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FAQs on Guppy Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

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 Disease, Guppy Reproduction, Livebearers, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies

Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?    3/4/13
I have had 2 guppies for a few months then suddenly one started acting odd  and going to the top of the water,
I thought it might of been because of fertilizer dosing
<Both would be similarly affected>

 so I did a 45% water change and put prime in then 2 days later: today
Thought it may of been from the dying Anubias which was because the co2 I squirted on it was contaminated with vinegar so I threw the Anubias out
I tested the water and it came back with about 3 nitrate so just incase it was from that I did a 40% water change and added prime But today I noticed he isn't eating and has a hollowed stomach basically I think he is starving to death
I fed them and he didn't eat
None of my other fish are affected (rainbow shark,
<This fish is often a bully of others...>

 guppy, 6 Kuhli loaches)
What do I do? has he got a internal parasite or some incurable illness?
He seems weak and keeps resting on things..
ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0, ph is about 7.6
nitrate WAS 3 now its probably half since I did that water change The tank has been cycled for a long time
What could he possibly have and how do I treat it? I don' think he will last long?
<Mmm, can't tell w/ the information presented... Read here:
and the linked files above>
I think maybe an internal parasite or gill infection or swim bladder virus just something that causes them not to eat and to not swim around much I am so worried :(
<No need/use... Read, consider the possibilities you learn about. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     3/7/13

He died :(
I'm watching the other fish
the shark never picked on the guppies
<... have you read where you were referred? BobF>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     3/7/13

I read all the posts in the link you gave me, i can't find anything similar to what happened to my guppy.
The tank is 55 gallons and has been cycled for 6 going on 7 years (2 of the Kuhlis and the shark are about 6-7 years old and the other 4 Kuhlis are younger, I also suspect 2 extra Kuhlis may be in one of my filters but anyway).
There were no odd feces or anything, just gasping at the top then slow lethargic swimming then not eating.
No visible marks on the body, a bit of color loss
<Perhaps "something" internal... senescence (cumulative genetic defects... old age; how old are these guppies?)>
Now my remaining guppy is being a bit jumpy and when I fed the fish I didn't see him eat, of course he may eat later over night but I am not sure if this Is just jumpiness from being the only guppy or if he has the same as what the other guppy had.
I don't think its a good idea to add more guppies until at-least a few weeks of monitoring this one for symptoms.
What do you think?
Thanks Bob :)
<Welcome. Sarah. B>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     3/8/13

Thanks for your fast reply Bob,
It seemed a bit sudden to be old age?
<Mmm, no; not really... deaths from such do occur w/o notice in wild animals quite often. It's sometimes said/stated that they "have to put on a good face" to avoid predators/predation... that "letting on" re poor health signals that one is an easy/easier target>
When I got them I suspect they had just reached adult hood?
<Yes... often sold at 4-6 mo.s of age... grown up quickly by numerous feedings, constant water changes... only live a couple/three years>
knowing breeders?(but I don't know for sure) and they were from a 'pet shop', so anywhere from 3 months to 5 months old I suspect and I have actually had the guppies for 4 months
<Oh! Then should have lived longer>
I specifically picked him out at the pet shop, he was my favorite :( :/
Is this usual for guppies? or a rare occurrence? because it kind of put/s me off them,
Which is sad considering I always wanted to have them, then when I finally do he dies...
<Guppies do "die mysteriously" for the most part... And livebearers (Poeciliids in this case) nowayears are not nearly as tough/hardy as they were decades back unfortunately. Perhaps Platies would be a better choice for you. BobF>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die? 3/8/13

