Guppies Not Surviving The Switch From Breeding Tank To Display

  1. ashark8me Member Member

    I am really scratching my head on this one since I have 20+ years experience keeping fish, but I thought I would throw it out there.

    I built a 125 gallon setup to be a large, planted tank which would house nothing but guppies and maybe a handful of cories (which I do not have yet) . My plan was to breed the guppies in tanks in my basement and populate the main display tank from fish from the colonies down there. I have some nice (read: Expensive ) strains going down there and a system where I move fry from the tank with the adults through a series of grow out tanks until I can ultimately sex them and separate the sexes so I can ultimately only breed the best ones. I am able to move fish around freely between all of those tanks without any difficulty.

    Yet EVERY time I attempt to move a fish from the breeding tanks to the main display, they all die. Not right away, they usually settle in fine and hang around a week or two but in no more than 2 weeks, they're gone. I've attempted to move fish of all ages. The first time it happened, I had removed an adult male from my colony. He lasted maybe 10 days - looked fine right up until the day I found him dead. I figured maybe he was old (he was mature when I got him) and the move was too much for him. I tried a very young adult female. She did great until the day I found her dead less than 2 weeks later. I next tried it with some fry. They were 2-3 weeks old. They did great for a week to 10 days but then one day they were all gone. Next I tried even younger fry, because there are some fry being born in the main tank as well and those that escape being eaten by the adults or being sucked into the filter seem to do okay. I figured maybe if they grew up with whatever conditions are causing the problem in the main tank, they would do better. Nope. A little over a week after introducing them, they're all gone.

    It's not that the conditions in the tank are just unsuitable for aquatic life. When I first set the tank up, I let it cycle then I put in some quarantined guppies from the store in to get it started. These have all done fine, and some later additions from the store have also done well. And like I said, I can move fish from one breeding/grow out tank to another freely with zero losses. It just seems that the move from the grow out or colony tank to the main tank is the kiss of death. They're not getting sucked up by the filter, either.

    The water tank parameters for the main display are:
    Nitrate - 5 ppm
    Nitrite - 0
    Ammonia - 0
    GH - 280
    KH - 240
    ph - 8
    Temp - 77 (this fluctuates by less than a degree, I run my heaters on an Apex controller and can confirm no temp issues)

    I also test all the breeding/grow out tanks. They have the same stats except they have slightly higher nitrates, around 20, and slightly lower ph. Both differences are due to the plants taking up nitrates and co2 (more co2 in the breeding tanks = lower ph) but it's not really anything drastic. Actually the temps of the breeding tanks are all a little bit different, they are all running their own heaters and they can be a little fussy (those are not on the apex)

    For filtration I use some HOB and some sponge filters in the breeding tanks. For the main tank I use 2 seachem tidal 75's. I don't care for canister filters and these two seem to be doing the job. I am not trying to save every single fry that is born in the main tank, so the occasional fry getting sucked into the filter isn't a big concern. The tidal has multiple intakes anyway so it would be difficult to cover them even if I wanted to.

    Any thoughts?
  2. goplecos Well Known Member Member

    Guppies get super stressed when moving. So when you move the fish try treating like you just got them from the pet store. Bag them move them over and let them acclimate. alternatively since you have all guppies you could just let them breed in the existing tank since guppies don't usually go for babies.
  3. OnTheFly Well Known Member Member

    I am doing something very similar and routinely move fish around without issue. I even move some of my expensive guppy offspring outside to unheated tanks. I see nothing wrong with your water numbers. I think you have some cooties in the community tank. Perhaps bacterial as it is happening fairly fast. If I was having this problem I would be inclined to treat my large tank with a wide spectrum Med for a few days and then try a couple more fish. And be careful with those nets so you don't move any potential disease to the breeding tanks.
  4. ashark8me Member Member

    Thanks for the replies

    I don't make a big fuss moving them ever, as I said in my original post, I routinely move them from one tank to another as they make their way through the grow out tanks and I don't make a big production out of acclimating them. That was kind of my point, they generally do very well with being moved except into the display. I could try some different acclimation procedures but I don't think that is the problem since their parameters are so similar.

