Having trouble keeping new guppies alive!!! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 5 Old 05-14-2012, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
New Member
Having trouble keeping new guppies alive!!!

I have a hard time acclimating new guppies into my aquarium even though I've tried my best as to do a VERY SLOW acclimation process. However, the fatality rates of new guppies in my aquariums have been at least 60%
The first three guppies(1 male 2 female) i got from this store (Aquarium World Houston) 30 mins away from home, two died within 3 days, the next died within a week and a half so I thought it could have been the long drive.
3 days later
The next male guppy i got from a petsmart 10 mins away from home, survived!!!!!!!
3 days later
The next female guppy i got from a petsmart 20 mins away from home also survived, got pregnant and breed!!!!! (1 fry survived, most were eaten, the fry is a female and starting to show color)

3 days later
I got back some confidence in keeping guppies then I went to the Petsmart 20 mins away from home and bought a male cobra guppy and one female guppy, so up until now I will have a total of 2 male guppies and 3 female guppies (including the 2 weeks old fry).......however, the new female guppy disappeared over the night, I think she was quite weak when I brought her home so the others decided to eat her, the male died the next day ( I observed it has split tail)!!!!

My tank has been established well, my otos, platies and swordtail are always happy. However, I don't know how is it so hard for me to introduce new guppies into my tank.
My acclimation technique is as follow:
- Float the bag in the tank for 10 mins
- EVERY 5 mins I drip 40 ml of tank water into the bag, which is like 2 and a half table spoons (using a measuring cup).
I do that until the bag is overflowing with my tank water, then I let the fishes swim out of the bag themselves.
All my fishes have been done that way (except for the otos cats since I was just an ignorant back then). All have survived and are happy...

So I went into check my water chemistry to see if it's the reason why new guppies tend to die in my tank

My tank currently is sitting at:
12 Gallon tank Fluval Edge: 6 big plants, 2 otos, 2 platy, 1 swordtail, 3 guppies
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 3
pH: 7.8
Alkalinity: 150
Hardness: 50

so it turns out that my home tap water is a little weird, it has high pH but soft water. The reason is because we have an in-home system-wide water filter that also soften our water. Do you think the soft water is the problem ?? I know that guppies like the pH a little high. Should I fix anything? or do I have to keep introducing new guppies and cross my finger that they will survive....

On a good note, those guppies that survived (including the fry) actually do very well now. The fry was very timid at first since its tank mates always try to harass and eat her. after 2 weeks though, they finally accepted her and she's swimming in group with the 2 guppies.

A different question, last month I read an article on Platy fish care and learned that they do best in group of 3, I went to petsmart and try to find one more platy for my 2 platies at home, the associate told me that they don't have any more platy but I can just have the swordtail as the platies tank mate. They are closely related and will be happy together. It DIDN'T TURN OUT THAT WAY. My platies spend most of their time together at mid to top while the swordtail are always foraging and exploring between the plants at the bottom and it's been like that for a month. I'm feeling worried about the swordtail. I also read that swordtail needs a group of 3 or more to be happy. Do you think I should add 2 more swordtail to the tank? also 1 more platy to for the twos. ???
suicune is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 Old 05-14-2012, 03:36 PM
Olympia's Avatar
Your tank is overstocked.
The last thing you should do is add more swordtails, they are large fish and need a 30" long tank. Your best bet is to rehome him.
I can't say about the guppies. They are bred like crazy to the point that tons of strains are ridiculously weak and harbor tons of disease. They do not do well in soft water, but your other live bearers seem to be fine.
Posted via Mobile Device
Olympia is offline  
post #3 of 5 Old 05-14-2012, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
New Member
Thank you for your input, I was tricked by the fish seller. Well he told me the swordtail they have is a hybrid swordtail with platy with won't reach 3 inches. I'll just keep him for now until he grows bigger then I'll give him to my brother in law, he has a 70 gallon cichlid tank. If he eventually does grow to 3 inches+ then I'll move him.

My tank also has incredibly low bio load, my nitrate is always less than 5 ppm even if I leave it for a week without water change. No one has ever been able to explain this... I'm always worried about the nitrate level since it's a sign of malnutrition for the live plants in my tank.
suicune is offline  
post #4 of 5 Old 05-14-2012, 05:07 PM
Byron's Avatar
I would remove the swordtail now before the small space causes stunting. Fish grow continually, and if the surrounding space is not sufficient for the species the fish will not develop properly internally. You can't see this, it just happens. Result is what you might think of as deformed organs, and this places significant strain on the fish's physiology which tends to bring on other health problems and disease and always a much shorter lifespan. The sooner the swordtail is removed, the better chance it will live healthier and longer.

On the matter of plants and nitrates: most aquatic plants use ammonium as their preferred source of nitrogen. The ammonia produced by fish and bacteria is grabbed and changed into ammonium. Plants only use nitrate when ammonium is no longer available, which is a tank with fish and organics in the substrate is unlikely to happen. The reason you do not see nitrates rise is because the ammonia is being used by the plants more than by bacteria. Nitrite is not a by-product from the plants, only bacteria, and different bacteria then use the nitrite and nitrate results. But this bacteria nitrification is minimal due to the plants grabbing so much of the initial ammonia.

Water changes should be regular, regardless of any tests for pH, nitrate, or whatever. Once a week at minimum, and 40-50% of the tank volume. As you have a lot of fish in a small space as Olympia mentioned, this is even more critical. The growth issue mentioned previously can occur in all the fish regardless of size if the water is not changed sufficiently. There is a lot of chemistry/biology in this.

To the guppy demise, it may well be due to a combination of things, including the GH (some fish "appear" to manage better than others, and it may well be that the initial shock notwithstanding your mixing of water is too much for them), bioload in a small space, and not sufficient water changes. If you intend to stay with livebearers, I would consider increasing the GH. Using a calcareous substrate is the easiest and least expensive; Seachem's Equilibrium is another safe way. But other chemical concoctions are not safe. [Equilibrium is not chemical, is is 100% mineral.]

On the fish introduction, mixing the water is fine as you set out, and good. But when it is mixed, do not let the water in the bag enter the aquarium. Always use a small net and transfer the fish. There is stuff in the water you do not want in your tank. Ammonia obviously, but possibly pathogens, pheromones, bacteria, etc. All these came from the fish store, and are better not introduced into the tank.

I hope this is of some help.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 05-14-2012 at 05:14 PM.
Byron is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 05-14-2012, 05:35 PM
Geomancer's Avatar
Home water softeners add lots of salts to the water, which is bad for fish. You should use water from before the softener if you can. All your fish except the Otos are hardwater fish anyways.
Geomancer is offline  

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
question on keeping mollie fry alive matt44p Livebearers 1 02-20-2011 11:05 PM
Help keeping fish alive fishjive Saltwater Fish Diseases 6 11-05-2008 12:40 AM
Help keeping fish alive fishjive Saltwater Fish 3 10-29-2008 04:58 PM
Need help keeping My betta alive! caseystarr Tropical Fish Diseases 6 05-09-2008 01:34 PM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome