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FAQs on Guppy Diseases 2

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


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


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



Guppy poo, and anomalous spot...   2/24/07 Hello, My female guppy frequently has a long thin something or other hanging behind her anal fin.  It's usually pale in color and has a ropey look to it.  It is not anchor worms according to what I've read.   It's not the other typical worm I don't think, because it doesn't look like a "paint brush".  It is pretty much the same end to end with an almost braided look.  It may be white or pink and sometimes has a black area here or there.   I'm not sure how to treat it, because I don't know what it is. <Is likely just fecal material> She also has one white spot on her back from time to time. <And this subsequent to some environmental complaint> Otherwise, she swims well and eats.  I don't see that hanging thing in either of the two male guppies I have.  I thought I saw something on one of the mollies, but I'm not sure. This has been going on for a couple of weeks now. I almost bought the Praziquantel medication, but I'm not sure that's what is needed. <Mmm, for worm/s of some sort?> Should I try that medication? <I would not> Is there one that's better than the others? <...> I will probably have to expose all the other fish to the medicine. Does that medication help to treat what might still be alive in the gravel and rocks at the bottom of the tank? Thank you. <You're more likely to kill your beneficial bacteria, and livestock... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwenvdisease.htm The linked files above. Bob Fenner>


Guppies... actually commitment to life-keeping  2/5/07 Hi, I have mollies and guppies.  I am down to <Down to?> 3 guppies, two males and one female.  Keeping an aquarium is a lot harder than I thought. <Really? With "proper" set-up, should be a proverbial breeze... maybe an hour or so a week to maintain...>   All the mollies given to me have survived so far, and even 4 babies that have grown pretty big.  The guppies keep dying. <Why?> Today, one male guppy developed a big round cyst-like thing on his tail.  On one side it looks orange, and on the other white- maybe that is because of the colors of his tail.  When you see him from the front, this bump sticks out a lot.  What is this?   <A big cyst-like thing... orangish> I have searched the site without success.  Is it a disease? <Likely resultant from an environmental complaint... What is your water chemistry like? What sort of water quality parameters do these poeciliids enjoy/tolerate?> Also, I wondered why my guppies die down at the bottom of the tank.  Don't dead fish usually float to the top?   <Not necessarily...> Mine never do.  They fall to the bottom of the tank when they die. Thank you. BLS <Time to encourage you to take a "few steps back"... Perhaps you're not suited, or ready for aquarium-keeping... Caring enough to involve oneself sufficiently is requisite to being earnest at anything... Do you want to make a/the commitment to caring for this life? If so, please do read... on fishbase.org, WWM re these species care (indeed, all is posted)... If not, perhaps inanimate pursuits are better for you. Bob Fenner>


Hello. Guppy beh., dis.    1/30/07 Hello Mr. Fenner, <Amanda> My question isn't very specific... but in my 10 gallon tank I have 2 fancy guppies, 1 male and 1 female... the female had about 30 fry. This event took place about 2 weeks ago. They're coming along quite well. This isn't my problem though. I think it's because of the male but out of all the female guppies I've had (8 in total), the mother of the fry is the only one that has survived. The first 3 that died must have been hiding from the male because I found them in the cave like ornament I have in my tank. The 4th one that died was pregnant and got Finrot or ich which the other 2 females later got. The mother of the fry has it now.. but I think it's because of the male biting her. There's a big white 'blotch?' at the base of her tail fin and her tail, which was once black, is now a horrible white color. Her tail kinda of bends downward from the rest of her body. She kind of resembles a roof? <Good description> I think she's going to die like the rest of them. I want to know how to prevent this because she's a really great fish. Unlike most guppies I've seen, she's about 3.5" including her tail. <Wow!> I also have 4 happy little Neons and an Otocinclus in this tank. The Otocinclus does absolutely fine and seems content as do the Neons. The guppies (just the adult females) are what I have trouble keeping. I don't want to get more female guppies to reduce the problem, because then my tank will be overcrowded as the fry are growing up. Oh yes, the fry are separated from the rest with a plastic partition. They're all happy and fine. I feed them with flake food and they're doing great. I don't feed them live food. Is that absolutely necessary anyways? <Is not necessary, no> For nutritional purposes and enhancing color I believe. I've done a LOT of research but I'm just looking for some advice from an actual person rather than reading stuff. Anyways.. if you help me with this, I'll really appreciate it. Your website is a great source of info. I've learned a lot from other people's questions alone.   Thanks again, Amanda. <I would try separating this rogue male (maybe in a small plastic floating colander in the tank) for a week or so... This often takes the "spit and vinegar" out of a "mean" fish... But do please read on the Net, elsewhere re Columnaris (Chondrococcus) disease... Maybe Google... Images... as I fear this may be at play here as well. Bob Fenner>

Re: hello, guppy beh., hlth. Hi again, <Amanda> Thanks for your help. Unfortunately though, the guppy died. I can't stand losing them. but there's no good pet shops closer than an hour so I don't really have good resources, and we don't travel much. So after I removed her from the tank, I put the fry in with the Neons and the Otocinclus because they're now too big to be eaten by them. <Good> They're not big, they're just too big to be eaten. So since the partitioned side was empty and Tiget [male guppy] was chasing the fry around, I put him on that side all by himself. <Also good> Putting the fry with the others won't bother the Neons will it? <Not at all> They don't seem to be too upset but I just want to make sure so I don't cause unnecessary stress. Thanks, Amanda <Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>


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


Dying guppies, over-mis-stocked 1/20/07 Hi, <Hello, Tony, JustinN with you today.> I've read most of the FAQ's that you have on guppies, but can't find what I'm looking for, hence a question that I would be grateful if you can answer.   <I will try, my friend.> I have a 90L tank that has been setup for at least 18 months.   <Ok> It has Plecos, sucking loaches, harlequins, cardinals, glow light tetras, shrimps, swordtails, platys & guppies in it.   <You don't mention how many of each of these fishes are placed in your aquarium, but regardless, you are incredibly over and mis stocked, my friend. Unless your Plecostomus are dwarf species, they will likely outgrow your tank in short order. This could also be a potential problem with the loaches. This doesn't even begin to outline the incompatibilities in water types you have...> Up to around 6 months ago everything was working fine, the guppies were breading <breeding> so much that we were giving a load of the babies away to friends on a regular basis.  However, now things have changed.  They are still breading <breeding>, but the babies are dying quickly afterwards; not only that, but the adults are also dying, in fact we have lost about 30 in the past 6 months (not all at the same time, as they were dying we were replacing them). <It is my personal belief that your fish are dying due to the overstocked conditions in your tank. There is not likely enough room for all of the fish to happily coexist, and there is likely some sort of outward aggression taking place that you are not seeing. Likewise, it is possible that the nitrogenous waste buildup from so many fish is just overwhelming.> The strange thing is that apart from a couple of platys, nothing else seems to be having any issues.  I've tested the water, the Nitrites are high and I'm trying to sort that out with some stuff in a tea-bag looking thing.   <Not a real solution here, my friend. Your nitrates are high because you are so overstocked. The chemical additive you have running is at best a stop-gap solution -- you need to lower the stocking level of your aquarium, and execute 25-30% water changes weekly at minimum.> Ammonia is very low from the test, hardness, PH, etc are looking ok....any thoughts?    <If there is any detectable ammonia in the water, this is a problem as well. Both the presence of high nitrates and ammonia would be deadly to your newborn fry (what the babies are referred to), and likewise be eventually toxic to your existing livestock.> The only thing that I did notice, today in fact is that one of the guppies had a small cotton-wool like lump on it, so I isolated it into another tank, added some Medicare...and it died. <Not sure what 'Medicare' would be, but most the time, cottony appearing growth is fungal. This is not a disease, it is a sign of a bad environment. Improve the conditions in your aquarium by reducing stocking levels and improving water quality, and such issues will go away.> Help please, it seems I can't find the answer anywhere on what may be harming / killing the guppies (could it actually be the other fish was one thought I had?) Kind regards Tony <Many possibilities here, Tony. With as many fishes as you have stocked, outward aggression could be coming from any inhabitant. I am fairly certain that most your problems are environmental though, stemming purely from poor water quality. Improve this, and things will look up, my friend. -JustinN>



Please help! Guppy dis.    1/17/06 Hi,    <Hello>   I need your advice please. I have about 70 female guppies and around 15 males in a 240 litre tank. Or 3'x18" and depth front to back 13". <Mmm... crowded...> I did  purchase 2 new males about 10 days ago, they seem to have caused no obvious aggressive problems since placing them in my tank. <No quarantine? You'll learn> For some reason over the last 3 days some of my fish have been dying. 3 days ago, one died, then yesterday 4 died. Then this morning 5 and it still isn't lunch time. My pH is fine and it has been since I set up this tank almost 6 weeks ago. Can you tell me please if it is possible to have a problem with my tap water and it still show when in my tank a normal at 7.4, pH range? <The pH is fine... you've very likely introduced a pathogen...> We live in the hills and our water storage comes from a huge 600,000 gallons attached to the golf course that serves the estate of about 100 homes. What they do is fill that tank from the towns water supply. But they had a problem about a month ago when the automatic system that fills the tank didn't work. It caused the tank to be empty and us to run out of water. I presume there was a concentration of minerals in the last amounts of water. <Mmm, maybe...> I have another aquarium 4 feet long, both are given about a 10% fresh out of the hose  water change every 2 days. The aquarium in question was an outside aqua rime and had an excessive  algae problem. I cleaned it completely after removing all of the fish, then bought it inside. I had no deaths at all for the first 4 weeks it was in the house.   Over the last 5 days or so the fish seem to be spending more time on the surface than usual, other than an occasional drop to the bottom then they come back up. <Yes... so far sounds like either Columnaris/Chondrococcus... or Octomita... both very real possibilities... imported from S.E. Asian breeders...> Mind you they don't do that 100% of the time, but possibly most of it. I am trying to keep my lights off more so they are not directly under light for too long. I use this tank for a breeding tank, it has a dish drainer that I have up one tank, I cut down 2 drainers with small holes and wired them together with fishing line. It works well as the dividers normally used for the cutlery act like shelving and the females sit in them and have their babies and most of the babies swim through the holes into a section of about 6 inches wide and 18inches  depth and 13 inches  back to front, in other words just sectioning off a small part of the full tank. I have been doing this for over a year and have had no problems. I do have some new plants that were in my pond outside that I potted and placed near the dividing section. The pond has had no fish in it for at least 6 months. I washed the plants, removed any snails and put them straight in. I hope I didn't bring any problems with them. But that also was when I set it up 6 weeks ago. I repeat there have been no problems until about 3 days ago. Deaths that is.      I am sorry this letter is so long and I hope not confusing. I am worried my fish may continue to die, they seem to have no injuries and other than one of the males who had blood showing in his body there are no obvious marks on them. I have not seen any fish being aggressive toward them.   I appreciate any help you can give.      Regards, and thank you.   Anne Yates. <Yes.... Read here (and soon) re Guppy Dis: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Please help! Guppy losses   1/19/07 Thank you very much for your response. There are a few errors in my letter that I should explain, or things I neglected to say. Sorry, it doesn't help you for me to have left them out.   First my count of 70 females is not quiet right, I had forgotten the 10 who had died over the last few days, some males also died. It is possibly more like 55 females ranging from just a month or two old to fully grown females. But I take your advice on over crowding, I thought I was about right for tank size. <Mmm... not indefinitely... with growth... further reproduction...>   The other thing I should have mentioned is I did keep my new fish in a floating container about 8 inches across for a day. During that time I removed some of the water and added some. I normally would have quarantined them for longer  but I had my plans of cleaning the aquarium they were meant to go in halted from unforeseen events. They also show no signs of ill health, not that they need to I suppose.   I also didn't mention how a plant that was in my pond had been in the  aquarium  previously but since being in the pond it has grown above the surface and has flowers. Those flowers were never on it when in the  aquarium and I wonder if they may be toxic. <Not likely, no> I am sorry I can't tell you the name of it. It has small leaves and the flower is a tiny mauve flower that has what looks like a long seed head. I have now cut them off. <Mmm, Eichornia crassipes likely...>   I dosed my tank with Aqua Safe and  Betta Fix an antibacterial remedy.   I thank you again for your excellent advice, your web site is a great help.   No deaths since I last wrote.   Anne. <Ahh, thank you for this update. Bob Fenner>


