View Full Version : Dying guppies

09-13-2006, 11:17 AM
Hey all, two days ago I lost a female guppy. I found her upside down, at about the middle level of the tank, still 'breathing' and trying to swim. I quarrantined her and she died within an hour.

She had been fine 2 hours before I saw her upside down.

I have just looked in my tank again, and one of my male guppies was upside down, on the bottom of the tank, still breathing and trying to swim. He was fine half an hour ago when I looked in the tank.

For the last 4 weeks I have been doing 25% weekly water changes, however for the last two weeks the water has been cloudy. I had added some Aqua Master Magic Clear to the water and have since done a water chnge, but the water remains cloudy.

Does anyone have any idea what maybe wrong with my fish? The female guppy had been purchased three days before she died and the current sick males has been in my tank since the start (about 6 weeks) without any problems.

The tank is 60cm x 30cm x 29cm. It has live plants and driftwood, a few snails, 4 borneos (hillstream/butterfly loaches), 2 corys, 3 kuhlie loaches, 3 rams, a bristlenose and (including the current sick male) 6 guppies.

This is also the tank that recently had several damselfly nymphs. Since removing the three nymphs the water has become cloudy.

Thanks for your help. I will try and get my sister inlaw to do a nitrate, nitrite and ammonia check after work tomorrow.

09-13-2006, 11:44 AM
Also, neither of the sick/dead fish have any markings on them, or look abnormal.

09-13-2006, 11:49 AM
Not good with metric measurements, but using the calculator here your tank works out be around 13 gal.....so correct me if I am wrong there, but if it is that small, you might be slightly overstocked causing bacterial blooms since the filter may not be able to keep up with the bioload. Since you said you will try to get your sister in law to check your water tomorrow, can I ask if you have her check it regularly? If she has been checking for you on a weekly or so basis and all has been well until now the bioload may be okay and something else is causing it. I am not familiar with the magic clear product since I haven't ever used it.
Also, not sure what the damsel nymphs could possibly have done to your water, but since this was (I assume) a foreign critter that managed to migrate into your tank that you didn't plan to have there, it may have been carrying a disease. (And if I am remembering correctly from our last girl scout hike with my daughter's troop where we caught all kinds of critters from a pond, they were quite ugly!)
Keep us posted on what you find out...and let us know water parameters and if any of these fish were just recently added or if this mix has been together for awhile.

On a side note...I have been looking at different types of loaches lately...how do you like your hillstreams? Since you have snails I assume they aren't eating them? How are they as far as compatibility and activity.

09-13-2006, 10:19 PM
I am in love with my hillstreams. They are so amusing and each have such different personalities. Now that my boyfriend has fallen for my fish and is letting me get another (much bigger) tank, I'm thinking about having a strong current river tank with nothing but hillstreams in it.

If it helps, the tank (filled to the top) would hold 56L. I try to have a min of 50L in it.

The only new things in my tank are a pair of female guppies (one of which died) and I added some more plants (a bannana lilly, some hairgrass and some baby tears) I will try and find their Latin names. The plants were added after the first fish died, so I'm not sure if they're related to the dying or not.

09-14-2006, 02:07 AM
Okay....50L=just over 13 gal.....56L=just under 15 gal...so...going by the "guideline" of 1 inch per gal you could handle 13-15 inches of fish in the tank
2 cory=6inches
3 kuhli loaches=3 inches...we are generous with kuhlis because they aren't big fish, don't create a lot of waste or take up much space....I am not sure what the "exact" thought should be, but I know most people don't go by "inch per gal" on kuhli's so we will run with this unless someone else has a better guess
2 rams=3 inches (unless they are bigger than 1 1/2 inches a piece)
4 hillstream loaches=8 inches
1 bristlenose=3 inches (being generous here again, hoping it is still young)
6 guppies=6 inches

Do you see where I am going with this? Measuring on the small side you have about 29 inches of fish in approx 13-15 gals of water. If not more. This is probably too high of a bioload for your tank. Alot of people get away with "slightly" overstocking when they have different levels of fish (bottom, mid, top swimmers) and keep up a strict maintenance schedule....heck, I have been guilty of it myself. But if you have too many fish in too small of a space, your filter won't be able to keep up with the waste, and the fish will suffer. So, my uneducated guess is too many fish with not enough filtration/maintenance. If it were me, knowing that running out and buying another tank tomorrow, plus all that goes along with it (we all know the tank is probably the easiest part to purchase!) would be not only a pain in the a--, but not something my pocket could handle right now, I would up my water changes to 2X weekly and see if that helps.
You are also looking at the fact that at 6 weeks old, this is still a relatively new tank subject to bacterial blooms, algae blooms and such until everything levels out. You may have added too many fish at once too fast. If after several water changes you are not seeing any clearing of the cloudy water I would start to lean towards being overstocked. This tank may become a very "touchy" tank that needs alot of maintenance until you can rehome some of the fish. (I might be interested in the hillstreams :twisted: )
Let us know what you are doing, how things are going and any good/bad that you encounter from here on out.

