Question Dying Of Old Age

Talzin

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I'm not sure what to do here. I've had guppies for just over a year now and they're slowly starting to die off. Aquarium is the same, water parameters are fine (0,0,20) and there have been no real changes in temp or pH. I've lost two in the last month and another looks like he's about to go (not eating, losing colour). This morning I woke up to a pygmy cory acting the same way, in a different tank but about the same age. It's highly unlikely that it's a parasite as fry are doing fine in both tanks and I use separate nets, etc for each tank (the 40 gallon has duckweed).

Is it possible that they're dying of old age? What, if anything, can I do?
 

mattgirl

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Have you checked the life expectancy of your species of fish? If normally they live much longer then I would have to think there is something other than old age going on here.

For example. I have long finned black skirt tetras. I bought them December 2015 so they are about 4 years old now. I read up on them and the average life expectancy is about 3 years. I lost 2 of my original 6 earlier this year. The other 4 are still going strong. BTW: I added 2 after losing 2 to keep their numbers up. If I could get more I would add more.

I have false julii, bronze and albino corys that were purchased the same time as the tetras and most of them are still with me. I did lose my biggest female albino cory. I think maybe she wore herself out laying so many eggs. I don't know the life span of pigmy corys but most corys are long lived.

How often are you doing water changes and how much are you changing out each time?
 

LynnwoodFishDad

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The guppies could be old age. Depending on where they were sourced, many only live 6-12 months. Highly bred females also don’t tend to last as long. But when you say the cory is now going, that’s a little odd.

If the water is good and there are no signs of disease, I think it just is what it is. So sorry!
 

e_watson09

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Can you post a photo of the one's you're saying look like they're going to die? The issue with age of fish is in most cases you have no idea how old the fish are you're purchasing. My worry would be an illness going through your tank since now you have 2 that died, another that looks like its going to die plus now another species that is looking that way.

Cories live quite a while so that really is what caused me to raise my eyebrow but again you never know the age of the fish you buy so it really could just be an older fish.
 
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Talzin

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I've had all the fish in question for about a year but I have no idea how old they were when I purchased them. The guppies are albino which I understand makes them a little more delicate. So far it's just the male guppies that have been dying off. I'll try to grab a picture of him in a few hours but the male guppy's dorsal fin is now all twisted up and dragging behind him and there's a bit of a curve to him that wasn't there a few days ago.

The cory isn't going to last. Since I first posted he's been nipped at quite a bit and I'm going to look at humane ways of helping him over the rainbow bridge.
 

e_watson09

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My real worry is that you have a fungal or bacterial issue going through. The age of the fish would make them more susceptible to catching something.
 
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Talzin

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Grabbed the best shot I could of the male guppy. His dorsal fin is definitely messed up and he is nowhere near as orange as he used to be, especially on his body. Any suggestions?

Edit: I do use the guppy tank for quarantine occasionally and it was used in May for some harlequin rasbora. During that time I treated the tank for ick and external fungus. I also have parasitic meds on hand if anyone thinks it's necessary but the only signs are losing colour, lethargy and slowing/stopping eating.
 

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e_watson09

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What all fish are in this tank and what size is it? The ripped fins look like he's been getting picked on
 
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Talzin

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The ripped fin isn't really ripped. It's been like that for as long as I've had him. All the other male guppies I've had from this strain have had the same jagged tail fin. Wish it were that simple

It's a 10 gallon tank with three female guppies, the boy in question, and a breeder net with about 18 week-old fry.

Edit: adding a photo taken in May for comparison.
 

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Dch48

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I would say it's probably just age. As was said, guppies don't live all that long. It's one of the biological reasons why they are such prolific breeders. They also have been selectively inbred for many years now so are not as hardy as a wild one would be. I think they were hardier back when I was breeding them 50 years ago.
 

Momgoose56

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Dch48 said:
I would say it's probably just age. As was said, guppies don't live all that long. It's one of the biological reasons why they are such prolific breeders. They also have been selectively inbred for many years now so are not as hardy as a wild one would be. I think they were hardier back when I was breeding them 50 years ago.
He shouldn't die in one year of old age. I've got 4 highly non-selectively inbred (in my tank) mutt male guppys that are over 2 years old now and still harassing each other. I'd check the parastite/ bacteria theory. And if you've got a dying Cory in the same tank, that reinforces the water/ parasite/ bacteria suspicion. I'd recheck those params first. When was your last water change?
 