Thanks for your fast reply Bob,
It seemed a bit sudden to be old age?
<Mmm, no; not really... deaths from such do occur w/o notice in wild animals quite often. It's sometimes said/stated that they "have to put on a good face" to avoid predators/predation... that "letting on" re poor health signals that one is an easy/easier target>
When I got them I suspect they had just reached adult hood?
<Yes... often sold at 4-6 mo.s of age... grown up quickly by numerous feedings, constant water changes... only live a couple/three years>
knowing breeders?(but I don't know for sure) and they were from a 'pet shop', so anywhere from 3 months to 5 months old I suspect and I have actually had the guppies for 4 months
<Oh! Then should have lived longer>
I specifically picked him out at the pet shop, he was my favorite :( :/ sigh
Is this usual for guppies? or a rare occurrence? because it kind of put/s me off them,
Which is sad considering I always wanted to have them, then when I finally do he dies...
<Guppies do "die mysteriously" for the most part... And livebearers (Poeciliids in this case) nowayears are not nearly as tough/hardy as they were decades back unfortunately. Perhaps Platies would be a better choice for you. BobF>
Re Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     5/3/13

Hi again...
He died so I got new ones but now. Everything seemed to be fine. I got the guppies about 4 days ago, the tank has been cycled for a long time. The water has no ammonia or anything and i got new guppies and one died it has a really red gill and fat stomach some of the others have reddish gills and are a bit bloated; what should I do? :(
I'm scared this is going to wipe my whole tank out..
Thanks :(
<As Bob said before, farmed Guppies and Mollies are much less hardy nowadays that they were in the past (or are in the wild). Keeping in slightly brackish water, around a teaspoon of marine salt mix per 3-4 litres/1 US gallon makes a big difference. Obviously this won't suit other species, so choose tankmates accordingly (much to be said for keeping Guppies and Mollies in single-species set-ups). Mycobacterial infections seem ubiquitous; abdominal swelling, bloody sores on the flanks, and general emaciation/failure to thrive are common symptoms. Best advice: choose some other species if "easy to keep" matters to you… X-ray Tetras, Zebra Danios, Bronze Corydoras, Bristlenose Catfish all the fit the bill and can do well in tanks from 15 gallons upwards. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?   5/3/13

Hi Neale thanks for your fast reply, I dosed using PimaFix do you think it might save the rest?
<Wouldn't bank on it. Pimafix, Melafix, and other "herbal" cures are at best preventatives, and likely do little/nothing to cure established diseases. Some, like Bob, actually feel they cause more problems than they solve. In any event, Wasting-type diseases such as Mycobacteriosis are very difficult to cure even with real, medically-testing medications, let alone Pimafix, Melafix and the like. Better to understand the background to Wasting diseases (poor stock to begin with, and/or failures in care, such as overstocking, diet, wrong water chemistry). Then you can prevent or avoid the problem through better choices, planning and execution. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     5/4/13

