, 6 weeks, and then remove the small filter from the original tank. You should find the new filter takes up the slack without problems. Better yet, you can keep some fish in the new tank all the time, so long as the number of fish in the new tank isn't much more than the number of fish in the original, smaller tank.>
I know the guppies breed like crazy, and figure that this size of tank will give them enough room to have their offspring without having to worry too much about overcrowding, at least right away.
<Indeed. It's a good idea to either decide whether you want to remove surplus fish and sell them (in which case keep Guppies of all one variety, so you get worthwhile fry) or else opt for some biological control in the form of fish that eat fry (such as Angelfish).>
In closer inspection of the juvenile fish I was given yesterday, I noticed that one of the young ones has what can only be described as a deformed.
He's got a humpback and is noticeably shorter than the rest of the fish.

He seems fine otherwise; that is, he eats just like the others, and seems to be just as active as well.
<Very, very common. Sometimes you get higher numbers of deformities because the females aren't getting a good diet or being kept warm enough, but normally livebearers produce deformed fry because they're inbred.>

Despite the fact that I am becoming fond of him, I want to be a responsible fish owner, and do not want to allow him to pass on a deformity to any potential offspring. Is a spinal deformity a hereditary condition, or is it possible that he was born into such foul conditions that he acquired this humpback from his environment?
<Could be either. A poor environment can cause females to produce higher than average numbers of deformities, just as with humans. But usually, such deformities are indeed genetic.>
I'd rather not kill him (like I said, I'm fond of the little guy, especially since he's been through so much!) so I was thinking I could put him into the old ten gallon aquarium by himself, or possibly with another small, non-related fish to ensure he doesn't breed.
<Definitely an option. I think most experienced aquarists have done this sort of thing at one time or another, setting up a special home for a one-eyed fish or whatever that appeals to their emotions. That said, there may be other faulty genes at work here. If the fish is swimming and feeding fine, then it may do well; but if it struggles to swim and can't feed normally, then it may not live for terribly long.>
If he has already bred, and passed on the deformity, what should I do with the fry?
<Male Guppies won't breed until they're about 2, nearer 3 months old. Of course if the fish has mated with a female, and you do have more deformed fry on the way, then a certain amount of culling is, unfortunately, part of
the game.>
Any suggestions would be truly appreciated. Thank you again for all of your help on my new fishy friends!
Amy
<Cheers, Neale.>

Orange spots on a Yellow Tail Guppy. RMF's turn 3/9/10
This fish had a completely yellow tail. The orange spots have depth and appear gritty like sand paper. The tank is 1 month old but I had the water tested and pH 7.2, no nitrates/nitrites and they said everything else looked good. The fish is fine otherwise. So far I have treated with API aquarium salt for 2 days with no change. Any suggestions would be appreciated. The tank has 7 guppies and 2 Cory cats in it.
Thanks,
Tom
<Mmm, I wouldn't be overly concerned here... colour changes in guppies are not uncommon. The texture note? May also be due to color expression. Bob Fenner>

Orange spots on a Yellow Tail Guppy. Neale's better go 3/9/10
This fish had a completely yellow tail. The orange spots have depth and appear gritty like sand paper. The tank is 1 month old but I had the water tested and pH 7.2, no nitrates/nitrites and they said everything else looked good. The fish is fine otherwise. So far I have treated with API aquarium salt for 2 days with no change. Any suggestions would be appreciated. The tank has 7 guppies and 2 Cory
cats in it.
Thanks,
Tom
<Almost certainly Finrot. Even if the water is good now, it clearly wasn't in the past, and it does take 4-6 weeks for new aquaria to become cycled.
So this fish needs to be treated with some sort of antibiotic or antibacterial. Avoid tea-tree oil medications as these aren't reliable, and salt will make little/no difference either way. Guppies need hard, basic water at least 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5, and in softer water than that tend to be sickly. Keeping Fancy Guppies in the cool conditions Corydoras appreciate isn't recommended; Corydoras are best around 22-24 C, whereas Fancy Guppies invariably do better kept around 28-30 C. Cheers, 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.
<Good.>
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.>
Kat
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy troubles... 3/6/10

Thanks so much for your help Neale.
<Happy to help.>
I honestly had no idea that Guppies aren't suitable for small tanks, nor that they're not compatible temperature-wise with Neons (the literature I've looked at on fancy Guppies seems to be conflicting - temperature ranges anywhere between 25 and 30).
<The temperature issue is much overlooked, and likely one reason so many people find Neons short-lived: they keep them too warm. As for Guppies, wild Guppies are very tolerant, and anything from 20-30 C will do. The same for "feeder" Guppies, which are basically cross-breed Guppies much like wild Guppies in terms of genetics. But fancy Guppies are a whole other thing. They need warm water to do well, and like fancy Mollies, which are also far more delicate than their wild relatives, should be kept between 28-30 C. There's been some good laboratory work on fancy Guppies compared to wild and feeder Guppies with regard to salt tolerance, so it does seem that this "weakness" so far as fancy Guppies goes is a real, demonstrable phenomenon.>
I now have a moral dilemma - I'm being inadvertently cruel to the remaining guppies, so to take them to the LFS in the hopes that they'll be rehomed, or to hold on to them? I think I'll hold on to them, as however unsuited to my tank I can at least guarantee I'll take more care over them than anyone at the LFS in a crowded holding tank...
<I can't answer this one really. Personally, I'd try to rehome them, but if you're worried the Guppies will end up being kept badly, then you might find that unacceptable. In some situations, euthanasia is the humane option (methods for which are described elsewhere on WWM). It's really down to how harassed and damaged the Guppies are, and whether life in your aquarium is likely to be worse than what they'd get at the pet shop.>
I've ordered some eSHa 2000 as you recommended - my sick Guppy is no worse but no better, and I'm sure it'll come in handy in the future.
<It's a good, general purpose medication.>
Thanks for being so kind about my accidental Guppy abuse!
Kat
<Good luck, Neale.>

One of my guppies is in danger, sys., hlth. 2/16/10
Dear Sensei, :)
<!!!>
Thank you very much for the wonderful website, I find it extremely helpful!!
<Glad to hear it.>
I have 25 ltr tank (with some Egeria Najas growing) and bought 5 (male) guppies for it.
<Too small for Guppies. Contrary to popular belief, Guppies are somewhat delicate fish thanks to inbreeding, and the males are also distinctly aggressive. In small tanks they tend to fight, and the wounds quickly become infected. I wouldn't recommend Guppies in less than 60 l (15 gallons), and really, they do need quite a bit more than that.>
Two weeks later three of them were dead (I think first one because of bad water, second because of the fish fungus and third died because of one guppy kept attacking him). Now I have two guppies left, both male and the
same one keep attacking the other one. He bites his tale and fins constantly.
<No surprise at all.>
The end of the tale that he bit is now rotting so I bought some of eSHa 2000 (http://www.eshalabs.com/esha2000.htm) to cure that, but I am afraid that the bullying of the other guppy will kill poor fish.
<Likely will.>
A guy in a pet shop told me that my tank is too small (25ltr) for guppies, even two of them, although another guy in the same shop that sold me the guppies knew the size of my tank and said that it is fine. Is it true? or shall I get some females/other kind of fish to destruct the evil guppy.
<Destruct the Guppy? You mean kill it? Or distract it? Yes, keeping one male alongside two or more females will generally produce a happy situation with minimal fighting. But 25 litres is far too small. Female Guppies are quite sizeable fish.>
I also read somewhere that sometimes healthy guppy can attack a sick one...
I don't know what to believe :(
<Male Guppies fight. In the wild, their colours attract predators, and females choose males with the brightest colours. For the female, the rationale is simple: any male that avoids predators long enough to reach sexual maturity must be genetically "fit". But this also means the males have a real struggle for survival, and they're not about to tolerate another male snatching away chances to mate with females in their pond! So males spend all their time driving away rival males, while trying to avoid predators, and hopefully snatch a few matings into their day as well! It's a hectic life being a male Guppy, and they all die young. Females, being bigger and well camouflaged, live longer. Once you get inside the male Guppy mindset, it's pretty easy to understand why they behave the way they
do.>
Please help.
Thank you for your help and advise.
<Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm
A 25 liter tank is just over 6 gallons, so good choices for a tank this size would be things like a Betta or various small shrimps.>
Valeria
<Cheers, Neale.>

A Guppy Situation -- 02/12/10
Hi there. I have a problem with one of my female guppies. I bought her earlier today even though I shouldn't because she is in fact Pregnant.
<If you buy a female Guppy from a tank containing sexually mature males and females, that female will be pregnant.>
I bought her with another boxy pregnant female and a very nice looking male. Well anyway, she started out okay in my 5 gal tank with water around 80 degrees, if not, only a little bit lower.
<This is rather too small a tank for Guppies; would recommend not less than 15 gallons. Males Guppies are semi-aggressive towards each other, and extremely annoying towards the females.>
Everything seems to be okay with the water and I tried not have the light on too much. Now I know she should be nervous because she's big and carrying and I've moved her, but I'd like to know whether she may die or not.
<Not from being moved, no. But being moved from one set of water chemistry conditions to another is stressful, and if the new aquarium has poor water quality or aggressive tankmates, that can also cause problems.>
She has the "shimmies" or shakes and her head is up, while her tail is down in a vertical stance.

<Yes, this sounds like the Shimmies. This is almost always an environmental thing, so review water chemistry, water quality, and temperature. Given the right conditions, will fix itself. Although not essential, maintaining Guppies in slightly brackish conditions (3-5 grammes marine salt mix per litre) helps a good deal, especially if you live in a soft water area.>
Every time something hits the floor or the stand that they're on she freaks out and jumps. She keeps sinking and/or goes to the top, breathing heavily as if gasping for air. I had her originally in a breeder box with a divider so the other female could be in there too. Recently I moved her out because I felt so bad and guilty for something... I don't know what I did wrong other than bringing her home... I have bigger tanks, but they're home to Koi, comet, Oscar, crayfish, Pleco, and Arowana. Of course I am breeding guppies for feeders, but I also choose to keep them as pets for their beautiful color. WHAT DO I DO!? I know I have to wait, but I don't want her to die without me trying to do something!!!
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

male guppies dying, no useful data, reading 1/9/2010
hello I currently purchased 3 female and 2 male fancy guppies about a week ago. Well about 2 days later 1 of my male guppies died no clue why but my 4 females and 2, 4 month old guppy babies where doing fine. Well about 2 days after that my last male guppy died once again no clue why. Now all my fish are fine and had no more die. Why are just the male guppies dying?
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppydisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