Guppy loss, NNS? hi I bought some guppies we had 5 but now am down to two can u help me I don't know why they are dying ? <Hey Louie, JustinN with you today. We'd love to help you (and all) members of this hobbyist community, but we need a minimum of information to go on to do so. Its beneficial for you to provide us with information such as tank size, current water test parameters, information on existing tankmates, duration the tank has been active, your maintenance regimen and so forth. Furthermore, the cost of our services, or as Bob likes to say 'the coin of our realm', is properly capitalized, punctuated, and grammatical sentences. See here for some base information on our conventions: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/faqstips.htm After reviewing these pages, as well as browsing through our Freshwater subweb on information relating to guppies (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppyfaqs.htm and the links in blue above), feel free to shoot back your question with a bit more definitive information, and we'll gladly try to help you out! -JustinN>


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


Guppy Disease ... and capitalizing every word...   1/12/06 Hi! My Concerned With 2 Of My Male Guppy And A Pregnant Guppy 1. Colour: Half Black Half White. He Is The Biggest Male Guppy In Tank, But He Seems To Have Some Red/Pink Dots On His Skin Between The Dorsal Fins And The Eyes (On The Top Part Of His Body. He Seems To Be Acting Normal And Chasing The Females To Mate And Im Just Wandering If This Could Be Of Any disease? Or What I Could Do To Get Rid Of Those. <Are these spots symmetrical? If so, I would not be concerned... likely part of this fish's coloration/pattern> 2. Colour: Red Tail. He Is One Of The Youngest Guppies In The Tank, Not Including The Fry. The Problem Is That At Some-Times A Black Dot Appears On His Stomach, It Doesn't Seem To Be A Gravid Spot Because I Am Sure He Is A Male. It Is On Both Sides Of His Body, But Sometimes Only On One Side. It Also Gets Smaller And Seems To Fade Away On Some Stages. He Acts Normal, Chasing The Females Around. Is This A Some Kind Of Disease Or Its Normal To Fishes? If Its A Disease, What Can I Do To Get Rid Of This? <Mmm, not likely really a disease... there are "melanization" marks on some species, including guppies, that come and go> 3. Pregnant Guppy. She Just Gave Birth 5 Days Ago, But Only 5 Survived, She Seemed To Have Eaten The Rest. A Few Hours After Giving Birth And After Eating Most Of The Fry, She Seemed Pretty Thin. But Now (5 Days After Giving Birth) She Had Gotten Bigger Again With A Gravid Spot. She Seemed To Be As Big As She Was Before She gave Birth. Do You Know If She Would Give Birth Again Very Soon, Like In A Few Days? <Mmm, no... about a month... six weeks...> Or They Just Get Bigger On Their Second Batch? <Yes> Hope You Could Help Me. Thanks For The Help! <Bob Fenner>


Another livebearer question  12/30/06 Hi Tom, <<Hello, Linda.>> Another question if I may?   <<Certainly.>> What do you recommend for preventing gill flukes?  I haven't had this problem for some time but since I plan to get guppies I want to be prepared.  I had quite a problem at one time after purchasing guppies.  I have tried CopperSafe before but I wonder if there is something better to ward off a potential problem.  I understand if the fish are in good shape and remain un-stressed they can keep many parasites at bay themselves.  What about salt on a regular basis?  I don't keep snails but I may get a stray or two since I plan to have living plants in my new 55gal tank.  Is that a potential source of gill fluke infestation? <<As youre likely aware, Linda, maintaining top-notch water and tank conditions is the best preventative. As to water conditions, these speak to themselves in terms of regular changes, substrate/filter cleaning, etc. As for the tank conditions, be wary of over-crowding and provide hiding places particularly for the expectant females. Youre quite correct that stress-free, healthy fish are virtually immune to parasitic infestation. Ive mentioned this in other posts but it bears repeating: in cases of disease, medications merely control the spread. The immune systems of the fish are what ultimately eradicate the problem. In short, theres nothing better that you can do for your pets than provide the best conditions possible. The Guppies, more so than the Swordtails and Platys, will actually appreciate the addition of aquarium salt to the water. Even fish that dont have a high tolerance for salt will do fine with a modest amount in the tank. Pests, on the other hand, have little tolerance for any. The one admonition I would have for you here is that plants may not do well with salt in the water. Typically, however, this would be at what might be described as treatment levels which would be several times greater than you would normally maintain in your aquarium. In your case, I would cut the common ratio of one tablespoon per five gallons in half and see how both the plants and fish fare at this level. (Sometimes some good, old experimentation is needed to find a happy compromise.) Finally, since gill flukes dont require an intermediate host, I dont think a stray snail or two will pose a problem. Look into treating your plants in a solution of potassium permanganate if you want to avoid introducing even a stray snail. In fact, its really not a bad practice to quarantine plants as well as fish before adding them to the display tank. Goes a long way in avoiding undesireables that may be trying to hitchhike their way into a new home.>> Thanks, Linda Ritchie <<Happy again to be of service, Linda. Tom>>


Female Guppies  - 11/02/06 Hi, my name is Jamie and I am very new to this hobby. After finally getting my aquarium stabilized and the ammonia/nitrites to 0 I put 2 guppies (one male one female in the tank) The male died (I think he may have already been sick) <Likely so> and then I added a new male and another female.  This was 2.5 weeks ago and last Wednesday I added another male and female (total now is 3 females 2 males.)  So, the newest female I bought was very large with her belly looking very full.  The LFS told me she was very pregnant and should have fry in around a week.  When I got her home, she has been laying around the bottom under plants and not even going to the top for food (just waiting for it to fall down to her.)  The thing I don't know is if she really is pregnant or just big (her gravid spot has gotten lighter but no babies and her belly if very large still). <Good question, observation> one of my other females started acting funny today.  She is very skittish (when normally the first to go for food or nip my finger).   She either stays at the very top or very bottom (laying on her side against a plant).  She also will swim quickly up and down up and down or just lay on the bubbles to lift her up or swim in circles all around the tank very quickly. I don't know if this is normal or if she is sick? <This behavior may be natural...> Her color hasn't changed (except her eye seems slightly darker)  She is still very young and no other fish are acting this way.  Any ideas? <Please take a read through the Guppy FAQs area on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. I would limit the addition of new guppies here for fear of the very real possibility/potential for disease introduction. I do hope that your present stock reproduces and that you can build a community from there. Bob Fenner>   Thanks for your time,   Jamie


Dead Guppy With Murky Water - 10/18/06 Well because of you my female guppies are swimming around more and are growing a lot bigger. :) Sadly my male guppy has died. I think my betta killed him. My beta chased him and he did the females but not anymore. < The long flowing tail of the male guppy is a natural attractant for a male beta who has similar finnage.> I put a cave in my tank so when I turn on my filter my beta doesn't get sucked into anymore. But I'm not sure the filter is working because the water looks really murky and it has only been 2 or 3 days. < Clean the filter and make sure it is working before placing the cave back in front of the intake tube.-Chuck>


mail... Male? guppy tail   10/4/06 Hi,   <Hello there> I have been successfully "in line" breeding my guppies for a while now. I am now on about the 4th generation of father to daughter and now brother to sister breeding and so on... <What it takes to "fix" a line...> the cross colors become more brilliant down the line!! I have a male who is my favorite, and both his father and mother have already died. Recently my step son did the ultimate no-no (without my supervision) and stuck our isolated betta into the community guppy tank. My first reaction was to get the betta out of there. After a quick observation, I noticed that my betta was content, and there was no aggressive behavior <Happens... but...> in the tank. I did not have time to get the betta out, as I was just leaving for work and could not afford to be late!! My son was also going to school, so I had no option but to leave the betta in the tank, until I got back home. If I could only buy extra time!! That evening when I got home, my favorite mail guppy was missing his beautiful fancy tail. <Argghhhh> It was bitten almost down to nothing, and completely gone. The skin/body is still ok...there is just a small nub of a tail that is left. Is there any chance of his tail growing back? <Mmm, not much if it is all the way down this far> If so, how long does it take to grow, and what can I do to help him survive without his tail?? <The usual "good care"... water changes, frequent feedings...> Will the colors change if it does grow back? <Possibly... but I doubt if it will regenerate. "Only time can/will tell"> He is rather a small guppy, one of my younger. I just hope I can save him, because his parents are gone, and he had an amazing tail color, unlike his brothers!! Of course I took the betta out ASAP, and had a talk with my step son about the betta who is better off alone (he thought the betta was "lonely") my step son is only 5. Please, any input would be greatly appreciated!   Lisa   <Wishing you all well, Bob Fenner>


Re: Platy and Plant problems... now Guppy and Molly...  9/18/06 Hello Mr. Fenner, <John> Thank you so much for the reply regarding the plants and platy.   I will not treat the platy at the moment then, rather I will wait and observe.  I have a bubbler going in the aquarium to disturb the surface water and reduce the stress resulting from her breathing. <Good> On an unrelated and recent issue, a sailfin molly has attacked one of my guppies and devastated the tail fin (pictures attached). <Yikes, I see... not uncommon... male fancy guppy tails are something akin to bullfighters' capes>   I have removed this aggressive molly from the tank and am now wondering if there is something I should/could be doing for this injured guppy.   Should I be adding some form of prophylactic treatment (i.e. aquarium salt - could also help with the increased respiration of the platy?) <I do think this is a good idea> or treating with mild antibiotic in this case to prevent infection?  The tail seems incredibly damaged to me. My best to you & the WWM crew. <Thank you. I would leave off with antibiotic use here... am more a fan of saving this/these for advanced infectious problems. Bob Fenner>


