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Discussion Starter #1
I know this tank is too small and that I have made errors. Learning backwards. Ugh.

Will act on the advice I receive this evening. Need to know what's best.

History:

5 gallon tank that was never properly REcycled after Quick Cure killed off the cycle back in April/May. Fish were actually stressed, not diseased. Moved all fish to my larger tank and everything sorted itself out with the fish. 5 gallon Tank left running, but empty from May til July when I was ready to try just 2-3 guppies. (previously 2 glo fish danios and 1 guppy -- lots of aggression and misery with that group)

API Freshwater Master Test Kit used for all tests described below
Always add stress coat with water changes.
Water temp generally 76-80F

5 gallon fishless - Tested water 7/17 -- ph 7.6, Amm 0.25, Nitrate/Nitrites both 0. I interpreted this as cycled (oops!), did a 20% water change as it had been running fishless for 2 months. Tested water 7/23 before adding fish. Same levels as 7/17. Again interpreted this is good. Duckweed and Frogbit also in tank.
Added 1 male/1 female guppy (oops!) plus large cambomba plant for potential fry cover on 7/23.

Feeding rotation of dried bloodworms, flake, pellet. Once daily in the morning.
After a few days, noted caudal fin damage and what I know now was shimmies in the male. Began to wonder if disease or aggression, added stress coat. Never observed aggression. Fish eating well. Didn't understand shimmies. Kept all the same.

20% Water change around 7/30. Uneventful. Male guppy caudal fin still ragged, but all else same.

By 8/8 noting overt aggression by female toward male at meal times. 20% Water change. Male looking more ragged.

8/9 - found ONE guppy fry hiding in tank. Observed carefully - no sign of cannibal intentions from either adult, so kept all in same tank. Started feeding finely crumbled flake 2-4x/day. NO idea if there were ever other fry.

8/15 - 20% water change. Amm 0.25, Nitrate/Nitrite both 0. Finally clicked that fish stressed due to lack of proper nitrogen cycle.
Male looking much worse by this point. Female looking stressed/hiding. Obvious gravid spot, but no new fry. 1 existing fry growing and seems fine.
Also -
Began gearing up the 5 gallon QT tank (50% water change, turned heater on). Filter for QT tank had been living in 55g well established tank for 2 months and QT tank cycled from previous use 2 months before. Unsure which of guppies to put in the QT tank, but figured someone needed to move. Added a bit of filter floss from established tank to guppy filter to see if it would kick start the nitrogen cycle. Figured I would give the QT tank 18-24 hours of running with the filter before adding any guppies.

8/16 - Guppy tank - Found 3 planaria in tank. Also cloudy water progressing over last 8 hours. Fish looking LESS stressed (more active, but staying near top of water).
ph 7.6, Amm 0.25 (barely), Nitrites 0.5, Nitrates approx 3 (less than 5).
Obviously I have kick started the cycle.


The QT tank is cycled and ready as of this evening's test (Amm and Nitrites both 0, Nitrates 10-20).....

My questions - with all going on in the guppy tank, should I move all 3 guppies to the QT? Put the female in a breeder net to stop her attacks on the male? Add a 2nd female to the mix now? Better to leave them in their current tank and do daily water changes?
Add salt?
I just don't know what's best. I know they are all miserably stressed and I feel badly that I am learning at their expense.
I know a bigger tank is better --- just wanted a small "project" tank for my 6 year old. What a disaster! Moving up to 10-20 asap, but for now, need advice. My kid has named all 3 fish now. Ugh.

Will act on advice tonite, so waiting for replies!!!

Thank you!



Read more: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/livebearers/urgent-advice-guppies-1-fry-2-a-444690/#ixzz3AcBDthGJ
 

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Discussion Starter #2
update

Still hoping for input!

Did 10percent water change in the guppy tank last nite after writing. This morning, API master test kit now shows basically zero for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Is that even possible? Ugh. Sometimes I wonder if the test kit is working properly. Its not user error - repeated the tests, bottles vigorously shaken, tests timed, etc etc.

Also nitrates went up in the QT tank overnite from a 10-20 to a clear 40. No idea why. There's been NOTHING in there. Did a water change in the QT tank just in case. Temp in QT tank is 82 degrees.