My female guppy is upside down, barely moving. 1/7/10
Hi, I'm wondering what I should do, or what I can do about my guppy that is laying upside down on the bottom of the 'hospital tank' and is continually getting weaker each day.
<First of all, check the hospital tank provides at least good conditions as the display tank. No point at all moving a sick fish into a small, uncycled aquarium with the wrong water chemistry. Guppies need tanks upwards of 15 gallons, and the water should be warm (25-30 C), basic (pH 7.5 to 8), and at least moderately hard (10+ degrees dH). While not strictly necessary, adding 2-3 grammes of MARINE salt mix per litre of water helps raise carbonate hardness (something plain aquarium tonic salt won't do) as well as salinity, and these two things have a very therapeutic effect on Guppies. This small amount of marine salt mix (Reef Crystals, Instant Ocean, etc.) won't harm other livebearers, in fact they'll like it, but some soft water tropical fish may object. But you wouldn't be keeping Guppies with soft water fish anyway; not if you're smart, at least.>
A couple days ago, I found that she had fungus growing on her gills and is refusing food so I ran out of the house to buy some medication and bought Maroxy from my local PetSmart and returned home.
<Fungus on the gills is pretty unlikely, or at least implies incredibly poor health. Guppies are NOT hardy, at least not if you buy Fancy Guppies.
So you need to bear that in mind when you keep them. Provide optimal conditions, and treat them gently. See here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm
Most sickness comes down to poor water quality (non-zero ammonia and nitrite) and the wrong water chemistry (too soft and acidic, usually).>
After I had opened it, I read the pamphlet that came with it and found out that it was the wrong medication and saw that her gills were swollen along with the fungus growing on it.
<Maroxy is a lightweight, multipurpose medication for treating slight infections, or rather, preventing wounds becoming infected. It wouldn't be my first choice for anything severe. If you can't distinguish between Finrot, Fungus, and "Mouth Fungus" (Columnaris, a bacterial infection) choose a strong medication that treats all three: for example eSHa 2000 or Seachem Paraguard.>
I returned to the PetSmart and bought Maracyn two and quickly changed her water and she turned upside down for some reason and won't turn upright again. Is it her time to go?
<Perhaps.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm
>
By the way, I put in both the Maroxy and Maracyn two.
<Randomly adding medications is never wise.
First of all, identify why the fish is sick. Secondly, diagnose the problem. Only last of all choose your medication.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/fwdistrbshtart.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/fwfishmeds.htm
Cheers, Neale.>
My female guppy is upside down, barely moving. 1/8/10   RMF's go

Hi, I'm wondering what I should do, or what I can do about my guppy that is laying upside down on the bottom of the 'hospital tank' and is continually getting weaker each day.
<Mmm, let's see if there is something to do>
A couple days ago, I found that she had fungus growing on her gills
<A very bad sign... What led to this situation?>
and is refusing food so I ran out of the house to buy some medication and bought Maroxy from my local PetSmart and returned home. After I had opened it, I read the pamphlet that came with it and found out that it was the wrong medication and saw that her gills were swollen along with the fungus growing on it. I returned to the PetSmart and bought Maracyn two and quickly changed her water and she turned upside down for some reason and won't turn upright again. Is it her time to go?
By the way, I put in both the Maroxy and Maracyn two.
<These are fine together (I used to answer Mardel's "800" calls)... Again, what is/are the root cause/s of the problem here? Please read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppies.htm
and the linked files above, particularly the FAQs series on Health/Disease and Systems. Do write back with pertinent data, history. This fish may be best euthanized. See WWM re. Bob Fenner>

sick guppy 12/28/09
Hello. I tried to look up any FAQ on your site about my problem but failed to find anything.
<Oh? Here's a good place to start:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdistrbshtart.htm
Most fish diseases are limited to a very small clutch of completely avoidable problems.>
I will admit, however, that I am a fish hobby novice so I'm not very well versed on how to go about finding the information that I need anyway. I have a four month old tank with 6 Neons, 1 Cory catfish,
<A social species... will not be happy singly; keep 5 or more...>
1 Pleco,
<Hope you realise this fish needs at least 210 l/55 US gal., as well as massive filtration. An extremely bad choice for beginners, and contrary to what the retailer might suggest, neither cleans the tank nor eliminates algae. Indeed, more likely to make both problems worse.>
6 platys and 9 guppies. I recently noticed that one of my female guppies had a small white growth on her side just behind her fin.
<Could be either Finrot or Fungus. See the page already mentioned, and act accordingly. In both cases, usually caused by poor environmental conditions, often triggered in the first place by physical damage. Since livebearers need hard, basic water, they often become sickly in soft, acidic water conditions. Platies prefer cool water (around 22-25 C), while Guppies need warm water (28-30 C), so the two species don't mix well and shouldn't be kept together. All livebearers should be kept in single sex groups or as one male to two (or more females). Males are aggressive, and often nip the females, as well as stressing them in other ways too.>
I kept a close eye on her to monitor whether her behavior changed at all.
After three days I noticed that she stopped eating and stayed pretty close to the top of the tank. I did a water change and kept further watch.
<"Watching" is fine, but you should be prepared to treat promptly.>
Two days later she was not only still hanging out at the top of the tank, but the growth had doubled in size, and started to look like fungus. On top of this I appeared as though the scales around the site were separating from her body.
<Treat the darn fish already...!>
It has now been a week and the growth hangs off of her side and seemed to be shedding from her body.
<Bad.>
I have noticed since it started this that there is a dark red spot under this growth. She looks bloated and still won't eat. Is there a parasite that causes this that I am missing in my online search or is this how fungus acts?
<Sounds like Finrot.>
I have medicated that tank with Jungle Brand Fungus Eliminator, but it does not appear to be helping, and I notice that I have another female guppy starting to show the same symptoms. All other fish in the tank appear completely healthy and have good appetites.
<Here's the thing. New aquarists often provide very poor water conditions.
Guppies and Platies need hard (10+ degrees dH) water with basic pH (7.5-8.2). Contrary to popular misconception, adding salt neither raises hardness nor pH, so if you're adding salt, you haven't understood water chemistry. Marine aquarium salt mix can raise hardness and pH, but this is different to the cheap tonic/aquarium salt sold by retailers to inexperienced fishkeepers. Zero ammonia and zero nitrite are extremely important. For these, the aquarium needs to be of adequate size (at least 20 gallons just for Corydoras, Guppies and Platies, and three or four times that size with a Plec added to the mix). Filtration should be substantial and the tank should have been cycled using a source of ammonia *before* adding any fish. A common mistake is to set up the tank, throw in the fish, and hope for the best. Anyway, simply because some fish are healthy doesn't mean things are otherwise fine. Look around you: we're in the midst of a flu epidemic, and yet most people seem healthy. Luck, diet, genes and other factors come into play, and some fish will sicken before others when exposed to poor conditions.
<Sorry, I hit the "send" before adding: Cheers, Neale.>
re: sick guppy
Thanks, Neale, for your prompt (albeit slightly curt) response.
<Oh?>
I suppose I deserve it though since you are correct in the assumption that I did not do nearly enough research before stocking my tank.
<Not an uncommon situation.>
A mistake I will not make again, I can assure you.
<Cool.>
The tank is 30 gallons and was cycled according to your (and other website) recommendations. I had the aquarium center check my water conditions to make sure that the water was ideal before purchasing the fish, and no, I did NOT know that the Pleco had those tank requirements.
<Again, not an uncommon event.>
Perhaps the aquarium center will take it back.
<Often do.>
I followed their instructions to the letter getting my tank set up in the first place, and they suggested that I have one, so I suppose that was my gullibility and lack of research rearing it's ugly head.
<Hence my mentioning it.>
I also did not know that the Cory needed company, I was told to only get one for my tank size.
<Oh dear.>
All that I have read so far (until I found your site) about guppies and platys is that they are community fish that can live quite tolerably together as far as temperament, but I will admit that a couple of internet sources and the aquarium center where I purchased the fish have been my only sources for any information to date.
<The phrase "community fish" merely means a fish is not predatory and not aggressive, so can be kept with other fish. It doesn't mean that all community fish can be kept together in the same tank. Angelfish are community fish, and so are Neons, but Angelfish eat Neons so you wouldn't keep them together. So I say again, while shopping for community fish is a step in the right direction, you do have to follow this up with confirming via some published resource that species X shares the same requirements (water chemistry and temperature in particular) as species Y and Z you already own.>
I keep the PH level at a constant 8.0, I use marine aquarium salt at water changes upon the recommendation of the store where I got the fish, and there is no ammonia or nitrite present in my water (I keep a constant watch on that).
<Cool.>
I have researched your site about Finrot and different fungi, and according to pictures of Finrot that I have looked at on the internet, this is not what the guppy appears to have.
<Finrot is classically revealed by erosion of the fin membranes from the fin edges inwards, hence the name. But it is merely a bacterial infection of the epidermis, and other symptoms can include things like sores and patches of dead white skin. In advanced cases it becomes a systemic infection, i.e., septicaemia, and you end up dealing with abdominal swelling, ulcers, etc.>
After the growth fell away from her, it left a small red 'bruise' on her side behind her fin, but her fin is otherwise intact.
<As I say, Finrot and Fungus are so common in newly set up tanks that they are always worth checking for.>
Other than this bruise and the fact that she won't eat, there appear to be no other signs of illness. I took a look at your link and the descriptions of fish diseases from a few other places and thought perhaps that it might be Columnaris, but there is no presence of ammonia or nitrite in the water.
<Physical damage, e.g., clumsy netting by the aquarist or fin nipping / fighting between fish will sometimes cause Finrot and/or Fungus.>
One possibility is that the filtration is not sufficient, but I have undergravel filtration so I will be honest that I'm not sure what to do about that. I was also wondering, is Dwarf Gourami Disease contagious for other species of fish or just other gouramis?
<Not really, no. While there are reports of the virus affecting certain wild fish species, other than Colisa lalia, I'm not aware of any cross infections to aquarium species. Furthermore, distinguishing true Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus from simple Finrot is difficult, and the same symptoms can also be produced by Mycobacteria infections. These latter absolutely can affect a wide range of species. Again, while the bacteria involved are disease-causing, fish become susceptible usually because of poor diet, poor environment or other sources of stress.>
I had 3 Dwarf Gouramis (yes, the place that I bought the fish from said that they would live quite well with guppies and platys...apparently I was persuaded into just buying fish, not necessarily the right fish.
<Indeed. I don't want to make you feel bad, but I do want to stress that almost all fish sickness can be prevented, and choosing the right species ahead of the time is a huge factor. We're here to help, and would be more than happy to listen to your ideas on what fish you want to buy, and would then let you know which species would work and which ones wouldn't.>
As I stated before, I will do more research next time, so please don't tear into me too much).
<Not my intention at all.>
Two died within days, but the last one died two weeks ago and it had the same type of 'bruise' on it's side. I have 6 female guppies and 3 males...also one female gave birth, and I was able to save and quarantine 4 of the fry.
<Good luck!>
I would really like to save the rest of the tank if possible. Thanks for your help.
<Personally, would get a combination Finrot/Fungus medication, like Seachem Paraguard or eSHa 2000, and treat on the assumption one or other of these is causing the problem. Cheers, Neale.>
re: sick guppy
Thanks, I will try that! By the way, I have been looking more closely at your site and it's an amazing source of information! Thank you very much for your help!
Micki
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

guppy... chunk missing 12/17/09
hello I just recently noticed a chunk of my guppies head was missing and she is swimming and acting bad.
<A chunk missing? As in bitten off? In which case, review the tankmates.
Angelfish for example can, will eat Guppies. But if we're talking about something like an ulcer, then it is almost certainly a water quality issue. In short, Finrot.>
I just got her about 1 and a half weeks ago and never saw it so I don't think she had it the whole time. But it looks kind of caved in or something and is pretty red.
<Does sound like Finrot.>
I have had trouble with fungus before all my fish died but I did try to treat it that was about 3 months ago.
<Treating for Fungus or Finrot is POINTLESS unless you identify why your fish are sick in the first place. Almost always, the problem is overstocking and poor filtration.>
Also I did have Planaria worms I think that's what it was but I don't think I do anymore.
<Planarians do best in dirty tanks. Again, check the environment. Guppies need a tank upwards of 15 gallons, and the filter should have a turnover of not less than 4 times the volume of the tank (i.e., a minimum 60 gallon/hour filter for a 15 gallon tank). Water chemistry should be hard and basic (10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5-8.0). Water temperature should be a little on the warm side, 26-28 C/79-82 F.>
So what could this be and do u think it will hurt my other fish?
<Yes. Cheers, Neale.>