Bully Guppies?   9/11/06 Hi. <<Hi, Joanne. Tom>> I hope you may be able to answer this question for me. <<I'll give it my best, Joanne.>> I have a 180 litre tank in which I currently have 11 neons and 18 assorted male guppies. The tank is heated, has an internal filter, airstone and fluorescent lighting. My water quality is good and I have had no problems. <<11 Neon Tetras and 18 Guppies in the U.S. equivalent of a 48-gallon tank? Joanne, if I weren't happily married, I'd kiss you! We spend so much time telling hobbyists to get larger tanks for their pets that it's a breath of fresh air to have someone write in that has provided room to spare for their "charges". Well done!>> The fish shoal and seem happy, until now. Last night I realized I was missing one of the fantail guppies. I have 6 of these. The fish in question I had always classed as the alpha male as he had the most beautiful tail! <<"Alpha-ness" is more behavioral than physical but I understand your thinking...>> I eventually found him hiding and his tail was virtually gone. <<Uh oh...>> What remained was in tatters and he was obviously scared, seemed to be shaking and he died minutes later. <<Sorry to hear this, Joanne.>> I haven't been able to find any info that says the other guppies would fight without females present. <<Not likely that you would, Joanne. In the world of Guppies, the females do the 'selecting'. The "boys" will show off and try to attract the attention of the females but an Alpha female is known to kill a male, or males, that she deems unacceptable for breeding.>> This only happened after I had added some more guppies 2 days before. <<It's possible/plausible that the males may have fought over the "right" to breed, whether, or not, females were present. The new additions may have triggered this response but, frankly, this is speculation on my part.>> Is it possible they did this?   <<Highly unlikely, though not impossible, that one, or more, of the new Guppies did this. Typically, the "established" fish have, or display, dominance over fish that are subsequently added to the aquarium. (Timing can be very important when adding fish.)>> If so, do you know why and, can I prevent this from happening again? <<An educated (and I use the term loosely) guess is that the established Guppies viewed the new fish as potential breeding partners. The "subordinate" males went after the most likely candidate (the He-Bull, in a manner of speaking) in order to increase their standing with the "females". Since the "predominant" male is most likely to be chosen to mate with a female, it makes sense, from the fishes' points of view, to get rid of the biggest competition. Whether, or not, utilizing a tank divider to keep the new fish separated from the older ones is really academic. In a sense, you'd be trying to cheat "Nature". (You might like to see a Great White Shark live harmoniously with a seal but, it isn't going to happen.) Bob would have a more eloquent explanation but the fact is that, in some cases, Nature must run its course.>> Thank you in advance Joanne x <<I hope I've been of some help, Joanne. Tom>>


Mmm, FW guppy damage  9/10/06 Hi. <<Hi, Joanne. Tom>> I hope you may be able to answer  this question for me. <<I'll give it my best, Joanne.>> I  have a 180 litre tank in which I currently have 11 neons and 18 assorted male  guppies. The tank is heated, has an internal filter, airstone and fluorescent  lighting. My water quality is good and I have had no problems. <<11  Neon Tetras and 18 Guppies in the U.S. equivalent of a 48-gallon tank? Joanne,  if I weren't happily married, I'd kiss you! We spend so much time telling  hobbyists to get larger tanks for their pets that it's a breath of fresh air to  have someone write in that has provided room to spare for their "charges". Well  done!>> The fish shoal and seem happy, until now. Last night I realized  I was missing one of the fantail guppies. I have 6 of these. The fish in  question I had always classed as the alpha male as he had the most beautiful  tail! <<"Alpha-ness" is more behavioral than physical but I understand  your thinking...>> I eventually found him hiding and his tail was  virtually gone. <<Uh oh...>> What remained was in tatters and  he was obviously scared, seemed to be shaking and he died minutes later.   <<Sorry to hear this, Joanne.>> I haven't been able to find  any info that says the other guppies would fight without females present.   <<Not likely that you would, Joanne. In the world of Guppies, the  females do the 'selecting'. The "boys" will show off and try to attract the  attention of the females but an Alpha female is known to kill a male, or males,  that she deems unacceptable for breeding.>> This only happened after I  had added some more guppies 2 days before. <<It's possible/plausible  that the males may have fought over the "right" to breed, whether, or not,  females were present. The new additions may have triggered this response but,  frankly, this is speculation on my part.>> Is it possible they did  this?   <<Highly unlikely, though not impossible, that one, or  more, of the new Guppies did this. Typically, the "established" fish have, or  display, dominance over fish that are subsequently added to the aquarium.  (Timing can be very important when adding fish.)>> If so, do you know  why and, can I prevent this from happening again? <<An educated (and I  use the term loosely) guess is that the established Guppies viewed the new fish  as potential breeding partners. The "subordinate" males went after the most  likely candidate (the He-Bull, in a manner of speaking) in order to increase  their standing with the "females". Since the "predominant" male is most likely  to be chosen to mate with a female, it makes sense, from the fishes' points of  view, to get rid of the biggest competition. Whether, or not, utilizing a tank  divider to keep the new fish separated from the older ones is really academic.  In a sense, you'd be trying to cheat "Nature". (You might like to see a Great  White Shark live harmoniously with a seal but, it isn't going to happen.) Bob  would have a more eloquent explanation but the fact is that, in some cases,  Nature must run its course.>> Thank you in advance Joanne  x

Re: Mmm, FW guppy damage  9/10/06 Hi Tom, <<Hi, Joanne.>> Thanks for your reply. It was nice for someone to appreciate that I was trying to keep my fish happy by having a large tank, rather than people telling me I need more fish in there! <<First, you're most welcome. As for your tank, you have plenty of "fans" here at WWM! If more folks followed your lead our mail would be cut by 30%, at least.>> I wanted to update you, since the sad demise of my favourite guppy I spent a lot of time sat in front of the tank watching their behaviour, sad I know. <<Not true! I can't pass either of mine without stopping to check things out.>> I did notice a newer addition behaving quite aggressively towards some of the other guppies. After half an hour of tail nipping I separated him for 10 minutes and then reintroduced him, mainly as he didn't seem pleased and I felt bad about it! <<Sure he wasn't pleased. You took away his "chew toys". Interesting that one of the new additions appears to be the culprit. That certainly wasn't my take on the situation, was it? Unusual, but I should be used to fish doing things out of character by now. (I believe they do it to embarrass me.) :)>> He had calmed down and since then the guppies have resumed their playful existence, much to the delight of my 9 month old daughter! <<Excellent. Good move, by the way.>> I must add also that I 'lost' 5 of the newly introduced guppies. I had bought them from a store I had not been to before, nor will be returning to as the assistant who netted the fish did not seem concerned for their welfare and I wish I had walked away as instinct told me to. <<I think we've all had purchasing experiences like that. I certainly have, regrettably.>> I have never lost a  fish before as I always take the utmost care of them and found it quite distressing. My tank readings are optimal so I know it isn't a water quality issue and can only assume that they came from a bad batch or were stressed beyond recovery. <<Considering what many fish go through before coming into our hands, it seems nothing short of a miracle that more aren't lost.>> I will wait a few weeks before adding any more and will stick to my regular stockists in future. <<A wise choice.>> I also wanted to say that I have found this site invaluable, the best by far on the net! Thanks again Joanne <<Nice chatting again, Joanne, and thank you for your kind words. Keep up the good work! Tom>>

Re: Losing Guppies   9/16/06 Hi, <<Hi, Joanne. Tom again.>> I hope you can help me. I have spoken with Tom before and have attached my previous correspondence below. I am losing my guppies one by one and I cannot figure out why. I have examined them after death and watched them in life, they don't show any outward signs of disease, no bloating, fungal growth, etc. The only visible sign I am about to lose one, is that the tail rapidly becomes very ragged, this happens literally over the space of 24 hours and then within another 24 hours the fish is dead. <<Joanne, almost certainly this is a bacterial infection. The "invasion" begins in the tails causing the rapid deterioration you've observed and moves, through the blood streams in the tails, into the bodies of the fish.>> I am finding this distressing and against the advice of family I haven't used any 'universal' treatments as I prefer not to use any chemicals unless it is absolutely necessary. <<We're at the point where medication is necessary, Joanne. Separate the Guppies, if possible, and treat with Tetracycline, Maracyn or Maracyn-Two. While Guppies are quite tolerant of salt, Neon Tetras are not, so avoid the temptation (if it exists) to add salt as a preventative/preemptive measure for the Neons.>> The neon tetras who share the tank seem to be spared the same fate and are positively thriving. I have tested the water and it is as it should be. Any ideas? <<One of the things that I should have considered earlier is that Guppies and Neons actually prefer different water parameters with the Guppies requiring slightly hard/alkaline conditions and the Neons doing better in softer, slightly acidic water. Both can adapt to conditions somewhere in the middle but this might account for the demise of the other Guppies. Depending on the water conditions they were adapted to at the fish shop, they may have been stressed, even shocked, when transferred to your display tank. Speculation, obviously, but I'm trying to offer an explanation for what has opened them up to this infection.>> Many thanks Joanne <<Sorry that you're faced with having to medicate your fish, Joanne, but I see no other option at this point. Best of luck to you and your pets. Tom>>


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


Female Guppies Swimming Tail Down Head Up. No useful info.   8/8/06 Dear WWM crew: <Jessica> I have 2 female guppies who are swimming head up tail down.  I believe it may be swim bladder but am not quite sure. <More likely too much dried food...> All of my other fish (5 neons, 1 puffer, <Yikes... A puffer is not compatible with these other fishes> 3 platys along with several other guppies: 7 males and 3 non swimming-funny females) look healthy.  I have had several fish die as of late but everything checks out (pH, etc). <...?> I have had fish for several years and this is the first time that I have come across this.   Is it swim bladder?  If so, I would like to try using Epsom salt but am unsure as to how much to use in a 35 gallon tank.  Also, is swim bladder contagious? Can you help?  Jessica <Need more real data here... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdis3setsfactors.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>


Re: High Mortality Rate, FW, poss. Hexamita/Octomita   7/12/06 One of our guppies that we bought 2 months ago is getting skinny and looks like it has wasting disease. <Could be... parasitic, infectious, genetic...>   Before when I treated with Metronidazole, I used a 10 gallon dosage for my 12 gallon tank.  Should I give it a 15 gallon dosage? <I would not re-treat with Metronidazole... toxic in repeated dosages> Is there anything else I should try? - Molly <Perhaps Praziquantel, another vermifuge... see WWM re. Bob Fenner>
Re: High Mortality Rate...    7/13/06
Well, my daughter gave the tank anther treatment last night hoping to save the sick fish, her favorite fish. This treatment which I used the other times I treated has Praziquantel; N-[[(N-Chlorophenyl) amino] carbon 1]-2,6-difluorobenzamide; Metronidazole; acriflavine. <... Stop. You haven't been reading. I would NOT re-treat with Metronidazole>   Actually most of these fish are new since I treated last time, so they have not received it. <Oh? Oh> It has been about 2-3 months since we last treated.  How common are parasites if you buy from a reputable fish store? <Unfortunately... not uncommon> When I treat should I use the 10 gallon dosage or 15 gallon dosage fro my 12 gallon tank. <Likely you have less than ten actual gallons of water...> We have always gone with the lower dosage.  I am wondering if it is too weak and not fully killing the parasite, thus breeding a stronger parasite.  If this doesn't work do we need to start over with new gravel, filters etc.? <... it may be you don't have a parasitic problem... It may be that prevailing conditions in an established aquarium are interfering (absorbing mostly) the "medicine"... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdis3setsfactors.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

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


Guppy Health   5/24/06 <<Hi, Jenifer. Tom>> I bought some guppies from the local PetSmart a couple days ago for my daughter's tank. The sales associate gave me 2 males and 2 females...and I now know I should have more females. <<The sales associate should have known this, as well, but this is one of their more trivial boo-boos so I'll let my soapbox have a rest. :)>> Well, yesterday one of the females had babies; there were 31 of them. I have them separated in a breeder net and the mother is in the main tank. <<Good job.>> This morning the female is just floating in a corner of the tank near the breeder net and she is just swimming back and forth and then stops and goes at it again. Just now she was just staying still with her nose downward. I'm afraid she might not make it. Any suggestions? <<Keep the water conditions at the optimum is all. Unfortunately, there may not be much else to do but keep your fingers crossed for her. The birthing process can be rough on even a healthy fish and occasionally the smaller breeds, in particular, don't fare well afterward, Guppies among them. Since you've only had her for a couple of days, stress may be playing a large part in how she's doing. Without time to acclimate to her new surroundings, it might be more than she can handle. Without meaning to "shift gears" here, Jenifer, the two males may not leave her alone and they certainly won't leave the other female alone. Against my better judgment regarding quarantine procedures, I would suggest adding three or four more females to keep the males from stressing the current "ladies" to death. Male Guppies are not known for being "gentlemen", if you get my meaning.>> Jenifer PS.. the babies are all doing great. <<I hope they all continue to do so, Jenifer! Good luck with them. Tom>>


