guppy help - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 21 Old 11-04-2009, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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guppy help

Both my guppies have been rubbing up against my plants in the aquarium since I got them. One of them seems to breath rapidly and has developed a red outline on the end of his tail. I started treating with melafix and primafix last week but didn't see any improvement only seemed worse. I started with Furan 2 yesterday today his tail has looks like it has a stringy thing on it, almost looks like it has nips taken out of it or it's just falling apart...kind of. I'm not seeing much improvement. From the look of it it does look like tail/fin rot or whatever but I'm not sure and I'm running out of answers. I may isolate him next and treat with an ich treatment. I've posted some pics but they are hard to see. The tank is 10gal, I've changed the water out twice this week alone. The water is usually good, a little hard but other than that it's perfect. I always do a 50/50 mix of distilled and tap water which makes the water perfect as far as the tests are concerned. Temp ranges between 76-80, when it falls low and the heater kicks on is the only time it goes up to about 80. I changed the filter out yesterday and noticed it was really nasty, even though it's only been in for about 2 weeks. I have several live plants which I treat with plant food, etc. I use stress coat and aquarium salt. Right now I have a filter in with no carbon for the chemical purpose of course. He's the only fish in the tank that has these symptoms, the other guppy I have does rub against the plants on occasion but no other symptoms like this. btw, guppies came from petsmart. both of them do kind of play a lot or swim around and rub up against each other but I've never seen them actually take bites of each other. I've been using the power-glo lights. Tank has been setup over a month, I have recently added more gravel about 2 weeks ago.
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Last edited by stack979; 11-04-2009 at 10:52 AM.
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post #2 of 21 Old 11-04-2009, 01:36 PM
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It sounds as if your fish have a bacterial infection. Can you please post water parameters for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH? Although you have said they are "fine", it is how those numbers compare to each other that may lend some more answers. Testing should be done before a water change, never after.

There is 1 medication I can suggest that should do the trick for you, but it cannot be mixed with the current meds that you are using. You have the choice of completing your current treatment to see if it works, or in stopping it now, adding carbon back to the filter and doing a 25 - 30% water change to remove the current meds and then working with one I can suggest for you.

Please do not treat your fish with an ich medication, as they obviously are showing no signs of ich. Medicating with the wrong type of meds can cause more harm.

If you opt to work with the meds I can suggest it would also require you to stop adding aquarium salt to the tank, as the med has a good amount of salt already in it... and too much salt can also cause harm.

Also, clearer pictures would also help alot.

Please let me know what you wish to do.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #3 of 21 Old 11-04-2009, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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No problem, just tested.. are as follows.

PH - 6.9

Yeah, everything seems pretty normal for the tank. I don't usually make a big deal with a little ammonia because I know the conditioner can give a little false positives. I'm really working on getting the hardness down but I'm thinking the meds might contribute to that right now. The water I change with is normal for hardness. It's almost impossible to get a good pic but these are much better I think. He's really is swimming around quite well and seems quite himself, healthy. I almost have to finish the current treatment, it only takes another 24hrs anyway before I do a water change and change to the regular filter and the treatment is done. I'll refrain from the very small amount of salt I put in their now, I only put it in the new water for water changes. I really didn't want to do any ich treatment but again I was just running out of ideas here. I will just say again that they were kind of sickly when we got them from PetSmart, I don't think I'll probably buy there again because I'm reading a lot of things about PetSmart. The others are from the pet store and they have been great from the start. I'm still beginning here but I'm thinking maybe I should change the filter out every 2 weeks I guess, I don't understand why it was so nasty after only a couple weeks. So let me know the treatment and If I should continue with it. Thanks a lot!!
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Last edited by stack979; 11-04-2009 at 02:26 PM.
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post #4 of 21 Old 11-04-2009, 02:38 PM
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do not change the filer out every two weeks... the nasty stuff is good bacteria that your tank needs for biological filtration.... you should let it run until it falls apart or if you need to run new carbon to remove meds. as for petsmart we all had to learn one way or another most big name companies are driven by the bottom line and nothing else they get their fish cheep and sell them fast so odds are they have not had much time to get used to the type of water here. (most are from Asia, and often from large hatcheries that have daily water changes so the fish have like zero immune system) .. but hey i know i have spent my fair share of money learning this lesson so dont feel bad....

Back in the Game!!! Live Bearers in a 40 Breeder
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post #5 of 21 Old 11-04-2009, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! Well that's good to hear about the filter media, it had me a little concerned. I didn't realize that good bacteria had that darkish greenish color..:)..freakin petsmart. I've been reading numerous threads about melafix and pimafix...about these being just a preventive type of treatment and not a cure, anyone have any view on this?

Last edited by stack979; 11-04-2009 at 02:46 PM.
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post #6 of 21 Old 11-04-2009, 03:07 PM
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The nitrifying bacteria will not show up as a dark green color on filter media. The bacteria is microscopic and invisible to the naked eye. Dark green on the filter media is usually an indication of algae.

If you are using filter cartridges that contain carbon they should be replaced every 30 days so that carbon is always fresh and working to absorb the pollution from the tank water.

Finish the current medication treatment, do your water change after, get carbon back into the filter, and let me know if you have seen any improvements within 24 hrs after treatment ends. If not, that is an indication that the medication used was ineffective and will call for something more appropriate to your situation.