Ich with guppies and newborn fry 11/28/09
Hi there,
<Hello Sharon,>
I read your thread about Ich and it looks like we should be considering salt as opposed to "Ich Attack" for our fish.
<Yes, salt/heat is generally safer than standard medications. Since Guppies are very tolerant of salt, you can keep them in brackish water conditions and consequently never get Whitespot/Ick or Velvet.>
Here's what we have in our 10 gallon tank:
<Not wild about 10 gallon tanks for Guppies, given how aggressive the males become.>
2 male guppies (separated by divider) 2 female guppies, 2 upside-down catfish (male side),
<Tank is too small for Upside-down Catfish; these get to about 8 cm/3 inches in length, and are quite boisterous things.>
8 - 3 week old fry on male side and 3 - 3 week old fry on female side. This morning we noticed a cloud of newborn fry (both sides). The problem is we think we have Ich - some of the older fry have what look like little crystals on their bodies & tails. They are acting fine. However, one of our adult females, who looked as if she had been sick for a while but was coming around, just died. We had noticed what looked like the scales on her back were standing up and shining white, but it was probably Ich.
<Remove the Upside-down Catfish to a tank of appropriate size. Then raise the salinity in the Guppy-only tank to SG 1.003 at 25 degrees C (about 6 grammes salt -- or better still, marine salt mix -- per litre). Run the tank like this forever, if you want: your Guppies will be hardier and happier, and unlikely to get sick unless you do something really silly. The catfish will not tolerate this amount of salt. If you choose to do the
salt/heat method with the catfish, you'll have to use much less salt; something like 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per 3.75 litres /1 US gallon. Should still work, but less quickly and perhaps less reliably, and won't
have quite the same tonic effect on the fish.>
Since we have this influx of newborn fry, I am unsure how to treat - if "Ich Attach" will kill them.
<Yes, will work. Some risk to the fry, but not substantial. Even if some fry die, you'll have a billion more before you know it.>
And if you recommend salt instead, or along with it, can you describe how to do that (container, how to deal with divider)?
<See above; also read WWM re: Ick.>
We have a filter that waterfalls water back in and a heater (temp is in the mid-70s). I am not sure the filter is able to work efficiently due to the divider in the tank.
<Your suspicions are correct: by definition, anything that divides the tank up also reduces water flow.>
We've removed the carbon filter because we noticed the Ich (that's what the aquarium guy told us it may be) and were going to treat. I'd used tea tree oil 2 days in a row a few days ago but did not add today when I saw the newborn fry.
<Tea-tree oil products are largely preventatives rather than cure, and have zero impact on Ick anyway.>
thanks for your help!
Sharon
<Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies 11/16/09
the
<The...>
problem is that I
<...I...>
have had two guppies and they didn't gain wait
<...weight...>
and there
<...their...>
backs started to bend and they could not swim as well they ate a lot tho
<...though...>
and one already died I
<...I...>
was wondering what it is and what can I
<...I...>
do to prevent this happening I
<...I...>
have like 15
<Like "15" but not actually "15"...? Don't really understand this...>
guppies and 2 angel fish what should I
<...I... hmm... lower-case "I" for the first-person singular is often taken
to imply chronic lack of self-worth, not a good way to present yourself.>
do??
<Hello Stacey. Please do note that we ask people to run their messages through a spell checker before they send them out to us. It makes my job easier, and since I'm a volunteer, anything you can do to make it easier for me to understand your problem is much appreciated (as well as good manner). Right, as to your problem with Guppies. The first thing is to make sure you're keeping them properly. You need a tank at least 20 gallons in size if you're mixing them with Angelfish, and of course Angelfish will eat small male Guppies, so the mix isn't a particularly wise one. Guppies need fairly warm water, I'd say around 26-28 C, and the water should be hard (10-25 degrees dH) and basic (pH 7.5). Guppies will not survive for long in soft, acidic water. Also, despite their reputation as "beginner's fish", Guppies need to be kept in clean, well-filtered water; 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite are essential. Would suggest you start by reading here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm
Now, if you are very unlucky, you may be dealing with one of the chronic Wasting Diseases caused by Mycobacteria infections. These are rare, but they do exist, and Guppies are one of the species for which Wasting Disease has been observed. There is nothing you can do to treat Mycobacteria infections, and if your local retailer sells Guppies that are so infected, stop buying them, and instead find another source, perhaps through your local fish club. If I was a betting man, I'd say you have about a 90% chance of environmental conditions being the issue, but there's a 10% chance it's Wasting Disease. So rather than using Wasting Disease as an "excuse" (the temptation, I know) I'd be open-minded about how you're keeping them, and only if you're absolutely sure you're doing everything right, put your losses down to Wasting Disease. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppy Deaths 10/7/09
We have a 60 litre fish tank with an Elite Stingray 15 filter for up to 75 litre tanks.
<Not a particularly good filter, unfortunately. And honestly, 60 litres/15 gallons isn't enough for the numbers of fish you seem to be keeping. Male guppies are fairly aggressive, and I don't recommend guppies be kept in tanks less than 90 l/20 gal.>
It was set up 15 weeks ago. We gradually stoked with fish, starting with 2 neon and 2 guppies, followed 2 weeks later with 4 more neon. Then after another week, we added 2 Dwarf Gouramis, another week and we added a male fighter.
<Did you do any research on what these fish need? Guppies need hard, basic water; Neons soft and acidic, or at least, not particularly hard. Neons need fairly cool water, around 22-24 C, whereas Fancy Guppies need warm water, 25-28 C being optimal. Gouramis also need warm water, as do Bettas.
Bettas and Gouramis don't get on, and Neons fin-nip Bettas. It's very important to read up on the needs of fish *prior* to purchase. Keeping fish together that have different water chemistry requirements or temperature requirements means at least some of them will be exposed to suboptimal conditions. Social behaviour issues lead to stress, and stressed fish are prone to sickness. Do buy an aquarium book, or at least, borrow one from the library.>
After a two more weeks, we added 6 glow light tetra. All was well. A month later, the male fighter suddenly died. He showed no obvious sign of disease.
<Could be anything. How did you cycle this aquarium?>
I had been doing a 10% water change every week, so I did a 25% water change, just in case something was amiss. I had the water tested the day the fighter died, but there didn't seem to be anything wrong.
<The thing with having water tested hours after the fish died, is it doesn't tell you *anything* about what might have caused the fatality.
Suppose there's a nitrite or ammonia spike shortly after feeding, perhaps because the tank isn't properly cycled. The fish gets stressed, dies a few hours later. By the time you take some water to the pet shop, the tank has been running with fewer fish (one died!) and the ammonia and nitrite spike following feeding time as faded away.>
However, the Dwarf Gouramis seem a little listless and are not eating as much. Their top fin seems to be down and they look a little thin and perhaps paler in colour than they used to be.
<Dwarf Gouramis are sensitive fish, easily prone to ill-health if environmental conditions are poor. The combination of a small tank and a fairly rubbish filter could easily explain this.>
Four days ago, we added 4 guppies and 2 red nosed tetra.
<Why are you *adding* fish when stuff keeps dying? Slow down.>
The guppies died, one each night. I explained the situation to the guy at the aquatic centre, who said it was likely that the Dwarf Gouramis had internal bacteria which killed the new fish when they were introduced.
<He's talking rubbish.>
He sold me Interpet Anti Internal Bacteria treatment.
<Never yet seen this product cure anything.>
The instructions say to remove any filter containing carbon. But, being a novice, I can't see that you can remove the filter for 4 days without killing all the fish!
<You remove just the carbon. One of the problems with these cheap plastic filters is they rely on filter media cartridges. These limit your flexibility when it comes to adding media. For a standard community tank, all you really need is a bit of mechanical media (to trap silt) and lots of biological media (to process ammonia and nitrite). Carbon and ammonia remover (Zeolite) are largely wasted.>
Any ideas on this whole situation would be much appreciated.
<Read. Many bad decisions made here.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/fwset-up.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestk.htm
Buy, at minimum, a nitrite test kit and test your water daily for the first couple of weeks. Go easy with feeding. Get rid of fish you can't keep in a tank this size (essentially, only Neons and Glowlights are sensible choices, but they don't like hard, basic water, so that may be a factor).
For beginners, the worst possible start is to buy a tank smaller than 20 gallons. No point to smaller tanks at all. Difficult to stock, difficult to run. Any "economy" when buying smaller tanks is completely lost when fish start dying and you end up buying all kinds of medications.
Much written about this here at WWM, and we're always happy to offer advice even before you spend any money at all.>
Karen
<Cheers, Neale.>

My guppy fish
Help!! 6 of my baby guppies have died!!! :( -- 09/19/09

They are in a 2.5 gallon tank with a heater and a sponge filter... I do daily 50% water changes, or 50% water changes once every 2 days...
<This may be too much>
I've tested the water and it shows 0 ppm of ammonia, nitrite and 10ppm of nitrates... the remaining survivors are in a breeding trap in my main tank... My angelfish are constantly trying to eat them
<What they do>
but that is the best thing I can do... What shall I do??? Can I rear this fry in the breeding trap till they are old enough to not be eaten??
thanks
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppyreprofaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: my guppy fish 9/25/09

hello there,
<Hello,>
My guppy fry are 2 weeks old now, they had grown tremendously over the period of 2 weeks.
<Good.>
My problem is that most of them had died. They seemed to die of one by one.
<Have you fed them enough?>
I tested my water parameters and its shows 0ppm of ammonia, nitrite and 10ppm of nitrate. the ph is 6 because they are in a 47 gallon high-lighted co2 injected tank.
<The pH is far too low! Aim for pH 7.5 to 8. I'm sure we've discussed this before. If the tank only contains Guppies, then the use of MARINE aquarium salt mix (not common aquarium or tonic salt) will work fine, at a dose of about 6 to 9 grammes per litre. If there are other, non-salt-tolerant fish in this aquarium, then use a Rift Valley cichlid salt mix such as the one described here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/fwh2oquality.htm
For livebearers, use at about 50% the recommended dosage.>
They are currently in a breeder trap. 10 out of 24 died in a separate 2.5 gallon tank a week ago (the water has no ammonia, nitrate with a little bit of nitrate) so I moved them to my main tank. I don't know why they are dying, I feed them baby brine shrimp, Microworms, and crushed quality flakes. Their bellies are fat and healthy, they are all active but they just suddenly die of. Before they die, their gills seem to enlarge and their bellies get skinnier. They are listless and can't balance properly.
What is wrong?
<Water chemistry.>
I think that there is a disease in my tank because my harlequins and angelfish have white spots on their fins. I'm 100% sure that its not Ich because I had it before and these white spots are not tiny but rather big.
<Incipient Finrot. Check water quality. At pH 6, biological filtration will be working very poorly. Again, use a Rift Valley cichlid salt mix at 25-50% the dosages described in that article to harden the water in a community tank.>
I don't think they are fungus either because its not fluffy. Instead it looks like that the fish's fins suddenly turned white and it spreads over the body. The angelfish have spots on their fins ( not as small as Ich but not too big either). The fins of harlequins are strange, the disease seems to effect only one fin. It turns one of their fins white, whether its the dorsal or the other fins. One or two of the harlequins have the white stuff spreading over their body. Any suggestions on what is happening??
<Fix water chemistry, quality. Treat as per Finrot.>
please!! thanks!!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: my guppy fish 9/27/09

hello there,
<Hello,>
I had added some baking soda and magnesium sulfate (gH booster) to my tank.
This had increased the ph from 6/below to 6.6... I will aim for 7-7.5 in the next few days.
<Good.>
I'd moved the remaining guppy fry back to the 2.5g tank that is constantly monitored for ammonia and nitrites... About the Finrot outbreak in the main tank, what antibiotics do you recommend for me??
<Anything other than Melafix.>
I have no idea what to use. Should I treat with Melafix and Pimafix or Maracyn and Maracyn 2??
<Personally, I prefer medications such as eSHa 2000 or Seachem Paraguard, but people speak well of Maracyn.>
Do you recommend both or something else? should I treat with tonic salt?
<Salt won't help bacterial infections.>
One of the harlequins have the 'Finrot' white fungus or bacteria covering its body from the infected fin. It is struggling to swim, its perfectly healthy but when it stops swimming, its body will flip so it must constantly swim to balance or it will turn upside down!! Will it recover if I give it antibiotics?
<Seachem Paraguard and eSHa 2000 treat Finrot, Fungus and Mouth Fungus (Columnaris) so they should help.>
I tried to euthanize it but its just too fast!! It still eats normally and acts like if nothing happens. The white area is swollen up. Any help please?
thank you so much!
<Cheers, Neale.>
re: my guppy fish... Neale's out 9/30/09