Guppy Illness? - 05/22/2006 Hello, my name is Amy and I am new at caring for fish. <Welcome to the aquarium hobby!> I have a 10 gallon freshwater tank which at the moment holds three zebra danios, two female fancy guppies, one male fancy guppy (just lost my one other male yesterday) and 5 guppy fry, three in a breeders net and two hiding in the roots of a java fern.  My problem started two weeks ago when I found guppy fry in my tank quickly being devoured. I went to the pet store and bought some java fern for them to hide in because I heard it was easy to maintain, required minimal light and would make a good home for fry. <Java moss, Vesicularia dubyana, is an even better option, with its attractive, dark green tangle of strands.  It gives baby fish a great place to hide.> A few days after I put the fern in my tank I noticed I had some new snails (wasn't too happy about that), <It happens.> and one of my guppy's eyes started looking strange. I went to the pet store again and they said it sounded like a parasite and recommended Maracyn Two, <Yikes!  Why, just for the strange-looking eyes?  Any other symptoms at all?  Please don't medicate fish unless/until you are confidant of the illness.> which I used over the course of five days according to the directions. By the end of the treatment the one sick fish did not look better, and ALL of my fish have begun looking sick. <By this point, it's probably a water quality issue.> Some of them have red swollen gills, and the danios are swimming erratically and crashing into the gravel almost like they're trying to scratch themselves. <Please *urgently* test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.  Ammonia and nitrite MUST be ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm.  If they are not, please do water changes to correct these.> I feel terrible. I've been researching this online and have seen many people recommend using salt to get rid of parasites, but I'm really hesitant to use it as I've seen it called a "double edged sword". <....salt is MUCH less dangerous than blindly medicating....> I did a 50% water change two days ago, but lost one little guy the next day. I added Stress Coat to the water this morning, and that seemed to make them perk up a bit, but I'm really worried about all of my fish. Can you recommend a plan of action? <Test the water....  fix the water....  and observe the animals very closely for any symptoms that might be telling.  Make sure you use a chlorine/chloramine neutralizer for the new water and check to be sure the temperature and pH of the new water is the same as the aquarium water.> I'm running out of ideas, but am very hesitant to play with salt or anything too harsh that might hurt the fry. <Minocycline/Maracyn-II is more risky than adding a bit of salt to the tank.  I would add one or two tablespoons of freshwater aquarium salt per ten gallons when you do the next water change.  After you are confidant that your water quality is appropriate, continue observing the fish for any symptoms and try to determine what might be the problem.  Using the wrong type of medication for an illness is often worse than not medicating at all.> Thanks for your help,  -Amy <Wishing you and your fish well,  -Sabrina>



Boatloads of problems, trying to cope! Guppy disease/s, Neon Bloating, Imported fishes and Flagyl  - 05/22/2006 Hello, <Hi there> Wonderful site you have here.  Thank you for the resource.  I have combed it thoroughly over the last little while and have had some successful results with other problems, but now I am facing a few fish troubles I can't resolve and desperately need some help. Unfortunately, this may be a big one as  I have two tanks; one 96 Litre and one 54 Litre tank.  Both are planted.  The relevant parameters for both tanks are: 96L: pH 7.5 NitrItes: 0 ppm NitrAtes: 12 ppm KH: 6 dH GH: 9 dH Temp: 24 C 54L: pH 7.5 NitrItes: 0.3 ppm NitrAtes: 12 ppm KH: 6 dH GH 10 dH temperature: 26 C <No ammonia in either/both I take it> I'll discuss the large tank first.   In the 96L tank I keep guppies, platys, Corys and apple snails (Pomacea bridgesi).  I have noticed that the guppies have started flashing.  It is more than the "once per second" rule.  This has continued for about a week now.  I have not treated with malachite green (snails in the tank) nor have I added aquarium salt.  I have been observing the behaviour, as I mentioned, for about a week.  As of yet, I have seen no sign of ich, velvet or any visible "hangers-on" parasites.   <Might be environmental...> First question: I am wondering what the flashing could be about?  I think the water parameters are quite alright and I have no visible evidence of parasites. <For what you list test wise and can see, yes>   Consequently I am baffled.  Also, if needed, could I add aquarium salt to the tank even though it contains snails and Corys?  If so, at what concentration? <Mmm, not much salt... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm> Second issue: I purchased 3 brilliant yellow guppies to attempt to "rescue" them as they were a little under the weather at the fish shop. Guppy #1 swims in one position at the top of the tank and exhibits white stringy faeces.  Fins are not really clamped per-se, but maybe a little.  He will swim for hours in the same position at the top of the water, other than that, there is no visible sign of problems with him.  Abdomen does not look particularly bloated.  He will not take food.  Wondering if this is simple constipation or something more sinister in the works? <Is possible there is a problem here... perhaps protozoal... that might call for a one-time treatment with Flagyl/Metronidazole...> Guppy #2 has improved over the last day.  He has what looks like a tiny red blood blister on his tail.  There is also a split in his tailfin.  He is now swimming with the other guppies in the tank and eating a little bit.  He also had what looked like an abrasion on his head.  I treated him with Sera Baktopur for this (30 minute dip upon arrival and a couple of successive 30 min dips).  Should I be doing something further for this guy? <Not at this juncture. More such exposure may be more harm than beneficial> Guppy #3 I am the most concerned about.  He has what looks like blood under his scales near his head.  He hangs out on the bottom of the tank quite a lot - he actually "rests" on the bottom.  Occasionally he will swim up near the top of the surface and stay there for 20 min.s or so.  Will not take food.  In all cases, he looks like he is gasping, not super-heavy gasping, but I can tell this is what he is doing through comparison with other fish.  I think over the last 24 hours the red spot has decreased in size (hard to tell exactly), but he still maintains the laying on the bottom posture.  Wondering if this is hemorrhagic septicemia?  If so, what do you advise treatment with?  I am in Switzerland, so if you can suggest a Sera brand product that would be great (seems to be all they have here), otherwise I will need a chemical name. <How to make this known... Poecilia raised in the orient (where the majority originate now-a-years, are often plagued with such complaints... Quarantine, some prophylactic measures are absolutely required... and should be S.O.P. by the trade/wholesaler-importers... but are rarely done... There are seasonal huge guppy die-offs on import, distribution... in the Spring, Fall...> On to the 54 litre tank.   In this tank, I keep a Betta, 11 neon tetras (the Betta does not bother or interact with them), 2 cherry barbs, two albino Corys, a small Pleco (was labeled "silure bleu" in the store) <Unfamiliar with this> and two freshwater shrimps.  The problem in this tank is with the tetras.  When I feed them flake (Tetra brand) their abdomen bloats up considerably.  Three tetras in particular develop swimming troubles.  They angle downwards about 50 degrees and swim towards the bottom. <Do switch to non-dried food for a few weeks...> They seem to "float up" and repeat this type of bobbing behaviour.  It is clear that the fish have buoyancy problems. <A bit more than this...> After about 4-5 hours the bloating goes down and they return to normal.  This has been going on for about 5 days now.  Feedings are done more than once per day and in very tiny quantities.  They may get some excess bloodworms that the Betta does not consume, but I am careful about over-feeding.  NitrItes are elevated in this tank because initially I thought the tetras may have had an internal infection and treated the tank with Baktopur. <See below> I suspect it impacted the biological filter resulting in the nitrIte rise.   <You are correct here> I am doing water changes to keep these down and have added a product called "Nitrivec".  The best I can seem to do at this point (70-75% water change) is to get them to 0.3 ppm. My question would thus be: what is going on with the tetras?   Could this be a food issue or is it an internal anatomy problem? <Both> They were having this problem before the elevated nitrIte levels, so it is seemingly unrelated to that. A whole host of problems, I know.  If you can shed some light on even a few of them I would be most grateful! Regards to the entire WWM crew and thanks in advance for any help! <Am wanting to relate sufficient information to assist you here in aiding your livestock. Both systems do likely have a protozoal complaint. I would read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm and utilize this powerful compound in these fishes foods... and be very careful re quarantining all new livestock to avoid re-infestation. Bob Fenner>

Re: Boatloads of problems, trying to cope! - FOLLOW UP  - 05/22/2006 Hi Mr. Fenner - <John> A million thank-you's for your reply!  I will give you a bit of updated information on the two tanks. <Okay> First of all, I cannot test for ammonia.  There are no such test kits available in Switzerland.  I suspect this is environmental regulation. <I believe you are right... one of the reagents does pose substantial risk> To use an unrelated example, any type of solution that decreases pH requires the name and address of the purchaser to be entered in a registry. <Mmm... including vinegar?... I must have my balsamic to cook with, salads...> The only test-kits available are for nitrItes, nitrAtes, pH, O2, CO2, KH and GH. They do have a product called "Toxivec" on the market which will reduce nitrIte and ammonia, but it inhibits conversion of nitrItes to nitrAte. This, in my opinion, is not the route to go as I suspect it will prevent the successful establishment of nitrIte converting bacteria. Anyways, on to the tanks: 96 L: I am still observing the flashing and there is still no outward sign of any parasitic infestation. I will continue to keep an eye on this.  Are flukes always observable? <Not with the "naked eye" generally. Requires a microscope to be sure> Guppy #1 has continued to improve.  He is eating and schooling with the rest of the guppies.  I am beginning to be much less concerned about this one. Have observed normal bowel movement. Guppy #2 has worsened considerably.  The red spot on his tail has turned into a raging bacterial infection and about 1.5mm of his tail (all along the edge) has been consumed in the last 24 hours.  I am now treating him at full dose with a solution containing acriflavine, methylene blue and phenylglycol.  This seems to have halted the progress of the infection and the bright red areas are getting darker and, in some small areas, white.  I suspect I am getting a handle on this problem, however,  I am still concerned about this fish.  He has taken to hiding in the plants, but is quite active if disturbed by other fish.  Fins are, surprisingly, not clamped.  I am encouraged by the slowing of the infection, but not much else at the moment.  Hesitant to treat with Flagyl at this point as his situation seems delicate. <Understood> Guppy #3 has improved a little bit too.  The hemorrhaging on his head (picture is from yesterday, today this spot is hardly visible) has cleared up dramatically in the last 12 hours. He is no longer resting on the bottom, but is swimming rather consistently.  He is not "full of energy" so to speak, but at least he is moving about.  He may have attempted to eat, but was difficult to definitively see this.  I am less concerned about him at the moment although I do observe him to be somewhat lethargic.  I have attached a picture from yesterday. The 54 litre tank: Thank you for your advice regarding the tetras.  I will see if Flagyl is available here and definitely give this a try.  If this is protozoal, is there a possibility of transmission to the Betta? <Yes... the likely causative agent (Octomita) is capable of infesting most all fishes... some groups more readily than others> Speaking of which, he only seems to take blood worms.  I have tried  him on daphnia with little success - he will mouth it and the spit it out.  He will take some flake food (not much) and will also consume some Spirulina pellets.  I am worried that he, being a carnivore, is not getting a sufficient variety of protein by eating only the bloodworms.  Am I justified in thinking this, or can he live on the bloodworms and flake?   <Can> Have read the Betta FAQ, but I am concerned regarding variety in his diet. The small Pleco is an Ancistrus, but not a Bristlenose (saw this on the nameplate).  Max size (according to information in the store) is 7 - 8 cm. He is spotted white with a white tip on his tail.  Looks like a miniature version of a common Pleco.  I have attached some pictures. Thank you so much for your help.  The information regarding the livestock practices was much appreciated.  I believe it is important for the consumer/hobbyist to be aware of this. My best to the crew! <Thank you my friend. Life to you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Boatloads of problems, trying to cope! - FLAGYL APPLICATION IN PRACTICE  - 05/22/2006 Hello Bob, <John> Thank you so much for all your help, it means a lot to me and I know you invest loads of time and energy in your website.  I admire and respect you greatly.  Please rest-assured that your service is much appreciated. <Very glad to share> State of the tanks: Unfortunately, I lost two of the yellow guppies today but I expected some losses given the condition of the fish upon receipt. <I as well on reading your excellent descriptions> Both had very nasty external bacterial infections; red sores and tail damage.  However, I think the one remaining yellow guppy will survive.  He has a split in his tail and a small red spot, but he is active and taking food!  He continues to school with the group and my outlook for him is positive at the moment.  I suppose a 33% survival rate is better than 0%. Anyways, I have a question about the Flagyl.  I cannot get a commercial preparation, but I was able to procure some 250mg solid tablets.  I have pulverized one into a fine, fine powder and mixed it with 25 mL of water to make a 1% (by mass) solution (is this okay? <Yes... is very water soluble> Hopefully you won't tell me to do this by volume.).  I know there are water solubility issues with Flagyl, but like I said, commercial solutions aren't available here in Switzerland. Call it "front-line" medicine if you will...I trust that this will be sufficient for treatment. After having prepared the Flagyl solution, I have soaked some food in the liquid for about 2 hours now (in the refrigerator).  I am basically ready to give this to the fish, but would like clarification on something.  I am feeding several fish here.  I suspect some fish will get more of the treated food than others so there is a chance that some fish may not receive either a substantial dose or any food at all.  Thus, I suspect I will be feeding the medicated food both today and tomorrow.  Is this a suitable spacing or should I feed today and then, say, Friday? <Either one/way should be fine here> I was thinking to remove any fish that didn't receive food and feeding them separately but, as they all look the same, this may be impossible so let's go on the premise that they will all be fed simultaneously.  Given the dangers of accumulated dosage, and the chances of some fish not getting much food, are two applications sufficient? <Yes> Also, are these suspected protozoa water-borne? <For part of their life-cycle, likely so> That is, should I also be treating the water to prevent re-infestation?  If so, with what? <Mmm, this one time use should "do it"> Final question regarding Flagyl: there are freshwater shrimp in the tank and they will undoubtedly eat some of the food.  Are there any issues to be aware of here? <None that I'm aware of, no> Also, guppies are flashing furiously today.  I am truly suspecting parasites of some sort.  As there is no sign of ich, I am leaning towards body flukes. I have a solution containing: 210 mg of Acriflavine 112.5 mg cupric sulphate 15 mg cupric chloride <Copper compounds will kill your shrimp assuredly> that may be helpful here - certainly better than malachite green.  Will this be detrimental to the apple snails (Pomacea bridgesi)? <Yes> I will remove for the duration of treatment, if so. <And utilize carbon filtration ahead of their re-introduction> Best regards to you all.  I assign a finite value to the service you provide. <Sorry for your travails here... Bob Fenner>

