Are guppies disposable fish? Help please :-(
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Are guppies disposable fish? Help please :-(

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Are guppies disposable fish? Help please :-(
Old 07-06-2013, 08:09 AM   #1
 
Are guppies disposable fish? Help please :-(

Hi,

We just got our first tank.
Did lots of reading - everyone said guppies were a great starter fish and easy to take care of. My 8 year old wanted fish as pets.

Went to Petsmart & asked lots of questions about starting the tank and got lots of answers and was told I had all the info I needed to know.

Got 3 guppies in a 5 gallon tank and did what they told me and 1 week later - 2 of them are dead.
Then it ends up there were issues with ammonia & the biological filter, and fin rot etc, that the Petsmart people neglected to tell me about. Said I had "new tank syndrome".

Then we got 2 new guppies to replace the ones that died. Water quality is "excellent" as per the Petsmart people when I bring it in for testing...yet the last remaining guppy from the first batch died within the next 2 days. Now one of the new 2 guppies is starting to "flounder" - trying to swim with its entire body instead of mostly with its tail, breathing rapidly, dorsal fin almost gone. The other one is still going strong.
Petsmart again says the water quality is fine.

What am I doing wrong?
Are they selling us unhealthy fish? I read they should live about 1-3 years in a tank & we haven't got any to live more than 2 weeks.

This was supposed to be an easy starter fish for my daughter and it has turned into the "tank of death" and a lesson about life and dying for my 8 year old instead of a source of happiness and fun.

Any suggestions?

Are there any easy to take care of fish that are more hearty and easier to take care of with minimal fuss?

Thanks!
Juggernaut
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:27 AM   #2
 
I would suggest merging your two threads as there is information in each that is not in the other and the total picture is necessary to answer your questions.

You say you "just got" the tank - how long has it been set up and what cycling process did you follow? What exactly is it that you were told to do?
The first issue I see is the size of the tank - a five gallon aquarium is suitable for little more than a single betta, and certainly inadequate for a trio of guppies because they will quickly become more than a trio. If you want your child to have a nice tank with multiple fish, I would suggest an upgrade in tank size.
You are not getting unhealthy fish, you are getting fish who are being poisoned by the water in which they are living once they are moved into your tank. When you suffered the initial loss you should have been advised NOT to purchase replacement fish, rather to have kept just the one remaining fish and how to do DAILY water changes to nurse the tank, and maybe that one last fish, through the remainder of the cycling process. The "problem" with your biological filter is that there is none, yet.
I am so sorry that this has been your daughter's introduction to fish keeping and do hope it has not ruined the hobby for her.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:19 AM   #3
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZivaD View Post
I would suggest merging your two threads as there is information in each that is not in the other and the total picture is necessary to answer your questions.

You say you "just got" the tank - how long has it been set up and what cycling process did you follow? What exactly is it that you were told to do?
The first issue I see is the size of the tank - a five gallon aquarium is suitable for little more than a single betta, and certainly inadequate for a trio of guppies because they will quickly become more than a trio. If you want your child to have a nice tank with multiple fish, I would suggest an upgrade in tank size.
You are not getting unhealthy fish, you are getting fish who are being poisoned by the water in which they are living once they are moved into your tank. When you suffered the initial loss you should have been advised NOT to purchase replacement fish, rather to have kept just the one remaining fish and how to do DAILY water changes to nurse the tank, and maybe that one last fish, through the remainder of the cycling process. The "problem" with your biological filter is that there is none, yet.
I am so sorry that this has been your daughter's introduction to fish keeping and do hope it has not ruined the hobby for her.
Hi,

Thanks for the reply.

I don't know how to merge threads. Regardless my goal in the other thread was to get ideas of what types of fish might be more appropriate for us, rather than figuring out how to save the fish we have (which is the goal of this thread).

So a 5 gallon tank is too small for 3 MALE only guppies?

I am not really following how they are being poisoned by the water if the store keeps telling us that the water quality is fine.
I don't doubt what you say, because clearly they keep dying, but how do I know it is bad water, and what can I do to make it better?

Thanks!
Juggernaut
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:42 AM   #4
 
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There is no excellent or fine on water tests, just numbers. Those numbers may be excellent or fine to them, in reality they may not be. When they test the water ask them to write down the numbers.