Hi again Neale
<G'day Sarah,>
Yes I heard it is fairly weak in terms of a medication so I picked up some tetracycline today and some stress zyme in-case it puts my tank back into cycling. I also have prime to protect the fish from the ammonia if it does cycle again. I also have some stress coat too. Would that help to clear it up, should I dose it right now?
<I'd be leery of overmedicating. Do remember any/all medications tend to be poisons at some level (it's the dose that differentiates between "beneficial" and "lethal") and the interactions between any two medications is virtually never tested, so what happens when you mix medications is unpredictable. If a fish is basically okay, feeding and responding to the medication you're using, I'd recommend finishing off that course of medication (as described by the manufacturer) before switching to another course of medications, and even then, I'd wait a few days between them to see if the fish is recovering under its own steam anyway. With all this said, Tetracycline is an antibiotic and should be tolerably safe, though its effects on the filter bacteria may be undesirable (it does, after all, kill bacteria) and Stress Coat is pretty mild stuff, not really a medication so much as "ointment" for fish like you'd rub onto a child's cut or graze, and about as useful (i.e., you wouldn't use an ointment to deal with gangrene or tuberculosis!). Prime is a water conditioner rather than a medication, and should be safe to use during all water changes.>
Also tomorrow I have to go down to the place where I got the fish with a water sample to prove the water quality is all right. Would adding the tetracycline cause an immediate ammonia spike?
It says on the bottle if it is used for a while it will cause it, so it won't cause it immediately?
<It's really difficult to predict, but yes, it can (though often doesn't) kill filter bacteria, so act/plan accordingly. If you have another aquarium then chances are you can take some live filter media from that tank's filter and put in into the filter in this aquarium, assuming the two filters are more or less compatible. Alternatively, have some zeolite ("ammonia remover" filter media) to hand and stuff into a simple box or canister filter, and use this during the period of medication. Generally, be prepared to replace this every 2-3 days, depending on the amount used and the messiness of the fish being treated.>
Just wondering since the place I got the fish obviously wouldn't refund if I have ammonia (even if caused by antibiotics, probably).
<Understandable, they'd go out of business if they did! Seriously, nine-tenths of the premature fish deaths in the hobby are caused by poor water quality.>
The fish are still all alive, they don't look like they are 'dying' per say. But then again neither did the other guppy that died. Particularly.
<Quite so.>
Thanks again Neale
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     5/5/13
Thanks for your reply Neale,
I added tetracycline yesterday and been treating with prime incase the ammonia rises.
<Ah, do understand that Prime will do little/nothing to prevent ammonia poisoning. Big source of confusion here among aquarists. Prime (and other "ammonia removers") neutralise ammonia in tap water, either directly or via the breakdown of chloramine to chlorine + ammonia. What Prime and others don't do is neutralise ammonia produced in real time by respiring, excreting aquarium fish. May have some slight positive benefit I suppose in the hours after a water change, but the Prime is otherwise used up, metabolised by the filter bacteria.>
It hasn't so far even though when I took it to the store i got it from, they said i had ammonia. I actually bought a new test kit and tested and compared it with tap water and it was identical so they must have contaminated their sample by not washing the tube out properly.
<Or your tap water contains ammonia and/or chloramine; I find nitrite test kits infinitely more useful, being less likely to report false positives (from the chloramine). Ammonia is, of course, toxic whether it comes from the tap water or your fish, but most modern water conditioners neutralise tap water ammonia; what's added subsequently by your fish is where your filter steps in and earns its keep.>
I am kind of worried that the ammonia will rise too high to be treated with prime, since it only detoxifies like 1ppm.
I don't want to mess with the filter though so is there anything else I could do /add that will make it lower?
<Filtering through zeolite is the best, in fact only way to reliably remove ammonia without using bacteria. Everything else is just a waste of money.>
I added beneficial bacteria to help (stress zyme) and a little of stress coat. None have died, which is good
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     5/21/13