Re: Boatloads of problems, trying to cope! - FLAGYL APPLICATION IN PRACTICE  - 05/23/2006 Hi Bob, <John> Thanks for the fast, fast reply... <Welcome> At the end of the previous message, I meant to say: "I CANNOT assign a finite value to the service you provide."  Sorry if that came out the wrong way!  I certainly did not mean it that way...your help is absolutely amazing. <Mmm, thank you> Thanks again.  No problem about all the travails.  Live and learn as they say.  I've been through a lot worse in life, so some aquarium tank problems seem minor at this point. <Ahhh> Also:  Oddly enough, they don't require you to sign for balsamic vinegar... Best to you. <And you! BobF>
Re: Boatloads of problems (this ship is slowly sinking)
  6/16/06 Hello Bob/Tom, <<Hello, John. Sorry about being "tardy" on this one. Tom>> This is just an update on the situation with my tanks.  I have the 96L and 54L tanks.  The 96L tank has the guppies and platys with plenty of problems. The guppies in the tank seem to be suffering the most with many coming down with what appears to be secondary bacterial infections that start on the tail fin eventually resulting to their demise.   <<If I read you correctly, this is right. Bacterial infections can/do start externally and work their way inside the fish.>> Water parameters are unchanged with: Ammonia: probably 0 ppm, but cannot test and no reason to suspect ammonia poisoning NitrItes: 0 ppm NitrAtes: 12 ppm pH 7.5 Temp 26C Three more guppies have died since I last wrote to you.  Their demise proceeds as follows: 1. Observe lethargy and usually swimming in one spot 2. Abdomen looks enlarged, but scales do not protrude (not all fish have enlarged abdomens) 3. Bacterial infection usually sets in on the tail fin.  They develop tail fin rot.  It is usually quite aggressive and requires 3 good days of acriflavine treatment to halt it.  Sometimes I can get it to stop, other times the fish meets its demise with this condition. <<John, as you may be aware already, Acriflavine, along with many other medications of this type are "bacteriostatic". They don't outright kill the bacteria but, rather, inhibit/disrupt the reproductive cycle, ergo, stopping its multiplication. The "destruction" of the bacteria is left to the immune systems of the fishes. Now, Kanamycin, as an example, is "bactericidal" in that it kills the bacteria outright. Compounds like this one, however, are indiscriminate about the bacteria they kill, meaning that our beneficial bacteria may, very likely, suffer from exposure to it. What we in the States term a "Crap Shoot", i.e. do you want to chance it?>> 4. Fish usually eat and are active up until the bacterial infection becomes prominent 5. Do not (generally) observe stringy white faeces.  I have treated them with Metronidazole soaked food twice. 6. They usually end up hiding amongst the aquarium plants and then I find them dead shortly thereafter. Furthermore, many of the fish in the tank are now flashing.  I have noticed that fish who have not previously been doing this are now starting to do it. I cannot visibly see any form of parasite or disease (i.e.: velvet, ich).  I have another 54L tank that uses the same water source and the fish in there are quite fine (no flashing observed) so I think it is not something in the water.   <<The Acriflavine is probably more effective against parasites than bacteria though it will affect both.>> To avoid further medication I added 1 teaspoon of salt per 5 gallons (25 Gallon tank with Corys - even they are flashing) and upped the temperature from 24C to 26C.  This was two days ago and I still observe this behaviour. As of this writing, I have one guppy that has been in the tank since it was established (and has always been a healthy fish) constantly swimming in one spot and beginning to look lethargic. Abdomen is enlarged (would classify it as dropsy at this point - pinecone effect visible).  He also is  developing tailfin rot that I am treating with acriflavine somewhat successfully.  Could this be severe constipation? <<Not likely constipation, John. More likely that the infection has moved into the fish.>> Maybe I should try a green pea? As it stands I have kept him from eating for about 2 days now but there has been no real improvement. <<Unfortunately, I wouldn't expect any.>> Maybe a parasitic infection?   <<Perhaps, but, again, the Acriflavine will work well against parasites. Actually, better than against bacterial infections.>> He has been treated with Metronidazole twice now. Should I venture a third treatment? <<I've had success with this medication, personally. I've an Angelfish that owes its life to it. What bothers me is that the medications aren't eradicating the source.>>   Will Epsom salts be of any use at this point in treating the dropsy?   <<Perhaps in providing some "relief". The problem, John, is that "Dropsy" is a generic term. It's not a disease in, and of, itself. If the term hadn't so "engrained" itself into the hobby, I'd like to see it dropped because it "means" nothing other than the animal's organs, or other internal systems, have been infected and have swollen. Finding the source  of the problem is the key.>> Strange thing is that his fins are up and he seems quite happy and active.  Just very bloated...so confusing.  Looking for any advice on how to proceed here before I lose all my stock. <<Raise the tank temperature to 28C. Make sure you have plenty of aeration going in the tank. You mentioned Corys so go gentle with the salt. Water changes. Lots of them. If we can't get rid of it one way, we'll try another.>> Thanks much.  Best regards to the crew. <<Best of luck, John. Tom>>


Male Guppy and Tankmates - 05/16/2006 Hi, Summer again. <Hello, Bob the Fishman here as well> Well, I think at least one of my female guppies had her babies a while ago.  I (and the pet store) think the male guppy ate the babies in the middle of the night or while I was gone during the day. <Can/does happen> That's kind-of okay because I'm not necessarily breeding guppies but about a day after, the male's tail got pointed and he couldn't swim very easily.  Then the next morning he had died!  It was so weird.. And I've been trying to look it up but I can't find anything because there wasn't any fungus or anything! The employee at the pet store said he got sick from eating the babies. But I doubt that...  Both females have done fine and haven't had any problems.  Any comments? <Do take a look on the Net, your books re "Columnaris"... a seasonal (this time of year) complaint of many guppies, Gouramis...> One more thing, a couple days ago I got two small neon fish to be tankmates with my guppies.  They seemed fine but then suddenly died!  I don't understand any of this because the females never have any problems!  Our pet store isn't much help. <Mmm, well, Neon Tetras aren't all that "tough"... it might be that your water quality didn't suit this one fish...> Summer (P.S. My other (younger) female just had two babies yesterday! :) They are fine.) <Bob Fenner, who has friends who have a delightful young daughter named Summer as well>


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


Guppy Deaths   5/4/06 Hello, all. <Hi! This is Jorie.> Firstly, thank you for continuing to provide an indispensable service to the fishkeeping community. I never would have gotten my tanks going right if it weren't for you! <Thanks for the compliment.  I owe my successes at fishkeeping to WWM as well - it truly is an invaluable resource and I learn continue to learn from my colleagues all the time...> I have experienced an outbreak of some sort of disease in my 10 gallon tank. Inhabitants are two male guppies, one female guppy (now, was 3), two zebra danios, a few guppy fry, a male molly, and two little minnows (not quite sure on the species, could be very small creek chub juveniles, about half an inch each). <Were all these introduced at once, or put into the tank gradually? Also, how long has the tank been set-up - I'm trying to see if it was cycled/established prior to adding all the fish...> On the invertebrate side of things, there are ca. twelve red Ramshorn snails, innumerable Malaysian trumpet snails, two apple snails, and two ghost shrimp. <With your fish, this puts your bioload at maxed out, in my opinion, and perhaps even a bit too much...how large are the zebra danios?> The tank is very heavily planted with java moss, pennywort, tape grass, anacharis, java fern, a wee bit of hornwort, and a very small Nymphaea lily that just sprouted. <Great! Sounds like a very nice set-up...> Substrate is very small ~3mm gravel. It is filtered with a ZooMed 501 canister filter (79gph) and aerated with an airstone. Lighting is by compact fluorescent at about 3wpg. Water parameters are as follows: pH: 7.2, Ammonia: 0ppm, Nitrite: 0ppm, Nitrate: 25ppm. The water temp. stays around 78 degrees plus or minus one degree. (Whew... just trying to be complete). <Your completeness is most appreciated - it allows us to give you better answers/suggestions in return! with regard to your nitrates, they aren't awful, but I'd suggest a water change to reduce them even further.  Generally, how often do you do water changes, and what amount of water do you replace in the tank at a time? With your bioload in a 10gal., I'd suggest *at least* 50% weekly, with adjustments being made based on ammonia/nitrite/nitrate level results...> I noticed a small white bulge on the side of one of the female guppies about a week ago. Within a few days she died. The same happened to the one of the other female guppies two days ago. She died today. now the last remaining female guppy is showing the same symptoms. <Hmmm...is this a symmetrical or asymmetrical lump? How big are we talking about?  If it is just the one bulge per fish, I'm am tempted to rule out ich, as that would likely appear more as a "salting" all over the fish.  Same thought process for velvet and parasites.  I don't think this is a tumor, as these are generally not transmittable between organisms.  Could be early stages of lymphocystis, a virus that is quite difficult to treat.  I'm surprised that the deaths would occur so suddenly, though.  On the two fish that did pass, did you notice any progression/growth of the bumps?   Also, I'm tempted to ask you about what you feed your fish - do you introduce anything like live Tubifex, etc.? This can bring in disease to the aquarium...just a thought. I'd definitely quarantine the affected fish so that she doesn't pass this along to anyone else.  Also, increase your water changes.  If we are dealing with lymphocystis, the only medication I've had success with is QuickCure (antibiotics won't help, since it is a virus), but that is an *extremely* harsh medication to be used with great caution.  If it's possible, send a pic of the growth - that may help.  In the meantime, definitely isolate your sick fish, and please send me as much detail about the bumps on the other fish as possible...> When they were sick, they would wedge themselves between a breeding net inside the tank and the glass, refuse to eat, and die. the last remaining female has not yet exhibited any of the behavioral signs that the last two showed. She is currently in a small quarantine tank awaiting diagnosis. <EXCELLENT CHOICE - so glad to hear your quarantined her. From what I've heard, it sounds like neon tetra disease. <Could be this also...I certainly hope not, though, since this nasty disease generally isn't treatable. However, I have noticed that on this female, in the center of the white lump, some of the white stuff has torn? off. <Does this mean she now has an open lesion?> When viewed from above, it seems to have small white hairs coming off of it. <OK, I'll admit that's something I've not yet seen...> What do you think it could be, and what can I do to prevent any further deaths? <You've already isolated her, which is the best first step.  When you get new fish, I hope you are quarantining them for 3-4 weeks before introducing them into the main aquarium.  Guppies, especially, are notorious for bringing in disease.  And, not to be the ultimate bearer of bad news, but once NTD is introduced to an aquarium, it is very difficult to rid the aquarium of it completely.  Depending on how invested in the hobby you are, you might want to consider a UV sterilizer.  There are various schools of thought in this regard, but I was definitely benefited by mine when I was having disease outbreaks in my community tank (which I caused by not QTing an affected dwarf rainbowfish.)  Right now, I'd suggest adding some salt to the sick fish's QT tank, just enough to bring the salinity up to maybe 1.002 or 1.003.  Generally, guppies, like mollies, do well with salt in their water.  This can actually improve their overall health and make them more resistant to disease.  You can use either marine salt (like Instant Ocean) or FW Aquarium Salt - if you choose the latter, dose according to directions on the container, if you choose the former, you'll need a hydrometer to measure the salinity levels.  Sounds harder than it is, and a plastic box-type hydrometer is relatively inexpensive. Unfortunately, because of your inverts/plants, you really can't salt your main tank.  With regards to not eating, you can try soaking food in garlic oil (I use Kent's Garlic Extreme, but am told you can use pure garlic oil from capsules sold at grocery stores, etc.  This can make food seem more enticing to the fish.> Thank you very much, Terry <Terry, hope I've helped.  I will cross my fingers that this isn't NTD and is perhaps Lymphocystis...a picture of the lump would be very helpful.  Also, do some searching on google for images of fish diseases - perhaps you can find a match to know for certain what is going on?  In the meantime, change the water and add some salt...both should help, if help is possible.  Best of luck, Jorie>


Overripe Guppy? - 04/27/2006 Hi Friends, <Hi, Paige> I spent several hours today online, looking for an answer, but alas, none to be found. So I turn to you. <I hope we can help.> 2 days ago I noticed that my pregnant guppy had given birth. I only found 1 baby, so I assumed she wasn't done.  Since then, it has been 2 days and I have seen no more fry. She continues to grow. She is so huge I think she will burst before too long. I have never seen a pregnant guppy so big.  Since delivering the 1 baby 2 days ago, she has had a thin white thread hanging from her, <Uh-oh> and her anal area is protruding so much, so swollen, and bright pink. <Oh dear....> It is huge and looks almost like it is ready to turn inside out, it is so distended.  Even though her belly is so huge, her anal area protrudes out from that even. <Very disconcerting....> I will be amazed if she lives till morning, with how huge she is. I added aquarium salt to her tank today. She isn't eating and isn't swimming around. She is in the tank with one other pregnant guppy. My husband said tonight, "maybe she will just burst and will come a bunch of babies" Oh dear. Can you give me any advice? <Some, yes....  I would urgently (like, NOW) add some Epsom salt (Magnesium sulfate) to the tank at a tablespoon per five gallons.  This may help her pass the fry; I fear she may have gotten a blockage....  I doubt the remaining fry are still alive....  but hopefully you can help her out.  Make sure your water quality is pristine (zero ammonia and nitrite, less than 20ppm nitrate), well aerated, and keep your fingers crossed.> Thank you so much for your time,  -Paige <Am glad to be of service; I hope for the best for her.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>


Guppy Harem    4/20/06 To begin, thanks for you help.  Since Hurricane Rita I have "inherited" a new hobby - aquariums.  In a 55gal I have 4 Cory Cats, 5 GloLite Tetras, 5 Female Guppies, & 1 Male Guppy.      Two things I have notice and am concerned about:  All bright tailed guppies have been murdered, and all other male guppies soon follow.        The remaining male did not seem the biggest, I've tried replacing with little success.  The newest addition was a female with a black fantail, no problems.  Could that one male be so greedy/aggressive? <Possibly, but not likely> For the time being I have him in a net breeder, and named him Sheik.  Just a few days ago I inherited two more male guppies, they had been put in a tank with killifish by a young girl.  I have kept them separate so they can heal, they are doing well by themselves.  Both are non-bright tails, but I am afraid to put them in with the rest of the community.  (Just in case - by bright tails I mean any orange or red markings, pale yellow seems to be ok.)  Oh and on a cheerful note - though I have yet to get a female into a breed trap at the right moment, due to the amount of hiding places I've provided I have saved 9 fry from a couple of females.  Yeah babies!      Thanks again, Mara <I suspect the males that were lost were impugned health-wise from the start... Placing the new ones in quarantine for a few weeks will likely solve this anomalous loss issue. Bob Fenner>


Dying female guppies I am a beginner and have a very small tropical tank - about 2  gallons - <Very hard to keep such small volumes stable, optimized> which has been running for about 6-8 weeks. I have 5 neon tetras,  2 Corydoras, 1 Bristlenose catfish, 1 male guppy and usually 3 female guppies.  Today I found a lot of fry in the tank and was delighted but I think they are  gradually being eaten as they are dwindling it seems. I had not realized that  any of the female guppies were pregnant but having read some of your other  queries I now know what to look for. My main concern is that 2 of the female  guppies suddenly died although they looked fine and has been acting normally.  The male guppy had been pursuing them a lot. I plan to replace them. They died  within about 1 week of each other. Strangely, the <End of message... not atypical guppy behavior (the male chasing, females dying) in such crowded circumstances... You need a larger system. Bob Fenner>


Older Poecilia reticulata   3/27/06 Hi Bob, <Rosie> I urgently need your advice. My female guppy has been hanging upside down these last two days. She is vertical during the day, and struggles but to little avail. Her tail is right up there. She still eats any food she can catch hold of. She's going on 14 months old, has given birth eight times, but has ceased since last Christmas. During the night, she rights herself and floats up there wobbly but fine. She sometimes dashes around the bowl like she's trying to prove she can swim normally then, but this happens only at night. During the day, she gets excited when she sees the food coming and in her frenzy, turns upside down and stays that way the whole day, what can I do??? Please reply quickly. Thanks. Rosie <Sorry to state Rosie, but this fish is likely "just getting old"... near the end of its lifespan. I would not make extraordinary efforts to "treat" this fish. Bob Fenner>

Re: Older Guppy   3/28/06   Thank you for your reply Bob. She's the only surviving daughter of my very first female guppy, and has since produced more than almost 300 fry for me. She's special, I will take care of her till the end. She's floating nicely now day and night, occasionally upside down, but eating, and still very wobbly. Thank you once again. Rosie <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>


Birthday Present Gone Wrong, Mysterious death of guppies   3/14/06 Hello, My name is Chi, and I am a beginner. About 2 weeks ago, it was my friend's birthday and I have decided to give her a small 10 gal aquarium - 6 guppies, 6 panda Corys, and 2 apple snails, and a lot of plants.  Because my friend is also a beginner, I have tried to learn as much as possible so that the fish won't die.  I have followed the procedures when preparing the aquarium, e.g. pre-treat the water 72 hours ahead, get a box filter (with biofilter, activated carbon, and sponge layers), test the water.  So, water levels should be fine:  NH4+ level was highest at 0.25ppm, pH 7.6, a little aquarium salt was added, some cycle bacteria was added to it before and after the fish were introduced.   The fish were purchased at different locations, mainly because panda Cory were hard to find (I'll never buy fish at so many different stores again).  3 panda Corys have passed away one after and other, but the 3 left look strong.  Out of the 6 guppies, all have died except one male left.  Before one of the females died, she gave birth, giving ~20 fry, and they successfully survive by hiding among the plants.  These all happened almost within a week. Since the aquarium is not at my house, I can have only limited observations in limited time intervals. The panda Corys are quite inactive most of the time by nature, but if one of them become really really really inactive, then I'd know that they were sick and will eventually died.  Before one of them died, I saw rapid gill movements and inactivity.   I saw a female guppy with a strange feces dropping (with identical description from one of the posts): the feces looks "like intestinal wall hanging from its anus with feces inside...but it comes out bulgy and twisted and is very thick and hangs on the fish for a long time."  I want to add to this description: this bulgy feces was pink.  However, the post did not give a clear reason for cause. One of the sick (soon died) male guppies had swollen lips, deteriorating fins, lost of appetite, inactivity before death.  So, I thought the cause was bacterial infection, and I treated the tank with TriSulfa, but 2 days later, 1 female fish died before I had a look, and another one gets really sick.  So, we thought that it could be something other than bacterial infection.  The swollen lips and rotten fins could be secondary infections.  Although I really doubt that is a fungal infection, another friend suggested it, so we are currently treating the tank with an antifungal treatment.  The treatment dyes the whole tank neon green.  The very last thing that I want to try is the antiparasitic treatment because the antiparasitic treatments will harm the snails. This really sick fish (mentioned above) soon died within 12 hours of the antifungal treatment, and it was the most recent death.  It was a female guppy that also had the strange feces dropping the night before it died (I don't know if all the dead fish had this kind of feces before death).  It also had somewhat swollen slips, inactivity, lost of appetite, lost of mobility before death. Do you know the cause of this strange feces?  Do you know if this strange feces is related to the deaths?  The antifungal treatment require one more dosage, and then a 75% water change.  Other than that, can you give me some pointers? Thank you, Chi < When fish are ill or in poor shape their food may not have been totally digested prior to eliminating it. Your friend's tank is a mess. You do not have a fungal infection. Fungus does not attack living tissue. It can live off of tissue that has been damaged or killed by bacteria. I recommend a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Add Good quality carbon to remove any medication. Then add Bio-Spira to get the biological filtration going and reduce the stress on the fish.-Chuck>


