Guppy’s keep dying (help with diagnosis)

macleod92

Member
Joined
1 Mar 2020
Messages
33
Location
London
Hi,

I was wondering if someone would be able to give me some advice on how to treat my sick guppy. I’ve had three die already in the last month and can’t figure out what is wrong.
They’ve so far all died in a very similar way. They start spending most of their time sitting at the bottom of the tank lying on the substrate. They tend to last for a few days/ even weeks like this before eventually dying.

This all started after a got a couple of new Guppy’s from Pets At Home (my mistake I know).

I’ve done plenty of water changes and have kept checking my parameters. I tried using a course of NT Labs Disease Solve as per the recommendation of my LFS bit that didn’t seem to help.

My biggest problem is that besides lying on the bottom of the tank, the fish don’t seem to have any physical issues that I can see. All the diagnosis guides online talk about inflamed gills, or worms etc but I can’t see any of this.

Here’s a video of the guppy. Can anyone suggest a course of treatment that will not only help this guy but stop the cycle of them dying.


Currently I have 8 male Guppy’s in a Fluval Edge 46L.
The temperature is consistently around the 24 degree mark and my parameters are the following. Having done a 50% water change yesterday with another 50% done three days before that.

Ammonia - 0.25
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 20

Thanks in advance for the help!
 
Joined
20 Dec 2019
Messages
114
Location
South Carolina
If I had to guess based on that heavy breathing and lethargy and your detectable ammonia level, it could be ammonia poisoning. If that reading of 0.25 ammonia is after all your water changes, then your ammonia level was very high and still is too high for aquatic life to not feel the effects. Keep doing multiple changes until that ammonia is gone.
 

Bryce

Member
Joined
27 Feb 2020
Messages
51
Location
Phoenix Az
If all your water parameters are good, maybe they were just sick or had a disease when you bought them. I really don’t know.
 

macleod92

Member
Joined
1 Mar 2020
Messages
33
Location
London
Thanks for getting back to me. In terms of ammonia, having tested my tap water it shows up with the same reading of 0.25 so I'm not really sure if water changes will help with.

I've had these particular fish for 10 months now and they've been fine. It's only since introducing two new fish about a month ago that they've been slowly dropping off one by one. One of the new fish died a couple of days after I bought him, since then it's been random. The fish will seem fine and the ammonia levels have been consistent for the last few months as I've been unable to get them any lower than this.

Any thoughts?
 

jaypeecee

Member
Joined
21 Jan 2015
Messages
1,231
Location
Bracknell
Thanks for getting back to me. In terms of ammonia, having tested my tap water it shows up with the same reading of 0.25 so I'm not really sure if water changes will help with.

I've had these particular fish for 10 months now and they've been fine. It's only since introducing two new fish about a month ago that they've been slowly dropping off one by one. One of the new fish died a couple of days after I bought him, since then it's been random. The fish will seem fine and the ammonia levels have been consistent for the last few months as I've been unable to get them any lower than this.

Any thoughts?
Yes, which tap water conditioner are you using before adding tap water to the tank?

JPC
 

macleod92

Member
Joined
1 Mar 2020
Messages
33
Location
London
Thanks for the link. I'll have a read through that. I'm using Seachem Prime as my conditioner.
 

jaypeecee

Member
Joined
21 Jan 2015
Messages
1,231
Location
Bracknell
Thanks for the link. I'll have a read through that. I'm using Seachem Prime as my conditioner.
Seachem Prime is good stuff - shouldn't be any problem there. So:

1 How well planted is your tank? I can see a plant in the piccie.

2 What filtration are you using?

JPC
 

macleod92

Member
Joined
1 Mar 2020
Messages
33
Location
London
Right now the tank has a carpet of Dwarf Hairgrass Mini which hasn't been in there very long. I also have a Narrow leave Java fern. I did have some Amazon sword and a Cryptocoryne Wentii in there but I moved them out about a week ago.

For filtration I'm using the built in filter on the Fluval Edge 46L with a sponge for mechanical, a carbon filter and a some biological media.
 

jaypeecee

Member
Joined
21 Jan 2015
Messages
1,231
Location
Bracknell
Toxins produced by the fish, most notably ammonia need to be removed from the tank water. Plants will happily remove ammonia as will nitrifying bacteria. Did you cycle the tank at any stage using biological media only? Removing the Amazon Sword and C. wendtii will have reduced the ammonia-absorbing capability of the plants by sheer virtue of the fact that there are fewer of them.

I need to take a break but will be back again later on.

JPC
 

macleod92

Member
Joined
1 Mar 2020
Messages
33
Location
London
I cycled the tank before I put a bunch of plants in there. I should also say that the fish started dying before I had a bit of a re-scape in the tank. My ammonia has always been around the 0.25 level.
 

macleod92

Member
Joined
1 Mar 2020
Messages
33
Location
London
How are you measuring ammonia? Which test kit?

Please tell us more about the substrate.

JPC
I use the the API master test kit. Is it possible that I’m misreading this?

I have Unipac Aquarium Silica Sand on top of a layer of Tropica Growth Substrate.


How did you cycle the tank? Did you use a bottled bacteria product? If so, which did you use?

JPC

With this tank I used established media from another tank but no starter bacteria. It’s been running for about 11 months.

It’s worth noting that I have another tank set up which has been running for about two months and I did use some API Quick Start in. It also shows as 0.25 when I test the water in that tank.
 

jaypeecee

Member
Joined
21 Jan 2015
Messages
1,231
Location
Bracknell
I use the the API master test kit. Is it possible that I’m misreading this?
That's always a possibility. I haven't used that kit for years. What values do the colour spots correspond to?

I have Unipac Aquarium Silica Sand on top of a layer of Tropica Growth Substrate.
If it's Tropica Substrate and not Tropica Aquarium Soil, I would expect there to be no issues. If it's the other way round, that may explain where some ammonia is coming from.

It’s worth noting that I have another tank set up which has been running for about two months and I did use some API Quick Start in. It also shows as 0.25 when I test the water in that tank.
Tetra SafeStart is a bacterial starter that can be trusted. I don't know about API Quick Start.

We haven't mentioned water hardness. Guppies require hard water. What is the hardness of your tap water? You can get this information from your water company by providing your post code on their web site. Unfortunately, the API Master Test Kit does not include tests for KH and GH, unless I'm mistaken.

JPC
 

macleod92

Member
Joined
1 Mar 2020
Messages
33
Location
London
Interesting development. I just tried testing my tanks again after changing my procedure a bit. I was reading up on the API test kit on another forum and someone recommended washing the tubes out with warm water and then drying them before doing the test.

I just did this and it looks like my tap water (after Prime) is still 0.25 but both my tanks are coming in at 0.
I want to have a look in daylight to be sure but they look pretty conclusively 0 at the moment.


I haven't used that kit for years.
Out of interest do you recommend a better testing kit?


If it's Tropica Substrate and not Tropica Aquarium Soil, I would expect there to be no issues. If it's the other way round, that may explain where some ammonia is coming from.
It is indeed the substrate rather than soil.


Unfortunately, the API Master Test Kit does not include tests for KH and GH, unless I'm mistaken.