Hi again Neale
I cured that guppy.
<Well done!>
A lot has happened since the last email, 5 fish were looking bad including the one I cured which showed some signs of something wrong. Signs: Odd coloration/goldishwhiteness, random holes in fins, fin rot and splits, extra respiration and some reddened gills, lethargicness
<Ah, yes, does sound bad… in the case of Guppies, do check water chemistry (should be hard and alkaline -- 10+ degrees dH, pH 7-8); up the temperature (to around 26-28 C); add a little salt if possible (1 teaspoon per US gallon is a good start). These will perk up Guppies if they're merely unhappy with ambient conditions. It's also a good idea to think about opportunistic bacterial infections, some of which are treatable.>
So surprisingly I gave the fish to the fish 'expert' guy where I got them from and basically he said they would live. I said they need treatment asap or they will die. Anyway I followed up a week later and he told me they ALL died except one.
Now 3 in my tank were looking odd, 2 with all those symptoms and 1 with just some. I took them into a quarantine tank and have been battling to keep the ammonia under check and treat. Needless to say the Tetracycline treatment didn't work, well at least not on these. Ich treatment didn't work. I am starting to think it is Columnaris disease and I am going to get Methylene blue or potassium permanganate tomorrow to do a bath with them. How do I do this exactly? how much parts water to how much parts of one or the other? and for how long?
<I would recommend neither medication. Methylene Blue is a mild anti-fungal more than anything else; it's used in breeding tanks for example to keep eggs from going mouldy. Problem is that Columnaris isn't a fungus. As for Potassium Permanganate, it's toxic stuff, nasty to you, your fish and your filter.>
They are all looking slow and bad, one has been going through periods of corkscrewing, i tried the pea method but it doesn't seem to be working… I really don't think these guys have much time left at all. So tomorrow fingers crossed I can get that stuff I can give it a try. Hopefully that doesn't mean sacrificing a uni lecture. Its either that or waiting till after 10pm to treat them...
<I'd review water conditions as outlined above, and then use a broad spectrum antibiotic, such as the classic Maracyn 1 and 2 combination. As ever, give your aquarium a decent clean and water change before using it, and then remove carbon from the filter (if used).>
So really hope they hold out. My loaches have been swimming around a lot and respirating more than usual.
<These definitely wouldn't like the Potassium Permanganate!>
Had a big disaster in the morning where the tank temperature plummeted to 13 degrees Celsius because someone fiddled with the power point but it got back up slowly and they seem to be ok but I'm worried they might have it. If they do, how can I treat them in the main tank?
<Loaches should perk back from brief exposure to chilling without any further medication.>
Thanks so much ah I hope they all live
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?     5/21/13

Thanks for your fast reply Neale
Unfortunately I hadn't got your email yet and was desperate to try something on my fish so I got the permanganate and did it in a bucket. They still don't look good and obviously didn't like the potassium permanganate bath.
<I bet.>
Thing is I don't know if I can get Maracyn in Australia. If this doesn't work, and they are still alive I will try it.
<Maracyn is only sold in the US over the counter… in most other countries antibiotics are prescription only. A vet can supply equivalents -- Maracyn 1 is Erythromycin, Maracyn 2 is Minocycline. But there are often non-antibiotic antibacterial medications sold as alternatives. Here in the UK, a typical product is eSHa 2000 that works well against external bacterial infections. Do consult your local retailer, and ask for good quality anti-Finrot medications if the problem is with the fins, scales or skin; avoid products based on tea-tree oil and suchlike as these tend to better used to prevent infections than to treat acute infections.>
I also called the fish guy at the pet shop back up to tell him what is going on and ask about my fish and he said it died too... Said it was looking fine then just died... hmm. Good news is the guppies in my main tank look ok so far. One a tiny bit fat though, loaches are fine and back to their hiding selves. My water is relatively hard. I don't know about salt, the pet shop guy put salt in with the others and they all died so hmm.
<In and of itself, salt, if used correctly, will NEVER do your Guppies harm; Guppies positively thrive in low-end brackish conditions! Something like 5-6 grams per litre of marine salt mix in a freshwater aquarium creates low-end brackish conditions than Guppies (and Mollies) adore, often doing better than in freshwater conditions. Loaches, on the other hand, dislike saline conditions, so should not be exposed to such conditions.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?    6/29/13

