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Keaze 06-09-2012 12:28 PM

Female guppy inflamed gills
I have 3 guppies (2 females 1 male), 2 tetras, and 3 4 month old baby guppies. My cycle has been steady for about 4 months now. I've never had any real trouble with the guppies. One female recently gave birth to about 20 fries. She has been very thin since then (4 days ago), but this seems normal after labor. 2 days ago she started having trouble swimming. Now yesterday she started having inflamed gills and she is really struggling with swimming. Today she is hiding at the bottom in a cave, touching the ground and not moving. Her gills are very swollen. She hasnt eaten in 2 days.

My levels are pretty ok. Nitrite is nil, nitrate around 20. I've always had a consisten problem with ammonia. It has never been below 1.25 (it's not the test kit, as before the cycle started, the kit showed 0). I do weekly or bi-weekly water changes. I dont terribly overfeed but maybe sometimes a little too much. It has never ever happened that i had 0 ammonia. I have to admit that i did not do a water change for about 2 weeks. Both females were gasping for air before the gills got swollen so it's obviously the reason. I shouldn't have gone 2 weeks without the water change. I just did a 75% yesterday though.

Is there anything i can do to help her? Will she get better since the water is now clear?

How can I get my ammonia to 0 ?


jaysee 06-09-2012 02:36 PM

Welcome to the forum

Not to nitpick what you've said, but I think it's important - if you've had a continuous problem with ammonia, then your tank's cycle has not been steady. Getting your tank cycled is the most important thing right now. Doing water changes is the best thing for the fish, as you know.

I know you are looking for answers, but we need quite a bit more information to be able to provide you with any significant help. It sounds as though you may have lost your cycle, or maybe even never had it.

How big is the tank? What do you have for filtration? what are your maintenance routines? What products (tank additives) do you use? What do you use for testing and is it expired/good?

Pearl2011 06-09-2012 02:57 PM

Before the cycle it will be 0, because there is no ammonia yet.

Your tank has probably not cycled yet. Dont get anymore fish and dont overfeed plus fast one day a week. At 1.25 I'm surprised there are any fish still alive.

Olympia 06-10-2012 09:30 AM

Along with what the others said, I agree 100%...

Sadly this fish has permanent damage, it will not get better.. It may survive, it may become somewhat more normal, but the damage is done... Better conditions may let her live...
All the fish in your tank are damaged from this, you may not see it is all. All our fish are damaged when we get them, from shipping, the pet store.
This fish has hyperplasia, cells built up around it's gills to protect it from toxins.. Though this then makes breathing more difficult. Add to the fact that ammonia reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, and you get that gasping fish.

Something in your tank is preventing a cycle from occurring if it's been 4 months. We should figure what it is, even if it may be too late for the guppy.
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jaysee 06-10-2012 10:37 AM

It's not the ammonia in the water that poisons the fish directly - it's the ammonia built up in the fish. Fish (except for goldfish) passively excrete ammonia into the water from the gills. If the water has 1 ppm, then the fish will have 1 ppm. If the water has 0 ppm, then the fish will have 0 ppm - which is ideal. That is why it's so important to keep the ammonia levels low when cycling with fish, and why cycling with fish is not recommended.

Keaze 06-10-2012 11:28 AM

Thanks jaysee

Oh wow sorry guys i meant to say my ammonia is 0.25! :oops:

To answer questions my Ammonia test is API. The rest is the nutrafin mini master test kit. The tank is 10 gal, Filter is penguin bio wheel 100, temp is at ~79. PH is around 7.4 which is a little high especially for the tetras but they are doing ok. I do 50% water changes once a week. I don't use any additive, except the nutrafin tap water conditioner. Sometime I'll put carbon in the filter. Oh I've been meaning to ask. What are those black spots under the folds of my filter? Is it only algae? Sorry the pic is out of focus i was 1 handed

The gils seem to have deflated a little today, but I think she has more trouble swimming.

I really wish she would not die. I've grown very fond of these 3 guppies.

jaysee 06-10-2012 04:02 PM

When you say sometimes you put carbon in the filter, does that mean that you use custom media (not cartridges) or sometimes you add some extra carbon? If you use cartridges, do you change them every few weeks? When do you test? If the water has cholramines in it, then the water conditioner breaks it down to ammonia and chlorine, so there will be a registered ammonia level if you test right after changing the water. You are supposed to wait 24-36 hours.

Keaze 06-10-2012 05:33 PM

I use the media that came with the filter. It has carbon in it but it must be deactivated by now. Theres some extra space in front of the media so i put a bag of activated carbon there. I don't change the media to keep the cycle i just clean it with aquarium water. I do tests every once in a while, sometimes a few days after water changes but there's still always ammonia.

I seem to be doing everything right, which is why i dont understand why there is still ammonia...

jaysee 06-10-2012 06:21 PM

Yes, it does sound like you are doing everything right.

I would try adding more mechanical/biological media rather than the additional chemical media. I would also try fasting the fish for several days and seeing what the ammonia level is. If you still have an ammonia reading with the bioload at it's absolute lowest, then you've got a more serious problem. If you get a reading of 0, then that means you do not have the filtration capacity required - adding more media will help that.

Do you ever get nitrite readings? Do your nitrates ever change?

Romad 06-10-2012 06:40 PM

Is it possible that you have ammonia in your tap water? It's not that common but it happens.

It is odd that you've never seen nitrItes in the tank :/

Does Nutrafin conditioner detoxify the ammonia at all? I know Seachem Prime does for 24-48 hours so I'd pick up some of that if you can while you're getting those levels down to zero.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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