hello there,
<Yellow>
my 47 gallon tank have a ph of 7.5 now. I fear that it will drop back to 6 over time as that's what it always do. In my 2.5 gallon tank, the ph is already 7.5 (ph of tap water) and I added half a piece of cuttlefish bone to gradually maintain that ph.
<Worth trying... but this form of CaCO3 is not very water soluble>
Should I still need to add marine salt? If so, is the brand 'Instant Ocean' recommended?
<I would and yes>
I've currently added 6 teaspoons (6 grams each) of tonic salt to the small guppy fry tank with one fry remaining. I was very disappointed with the stuff that the pet stores in new Zealand has to offer. Even the fish specialist stores doesn't sell antibiotics.
<Likely proscribed there>
So I bought Melafix
<Worthless... Please see WWM before writing us>
and tonic salt. Hopefully they would work... the other solution is to buy antibiotics online but that would take 2 weeks or more to arrive here and it would've been too late. I treated as per instructions with Melafix and
14 teaspoons of tonic salt (1 tablespoon is 3 teaspoons) to my 47 gallon.
The recommended dosage
is 27 teaspoons of tonic salt. Should I do so?
<? What is this "tonic"? Most are of little value, toxicity>
Also I need to treat the tank with Melafix for 7 days before a water change. Will the plants and fish be ok if I leave the salt in full dose for 7 days?
<... depends on what is in this product. "Fix"es have been known to interrupt nitrification/cycling...>
I have Otos and Corys which I am worried about as they are both catfishes. Do you have any other methods of curing my fishes??
<...?>
I'd noticed that after the treatment yesterday, all of the severely infected fish (3 in total, harlequins) started producing huge amounts of mucus or slime coat over the infected area. They still clamp their fins. Is the slime coat helping them? the other fishes are infected also but show no reactions at all.
please help me!
<Please learn to/use the search tool on WWM, the indices. Start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppydisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Guppy question! Hlth. 09/14/09
Ahoy!
<McCoy! Uh, Michelle>
I have a few questions about guppies, they reside in a 33 gallon tank, with some plants and snails.
I understand that it can be quite normal for the males to harass the females. I was curious if it is normal for the males to particularly harass 1 female and ignore the other girls.
<Does happen>
They are all pregnant (time to get another tank!) This particular female has given birth twice already and has been bloated for a while even when she was not pregnant. Is this normal?
<Not normal to float, no>
Also one thing that bugs me and so far have had no luck finding the answer to this: Recently, while gazing into the tank I noticed a green worm like thing (aprox 1/2 inch) climbing on the glass. I removed it from the tank immediately, which killed it. I am quite curious what this creature was.
Any ideas? It seemed as if it were sucking on the glass.
<There are many such worms... Most all are innocuous>
Also, I have treated 2 guppies (separate tanks from the others) for Ick for quite some time. About 2 weeks now, I have removed the active carbon from the filter as well, changed about 15-30% of the water each time (although I
will not lie, there have been a few times where I have forgotten to do so :( ) They are still rubbing their bodies on the gravel. One of them just sits their at the bottom moving occasionally ( for about a month) I would love it if there's something I could do to help them back to their health.
<Mmm, please read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppydisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above... Need to know more, relate quite a bit...>
I have treated the guppies with Ich-X which says it treats Trichodiniasis, Ich, Velvet and Saprolegniasis.
<Mmm: formaldehyde (<5%), methanol (<2%), malachite green chloride (<0.1%).
Quite toxic... exposure could result in the behavior you list, even death>
Thanks!
Michelle
<Read on! Bob Fenner>

Male Guppy with red/orange spots on tail 7/29/09
I set up an aquarium for the first time about three months ago. Following the instructions from the fish shop I ran the tank for three weeks and had the water tested before introducing any fish.
<With or without adding ammonia, fish food, or something else to start the biological filter? An aquarium without livestock is just a box filled with water. Until you add a source of ammonia for filter bacteria to "eat", the tank won't mature. Normally, when running in a new tank, people add a certain amount of ammonia (from a hardware store) or else a pinch of flake food every day or two. Let's say you do the flake food technique. The flake food gets sucked into the filter, decays, and as it does so, produces ammonia. This "feeds" the filter bacteria, so that after X number of weeks (typically 4-6 weeks) the ammonia and nitrite levels in the tank drop to zero because the filter is fully matured. You can now add some fish.>
I then introduced 6 male guppies and a couple of weeks later once they were settled in two bronze albino catfish. All seem to coexist together quite happily.
<As is often the case... to begin with.>
Yesterday I noticed that once of the navy blue fantailed guppies has a number of orangey red spots on his tail, there is also an orangey red streak running through the centre of the tail. The fish is swimming and feeding normally but I am concerned that the spots are due to some disease or fungus.
<Finrot; almost certainly your tank is inadequately mature for the fish you have. If you grab a nitrite test kit -- which, along with a pH test kit is mandatory for beginners -- you'; almost certainly detect a nitrite level above zero. Until such time as the nitrite level is zero, your tank is not mature, and the fish are at risk.>
Are you able to advise what might be causing these spots and how best to treat the fish?
<Finrot; treat using something such as eSHa 2000, a product widely sold in the UK and very effective. Remember to remove carbon from the filter while treating the tank (if you're using it, and you needn't). Don't waste your time with salt or tea-tree oil products; neither are helpful in this situation. Also, because it's the water quality that is making your fish sick, do regular water changes (25% every 2-4 days, ideally) until the nitrite level drops to zero and stays there. For the fish you have, you will need at least 75 litres, and a filter rated at 4 times that in turnover per hour, i.e., 300 litres/hour. If the tank is smaller than this, or the filter slower, you're unlikely to ever have consistently good water quality, especially once the fish are mature. Corydoras catfish, by the way, need to be in groups of 5 or more specimens; in smaller groups they pine, and often simply die. But don't add any more fish until water quality is optimised!>
The fish provide so much pleasure and enjoyment I want to do all I can to ensure their good health.
<Indeed.>
Thank you.
<Good luck, Neale.>

Fancy guppy... beh. 7/26/2009
Hello crew, love your site I get tons of info from you guys. I have a 29 g tank with all my water levels reading right. Live stock in the tank, 2 Dwarf Gouramis, 2 Chinese algae eaters, 1 black moor,1 male Betta, 5 small Endler's and 8 male guppies.
<You do realise that Endler Guppies and Common Guppies will hybridise?
Provided you pass on any offspring as Common Guppies rather than Endler's, then there's little harm in this. But pleased don't give away such offspring as Endler Guppies! It is a constant struggle to keep the Endler Guppies in the hobby "pure" because of this problem.>
My question is why is one of my guppy's getting chased around by one other male and two Endler's? Thank you very much for any response and help you offer.
<It is in the nature if Guppies to chase. They are *not* peaceful, schooling fish. In the wild males will chase one another away, hoping to monopolise access to females. Males will also chase females, trying to mate with them. The only 100% reliable way to keep Guppies without aggression is to [a] make sure the tank is big enough, 20 gallons upwards; [b] keep two or more females per male; and [c] to stock the tank with lots of floating plants. Floating plants, such as Indian Fern (Ceratopteris spp.) are important because Guppies are surface fish, so they use hiding places at the top of the tank, not at the bottom.>
I hope this grammar is appropriate I don't want to bump heads with Neale.
<Not a question of "bumping heads" really. More about making your question, and my reply, easier for other people to read. Not all our site visitors have English as their first language. For such people, as well as those with learning difficulties, careful grammar and spelling makes reading much easier. Anyway, hope this helps! Cheers, Neale.>

Ill Guppy? 7/26/2009
Hi,
<Hello,>
I have had 2 male guppies for about 5 months. Both Happy & healthy and water is perfect.
<By which you mean the water is hard and basic (10+ degrees dH, pH 7-8) and with zero ammonia and nitrite? I mention this because not everyone's idea of "perfect" matches mine...>
But all of a sudden one of the guppies has something pinky/red protruding from it's anus.
<Ah, yes, usually Camallanus worms; see article linked below for descriptions and medications.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/nematodesfwf.htm
Not uncommon among livebearers, and potentially treatable, though how easy it will be to get appropriate drugs varies from country to country. In the UK, you may need to approach a vet. Left untreated, it will eventually cause the death of the sick fish, and potentially, all the others exposed to that sick fish as well.>
I was just interested to know what it was or why it's happened and if there's anything I can do for the fish?
<The "why" is largely poor husbandry. Guppies are bred to a price rather than quality, and while "cheap" fish might seem like bargains, the flip side is that to cheaply produce profitable fish, less care will be taken in terms of health.>
Would really appreciate an answer from you.
Many Thanks, Zoe
<Good luck, Neale.>

Sick fancy guppy 7/19/09
Hi there,
<Hello,>
I have a couple of questions for you.
<Fire away.>
First is about a male fancy guppy I have. I've just noticed he has a rather large round swelling on his upper abdomen. I'm worried that it's likely a tumor of some sort.
<Not uncommon with inbred "fancy" fish. If the lump is asymmetrical, i.e., bigger on one side of the body than the other, then a tumour is a good explanation. If the fish is swollen evenly on both sides, then constipation could be an issue, and if the swelling is such that the scales are raised and the fish looks like a pine-cone when viewed from above, it's dropsy (oedema).>
I hadn't noticed it a few days ago. He is in a 20 gallon tank with 6 other male guppies. I haven't had any water quality issues (that I'm aware of) and all the other fish seem to be fine. Interestingly enough he is an odd shape for a male guppy, kinda crooked, not slim and streamlined like the other guppies, and he's always been this way. I guess I'm just wondering if this sounds like it could possibly be something treatable that I should look into more or if it really just sounds bad and I should watch for quality of life?
<Sounds like it's simply deformed, which again, is very common with inbred fancy Guppies.>

Once I discovered his new deformity I separated him from the other fish (some of the other boys have a tendency to chase him around relentlessly).
<Good move. If things are bad for the fish and it can't enjoy it's life, then euthanasia is an option.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm
Otherwise, just keep him happy but preferably away from females so any possible bad genes aren't passed on.>
Other question, in my other tank I have 15 female fancy guppies in a 55 gallon tank. On of these fish has been getting "droopy" slowly over the last couple of months, her tail sags far below the rest of her body and she swims funny. Over the last couple of weeks I noticed that she seems skinnier than normal, like she doesn't have the round belly that they typically have, and I haven't decided if she is actually skinny or if it's due to her malformation. She seems to be eating ok and acting normal. Could this just be a (semi) normal aging process for guppies, or do you think I need to be concerned?
<Depends. If you have good water quality and water chemistry, then a single sick-looking fish is not too much of a deal. For Guppies, you're aiming for pH 7.5 to 8, and hard water around 10-25 degrees dH. If Guppies are the only fish in the tank, adding marine salt mix (rather than generic aquarium salt) will stabilise the pH and hardness while adding a little salinity, something that seems to ensure better all-around health. You don't need much salt; 3-5 grammes per litre is ample.>
I should mention that I've had both of these fish since I first got guppies, about 1 year ago.
My last question, should be an easy one I hope. What is acceptable life expectancy for fancy guppies? Are my 1-1.5 year old guppies becoming old?
<They should get to about three years in captivity, perhaps a little longer.>
Or are they just getting sick?
Thanks,
Lisamarie
<Cheers, Neale.>