Male guppy has stopped eating as of this morning in the guppy tank. Moving him as we speak to the QT tank. Added a small amount of aquarium salt (1/2tsp or less) to the QT tank. Dissolved it before adding the guppy and added a bit of the salted water to his little container as I acclimated him before releasing him into the QT tank.

Female and the 1 fry are still eating, but a bit more slowly. Water in the guppy tank is still cloudy.


 

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I'm not sure why nitrates would rise in a tank with no fish unless you were adding ammonia or there was some sort of decaying organic matter in the tank (dead plants?). From the readings on the 5 gallon (non QT) tank, it would appear that it is cycled. The cloudiness is probably a bacterial bloom, and your fish may be lethargic due to a lack of dissolved oxygen, which is caused by the rapid growth of the aerobic bacteria. I'd put an airstone or 2 in the tank right away - that should help the fish - and also continue with partial water changes daily. Usually blooms only last a few days, and these measures should help your fish until then.

From my experience, it's also odd that your female is bullying the male - my fish always did just the opposite. However, if that's the case, then leaving the male in the cycled QT to heal is a good idea. Hopefully he perks up a bit and starts eating again. Are there any symptoms other than ragged fins and lethargy?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you Kim for your reply. There may be decaying matter in the tank? Not sure. Def not intentionally adding ammonia. I've siphoned once. Will do it again this evening. Its pretty bare in there. One stone, a handful of gravel (from my 55 gallon to jump start the cycle when I originally started the QT tank) and a decoration for hiding.

Added the airstone on a low setting. Seemed disturbing to have it high in that small enviroment. I suppose it may still disturb the frog bit and duck weed, but rather save the fish. Will the airstone disturb the fry?

The male in the QT tank has the ragged caudal fin and a somewhat curved body. No other symptoms that I have observed. He is eating now. Not as aggressively as before, but eating. I have to figure out some way to turn down the power in the filter, though. He wants to hang out up top and the filter (Top Fin 10 -- came with the tank) is just pushing him around when he get in the current.

I'm not sure why nitrates would rise in a tank with no fish unless you were adding ammonia or there was some sort of decaying organic matter in the tank (dead plants?). From the readings on the 5 gallon (non QT) tank, it would appear that it is cycled. The cloudiness is probably a bacterial bloom, and your fish may be lethargic due to a lack of dissolved oxygen, which is caused by the rapid growth of the aerobic bacteria. I'd put an airstone or 2 in the tank right away - that should help the fish - and also continue with partial water changes daily. Usually blooms only last a few days, and these measures should help your fish until then.

From my experience, it's also odd that your female is bullying the male - my fish always did just the opposite. However, if that's the case, then leaving the male in the cycled QT to heal is a good idea. Hopefully he perks up a bit and starts eating again. Are there any symptoms other than ragged fins and lethargy?
 

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The airstone shouldn't harm the fry, but by all means keep it at a level that is comfortable for the fish.

As for the male, it's good that he is eating again. If the symptoms improve with better water conditions and less stress, then you may not need to do anything further. If not, then we'll have to consider a bacterial/parasitic cause for his behavior. I'd give him a little while longer to perk up, but perhaps posting a picture of him would be helpful in case we can identify any obvious signs of a more serious disease. Keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
He's looking quite a bit worse now. Tail fin clamped completely. Just drifting about the tank. Seems he will not be around much longer. The tank has one decoration in it - for him to hide and to block the current from this crummy filter (Top Fin 10 - no flow control). We found him stuck UNDER the decoration this morning. He swam up and out once released and ate afterward. So I was hopeful. But this evening. Ugh. Will try to post a picture of him shortly.

Should I add an airstone? Quick Cure? More salt? Anything?
Picture forthcoming.

In the guppy tank, the fry seems active and alert. Frequently searching for food and coming right up to eat when fed. The female is swimming more upper/mid level, but still seems to have more rapid respiration.

The water in the guppy tank improved immensely with the addition of the air stone. Its pretty clear now. Any harm in adding a mystery snail or some other type of snail to deal with the algae I see hanging around? With the planaria bother a snail?
 

