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FAQs on Guppies 2

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

Related FAQs:  Guppies 1, Guppy Identification, Guppy Behavior, Guppy Compatibility, Guppy Selection, Guppy Systems, Guppy Feeding, Guppy Disease, Guppy Reproduction, Livebearers, Platies, Swordtails, MolliesLivebearer Identification, Livebearer Behavior, Livebearer Compatibility, Livebearer Selection, Livebearer Systems, Livebearer Feeding, Livebearer Disease, Livebearer Reproduction,

Beautiful male delta tail guppy... and tank water spots....

Guppy Questions        4/9/15
Hello!
<Hello,>
First, I want to apologize if I've missed the information I need on your site. I've been reading various things and Googling for hours, so hopefully I didn't.
<Understood.>
I recently purchased an aquarium "for my daughter" for her birthday. (She enjoys watching them, and I enjoy them as well). We settled on getting a few guppies because we wanted multiple fish, but only have a ten gallon tank. We got the fish from PetSmart and the associate told us we could have four in the tank and it would be fine. We also have six ghost shrimp and one snail. First I wanted to make sure this is an appropriate amount of fish for the tank size?
<I personally wouldn't keep Guppies in a 10 gallon tank because the males are a bit (very) hard on the females, tending to harass them all the time, which can't be nice and often leads to miscarriages and stress-induced deaths. Also Guppies overall are a bit delicate nowadays. But yes, you can just about get away with it if you keep just a group of males, took scrupulous care over filtration, and did regular water changes. I'd also recommend adding a bit of salt. While Guppies don't 100% need it, it does make them a bit hardier and less prone to Whitespot, fungus, and other annoyances. Ghost Shrimp will tolerate the salt just fine. The snail might not, but I'm assuming this is an Apple Snail (or Mystery Snail) in which case I'd return it anyway. They don't do terribly well mixed with fish, for a variety of reasons, and end up dead after a few months nine times out of ten. On the other hand, Nerite Snails (such as Zebra Snails and other Neritina species) tolerate salt extremely well. At minimum, I'd add 1-2 level teaspoons of marine salt mix per US gallon of water (I'm assuming you're in the US because of your spellings; elsewhere on the planet that's about 1.5-3 gram/litre). Marine salt mix is ideal because it not only adds salt but also raises the pH and hardness levels, two things Guppies really benefit from.>
Next, I started doing some research because I believed one of the fish to be pregnant, but after researching I think all four fish are males.
<Three of them certainly are; I can't tell on the fourth, blurry photo. But to recap: male Guppies always have a modified anal fin (that's the one close to the anus) that looks like a tube or stick. They bend it from time to time, and it's the one used during mating to direct sperm into the females. Generally, males are also smaller and more colourful, but modern day breeders have produced varieties where the females are quite colourful too, so this distinction isn't as reliable.>
I'll try to attach some pictures, if you could please let me know what you think, I'd be a lot more comfortable with a professional. The "tuxedo" guppy is the one I thought is pregnant. If they are all males, is it okay if they stay together in the tank, or will they fight and stress each other out/possibly kill each other?
<Oddly enough, adding a couple more would help diffuse aggression. Yes, there will be some fighting or chasing. Here's a piece I wrote for PFK that explains what's going on:
http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/content.php?sid=6153
Adding lots of floating plants will be a plus, and I'd recommend ordering some floating Indian Fern online if your local pet store doesn't have it. It's easy to grow, and much better than any other floating plant in the hobby.>
Also, as you can see in one of the pictures one of the fish has a string of poop, from what I've read this is from over-feeding, which makes sense as I'm still getting used to how much to feed them properly.
<Little but often. Since Guppies are herbivores, try buying some plecostomus algae wafers (Hikari are my brand of choice) and offer half of one of these for a whole day's food. More than enough food for your Guppies, shrimps and snails. Otherwise, tiny pinches of an algae-based flake food, sometimes called Spirulina flake, maybe twice a day. Golden rule here is that a Guppy will need flake about 1-2 times the size of his eyeball per meal. Not a lot! Don't over feed. Err on the side of caution.>
Does this seem correct? Thank you so much in advance and again I apologize if I've missed the information on your site. Starla
<Do start here and follow the links:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm

Have fun! Neale.>

 

Re: Guppy Questions       4/10/15
I will be heading back to the store to get some marine salt and algae food then and return the poor snail (it is indeed a "mystery" snail).
<Ah, do visit AppleSnail.net; a good resource for these beasts. Fine animals, highly amusing to keep, but not especially good companions for the average community fish.>
To clarify, if I wanted to add in say two (good number?) more guppies to help with aggression, I'm assuming I'd need to move them to a bigger tank?
<If you look at those all-male Guppy tanks, there's often a dozens! But in 10 gallons, I'd say 5-6 specimens, tops. See how they do for a few weeks.
If water quality is okay, you might be able to add one or two more.>
I will definitely try to get some of the fern, I've been trying to find a good floating plant, I've been reading that guppies really like them.
<Sure do. Ceratopteris is an outstanding plant species, very useful.>
Thank you!
<Welcome. Neale.>

Re: Guppy Questions      4/11/15
I managed to get a hold of a 40 gallon bow front tank, as soon as I can find a suitable lid for it I plan on moving the guppies and shrimp to it.
<Cool.>
I'd like to get a couple more types of fish to add in also. I've read that zebra Danio can do well with guppies.
<Yes, they can, but not consistently well. Sometimes they can be "nippy".
Keeping a reasonably large group of the Danios will help a lot, at least 6, and in a tank this size, I'd get 8-10. Still, there are other fish I'd recommend as being less prone to fin-nipping. Cherry Barbs, Ricefish, X-Ray Tetras and Blue-eyes would all be on my list.>
Also I would love to get a plecostomus, they're one of my favorite fish.
<They get massive! Too big for 40 gallons.>
Would a Bristlenose Pleco be suitable for a 40 gallon tank with 6-7 each of guppies and Danio + the ghost shrimp or would I be better off omitting the Pleco?
<Ah, a Bristlenose would be ideal. Maybe get a male and female... they're easy to breed.>
Would the guppies and Danio be happy with that number of each?
<Yes. Or alternatively, and this often works best: get lots of floating plants, then (at least) twice as many female Guppies as males. After a few months, you'll have a burgeoning population of Guppies. Guppies often thrive best kept alone, or with benthic fish such as Bristlenoses and Corydoras rather than other midwater fish. Cheers, Neale.>R
Re: Guppy Questions      4/11/15

Thank you again!
I will plan on getting some more guppies then (being careful to get females this time) and a pair of bristlenoses as soon as I get my tank habitable.
<Sounds like a plan! Good luck, Neale.>

Mysterious Disappearance      6/5/14
Hi. I have a 15 gallon tank containing 6 neon tetras and 1 purple mystery snail. Yesterday I added 3 guppies to my tank. The guppies were extremely active and chasing each other. One of my guppies disappeared overnight. He probably died and was eaten by my mystery snail.
<Yes, or jumped out.>
The guppies that remain are calm this morning. What do you think went wrong with the third guppy?
<No way to tell. Stress, jumping are two possibilities. Will warn you (have warned you!) that Guppy males are antagonistic and in small groups may harass one another.>
Picture of my remaining fish. Picture of my purple mystery snail from the back. Thank you.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Re: Mysterious Disappearance       6/6/14
Thank you Neale.
<De nada!>