Guppy with Ich, no QT - 2/26/2006 Hello, <<Hi Lala>> I am a very new aquarist (aquariumist??). <<Aquarist was right :)>> I have a 29-gallon aquarium with 6 white clouds, 4 dwarf rainbows, 2 algae eating shrimp and a limpet. <<No plants in the tank/left then I assume.>> Added three guppies a week ago - one of them developed ich two days later. <<Quarantine is the best way to exclude problems like this.>> I immediately consulted the LFS, started AquariSol treatment and raised temperature to 80. Only one fish has ich. The ich started on the top of the back, then two days later, it looked like the skin was perforated.  The fish was eating, and showed no visible distress, then the fish disappeared!! Have not seen her in three days now. The aquarium is lightly planted and has some driftwood and stone but I think it should have been visible.  Could she be dead and eaten??? Or buried in the gravel? <<Any of the above, yes.  Likely consumed quickly by the limpet.>> Another concern is that the other female guppy seemed to be pregnant. What should I do with the fry - should I place them in breeder tank? Will it be infected? <<Search on WWM for guppy reproduction and breeding.>> Thanks <<You are welcome.  Lisa.>> Lala

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


Worrisome color loss, please advise... uncycled FW  - 2/21/2006 One of my female guppies just lost a lot of the green in her color today. My 29 gallon tank is fairly new (about 3 weeks). I have a 50g capacity mechanical filter, I keep the temp at 78 degrees, and I have a bubble maker. My nitrite test read about .5. <Should be zero... w/o fish present> No ammonia was detected. pH was about 7.8, and has been 7.8 for the entire time I've had the tank. I didn't want to throw my tank backwards in its cycle, but I also didn't want to lose my fish, so I did a 10% water change hoping to ease the stress a little. My tank currently houses 3 swordtails, 3 molly adults (and two new molly babies as of Friday night), and 3 guppies. I only feed them what they eat up in the first minute or two, and I feed them twice a day. The 2 babies are in a breeder net right now in the 29g tank. Yesterday I got two small 5 gallon tanks from a friend for the current and future fry. Should I take some of the other fish out of the 29g and put them in one of the 5gs? <If these tanks can be cycled, yes... look here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm> I know this is very small of a tank for adult fish, but I also don't want to lose everyone. Please help, I don't want to wake up tomorrow to 11 dead fish. <Your system/s is/are not cycled... this is the root cause of your problems... Read. Bob Fenner>


Female Guppy With White Stringy Poop   2/13/06 Hi! <Howdy> I have a question and tried to read through the articles to get an answer, but there are so many. and I have a 1 & 2yr. old tugging at me constantly! So please help! Today I lost a female guppy. She was fine in my established 10 gal. tank for 2 months. then all of a sudden she had about and inch and a half of white & clear slimy poop. I wouldn't come off. Then within hours she developed a large raised red sore on her head. She died within 24 hours. What caused this? Is it contagious (I have fry in a breeder net)? If contagious, what meds will cure without harming fry? Thanks for the help! <Likely environmental and/or nutritional... you don't provide information re these... Please see WWM re the needs of this species. Bob Fenner>


Yet another cry of "dying guppy!" for you (but it is urgent)   2/10/06 I just came home from school today and I find my almost 2 week pregnant guppy hiding in the top corner of my 10gal behind some plants and reluctant to move. I tapped the glass a little bit and she started swimming around the perimeter of the tank and looked like she was trying to jump out of the water (but apparently too weak or something). Then I saw what looks like internal bleeding or something just past her gills (not coming from her gills) on the other side of her body when she started dragging herself around the bottom of the tank very soon afterward. She also has a small, slightly reddish spot on her lower belly (not as far as the gravid spot--still on her silver-ish belly (ulcer or something??)). Her gravid spot still looks pretty normal colored (not dark yet). She has always been fat (like all my other fish-especially girls) and has little color except for her red-orange tail fin, so it is definitely not coloration. Oh-she was acting a little more antisocial (slightly lethargic) around the three other boys that have been constantly harassing her the whole 2 weeks I had them put together, so I took the boys out yesterday so the girl could have breathing room, but she didn't have the bleeding streak on her it really does look like blood). I had some Fungus Clear which says it works on hemorrhagic septicemia, so I put a tablet in (since it says the symptoms are: "red streaks on fins or body w/ no signs of skin damage" since that was the closest thing to what it looks like she has. as for the spot, the Fungus Clear says it helps with furunculosis, which it says is "open red sores", but it's hard to tell if it's open). The boy seem to be fine so far.... OK REAL EMERGENCY NOW!!!!! I JUST CHECKED ON HER AND SHE'S ALL BENT OUT OF SHAPE! I WAS ABOUT TO TAKE HER OUT TO FLUSH HER BUT I SAW HER FINS BARELY MOVING! HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 <... what re the water quality, make-up of your system? What do you feed? In future, please peruse WWM... re "Guppy Disease", Systems... I would have added Aquarium Salt here... but if you had this fish for only two weeks... your system is likely not cycled... Bob Fenner>


Guppy with Popeye   2/1/06 Dear wet web media, <Leslie>     I have a Guppy that has had Popeye for approximately 2 weeks. We had some aggressive Serpae tetras at the time, and I assumed it was due to the nipping they were doing. <Maybe> Immediately upon noticing the condition, I moved him to a fish bowl I have. It was the best I could do for a QT tank.  I treated him with Epsom salts per your instruction in the FAQ section of your website.  The eye has improved some, and he has started to eat (he wouldn't eat at first).  There was a red ring under his eye for about a week, which has gone away, but  I have still left him in QT because the LFS told me that Popeye is sometimes caused by a parasite, <Mmm, very rare actually. If one sided, a trauma or aggression almost always... if bilateral, typically environmental in cause> which eventually comes out from behind the eye.  If it was a parasite, I did not want that released into my main tank.      Basically, it has been two weeks and his eye is still bulging.  The swelling has not gone down much.  Should I treat him with something else, or should I just let him be.         Thanks,      Leslie <Mmm, some expense involved, but antibiotics can be attempted... Covered on WWM... search under Popeye, Freshwater. Bob Fenner>


Guppy problem... uncycled system   1/17/06 Hi, <Hello> Yesterday evening I added three male guppies and a Snowball pleco to my 60 litre tank (they are the only fish in the tank). The tank is new but I left it to settle for a week to condition the water and bring it to a stable temperature (79 F). I checked the ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels and they are all fine, <Mmm, unless you did more than you list, this system is not likely "fine"... is yet uncycled...> and the pH is approximately 7. Last night when I switched the light off all fish seemed lively and healthy but this morning when I looked in two of the guppies tails had almost disappeared. I don't know if it's fin rot because its not really ragged at the end of the tail, it's working up vertically and its not completely removing the tail fibres, just the pigment in the tail and whatever holds the fibres together. I haven't added salt to the aquarium, will this help repair their tails without affecting the pleco? <To a useful degree, yes> The problem seems to be affecting their appetite and working quickly so I don't know what I can do to help them. One of the fish just got stuck to the filter and now some of his scales have gone white (he is a black fish). Thanks for any help you can give, Lucy <Lucy, your tank was not ready to have the fishes placed in it... You now need to seek means to "biologically cycle, condition" it. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above... till you understand your options. Act quickly. Bob Fenner>

Re: Guppy problem, feeding Pleco   1/21/06 That was something I did forget to mention, during the week I left the tank to settle I added AquaPlus and cycle to get rid of chlorine and add bacteria to the water. I isolated the two ill fish in a smaller tank, added some salt and went out and bought MelaFix to treat both tanks but unfortunately the two fish died overnight. I'm continuing to treat the water and haven't added any more fish to give it time to fully cycle. <Good> I have one other problem: my Snowball Pleco. I had a look about the internet to try and find what to feed him and most sources say they're not picky eaters but I can't seem to get mine to eat. I left a cucumber <Would not use this... try blanched Zucchini instead... with the skin if small> for him, which I'm told they like and I bought special bottom-feeder food but he doesn't seem to have touched any of it. When I got him the lady said he needed wood in his tank, which he seems to be permanently stuck to, is he eating that? <The wood sort of helps with digestion... like gravel, sand and a chickens crop> They're fond of algae and plants I think, but I'm too scared to add anything else to the tank until everything has settled. Can you advise me on what I should be doing? <Try the Zucchini and algae wafer (sinking) food here... if not eating still, raise temperature, consider lowering pH and hardness. Bob Fenner>


Female fancy guppy question   1/14/06 Hi, <Hello> I hope that you can answer my question or lead me to the proper place to get the information I need.  We have a 46 gallon tank, after we set up the tank and had it ready for fish (the pet store tested the water quality as did we), we decided that we only wanted fancy guppies.  We purchased 10 males and 10 females, <A bad ratio... too many males... and too many fish to put in a new tank at once> which the store said was a good combination to start with. We were told that they were strictly kept separated until we purchased them and mixed them in our tank. <...?> We noticed that a couple of our females were losing their color, first in their tale fin and then in their bodies.  We had them die 24 hours after being placed in the tank. <Something about the tank, water quality...> The next day we had another die.  All three were found dead about 20-25 minutes after a feeding. About 12 hours later, my hubby came home and he was holding the kids to watch the fish and realized that we had fry swimming around.  We could count 7. <Stress induced repro...>   We put a breeder box in the tank to separate out the fry because that was the only thing we had available.  We were able to catch 5, one was eaten and one got crushed in the gravel trying to get away from the net.  Then we noticed that there are at least 3 more females that are visibly pregnant. <Common condition> We have no idea which one had these fry and if it was a now deceased one. Today, I have noticed that the females which are now greatly outnumbered are being chased constantly around the tank.  I also noticed that 4 of the remaining 6 females have either lost all color or are starting to lose their color.  The one that is the largest in her pregnancy is still looking good. The water is testing fine for everything. <Ammonia, nitrite?> I just don't know what to do at this point.  One of the males has lightened in color, I believe, and has gotten 2 dark spots on his belly.  I am new to this whole fish thing.  We have had platys since Christmas, Swordtails a few days later, bamboo shrimp and neon tetras in a 30 gallon tank... <Ahh! Good> they seem to be doing fine.  We had guppies in that tank that were a replacement for some swordtails that couldn't handle the stress of being moved and the only thing they could do was replace them with guppies which all died very quickly for us to find out that the entire shipment was sick - but we were able to treat the tank like the store said and saved everything else in there.  That is why we have a second tank for just guppies because the kids love them so much.  We also got this batch of guppies from a different store because of guppy quality issues at the store where we were getting everything else.  In addition to losing color two of them are staying really close to the heater and not really swimming, one I believe is pregnant but I can't really tell.  The water temp is 76 which is where the store had it for them.   I just can't believe that I bought a whole batch of pregnant fish!!  That is absolutely not what a beginner needs! Thanks in advance for your time and knowledge! Kimberly <It may well be that these guppies you bought were also "a bad batch"... the imported (majority) ones these years are often bunk... hormone treated, very easily lost. In the event the tank is just not completely cycled, I encourage you to add stability, by taking a good volume (like a quarter) of the water from the 30 and placing it in the newer 46. I would get/use your own test kits for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH, and learn what these tests indicate. Bob Fenner>