Female Guppy - Believed to be pregnant, interesting "poop" 7/19/09
Hello,
<Hi,>
Thank you for all the useful information available on your site. I am new to having fish and am looking for a few answers.
I have a 26 gallon bow front aquarium with the following fish:
1 Cory Catfish
<Really should be kept in a group; they're schooling fish! Singletons are pretty miserable. Get four more.>
3 Pearl Danios
<Likewise, a schooling species.>
2 Rasboras (I think that's their name; they have a black triangle on their side)
<Again, a schooling fish.>
4 Guppies (2 Male, 2 Female at the suggestion of our local Pet Store)
<A bad suggestion, mostly made because they want to sell them as "pairs"!
Male Guppies are notorious with regard to "sexual harassment" and persecute the females when kept in small tanks. We always recommend at least twice as many females as males, and personally, I keep three females per male livebearer. Reduces stress, and the females are much happier.>
**We had two guppies (both male) when we first set up the tank and one of them started getting really big on the underside. I took it to the shop before it died and they said it was "a genetic issue seen in fish from chain establishments ie PetSmart". About a week later he expired. We didn't think anything more was wrong.**
<Never come across this.>
We have had the tank set up for about two months. All of the fish except the 3 Guppies and the 3 Danios have been in the tank since we first set it up (well within 2 weeks of set-up). The water was tested by the shop prior to adding these last six fish. The results were as follows:
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate <10ppm
GH 8 dGH
KH 4 dKH
We did not do a partial water change before adding the new fish, at the recommendation of the store.
<Strange recommendation! A 25% weekly water change is always a good idea, whatever else you're doing.>
Now, five days later, we have noticed that both females look pregnant. I talked with the shop and they said they probably are. I am concerned that the female guppy may be going down the same road as the guppy we did have that expired. However, this one is female and that one was male.
Today I went back to the shop and had the water retested. The results were pH 7.6
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrite trace (? - said nothing to worry about, siphon the gravel and do a 25% water change; probably due to overfeeding getting used to the number of fish)
<Any nitrite is worth worrying about. Can't say I'm terribly impressed with this pet store so far. Siphoning gravel made sense in this situation when people used undergravel filters; as the gravel got clogged, turnover dropped, and filtration efficiency declined. If you don't have an undergravel filter it is still a good idea to keep the gravel clean, but that won't make much difference either way with regard to ammonia and nitrite, since most of the filtration is going on in the filter.>
Nitrate 20 ppm
GH 8 dGH
KH 3 dKH
<A bit on the soft side for Guppies, but if they're happy so far, no big deal.>
They recommended doing a partial water change and siphon of the gravel.
<Sure.>
Since we thought the female guppy was pregnant and possibly about to give birth, we placed her in a 3-Way Breeder inside the main tank to protect the fry.
<Do understand females *hate* being in these things, and they can cause miscarriages. Much better to stock the tank with Indian Fern and other floating plants. The fry will hide among these plants, and you can then net them out each day and pop them into the breeding trap. After about 3-4 weeks they should be big enough to work with most smallish community fish.>
Shortly after doing this we noticed she started "pushing out" reddish, light brown round stuff. Sorry for the lack of explanation but it's hard to describe. Whatever it is, it does not appear to be moving at all and has fallen to the bottom of the breeder.
<Think these are merely faeces, and not stillborn embryos, which tend to be silvery.>
The other fish in the tank have come up to try and eat it (which they obviously can't do through the plastic). At first we assumed it was poop, but she has excreted about four more of these things. Kinda like little sausages? I know I may be over thinking things, but I would rather ask a stupid question and fix something if need be than to let fish die. Anyway.
while taking pictures to send, some of the "stuff" fell out and another fish ate it.
Do you have any idea what this might be?
Also, how often should I feed the fish in my tank?
<"A little but often" is a good rule; a portion of food the size of a fish's eye is about right for one meal, if offered 2-3 times a day. In any case, add food such that it all vanishes within 30 seconds or so. Feed catfish at night, in the case of a school of 5 Corydoras, one or two Hikari Algae Wafers or similar 5-6 times per week should be ample. Regardless, the aim is that your fish are gently rounded but not bloated. Overfeeding doesn't kill, it's the water quality problems that occur if uneaten food gets sucked into the filter that causes sickness. So if your fish look healthy, and you have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, you're fine. For what it's worth, your female Guppy looks healthily fed. With Corydoras, look at their bellies, and check that the belly is slightly convex rather than concave.>
I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for your help.
Jamie
<Cheers, Neale.>

Nematodes? RMF

Guppy Help... env. dis./Ammonia, reading 6/20/09
Hi, I am a new fish owner. I recently purchased a 10 gallon tank, and put 6 guppies in it in hopes of breeding them.
<Mmm, a small volume for this enterprise>
I currently have 2 males and 4 females. I'm convinced some are pregnant.
<A pretty much constant state in healthy Lebistes...>
Not long after having the tank, several fish died. I believe they died of injured swim bladders
<... not likely>
but I am not sure. I don't think I had the tank set up long enough before adding them.
<Oh? What of water quality tests, measures?>
But I have had them replaced, and now have the 2 males and 4 females.
Tonight I realized their gills were slightly red, and I am worried about ammonia poisoning. The ammonia level is slightly higher than it should be.
<... must be zero, nada, zip>
I am having troubles lowering it.
<Let's stop here... and have you do what you should have done: read:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
and the linked files above, esp. ammonia. Bob Fenner>
I then added too much aquarium salt
<... not a good idea>
by mistake, but over time, not all at once. My friend suggested doing a 50% water change to help the ammonia reduce and the salt reduce. Are my fish going to die like the ones before them? What can I do to keep them alive? I am going to try feeding them less, as I think I may have fed them too much also. I have a small filter in one corner, a heater that is set around 80, usually less then that though, and I have a homemade filter in another corner using an air lift effect, and another homemade filter intaking water from the tank and pumping it through a filter cartridge and rocks and back into aquarium. How can I save my fish

Guppy problems.. 6/14/09
Hello crew,
<Hello again,>
Several months ago I had a wonderful correspondence with you regarding my guppy tank. It's a brackish system. A 29G fish only tank, with an in tank sponge filter, fake plants, cave etc. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20, SG 1.0025.
<Do you mean somewhere between 1.002 and 1.003, or seawater salinity, 1.025? I've not come across a hobbyist hydrometer that measures to four decimal places!>
Inhabitants: Fancy Tail Guppies; 2 males, 10 females and their fry. The fry are regularly removed and fed to my frogs.
<One way to control numbers!>
Anyway, I do 30% water change and gravel vac weekly. I set this system up in Nov 2008 and have had problems since then. Most recently in Feb/March I was in touch regarding red spots on one male's tail fin, and fading of two female's tails. After much back and forth and testing and observation and even treatment with Furanace, I was advised to let them be. It seemed it was likely just aggression. Since then everything's been fine, until yesterday. One of my females died suddenly. I didn't notice any strange behavior. She was VERY large with fry, so I assumed she was resting at the surface a bit more often due to her girth.
<As certainly happens.>
When I removed her I looked her over carefully and could not see any evidence of fungus, parasites, or the like. I also tested my water, all parameters were as stated above BUT the pH was 6.2!
<Ah, that's very stressful for Guppies, and indeed livebearers generally.>
KH was very low as well, less than 40 (GH over 300).
<Are you using marine salt mix or tonic salt (sometimes called aquarium salt)? Marine salt mix contains carbonate hardness, and used liberally should add the required alkalinity. If you're using marine salt mix, consider upping the amount you add such that the specific gravity is 1.005 at 25 degrees C; this is about 9 grammes per litre. While this isn't good for live plants, Guppies will thrive under such conditions.>
So I assume this had something to do with the death and began a slow process of raising the pH with baking soda. I also added a bubble wand because I read that the increased gas exchange can help with increasing pH.
<Aeration does indeed drive off CO2, but the effect is negligible unless the tank is heavily stocked.>
I have no idea what caused the pH to crash, but today I was looking a bit more closely at the fish to see if anyone else looked distressed.
<The pH crash is related to the lack of alkalinity, i.e., carbonate hardness.>

There are only 4 with anything "interesting". The female who's tail fin faded at the first of the year has not recovered her color. I honestly can't tell if it's just faded or if there's a "white patch". The male who's had red spots on his tail, has acquired a few more. One female seems to be having trouble maintaining a horizontal position, especially at night. Another female cannot close her mouth. I've checked and can see no obstruction or "cottony" fungi or anything. She can and does continue to eat. Her mouth is just agape. All of the fish, including these four are behaving normally in all other ways. Everyone is reproducing.
<I'd be aggressive about deciding which fish to keep; if you have fish that simply linger rather than thrive, there's sometimes mileage in euthanising the dodgy specimens and adding new specimens of the best possible quality you can find. In some instances, the weak fish are suffering from genetic or viral issues you can't do anything about; limiting infection of other fish, and preventing their genes getting into the babies, will all help in the long term.>
The faded female and the "vertical" female just had litters last week, and the gaping female is due in a few days. They're all eating, and swimming normally. No one's flashing or swimming backward or resting on the bottom or at the surface. I just don't know what I'm doing wrong. It's very distressing really. I've read that the "swimming vertically" thing can be damage to the swim bladder caused by mating or poor water conditions.
<Not sure how mating would cause damage to the swim bladder, but yes, if the swim bladder is damaged or infected, yes, fish will swim oddly.>
I'm not sure what, if anything, can be done about that. It seems the faded tail, tail spots and gaping mouth might be consistent with Columnaris, but can fish survive with Columnaris for MONTHS?
<Not usually no.>
<<All the "certified" cases/incidences of Columnaris I am familiar with are/were very "fast onset" with Poeciliids et al. perishing within hours to a day or two. RMF>>

Because that's how long the tail fin has been faded, and Mr. Fenner suggested Columnaris as a possible source of the tail spots and fading back in Feb. As usual, I apologize for the length of this question, but I'm trying to give as much information as I can. Can you help?
<Have you used an antibiotic? If you have, e.g., Maracyn (Erythromycin), consider switching to another, such as Maracyn II (Minocycline) or Seachem PolyGuard (Sulfathiazole, Nitrofurantoin).>
Any ideas on what I should do at this point?
Thanks in advance,
Laura
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy problems.. -- 6/14/09

Thanks, as always for the prompt response. Let's see, yes, I meant SG somewhere between 1.002 and 1.003.
<I see.>
Yes, I'm using Marine Salt Mix and can certainly increase the salinity.
<Would do so.>
Is it inappropriate to also use the baking soda?
<By all means, but I'd actually add some Epsom salt as well, as per Rift Valley salt mix: 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt, one teaspoon Baking Soda per 5 gallons, alongside however much marine salt mix you're using. This will round out the mineral content of the water a bit. Guppies enjoy "liquid rock" rather than salinity, though they can be adapted to marine conditions, at least in the case of wild/feral guppies.>
I've found in my Betta tank that baking soda has kept the pH alkaline and (above all) stable. Not sure why it hasn't occurred to me to use it in my other tanks as well. Are you suggesting I euthanize all four of the
questionable guppies?
<I would if they're not getting better and haven't done so for months.
There's no real point to keeping fish that could compromise any healthy fish you add, either disease-wise or genetically. Do see WWM re: humane modes of euthanasia.>
I'm not averse to the idea, just wanting to verify what you're thinking. I was considering starting a treatment of Maracyn again.
<Would switch between antibiotics if one doesn't work; each targets a particular subset of bacteria: gram-positive or gram-negative for example.
Do read the article on Mycobacteria in the current Conscientious Aquarist elsewhere on this site.>
I did so several months ago to no avail, but it has been several months.
Thanks again.
Laura
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy problems.. -- 6/14/09

