Guppies Dying :( Cannot figure out why

ivanjay205

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Good morning!

About two weeks ago I bought a few more female guppies for my 20 gallon tank as we lost a few and had 2 males and 2 females and needless to say the boys wouldnt leave the girls alone. So I bought 4 more females so we got back to a 1 to 2 ratio.

First week no problem everything was fine. Fish looked really healthy and they were from a reputable local store, not a big box store. Now around the same time I did a sponge change in the filter. I know new fish plus that but it was affecting the flow through the filter so it needed to get done. But I have an Aquaclear filter and the inserts for bacteria were left in so I figured colony was fine.

Since I did change filter media I did tests for 2-3 days daily API test and everything looked fine. That test kit is about a year old so figured it should still be good.

All of a sudden within the last week I am losing guppies quickly. I have no idea why. I did another water test, ammonia and nitrite are 0 and nitrates are consistent where they always have been, looks fine to me. Plus I have plants in the tank.

I do not see anything visibly on the guppies but I have lost 4 or 5 guppies in last few days.

I also have 8 neons, a bristlenose pleco, and a clown pleco all of which look fine and are doing okay.

I know it is stocked a bit heavy but has been for awhile and there has been no ammonia or nitrite issue so the stocking should not be the issue.

I do 4-5 gallon water changes weekly so about 25%. I dose prime with each water change.

Any ideas on how to figure this out or do I need to let it work itself out? It appears to only affect the guppies whatever it is.
 

mattgirl

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I can't say this is what is causing the loss of the guppies but I highly recommend you do much bigger water changes. Pleco's are HUGE waste producers and with 2 of them in a 20 gallon tank bigger water changes are needed. I would be changing out no less than 50% of the water each week and then once a month change out at least 75% of it.

We do water changes to lower nitrates but there is more to it than just lowering nitrates. There are things most of us don't test for. If just changing out the bare minimum of water each week those things slowly build up until they reach dangerous levels.
 
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ivanjay205

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mattgirl said:
I can't say this is what is causing the loss of the guppies but I highly recommend you do much bigger water changes. Pleco's are HUGE waste producers and with 2 of them in a 20 gallon tank bigger water changes are needed. I would be changing out no less than 50% of the water each week and then once a month change out at least 75% of it.

We do water changes to lower nitrates but there is more to it than just lowering nitrates. There are things most of us don't test for. If just changing out the bare minimum of water each week those things slowly build up until they reach dangerous levels.
Okay I can increase it. I would note that right before this happened I did a 2/3 water change with The new filter setup. Basically my routine is one 5 gallon bucket water change each week and once a month I clean the sponge (in dirty tank water to maintain the bacteria) and do a 50% water change. I have been doing that for about 6 months now without issue.

I could be wrong but I am thinking since this happened after the new fish arrived it had to be something they brought with them right? Also I did not put the fish tank water from the store in my tank. I netted the fish when introducing them after acclimation.

But for now I will pick up on the water changes
 

mattgirl

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It is very possible that the new fish weren't very healthy to begin with. It seems a lot of folks have a difficult time getting healthy guppies. I've never had them but from all I've read it seems once upon a time guppies were almost bullet proof but that doesn't seem the be the case now. It is the same with neon tetras. They have been so over bred they no longer come from healthy stock.

Hopefully with the bigger water changes and maybe a longer acclimation you can get more and keep them alive. Hopefully you will end up with fry and can only hope that the fry will be stronger than the originals.
 
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ivanjay205

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mattgirl said:
It is very possible that the new fish weren't very healthy to begin with. It seems a lot of folks have a difficult time getting healthy guppies. I've never had them but from all I've read it seems once upon a time guppies were almost bullet proof but that doesn't seem the be the case now. It is the same with neon tetras. They have been so over bred they no longer come from healthy stock.

Hopefully with the bigger water changes and maybe a longer acclimation you can get more and keep them alive. Hopefully you will end up with fry and can only hope that the fry will be stronger than the originals.
What is strange to me is the older ones in the tank died first. Two of the new ones died now but all of my original ones died first. Unless whatever they have their were just more susceptible to because they were older.

I wonder if it is time to let the guppies die out and move on to something a bit more heartier? I only have two left in the tank.
 

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I’m really sorry :( Honestly I agree with above, guppies just aren’t that healthy anymore. Good chance the changes stressed them all out, making them susceptible to something the new guys brought in and that’s it.

I do think 50% wc is best but I doubt that’s why they died, I just prefer 50% minimum to prevent buildups.

I managed to keep 1 of my 7 guppies alive. They all died within the first week. I won’t be getting more when this guy passes. They are so beautiful it makes me sad though!

