Body deformation & loss of color

  • #1
HI everyone:

I have a 29 gallon freshwater tank with 5 female guppies, a pleco, and about a dozen fry in various stages of growth.  I had a month long battle with ich and now I have this chronic disease that I've been battling for 3 months and can't diagnose or cure.  What has been treated for chlorines, ammonia levels are fine, pH is pretty alkaline (8.0) but I've read this is fine for guppies.  All my other fish have been fine except for one, but now another is starting to show the same symptoms.  I know I probably should have removed the sick fish immediately, but I don't have room/funds for a hospital tank and I really wanted to cure her.   At any rate, here's what is going on...

After my youngest female gave birth for the first time she began to act strange - sitting on the bottom more, clamping fins, gasping for air at the surface, swimming erratically at times (almost as if she were blind) and losing her color.  Unable to diagnose exactly what the problem was, I've treated the tank for fungus, given two treatments of tetracycline, and added Coppersafe.  Despite my efforts, over the past few months her body has slowly curved into an "S" shape and almost all of her color is gone.  When you look through her body, you can see her spine is not straight like the other fish.  What confuses me is that she still has a healthy appetite.  Even though she spends most of her time hiding on the bottom or in the plants, she still comes up every day to feed.  I have to feed away from the other fish though, or she won't get any.  And she doesn't go after the food like the other fish, she just kind of skims along the surface eating whatever her mouth comes in contact with.  There are no visible lesions or parasites on her, and some days she isn't as curved as others (she seems to have good days and bad days.)

Now, after a couple months of showing no problems, one of my other guppies that just gave birth is starting to get that curve to her and is spending more time hanging out with my other curvy fish.  I don't know what to do!  The only disease it even seems remotely like is neon tetra disease and supposedly it has no cure.  Has anybody else ever experienced this? Is there anything I can do, or should I just euthanize these two and hope my other fish don't catch it?

Many thanks,
  • #2
I am so sorry your little one is having these problems and I do not know that I really know what to tell you to do. I would do a large water change and try to get as much of the medication out of that tank as you can with some carbon if you have not done that already.
Are you running an airstone? It may help to add one if you are not.

The only thing in the books that I could find that mentioned curvature of the spine or deformities were hereditary problems or problems with nutritional matters (did not specify) or chemical exposure. You have used a lot of medications in the tank and being ready to give birth will make them even more likely to be hypersensitive to them. Now, I am not blaming anything on anyone, just telling you what my books said. I do not know that any of this is the cause of your problem, I am just throwing things out there to see if any of them stick. None of these things seem to have any "cures" except for "good tank conditions" (clean water, filtered tank, correct temperature, good food, clean gravel - vacuum)

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  • #3
I was having the same problem after my guppys gave birth and they would eventually die. Then I read in one of the aquarium magazines that livebearers being originally from an environment that had lots of algae available needed extra vitamin C and greens in the closed system of an aquarium. I have been giving mine a meal of Omega One Veggie flakes or Kelp flakes every morning and I haven't had not one more Guppy death from that reason. My females are happy and healthy after giving birth now. This is not a miracle cure but I think just it has added back to their diets what they were missing to be healthy. Hope that helps.
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
I think now that I may have been too focused on the possibility of it being bacterial/fungal in nature. I'm running 2 airstones and I've done a lot of water changes (25-50% every 5-10 days), but I've always dosed another chemical immediately afterwards because the problem wasn't gone yet. I wouldn't doubt if I've overdone it and poisoned the poor things! On top of that, I've been feeding mostly freeze-dried brine shrimp...when I add an algae disk for my pleco the guppies attack it like like they're starving, but of course, pleco gets most of it. I think I'll start putting two disks in and get a better variety of foods and stop dosing with the medicines...hopefully this will help save my little fish.

Thanks so much to both of you for redirecting me! =) I'm so glad I found this site. I'll let you know how the new approach works out.

  • #5
Are you running a carbon filter to remove the meds? I just wondered if the first med had been removed with carbon or just water changes before adding the next...if you have piggybacked them without running carbon for a minimum of 4-6 hours in between them, you may need to do a MAJOR water change and get some new carbon in there. They will also need to have about 30%-50% water changes every week until this is over (no longer than 7 days). It is really a good rule to continue but especially until you have a resolution here.

Also you are taking the carbon out of the filter before adding medications aren't you? You probably are but I hate to guess at what you know to do and what you do not. If you have run carbon at the same time as medications, the carbon just removed the medications from your tank instead of letting them work on your fish. That may be why they did not work, if that is the case.

Like I said, I am just throwing out ideas. You can use the information as you need to.

Yes, we would really like to hear the progress on your tank and how this is working out. If there are more questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Good luck..

Fish Ace
  • #6
You can't keep that much fish you need to put the babies away in another tank until they are large and you need a AIR PUMP!!!!!! (most important !!!AIR PUMP!!!

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