Help Female guppy up the top of the tank

madrooster

New Member
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Points
81
Experience
4 years
Hi All,

I have a tank 14 litre tank (roughly 3.5 gallons) that has 7 guppies in it (yes it's a little overstocked I know).

Last water change was 2 days ago (ammonia, nirites, pH were all OK according to the LFS, nitrate was getting towards toxic before change), the fish were all OK at that point.

This morning one of the females is in the corner of the tank at the top a few mm from the water surface. It's gravid spot is a salmon red, the other female in the tank's gravid spot is the usual dark colour. Gills/tail still moving at normal pace, occasionally opening its mouth wide in a gulping fashion.

It's been hanging at the bottom of the tank usually ever since it was introduced to the tank but has been eating (once the flake food drifts down to it). It does come up to the top here and there.

What could be wrong with this guppy?
 

AlyeskaGirl

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,867
Reaction score
255
Points
403
Hello & Welcome to FishLore!

Fist off I would not trust your lfs to test the water for you. Did they actually tell you what the readings were besides the nitrAtes being a bit high?

I really recommened that you get your own test kit. It can save your fish in the long run when you may suspect something is wrong with a fish or fish. Always test the water first. The API (liquid) Master Test kit is the most popular and the most reliable.

Since your tank is overstocked means more waste and so the nitrAtes rise faster. And also you can get ammonia spikes due to the beneficial bacteria can't keep up with the bioload. I suggest in doing another partial water change and see if you get any improvement. I am not sure what your schedule is but you may need to bump up your partial water changes to twice a week.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #3

madrooster

New Member
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Points
81
Experience
4 years
Hello & Welcome to FishLore!

Fist off I would not trust your lfs to test the water for you. Did they actually tell you what the readings were besides the nitrAtes being a bit high?

I really recommened that you get your own test kit. It can save your fish in the long run when you may suspect something is wrong with a fish or fish. Always test the water first. The API (liquid) Master Test kit is the most popular and the most reliable.

Since your tank is overstocked means more waste and so the nitrAtes rise faster. And also you can get ammonia spikes due to the beneficial bacteria can't keep up with the bioload. I suggest in doing another partial water change and see if you get any improvement. I am not sure what your schedule is but you may need to bump up your partial water changes to twice a week.
I was watching them do the test, the colours of the test tubes were all normal except nitrates, I had a look at their little chart and it was quite close to red on the chart (it ranges yellow to dark red which is toxic). They tested ammonia, pH, nitrites, nitrates and carbonate hardness.

I intend getting the water tested in a few days at the LFS again to check the nitrate levels. Water changes roughly once a week usually.

However the previous water change before the one 2 days ago (50% change), was 1.5 weeks prior to 2 days ago (I haven't been home). That's why the nitrate levels shot up.

Edit: Their food is the New Life Spectrum Fresh H2O Flakes
 

aquariumgirl lauren

Valued Member
Messages
218
Reaction score
0
Points
101
Experience
1 year
You really really need to upgrade your tank! And do you have a heater in it? Your guppies might be suffering from ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate poisoning, most pet stores use test strips which aren't very accurate. Since you are overstocked I would recommend doing water changes daily with prime to detox ammonia and nitrite. Also your guppies are probably extremely stressed without much space to swim around. Please kindly upgrade your tank!
 

Rhan

Well Known Member
Messages
628
Reaction score
9
Points
113
Experience
Just started
Welcome to Fishlore!

It's good that you recognise that your tank is overstocked (some people refuse to believe it), but you also need to realise that x amount of fish will produce x amount of waste, and the smaller the body of water, the less diluted it will be. Things can go bad in a small tank very quickly, as many of us here have found out

Does your LFS use a liquid testkit to test your water? When they test it, write down the exact numbers each time so you can keep a record of it. In your tank as it is now, I would be changing a little of the water every day. I use Prime by Saechem as my water conditioner, as it is very economical (2 drops per 4 litres, the bottles last forever!) and it detoxes ammonia, nitrites and nitrates too for 24 hours.

Also, upgrading is something you will definetly have to think about. Such a small tank not only has little swimming room for the fish, but also the waste problems as I mentioned above. I think you will need at least a 40 litre if you want to keep all the guppies. Which state are you in? I know Petstiock and Best Friends sell relatively cheap starter kits. The LFS tend to mark them up a bit.

