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CointreauDudleyHugoAlfie 04-26-2013 07:37 AM

Guppy not well: no colour, poor fin quality, irritated gills
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Hi Tropical Fish Keeping Community,

I have yet another guppy question, this time to do with a guppy I removed from my main tank into a hospital tank (20l) about 10 days after I bought him.

I am very new to fish keeping but am eager to get on top of things! I am starting a new tank so the guppy was in less than desirably water parameters before he was put in the separate tank (I have had problems with ammonia in the main tank). I originally took the guppy out of the main tank because he was being "bullied" by all three of my other male guppies (constantly) and I let it go hoping they would sort themselves out until they really began to get rough and he was beginning to lose some colour in his tail.

I then set up a hospital tank for him, purely to separate him from the others, not because he had any damage to his body, with the idea that when I got on top of the ammonia issue in the main tank I would add more guppies and try to spread the hierarchy out a bit and then successfully re-add him.

He has been in the hospital tank for about 2.5 weeks. As soon as I introduced him to the second tank he lost all his colour and became VERY timid. I assumed this would settle down. I added a number of plastic plants to the tank so he felt covered and have blocked out all three sides of the tank so he can't see too much going on outside the tank. I have been doing water changes of about 50% about every week because I am unsure of ammonia levels and how well the very cheap filter is working. I also boost up the amount of stress coat I'm adding and giving him a bit of aquarium salts to heal anything he might have wrong with him.

He has gotten used to me coming near the tank but is not a fan of anyone else, still very timid. He still has very very little colour. He was hanging at the bottom of the tank a lot and then staying at the very top of the tank all the time.

I realised today that the tank filter was actually putting small sponge fibres into the water :redmad:. It is a three stage filter, but the first 'woolish sponge' was shedding and releasing fibers into the water!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have since taken that stage of the filter off and chucked it out leaving only the noodles and a plastic mesh to do the filtering. It was polluting the water, he hasn't been at the top of the tank since I did that (about 8 hours ago).

His fins look slightly 'frayed' but more because he looks as though he has poor condition, not necessarily that he has fin rot (but I have no idea, so if you think otherwise please let me know!) he eats well (he comes to the top of the tank for feeding time and eats all the flake food I give him) although he doesn't go CRAZY for it, but leisurely eats it all.

I thought maybe TB because of his poor fin condition, no colour and initially he looked as though he was developing a curve in his spine and hanging at the very top of the tank, but I've changed my mind on the spine thing and he hasn't been at the top of the tank since I removed the problem part of the filter. Plus I use the same syphon and buckets for both tanks (i know, very naughty of me) and the other fish aren't showing the kind of symptoms this one is, which I assume they would be by now.

Sorry for such a long winded explanation but i'm trying to find symptoms that suggest what is wrong with him. He has an appetite, swims around constantly (although he isn't terribly active), he doesn't seem to be bloated, he swims normally, he doesn't have white spot, lesions or pop-eye (from what I can tell). However, his gills are quite irritated and his waste is red - I initially thought this was due to the colour enhancing food with pink flakes but I have only been feeding him orange flakes and green flakes as an experiment to see if the waste changed colour, which it hasn't. I guess it could be parasites? But he looked poorly the moment I put him in the tank and he isn't losing weight.

I've been trying to read as much as I can to work out the problem, but diagnosing is very difficult when you don't know what you are looking at! :dunno:

Any suggestions would be much appreciated as it would give me a starting point for more research. I don't know what else I can do for him to help him along. Water temp is at 25-26C, and I warm the water when I do water changes before adding it into the tank (i use only cold water, not warm from the tap, but warm up the cold water before adding it).


fish monger 04-26-2013 08:10 AM

Ammonia could still be your problem. It's more likely in a freshly set up tank than in the old one. Your tap water could contain ammonia and water changes might not improve things in that situation. I'd add some live floating stem plants to the tank. They will soak up the ammonia as food. What are you using as a water conditioner ?

CointreauDudleyHugoAlfie 04-26-2013 08:22 AM

Hi Fish_Monger, thank-you for your reply.

I'm using API stress coat. I allow the water to sit with the stress coat for at least half and hour before adding it to the tank. Perhaps he didn't have a chance to recover from the stress of the move before the ammonia built up?

I'm looking to purchase an API water test kit rather than relying on my local pet shop to do the testing. Do you think a full kit with gh and kh would be a good investment for me at this point of time? or just get a ph, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate test kit?

fish monger 04-26-2013 08:55 AM

My kit doesn't include the GH and KH and I wish it did. Go ahead and get the full line of tests if you can. They will come in handy eventually.

CointreauDudleyHugoAlfie 04-26-2013 08:59 AM

thanks for the advice :)

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