Fish swimming funny

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Marnold143

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I’ve had bad luck getting our fish hobby started. And sadly, kind of love these little guys so it’s getting really depressing to see them at the bottom of the tank. We brought home a Micky Mouse Platy about five days ago and the water tested spot on at the time. Since then (like a moron) added about 36 ounces of water with conditioner because the level seemed low. Now the Platy is swimming erratically and heavily somewhat like a guppy did right before it died of ammonia poisoning. Is this normal behavior? If not, what can I do? And is there a way to post a video on here?
 

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Upload the video to youtube and post the link here. Really sorry you are having issues :( do you have a test kit for ammonia and nitrites and nitrate? The pet stores will tell you your water tests “fine” and they are absolutely wrong. Have you looked up the nitrogen cycle? Do some research into a fish-in cycle and in the mean time do a large 50-75% water change right now (use Prime conditioner, nothing else added to the water is necessary) and another tomorrow. Keep up with daily or every other day water changes til you have an ammonia test kit.

How many fish are in the tank? What size tank is it?
 
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Marnold143

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Thank you!
here is the link

Backstory: I’m an animal lover and wanted something easy (HA!) for my kids and I to care for. We bought a 2 gallon from PetSmart with the intention of 1 beta. Set up the tank and waited 3 days before going back for our fish - as instructed by the fish guy. When we went back the guy said why not get a guppy for each kiddo. After researching why one was sinking to the bottom learned they were VERY overcrowded. Got a 10 gal tank and used the ammonia neutralizing conditioner before switching fish over. When we switched them over a second guppy died. Since then... we got three neon tetras. They were found dead the next morning. Apparently you’re not supposed to buy them day of shipment. The a Mickey Mouse Platy and glo tetra. The glo tetra was aggressive so I took him back... but he had damaged the fin of Platy and he died shortly after. I watched the mollies for a long time and found one that seemed docile not timid. Good fit. Then we got another Platy. And here we are. Water has tested out fine every time. What am I doing wrong?!

I should add we started out with four guppies and now have two of the original guppies, a balloon belly mollie, and the Platy
 

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Yes, fish are definitely not as easy as I expected! Sounds like you have made all the same mistakes I made a year ago when I got my first 10 gallon tank. I also chose guppies and platies. I also attempted to get a tetra and a balloon molly. Haha! So I hope you learn from my mistakes.

Neon tetras are very, very sensitive and will only do well in a well established tank (not a brand new one) which is likely why they died. No more neon tetras for you, right now.

Balloon mollies need a 20 gal tank minimum. Return the molly.

Are the two guppies male or female? Is the platy male or female? If you can't tell, upload some pictures for me. It's very easy to tell on livebearers. They have a fin right where their poop comes out, and it's either a triangle shape or a rod shape. Rod is male; triangle is female. Give it a shot and let me know what you have.

Two male guppies will likely fight each other to death. Two female guppies will be fine but might be pregnant so you might get some fry (babies). You can keep them if they're female. You might want to return one if they're male.

A female platy might have fry. A male one will not. You are fine to keep it either way.

A 10 gallon tank can hold:
4 platy fish of the same sex
Or 7-8 all male guppies

If you want a mix, two female guppies and two platy fish (both male OR both female)
Or one male guppy and 3 platy fish (all male OR all female)

You can also add two nerite snails (these do not reproduce and they clean algae, they are my best friends!)

Now that you have a good way to properly stock the tank, let's get down to some basics. You are currently doing a fish-in cycle. This means you are building up toxic ammonia from fish poop. You are trying to grow beneficial bacteria (bb) that will eat the ammonia and turn it into nitrites and then into nitrates. Once you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and >1 nitrates, you have completed the cycle. This bacteria is found on all surfaces in the tank, but 99% of it will be in your filter media. DO NOT replace the filter media monthly. Take it out when it gets gunky (once a month usually) and give it a swirl in some old tank water during a water change (NOT in tap water, tap water will kill the bacteria). During the cycling process, do water changes frequently enough to keep ammonia <1 ppm (this is why you need a liquid test kit). Without the test kit, you should be doing 50% water changes daily to ensure ammonia stays low.

Once the cycle is complete (usually in about a month or two), you should do 50% water changes once a week. Once a month, vacuum the substrate and rinse the filter media out.

To be very honest, you might lose a few fish during a cycle. Ammonia is toxic and you are letting them live in it. Guppies are also pretty prone to disease because of over breeding and inbreeding. Prepare your kid(s) for some losses, but I hope they all survive!

I would really like to discuss quarantining new fish, but I feel like I just overloaded you with a lot of information, so I will leave it up to you if you want to hear about fish quarantine.
 
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Marnold143

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Yes, the male guppies were fighting which is why we added more right away. It is an all male tank. I just did a 50% water change and hope I did it right! The Platy looks totally normal now... should I feed them soon? These are the two conditioners I have. Used the one on the left tonight. Can you use too much? Sorry for all the questions, tired of killing fishies (and now just tired!)
 

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The most likely problem is ammonia or nitrite buildup. Your actual test readings would be helpful, not "fine' or "spot on." Do you have an API Master Test Kit?

Your test results should guide your water change frequency and volume. If you're doing specific volume at a specific schedule, you're just guessing. If you're doing a fish-in cycle, do water changes to keep combined ammonia and nitrite at 1 ppm or below. For example, if your ammonia is 1.5 ppm and your nitrites are .5, that's 2 ppm. A 50% water change would lower that to 1 ppm. That will keep toxin level low enough not to harm your fish, but there will still be ammonia to feed the cycle. At first you'll probably be doing water changes every day or every other day. As the cycle progresses the volume and frequency of water changes will be come more relaxed, which your test results will control.

I disagree that two male guppies will kill each other. I selectively breed guppies and separate males and females at about a month old. I have several tanks that contain only males. If you keep up with maintenance and water changes and feed well, they get along fine.

The biggest key to getting a handle on your tank is a good test kit. Stay away from test strips. They're notorious for being unreliable.
 
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Marnold143

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Marnold143 said:
Yes, the male guppies were fighting which is why we added more right away. It is an all male tank. I just did a 50% water change and hope I did it right! The Platy looks totally normal now... should I feed them soon? These are the two conditioners I have. Used the one on the left tonight. Can you use too much? Sorry for all the questions, tired of killing fishies (and now just tired!)
And this newbie says thank you, so, so much for your wisdom!!
 

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Marnold143 said:
Yes, the male guppies were fighting which is why we added more right away. It is an all male tank. I just did a 50% water change and hope I did it right! The Platy looks totally normal now... should I feed them soon? These are the two conditioners I have. Used the one on the left tonight. Can you use too much? Sorry for all the questions, tired of killing fishies (and now just tired!)
You can feed them, but try to feed sparingly because more food = more poop = more ammonia. Use the water conditioner as the directions tell you to. You’d be better off using Prime during a fish-in cycle because it can bind up some of that toxic ammonia for 24 hours. I’m glad to hear your platy is back to normal! Keep doing those daily 50% water changes until you can get an API freshwater master kit. Then you can do water changes based on the ammonia+nitrite level as explained above.
 
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Marnold143

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GuppyDazzle said:
The most likely problem is ammonia or nitrite buildup. Your actual test readings would be helpful, not "fine' or "spot on." Do you have an API Master Test Kit?

Your test results should guide your water change frequency and volume. If you're doing specific volume at a specific schedule, you're just guessing. If you're doing a fish-in cycle, do water changes to keep combined ammonia and nitrite at 1 ppm or below. For example, if your ammonia is 1.5 ppm and your nitrites are .5, that's 2 ppm. A 50% water change would lower that to 1 ppm. That will keep toxin level low enough not to harm your fish, but there will still be ammonia to feed the cycle. At first you'll probably be doing water changes every day or every other day. As the cycle progresses the volume and frequency of water changes will be come more relaxed, which your test results will control.

I disagree that two male guppies will kill each other. I selectively breed guppies and separate males and females at about a month old. I have several tanks that contain only males. If you keep up with maintenance and water changes and feed well, they get along fine.

The biggest key to getting a handle on your tank is a good test kit. Stay away from test strips. They're notorious for being unreliable.
Agree actual test readings would help... kind of unknowingly put the cart before the horse and am playing catch up. The pet store used the test strips, but I have a kit ordered that will be here Tuesday. Please define ‘feed well’?
 
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GuppyDazzle said:
I have several tanks that contain only males
This sentence sounds like you have more than two males in the tank? Guppies are hierarchy fish. They establish a pecking order. The top dog will bully the lower level fish. As long as there’s lots of male guppies, the hierarchy is established and the bullying is spread out. With just two male guppies, one will likely become dominant and harass the other one nonstop. The harassment stresses out the other fish, causing it to be more susceptible to disease and likely dying as a result. Yes, there are probably people who are able to find two very docile male guppies that get along enough to house together. But OP has kids, and I was giving them the options I feel are least likely to cause any issues.
 
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UnknownUser said:
This sentence sounds like you have more than two males in the tank? Guppies are hierarchy fish. They establish a pecking order. The top dog will bully the lower level fish. As long as there’s lots of male guppies, the hierarchy is established and the bullying is spread out. With just two male guppies, one will likely become dominant and harass the other one nonstop. The harassment stresses out the other fish, causing it to be more susceptible to disease and likely dying as a result. Yes, there are probably people who are able to find two very docile male guppies that get along enough to house together. But OP has kids, and I was giving them the options I feel are least likely to cause any issues.
It's great that you have it all figured out. I'm just curious where you got that information. I've had many tanks over the years with two males, and I've never seen any more aggression with two than I've seen with 12.

What difference does it make the OP has two kids? I'm interested in your source for that one too, LOL!
 
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GuppyDazzle said:
It's great that you have it all figured out. I'm just curious where you got that information. I've had many tanks over the years with two males, and I've never seen any more aggression with two than I've seen with 12.

What difference does it make the OP has two kids? I'm interested in your source for that one too, LOL!
Why are you being rude about a difference in opinion? My sources are other people’s experiences I’ve seen on forums and my own experiences with male guppies. And because OP has kids, it’s probably best to go with a peaceful tank that’s least likely to cause issues. I have no doubt that you have been able to keep two male guppies without issue. Everyone has their own opinions here about stocking. Since you want to be rude about it I’ll see myself out of this conversation.

Good luck OP and I hope all goes well with your cycle and fish!
 
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I had 6 guppies (all male) then one died followed by a second a month later. ( down to 4 guppies) Then I noticed that the fins on 3 were getting ripped up. Water conditions were always perfect. I added 3 more guppies and the fins healed. There was definitely some fighting and bullying happening. They need their pack.
 
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Marnold143

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UnknownUser said:
Why are you being rude about a difference in opinion? My sources are other people’s experiences I’ve seen on forums and my own experiences with male guppies. And because OP has kids, it’s probably best to go with a peaceful tank that’s least likely to cause issues. I have no doubt that you have been able to keep two male guppies without issue. Everyone has their own opinions here about stocking. Since you want to be rude about it I’ll see myself out of this conversation.

Good luck OP and I hope all goes well with your cycle and fish!

Thank you so much! Yes, having four kids definitely makes a loss much harder. This morning I heard my son turn the light on and held my breath. Platy did great throughout the day but is hanging out in the corner again. We should do another 50% change tonight?
 
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Definitely. Any time you see any weird or erratic behaviors, do a 50-75% water change. It’ll probably be daily for a while because you are very heavily stocked with two guppies a molly and a platy, so they produce a lot of waste. Try to do the water changes BEFORE they show weird behaviors. The ammonia liquid test kit will be your best friend.
 
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