Question : About female Guppy. Repro. rdg.   3/4/12
Hello, My name is Jackie. I have a 55 Gallon Community tank and a Fry/ Pregnant Female Tank. In my fry tank I have 3 Pregnant females and about 22 1 week old Fry. One of the Females I have in that tank is getting huge. I have had her for 2 weeks and she is pregnant but she is just sitting at the bottom of that tank. The last female to have fry did it when I was at work so I don't know if this is the beginning stage of labor or something is wrong?
<Mmm, can't tell from the data presented>
But she is huge. My other females have not gotten this big. She does not have any raised scales like if she had Dropsy. so I don't know if she is going to have a huge amount of fry or what. thank you so much for your time. Jackie
<Mmm... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaq2.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Male-Female guppy problem   3/24/11
Hi WetWeb peeps,
<Thruststar Owner>
I am considering getting a 10-gallon breeding community of guppies.
<Mmm, if it's not too late, do up-size this. Read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppysysfaqs.htm>
I am thinking of getting 2 males. I obviously can't house all of those females, so what if I only add another female?
<What? No... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppyreprofaqs.htm>
Also, if I let the baby guppies range free, with lots of plants, will they be OK?
<Keep reading, the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
We go to the petstore on Friday, so I'd like a response before then.

Fat guppy, using WWM   2/14/11
Hello, I have female guppy in a breeder net and she is huge (fat) and pregnant but her gravid spot is pale almost clear and she always hangs out on the bottom of the net do u no what I should do will she explode.
<Put this run on sentence in the search tool here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm
and read. Bob Fenner>

Guppies, reading, beh., reading, uncycled sys., reading,    2/28/10
<Hello.>
Hi. I just got some guppies yesterday. I have 1 male and 2 females.
<Okay. Did you read on WWM/elsewhere prior to purchase? Often reading about the species you keep, even before you see problems, can help you feel more confident in your ability as a fishkeeper, and confidence helps a lot when you're making decisions in the hobby. Please begin by reading here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm.>
My male likes to play with the bigger female and she plays back, and I'm wondering why are they doing that.
<Fish do not play. In addition, since you're not describing the behavior itself, I can't be of any help here. Please be more descriptive about the behavior. This is likely not behavior aimed toward amusement, but more likely, toward reproduction on the male's part. Since you have one female who seems to be ill or having a difficult time "settling in," all of the male guppy's amorous attention is directed toward one female, which is going to stress her terribly.>
My other smaller female stays at the top or completely hides in the plants I have.
<This female may be sick, or as I said above, not adjusting as well as the others. Your reading will likely help you determine which, as well as water testing. If this tank does not have a heater, I would add one, and set it for 77 degrees. In order to avoid stress and illness, as well as determine whether the this female is lethargic due to temperature, you'll have a heater and keep temperature steady.>
These are my very first guppies and I have no idea how they're supposed to act.
<Can be solved, to a good degree, by reading the guppy behavior FAQs on
WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppybehfaqs.htm.>
Oh, and my male likes to play with the gravel that I have.
<What do you mean? Again, "play" isn't a useful verb here. I really need for you to explain his behavior.>
They're in a 55 gallon tank right now. I want to put more fish but I heard you're supposed to wait for 5 days.
<Is this tank cycled? Please read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm.>
The pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates seem to be fine as what my test kit is telling me, but how do I know for sure?
<I really, really need for you to provide numbers on these tests. If the tank is not cycled, you may need to do extra work in order to keep them healthy as it does cycle. Since this isn't a huge bioload, you may only need to do a few water changes to keep Ammonia low. However, if your tank is in the process of cycling, I'd wait more than five days until I added more fish. I'd wait the month it takes the tank to cycle, and then add fish slowly, like maybe every week to two weeks. So, rather than "fine," please let me know what the number which corresponds to each test result is. As for whether you know for sure, the liquid test kits are fairly accurate. Test strips aren't much good. You could always take a water sample to your fish store and have them double-check your findings if you're unsure about their accuracy. I think a lot of your worries here can be solved with some good old-fashioned research. Please read where I've linked you above, and feel free to peruse the other information WWM has to offer on guppies. There's tons of it. If you have any further questions after reading, please write back. Also, we ask on the page where you found our e-mail address in order to write us that those who write in take the time to capitalize properly (the pronoun "I" and the first word of every sentence are always capitalized), run spell check, and avoid "text speak."
The reason for this is that we're volunteers, and we want to help people.
When I receive an e-mail such as yours, it takes me almost as long to correct it, so that both native and non-native English speakers can understand it, as it does to answer the query itself. So, to save our time and as a show of respect, it's much better for you to take the time to read over your own work before sending. Thank you.
--Melinda>
? Ongoing, FW... Child    2/28/10

<Hello.>
The male and female like to I guess nip each other, as the little female she does come down moves round and does do things. I'm just a little nervous that she's not doing as good as the others
<As I said earlier, she may be having a more difficult time settling in.>
and as my temp I got it on as 76 to 80
<80 is really too warm for these guys.... how is it a range, and not just one temperature?>
and nitrites are at 0, ammonia is at 0 my nitrates is .5 to 1
<This is a strange reading for Nitrate... usually done in increments of 5>
and as my ph is at 7.2 to 7.6.
<Okay.>
yes I did do the cycle as, I read a lot of information before I got the aquarium.
<Good!>
I got the 55 because I read that its a bit easier and that you have more leeway instead of a smaller tank
<This is right... besides most people get bitten by the bug anyway and end up upgrading tank size, which is costly when you have to also buy new filters, lights, etc. It's really better to start with a larger tank.>
I check my level everyday as I do not want anything to go wrong, the little female does move around but not as much as the bigger one, but the bigger one moves around then comes back to the little one as does the male. They do swim round do all the fishy kind of stuff but I'm just wondering if she's just stressed and needs time to relax and get comfortable.
<Maybe.>
I did research but they really don't tell u much bout their personalities and what to really expect.
<We have a lot of information here on WWM, so I'm not sure who "they" are.>
I think the little female is pregnant as she does have the black spot on her tummy, base of the tale.
<If she was ever housed with a male, she's pregnant now. If she was only kept with females, then you can be pretty sure the father is your male, though.
--Melinda>

