New Guppies: Clamped Fins & Not Eating
On Saturday, (from here on out to be referred to as "Day 1") I bought 3 male guppies and 3 shrimp from Petsmart, along with 2 plants to set up my 5 gallon tank. Prior to that, Day -2 I guess it would be, I set everything up. Heater, Carbon Filter, everything appeared to work without problems. But my focus here is the guppies, as my shrimp show no signs of stress or any discontent.
Forewarning: there are many mistakes that I have already made. I'm aware that I've screwed up and haven't fully prepared myself, and that this might not have been the best route to take. In fact, I know that my impatience is going to be the downfall of this, and I'm willing to do just about anything to save these little guys. I bought a test kit, however it reads literally everything but ammonia levels. (why do they even sell those? :-?) I also more than likely overfed them, and am now taking steps to cut down on that.
Day 1: Everyone seemed good. Ate, explored the tank as a group (which surprised me), got along fine. No signs of aggression amongst themselves.
Day 2: Water is cloudy. Not green, so not due to the plants. Did a partial water change, I'd say about 15-20% or so. Guppies rest at the top of tank, behind filter and next to heater. Spend a good portion of the day just sitting over there. Only one smaller guppy has any interest in eating today. Water test shows that I have very hard water, add a bit more dechlorinator in attempt to help with this.
Day 3: Water much clearer. Woke up at 5am to notice both smaller guppies have clamped tail fins, ends of which appear red? Larger guppy still resting behind filter. No guppies interested in eating.
I've raised the temperature from 80-86 as I've heard that doing so will kill any parasites if they are the cause. Also added a tsp of sea salt since research shows that that'll help almost everything. Was that a mistake? Other than that, I'm really not sure what to do. I'm praying that this is all because of poor water parameters due to cycling and overfeeding, because I can spend time fixing that. What really worries me though, is the red spot on the end of the tails. (Originally, tails were a silvery-turquoise color)
Either way, I'm going to run to the store to buy a gravel vacuum and ammonia tests. But i'd hate to come back from work in 7 hours or so to find two dead guppies. I've already grown pretty attached to these pretty boys.
edit: actually, as I posted this I noticed the shrimp acting funny. They're swimming up, towards the top of the plants and decorations. I haven't seen them do that yet, they haven't really tried to move off the bottom. Should this concern me, or are they just getting more comfortable with their surroundings?
Did you dechorinate the water? Are you testing for ammonia? Did you acclimate the fish when you put them into the water? Where did you get the tank? Is it used or new? Have you kept anything in it before?
You are trying to use a shotgun to kill a mosquito here. Salt is not a magical cure-all, though it will help reduce the impact of ammonia. Guppies can be acclimated to full marine conditions, so as long as you don't raise the salinity fast, these fish are fine with brackish conditions. I'm assuming the shrimp are ghost shrimp as I haven't seen much else at Petsmart. These shrimp are also fine in brackish water. The salt MIGHT help.
I wouldn't keep the temperature quite that high, either. Bring it back down to about 82. Higher than that will only stress the fish more, and since you have no data supporting parasites, don't treat for it.
Clamped fins often means poisoning of some kind. The fins were not clamped at the store, which means it's something in your tank. It happened quickly, which means that even if there were a bacterial infection or parasites, it probably wouldn't have happened that quickly or to all fish simultaneously.
I suggest removing the fish into a separate container along with some of their water to avoid as much stress as possible. Thoroughly clean everything in the tank, then set it back up and do a proper acclimation to move the fish back in. Now, you have to worry about cycling the tank, but you can, in the short term, get some ammo chips from Petsmart and put them into a filter bag you can also get there. Put that into the filter path to absorb ammonia but ONLY UNTIL THE FISH RECOVER. Once they recover, remove the ammo chips and discard them, but keep the bag, they are useful. Proceed with a populated tank cycle and use a test kit and partial water changes to keep the ammonia and eventually nitrite levels as low as possible.
I'd bet anything that the problem is ammonia, since there's no way your tank was cycled.
Up the water changes significantly. If you can add filter media to your filter, then ammo-chips might help.
You could also try using Prime as your dechlorinator- it helps convert ammonia (toxic) to ammonium (non-toxic). You'll also need a nitrite test, and don't buy the strips. They're useless.
The priority has to be on the recovery of the fish. Ammo chips are really poor practice, but they have two legitimate uses in my opinion. One is inside a shipping bag, the other is in an uncycled quarantine tank. At the moment, this tank is essentially a quarantine tank, which to me justifies using ammo chips.
when your in trouble you should do 50% water changes daily. this will help your fish through the ammonia. if you are using fish to cycle, you have to keep them in fresh water
Not necessarily. When cycling you should keep the fish in the conditions you intend to keep the tank because marine, brackish, and freshwater bacteria are not the same. But, the tank WILL cycle with salt in it.
ammonia reading: says safe (< .02 ppm) but i'm hesitant, that seems impossible.
tank origin: the tank was used, was cleaned before use, last used many years ago by my mother
temperature: back down to 82
one fish has passed on, shows signs of fin rot. ):
other fish that had his fin clamped has let go of it a little bit, no rot that i can see. third fish still seems to be unharmed.
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