Deformed Guppy tail and fin  01/01/2006 Hello, thank you for providing such a great informative site. <Welcome> I breed guppies with the intention of trying to attract some of our beautiful water  birds in the area that I live in among the hills and bushland of Perth Western Australia. <Interesting> I have only been breeding them for 3 months, starting with 4 males and 14 females I know have over 500 fry and dozens being born each day. Among my fry I notice some of them when around 3 weeks old seem to have narrow tails and what seems to be no dorsal or anal fins, they may be there and too small to see, however the tail is narrow and seems to effect their swimming. <Yes... good description... these are "throw backs"... more wild-type characteristics... what guppy breeders for the ornamental trade would treat as culls> I have also noticed among my dead guppies they mostly if not all seem to be the ones with the deformed tails. It is very hard to see what sex they are, they seem if they get a little older to be trying to be a male but when they approach a female they seem to swim backward when near her as if trying to manoeuvre closer. My first fry were born around 6 weeks ago, the eldest of them seem well formed and no problems, as yet my oldest fry with the problem I describe is around 3-4 weeks. I would appreciate any suggestions of help. Is this an American based web site? <Is more American than not, the responders being in (most of the time) and of American citizenry... but we are "human" oriented... respond to, seek to help all... regardless of country of origin/nationality, any other "other" quality> Thank you, Anne <Well, you might well be able to reduce the incidence of deformity... mostly by breeding, culling in more controlled circumstances (aquariums) and releasing the "better-shaped" young into your grow out pond... Your water quality might well play a role here as well as nutrition... Guppies prefer hard, alkaline water for instance. Lastly, a note to encourage your care in not allowing these livebearers to "get loose" to the wild. This species is problematical in several parts of the world as an exotic contaminant. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re Deformed Guppy tail and fin  01/01/2006 now 1/10/06 Thanks Bob for your reply to my questions. So far the fish born with the deformed tails all seem to die at around 3-4 weeks, yesterday I started to try to separate some of the young males and found for the first time one deformed fish that looked like a male, it is the first time I had been able to tell the sex of a deformed fish. I notice today he was dead, they do seem to have problems in swimming in the same fashion as a normal fish. I will make sure they don't breed. Thank you also for the warning about letting the Guppies loose in the wild, I won't do that as I know they can be a pest. <Ah, good> Do you have any hints or suggestions on sexing fish.  I have no problem in seeing male or female it is the amount I need to separate and it seems to stress them out when I take them out of their tank and keep them in a small glass long enough to get a good look at them, they seem to want to stay close to the bottom of the glass. It is very time consuming and unless I can remove all of my adult males I can see there is no other way to stop fry from being born. <Mmm, really just a matter of practice... perhaps catching them one at a time, placing in a clear trap/container, using a magnifying glass will help> My large tank  is around 4 feet long by 2 feet deep and with only 12 females and 3 adult males with at least 6 males near maturity or close to fully mature. I have over 600 fry in other tanks and all sizes from new born up to adult in the large tank, <Wowzah... most breeders use ten, fifteen, maybe twenty gallon tanks... hard to catch in larger... to put this mildly> I only catch newborn fry when they are at the top of the tank, below there seem to be several hundred among the plants.  I feel a need to stop them breeding and catching the males is about all I can think of Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.. Regards, and thank you. Anne. <You could be single-handedly, the principal reason for a "renaissance" in pet-fish keeping in your area... by spreading the wealth, giving some guppies to neighbors! Bob Fenner>

Re: Deformed Guppy tail and fin   1/11/06 Hi Bob. <Anne> "<Mmm, really just a matter of practice... perhaps catching them one at a time, placing in a clear trap/container, using a magnifying glass will help>" Thanks that is what I have been doing, I just knew I was asking an impossible question. One at a time is very time consuming, I will just have to keep on plugging along, I thank you again for your help. Regards, Anne. <Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>


Guppy Problems  - 01/03/2006 Hey crew! It's been a while since I've written, a good  sign... But unfortunately two of my guppies have taken a turn... To start from  the beginning, I have a 10 gallon tank with 3 adult guppies (1 male, 2 female),  1 ram, and 3 Cory Cats (2 bronze, 1 pepper). Just yesterday I noticed that one  of my guppies had a hard time swimming... I could consider it more like  wobbling, and today he just rests on the suction cups of my heater. Do you know  what could possibly be wrong with him? He also seems to have a large upper  'chest' that I'm worried about also, which I don't believe is  from over feeding him. < Might be a case of dropsy or an internal bacterial infection. Check the water for nitrates. For guppies you water should be hard and alkaline with a some salt added. They also like it warm around 80 F. You catfish will not like the salt and your ram actually prefers soft acidic water. Metronidazole will treat the internal bacterial infection if the water is clean.>     Now for my other guppy. I  did a water change about two days ago, maybe 40-50%, and now my poor guppy  has a HUGE case of ich!!! I raised the temp. yesterday a couple of degrees,  and the ich is starting to disappear. I'm just running this by you. Do you  think she will be able to get over this? She has stopped eating, or at least tries to eat but can't seem to see where the food is...  What  should I do????!!Christine < You water temp should be up around 80 F. Treat with Rid-Ich plus by Kordon. Is supposed to be safer than other medications with catfish. Follow the directions on the bottle.-Chuck>


Guppy Illness/Distress? Hi <Hello there> I recently purchased two standard male guppies for my 1 gallon tank. <Hard to keep such small volumes of water stable...> The other night I noticed the smaller guppy swimming very fast and rather erratically up & down the sides of the tank - he might have been rubbing, I'm not sure - but he seemed very distressed.  The other fish was fine.  It is a new tank (1 week).  I am wondering if he was just stressed out because I had just used the net to scoop out some uneaten food?   <Maybe> Or might he be sick?  He seemed to calm down after 30 minutes or so & I haven't noticed any blemishes on his body.  Also, I haven't noticed the larger fish harassing him, although he sometimes follows him a little.  Any suggestions? <... likely this bowl/system is uncycled... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Jill.


Problem With My Guppy  12/15/05 Hello WWM, Let me give you some background information about my setup.  I have a ten gallon planted (Java fern, Bacopa, hornwort, Rotala, red Ludwigia) tank occupied by 4 adult female guppies, 1 adolescent female guppy, 2 guppy fry ~6 days old, 1 flying fox, <Too large, rambunctious for this size setting, tankmates> 1 Otocinclus, and a dwarf African frog.  My tank has been running for about 4 years but I just recently switched to the guppies about 2 months ago.  About 6 days ago, two maybe three of the females dropped over 60 fry. I have removed the majority to a separate tank except for the fastest/smartest 2 which eluded me.  About two days ago one of the guppies started showing poor behaviour.  She rolls over on her side a lot and occasionally upside down or vertical with her nose pointed down.  She does not show any visible signs of disease on her exterior.  The other fish are not showing any problems, which made me think it was not a water quality issue.  I tested the water anyway and was surprised to find NH3-0.6, NO2-0.2, NO3-40ppm, <Yikes... need to "get rid" of the ammonia, nitrite, reduce the nitrate by at least half> and pH 7.8.  I did a 50% water change.   <Good> My pH is normally about 7.3 and I would expect my plants to remove the majority of the nitrate from the system, what is going on there?   <Mmm, crowding, possibly over-feeding> What causes pH to rise like that? (I have noticed a slight rise in my other two tanks also) <Unusual... possibly just photosynthetic effect, low buffering capacity (works both ways... up and down the pH scale)... You might check the pH early AM... likely a very/too large fluctuation diurnally (more than 1.0 should be avoided)>   Could the birth of those guppies have flooded the system with ammonia, leading to high nitrates? <A small contributor>   As for the guppy,  I tried treating her with Epsom salt and NaCl to no effect. <Ahh, these salt additions will/would forestall nitrification... slow down to bump off nitrifying micro-organisms> My best guess from reading other FAQ entries is that she may have a swim bladder infection or a genetic/developmental disorder.  Does this seem probable to you? <Mmm, yes... but these are simply descriptive terms... like idiot presidents calling people "terrorists"... Does not give insight as to cause, probable treatment/s. Very likely your root problem (largest causative factor) is environmental...>   Should I try some antibiotic? I have Maracyn -Two on hand which I could use. <I would not>   I would like to try help her as she is trying hard to hang on.  She is capable of swimming upright when you try to catch her, but then she just stops and rolls over on her side.  I can't imagine she will last too much longer without assistance. Thank you for any advice you can offer. Chris <Keep changing about a quarter of the water per day... with stored, pre-treated... feed sparingly. This is about the best course of action here... get the water quality right and all should be fine. Bob Fenner>

Girthy Guppy - Pregnant or Problematic? - 12/06/2005 Hello.  <Hi again!> Thanks for replying so quickly!  <Ah, sure - and my apologies for the delay in this reply.... things have gotten pretty backed for us!> She had her babies yesterday.  <Congrats!> I bought a water tester kit and my nitrate is insanely high. It's the highest it could be, so my fish are pretty stressed. I guess she was holding them until she could hold them no longer. <Yikes! Do some water changes to get the nitrate down.... you're aiming for 20ppm or below, ultimately.> I have another problem now. One of my female guppies has ich. <Oh, not fun.> Since she is in a 55 gallon tank, should I take her and put her in a different tank and treat her or treat the whole tank? Would the ich treatment kill my other fish that don't have ich? <You'll need to read about ich and treating ich; much you need to know about this. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm .> Thanks. <Glad to be of service. All the best to you, -Sabrina>


Guppies Wasting Away  12/7/05 I need help identifying the problem. All ages- except young fry- male and female alike -get thin like a long tube- the females lose their whole tummy- all up into a same diameter rod, their color fades and they up and die. The problem is this happens over the course of only two days. I did a complete water change after I lost 7-10 of them - treated them with the yellow antibiotic normally used to travel fish - with no improvement. <<What yellow antibiotic "normally" used to travel fish?  Have not seen such a thing in my years of shipping.  Marina>> I then tried gel-Tek Ultra Cure PX- which they would not eat at all. Did one more complete water change - things looked good for about 3 weeks and as of today...it's back- with 3 fish going tubular almost so fast I can watch it happen! I have them in a 70 gal tank- at this time about 300-400 of them- most are young- not yet showing color- as most the adults were killed off in the first  round of this.  I did introduce 2 new males a few weeks prior to this outbreak- but they have remained very healthy this whole time. It first killed off all the older mamas, who I thought had just reached the end of the baby making phase- next it took out the young "just colored" males- the older males all were fine.  This time I'm down 3 mid aged females and have 2f and 1 male on the way out.  I regularly trade young adult pairs for fish food and supplies at my friends store. Take in like 20-30 pairs at a time- I normally don't have 300 at once- they are all still too young to sell. <Add a tablespoon of salt for every 5 gallons of water. Quarantine new fish before adding them to an established tank. This wasting away disease comes from guppies kept too close together for too long. Watch the nitrates when they get over 20 ppm then you need to do a water change to reduce them. Treat them with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace when you first see this again.> On another note- the batches born 2-3 months ago have "glass" bodies and tails with just a hint of color on the tail or no color- is this rare? Glass Guppies? the only picture I found on the net had a semi glass tail and a colored top fin. < They probably had clear guppies many years ago but were not as marketable as the fancy colored ones.> TIP- when feeding fry brine shrimp- to collect the shrimp out of the shrimp tank- pour shrimp water thru a coffee filter to separate out from the water.  < A brine shrimp net works too and can be reused over and over again.> TIP- guppy fry LOVE thawed frozen peas - shell and crush using a (very clean or new) garlic press. Grown guppies and fighting fish fry and adults all LOVE frozen (plain thawed) peas. Janna < In the book "Enjoying Cichlids" there is a recipe for a DIY fish food using frozen peas, shrimp and gelatin as a binder. I have made this many times and all fish love it.-Chuck> 

Guppies Wasting Away  12/8/05 This wasting away disease comes from guppies being kept too close together for too long. I'm confused- these guys have tons of room- lots of plants to hide in and stacked up flat stones to hide under also. again- most the tank is youngsters. I thought it might be a parasite? < Usually it is some sort of stress that enables the parasite to take hold and attack the fish. The cause is usually the stress of shipping, poor water quality, lighting, over crowding, poor diet, water temperature, etc... You will need to find the cause. Start by doing a nitrate test.-Chuck> 

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