Let us know how you go

One last thing, it would be great if you could update your aquarium profile information, as it's often the first place people look when they try to help someone
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #6

madrooster

New Member
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Points
81
Experience
4 years
You really really need to upgrade your tank! And do you have a heater in it? Your guppies might be suffering from ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate poisoning, most pet stores use test strips which aren't very accurate. Since you are overstocked I would recommend doing water changes daily with prime to detox ammonia and nitrite. Also your guppies are probably extremely stressed without much space to swim around. Please kindly upgrade your tank!
Yes I know, haven't quite found the right shape tank to fit yet. Have been looking. There is no heater but the water temperature doesnt seem too cold when I stick my hand in for whatever reason.

The LFS used the test solution stuff not the strips (yes I know strips are inaccurate).

Will increase the frequency of water changes.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #7

madrooster

New Member
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Points
81
Experience
4 years
Welcome to Fishlore!

It's good that you recognise that your tank is overstocked (some people refuse to believe it), but you also need to realise that x amount of fish will produce x amount of waste, and the smaller the body of water, the less diluted it will be. Things can go bad in a small tank very quickly, as many of us here have found out

Does your LFS use a liquid testkit to test your water? When they test it, write down the exact numbers each time so you can keep a record of it. In your tank as it is now, I would be changing a little of the water every day. I use Prime by Saechem as my water conditioner, as it is very economical (2 drops per 4 litres, the bottles last forever!) and it detoxes ammonia, nitrites and nitrates too for 24 hours.

Also, upgrading is something you will definetly have to think about. Such a small tank not only has little swimming room for the fish, but also the waste problems as I mentioned above. I think you will need at least a 40 litre if you want to keep all the guppies. Which state are you in? I know Petstiock and Best Friends sell relatively cheap starter kits. The LFS tend to mark them up a bit.

Let us know how you go

One last thing, it would be great if you could update your aquarium profile information, as it's often the first place people look when they try to help someone
Yes I'm aware that a small tank means things go bad quickly which is why I've been monitoring closely.

As per my last reply, yes the LFS uses a test solution kit and not strips. Good suggestion I will note down the numbers next time.

For a water conditioner I'm using the Toxivec stuff ().

Am in Sydney - any suggestions for places with a lot of tank varieties? All the LFSes seem to stock few varieties.

As for the guppy.. it's migrated to the bottom of the tank and hanging around there now.
 

Rhan

Well Known Member
Messages
628
Reaction score
9
Points
113
Experience
Just started
I've never heard of the Toxivec stuff, but it sounds like it pretty much does the same thing as Prime.

I'm down in Victoria, but I think another member
is from Sydney. I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you sent her a message on her profile asking if she knows of any good LFS & LPS with tank deals I know Sydney is a huge place, but you never know

I actually trawl ebay myself for second-hand tanks, I haven't found the perfect one yet, they're all up in Sydeny and Queensland! No joke! Been looking for a a really nice 4foot set up for aaaaages, but nothing particularly nice and closeby yet So it could be worth a look there if you don't mind second-hand. It just opens up your options I guess
 

claudicles

Well Known Member
Messages
1,574
Reaction score
24
Points
123
Experience
5 to 10 years
Hi Madrooster. Rhan told me about your dilema. Where in Sydney are you? I'm in the Hawkesbury region but I get around a bit and my brother, who also has fish, is in Peakhurst so we have a bit of Sydney covered.
What shape tank are you looking for? Do you have a difficult space to fill? If it is a 14 litre tank I assume you have one of those little Aqua One starter kits. A few months back Petbarn had a run out where they had those kits, and the 21 and 28 litre ones half price. I have 8 of them mostly with Bettas. I'm not fond of the filters, mainly because of the cartridge. I put a bag of media in instead. If you have had your tank running for so long I guess you have worked out what you like in the filter. I can't help you with the guppy probelm sorry. Never kept them. I have checked out quite a few fish shops around though.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #10

madrooster

New Member
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Points
81
Experience
4 years
Hi Madrooster. Rhan told me about your dilema. Where in Sydney are you? I'm in the Hawkesbury region but I get around a bit and my brother, who also has fish, is in Peakhurst so we have a bit of Sydney covered.
What shape tank are you looking for? Do you have a difficult space to fill? If it is a 14 litre tank I assume you have one of those little Aqua One starter kits. A few months back Petbarn had a run out where they had those kits, and the 21 and 28 litre ones half price. I have 8 of them mostly with Bettas. I'm not fond of the filters, mainly because of the cartridge. I put a bag of media in instead. If you have had your tank running for so long I guess you have worked out what you like in the filter. I can't help you with the guppy probelm sorry. Never kept them. I have checked out quite a few fish shops around though.
Peakhurst - bingo. I am there. Not many large pet stores here though that would stock any ample variety, I have looked around.