Dch48

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Momgoose56 said:
He shouldn't die in one year of old age. I've got 4 highly non-selectively inbred (in my tank) mutt male guppys that are over 2 years old now and still harassing each other. I'd check the parastite/ bacteria theory. And if you've got a dying Cory in the same tank, that reinforces the water/ parasite/ bacteria suspicion. I'd recheck those params first. When was your last water change?
I'm pretty sure he said that the Cory was in a different tank.

Yes, if you mix selectively bred strains together you will often get "mutts" that are hardier than either of the parent fish were. It's due to a phenomenon known as hybrid vigor. His fish look to me like Tequila Sunrise Deltas that are heavily inbred. I have one male Sunrise that I have had for 7 months now and he's going strong. He has gotten bigger and his dorsal has gotten longer since I have had him so that means he was still pretty young when I bought him. If he makes it to a year in my tank, I will be satisfied.
 
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Talzin

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The 10 gallon just has guppies and MTS in it. I usually do a 30% water change every week on my tanks. Did the 10 gallon yesterday and tested the water before and after because I was concerned. The nitrates were around 30 before the water change and 20 after. What kind of parasite/bacteria would take down guppies so slowly? I've lost two so far, about two weeks apart, and it's been about two weeks since the last one passed away. That's why I'm thinking it's old age but I have no experience in this.
 

Dch48

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I would change out some more water. Nitrates of 20 after a water change is still a little high. Also, Guppies like harder water than a lot of other fish. If you have a TDS meter, it should read 160+. If you test for GH and KH, the GH should be at least 7 (8-12 is preferred) and the KH at least 5. The snails will appreciate those parameters too. Guppies can also benefit from a small amount of salt as well. The pH should be on the alkaline side, from 7.2 to 7.8.
 
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Talzin

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I haven't tested for GH or KH since I got my second tank (took samples from both to my LFS to test for everything). I'll grab a test kit this week and see if that isn't the problem. Thanks!

Regarding nitrates, how do you get it so low? The tank has been running for about two years now and I've never had less than 20. Should I be doing more or bigger water changes?
 

Dch48

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Talzin said:
I haven't tested for GH or KH since I got my second tank (took samples from both to my LFS to test for everything). I'll grab a test kit this week and see if that isn't the problem. Thanks!

Regarding nitrates, how do you get it so low? The tank has been running for about two years now and I've never had less than 20. Should I be doing more or bigger water changes?
Plants help in controlling nitrate levels. My tank with the Guppies in it is heavily planted for it's size and my nitrates have never even seen 20. It's a 3.5 gallon and people will say it's overstocked with the 2 Guppies, 4 shrimp, and a Nerite snail but everything has done great so far and the plants are all growing well. I change out roughly 1/3 of the water every Saturday. Plants that get their nutrients from the water and not from buried roots are the best for reducing nitrates. Anubias, Java Fern, Moss balls, and other mosses do a great job. Their absorption of the nitrates also reduces or even eliminates algae growth. Guppies like algae though and also like to nibble on soft plants like mosses.

If you are using tap water in the tank, it is possible that there is something in it that the fish just don't tolerate well. I switched to using remineralized distilled water in mine and everything is doing even better than before.
 
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Talzin

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I do use tap water and it's about 10 out of the tap. I had a lot of issues when I first got set up with nitrates being 40+ so I've been considering 20 a win. My bad. I looked up my old test results from the LFS last year and TDS was 210. I live in an apartment and don't drive so my options are limited but I'll look into what I can do to improve my water quality

Note: I don't know how old the fish are. I've had them for a year but I don't know how long they were at my LFS before I picked them up.
 

Dch48

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Nitrates of 20 are not that bad I was just surprised they were that high AFTER a 30% water change. My tap water tests at zero for everything so that was never an issue. The thing with the TDS of tap water is that you don't know what is dissolved and giving you a reading. I discovered that they have found very minute amounts of Radium in my tap water. It's well below what would be harmful to humans but who knows what it could do to our aquatic pets? That was the main reason why I switched plus the fact I couldn't keep shrimp alive more than a couple of months and they never bred.
 

Momgoose56

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Talzin said:
I do use tap water and it's about 10 out of the tap. I had a lot of issues when I first got set up with nitrates being 40+ so I've been considering 20 a win. My bad. I looked up my old test results from the LFS last year and TDS was 210. I live in an apartment and don't drive so my options are limited but I'll look into what I can do to improve my water quality

Note: I don't know how old the fish are. I've had them for a year but I don't know how long they were at my LFS before I picked them up.
I'd you'r tap nitrates are 10, you probably won't get it any lower than 15-20 with partial water changes. 20 is fine for guppys. Your tap water is fine for them. Maybe your guppys were old when you got them but fish stores usually don't keep guppys long. They along with goldfish typically sell faster than other fish.
 

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