If you end up with a male and female left you should just let them breed and save a few instead of getting new guys from stores. It’s safer.
 

mattgirl

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That was my experience with neon tetras. As I was trying to build my school I would add 5 or 6. I would lose some of the new ones and also some of my original ones. It was so frustrating. I was finally able to buy 17 of them all at once from a member here on the forum. I already had 4. Fortunately none of my originals died when I put the new ones in the tank. Sadly 4 little guys didn't make it when the water leaked out of one of the bags they were packed in for transport but the other 13 are still alive and thriving.

Unless you just have your heart set on guppies as I was for neons moving on to something else might be the best route to take.
 

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ivanjay205 said:
I also have 8 neons, a bristlenose pleco, and a clown pleco all of which look fine and are doing okay.
I'm wondering if your water is a bit too soft for the guppies, since the neons seem to be doing well. Guppies aren't as hardy as they used to be, so optimal conditions become more important. They really need hard, alkaline water to thrive.
 
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ivanjay205

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Thanks for all the responses. Appreciate it! I do enjoy the guppies but breeding went so so. We had about 12 babies we caught in a medicine cup (never used with medicine) and would put them in a breeding box in the tank. Got about 5 survivors to adulthood oddly all females. But they died off too.

What is a good transition? Swordtails and platys hardier or wait until the last two die so I could go more barbs and tetras?
 

UnknownUser

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ivanjay205 said:
Thanks for all the responses. Appreciate it! I do enjoy the guppies but breeding went so so. We had about 12 babies we caught in a medicine cup (never used with medicine) and would put them in a breeding box in the tank. Got about 5 survivors to adulthood oddly all females. But they died off too.

What is a good transition? Swordtails and platys hardier or wait until the last two die so I could go more barbs and tetras?
Just depends on what you want. If you want to swap away from livebearers, just wait out the guppies or rehome them. If you want to stay with the same compatibility type, go for platys and such.
 
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ivanjay205

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UnknownUser said:
Just depends on what you want. If you want to swap away from livebearers, just wait out the guppies or rehome them. If you want to stay with the same compatibility type, go for platys and such.
Are platy's and swordtails generally heartier than the guppies? I was just looking for something nice looking and easy to care for. Guppies clearly not it at this point
 

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ivanjay205 said:
Are platy's and swordtails generally heartier than the guppies? I was just looking for something nice looking and easy to care for. Guppies clearly not it at this point
I haven’t heard anything about them from others. I had a rough time keeping platys alive as well as the guppies, but I’m 99% sure it was because the guppies kept catching diseases with the platys in the tank so it transferred and killed both. I did notice it took a lot longer for the platys to die. I’d find the guppy dead with absolutely no signs of illness, but the platys always put up a good fight, which makes me think their immune system must be better. Also note that this was when I first started and my tank was brand new just cycled, and all the fish were young, so that didn’t help either.

Long story short from a reputable LFS in a healthy tank, I think platys will be fine. I’ve never kept a swordtail but they are likely hardier than guppies because they aren’t nearly as popular so they aren’t crazily overbred.

It’s worth mentioning that platys and swordtails do have a much higher bioload than guppies. You can keep like 7 guppies in a 10 gal but only 4 platys.

Edit to add as well. Consider that platys will breed unless they are all one sex. I’m not sure about barbs. Also, barbs are more aggressive than platys. My platy is the most peaceful one in my tank, aside from the corys haha
 
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ivanjay205

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UnknownUser said:
I haven’t heard anything about them from others. I had a rough time keeping platys alive as well as the guppies, but I’m 99% sure it was because the guppies kept catching diseases with the platys in the tank so it transferred and killed both. I did notice it took a lot longer for the platys to die. I’d find the guppy dead with absolutely no signs of illness, but the platys always put up a good fight, which makes me think their immune system must be better. Also note that this was when I first started and my tank was brand new just cycled, and all the fish were young, so that didn’t help either.

Long story short from a reputable LFS in a healthy tank, I think platys will be fine. I’ve never kept a swordtail but they are likely hardier than guppies because they aren’t nearly as popular so they aren’t crazily overbred.

It’s worth mentioning that platys and swordtails do have a much higher bioload than guppies. You can keep like 7 guppies in a 10 gal but only 4 platys.

Edit to add as well. Consider that platys will breed unless they are all one sex. I’m not sure about barbs. Also, barbs are more aggressive than platys. My platy is the most peaceful one in my tank, aside from the corys haha
Thanks! Depending on how long we go here I'll consider the swordtail platy route probably. Although maybe small barbs if the guppies die out as I do kind of enjoy the schooling zooming they do.
 

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