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Hmmm...have you noticed if they are still passing feces? Part of me wants to say it could be internal parasites, and the telltale symptom of this condition is white, stringy feces. Several years ago I took and entire tank of rescue guppies and noticed that one by one, they would begin to look ragged, start breathing heavily, bloat up, and then die. It turned out to be internal parasites and I was able to save quite a few fish by feeding jungle anti-parasitic medicated food (levamisole, metronidazole, and praziquantel), which is unfortunately not sole anymore. All of these medications are sold separately though, and you can mix up your own food if necessary, but first you'll want to determine if parasites are actually the problem. It could also be an internal bacterial infection.

I wouldn't add a snail yet, just because your system is still fragile and you don't know for sure if the female guppy is harboring any disease. I'd wait to add any livestock for about a month or so to give everything a chance to settle down and avoid adding another variable to the equation while you figure everything out.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Haven't been able to get the pic to post. He was hiding SO aggressively/effectively last nite - under rocks, just anywhere....if I disturbed him, he would just kind of float up, swim really fast down like he's blind (til he bumped into something) and then go hide again. Not bloated, though. My kiddo says she saw 1 piece of white something that looked like poop once in the tank. This was weeks ago, though. I might have Quick Cure or antibiotics. Should I just try that at this point for the male? If he's even still alive.....haven't checked this morning.

Hmmm...have you noticed if they are still passing feces? Part of me wants to say it could be internal parasites, and the telltale symptom of this condition is white, stringy feces. Several years ago I took and entire tank of rescue guppies and noticed that one by one, they would begin to look ragged, start breathing heavily, bloat up, and then die. It turned out to be internal parasites and I was able to save quite a few fish by feeding jungle anti-parasitic medicated food (levamisole, metronidazole, and praziquantel), which is unfortunately not sole anymore. All of these medications are sold separately though, and you can mix up your own food if necessary, but first you'll want to determine if parasites are actually the problem. It could also be an internal bacterial infection.
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If she saw white feces, then I think treating for parasites is a good start (I'd treat them all, although it may be too late for the male). The problem with the commonly available medications is that they usually only contain metronidazole and/or praziquantel. Metro treats anaerobic gram-negative bacteria and protozoan parasites and praziquantel treats primarily trematodes (flatworms and flukes). Thus, these medications will not be effective against nematodes (roundworms). Good treatments for nematodes include levamisole (which also has immune stimulating properties) and fenbendazole (must be fed in the food). These can be found online, but generally are not sold in stores.

What I would do is go to your nearest fish store and buy an antiparasitic containing Prazi and Metro such as Tetra Parasite Guard and then try to locate some fenbendazole or levamisole while you treat with the Parasite Guard. Like I said, I'd treat everyone since parasites are spread easily.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Here's the pictures. He's still alive. Trying eat this morning in fact. I have Lifeguard, aquarium salt and Erythromycin on hand. No Jungle. Should I try Lifeguard as its broad spectrum for externals? I don't want to buy something new if doesn't seem to be parasites.

Does white poop ALWAYS mean parasites? I have seen white poop once or twice over months in my Swordtail -- 55 gallon tank. Otherwise quite happy and healthy appearing.

The only product I see called Jungle is for ich or algae or fungus. COuld you send a link or something so I know which product you mean?

Sick guppy 1.jpg

sick guppy 3.jpg
 

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He does look pretty bad. Do you see any signs of external parasites? The 2 things that come to mind if you see heavy breathing AND flashing (when the fish attempts to rub against aquarium decor in an attempt to rub off external parasites - the most common symptom of anything external) are costia and gill flukes. Both are external parasites that commonly affects the gills. Also try shining a flashlight on him and see if you can see any white spots (ich), fine gold-colored dust (velvet), or filamentous clear strands (flukes). If you can't find anything external, then I wouldn't bother with the Lifeguard, as it will be ineffective against internal parasites.

Erythromycin is not really a good antibiotic for fish (people yes, but fish no), simply because it treats mostly gram-positive bacteria while most fish pathogens are gram-negative. Of course, they don't mention this on the package :/

Instead of the erythromycin, I'd go with the Tetra Parasite Guard as it also contains acriflavin (an antibacterial substance) in the event that the problem is bacterial in nature. Here is a link: Aquarium Fish Parasite Medication: Tetra Parasite Guard
I can usually find this stuff at any local fish store.
 

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Oh, and I forgot to add that white feces would be considered abnormal unless you are feeding some sort of very light colored food. Through my recent studies, I have come to the conclusion that many fish harbor some sort of parasites, but often the infections are asymptomatic. If you are starting to see signs of infection though (the white poop), then I would treat the fish before it becomes a problem. I've essentially recreated the now unavailable Jungle Anti-Parasitic Medicated fish food by mixing frozen food with API focus (to bind the medications to the food), 1% metronidazole, and .4% levamisole (I buy pure levamisole HCl online and metro is sold as an API product in pure form) and feeding this food solely for 7 days. I will also treat later with PraziPro if I am still concerned about parasites. Unfortunately it is very difficult to determine just what kind of parasite is infecting a fish (the obvious exception being callamus worms, which can often be seen protruding from the vent), so I tend to try and include something that will be effective against nematodes, trematodes, and protozoans in my treatment if parasites are suspected. I am still actively searching for any information that would give me some idea of which parasites are statistically most probable in aquarium fish so that I can better streamline my treatments, but so far I have come up empty handed. I will be receiving some information from an aquatic veterinarian sometime soon though, so I am hoping to pick his brain about the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Poor guy died during the nite. Lost that battle and we are SO disappointed!

Will drain the QT tank. What should I do with the current filter? Just toss it? I assume it may be contaminated.
I'd like to keep some sort of bio filter going for getting the tank quickly cycled again and ready. Before I kept the filter in the 55 gallon bio wheel housing and just let it cycle there. I have a sponge filter that runs on an airstone. Should I try to stick that in the 55 and just keep it there til I need to start the QT tank again?

How do most people manage the need for a QT? Keep it filled with water and running? Sanitize between uses?

Worried to treat the guppy tank with anything chemical while the fry is still so little and vulnerable seeming. Can a 2-3 week old fry tolerate anti-parasitic medications?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Having a hard time finding your replies, Kim! Just found yesterday's replies now. Thank you for the info. I saw zero sign of external parasites with this guy.

So the sword tails in my 55 gallon tank (community) that showed white feces the other day....perhaps I should treat that tank as well with your home made anti-parasite recipe? If my female sword tail is showing a gravid spot (do they even get this? I have to look it up, but I think she is showing this), is it safe to do anti-parasite treatment with pregnant fish (and young fry as I asked before)?

Does this parasite treatment wipe out the nitrogen cycle? Must I remove the filter, etc etc?

Thanks again. You are a wealth of knowledge!
 

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Sorry I didn't reply sooner - I was in a conference all day yesterday.

I'm sorry your male guppy died :( He did look pretty rough in the pictures, though, so I don't think there was really anything else you could have done for him.

So to answer your questions (to the best of my ability):

Quarantine: I would clean and sanitize everything since the fish died of unknown causes (many syndromes have the same symptoms, so while we can speculate, we can't know for sure unless you were to bring the fish to a lab). Either putting extra filter floss (that will fit into the QT tank filter) into the 55 gallon filter housing or running the sponge filter in the 55 gallon should give you an instant cycle the next time you need to set up the QT tank. As for what I do to QT, it will differ from others since I keep only rescued bettas right now. This means that my QT tank is used for very sick fish and is often dosed with medications and subjected to large water changes. Also, I only ever have one fish in QT at a time. This being said, I don't even bother to filter it (it's a 5 gallon), as I'd invariably kill my beneficial bacteria with medications anyway AND I'd need to reestablish a cycle after each rescue because total cleaning is a must with these fish (most come with multiple serious health problems). Now, if you were using your QT tank to quarantine apparently healthy fish bought from a reputable source, the situation would be entirely different. In this case, I'd probably either keep a filter (or filter floss) running on another tank like you suggested, or just keep dosing the QT tank with ammonia to keep the cycle going. Of course, a cycled tank is easier to maintain (and 100% water changes are not practical or recommended with some more skittish/sensitive species), so in this case it would be a better option. I'd say your situation falls into this latter category, since you are probably not intentionally bringing home ill fish.

As far as the parasite treatment is concerned, I would treat the fish in the 55 gallon if they are definitely displaying white feces, and I would probably just go ahead and treat the 2 remaining guppies right now (do they still have the white feces?). I've personally treated young guppy fry with the Jungle anti-parasitic food (no longer available) with no ill effects. Actually, they seemed to handle it better than the adults, probably because they had not been colonized with the parasites yet. I can't really give you much advice about the pregnant female swordtail, as unfortunately there seems to be a paucity of information about the subject on the internet - I honestly can't find anything, but I will keep looking when time allows. It is pertinent to note, however, that none of the commercially available antiparasitic treatments have any written warnings about using with pregnant livebearers. Now, this doesn't prove that the products are totally innocuous, but it does seem to point in that direction. If this is the only pregnant fish (and you want to keep the fry) and the other 55 gallon tank inhabitants are currently acting normally, you may just want to wait until she gives birth. During this time, you can also continue to observe the fish and see if you can note any more white feces before treating everyone. If, however, you are currently noticing symptoms of parasites (white, stringy feces, emaciation and in severe cases bloating, worms protruding from the vent, etc.) then I would treat now. Using medicated food will not affect your nitrogen cycle at all (food is a very targeted treatment option and the best option for internal parasites), and even most medications dosed into the water column claim to be safe for your beneficial bacteria since they are antihelminthics (work against "worms") and not antibiotics.

Hopefully this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Very thorough reply! Thank you so much for your help. One last series of questions -
When I obtain the anthelmintics, how do I determine the percentage concentrations you obtained? Do I just guesstimate the amount of anthelmintic to the amount of food (ie. 96 percent food, 4 percent medication)?

Rescue bettas? That sounds very interesting. I have a friend on a mission to rescue goldfish from county fairs. She's having about a 50 percent success rate this summer. Not bad considering these are pretty stressed fish!
 

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For the medicated food, you should go by weight, and it would be optimum if you have an accurate gram scale. In that case, you would mix 10 grams of food (frozen works best) with .04 grams of levamisole (I found mine on amazon) and .1 grams of metronidazole. Now, if you don't have a scale that accurate, here are the conversions based on the density of the powders (you can use a small oral syringe to measure these volumes): .04 grams levamisole = .03 ml and 0.1 grams of metronidazole = .07 ml. I would also suggest using Focus by Seachem to bind the medications to the food. You use Focus at a ratio (by volume) of 5:1 focus:medication, so that would be a total of .5 ml Focus for 10 grams of food.

Now, depending on how many fish you are feeding, you may want to make quite a bit more food. For 100 grams of food, you would use .4 grams (.3 ml) of levamisole and 1 gram (.7 ml) of metronidazole, and then mix this with 5 ml Focus.

As for my rescues, it's kind of a hobby for me. I've always loved fish and I'm a prevet student, so it just works ;-). It's nice to hear about your friend - I'm always happy to hear about others who care enough to rescue fish; it gives me a little more hope for humanity :).

Definitely let me know how everything works out. I'm glad I could be helpful to you, and I hope that the rest of your fish live long, healthy lives (you deserve it after reading all my scientific jargon for this long!).
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The jargon is no stretch for me. I tried to keep sci jargon to a mininmum in my posts lol. Im a small animal veterinarian....with the emphasis on small animal. Very much in a learning curve with fish! Will give all this a try ---with a gram scale. Thanks a bunch! :)
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Haha, well now it all makes sense! I'm actually applying to vet school right now - a process that I'll be happy to conclude ;)

Fish really are a frustrating subject though. I think there are probably a handful of fish vets in the country, and most probably only work with food fish. Finding information from creditable sources is like trying to find a needle in a haystack; even searching my school databases usually gets me nowhere. The directions on medications are also sometimes erroneous in the sense that it won't tell you crucial information such as if the medication is inactivated by light, hard water, etc. In the case of kanamycin, the packaging on Kanaplex says that you can dose orally with food, but it fails to mention that oral dosing is only effective for GI infections because the med isn't absorbed through the gut. Dosage recommendations also vary widely. Anyway, enough with that rant! Good luck with your fish!
 

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The application process = pain. The 4 years following application (plus residency) = :shock:

I hope you are continually able to apply your training to your hobby/passion with tropical fish. I sense a wonderful opportunity for a revolutionized, healthier market for aquarium fish with you at the helm!

Thanks again for all.
 
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