Hi again Neale,
now for an update, 2 of the guppies died and one actually lived and is now fully healed in my 55 gallon aquarium.
5 total guppies lived out of the 14 i had,
<Sadly not uncommon with Guppies these days.>
and my shark and all my Kuhlis lived and my peppermint Pleco.
<I see.>
I believe they had an internal parasite, since they are all ok now (no more deaths) after i dipped the 5 guppies in potassium permanganate then a bit later treated the whole aquarium with Praziquantel for 2 weeks. One does have a split in his fin, so i believe there may still be a mild bacterial infection (fin rot) in the tank. Im wondering how should I treat that? and should i treat the whole aquarium? or just the individual?
<Either. Any good Finrot remedy can be used; most are safe with filter bacteria but check the packaging. Treating in a hospital tank is fine because Finrot isn't "catchy" so you don't need to treat all the fish.>
also one of the other guppies has slight light patches in spots of his tail, not sure what it is? any ideas on how to treat?
<Would treat as incipient Finrot and act accordingly.>
I have now unfortunately gotten myself involved in my boyfriends mothers problems with her fish tank. The filter stopped working and she just left it for i don't know how long, without a filter. I went over his house and saw the fish and it is very swollen and has cloudy eyes (it is a cichlid or ram) and doesn't move much, it just was kind of staying somewhat tilted
near the glass. So after some instruction, i got my boyfriend to change 100% of the water and order a hang over filter which should be on its way.
He also added some Epsom salt. But now I don't know how the fish can be treated and how we can do so cheaply, because his mum doesn't have much money and well basically would rather ignore it and wait till it dies then shove a bunch of new fish in. Which i am against.
<I bet.>
So anyway I really think it has some kind of bacterial infection and maybe internal parasites but I'm not sure how to treat it. Praziquantel
<Specifically treats worms, nothing else, so not much use for most internal parasites.>
and just a broad spectrum antibiotic? or tetracycline?
<Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, but no antibiotic treats all bacterial infections. Without information on what's in the tank, the water chemistry, the sickly species involved, and ideally a photo, it's hard to recommend anything specific. Would assume it's an opportunistic bacterial infection (like Finrot) and treat thusly.>
Also the tank is not cycled so what can be put in/done to make sure there is no ammonia?
<You can't "add" anything to a tank to make ammonia go away. Zeolite may be used in lieu of biological filtration, but you need a fair amount, and it needs to be replaced every few days (hence zeolite is primarily of use with small fish and/or short-term situations like hospital tanks).>
I don't think large water changes can be an option because there would be medication in there and it would need to be topped up every time right?
<If you need to medicate (say) 8 PM one day, but do a daily water change 7:30 PM, then you should be fine. Most medications work for about a day before being completely absorbed and metabolised by the filter bacteria and others, so provided you leave the medication in there for 23 hours or so, daily water changes aren't a major problem.>
It's a tricky situation, also the tank is about 30 gallons.
Thanks Neale :)
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Hi, my guppy is starving, what do I do, I think he is going to die?    6/29/13
awwwe don't worry about the last part of the previous message, the cichlid/ram died how sad :(
it didn't even get to receive medication yet how could that family not notice its condition -.-
<Too bad. Yes, it's often a wonder why people get pets when their desire to maintain them is minimal. Let's hope the Boyf. appreciates your better intentions and experiences. Cheers, Neale.>