The usual rectangular type of tank would be fine. In fact I don't think an irregular shape tank would fit anywhere.

Yes the 14 litre is one of those Aqua One starter kits. The filter is OK, I find it gets the job done. I can easily find the cartridges for $5 each so it's not too bad.

The guppy is back up the top again, different corner this time. Appears to be able to swim against the filter output (where the water pushes downwards) and swims fine if it decides to move around.
 

claudicles

Well Known Member
Messages
1,574
Reaction score
24
Points
123
Experience
5 to 10 years
Cool. I'll ask my bro. I know there is a patbarn at Kogarah. I've not been in that one but the tend to carry the kit type aquariums like Aqua One and Blue Planet. Cost effective but not very pretty, IMHO. They do have plain glass ones too. My brothers favourite place must be pretty good though. A few years ago his wife built him a stand and hood (not a bad birthday present huh?) and they had the tank custom made through this place. I'll let you know as soon as I find out.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #12

madrooster

New Member
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Points
81
Experience
4 years
Cool. I'll ask my bro. I know there is a patbarn at Kogarah. I've not been in that one but the tend to carry the kit type aquariums like Aqua One and Blue Planet. Cost effective but not very pretty, IMHO. They do have plain glass ones too. My brothers favourite place must be pretty good though. A few years ago his wife built him a stand and hood (not a bad birthday present huh?) and they had the tank custom made through this place. I'll let you know as soon as I find out.
Update on the guppy.. it passed away during the day today. Was staring blankly this morning in the corner.

Assuming water parameters are all OK, what would be the main possible causes of its death other than ammonia/nitrite spikes (and thus poisoning)?

Kogarah's not too far, I frequent that area daily. As long as it's within Sydney metro, no real dramas.

We're considering getting a larger tank and looked at the 40 litre ones on the web. We could also jump the small tanks and get a large one (100L+) as well.

I've seen the plain glass ones which don't seem too overly expensive - but we'd need to factor in the cost of a suitable filter, cabinet/bench/whatever, ornaments/fake plants to decorate the tank, heater?, lighting?. The air pump we have (it can handle 110L) can be re-used, with the addition of a second one if need be.

Any recommendations? So far you guys have been more helpful than the guys at a few of the LFSes I've been to. Much appreciated.

Wouldn't mind also asking you guys as a rough guideline, how many say guppies could we keep in these sorts of tank sizes?

40L, 60L, 80L, 100L, 130L, 160L, 200L, 240L so I can gauge an idea of number of fish vs tank size.

Bit of history... this tank started out with 1 medium goldfish and 4 guppies. They were all OK for 2 years or so. Early this year, 2 small fantails were added - that's when things when haywire and we lost a guppy and the medium goldfish to begin with. Eventually we lost both the fantails too leaving us with 3 guppies in total.

We recently added the 4 new guppies to total 7, lost one today so we're down to 6. Not a great year so far for this tank
 

claudicles

Well Known Member
Messages
1,574
Reaction score
24
Points
123
Experience
5 to 10 years
I'm still waiting for an answer from my brother about other fish places around you.

Hey, there is a Petbarn at 91 Boundary Rd Peakhurst!

Your other questions: The inch per gallon rule is OK for small fish - 2.5 cm per 4 litres or so. Guppys get to 2 inches so 8 litres each. That is 48 litres for 6 guppies and then you need to allow for fry. That rule isn't so useful for large or dirty fish. Goldfish are very dirty fish so 3 in a 14 litre tank was really pushing it. They can get up to a foot long, even fantails. The usual recomendation is 80 litres for the first goldfish and 40 litres per extra goldfish.