Guppy trouble... no data, reading  19.01.09
My very pregnant guppy is lying on her side and seems to be breathing real hard (or whatever you call it).
<Oh>
She's been very quiet for a few days. I have her in a large trap with forage on the bottom. She likes to hide in it. She doesn't seem to be eating either. Today she started to lie on her side a lot.
Steve Waldner
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppies.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Help please, non-native speaker/writer? Guppy... repro.?   6/27/08 hello i recently bought 4 males and 1 female guppy. i didn't know she was a female until she became pregnant. my tank is about 15 gallons. i put her in a breeding cage thing but it was too small so i bought her a 10 gallon tank and put her in it by herself. she been all crazy since i put her in an hour ago. i wanted to know if i did the right thing and if there is anything i should know about pregnant guppies. thank you for you help in advance jas <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppyreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Solo guppy  5/10/08I'm sorry to have to ask the question and I have looked in the FAQ'S and couldn't find the answer. Out of the blue I noticed one guppy dead plastered to a plastic plant. I've had 2 guppies in a 5 gallon tank for over a year. The water quality is good - no ammonia, nitrites, etc. Although I have stains on glass and filter from water hardness. Two questions, this guppy showed no odd signs of behavior before dying, what could have been the problem? <Quite possibly old age. Fancy Guppies are not long lived. Wild fish are basically annuals, though in captivity "hardy" Guppies (e.g., Feeder guppies) can live for 2+ years. But Fancy Guppies were bred with a view to colour and finnage rather than hardiness, and by the time you purchase an adult male, he may be 6 months old already. So assuming water conditions are good, he may just be life expired. That said, a 5 gallon tank is a lot smaller than I'd *ever* recommend for Guppies because they are delicate and the males are quite aggressive.> How do I clean water hardness stains? <Easily removed using a bit of elbow grease (as we call it in England) plus a cloth moistened with lemon juice or vinegar.> Can this remaining guppy be kept alone or should I put another in there? <He/she be absolutely fine on his own. Females are gregarious and do best in groups, but males are mutually aggressive and don't have much of a schooling instinct, if any, in captivity.> after QT? Your quick response is appreciated. Irene (stumped) <Sincerely, Neale.> Re: Solo guppy  5/10/08Thank you for your quick and detailed answer.. It is very helpful.. One last question, can I use this lemon juice/vinegar to clean while fish is still in the tank? Irene <For cleaning the outside the tank, yes, you can use vinegar or lemon juice. Apply carefully though, to avoid getting it into the tank itself. Cheers, Neale.>

guppy question  05/09/08 Hi guys (and gals!) Love your site. Been a while since I had a question for you though. I have a 55 gal freshwater tank. Been running for over a year. All parameters are awesome. I got a couple of female guppies the other day. One of them has not eaten at all. She has no other symptoms that I can see. She swims around, not hanging there. I have looked at her with a magnifying glass and cannot see anything in her mouth, although it's not opening very wide, and nothing external. A moment ago I saw her 'yawn', but not sure if that is something. Just completely uninterested in food. This is now the 5th day. A bit concerned, as all I have ever seen is all my guppies eat like pigs! Would that have anything to do with bacteria or parasites?? She's a new one so I guess you never know... thanks Tamara <Hi Tamara. Can't do anything with this information. Please tell me *what* the water parameters are -- unfortunately for me, the word "awesome" doesn't confer anything in terms of pH, water hardness, temperature, nitrite, or nitrate. Get back to me with (at the very least) the pH and the nitrite, and perhaps we can go somewhere in terms of diagnosing the problem. In the meantime, start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppies.htm Almost all sickness in fish comes down to water issues rather than bacteria or parasites that come out of the blue. So check everything is right from that angle first, and then worry about the very improbable stuff. Cheers, Neale.> Re: guppy question  5/10/08 ok...the ph test kit I have goes to 7.6 and that's the color, but not sure if it would show a different color if higher or not. <7.6 is an acceptable pH for Guppies, provided the water hardness is high as well.> Ammonia 0 nitrites 0 nitrates 0 <All fine.> All others are doing great. Guppies (2males 6 female), Blk Phantom, Blk Neon, GloLite, Rasbora, 2 Corys and a rubberlip Pleco, oh yes, and a bunch of trumpet snails. <Ideal water chemistry for Guppies is not the same as that required by Tetras and Rasboras, so I don't recommend keeping these fish together. But if you've had success hitherto, that's fine.> This is a new guppy to my tank 5 days ago...that's why I was wondering about the symptoms being bacterial or parasitic. <Possible if a new purchase; hence the reason we recommend quarantining. Quality of livebearers is variable, and many Guppies and most Mollies are reared in brackish rather than freshwater to reduce the problems of various diseases. When these livebearers are moved into freshwater aquaria, they often become sick. Because livebearers all tolerate salt, that's a useful tool to use when acclimating new fish. But if you have Tetras and Rasboras, adding salt isn't an option. At useful salt doses, these fish will die.> She is not a full grown female at all, so shouldn't be age. Thought if it was stress from moving from tank to tank (pet store to home 10 min drive) that it would be over by now. <Unlikely to be the cause.> The other one I got at the same time is doing great....again...so odd seeing a guppy not eating they are usually pigs!! I've noticed she has done a bit more of the yawning or mouth stretching, which probably wouldn't have noticed without the lack of eating. Any thoughts? <I'd certainly move this fish to your quarantine or hospital tank, and perhaps maintain in slightly brackish (SG 1.003-1.005) conditions. Keep away from your other Guppies for 4-6 weeks, just in case this is a contagious problem. I'd be worried (for example) that the fish has Hexamita or Camallanus, both of which are reasonably common among mass produced ornamental fish. Fancy Guppies at least are very variable in quality, often bred to a price rather than standard, so they should ALWAYS be isolated after purchase. Cheers, Neale.> Re: guppy question  5/10/08 just saw something coming out of her mouth, like a bit of foggy slime or something. Assuming that's bacterial growth?? <Much more likely either undigested food (yes, fish do vomit) or mucous. Quarantine, optimize water conditions, and observe. Given the problems appear to be with the digestive system (lack of appetite, regurgitation of something) I'd be expecting either worms (e.g., Camallanus) or Protozoans (e.g., Hexamita) to be likely issues. Research these complains (lots here at WWM), look out for corroborating symptoms, and then treat as required. Cheers, Neale.>

First Time Fish Family. Guppies, reading    12/31/07 Hello! My daughter just received her first-ever Aquarium (a first for all of us I might add) and we want to do the right thing. It's an Eclipse System 6 6-gallon Aquarium. We were advised by our pet-store-of-choice as to what choices would work in our size Aquarium so as of yesterday we now have 3 Tequila Sunrise Guppies . . . <Mmm, is/was this system cycled?> I have 2 digital photos showing them (the 2 smaller ones (Kasey & Princess) in 1 photo and the 3rd and largest 1 (Chelsey) in another) but one photo is 922 KB and the other is 877 KB so I won't send them to you since they're larger then you prefer. <Are fine, though could be made smaller... a few hundred Kbytes is about right> I've researched several sites today trying to read up on various pieces of information about the fish, one question I'm trying to answer is what Gender our 3 are. It's hard for me to determine how colorful they might be . . . they all 3 look very colorful to me but as I do not have anything otherwise to compare them to I don't know if they are more colorful or less than any other. I will say this, 2 are smaller than the 3rd. <Mmm, these fish utilize "internal fertilization"... males have modified anal fins... gonopodiums... for genetic intromission... long, tubular... Females have a definitely different "body plan"... See WWM re> The 2 smaller ones (Kasey & Princess) seem to "stay together with one seeming to "tag" the other and then the larger one (Chelsey) stays by itself, with the one smaller one once in awhile trying to "tag" it as well. I also witnessed something earlier today that I am curious about . . . about 5 minutes after my daughter & I fed them, Chelsey, the larger of the 3 started swimming up & down, up & down, then side to side, and so on and kept at it at very "intense" rate of speed. I came back to my computer, looked up "chasing" thinking it was chasing it's reflection maybe and something came up on a blog, but what caught my attention in there was the person saying that their Guppies "ate like little pigs" . . . so I thought that maybe Chelsey was trying to tell me they wanted more food so I put just a few more flakes in and they ate that and the rapid swimming behavior did not occur anymore after that. We are still trying to gauge the feeding instructions we were given verbally as well in the pamphlets we received that all say, "Only feed them as much as they can eat in five minutes" . . . of course as warned we do not want to overfeed but yet we also do not want to under-feed them! <Good> Any advise as to more info to determine their Gender and to whether Chelsey was trying to tell me they were still hungry? Any other advise based on info I gave you as to other behavior I mentioned that tells you something we need to know? Thanks for your help! Different things I have thought of and started to research have brought me back to your site and I have saved it as a Favorite in my own folder as well as my daughters for future use! Thanks, Damorrow & Madyson Arlington, Texas, USA <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppies.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

