Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Julie's Julies 08-06-2007 11:44 PM

Guppy problems
I had three guppies in a 5.5 gallon established tank. These were just from Petco, so I knew when I bought them I was running a risk. Anyway, for 6 days everyone was happy and eating. Then today one of the two females was dead with part of her tail missing and the male was missing several chunks from his tail as well. The remaining female has a patch of scales missing on one side of her tail just before the caudal fin. The two goldfish I took out of the tank before adding the guppies also had fin rot, and fuzzy algae is growing on the plants despite the fact that there is no light in the tank and the tank does not receive any direct sunlight (which also makes it difficult to visually detect problems).

All of these symptoms scream of water quality problems, but I've been testing every other day and continually get 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrites, and 5ppm nitrates. I am ready to pull my hair out in frustration. Am I missing something? Is there something else I can be checking my water for? Could my tests be bad? I use API liquid tests and there does not appear to be any expiration dates on them. They're all about 4 months old, at least from when I purchased them off the shelf.

Lupin 08-07-2007 12:41 AM

I think this lies more on bacterial infections. Antibiotics are often used for bacterial infections but they can be just as risky as the bacterial infections if not used properly.

Have you noticed anything unusual with the guppies before they died? Are they the only ones in the tank? I was under the impression that the missing parts of the fins and the scales are the work of the remaining guppy.

Julie's Julies 08-07-2007 06:05 PM

I actually think it was poor water, despite my good readings. I think that I did not shake my nitrite test enough and got lower readings than it should have been, and since there is so little light near the tank I could not see well enough to vacuum the gravel properly. Anyway, I took out all the plants, hosed them down, cleaned the filter, rinsed the sponges, vacuumed the gravel and did a 50% water change. The guppies and the water both look much better. I think I might move the tank someplace else where I can monitor it better.

Julie's Julies 08-08-2007 01:10 PM

Yep, I did two 40% water changes and retested the nitrate, making sure to REALLY shake the bottle well. After the drastic water changes it was still at 20ppm!!! My poor fish! I was killing them and didn't even know it. I will continue with the water changes until we are at better levels - I like the nitrate to be no higher than 15ppm.

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