Ceratopteris vs. Poeciliidae and Pterophyllum 12/2/11
Hate to be bothering you again, but yet another question. Do freshwater angel fish eat water sprite??
<Not normally. But they might peck at if from time to time if there's flake food hidden there.>
Also I was wondering if guppies do, not that I keep them together with angels, but since guppies are herbivores like platies, I believe, would they go after the water sprite?? Thank you!!!
<Neither Guppies nor Platies should eat Water Sprite to any serious extent.
Guppies and Platies will peck at algae, that's all.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Guppy fry, fdg.   6/16/10
Hi Guys and gals
Thank you creating such a great and informative site.
I have 20 guppy fry that are about 2 weeks old and doing well.
I have set up a nursery tank with live plants and have placed then in there.
As recommended on most sites I have been feeding them every couple of hours. However I am due to go away for the weekend and was wondering if I can get away without feeding them of this period? If not would a feeding block do?
Many thanks in anticipation
<Hello there. No need to feed them if you're just gone a few days. If you want, put a slice of cucumber in the tank and they'll nibble on that. Feeding blocks are a bad move. They pollute more than they help. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies not eating -- 02/22/10
Dear Crew,
<Hi! Melinda with you here tonight.>
We bought a male and female guppy the other day for our tank that has gold fish.
<Not good. Don't even enjoy the same water temperature! How could you keep both happy?>
When the goldfish went after them, we put them in a smaller (non-aerated) bowl.
<This won't work. It just won't. These fish need larger, heated, filtered aquariums. Either provide this, or return them. It was a poor choice to put them into the Goldfish tank, anyway. Please read here on Guppy care:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm, as well as those linked files above the title of this article. In addition, please read on WWM about the nitrogen cycle. I am not sure if you're aware of the cycle which converts very toxic fish waste products to much less-toxic waste products, and allows us to keep fish in closed systems, but even if you are, I can assure you that it's not happening in this bowl. They're being poisoned: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm.>
They seem to be okay,
<Nothing could be farther from the truth. They're probably freezing, suffering from Ammonia burn, as well as lack of oxygen -- to put it mildly, they're miserable. Fish are stoic animals, as are most animals, because to exhibit injury or illness means quick death from a predator. Therefore, they do not complain or moan as we humans are wont to do, but fail to show symptoms of illness until it's just impossible to hide them. Therefore, if we take them into our care, we cannot rely on symptoms of illness in order to determine fish health, but instead, we must rely on objective data -- system size, filtration, water parameters, etc. If we don't, by the time we notice symptoms of illness, it is really late in the game, so to speak, and harder to heal the fish, and more difficult for the fish to recover.>
but aren't interested in any of the food we have been giving the other fish (Tetra Pro and Tetra Prima).
<You should be feeding the Goldfish more than just dry foods. Please read on WWM re: Goldfish care. Fail to augment their diet with wet, green foods, and you're on the fast track to a floaty, bloaty goldfish:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/gldfshmalnut.htm. Also, please take the time to peruse the linked articles above.>
We're worried that they aren't eating.
<It's good that you're worried, because this is absolutely the right emotion. However, I now ask that you extend that emotion to action: by reading, doing what is necessary to either provide for the lives you have taken under your care, or returning them to the store, so that someone else may provide for them. If you have any questions after reading, please feel free to write back.>
Thank you.
<You're welcome.
Re: Guppies not eating
Thank you.
<You're welcome.>
But you never answered my question about what the guppies should eat.
<They should take to the flakes with no problem. This is why I agreed with you that the fact that they're not eating is cause for concern, and tried to explain the myriad of reasons why they won't eat -- in short, that they feel horrible. In any case, they'll also eat wet-frozen foods, such as bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimp, as well as some other dried things, such as algae wafers. Please read here, which can be found on the page where I linked you in the last e-mail:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppyfdgfaqs.htm. However, I'd just like to stress again that the problem is unlikely that you're feeding things they don't "like," but instead, that they're living in an unheated, unfiltered, non-aerated small bowl, and probably aren't going to eat until every day stops being a struggle to overcome environmental conditions.

Guppy wont eat! 6/18/09
I was wondering if you could please advise me on how to make a guppy eat?
<Just add fish food...>
I have a young male guppy (3mths old?) that was bred in my tank, and it is the last survivor of its siblings. (the other three died as such: the biggest female died from giving birth, another male just suddenly died one
day, and the most recent death happened yesterday when the last female had stopped eating, or at least was eating minimally)
the rest of the guppies and my 2 zebra Danios have been eating very well, and this young make is the only one that is not doing well. at the moment he has begun swimming such that his body moves in an exaggerated S-shape but he stays in the same spot. until about 20 seconds later when he decides to actually move and moves a few centimeters away.
<Actually suspect bigger problems here; your fish sounds like it is either sick or has a birth defect, a not uncommon issue with tank-bred Guppies because they're highly inbred (and if they're the offspring of two Guppies you bought in one batch, their parents could easily be brother and sister).
Spine defects for example are very common. Do read WWM re: euthanasia, and consider that option if things don't improve.
Is it an option to try and force feed him? If that is even possible....
<Algae would be a better bet; move the Guppy to a quarantine tank or else confine it to a large breeding trap; add something like an algae wafer, and see if it nibbles such food when left in peace.>
I don't have any access to live food or frozen live food, and i have been feeding him guppy flake food all his life.
Hope to hear from you soon!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Guppy wont eat!
Thanks, I will try that!
<Good luck, Neale.>