sick fish... guppy... child... no useful data... reading hello I have a question about my male guppy, at first when we got him about a month ago he was happy healthy and showing everyone he's the boss .Now since yesterday he's been very isolated and away from the others near the heater and floating plants. He's in a 75 gallon tank with 6 other males and 8 females and a little over 60 fry (just born) anyway he doesn't look any different he's just as bright as always. He eats when I put food and doesn't seem to have any disease but it's just weird. I know it seems dumb to make such a big deal but recently allot of females died of Columnaris and I don't want anymore sick fish thanks. <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppies.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

ill guppy, poor writing, no useful info.    8/8/07 Hi I need your help and expertise my guppy has been ill for quiet some time now he was ones a Healy fat fish but then he started going a dull colour he has lost his colour now and is nearly see threw and he is very skinny too Evan though I see him eat he doesn't gain any thing and also his poo is red/ orange and always coming out of his bum what do u think is wrong with him and what treatment do u recommend I don't think he will survive much longer I wish I fond your sight sooner .please help ..sammi.. <Please send your writing through spelling/grammar checker/s before sending... And read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Re: is my guppy pregnant?   7/17/07 Thank you for you help I also thought of another questions last night just after I sent the first email. How long is the female guppies gestation period? Thanks again for your time <This is posted... along with other related material. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppyreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Guppies are simple   5/10/07 Hi Crew, This letter is just to tick off all those who write in about their problems with guppies and their fry. My grandson (10) just got 2 males and 2 females from an LFS plus a small tank with a filter.  Within 24 hours he had over 50 new ones and managed to save them and place them in a separate container which is just like a large jar, no water movement and nothing to clean the water other than changing most of it once a week. It is now 4 weeks later and he only lost 3 babies. I can't figure it out but they must be some very hardy fish. Of the original 4 only one male is left. It killed off the others. I am trying to convince him that it is safe to put the babies in the tank because I doubt  they will survive too much longer in that set up he has. <Well... the popular livebearers are "not what they used to be" back a few decades ago... Do die "mysteriously" nowadays... but still a great joy and growth experience for young folks (and not!) to house, keep... I still can't stop collecting the fabulous one gallon jars available (mostly with pickles for us) that would serve as great small containers... If only the source/tap water were "safer"... Cheers, BobF>

Guppies And Bettas  - 10/14/06 Hi. I have had my Betta [Sushi] for 2 or three months. I have recently moved him into a 10 gallon tank. The tank has mirrored glass walls so when he sees his reflection he gets bigger, I know why but is it healthy? < After a while he should get used to it and settle down.> And I have tried to turn on the filter but every time I do his fins get sucked into it. I am scared that his fins will be damaged so I shut off the filter. Do you recommend sponge filters? < Look online or at you local fish store for a pre-filter sponge. They are usually sold for power heads but many will fit some outside power filters too. They clog pretty quickly so you will have to take them out and clean them weekly. Sponge filters are great. they just don't look so good in a display tank.> In addition to this I just got three guppies, 2 females and one male and put them in the tank with my Betta. The females don't swim around much, they just sit at the bottom. Is it because my Betta is in there? < Sitting on the bottom doesn't sound right, they may be ill.> Also my female guppies are as big as the male, which is pretty small. All the things I've read about female guppies say they should be bigger than the males. And I want to breed my guppies but not sure how. I know if my female, if pregnant, and has her fry in the tank the Betta will eat them. I plan to take out the Betta if one of my females have fry, but will the male eat them. Thanks for your time Shelby, age 12 < The females should be bigger than the males. Get the water temp. up to 80 F and feed them high quality food and they will grow up in no time. They are livebearers, so when a female is pregnant and ready to give birth she should be removed to her own tank. In the tank you can get a livebearer trap from the LFS. This will allow the fry to swim away from the female and hopefully not get eaten. All the fish will eat guppy fry, so raise them until they are large enough to go back in with the adults.-Chuck>

Need help, and have NO clue what to do! Guppies...  - 04/05/2006 Ok, I'm very new to aquarium keeping. About four days ago I had to separate my Gold Gourami from my two male fancy guppies due to aggression. After they were separated i watched my guppies because one had some fight tears in his  tail fin and I wanted to make sure everything was ok. As I was observing the guppies I noticed my orange guppy, Toby, had a small patch of skin, a bit lighter than his mostly orange body on his, how should i put it... well in the vicinity of his dorsal fin. My first thought was fungus , or maybe even ick. But I waited until the next morning to see if maybe it would go away. It didn't. I have been treating him with an anti parasitic/anti fungal medication, as well as Melafix. This has been for around 2 and a half to 3 days now. The patch has not responded, and again it is a small patch lighter than his bright orange, near his dorsal fin. I also noticed him rub against a banana plant twice in the last couple days.  Other than that he has been eating and swimming like normal. And the patch isn't like a pustule, so I think it might not be ick. Here come the questions: What could the patch be? How and for how long and with what should i treat it? Could this just be a normal skin coloring? and is this serious? Thanks for all that you do, and ya'lls site is AWESOME!!!!!                   Morgaine <... not enough useful information offered here... re environment, nutrition, history. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re-answered questions re Poecilia reticulata   2/17/06 Hi, i was wondering if you could tell me how long it takes a guppy to have a full batch of fry? Also, my guppy is having fry at the moment but only two have survived and the rest have been released like eggs. Is there anything wrong? <Only that you haven't read through WWM before writing. Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppyreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Thank you http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppyreprofaqs.htm   2/13/06 Hi,     I have a female guppy who has been specially bred by my best male guppy, but I know that she is pregnant, but she about medium sized and not getting that much bigger, and some times she gets skinnier, but doesn't have any babies.     When Ever my female guppies have babies I never know when they do what signs can I look for to know when she is going to give birth.                                                               Louis <Has likely been giving birth... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppyreprofaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Guppy Coloring  - 1/30/2006 Hi there. I have been trying to research why guppies may not be as bright as they once were. I feed them the same food and all the water levels are where they should be, as well as temp. Could there be a reason why they aren't quite as bright? Sharon <Yes... most importantly "water quality"... The breeders I have known are fanatics re doing very regular water changes (to dilute "wastes" as well as other chemicals that have negative feed-back loops on the growth and color of their guppies (and other aquatic life). Do you change water at least once a week? I would be treating, storing and changing a good quarter of the water out as often as you can develop a routine/discipline for. Of course food/nutrition plays a role here... but you state you have not changed this parameter. 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>

Guppies and Corys  9/25/05 I am setting up a new freshwater tank (36 gal) and am interested in keeping guppies and Cory cats. I've noticed on this site that a lot of people seem to have this combination. I am actually moving the guppies from a smaller tank due to reproduction. Will the guppy fry be safe in the same tank with the Cory cats or would they turn into a meal? I do have breeding grass for them to hide in which has helped them survive with the adult guppies. <Should do fine together, if a guppy fry is on the bottom of the tank and slow enough to get eaten by a Cory then there was probably something wrong with it anyway.  Corys aren't much for hunting fish and keep to themselves, as long as you provide some hiding places for the fry they should be fine.  Gage>

Guppies, Water Quality, Cycling - (III?) - 09/11/2005 As a follow-up to my below message, <I do realize it's a follow-up, but I can't quite discern from your previous correspondence who was helping you....  so ya get me (Sabrina) today!  I hope to be of service.> I got a water test kit today. It's made by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, Inc and is a Freshwater Master Test Kit. Everything seems good (well, acceptable) except one item that really sticks out. Here are the specs: pH  6.6 <Probably low for guppies, but do-able.  Is the pH from your tap this low, as well?  I'm not a proponent of augmenting your pH when avoidable, but I'd really like to see this a bit higher.> NH3/4 (Ammonia) 0.25 NO2 (NITRITE) 0.25 <Any ammonia or nitrite above zero should be considered toxic....  Please bring these down with water changes.> NO3 (NITRATE) 40 <Pretty high, indeed....  Again, water changes....> Also, water temp is about 79-80 degrees. <Not too terribly high, this is okay.> The pH is a little low, but I don't think it's way out there. The NH3 and NO2 specs are pretty good. <As above, bring these to zero.> But the NO3 seems high. Could this have been caused by a algae tablet I put in for my Plecostomus a couple hours before the test? <Unlikely.  Nitrate accumulates over time from dissolved organics (fish waste, dead plants, etc.) and of course can be influenced by stocking too many fish and not having the biological filtration capacity to handle them.> In hindsight, I know - I should have done the test first. I put the tablet in because it seemed the Pleco was doing such a great job on the tank it may have been underfed the last couple weeks. <Ah, no worries.> After I put the tablet in, I noticed algae starting to build up on the glass again. The Pleco seems OK with the tablet, but the Guppies seem to really like it. <There's no accounting for tastes!  Have you SMELLED those things??  Yuck!> OK, the questions: <Okay.> 1. Due to the algae build-up on the glass that I didn't see (you have to get really close to see the small algae spots), was the algae tablet a mistake? <Nah.  He'll get to it.  Furthermore, please consider foods like blanched zucchini or cucumber for the Plec, as this is a better nutritional option.> 2. Is the tablet OK for the Guppies? <Sure.  They like their veggies.> 3. Is the NO3 level something that I should be concerned with? (will it drop on its own?) <It won't drop on its own, but you can (should) lower it with water changes.  Try to maintain it below 20ppm, if possible.> Note that I change the water about 10% every 3 or 4 days. That seems normal (works out to 20% per week). Should I be changing more? <Mm, in this initial/cycling stage, yes, probably.  Anything to get those levels down.> Also, I have no live plants, but have 5 adults, 5 near adults (almost a month old) and 16 fry that are almost 2 weeks old. <I don't see tank size listed in your previous correspondences; please just try to ensure that the tank is not overstocked.> (oh, and the 2" Pleco as the maintenance engineer for algae control - he was only about 1.25" when I got him a few weeks ago) <He will reach a couple feet given proper space, care, time....  You might consider trading him for an Ancistrus "Bushynose" Plec, which also eats algae, and stays a more manageable 4-5 inches.> 4. I understand Guppies would rather have a higher than neutral pH rather than lower. If the pH is too low, what is the best way to raise it? Is 6.6 too low? I know it's not that great a figure. <Check the pH out of your tap....  if it is higher, try to determine what in the tank is dropping it.  Driftwood, overly gunky filter pads, an un-vacuumed substrate, undergravel filter....  Otherwise, consider using a buffer or adding a small filter sock of aragonite sand in your filter.> 5. Do you think these numbers had anything to do with the adult female I lost (reference previous message quoted below)? They don't seem that bad all things considered. <Entirely possible the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate contributed.  The gill irritation may have been evidence of this, as well.> Any comments on how you would deal with these figures would be appreciated (if you feel it's necessary to deal with them). Would just more frequent water changes do the trick? <Or larger water changes.  Probably better to do larger changes right now to get those readings down.> I don't want to change the water too often (is that even possible?) <Mm, not really.> 6/7/8. As I understand it, the cycle is NH3 --> NO2 --> NO3. Then what? <Then either a water change to dilute NO3, or plants consume NO3, or denitrification (very difficult to achieve in typical freshwater tanks) breaks it down into nitrogen and oxygen.> Is the NO3 the last step before the fish turn the NO3 back to NH3? <The fish don't use NO3.  They're too busy turning fish food into NH3 (grin).> If that is the case, wouldn't abundant NO3 be a good thing? <'s not the case.> 9. Is it NH3 that makes the water cloudy? <No....  usually algae or bacteria cause this.> Mine is slightly cloudy, but nothing like the first startup about 7 weeks ago or so. <Probably just bacteria feeding on excess nutrients in the water.  Larger water changes are in your future!> Sorry for all the questions, but I'm sure I'm not the first nor will I be the last with them. :-) <True on both counts, my friend!> BTW, I'm one of those "don't really care for chemicals unless absolutely necessary" types (even for myself). <I as well.> But, I will go with whatever advice you give. <Hey, that's a lot of pressure!  Definitely feel free to shop around and form your own opinions after you've accumulated information.> Would adding salt help? If so, how much? If not, when would you add salt if ever. I've read that some people like that solution since it's OK for the Guppies. I know - salt is a chemical. But, it doesn't seem as bad as some of the other solutions (pun intended). <I don't use salt most times.  Guppies tend to do well ("enjoy?" Dunno) with it, but I don't use it in my guppy tanks.  You could.  Might be worthwhile.> Well, back to trying to absorb all the info on your great site! <Good luck!  Three years after stumbling upon WWM myself, and I STILL haven't found the end....!> Oh, one more question. Should I test all the factors every week? Should I test some more than others? (sorry - that was two questions) <Test until your water quality is optimal, then as often as you deem necessary to monitor levels until you get a feel for how much/often you need to change water to keep up.> As always, thank you again! <Any time, my friend!> Joe M. <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Guppies, Water Quality, Cycling - (IV?) - 09/13/2005