As for the PetSmart issues... I can't warn enough people away from those stores. Unfortunately people shop there because they are cheaper than the smaller, private run mom & pop types of stores. The reason they are cheaper is because their staff lack the knowledge to really be of any help to the customers, lack the knowledge and experience in caring for these animals, and because they tend to buy in large quantity to sell fast from crowded tanks that have inadequate care. Another problem common with the PetSmart stores is the way their fish systems are put together. The walls of cubed tanks all share 1 common filtration unit, which is most often lack of any media. These fish are all sharing the same diseases, illnesses, parasites, etc that may come in with 1 particular fish or species of fish, simply because all of their water is cycled through every tank during the course of every day. Many species of fish need different temperature settings, yet these walls of cubed tanks can offer but 1 common temperature unless a heater is put into each cube. Take a look next time you decide to visit one of these stores and count how many heaters you see in any of those cubed tanks. These stores have many many issues and the only way we, as customers, can put a stop to it, is to demand better quality in animals. This means stop spending money in stores who are selling sick and/or neglected animals.

If these stores spend money to bring in sickly fish, or the fish are getting sick while at the store, the store is not going to care much as long as those fish sell quickly. The faster they sell the more money the store makes. If, on the other hand, they get sick fish and are stuck having to care for them, feed them, clean them, and take up tank space... until the fish die, then the store loses their money and makes nothing. That leaves the store with 2 choices. 1. either step up their care of the animals and pay closer attention to the quality of animals they are bringing in and offering for sale, or 2. stop selling the animals. Either way, the consumer and the animals both win. We need to stop lining the pockets of the people who do such an awful job and inservice to the customers and animals alike.
Mom & pop shops may cost a bit more, but more care and knowledge can be found in most of them than in the large chain stores. They take better care of their animals because that is their source of income. They understand the concept of "the most expensive animal is a dead one".

I would suggest you find a better/different place to purchase your fish in the future. When you shop for fish, do not accept sick or obviously unhealthy animals. If 1 fish in a tank is sick, it is likely that all fish in that tank are sick, as they have been directly exposed to the illness at hand. When you take that sick fish home, you then expose your fish and your entire aquarium to that illness, which often results in the infection of your other fish that were previously healthy.

This is also one reason why some of us preach so endlessly about setting up quarantine tanks. Any new fish going home should spend the first 2 - 3 weeks in a properly set up quarantine tank before being added to a main tank. If, during that quarantine period, the fish shows signs of illness, it is much easier and safer to treat that fish in quarantine and not have to risk your healthy fish with either illness or adverse effects to medications. The quarantine also allows us to suggest meds that are most effective for the sick species of fish without having to settle for one less effective due to other species in the tank that can't handle the needed medications.
Can you provide me with a list of all species of fish in this tank please? I will need to know this to be sure the medications I suggest for you are safe for all of your fish.

What size tank is this? What type of filter are you running?

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #7 of 21 Old 11-04-2009, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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10gal, Penguin 100. 3 Pork Chop Rasboras, 2 Guppies and 1 snail. I'm probably looking at getting another mystery snail or algae eater of some sort. Is it ok to have 2 snails in there, I think 1 is not keeping up with the task. Or is it better to have an algae magnet with snails as well or what? As far as PetSmart it had nothing to do with price, I just liked them and didn't think they bred unhealthy fish but yeah I learned that lesson. The Rasboras and snail came from Preuss Pets.
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post #8 of 21 Old 11-05-2009, 01:06 AM
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I would not suggest a 2nd mystery snail in a tank of that size. Mystery snails can get quite large and they also pass a fair amount of waste. One mystery snail should be able to keep up with normal to moderate amounts of algae growth, but there are some species of algae they don't eat. The solution would be for you to use a scraper to get to the algae they have not eaten.

As for treatment, I'm going to list 2 options here and let you decide which one to use. For either option the snail would need to be removed from the tank during treatment along with the carbon from the filter.

Option 1 is Tri Sulfa. This would be my first choice for your tank because it is known to be very effective in live bearing fish and safe for everything in your tank except the snail, however this medication comes with heavy warnings. Many people find out too late that they have an allergy to this medication, and the reaction can be severe enough to require going to a hospital ER. If you use this medication please protect yourself by wearing latex gloves and also a face mask so you don't come into contact with the powder, but nor do you breathe in ANY of the dust from it. Follow instructions carefully.

Option 2 would be Fungus Eliminator. This medication has no substitute, so please be sure you are getting the correct one. Fungus clear contains different ingredients and different amounts of some ingredients, so is not an option for substitution. Again, please follow the instructions on the bottle carefully.

Please do not use both of these medications together, they are not compatible with each other. Select one or the other and stick to it.

Best of luck to you. If you have further questions, please let me know.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #9 of 21 Old 11-05-2009, 03:43 AM
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Lucky Dawn has handled this well so far.

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post #10 of 21 Old 11-05-2009, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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What now??

Thanks bettababy! He is looking good today I'm going to finish off the fluval 2 and see if I need to proceed with the treatment you suggessted. I've noticed he's not breathing as rapidly as he was. How long do you think it will take for his tail to heal? Either way I have another problem, today I noticed white dots on the plants and some of the gravel and glass.. Can you tell me what this might be now? The are not moving and seem to be able to be scrapped off the glass.
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