Guppies, feeding beh.   2/25/09 Hi i have two female guppies that are a nice size and look pregnant, they don't look sick but they wont stop pecking at the heater i wanted to know if it is normal for them to do this? <It's "normal" insofar as Guppies are algae grazers. Instead of feeding them today, give them half an algae wafer of the sort used to feed catfish. They'll spend all day nibbling away. Cheers, Neale.>

My guppies wont eat flake food 9/13/07 I just bought our daughter 2 fancy guppies and they wont eat the flake food. Within 2 days the tank was really cloudy. I did buy some tiny bites to try and this has only been 1 day is there anything else can I feed them? Thanks, Jennifer <Greetings. When voracious feeders like guppies won't eat flake (assuming the flake isn't stale) then there's almost certainly something wrong. Given the water is cloudy, the issue is probably water quality. For one thing, don't add any more food. Most people overfeed their fish. There should be no food visible in the tank 5 minutes after adding the food. Secondly, check water quality. Setting up a tank and then adding fishes the same day is the quick way to kill those fishes. Please tell us the following: the nitrite level, the pH, and the hardness. As a guideline, your aquarium should have zero ammonia and nitrite, and a low level of nitrate (less than 50 mg/l). The pH should be around 7.5-8. The carbonate hardness should be around 8-10 degrees KH upwards, and the general hardness about 12 degrees dH upwards. Cloudy water is typical of under-filtered, heavily polluted aquaria that aren't looked after properly. You need a filter that provides turnover of not less than 4 times the volume of the aquarium per hour, and you should be doing 50% water changes weekly, especially during the early stages of setting up a tank. Always use a good quality dechlorinator. Cheers, Neale.>