Replies threaded in... <<Ahh, okay....  it's going to get a bit tough for you/us/our readers to go through, but we'll try these double-carrot-thingies for my current replies>> WWM FAQ Crew wrote: > Guppies, Water Quality, Cycling - (III?) - 09/11/2005 > As a follow-up to my below message, > <I do realize it's a follow-up, but I can't quite discern from your previous correspondence who was helping you....  so ya get me (Sabrina) today!  I hope to be of service.> Bob answered my first post. I'm awaiting an answer on post #2. This is #4. I take it you don't see all the quoted text? <<Nope, it didn't come through intact, apparently.  I'll blame this on our Webmail system (grin)>> The previous topic (post #1 and #2) was "Guppy food question & a few other Guppy questions" <<Okay>> > I got a water test kit today. It's made by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, Inc and is a Freshwater Master Test Kit. Everything seems good (well, acceptable) except one item that really sticks out. Here are the specs: > pH  6.6 > <Probably low for guppies, but do-able.  Is the pH from your tap this low, as well?  I'm not a proponent of augmenting your pH when avoidable, but I'd really like to see this a bit higher.> My tap water specs are as follows: (all ppm except pH) pH      NH3/4 (Ammonia) NO2 (NITRITE)   NO3 (NITRATE)    7.1 0.10 (almost 0) 0.00 2.00 So I think that's pretty good. Before I got your reply, I did a 50% water change which lowered the NO3 to 20, but that still seems too high. I'm not sure what is causing this. The gravel was also cleaned (which I do every time I change the water). <<Yes, agreed.  I begin to think that your tank has some "stockpile" of organic waste somewhere....  I'd like to see that ammonia hit zero, as well.>> > NH3/4 (Ammonia) 0.25 > NO2 (NITRITE) 0.25 > <Any ammonia or nitrite above zero should be considered toxic....  Please bring these down with water changes.> As I mentioned above, this is already started. <<Quite good.>> > NO3 (NITRATE) 40 > <Pretty high, indeed....  Again, water changes....> Will do. <<Cool.>> > Also, water temp is about 79-80 degrees. > <Not too terribly high, this is okay.> I had it a little higher for the fry. <<Yes, no worries on the temp at all.>> > The pH is a little low, but I don't think it's way out there. The NH3 and NO2 specs are pretty good. > <As above, bring these to zero.> Will do. These test kits never really say what things should be. I just thought low was good. <<Yeah, I do wish test kits could be a little more clear/obvious on this point.>> > But the NO3 seems high. Could this have been caused by a algae tablet I put in for my Plecostomus a couple hours before the test? > <Unlikely.  Nitrate accumulates over time from dissolved organics (fish waste, dead plants, etc.) and of course can be influenced by stocking too many fish and not having the biological filtration capacity to handle them.> Until the latest fry, there were 10 guppies - 6 adult and 4 fry (or was it 5 fry...).  I was going to save this until later in the post, but I just got a great deal on a 30 Gallon tank complete with an oak stand (base and top) that looks like a piece of furniture much more than most wood stands I've seen. It was $89 complete! <<Ooh, rock on!!>> The tank was made in April, 05, so it's not very old. The stand looks about the same vintage. <<Sounds wonderful.>> I filled it last night with tap water and started the filter (also used but better than my current one). It's made for up to 60 gallons, I think so it should handle the 30 fine. It has a dual outlet. It's a Whisper model 60. <<This is fine.>> Anyway, I've started it and will wait until it gets cloudy then clears up which should indicate that the bio cycle is up to speed (or close). <<Mm, usually the cloudiness (and clearing thereof) is just a bacterial bloom....  Test results will tell you the real tale.  Try to get some "filter goo" and/or gunky, used gravel from your current tank to add to this new tank.  That'll help the cycle immensely.>> Then, I'll transfer the adults to the 30 Gallon and leave the fry in the 20 gallon tank (although I'll likely upgrade the filter on that one, too - 16 is a lot of fry). <<Sounds great.>> > In hindsight, I know - I should have done the test first. I put the tablet in because it seemed the Pleco was doing such a great job on the tank it may have been underfed the last couple weeks. > <Ah, no worries.> > After I put the tablet in, I noticed algae starting to build up on the glass again. The Pleco seems OK with the tablet, but the Guppies seem to really like it. > <There's no accounting for tastes!  Have you SMELLED those things??  Yuck!> Honestly? No. :-) I don't think I want to from your question. <<Heh!  Completely understandable!>> > OK, the questions: > <Okay.> > 1. Due to the algae build-up on the glass that I didn't see (you have to get really close to see the small algae spots), was the algae tablet a mistake? > <Nah.  He'll get to it.  Furthermore, please consider foods like blanched zucchini or cucumber for the Plec, as this is a better nutritional option.> For the Pleco or the Guppies, too? <<Sure.  Err, yes?  Uh, that is to say, the guppies will probably appreciate the veggies you feed the Plec.>> As for the algae, I tried to wipe some off while the water was low. I can't wipe it off with my finger. It must be some kind of super algae! I did get some off with a scraper. <<Sounds like normal.  If the tank is glass, at least you need not fear scratching it with your algae scrubber.  A bit of "elbow grease" will help.  Just use caution if its an acrylic tank, as acrylic is so easy to scratch.>> > 2. Is the tablet OK for the Guppies? > <Sure.  They like their veggies.> > 3. Is the NO3 level something that I should be concerned with? (will it > drop on its own?) > <It won't drop on its own, but you can (should) lower it with water changes.  Try to maintain it below 20ppm, if possible.> > Note that I change the water about 10% every 3 or 4 days. That seems normal (works out to 20% per week). Should I be changing more? > <Mm, in this initial/cycling stage, yes, probably.  Anything to get those levels down.> How long (roughly) until the cycle gets stable? (rough estimate) <<Highly dependant upon your system....  all are different.  And, again, I am starting to think there may be something "wrong" to be causing you so much trouble with nitrate.>> > Also, I have no live plants, but have 5 adults, 5 near adults (almost a month old) and 16 fry that are almost 2 weeks old. > <I don't see tank size listed in your previous correspondences; please just try to ensure that the tank is not overstocked.> 20 Gallon, but adults will be in the 30 gallon tank in a few weeks if all goes well. <<That's quite a few guppies, but you should be able to keep up with these, especially with your maintenance.>> > (oh, and the 2" Pleco as the maintenance engineer for algae control - he was only about 1.25" when I got him a few weeks ago) > <He will reach a couple feet given proper space, care, time....  You might consider trading him for an Ancistrus "Bushynose" Plec, which also eats algae, and stays a more manageable 4-5 inches.> I wish I had known that a few weeks ago. I asked several LFSs about a smaller one that would do the same job. None knew of any. One LFS owner wasn't sure about the Chocolate Pleco, but said it was possible it might stay smaller. I would have certainly gone with the Ancistrus "Bushynose" Pleco. Do they look the same as a young regular Pleco? (so I can more easily find them in the stores) <<They're actually a bit more nifty.  They can be found albino or "plain", and have "fronds" on their noses....  hence "Bushynose" or "Bristlenose".  Try a Google search on either of these for images.>> When I had an active tank 15 or so years ago, I had a variety of fish (guppies, mollies, kissing fish, angelfish, and a Pleco). My Pleco outlasted everything and grew over a foot in the same 20G tank, so I'm familiar with their size issues (and waste issues). Back then I didn't know anything about checking the water conditions. I only came to know that through your site. Without that info, I might have well lost the entire tank. THANK YOU! <<I can't tell you how glad I am that you have gained this information.  Water quality is perhaps the single most important thing to understand, with regards to fish.  