Petbarn sell Aqua One and Blue Planet kits, which have an optional stand. Have a look at either of their web sites for their ranges. They have a filter in the hood as well as lighting. If you sign up for their newsletter (petbarn) every so often they advertise really good deals. They also sell a basic line of plain glass aquariums with basic stands. An Aqua clear HOB filter on one of those would be a pretty good set up. They work out pretty cost effective too. You can argue for days about filter media but basically if you use their sponge until it falls to pieces, don't bother with the carbon and add some more ceramic media of some sort to replace the volume the carbon took up, they last well with no ongoing expense. I guess you have to do something to stop your fry ending up inside the filter but there are plenty of options there.

You'll need a heater for guppys. Not for goldfish. You don't NEED an air pump but they do increase oxygenation so are useful.

I'm a big believer that setting yourself up right is the key to healthy fish.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #14

madrooster

New Member
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Points
81
Experience
4 years
I'm still waiting for an answer from my brother about other fish places around you.

Hey, there is a Petbarn at 91 Boundary Rd Peakhurst!

Your other questions: The inch per gallon rule is OK for small fish - 2.5 cm per 4 litres or so. Guppys get to 2 inches so 8 litres each. That is 48 litres for 6 guppies and then you need to allow for fry. That rule isn't so useful for large or dirty fish. Goldfish are very dirty fish so 3 in a 14 litre tank was really pushing it. They can get up to a foot long, even fantails. The usual recomendation is 80 litres for the first goldfish and 40 litres per extra goldfish.

Petbarn sell Aqua One and Blue Planet kits, which have an optional stand. Have a look at either of their web sites for their ranges. They have a filter in the hood as well as lighting. If you sign up for their newsletter (petbarn) every so often they advertise really good deals. They also sell a basic line of plain glass aquariums with basic stands. An Aqua clear HOB filter on one of those would be a pretty good set up. They work out pretty cost effective too. You can argue for days about filter media but basically if you use their sponge until it falls to pieces, don't bother with the carbon and add some more ceramic media of some sort to replace the volume the carbon took up, they last well with no ongoing expense. I guess you have to do something to stop your fry ending up inside the filter but there are plenty of options there.

You'll need a heater for guppys. Not for goldfish. You don't NEED an air pump but they do increase oxygenation so are useful.

I'm a big believer that setting yourself up right is the key to healthy fish.
I think I know where that Petbarn is - never thought of that section of Peakhurst though and so didn't think there was one!

So a 200L.. would be looking at 25-30 guppies? We've moved on from goldfish, we prefer the guppies due to their colourful variety.

I've seen a lot of the Aqua One kits which come with the in built filter hood. A few friends have one.

I've also explored the glass tank option, it seems to work out a lot cheaper. An Aqua One HOB filter was what I was thinking. They aren't too expensive either.

I have noticed when the air pump was added to the 14 litre tank, that waste seems to break down faster. It was added at the same time as those 2 fantails as they were coming up for air often.

Not a fan of the HOB filter's carbon cartridge, but hey it works. If we're going for a proper setup though, will probably look at the ceramic stuff. Not a fan of the ongoing cost!

Heaters seem quite cheap, can get a 200w Aqua One for under $30.

Would you recommend the glass tank DIY method or the Aqua One kits? Eg. the Aqua One AquaStyle ones... the glass DIY method seems cheaper.
 

Rhan

Well Known Member
Messages
628
Reaction score
9
Points
113
Experience
Just started
Hey madrooster, I'd like like to pipe in again about aqua one tanks I've had a AR-850 (160 litre) for about six months, and so far it is awesome. Only need to replace the filter wool every few weeks or so (I rinse and rub it out under running tap water to breath a bit more life into them). I also have aqua one 340 pro, which is a pretty good little unit too. And my boyfriend has a ar-510 which he is more than happy with. Gosh, I sound like such a aqua one sales girl lol I can't say too much about the longevity though, but it scores high in all other areas

It just depends what is your budget, and also what would look good in your house
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #16

madrooster

New Member
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Points
81
Experience
4 years
The glass ones look more..plain. But with a decent looking stand/cabinet it shouldn't be so bad...

Budget can stretch a little, up to $500 is OK.
 

claudicles

Well Known Member
Messages
1,574
Reaction score
24
Points
123
Experience
5 to 10 years
Madrooster, I'll reply more fully later but may I suggest you start a new thread in the beginners section? I know you aren't a beginner but this conversation has changed from guppys and you'll get lots more people's opinions there.
 

claudicles

Well Known Member
Messages
1,574
Reaction score
24
Points
123
Experience
5 to 10 years
St George Aquariums, Princes Highway Rockdale

This bit below is copied and pasted from another forum. Hopefully a moderator will let me know if this isn't OK:

St George Aquarium is a must.