Petsmart runs their tank on a centralized sump system. If there's an illness in one tank it's being spread to many if not all of the other tanks. A 5 gallon is a bit tight for a trio of guppys, it can be done if you keep up on maintenance.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:56 AM   #5
 
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There is only one number that is excellent, or even fine, and that is 0. Anything other than 0 is not fine, let alone excellent. Like tolak said - get the numbers!

Unfortunately the kids working at petsmart tend not to be the most knowledgable. To be honest, I think people expect way too much from them. Case and point - they told you you have "new tank syndrome", which you do, and they sent you home with more fish. Adding to the bioload of the tank is the LAST thing you want to do in an uncycled tank. Think about it - if 2 fish are making the water toxic, then 4 fish are just going to make it toxic twice as fast, making it twice as difficult for you to maintain water quality while the tank cycles.


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Old 07-06-2013, 11:01 AM   #6
 
One rule of thumb to go by is 1 gallon of water for every 1 inch of fish. So since most guppies grow to 1.5", it should be alright but would be a tight squeeze.

On the water problem, I'd suggest buying a master test kit so you could do the tests yourself and repost the answers.
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RobertTheFish (07-15-2013)
Old 07-06-2013, 12:17 PM   #7
 
Thanks for all the help everyone!

I am going to see how the last 2 fish do before deciding where to proceed from here.
The one that was looking sick seems to be perking up a bit...so hopefully it is on the road to recovery (although the ones that died all seemed to get more energy before we found them floating at the top or bottom)...

Thanks!
Juggernaut
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:36 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cali4nya View Post
One rule of thumb to go by is 1 gallon of water for every 1 inch of fish. So since most guppies grow to 1.5", it should be alright but would be a tight squeeze.

On the water problem, I'd suggest buying a master test kit so you could do the tests yourself and repost the answers.
That rule doesn't take into account the nature and needs of different species. The guppys are active guys but also nippy ..especialy males(which means need moer room to get away when they are "argueing"). If you are sure you want to keep the 5 gallon maybe you should get 1 guppy ...maybe. My kids have small tanks in their rooms as well. and then they share a 16 gallon in the living room. They have 3 male guppies in there(the 16g) that I think if I recall we've had maybe a yr. They do seem to enjoy swimming EVERYWHERE in there. I wouldn't want to reduce their tank size seeing how they are in there. tank mates are only 2 glo danios and 2 orange eyed blue tiger shrimp and a jungle of plants.
Now if you want to keep your tank going as is. You will need to be testing your watr often (get API fresh water master test kit) don't trust what they tell you at the store about your water. Also change water every day or two(50% or more depending on your test results) till you finally get ammonia and nitrite to 0 ( a must!)and nitrate to 5ppm or better yet 0.
What filter do you have? and water conditioner you are using? you should get a small plant or two to help with the cycle and make the fish happy. Do you do a gravel vacuum once a week?


Another suggestion- if you get your tank cycled and the water routine down pretty well and the fish don't make it I only can think of a few things that will be ok in that size tank. 1 Betta and maybe a mystery snail, or a couple of snails( whichever don't reproduce like rabbits..can't remember which kind) , or better yet plants and a bunch of cherry shrimp..10 would be good)

Last edited by Agent13; 07-06-2013 at 12:46 PM..
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Old 07-06-2013, 02:13 PM   #9
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cali4nya View Post
One rule of thumb to go by is 1 gallon of water for every 1 inch of fish. So since most guppies grow to 1.5", it should be alright but would be a tight squeeze.

On the water problem, I'd suggest buying a master test kit so you could do the tests yourself and repost the answers.
That is an antiquated and patently inaccurate school of thought in stocking.
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Old 07-06-2013, 02:40 PM   #10
 
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It's actually not bad, for small schooling fish. It certainly does not apply to all types of fish, but for small schooling fish (which is what I believe it's intended for), the inch per gallon rule is actually rather conservative in my experience, and perfectly acceptable. It's only inaccurate when misapplied.

Stocking is more art than science, and everyone has to start somewhere. Most people don't start by considering the complex behaviors of cichlids, nor do they begin by keeping cichlids and other more challenging fish, so why not the inch per gallon rule?? Foundations of knowledge are built on basic principles, and the inch per gallon rule teaches people to think about the adult size of a fish when stocking their tank - a fundamental principle in fish keeping, in my opinion. To me, that's a great start on their journey of fish keeping. It's one thing to mention that stocking can be more complicated than just doing arrhythmic, but I think it's wrong to categorically put down one's school of thought just because it isn't as advanced, especially when it is not patently inaccurate. We all evolve in this hobby over time, on our own time.
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