Dr. Monks,
<I'm a PhD of rocks, so that doesn't really matter much here. Call me Neale!>
Just one more question. Can low pH and KH in the absence of other poor water conditions trigger parasitic infections like Velvet and Ich?
<Not directly, no. Both Velvet and Ick are contagious diseases, so for a healthy fish to "catch" them, it has to be exposed to an infected fish, either directly (e.g., by placing an infected fish in the aquarium) or
indirectly (e.g., by swapping nets or buckets between healthy and infected aquaria). That said, poor water conditions will reduce the immune system of a fish, making it more susceptible to a variety of complaints, of which Finrot and Fungus are by far the most common.>
Laura
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy problems.. -- 6/14/09

Call you Neale...Yes sir! I'm just of the opinion that if someone takes the time an effort to earn a PhD, they've also earned the right to be addressed by their proper title.
<Having "Dr" before your name is mostly of use when you want your bank or some other faceless bureaucrat to not treat you like a moron.>
So...Neale :-) If I don't have Velvet or Ich in the house and haven't introduced any new fish etc.. they're not going to get/have it now, right?
<Correct. It has sometimes been said that Ick can lie dormant in tanks, just waiting to spring into life, but there's no evidence this is the case, and the vets who's work I've read don't believe that happens.>
I'm freaking out because I'm leaving town for two weeks. It's the first time my fish will be w/o me for so long and I'm nervous I'm going to come home to a bunch of dead guppies.
<Well, that may or may not happen, but it won't be because of Ick! Here's my tips: Do a 50% water change the afternoon before you leave. That way, you can see if something went amiss that day, for example the heater not being switched back on, and put things right. Next up, decide either to leave them no food at all, or carefully measured portions. Since Guppies are herbivores, I'd by preference just throw in something like a few slices of cucumber to graze on most of the time, but regardless, if you want them fed, put 3-4 meals in paper envelopes. Leave these for the babysitter to use, and hide everything else! Before you leave, just check the fish are healthy, and that's it! Nothing more need be done.>
Thanks again.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy problems.. -- 6/14/09

You know, one question seems to lead to another! Your instructions are interesting. I was going to leave them with automatic feeders, scheduled to feed them twice a day.
<Eek... no, no! The whole point to fish as pets is they don't need food every day, and for up to two weeks, most species will go without food without the least trouble. I routinely have my fish "baby sat" with single
meals every 3-4 days. This has a variety of advantages. Firstly, there's less nitrate build up while you're gone. Secondly, the fish are less likely to be overfed by a well-meaning baby sitter. Thirdly, there's no risk of the feeding device jamming or otherwise adding all the food at once, gumming up with stale flake, or whatever. Fourthly, if the filter fails, there's less ammonia being added to the system, so less chance of dead fish on your return.>
Mostly, because 2 weeks seems like a really long time.
<It's nothing. Seriously.>
I do have a sitter coming for my land critters, and it sounds like you recommend just having him feed them once every 3 days or so?
<Perfect.>
Would the same rules apply for my Betta and African Clawed Frogs (is it xenopi or xenopusses?)
<Would be fine for these too, and indeed any cold-blooded animal.
Warm-blooded animals have to eat constantly because they expend vast amounts of energy on homeostasis, including warming themselves; hence a cat will need to eat daily, whilst a predatory snake of similar mass will only need to eat once a week, if that.>
Guppies are herbivores? I always thought they were omnivores.
<Yes, you're right; what I meant was that they can easily get by on plant foods for long periods of time. But in the wild they'd be eating algae, zooplankton and insect larvae. Mollies by contrast are almost entirely
algae-eaters in the wild and have specially modified mouthparts that let them scrape away at algae.>
That's SO interesting because the livebearer food I've used includes dried blood worms. And, I've even given them bloodworms as an occasional treat.
<Domesticated Guppies will eat just about anything, but I recommend all livebearers be given predominantly plant-based foods (such as Spirulina flake) as a staple, with animal foods such as bloodworms as a treat. That said, unless your Guppies show consistent signs of ill-health or constipation, I wouldn't be too worried about this aspect of their care.>
And why do they eat their fry?
<Because evolution has programmed them to do otherwise. In the wild Guppy fry will immediately seek shallow water or hiding places around floating plants. This keeps them away from the adults which are in different parts of the pond or whatever. So there's no selection pressure on Guppies in favour of adults that can tell the difference between a baby Guppy and a mosquito larva. Hence, adult Guppies view anything small and wriggly as dinner, whether it's a baby fish or a baby insect. Biology is replete with stuff that makes no sense at all until it's viewed in terms of evolution rather than practical usefulness. Cheers, Neale.>
Thanks, Neale. You rock!
<Indeed I do.>
Laura
<Cheers, Neale.>

My guppy, hlth., reading... - 05/03/09
Dear WWM Crew
Unfortunately, my guppy has died before I could find out what is wrong with him.
<Oh dear.>
But still I would like to know for future references.
Here are the symptoms:
He would swim with his head pointing up and swim in circles, then jolt around and fall to the bottom. Then he would get like a hyper rush and swim really fast around my tank and then fall to the bottom and he would continue to do that. To me he seemed like he was drunk or has gone insane from being in a tank.
<Sounds like a water quality or water chemistry issue.
Just to recap, Guppies need an aquarium at least 15-20 gallons in size, with 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. Fancy Guppies cannot be used in immature aquaria: they are too delicate. Water chemistry should be hard and alkaline; pH 7.5-8, 10-25 degrees dH. The addition of marine salt mix to the water at around 3-5 grammes per litre dramatically improves their health, and makes it much easier to ensure the hard, alkaline conditions they enjoy. But note that while Guppies don't mind salty water, lots of other fish do.>
I got him a couple days ago with a female guppy and she is doing fine.
<For the moment, at least...>
My tank is a 5 gallon tank and it has 1 sucker fish, 1 frog (previously 2), 1 crab and now one guppy. It is a fairly new tank, I have had it for about a month and a half.
<Your tank is far too small for Guppies, let alone all these animals.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppies.htm
I have no idea what a "sucker fish" is, but if either Pterygoplichthys or Gyrinocheilus, you are going to regret buying this animal!
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/loricariids.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/algaeeatersart.htm
As for Frogs, they're best kept in their own aquaria; see here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
Crabs are mostly terrestrial, and don't belong in aquaria at all.>
Please help.
Thank you in advance,
Nicole
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Please help my female guppies 04/23/09
Hi
I've just discovered this site and cant find any faq that refer to my guppies.
<Sure you can. Start here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/livebearers.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/poeciliids.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/guppies.htm>
We did have 7 female guppies and 4 males. When we bought our females we soon realized every one of them were pregnant so quickly invested in a breeding net for the heavily pregnant ones. So far 2 of our females have given birth to over 100 fry who have been placed in a different tank. The problem we are having is that every couple of days our females seem to be just dying for no apparent or visible reasons!
<When fish "randomly" die, it's almost always an environmental issue.
Review what it is that Guppies need: a tank 20 gallons or larger in size; a reasonably good filtration system; hard, basic water (pH 7.5-8, 10+ degrees dH), and a temperature around 25 C. Water quality has to be good: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite.>
in the last week alone we have lost 5 of our females including the two that have given birth. We had our water checked with our local pet store and the water was fine, we have a good filter, heater and air going through the tank.
<"Good" and "fine" mean nothing to me. I need the numbers!>
We also have 9 Neons and a Plec cat fish.
<Well, a Plec is a big fish, and if it's an adult, that means a 55 gallon or larger aquarium. Even a youngster around 10 cm/4 inches or smaller is a very messy fish. So my guess here is your tank is overstocked and
under filtered. That's the usual thing when people have "mystery deaths".>
Our males are swimming around absolutely fine as are the Neons and the Plec.
But our last 2 remaining females seem sluggish. admittedly both are pregnant so they have been put in separate breeding nets. All our females ate well, swam well and were generally healthy there colours were lovely and still were when they died. We bought our females all together so I'm worried our last two might be going the same way as our previous 5. Can you offer us any help please.
Thank you for taking the time to read this
Deanne x
<Cheers, Neale.>
My female guppy 4/24/09

Hi
One of my female guppies appears to be swimming very fast but not actually moving anywhere,
<"The Shimmies" it's called; some sort of disease, usually associated with water chemistry and quality problems. Review the basic needs for Guppies and act accordingly.>
She is visibly okay from what I can see. Any idea why she is doing this? My second female guppy is heavily pregnant and one of her fins on the right hand side just started sticking out. I've been keeping a close eye on her all day and so far I have not actually seen her move that fin. Can you please tell me what I can do to help both these guppies ?
<Keep them properly.>
Thanks in advance
Deanne
<Most issues with fancy Guppies come down to people keeping them in tanks that are too small, with water that is not sufficient hard and acidic, and with filters inadequate to their needs. Do see here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/guppies.htm
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: My female guppy 4/26/09

Just an update both our females did die in the end. Our tank is a 25 gallon. ammon 0.6
<Right here is why the fish are not well. Ammonia, even at very small amounts, is dangerous. Usually, if you detect ammonia, there are three things going on: [a] overfeeding; [b] under-filtration; [c] overstocking.
Review, and act accordingly. Do also check your tap water; some supplies may have traces of ammonia, in which case you'll need to treat with an ammonia-remover before use.>
night 0 ph 7.4 temp 26 degrees c. But thanks for your info on our fish.
Deanne
<Cheers, Neale.>

Guppy Grave? 4/11/2009
Dear WWM Crew,
a few weeks ago, I had purchased 7 guppies from my LFS. Over the weeks, I noticed that many of my guppies were dying.
<Are these fancy Guppies? Fancy Guppies are much less hardy than the wild type of the "mongrel" guppies we call Feeder Guppies. Fancy Guppies are less adaptable in terms of water chemistry, and much more fussy about temperature and especially water quality. To keep Fancy Guppies you need a fairly large tank (I'd recommend 15-20 gallons, minimum) equipped with a filter and a heater. Water chemistry *must* be hard (10+ degrees dH, and the harder the better) and the water must be basic (pH 7.5-8). There needs to be zero ammonia and zero nitrite. The addition of marine salt mix, while not essential, is extremely helpful; generic aquarium salt by contrast won't raise the pH and hardness, so does remarkably little in terms of optimising their living conditions. If you aren't doing ALL the things listed above, then your Guppies are almost certainly dying not because of some mystery disease, but rather environmental issues.>
After a few days, one male guppy showed signs of SBD, but then I noticed a white cotton looking thing on his eye.
<SBD is "swim bladder disease"? If so, this is almost never what is actually going on! When aquarists use this term, it's rather like telling your doctor you're "under the weather" -- completely meaningless. When fish get sick, constipated, exposed to chilling, or any one of a variety of other problems, they can act as if their swim bladder isn't working properly; in other words, they become lethargic or lose balance. This doesn't point to any one disease any more than a heartburn in humans, and to extend that metaphor a bit, just as heartburn can mean anything from eating too fast through to a heart attack, so can "swim bladder disease" mean a variety of different things, from a lack of fibre in the diet through to systemic bacterial infection.>
I removed him from the tank and placed him in a separate bowl.
<Why? Was this bowl heated and filtered? Do always remember that the idea of treatment is to improve, not worsen, conditions. If someone had the 'flu in your house, would you dump them in a forest? No. To get better, they need optimal living conditions. Just so with fish; when they get sick, and you decide to treat them, then treat them in a tank *at least* as good as their home aquarium.>
I treated him and came back a few hours later to find him barely moving.
The next day, I found one of my snails trying to eat him, and I knew he was dead.
<No surprise here; you moved the sick fish into an unfiltered, unheated bowl where it was exposed to worse conditions. If it was sick before, your actions here simply accelerated (and perhaps caused) its death. If I'm labouring this point a bit, understand I'm writing this not just for you but for other readers. It is extremely common for people to try and "help" sick animals without actually realising they're making things worse.>
The next guppy that died was a female, who, some how, was sucked up to the filter, and suffocated.
<No; healthy fish don't get sucked into filters. Even baby fish can swim strongly enough to avoid this grisly fate. When a dead fish is found in a filter or stuck to the inflow nozzle, it's almost always because the fish
was dead or at least moribund first.>
Then, a few days later, a bright orange male guppy completely disappeared, with no trace of body or fight. Some time later, two guppies mysteriously died, one F, one M, which I found lying dead at the bottom of my tank. The last remaining guppies were carefully monitored.
<When you say "monitored" what do you mean? Looking at fish is fine, but that's no more useful than your doctor simply glancing at you. As a doctor would take your pulse, listen to your heartbeat, have you say "ahhh" and so on, you, the fishkeeper, need to do diagnostic tests. In this case, there are two: pH and nitrite. Without those key bits of data, separating out environmental issues (too low a pH/hardness; poor water quality) from genuine disease is impossible.>
When I got my other tank set up in my room, I moved the male guppy into the tank, leaving the female with my other fish. So far, nothing else has happened, and both tanks were 40 gals. Is there something wrong with the way I took care of them?
<Impossible for me to say without knowing [a] water chemistry; and [b] water quality.>
There wasn't much temperature change in those days, as I've read guppies can die from a rapid change.
<Fancy Guppies certainly don't tolerate rapid changes. They're "delicate" fish, and need to be treated as such.>
I hope there's a reply soon! I want to protect my last two guppies! Bebe
<Hope this helps, and happy Easter. Cheers, Neale.>

I'm baaaack...Guppies Fin Rot/Fish TB -- 03/07/09 Crew, <Laura> I know by now I'm becoming something of a pain in the neck. I tried consulting with a couple of exotic pet vets and one of the better local fish stores before contacting you again, but no one knows what to tell me. This is about my guppies again. For a quick review, I've been treating for what appeared to be fin rot. Dr. Monks and Mr. Fenner, after I told them it spread to my Betta tank somehow, figured I was dealing with something more like Fish TB and recommend I use a Furan Compound. Three treatments over the course of nine days. Well, I'm half way through the second treatment and I'm not noticing a substantial improvement in any of the fish. One of the guppies may be improving, but that could also be just wishful thinking on my part. Should I see evidence of tail re-growth, or diminishing of red spots or streaks at some point during the 9 day treatment? <Not necessarily... these "things take time"> All the fish seem fine in all other respects, eating, swimming and behaving normally. Though, they don't particularly like the Q Tank. I don't want to give up on them, I have quite a large emotional and time investment in them, but, goodness, what's going on? Thanks for the input. Laura <Patience. BobF>
Fin Rot still... guppies, Columnaris? 04/03/09

Hello again,
<Laura>
Several weeks ago I wrote regarding some mysterious "fin rot" looking illness effecting my guppy and Betta tanks. It didn't respond to Maracyn or Maracyn II treatment so Mr. Fenner recommended I use a furan compound. I used Furanace, and it didn't seem to be working after about 9 days.
<Dang!>
Mr. Fenner advised patience. I waited a bit ,and decided to try one more round of treatment with Furanace to see if there would be any improvement. I'm sad to report, there has been no improvement in either tank. I lost one guppy, but I think this might have been due to complications during the birthing process. The remaining guppies show no improvement. They're not getting worse as far as I can tell, however. The Betta, on the other hand, is getting worse. I don't know what to do at this point. The systems are as follows:
Ammonia, Nitrite, 0 in both tanks. Nitrate in both tanks is less than 20ppm. Both tanks have live plants, that seem to be thriving. The guppy system is Brackish with a SG of 1.003. It's 29 gallons with 10 guppies and their fry. Water temp is 79 F. The Betta system is fresh with a Malawi Salt mix added in hopes of stabilizing a very low KH and slightly acidic pH.
It's 10 gallons.
Water temp is around 79 F. The Betta is the only inhabitant. Both systems have sponge filters running on air pumps that turn the full tank 4 times an hour.
Thanks for any help.
Laura
<Next in line of a possible fix here: Neomycin Sulfate... Please do read re this antibiotic's use... and the symptoms of Columnaris... Bob Fenner>
Re: Fin Rot still... 4/3/09

Thank you for your response. I looked up Columnaris, and it doesn't lookalike a match. What I read said that the acute kind of Columnaris kills in hours, and the chronic kind kills in days.
<Yes... this is usually the case/etiology... However... it can be "forestalled" by salt, the use of other antimicrobials... Do allow me a small comment here... this process (a blitzkrieg) of testing by treating is entirely unsatisfying... likely to you, definitely to me... But is the too-patterned method employed by home-hobbyists. Do you have access to a 400 or higher power microscope? Some basal micro- tools, dyes...? If so... we could have a much more directed conversation>
The fish have had this now for months, literally. Also, there aren't any white patches, spots, or cottony areas.
<Oh... then we're very likely, make that VERY... talking environmental roots of your troubles here>
In the Betta, the only symptom is the tail splitting.
<Environmental>
In the guppy tank, the symptoms are even more elusive. One male has two red spots on his tail. The other male's tail looks uneven, but not splitting like the Betta, and no red spots. All of the females have what appear to be perfectly healthy finnage.
<Could be just chasing each other...>
The only exceptions are two females who have some very faint reddening of the tail edges and one female whose tail seems to be fading at the edges. Other than that, everything is perfectly normal.
The eating, swimming, and behavior of all fish, (affected and unaffected alike) seem to be perfectly normal. Should I still try the Neomycin Sulfate?
Laura
<Mmm, no... let's move back to square one... and you please give me all detail you have on the system/s, water quality, any decor that is in the tanks... What you do with what water you employ... There is "something" amiss here... metal, shells, an agate... in the tank/s that is causing your fishes to be too stressed. You have read on WWM re Guppy systems, diseases?
B>
Re: Fin Rot still... 4/3/09

Mr. Fenner,
First, thanks for taking the time to help me with this. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your support. Now for the information you requested.
Guppy Tank:
* 12 Fancy Guppies (10 females, 2 males) in a 29 G tank.
<Fine>
* 2 sponge filters stacked and running on an air pump that's circulating 200 GPH
<Fine>
* Water temp is 79.4 F
<A bit high, but not intolerable>
* Water chemistry is brackish with SG of 1.003
* Water Parameters are: NH3 = 0, NO2 = 0, NO3 = 20 (these were the weekly
parameters since the establishment of the bio-filter 5 months ago)
<NO3 at about the maximum I'd allow. This may indicate, be an indicator of the real source of trouble here>
I use Prime as the de-chlorinator and water conditioner. This is a relatively new practice. Until about one month ago I used just a tap water de-chlorinator. I was told that Prime helped fish that were stressed or ill, so I thought I'd try it.
<Is fine>
For lighting I have a full spectrum florescent 18W bulb in the standard hood fixture.
There is one live Anubias plant. I dose twice weekly with Seachem Flourish. As for the ornamentation, there is black gravel, about 15 river rocks,
<?! Where did these originate? Did you collect them? Do you have an Alkalinity test kit... Please see below>
5 fake "planted" plants, and some fake floating plants for fry to hide in. There is a small "treasure chest", a small fake rock made to look like there's coral on it, a larger fake rock/coral thing all with holes and spaces for the fish to swim in and out of. Not sure what they're made of but they were purchased at the local pet store, and made by TopFin. I don't know if that helps or not. I faithfully test the water in the tank every Thursday. The parameters are always perfect with ammonia and nitrite at 0.
I also faithfully gravel vac, and change 10 gallons of water every Friday.
<Good amount, interval>
Yes, being guppies I get a litter or two of fry every couple of weeks.
<A good sign>
The fry are removed from the tank during the Friday water change and (forgive the harsh reality here) fed to my frogs. (Xenopus) I feed them once a day, dry flakes that say they're for livebearers. They also get an occasional treat of frozen bloodworms, but that's only about once per month. Also, when there are fry present, I feed Hikari Fry Food. Again, just once per day. They clear the food in about 3 minutes or less. I should point out that, since treating with Furanace the KH has dropped substantially to about 40ppm, ph has come down some from 7.2 to about 6.8,
<Yes... to be expected>
and I had a partial loss of the bio filter, so the parameters are no longer "ideal". I'm doing more frequent small water changes to help re-cycle the tank.
Now on to the Betta tank:
1 male Betta in 10G tank
1 sponge filter running on an air pump that's circulating 40GPH
Water temp is about 80 F
Water Parameters are: NH3=0, NO2=0, and NO3<10. (these were the weekly parameters since the establishment of the bio-filter 6 months ago)
I began using Prime in this tank at the same time I started using it in the guppy tank.
For lighting I have full spectrum 8W Compact Florescent bulbs in the standard hood fixture.
There is one live banana plant. I dose twice weekly with Seachem Flourish.
There is a "Sphinx" ornament(also made by TopFin), multi-colored gravel, five river rocks,
<Again...>
and fake plants floating at the surface. Water level is about 1.5 inches from the top. My maintenance regime is the same as for the guppy tank. I faithfully test the water in the tank every Thursday. The parameters are always perfect with ammonia and nitrite at 0. Of course, I only change about 3 or 4 gallons of the water during the weekly gravel vac.
I feed him once a day. Almost always frozen Spirulina Brine Shrimp, though I occasionally switch it up to frozen bloodworms. As with the guppy tank, since treating with Furanace KH dropped to about 40ppm and ph has dropped to 6.8. In this tank, I've had a complete loss of the bio-filter and am in the process of a complete "fish in" re-cycle. For this tank, because of the drop in KH and the worsening of the fish's tail, I decided to try a 50% dose of a Malawi Salt Mix recipe given to me by Dr. Monks. It's 1/2 teaspoon each of freshwater aquarium salt and baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts. I've only started this in the last week, again hoping to stabilize KH and pH. I was also hoping the salt might aid in healing.
<Could>
To answer your question, yes, I've read the WWM articles and FAQs about both the guppy and Betta systems. But I've also gone one better, the system I have set up for the guppies was recommended by Dr. Monks in another correspondence. My original email on this was way back on Jan. 29th of this year. So you see I've been dealing with this for some time. Dr. Monks also more or less blessed my maintenance regime during that correspondence. In the interest of full disclosure, I also have a 55g tank set up with 4 Xenopus laevis, and 6 Otocinclus. None of the inhabitants are exhibiting any signs of stress or disease. The bio-filter is intact, and everything is wonderful. If only that were the case in all my tanks. Thanks again for your help.
Laura
<Of all that you mention Laura... the rock is most suspect. If it were me, mine, I'd buy and place a pad of PolyFilter in your circulation, filter flow path... and see what colour/s develop... I suspect something is present here, presenting a low-grade toxicity. The color on the pad will tell us a bit re what this might be. Bob Fenner>