They must have over 150 + tanks easy.

Make sure you ask to go to the back fish rooms.
A sign on the side door says only go in if a staff is inside.
Don't be shy if there is no one inside just ask

They have so many fish only 60 or so tanks of common fish are kept in the main area.

Also ring first as I think they are closed on Sunday?

Full post is at

Now back to your other questions. I would go with a plain glass tank and stand rather than a kit but that is just a personal preference. You can always paint/stain and enclose the stand if you are at all handy. If you are interested in HOB filters and you don't like the cartridges, (who does?) definitely change to Aquaclear. It is much easier to customise your filter contents. Shop around for prices. I have bought them a fair bit cheaper than petbarn but that is at Penrith and you would spend more in petrol getting there. If you are looking at 200 litres I would be going for a cannister filter though but plenty here use HOBs for tanks that large. The reef shop defnitiely has best value for money.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #19

madrooster

New Member
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Points
81
Experience
4 years
St George Aquariums, Princes Highway Rockdale

This bit below is copied and pasted from another forum. Hopefully a moderator will let me know if this isn't OK:

St George Aquarium is a must.

They must have over 150 + tanks easy.

Make sure you ask to go to the back fish rooms.
A sign on the side door says only go in if a staff is inside.
Don't be shy if there is no one inside just ask

They have so many fish only 60 or so tanks of common fish are kept in the main area.

Also ring first as I think they are closed on Sunday?

Full post is at

Now back to your other questions. I would go with a plain glass tank and stand rather than a kit but that is just a personal preference. You can always paint/stain and enclose the stand if you are at all handy. If you are interested in HOB filters and you don't like the cartridges, (who does?) definitely change to Aquaclear. It is much easier to customise your filter contents. Shop around for prices. I have bought them a fair bit cheaper than petbarn but that is at Penrith and you would spend more in petrol getting there. If you are looking at 200 litres I would be going for a cannister filter though but plenty here use HOBs for tanks that large. The reef shop defnitiely has best value for money.
Will check out St George Aquariums. I know where they are, didn't realise they were that big.

I was leaning towards the glass tank more as it is more customisable in terms of filters and other equipment. The ability to stain/paint/whatever any old stand is good too.

I can get a hold of the Poly Filter stuff too - this should be fine as a substitute for Aqua Clear?

As for filters, I can get a hold of two Aqua One HOBs which will combined handle up to 400L tanks... for less than the cost of a canister filter which would only do 250L. Was thinking of going down the dual HOBs path unless you'd recommend against this?

An update on the aquarium... I have had the water tested again. Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, nitrates 5-10ppm, pH 7.6, kH 3. Those are the parameters they normally test, now barring the last test which showed a higher nitrate reading of roughly 20ppm, the tests have otherwise been normal -- until now.

I persisted and asked the guy to test everything he had test solutions for which in any way or shape are applicable to a freshwater aquarium and so phosphate was tested. Reading came back as 5ppm (!!!) which is the limit of the scale on the scale card.

The guy pretty much said that 5ppm is just about toxic. I mentioned the 50-60% water change I did last weekend and so he reckons that the phosphate must've been at something off the scale (10-12ppm maybe). I think this would've strongly attributed to the guppy that died recently??

The interesting thing to note is that the older fish that've been around for a while have been fine -- it's the new ones we keep losing and it now makes sense that the new ones haven't been able to adjust gradually to the rising phosphate levels. The old ones are probably well adjusted to it.

Did a 30% water change last night and added the poly filter after the carbon cartridge (will probably scrap this cartridge entirely once it's had its life, in another 2 weeks). Will get the water tested again this weekend.
 

claudicles

Well Known Member
Messages
1,574
Reaction score
24
Points
123
Experience
5 to 10 years
Madrooster I am going to make another suggestions. You have a lot of questions hidden hear in a thread about a sick guppy. If you start individual threads in more specific parts of the forum you will get a lot more advice. So ask about phosphate in the water sectionand debate HOB v cannister in the filter section. People love to help but they may not come into theis section unless they have guppies.
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom