Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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sweetwaterarabians 08-21-2007 11:17 AM

GH & KH for guppies
I've had a hard time keeping livebearers of any kind for many years. Guppies are my favorites and I'm determined to be successful at it. I've had my tank set up for years and have a community tank with lots of neons, corys and a red tailed shark. These fish I've had for years. I also have a few guppies that are sick most of the time. The other fish thrive and yet I always have problems with the guppies. I constantly monitor and test my tank.
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 0
PH 8.2
GH and KH 5
I just bought the GH and KH test so this is new to me. I noticed that my tank is good for neons but a little on the soft side for guppies and livebearers. Could this be my problem? It's just boarderline soft. I do water changes about twice a week.

jones57742 08-21-2007 11:23 AM


I am really looking forward to us "working this out together".

I have 20 guppy juvies showing up early in September, have the two 5G tanks described in the earlier thread cycling, etc.


sweetwaterarabians 08-21-2007 12:35 PM

I have a 20 gallon tank with my baby guppies and they do just fine. The water is the same and I do everything the same. I just can't figure it out. I haven't tested the GH & KH on it yet so I need to go do that now.

Falina 08-21-2007 12:39 PM

Usually livebearers will be fine if they have been bred in softer water. This is probably why your babies are doing well and your adults not so!

Good luck to you and also Ron!

sweetwaterarabians 08-21-2007 12:56 PM

As soon as I move any larger babies into the big 55 gallon tank that's when I start loosing them as well. This is the weirdest thing and I've been working on it for years always with the same results. I just can't keep any livebearers alive for any length of time. If I have one for a couple of months that is a long time.

fish_4_all 08-21-2007 02:36 PM

My only guess would be the Red Tail Shark is harrassing them to death or maybe some other fish is doing it.

I have kept feeder and fancy guppies in extremely soft water and very hard water without much problem. Even movig them form one tank to the other has never been a problem. The only time i had a problem was when I put them with my skunk Botia loaches and the loaches chased thema orund. Never harmed them but maybe the stress was enough to cause them to die.

sweetwaterarabians 08-21-2007 03:12 PM

Believe it or not....
Believe it or not my shark is very good with the guppies. I've had him for 4 years and he never bothers them or the corys or the neons. The only fish he's been a problem to were some tiger barbs I had after I first bought the shark. He harassed them until they died. And he bothered a couple of dwarf gourmis I had. It appears he has something against stripes. Other than those fish he's been a very mild mannered shark.

Well, that makes me feel better if guppies can tolerate the softer water too. There must be something else that is giving them fits so my search continues.

fish_4_all 08-21-2007 03:31 PM

Ok, let's try some of the other things.
Driftwood in the large tank?
Does it have plants and if it does how much do you dose for ferts?
Also if you have plants, what types?
Any large rocks?
How much current is in the large tank?
How many have you been kepeing in the large tank? Might need a larger group of them.
Worst case, how many times have they been interbred? It might be a genetic thing that has caused a weakness in their genes where they have babies and die from the stress or, I know this will sound really weird, old age.

Well will find the culprit on their demise sooner or later. Sometimes just have to think outside the box.

sweetwaterarabians 08-21-2007 03:52 PM

Ok, I wish I could type out all the details but there is SOOOO much. Going back last fall I also had a 40 gallon set up below my 55 gallon and bought some really nice show guppies. First could of days they were doing fine and then day 3 or so they started looking poor, shimmying, red streaks in the tails, fin rot and eventually dying. Tested the water, tested great no ammonia though all the signs pointed to ammonia.

Bought some more guppies, only buying from reputable breeders. Same thing. Tried again this time doing it in both tanks and still again same demise. Throught the year I've tried again trying different things trying to rule out stuff. In the winter the 40 sprung a leak and I had to shut it down and set up the 20 gallon as a spare tank.

In both of my tanks I have two power filters each one being big enough to filter the tank alone but I figured two filters would be better than one since it would clean the tank better and have more current.

As far as plants to the 20 gallon is not planted. The 55 gallon has hornwort, duckweed, watersprite and a few bulb plants (can't ever remember their names). I did notice that the plants are going through a poor time when the guppies started getting sick this last time so there is some connection. The plants aren't as green and I'm having to do a lot of vaccumming to get out the extra dead leaves and stems but they are starting to look better. I don't know what happened to cause that. I don't fertilize my plants near enough usually about once or twice a month using the Kent fertilizer according to the directions.

The guy that I'm buying guppies from now is also trying to help me out and help me fulfill my dream of raising guppies succesfully. I've just ordered some more from him. They will go in my 20 gallon until I think the 55 gallon is safe to try again. I've also ordered new Ebo Jagar heaters that are on the way because the heater I have isn't very consistant and I'm trying to rule out everything as a possibility.

The decor I've had for years. I have a piece of drift wood on a slate that I've had for a very long time. I got it with the aquarium along with one of the rocks I have in there. I also have a couple of plastic stumps. I do have one small volcanic rock that my dad gave me that he found in Hawaii. Could that do anything bad? It's been in there about a year.

The problems with livebearers have been going on for the whole time I've lived in this house (9 yrs). I'm beginning to think that maybe our water just doesn't agree with them but that seems odd too. We have well water, out in the country. It's strange to me that I haven't lost one neon but still problems with the guppies. I don't mean to sound like a whinny baby about this but I'm determined to figure this mystery out. [/quote]

fish_4_all 08-21-2007 04:17 PM

Don't feel bad, this is important and you care very much about your fish.

First thing, get the GH, KH, pH and anything else you can get from the breeder. Second, if you don;t find it first I will find it as far as how much current guppies like to be in. It actually osunds like a huge stress factor and I am thinking they might not like the extra current. When I had the best luck with my guppies breeding they were crowded in a small 2.5 gallon hex with nothing more than a sponge filter.

Test the volcano with vinegar and see if reacts.

To be honest, I would set up a 10 gallon tank, cycle it with sponge filters and do everything excactly the same as you do with your fry tank. If you move the guppies in the 10 gallon and they still die I would be really suprised. Start the new tank fresh and do not use anything from the other tanks except for the fry tank. I have not tried them but THESE filters are the best I have seen and I will never buy anything else when I set up my breeder tanks if I ever have the room. When looking for a sponge filter I would recommend the ones that require an airstone to run them for added circulation and ease of use. the ones one the site are also customizeable which is an added benefit.

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