3 guppies dead in 6 days

attheworld

Hello FishLore, I'm ashamed to be returning after months with an emergency caused by my own negligence, but I need your help.

Tank
What is the water volume of the tank?
35 gallons
How long has the tank been running?
Almost 2 months
Does it have a filter?
Yes
Does it have a heater?
Yes
What is the water temperature?
79°F
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
2 male guppies (moved to quarantine tank)
6 cherry shrimp
4 amano shrimp

Maintenance
How often do you change the water?
Weekly
How much of the water do you change?
40-50%
What do you use to treat your water?
Aquarium Solutions ULTIMATE full water conditioner
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water?
I vacuum the foreground and waft around plants

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish?
No
What do you use to test the water?
API master test kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
pH: 6.4

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish?
Daily
How much do you feed your fish?
A couple small pinches of flakes or a capful of brine shrimp
What brand of food do you feed your fish?
Fluval Bug Bites Flakes and Sally's Frozen Brine Shrimp
Do you feed frozen?
Yes
Do you feed freeze-dried foods?
No

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish?
Since the start of the tank
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms?
Last week
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms?
Two died without symptoms; one was lethargic before passing; the last two have white things protruding from their anuses
Have you started any treatment for the illness?
No, but I moved the last two to a quarantine tank
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase?
No
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?
One might have red blotches on its skin, or it could be natural colouring. The last two are restless and sticking to each other.

Explain your emergency situation in detail.
(Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)
I'm going to be blunt and honest. I didn't do a water change for an entire month and neglected the tank and its inhabitants. I cycled with 5 male guppies, and when my tests showed 0 ppm ammonia and nitrite and a trace of nitrates for a few days in a row, I deemed it cycled. I completed a water change, added 6 cherry shrimp, and a week later I did my last water change for a month.

My schedule is tight but it's no excuse to have been so ignorant of the creatures in my care. I think worms may have hitchhiked on plants (I bought them from fellow hobbyists) and once the fish were weakened by low water quality they attacked.

Monday, last week, the tank's hardscape and glass was covered in algae. When I woke to check on the tank that morning, a fish was missing the entire day. I was a bit concerned, but I was busy all day, so I shook it off. Tuesday, the guppy is still nowhere to be seen, and I decide to finally do a water change. I scrubbed the walls, vacuumed the foreground, and trimmed plants. Wednesday, another fish was gone. Now I'm getting worried. I check the remaining 3 guppies for signs of illness. Nothing. I feed them and they're all avid eaters. Thursday, I notice one guppy straying from the other two. It's lethargic, and doesn't eat anything when I feed the tank. I begin to draft something to post here on FishLore, but I don't finish it, and on Friday, the lethargic fish is gone.

For all of the deceased guppies, I never found a body, or any physical symptoms.
Yesterday, I spotted a worm-like thing coming from one of the remaining fish's anus. It was translucent, maybe a centimeter long, a few millimeters wide, and the end didn't branch off. ASAP, I set up my quarantine tank, net both the guppies, and move them over. When I take a look at the infected guppy again, the worm-thing is gone. I don't know whether it broke off while the guppy was still in the tank, or shed off in the net, so I thoroughly rinse the net I used.

Now I request FishLore's assistance. I drifted away from this forum a few months ago, but I truly hope I could have some advice here. I have 2 guppies in quarantine infected with something fatal. I think it could either be a camallanus or anchor worm. If it is a worm, then the main tank is definitely infected, and I don't know how to go about treating it when it has lots of invertebrates and live plants. I have no medication on hand. I have classes tomorrow from 9 am to 3 pm and sports practice in the evening; I'd leave at 5 pm and be home by 9 pm. My LFS is open from 9 am to 6 pm and PetSmart is nearby. On top of that schedule, I'm not feeling well, so I may wake up sick tomorrow and be unable to go anywhere, but I could send a family member.

(PICTURES OF SICK FISH AS OF TODAY ARE ATTACHED).

Anything at all anyone could do to assist would be appreciated. I'll answer any questions as best I can.
TIA,
- Att.
 

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Crazyfishperson

I have a TON of experience with guppies(pro tip never accedentaly let a male into your all female tank) and ive found that they die from stress and genetic issues most often.I would say the 40-50% water change could be the problem as it can kill the benificial bacteria also water changes arent needed every week with your stocking levels Id say a 15% water change once a month should be fine.
 

attheworld

I have a TON of experience with guppies(pro tip never accedentaly let a male into your all female tank) and ive found that they die from stress and genetic issues most often.I would say the 40-50% water change could be the problem as it can kill the benificial bacteria also water changes arent needed every week with your stocking levels Id say a 15% water change once a month should be fine.
Okay, but they didn't look stressed. The parameters never dipped, the fish were all colourful and acting normally. And one guppy died before I did the big water change. If it was fine for a month, why did that fish die? How does stress and genetics explain a worm hanging onto my fish? /pos

I appreciate your reply but I want to be cautious.

There is a possibility what I saw under my fish wasn't a worm, but I'm worried that the guppy survivors and the main tank could be infected. I didn't feed the fish very often during that month of negligence, but still...
 

attheworld

Update 21/09/27

The guppies are still alive and eating well. If they are infected with worms, they aren't showing it. Colours are good, no physical signs of illness. I was freaked out when so many suddenly died, but I'm beginning to believe Crazyfishperson is correct. Death due to stress, caused by a sudden large water change after a month of no water change. It makes even more sense considering my tap water has a pH of 7.6 and the tank sits at 6.4 pH due to the spiderwood and Fluval Stratum.

I'm going to continue monitoring the guppies and feeding sparingly, and if everything's good by Saturday I'll add 3 more guppies to the quarantine tank. After another week I'd add them to the main tank, the 35 gallon hex. Does that sound like a good plan?
 

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