Thank you for these kind words!>> BTW, I'm not interested in anything but Guppies now. Not showing them or anything - just as pets. I have the Pleco for housekeeping and since they are usually not aggressive. <<Sounds fun!>> > 4. I understand Guppies would rather have a higher than neutral pH rather than lower. If the pH is too low, what is the best way to raise it? Is 6.6 too low? I know it's not that great a figure. > <Check the pH out of your tap....  if it is higher, try to determine what in the tank is dropping it.  Driftwood, overly gunky filter pads, an un-vacuumed substrate, undergravel filter....  Otherwise, consider using a buffer or adding a small filter sock of aragonite sand in your filter.> It's 7.1 out of the tap, so something must be an issue. <<Agreed, very much.>> No driftwood. I do have undergravel filters in everything I've ever had - including the new one. While I'm on the topic, how do you clean those without total removal of everything? <<AHH!  I fear the undergravel filter plates may very well be the culprit - not only of your pH issue, but of your nitrate issue, as well.  Organic material will build up under the filter plates over time and make a pretty awesome amount of "gunk" which, as it decays, can and does increase nitrate and acidity (drops the pH).  You could *try* feeding an airline hose down your lift tubes and start a siphon, and try to pull some of the "gunk" out that way, but in all honesty, when you have that 30 up and running, I would move everyone over and pull those undergravel plates out.  You will be seriously amazed at what you find.  I can almost promise that.>> Filter pads are not bad, and were replaced a couple weeks ago. I'm getting ready to change it again soon. My bio filter is the air type that uses air to draw the water through the filter. I thought this was better than the power filters I had in the past that put out a huge volume of water out into the tank. I wanted to keep the currents down. This new filter does that but is a power filter. <<.... is this like a Duetto filter?  Or....?>> Unvaccumed substrate? Is that the gravel filter plastic? <<??  I'm getting lost, here....  Err, I guess I'll rephrase:  Do you use a gravel vacuum (a big, clear tube attached to a siphon hose) to clean the gravel when you do water changes?>> What is a buffer and what would the sand do? <<A buffer is any material that will (safely) raise and maintain pH....  Aragonite sand is made of calcium carbonate, and is a good option for using as a buffer for this fact.  I do not believe you will have need of it, or any buffer, once you fix the root of your problem (the mulm under your undergravel filter plates).>> > 5. Do you think these numbers had anything to do with the adult female I lost (reference previous message quoted below)? They don't seem that bad all things considered. > <Entirely possible the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate contributed.  The gill irritation may have been evidence of this, as well.> > Any comments on how you would deal with these figures would be appreciated (if you feel it's necessary to deal with them). Would just more frequent water changes do the trick? > <Or larger water changes.  Probably better to do larger changes right now to get those readings down.> OK. I was concerned about the chlorine. <<Just be sure to use a chlorine/chloramine neutralizer when you add new water.>> I didn't want to make too drastic of a change all at once. How much of a change and how often would you recommend? (what % water change and how often?) <<With the major different in pH from your tap to your tank, you'll want to make sure you don't alter the pH more than 0.2 per day if possible.>> > I don't want to change the water too often (is that even possible?) > <Mm, not really.> You can't stop the bio cycle once it's started? <<Well....  If you do something that kills a bundle of your bacteria, you can.  Medications, HUGE changes in water chemistry....>> > 6/7/8. As I understand it, the cycle is NH3 --> NO2 --> NO3. Then what? > <Then either a water change to dilute NO3, or plants consume NO3, or denitrification (very difficult to achieve in typical freshwater tanks) breaks it down into nitrogen and oxygen.> I think the live plants are starting to look good if I continue to have high NO3 levels in the new tank. (if the filter doesn't take care of it) <<Live plants are great.  Look into java moss, java fern, and Anubias sp.  These are low-light, easy maintenance plants.  Your Plec won't eat them, either.>> > Is the NO3 the last step before the fish turn the NO3 back to NH3? > <The fish don't use NO3.  They're too busy turning fish food into NH3 (grin).> Understood. ;-> > If that is the case, wouldn't abundant NO3 be a good thing? > <'s not the case.> > 9. Is it NH3 that makes the water cloudy? > <No....  usually algae or bacteria cause this.> Visible algae? (I have very little visible, and what is visible is very small and sparse) <<Visible, yes, inasmuch as microscopic floating algae can be when massed together.  Usually a pale or greenish cloudy tinge to the water.>> How could I test for bacteria? <<Mm, can't, really; but can look at 'em under a microscope.>> > Mine is slightly cloudy, but nothing like the first startup about 7 weeks ago or so. > <Probably just bacteria feeding on excess nutrients in the water.  Larger water changes are in your future!> Yep. So, you can be overly conservative, as witnessed by my tank. <<Yes.>> > Sorry for all the questions, but I'm sure I'm not the first nor will I be the last with them. :-) > <True on both counts, my friend!> > BTW, I'm one of those "don't really care for chemicals unless absolutely necessary" types (even for myself). > <I as well.> > But, I will go with whatever advice you give. > <Hey, that's a lot of pressure!  Definitely feel free to shop around and form your own opinions after you've accumulated information.> I will once I learn all this stuff. Until then, I'll be relying on your (collective) advice. <<Do please make use of all resources available to you....  there is so much information out there....>> No pressure - I trust you much more than I would trust my own judgment at this stage. <<Yikes!!  Uh, I mean, thanks!!>> > Would adding salt help? If so, how much? If not, when would you add salt if ever. I've read that some people like that solution since it's OK for the Guppies. I know - salt is a chemical. But, it doesn't seem as bad as some of the other solutions (pun intended). > <I don't use salt most times.  Guppies tend to do well ("enjoy?" Dunno) with it, but I don't use it in my guppy tanks.  You could.  Might be worthwhile.> What exactly would that do? (raise this / lower that - wise) <<Might increase the buffering capacity of the water a bit.... but.... I really wouldn't do anything until the fish are in a more stable environment (minus the organic sludge under the filter plates).>> How much would you add per gallon? <<1-2 tablespoons per ten gallons, and no more.  Keep in mind, salt does not evaporate, so only replace when you do water CHANGES (and only for the amount you change out), not just when you top off for evaporation.>> > Well, back to trying to absorb all the info on your great site! > <Good luck!  Three years after stumbling upon WWM myself, and I STILL haven't found the end....!> OK, but you're way ahead of me! <<You're getting there - just keep going.>> > Oh, one more question. Should I test all the factors every week? Should I test some more than others? (sorry - that was two questions) > <Test until your water quality is optimal, then as often as you deem necessary to monitor levels until you get a feel for how much/often you need to change water to keep up.> > As always, thank you again! > <Any time, my friend!> > Joe M. > <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Thanks again, Joe M. <<Good luck with this and all your endeavors,  -Sabrina>>