09-14-2006, 04:30 AM
I should mention that the rule of thumb that is used in areas that uses the metric system is a bit different than the US rule of thumb. It says 1 cm per L which equals = 1,5 inch fish per gallon.

this rule of thumg usually works well but does as you can se allow for a higher bioload than the US conterpart. You are also assuming that his fish is fully grown , the tank doesn't necessary have to be overstocked today just because it might be in the future.

However it seems likely that this tank might be overstocked even ifone takes these things into consideration. Especially since the tank is so young. try and get those nitrate etc readings.

I just wanted to adress the rule of thumb difference to make people aware of to avoid missunderstandings in the communication between people using the metric system and those using gallons and inches. This was not meant as critic about your good answer Kimmers.

09-14-2006, 11:27 AM
And I didn't take it as criticism William, I learned the metric system in school, obviously, and can handle the basics, but since I don't use it daily it certainly isn't second nature :lol:
That is also why I went on the generous side with lengths of some fish also, small bristlenose (usually female albino) hit 3", but most are around the 4-5 inch mark. Most websites I looked at put hillstreams at much larger than 2 inches, so 4 baby hillstreams could very well be 8".
Hopefully, Setsuna will come back with water readings as you said so we have a better idea of what may be causing it.

And I think I am going to start using the metric system for gauging how many fish I can have.......MORE FISH FOR ME!!!! :D

Thanks for clearing that up William.

09-14-2006, 06:53 PM
I always use the metric system :-)

I can understand that metric isn't second nature. I know your system isn't to me. The formula for calculating water volume in a gallon/inch tank gives me gray hair in comparison with the metric one.

09-15-2006, 03:35 AM
I have heard that from many people about using our system over the metric....but I guess it is what you grow up with and use. But, when I get a chance I think I am going to measure my tanks by cm, and come to the happy conclusion that I can have MORE fish :)

09-15-2006, 04:57 AM
Hi guys. Sorry I spent all of yesterday in bed with food poisoning. Remind me to never buy a hamburger from the fish n chip shop again -_-

I tested the water today. Nitrate and Nitrate were non existant, but (and heres the shocker!) my pH was at 6.2! I have added some stuff to lower the pH and I'll retest it in an hour.

I also lost another male guppy today, he was the first fish in my tank. I found him half eaten too so I couldnt tell if he had any markings on him.. Horrid cannibalistic fish!

The water has cleared itself up today. No idea how or why.

Just for the record (I'm not narky or anything) the bristlenose is an inch and a half long and I have one borneo thats an inch and a half, two at an inch each and one thats half an inch long. So by the inch/gallon i have about 21 inches of fish, or by the cm/L I have around 53cms ( I think, I was never much good at maths).

09-15-2006, 10:29 AM
wait a second. Your pH was 6.2 and you wanted to lower it??

09-15-2006, 11:13 AM
I mean lower the acidity level, ie. bring the pH to neutral... I know what I'm on about, even if no-one else does lol

09-15-2006, 11:59 AM
Yep, you lost me on the lowering the ph level. Do you frequently add things to your tank to raise or lower acidity/alkalinity/ph levels?
Glad to hear the cloudiness is clearing up....and that the fish are smaller than I thought :). Unfortunately, alot of them will get bigger, and will add more to your bioload. A friendly suggestion would be to get your own test kit so you can keep track of your readings yourself and check them weekly or so, that way you will always know where your tank stands as far as the readings. That will allow you to know if you need to increase your maintenance to keep up with the bioload as your fish grow.
Hopefully you have seen the last of your deaths and you and your tank can move on.

09-15-2006, 12:25 PM
This is the second time I've had to add anything to change the pH from acidic to neutral. The pH is now in the neutral/very slightly acidic range.

Hopefully its the end of the deaths. Thanks for your help guys ^_^