Dead Guppy Cannibals 9/18/06 Hi, <Hi> I was wondering if it is possible that a guppy can eat another dead guppy? <Most fish will pick at dead/dying fish, although they will generally not eat the entire carcass.  Not a good thing though due to disease transfer, water quality etc.> <Chris> Guppy food question & a few other Guppy questions, esp. breeding traps  8/31/05 Tetra Min used to make "Guppy food Special Diet" (purple lid), but they no longer make it. It was nice since it was regular flakes broken up into Guppy size flakes and you didn't have to break it up with your fingers (which always seems to end up with dust and large flakes, and few flakes the 'right size'). You could just use it 'straight'. I've tried HBH 'Guppy bites', but my Guppies don't seem to like that, nor do I since the food won't break down small enough to be drawn into the gravel filter. Within days it decomposes and floats through the water. <I see> The only thing I've found is the regular tropical fish flakes. I'm currently using 'Nutrafin MAX Color Enhancing Flake Food' which, again, must be broken up. Since food is usually sealed and the pictures on the front are all the same and not at all indicative of size, I was wondering if any of you know a good quality small flake food (primary criteria) that perhaps also enhances color (secondary concern). <Mmm, am thinking of a couple of things... One, that you might have luck locating a set of "sieves" that used to be sold for sorting sizes/flakes for aquarium use, the other to advise having small catfishes (likely of the genus Corydoras) for "clean-up", fun as well with your guppies. Don't know of any given size/shape foods that might be better shaped... I would try Omega-Sea's fine line though> Second issue: I've just recently started up one of my 20 Gal tanks after a 15-20 year hiatus from having Guppies, so I'm not 'up to speed' on the details of pregnant Guppies (darn memory). I have one that had about 17 fry yesterday. It looks like she has another 3 in her, but it's been about 36 hours since she had the last one. <Likely done then> She was put in the breeder (another issue) a few times last week (I thought she was ready) but when she didn't start in 12-24 hours, I put her back in the main tank. She was caught starting and I immediately put her in the breeder where everything went fine except for the last 3 that she still appears to be carrying. Is this normal? <Happens> Is it possible she can't push them out right now, but will later? <Could, but not likely> I left her out back into the main tank about 4 hours after she produced the last one she had yesterday (a dilemma - is it better to keep her confined where she may feel, well, confined, or let her at the mercy of the males?) <When, where in doubt, I would wait, leave in the breeding trap> Third issue: I found 1 fry about a week after getting my initial stock (2 males + 2 females) about 4 weeks ago. I'm not sure which one it came from, but there was only one left (I'm assuming all others were eaten). About a week later, I found three more. I don't think they were hiding, although that is possible. Anyway, the point is that I had small fry in my breeder and didn't want to cramp them in, so I bought a second breeder, but the new one is built so poorly that the fry are getting through the cuts in the bottom plastic tray due to manufacturing tolerances, I think. It's not built anything like my old one, which does not seem to have that issue. The old one is made by Lustar. <Ah, yes... a fine company... no longer extant> I could not find that brand in any stores (incl some local fish stores, PetLand, PetCo, PetSmart, and another chain I forget the name of). The new one that is poorly made (for Guppies at least) is made by Penn Plax model "12345 Plus" (Cat #BT-5). Is there anyone who makes this type of breeder that is tight enough to not let fry swim between the plastic plates and the outer 'tank'? <Not as far as I'm aware. I would either go with net-types or use a separate tank entirely> I've been looking at some of the models that use air to 'suck' the fry into another section of tank. Your thoughts on those models? <Am not a fan... too much likelihood of damage to young> The ones I have are the type with the metal straps that fold over the top of the tank. I wouldn't trust suction cups in the long term. I saw a model with that, too, that was based on suction from an air line. BTW, I solved the above problem, or at least lessened it, by filling the bottom inch with gravel and spreading it up the sides where the 'rails' are on the 'tank' and the cutouts are in the bottom plate (which is the place the fry are getting through). I don't care for that solution much, but it's the best I can think of other than sealing the bottom plate with silicone. (would that even be recommended?) <Could be done... will "stick" enough, fill the void, be chemically inert...> BTW, including the fry, I'm up to about 26 guppies in about a month.  I suppose soon I won't care as much about losing some as 'food', but I'm still at the stage where I really don't want that to happen. One last question: It seems after about 3 weeks the fry are large enough that they don't get picked on by the adult Guppies. Does that sound about right? I waited until they were significantly larger than 'bite size'. <With good feeding... is about right> Also, found your site looking for info on sexing the fry. Haven't looked at the fins yet but I found some great info in your FAQs. Thank you for your time and help, Joe M. <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Feeding earthworms to guppies Can you feed fancy guppies (and or their fry) earthworms from your backyard? If so how can you feed the worms to them? <You can, but they will need to be sliced and diced to pieces small enough for the guppies to take into their mouths... perhaps an "onion chopper" will do here... excess can be refrigerated or frozen. Bob Fenner>

Skinny guppies <Hello, Ananda here answering the freshwater fish questions...> Hello. I have been raising guppies for a long time and here lately I have been challenged on how much I know, from fish I have bought from the pet store, from ick to fin and tail rot. But this skinny guppy thing I have no idea they just wouldn't eat. They are so skinny its sad to see them like that. I have treated them with internal parasite guard with no response from them. Do you know of any thing I can do to get them to eat. thanks R Hickman <I would try feeding them a high-quality frozen or freeze-dried food, like frozen bloodworms or freeze-dried Tubifex worms. If that does not work, try feeding them some live brine shrimp, which most fish find irresistible. Once they start eating, try again with the frozen or freeze-dried foods. Brine shrimp are not nutritionally sufficient for a long-term diet, but they do work well as an appetizer for fussy eaters. --Ananda>

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