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Guppies getting sick

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Guppies getting sick

Post by Soulchief on Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:51 pm

Not sure what's going on with my guppies. Around 3 weeks ago my male guppy died after his body suddenly bent sideways. A couple days after I had a batch of ~25 fry. Now I have about 15 of them left (I'm sure the adults ate a few). I'd say about 60% of the remaining fry have pointed/needle tails and a few are flashing. A week ago, one of the fry from my first batch (around 6 weeks ago) randomly died. Yesterday I noticed another one (from first batch) has his body/tail pointed upwards and staying at the surface. A few of these fry are also flashing. I don't see anything wrong with the 2 adults, neither are flashing.

Tank size: 29 gallons
Adults: 2 Females (1 Male but died 3 weeks ago)
Batch 1 Fry (6 Weeks): 7 (Was 8 but 1 died last week, some of them are flashing)
Batch 2 Fry (2 Weeks): ~15 (Was 25. About 60% have pointed tails and a couple are flashing)
Plants: Hornwort, Java Moss

Water Params I took yesterday (API test kit)
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
PH: 7.8

Anyone know what the issue would be? I do weekly 50% water changes and ~15% water changes every 2nd day. Could it be the food I'm feeding? I'm feeding them TetraMin Tropical Flakes. I don't see anything else wrong with them physically (no white spots or worms, no red gills)

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Re: Guppies getting sick

Post by GaryE on Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:56 am

I'm thinking it's parasites. Oodinium species will do that, especially if the mineral content of your water is low. It is hard to see on fry (it's a tiny one). Check for more info online.
Turn off the lights for 2 weeks. The parasite needs light.
Add some non-iodized salt. I usually does a tablespoon per 5 gallons, but I do this so rarely others may offer better dosages.

Test your water hardness. It is much more important than what the API kits measure. You can ask your municipality for this info, or get a second kit, a GH KH APi kit. It may be cheaper to get a hardware store (not pet shop) conductivity meter of the sort people use to test their wells. I got mine for $12. It's a great tool.


If you decide it may not be velvet, after you check for more details online, then a tablespoon of epsom salts per a few gallons (depending on your water) takes my soft, deadly to livebearer tap water and allows me to breed almost any Central or North American hardwater-evolved livebearer. They need minerals in their water.
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Re: Guppies getting sick

Post by Soulchief on Thu Jul 16, 2015 7:18 am

@GaryE wrote:I'm thinking it's parasites. Oodinium species will do that, especially if the mineral content of your water is low. It is hard to see on fry (it's a tiny one). Check for more info online.
Turn off the lights for 2 weeks. The parasite needs light.
Add some non-iodized salt. I usually does a tablespoon per 5 gallons, but I do this so rarely others may offer better dosages.

Test your water hardness. It is much more important than what the API kits measure. You can ask your municipality for this info, or get a second kit, a GH KH APi kit. It may be cheaper to get a hardware store (not pet shop) conductivity meter of the sort people use to test their wells. I got mine for $12. It's a great tool.


If you decide it may not be velvet, after you check for more details online, then a tablespoon of epsom salts per a few gallons (depending on your water) takes my soft, deadly to livebearer tap water and allows me to breed almost any Central or North American hardwater-evolved livebearer. They need minerals in their water.


Is there medicine I can use instead to kill off the parasites? Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much options where I live (Winnipeg). I've been trying to find Malachite Green or Methylene Blue but the only places I could find is online and costs ~$10 for shipping.

The city website says the water hardness is, on average, 83ppm. But can range between 75 and 98. I'll probably invest in the conductivity meter like you suggested to be 100% sure what mine is. But is that range fine, or should I buy some epsom salts?

Edit: Little searching and both the average and the range look to be on the soft side. Is your tap water around the same? If so, I should use around 6 table spoons for 29 gallons? Does it need to dissolve outside of the tank, or can i just drop it near the filter so it quickly spreads throughout the tank?

Edit 2: Some more researching on Velvet, people suggest to increase the temperature to between 82 and 86 (mines 76 right now) and add salt (assuming it's aquarium salt and not epsom salt?) for 2 weeks. They also suggest to turn off lights if possible (maybe I can shorten it from 9 hours to ~4 hours? Although if I have to, I guess I can move all the hornwort and java moss into small containers and hope it wont die).

Edit 3: Yep, reading up on velvet and it sounds exactly what the issue is. First thing I'll do when I get home is to move the plants, bump up the heat and move my light to where I move the plants (separate room). Hopefully I can figure out what salt they are talking about, or they also suggest copper based medicine.

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Re: Guppies getting sick

Post by GaryE on Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:54 am

Methelyne blue is available from alternative health racks in some pharmacies here. It was used as a mouthwash, weirdly enough. It isn't great against velvet.
I can't find targeted anti-velvet meds anywhere. Copper works, but it sterilizes a lot of male livebearers.
You have dream water for killies or South American fish - terrible water for Caribbean guppies. I am very unscientific - I throw in unmeasured epsom salts for my 95ppm tap. In a 29, my guesstimate would be 1 tablespoon for 3 gallons, topped after water changes. You can get the magnesium salts cheap at pharmacies as well. If you have a Costco, well, it is a livebearer keeper's heaven for cheap, pure epsom salts!

Velvet is an interesting bunch of creatures - they need light and thrive in overfed softwater tanks. They hit stressed livebearers because the skin slime is compromised on fish in the wrong water, and skin slime is the first line of defence against parasites. Honestly, Ich is so easy to treat I'd rather see it a 100 times than velvet.
There used to be a good med called 'lifebearer', from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, but a quick search shows it unavailable in Canada.
I would attack velvet with salt and darkness, and frankly would risk the hornwort (java moss will be fine). You are fighting an organism, and it will be reintroduced in the plants. But it hates salt, at the same time as salt, an irritant to the fish, will increase the protective slime coating production dramatically and slough off parasites. If it is in the gills, bye bye. But most of the time, it isn't. Darkness (total) for three of four days can do it.
My last outbreak was on a tank of striatum killies. It was classic Oodinium sp., showing on the back behind the head. I put a towel over the tank and used a commercial product called Quick Cure. I treated once daily with no increase in temps and no water changes for 5 days. I did a large water change, added salts (even though this is a softwater species) treated three more days and them gradually brought the water back to tap water mineral levels. All adults and fry survived, though my biggest male has some scarring.
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Re: Guppies getting sick

Post by Soulchief on Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:31 am

Thank you! I'll keep the plants in it and hope they make it. Should I keep the temperature at 76 or increase it a little?

I think my plan is:
1) Pick up epsom salts on the way home.
2) When home, turn off the lights and put a blanket over it. (Maybe increase temperature a bit). Have to leave right away since I have dinner plans.
3) When home later in the evening, add the epsom salt

I don't see any Quick Cure on the local fish store websites, would aquarium salt work? I'll have to check some stores tomorrow to see if they have anything else in store that's not on their website. Sucks that the fish stores here all seem to carry brands that don't really work.

Edit: How about API® Liquid Super Ick Cure? It "claims" it can cure velvet.

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Re: Guppies getting sick

Post by GaryE on Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:57 am

Hmm, I wish they were obliged to show what they are. No specs. That said, I'd try it. If it claims to attack oodinium, that's good. It isn't hard t attack - it's just that one traditional weapon has been proven to sterilize, and the other (acriflavene) is carcinogenic for humans in huge doses you would never be able to buy, so if you swam in it for a few hours, you would be lime green for 2 weeks and possibly sick in 20.

Medicinal aquarium salt is non-iodized salt packaged and sold at ten times the price. Bulk sea salt, and kosher salt (non iodized) are what I use.

Fish meds have taken a huge hit recently. A lot of people have decided they won't use chemical products (salt isn't a chemical???). So the bottom dropped out of the market. They sell herbal chemical products like mela and pima fix, which I have never seen work, and herbal Ich meds, but as far as saving your fish goes, it is lean times. I think that's why we have secret ingredients in the API offerings, to avoid the backlash, but work.
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Re: Guppies getting sick

Post by Soulchief on Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:54 am

Slowly started the salt treatment last night. Picked up epsom salt and kosher salt. I measured out 9 table spoons of epsom salt and initially put in 1 table spoon but then decided to wait until the kosher salt was all in the aquarium. I've put ~30 teaspoons worth of kosher salt in so far (used a milk jug to dissolve it in warm water then brought it back down to the aquarium water temperature). Will put the rest in when I get home (spread over 1-2 hours) and then start slowly adding the epsom salt tomorrow. Also bumped up the heat by 4 degrees, so it should be around 80 now, will put it up another 2 degrees tonight.

I think I'm going to move the plants out into a bucket and make a slightly weaker amount of salt water in the bucket, the hornwort is already starting to loose some needles when I checked this morning. Hopefully none of the females give birth over the next 3 weeks, there wont be anything in the main tank for them to hide in... Would have to put the fry in a ~2 gallon plastic tank with no heater/filter (thankfully I keep my house temperature at ~78 so the water shouldn't get too cold).


Edit: 30 teaspoons of kosher salt, not tablespoons.

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Re: Guppies getting sick

Post by Soulchief on Sat Jul 18, 2015 6:09 pm

Kosher salt is all in the aquarium now, about 4 more table spoons of epsom salts to go. Only about 5 of the new fry left (unless I'm missing some due to the darkness), 2 of them still have needle tails.

But the rest of the fish look fine and the older fry seem to be a lot more energetic now (I believe one was trying to mate with the adult female last night).

Sucks there's not many of the new fry left, but happy the older fry are doing good and one that had a slight curve to the tail is now straight like the rest. Their fins must have been clamped before because I've never saw the top fin on any of those fry, now the top fins are sticking out all the time.

Hornwort is pretty much gone. most of the stems are now bare, some stems have some needles on the very end of the stems. Will probably keep them out of the main aquarium for a lot longer then I originally planned now (probably keep it out for 2 months instead of 1 month). Java moss seems fine, but might as well do the same and keep it out for 2 months.

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Re: Guppies getting sick

Post by CAAIndie on Sat Jul 18, 2015 6:16 pm

Glad to hear you have some improvement. Hopefully everything continues to smooth out.

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Re: Guppies getting sick

Post by Soulchief on Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:03 pm

uhoh, I think the thing I didn't want to happen is happening. I see 1 fry in the tank that is 1/3 of the size as the remaining fry from the last batch. If their is indeed another batch of fry, what should I  do? They have nothing to hide in so they'll likely become food. I only have a ~1.5 gallon plastic aquarium I could put them in, but there's no heater or filter. The temperature drops to around 74 in the house overnight, and goes up to 80 during the day. Think they'd be fine in the plastic aquarium for another 2 weeks? If so, should I put fresh water in it (would be treated and have same water hardness) or should I use the water from the main aquarium (which means salt from the treatment)?

Edit: Just checked the aquarium and.... the fry is gone. Didn't last long in there with no where to hide. Think i'll risk it and put them in that 1.5 gallon aquarium (assuming there's more)

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