Guppies keep dying
So I am new to fish keeping and am looking for some pointers. I have a 10 gallon live planted tank that is about a month and a half old, fully cycled. I have 3 neon tetras that have been alive in the tank through the cycling process and am trying to add in 2 guppies. The guppies keep dying though :( and i cannot figure out why. My GH is around 180, KH 220 and PH around 8 nitrite 0 and nitrate under 10. These seem to be alright values with the PH stable but on the higher end. I have gone through 2 rounds of guppies and for some reason they wont stay alive but after about a day or two just stop eating and then will pass shortly after that. The only thing I could think of was the PH or the temperature. I currently dont use a heater ( I have one) because my house gets warm during the summer and the water never gets below 77. The water does fluctuate though between 77 and 82. Is that a problem? With the 82 being about 3-4 and then dropping to 77 at night. I am not sure if i should be using the heater to keep the water at 80 because i fear if i do that the upper temperature will also rise 3 degrees to 85 due to the water not cooling at night. thoughts on this would be great? Do i need to lower my PH or do you think it is a problem with the temperature?
Do you acclimate them at all? Like, float them in the tank to gradually even out the temps, and every 15ish minutes add some tank water into the bag to gradually adjust them to the new params? Just a thought, not sure that'd be a big enough problem tho.
I heard you are supposed to float the bag on top of the water. I do this for about 30 minutes. I dont add in tank water to the bag though, I had not heard of doing that. Another thought that I had was if the fish store (petsmart) had a PH of like 7 and mine is 8 would that cause too much stress on the fish? or is that part of the breaking in process of adding tank water to the bag?
Right. So how long do you keep them floating in the tank? I can't imagine that 15 minutes ( as suggested by the pet store) of a mixed water would do much to assist them... Especially when one number of PH is such a massive difference.
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Are you using test strips?
Yes i am using test strips.
I think for safety sake you should grab a liquid test kit. I have for fun tested 8 test strips in a row on the same tank and verified against liquid tests and more then half the strips came back with some drastically different results and the remaining ones may have been kinda close but not accurate. Are you adding 2 males? Thats also could be a problem because they can stress eachother out in a smaller tank with aggression. a lot of tall plants to break up disputes can help with that.
So acclimate with your water mixed with store water floating them
If you are getting males make sure there is enough plants/decor to get away from each other
and most important get liquid test kit. It may seem more expensive then strips but you'll have better knowledge of your tanks chemistry and it will last a long time.
The answer is pretty simple here. Just match your water to the store's. You test your water and listed off a bunch of parameters, but what about the store's? Ask them to test theirs next time you go in there. Then you'll know where your water matches up with theirs.
Think of acclimation like this: What happens if you take a polar bear from the Arctic and stick em in the desert? I mean, instantly. He stresses out from the new environment and likely dies that day or within a few days.
Same concept for the fish. So, give the fish time to adjust. You can check out this video about "drip acclimation"
I also noticed you didn't mention your ammonia levels.
Some other factors (in addition to what's been mentioned already) may be that you're buying fish the day they come into the store. So they're being netted once to get shipped to the store (stressed), then netted again to get to your tank (more stress). Plus, if they make this journey in the matter of a day or even just a few days you can kinda get a better idea of the stress on the fish in terms of changing environments. Go from pH 7 on Monday, to pH 7.5 on Tuesday, to pH 8.5 on Wednesday is alot of change to adjust to (plus all the other params). Even if your parameters were perfect conditions for the fish, your fish could still die because of these changes, you have to take into account change. Generally, the more constant the water chemistry, the easier it is on fish.
So, it may help you to ask a store before getting a new fish, "When did you get these?"
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