Help! Female guppy with red line protruding from her anus, and thin guppy. 03/04/09 Hello, I'm no newbie at keeping fish, but my female guppy has developed a really strange problem, which I think is caused by my male guppy harassing her trying to mate. <This certainly will stress females. Do remember the three golden rules of mixing male and female livebearers: [A] Lots of space; for Guppies, that's 20 gallons (90 litres) minimum. Smaller tanks just don't give the females any space to find some peace and quiet. [B] Lots of floating plants; these give the females hiding places as well as places for the newborn fry to hide. [C] Lots of females; always always always have at least twice as many females as males. Anything less means the females get constantly harassed. It's cruel to keep them in "pairs", despite them often being sold as such. Me? I keep a single male livebearer with 5-6 females. Works much better.> basically there is a red line, not dangling, but protruding from her anus. <Most probably Camallanus worms, which will need treating with a suitable anti-Helminth medication (Levamisole, Piperazine or Praziquantel often recommended, but Fenbendazole or Flubendazole seem to be much more reliable.).> (by the way, for a guppy do they have separate birthing canal and digestive canal?) It looks sharp and pointy? <Good question! In the case of Poeciliid livebearers, the birth canal and the digestive system share a common opening called a 'cloaca'. This is similar to most vertebrates except for placental mammals.> And its very thin--like a line on a page. <Sounds very like a nematode.> She is eating well, is pregnant (but not heavily pregnant), and is able to poop with no problems. Prior to this, her anus hole looked big, and I thought she might have been ready to give birth. <Hmm...> Have you heard of this before? Do you think this could end up being a fatal problem? <Unfortunately it is rather common among farmed livebearers, and usually when I hear about it via WWM, it seems to be livebearers and cichlids, both farmed under intensive conditions and consequently exposed to parasites more readily. It's fatal if not treated, but can be treated successfully.> Then the second part of my question, Have you ever come across guppies that are just thin? I have this other female guppy that has a thin abdomen, no matter how much I try to fatten her up to a normal looking size. Meaning that her abdomen has a slight curve rather than a straight line. <Could be a parasitic infection, or a "wasting disease", or simply skinny genes... Would treat all your Guppies with Fenbendazole or Flubendazole in the same tank, on the assumption all may be infected to some degree, even if only the one is obviously infected.> When she was pregnant, she became "normal" sized, then after giving birth (and having all her fry eaten by the other guppies), she went back to being thin again. She has a good appetite, and if I put her in a large net and feed her, she eats all the food and puts on weight, then the next day she is skinny again. Is it possible for guppies to have worms...? <Yes.> Could you advise me on this please? Thanks for your time....! Regards, -- Wanda <Cheers, Neale.> PS: I now think my other male guppy has caught the "thinness problem". None of the other fish have it, so I don't think it is contagious but I am not sure!! =[ and that male has been swimming as though its tail is dragging it down, and not been eating much. sadness. <Treat them all together! NM.>
Re: Help! Female guppy with red line protruding from her anus, and thin guppy.
03/04/09 Thanks for your help! the male guppy died half an hour after I sent the email...[?] <Oh dear!> One last question: would it be a problem if the guppy fry get dosed by the medication too? I am keeping them in a breeder tank within the main tank for now. <They should be fine. Generally fish medications don't harm baby fish.> And would the mediation affect the snails I have living in my tank? <I'd remove them to another tank if possible, especially if they're big/messy things like Apple snails.> Cheers, <Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies - male swimming funny -- 03/03/09 Good morning, I have a 10-gallon tank, and I'm a very conscientious new aquarist (about 6 months) with some success. We have some Corys, male guppies and lampeye tetras in our tank. I've been testing the water, cleaning the tank & filter, feeding not too much/too little, feeding high-quality pellets and changing 30% of the water every week since we started our tank. All except for this past month. I went on vacation and bought an automatic feeder. I set it for once in the morning and once at night, and I used cheaper flakes because the pellets seemed to fall out too fast. I went a bit over 2 weeks before changing the water prior to vacation, changed it right before I left, and then the poor guys went another 2 weeks while we were gone. When we came back, they still had lots of food floating in the tank, so I immediately changed the water. We lost one guppy, and now another is swimming head up/tail down, a bit jittery, and a majority of the time in one place. He's still eating, and he does swim around sometimes. But, he's not swimming like his normal self, though I will mention he doesn't look as bad as the first one we lost. Since then (about a week ago), I've cleaned the filter, changed the water (30%) every day, and tested it: Nitrates: 0-5 PH 7.0 These numbers seem fine, are they not? I don't have an ammonium tester - could that be the problem? Could the cheap food flakes have caused this? How often do you think I should change the water now? It did seem to help when I changed it last night, but I'm certain this guppy is still a bit unhappy. I've read about constipation (and feeding peas) and about using salt treatments, but I'm not quite sure what the little guy has. He's eating and pooping. There are no white spots, red spots, scratching along the gravel...just looks jittery and is swimming tail down. All the other fish seem quite fine. I think I might be pushing the overstocked limits, but these fish seem(ed) fairly well conditioned to the environment, except when I went 4 weeks with only 2 water changes. Well, I've been obsessing over your site and over my fish. Any advice you have would be most welcome!! Thanks, Lynne in San Francisco <Lynne, part of your problem is that the tank is far too small. A 10-gallon tank isn't useful for Guppies, and certainly not in conjunction with Corydoras and tetras. In very small tanks you have an uphill struggle to maintain a steady pH, adequate oxygenation, and above all reliably good water quality. For the fish you have, a tank not less than 20 gallons would be essential. Period. End of discussion. Trying to recommend "fixes" for this tank are akin to rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic. In terms of specifics, your Guppy likely has something called the "Shimmies", a neurological complaint apparently related to water quality and water chemistry problems. When livebearers are stressed, they often react this way. Behaviours including rocking from side to side, treading water, and other odd swimming movements. Improving water conditions will help, though there's no treatment as such that can be guaranteed to cure it. Just as a reminder, Guppies are classic hard water fish, and you're aiming for a pH of between 7.5 and 8, and the hardness should be upwards of 10 degrees dH. Adding 3-5 grammes of marine salt mix (not tonic salt, not aquarium salt) per litre will dramatically improve their health, though tetras and catfish should not be kept in a tank with brackish water. If you cannot move the tetras and cats, then don't use marine salt mix at all, and instead concentrate on raising the carbonate hardness by incorporating some calcareous media (e.g., crushed coral) in the filter, but use small amounts at first so you don't raise the carbonate hardness, and thus the pH, too far or too quickly. Just a reminder: adjusting the pH isn't the aim here, so don't go pouring pH potions into the tank; livebearers care about carbonate hardness, which would seem to be low in your tank if you have a pH of 7. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppies - male swimming funny -- 03/03/09
Thank you for this response. I really appreciate getting your advice. <You're welcome.> I'll try the coral to see if that helps. <Don't confuse a media bag filled with crushed coral with just sticking a dead coral into the aquarium! A dead coral will not have the desired effect. Water has to be flowing past the crushed coral under pressure to absorb the calcium carbonate fast enough. For a 10-gallon tank, I'd be trying maybe 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of crushed coral in a media bag (the foot of an old pair of nylons works fine). Stick this into the filter, and off you go. If you have an undergravel filter, mix the crushed coral into the gravel. But again, just dumping crushed coral in a regular gravel substrate won't work either; there needs to be water flow!> I've been feeling like the tank is too small too, but was advised as such by the fish store. <Oh.> I'll be considering getting a new tank then. <Make sense. Saving a couple bucks getting a 10-gallon tank is invariably wasted by the dead fish, medications you end up having to buy. It's a fool's economy. A 20-gallon tank will absorb a lot more punishment before things go wrong, and is easily the best recommendation for casual aquarists. Who don't want to be fiddling with dead fish all the time.> Thanks a ton. Lynne <Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies, babies, Ich trtmt. 3/2/09 hi I have found Ick in my tank on a neon tetra ,I have treated before with Ick guard and it worked. I would like to use it again but I have found some baby fish in my tank if I lower the dose will it harm the babies? and will it work? <Ick medication used correctly should do no harm to livebearer fry. Do not reduce the dosage or it won't work! Remember to remove carbon from the filter while treating the fish. Cheers, Neale.>

HELP!!!! Guppies with the shimmy shimmy shakes... and worse 2/17/09 Hello everyone. I have a major problem! <Oh?> My guppies had the shakes, they were closed fin and kinda shaky I did a half tank water change on my 55 gallon and noticed they were still sick two days later. <Hmm... with Poeciliids generally, the "shakes" is often a sign of severe stress, typically induces by water chemistry issues. Guppies need at-least moderately hard water with a pH above 7.5 to do well. Arguably, the addition of a small quantity of marine salt mix helps by raising pH and carbonate hardness as well as salinity. In any event, if exposed to a sudden pH drop, as can happen in old tanks with limited carbonate hardness, they are among the first fish to show signs of stress. This is doubly true with Fancy Guppies, which are an order of magnitude less robust than wild-type Guppies (be they feeders or genuine wild Guppies).> I noticed one of my 30 Cory cats had a white fungus spot on her fin so I put some Melafix in along with Prime for the new water change. These fish had been doing wonderful for the last 10 years. My cats breed like crazy. <Well, Melafix is completely unreliable, and in terms of fixing a Fungus problem is only marginally better than praying to the Fish Gods. I would certainly be using some appropriate (and scientifically tested) anti-fungal, e.g., one based on Acriflavine or malachite green. Here in England, I recommend eSHa 2000; in other parts of the world you will doubtless have other brands available.> Since then all my guppies (60 or more) have passed on. They were dead on the bottom every morning 6-10 each day. I did another water change thinking it was the Melafix. Maybe quarter tank. <Hmm... if there's a massive fish loss, there are two steps. Firstly, check the water chemistry and temperature. Write them down. Next up, change as much of the water as is practical, 75% or more. If the water chemistry is the same as it usually is, then replace the old water with new, dechlorinated water that has similar water chemistry and temperature. (Note: big water changes only cause problems *if* the water chemistry and temperature changes are severe.) This will flush out any problems such as ammonia, nitrite, or toxins like bug spray or detergent. If the old water chemistry was way off, e.g., instead of being the normal pH 7.5, it was down at pH 6.2, you'll have to gradually acclimate the fish to the "correct" conditions. Do this by adding new water with the right water chemistry a bucket at a time, or such that it takes 60 minutes to fill the whole aquarium up, with 10 minutes between each bucket (or fraction/multiple buckets) of water. This way, you're acclimating the fish to new water conditions, just as if you were introducing new fish you'd just bought from the pet store. By the way, take care to leave the filter running through all this, even if that means lowering the inlet/outlet pipes. If you absolutely cannot leave the filter running, then disconnect but then put the biological media in a nice shallow basin of aquarium water so the oxygen can get in and keep the bacteria happy. Switch off and left closed up, some filters (e.g., canister filters) can die back after 20 minutes or so. The last thing you want to deal with is an ammonia crisis. You can safely disconnect the heater though; for the sake of an hour or so, the lack of a heater won't make any difference.> Still my guppies were dropping like flies. Now it has moved on to my beloved Cory catfish. Fish the pandas started dying two three at a time. Their fins and bodies started deteriorating. Now my albinos and greens are dying 4 or 5 at a time. It looks like their bodies are turning to stone, then they start going nuts, swimming erratically and are belly up. <Do review water chemistry and water quality, quickly! Whenever you get lots of fish across different species, it's almost never a "disease" as such, but an environment. Think of it this way: if you came across a bunch of sick people, you'd assume an epidemic of some sort, but if you say sick people, sick dogs, sick cattle, sick birds, you'd assume pollution. Just so in a fish tank; if lots of fish are all getting ill at the same time, it's time to review environmental conditions. The death is moving faster and faster through the tank. My mollies (3 of them) and banjo cats are unaffected. <So far...> I have 2 whiptail and Farlowellas they are fine too. <So far... Farlowella spp. catfish are notoriously sensitive to poor conditions.> My plants are green and healthy. What is going on here???? I have done another water change and major filter cleaning in case it was the meds but still the cats are dying, the guppies have seemed to stabilize just one or two look bad. I only have maybe 10 left. Help me...... <As I say, the "triage" element is a big water change, but first do the "investigation" element to test for ammonia and/or nitrite (i.e., water quality) and also the pH and ideally hardness (to test for water chemistry stability). To me, this sounds like either a pH crash, accidental poisoning of the aquarium (e.g., by bug spray or paint fumes), or an ammonia/nitrite spike (e.g., by overfeeding or a blocked filter).> Jamie <Good luck, Neale.> <<RMF also suspects Columnaris here>>

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