I actually got a hardness test kit today and tested my tap water. My GH came in at about 340 with my KH being 250. So pretty hard.
 

sparkyweasel

Member
Joined
30 Jun 2011
Messages
1,245
You can get this information from your water company by providing your post code on their web site.
That may also shed some light on the ammonia apparently present in your tapwater. Look for ammonia and for chloramines. In some areas they use chloramines as well as chlorine, and there is some debate about whether some test kits detect the chloramine as ammonia in the tapwater, and whether they can still detect it after Prime has neutralised it, giving a false positive.
It's hard to find a definitive statement on this, but there's a lot of discussion, such as in the links below.
Seachem seem to be quite cagey about giving information about their products, presumeably wanting to keep their secrets. Not surprisingly they recommend their own test kit to avoid any false positives.

https://www.aquariacentral.com/forums/threads/false-positive-ridiculous-ammonia-readings.265954/
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/d...th-ammonia-test-kits-or-ammonia-badge.329602/
http://forum.simplydiscus.com/archive/index.php/t-55684.html
https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/f60/ammonia-false-positives-352727.html
https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/how-does-prime-affect-api-ammonia-testing.201147/
https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/how-does-prime-affect-api-ammonia-testing.201147/
 

macleod92

Member
Joined
1 Mar 2020
Messages
33
Location
London
I’ve just tested my tanks using some API test strips that I had lying around and they’re showing as 0 as well.
I know that strips aren't as accurate but it’s nice to check another test.
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,665
I’m going to disagree with everyone else here - ammonia burn/toxicity presents differently than what your video shows

Also if you’re adding Prime, it will bind low levels of ammonia (assuming that’s what may be in your tap water - contacting your local water supplier should clarify specific parameters, including any nitrogens), which will then be used by your “filter bacteria” (which are usually present on various tank surfaces as well as filter media)

Local shop did a thorough testing of nitrogens release from ADA Amazonia, Tropica Aquarium Soil, Tropica Growth Substrate - as expected significant levels off ADA, negligible off Tropica AS, some off Tropica GS
Sorry I don’t recall the numbers, but ammonia, nitrite, nitrate were tracked over ~6weeks

What your Guppy does look like is pretty classic slow acting strain (chronic) Columnaris as presented in guppies (many Guppy farms and shipments have significant incidence)
There are no effective medications available at the hobbyist level, so good supportive care and treatment of secondary infections (eg, external parasites) is recommended
Even at the research level, Columnaris is very difficult to treat effectively, at most a reduction in mortality is observed (even after isolating, identifying strain, selecting the most effective in vitro agent etc)

Secondary infections are very common with Columnaris (and most fish diseases), so treating for ich and/or velvet may make fish feel better (unfortunately freshwater velvet is also quite refractive to treatment, but can often be managed to lessen the severity allowing fish to exist with a sub-clinical infection for some time (usually months) or occasional recovery (fish immune system))

As Ich treatments tend to be well tolerated, I would start there BUT as fish is obviously showing signs of distress, and oxygen levels will be low (Columnaris infiltrates gill tissue (as well as heart and muscle)), take care to optimize water column oxygen levels
- reduce tank temp to 20* - 22*C
- daily 25-50% water changes
- medication (what’s available?) begin with a half dose, and monitor fish reaction (while not ideal, most anti-ich meds will have some efficacy at reduced dose) - remember to remove carbon

If you don’t see any improvement in fish after 24-36h with medication - depends somewhat on actual medication available - then I would remove medication with water changes


was reading up on the API test kit on another forum and someone recommended washing the tubes out with warm water and then drying them before doing the test.
While it’s fine to do this, all that’s required is a thorough rinsing (usually 8-10 times with good agitation) of the testing tubes
If you’re going to follow “drying” suggestion, this should be air drying to avoid residue from paper/cloth etc (though “clean” single use drying cloths can be purchased)

For test kits, I always suggest those that include a reference standard for kit validation
eg, Seachem MultiTest Ammonia
(Except I think that testing for ammonia is likely irrelevant in treatment course anyway, though if you like to have test kits on hand, they can certainly be useful in providing additional information; invest in a decent set then that includes reference standards ... though all I have about is API 6in1 test strips ;) that I really just use occasionally to confirm that tap and tank parameters are similar)
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
Mark Keetch Keep angels in your tanks? Fish 11
Mark Keetch What do you keep in your 300 litre tanks??? Fish 34
Top