Guppies, WWM, reproduction Hi! This is Eunhae again. Thank you for answering my other questions. I'm sorry I keep bothering you but I had a question I wanted to ask you last time but I forgot to. My question is how long usually does a female guppy stay pregnant till they lay their fry? Thanks. Eunhae <This is posted on WWM... see the FW Subweb index or Google search tool... Bob Fenner> Same Sex Guppies I've had a tank for about six months. I have a few tetras and a catfish, but would like to add a few more shoaling fish that are hardy and pretty. Guppy's are pretty, but I do not want fry. Would Guppies be happy if they were in a tank with all female or all male. Or do you have another suggestion? Thanks! Annette <Depends on the size of the tank and what your water conditions are. But a few male Guppies should be fine together. If you are going to mix sexes it is always best to have more females than males. So don't add a female if you go with a small group of males. In a small tank with peaceful tankmates some Neons would be nice. In a larger tank Danios or Barbs. The choices are endless. Just research first and stock slowly. Be careful not to overstock. Don>

Fancy Lady Guppy- Problems Recently (Three days ago to be precise) I bought a "Fancy Lady Guppy".  The fish itself is a nice fish to look at and looks good in the tank with the accompanying fish and surroundings. But the problem is, it is displaying aggressive behavior towards the other fish in the tank. I thought that possibly I am/was doing something wrong -example: wrong breeds/species sharing tank space-, when I bought the Guppy it happened(s) to be pregnant and is displaying a form of protective behavior, or whether this breed of fish is just naturally cantankerous. <Maybe... even just this individual> The behavior the Guppy is displaying consists of fin/body nipping, chasing the other fish around the tank and " ramming " them, and just generally being mean to all of the other fish in the tank other than my " bottom feeder/Algae Eater " and my three " Zebra Striped Danio's ". What action(s) could I take to curb, or prevent this behavior? <Putting the female guppy in a "breeding trap" or such for a week... where it can be kept separate but in view/smell of the other livestock may well take the "spit and vinegar" out of it. Bob Fenner> Thank you for your time, Dan. Cote

Disappearing Guppy Fry Hello! I hope you can solve this mystery. One female gave birth to 21 babies two weeks and now there are only 6 left. We removed the female right after birth leaving 21 fry. The tank is a 2 gallon starter that is stable. The filter is a disposable sidewall unit that appears not to be able to suck in the fry. We just added a Cory to pick up the white gravel. There were 9 this morning and 3 have disappeared over the course of the day. My grandkids are distraught. Could the fry be trapping themselves in the gravel? Thanks in advance. <No, guppy fry will not bury themselves in the gravel. At two weeks old they should be free swimming so the Cory would not be bothering them. I would check out that filter very closely. If you find them in there replace it with a sponge filter. Don> 

Sexing Guppy Fry - 04/01/2005 Hi, <Hello. Sabrina with you, this afternoon.> I am Destiny, a beginner at guppy breeding, but I have 19 from a month ago and a brand new one from a hatch just a couple of days ago... <Be ready for more soon! These are wonderful fish.> How can I tell the sex of my fry? <Same as with the adults, only to a lesser degree. Males will start to show color, and the anal fin will start to become more pointed. Just exactly WHEN you'll be able to sex them will vary. It depends on how much and what they're fed, as well as water quality. Just keep looking every day, and you'll start to see males developing. It is possible, however, that you ended up with all females - but that's not terribly likely.> I want to give some away and don't know sex.... <Just have patience, and keep watching every day!> Thanks <Any time. Wishing you and your guppies well, -Sabrina>

Guppy Eggs I have what I thought was a pregnant guppy.  <You thought she was pregnant or you thought she was a Guppy?>  She was in the breeding separator and today she dropped about 25 eggs?!??  <Really? We need to rewrite quit a few books!>  Does this mean that we put her into the separator before the male fertilized her?  <No>  I let her out of the separator after this and of course the male is all over her and she looks like she could still have more in there - what should I do? Thanks! <Assuming this is a Guppy, they are not eggs. They could be undeveloped fry that she aborted. Maybe from the stress of capture when you put her in the breeder. It could also be a water quality issue. It's normal for the male to mate with a female that just gave birth. That is why it's best to have several females to a single male to spread out his aggression. If he pesters her too much put him in the breeder or another tank for a few days. Don't worry about separating them if you want fry. She can have several broods from a single mating. Don>

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

Guppy Births Hi Bob, or to whom it may concern. It's Louis, I wanted to know how long does it take for a female guppy to fully grow the babies in her stomach, and when do I know if she's going to have the fry? Louis E <A female Guppy can give birth every four to six weeks. But that time can vary greatly. Watch for the dark spot on her underside to darken as she gets ready to drop. Don>

How pregnant is pregnant? Hi, I recently bought four guppies, three of which are pregnant. I have little knowledge of guppies and just need to know a couple of things. When should I separate the moms-to-be? <A week or more before parturition... when the vent area becomes clearer... the babies eyes visible> I bought them pregnant but have no idea how far along they are. So I am a little confused on when I should put them into the birthing net. I have read that you shouldn't leave them in the net for more than a couple of days. Yet, I really feel uncomfortable with the thought that she would deliver with all the other fish " looking for something to eat ". There is one female in particular that looks "almost" ready. She is fairly large, but not huge. Her gravid spot is dark but not "black". I am just confused on when to do what. I really appreciate all the help you could give. Thank you very much. A Hopeful Mom <You'll do fine. Bob Fenner>

How do I sex my Balloon Belly Guppies? Just purchased three balloon belly guppies today at a local pet store. Of course they were unable to tell the sex of them. We have five fancy guppies and they were easy to sex. Thanks So Much, Shannon <Sexed same way... females with fan-shaped anal fins, males with longer, pointed ones... and smaller size, longer unpaired fin lengths. Easier to tell apart when larger, older. Bob Fenner>

Guppy Male in Guppy Mail... I just bought some guppy males and females (one of which just had some fry). The one male has a really nice tail, but doesn't have it fanned out a lot. He is half red/gold. Is there something wrong with him, or is he just being modest and not showing off in front of the females. <Well, it's hard to say from just this info. - would you say he has clamped fins (do a search on Google to see a picture if you aren't sure what I mean) or his tail just isn't as flaring as some of his mates? If he's one of the smaller, less dominant males, he may just not be fanning out his tail as much as the "alpha" male, perhaps. If he's showing other signs of sickness, such as listlessness, not eating, swimming, etc., then you may have a sick fish on your hands. Just to be sure everything is A-OK, check your water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate...is any are present, do a water change ASAP. He could be reacting to poor environmental conditions, so I'd definitely check that out - maybe he's just the first to react.> Thanks for the help <Hopefully I gave you a starting point...based on the info. you gave me, it really could be any of those things, so please do some research and let me know if you have follow-up questions!> Tim  

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