    Could be. The weird thing is it doesn't affect the resident fish and the fry born in that tank at all, and the fish show no symptoms until they're just dead. I will look into this though, you may be right. I don't cross nets. When I scoop the fish that get moved, I leave the nets behind with the tank the fish came from. The breeding tanks are in another room so I just leave a net with the main tank and have nets by the breeding tanks.
  5. ashark8me Member Member

    Additionally, if I am to consider treating the main tank, any suggestions on what product to use? In 20+ yrs I have never had to treat an entire tank with medications so this is kind of new to me.
  6. OnTheFly Well Known Member Member

    I am sure you know this but fish can definitely build an immunity to things in their environment. New kid on the block has not been exposed until he hits the tank, and he has to acclimate so he may be more susceptible anyway.

    Seachem Paraguard is my weapon of choice. It's gentle and treats a lot of things. Not a cure-all but unless you know what you are fighting it seems about as good as anything. I have never harmed a guppy with it. Won't hurt BB or any plants that I own.
  7. ashark8me Member Member

    I do know, which is why it's puzzling that other fish, that have been added from the pet store after their QT period was up, have not succumb when the ones I raised myself have.

    But it's like you say, that is the only thing I can think of as well, a pathogen that is in the main tank that is not in the other tanks. I will look into it and see if I want to try a product like that. Stinks that the tank is so big it'll take a lot of product. I could draw it down some I guess but I won't be able to run my tidals then. It'd be great if I had some seeded sponge filters but they're all in use.
  8. Kellye8498 Well Known Member Member

    The difference in a pH of 7.4 and 7.5 is not 1, but 100. Some people don't know or forget that and think the pH is super close when it is really a huge difference. I would recommend drip acclimating so they get used to the difference instead of just dumping them in and see if that solves your problem.
  9. OnTheFly Well Known Member Member

    You can treat it for about ten bucks. Drawing it down some isn't a bad idea. I routinely treat empty tanks with a single dose of Paraguard. It truly seems to kill the easy stuff. I realize I am advising you to shoot an arrow at the sky but you have to try something because now you are killing fish right? Get it all settled and maybe we can swap some young fish someday. I have a couple awesome strains.
  10. ashark8me Member Member

    Yes, I know that ph is logarithmic, and they are pretty close relative speaking compared to, say the difference is one was 8 and one was 7. You are incorrect in stating that 7.5 is 100 times more alkaline that 7.4, however. The correct information would be that a ph of 8 is 10 times more alkaline than 7. To get to 100 you have to go down 2, so a ph of 8 would be 100 times more alkaline than a ph of 6.
  11. ashark8me Member Member

    Yes, unfortunately I have lost about 15 or 20. Definitely worth a try. I'd love to hear what strains you have! I am currently in the process of setting up 3 colonies for specific strains. I have one right now and I'm waiting for the other 2 to arrive. It will be a while before they will have built up to the point where I'll be trying to introduce them so I've got some time to sort this all out. In the meantime I have ceased attempts at planting any more of the current strain I have in there for the time being.
  12. Kellye8498 Well Known Member Member

    100 was a zero typo but yes, what I am saying is that it's a big difference and it is possible that they aren't doing well because of the large change. What harm is there in trying to drip acclimate for 20-30 minutes before adding them to see if they do any better? Not much extra time involved and if it does solve the problem, great. If not then it's back to the drawing board but it's a lot cheaper than treating for a parasite that may or may not be in the tank. If pet store fish do fine in there but your juveniles do not then it doesn't seem like parasites is the problem.
  13. ashark8me Member Member

    I did not say I would not try a different acclimation method, just saying that the difference was not 100x.
  14. OnTheFly Well Known Member Member

    I have half black blues and half black purples. The blues place highly at shows. I claim no credit for developing the strains. Two accomplished breeders did that over the years. I'm just having fun expanding my colony. They are large, breed ike rabbits and tough as nails. I have to sell some to the LFS or buy a larger house soon lol.
  15. ashark8me Member Member

    Those sound really nice, I actually have a couple of half black blues and I wish I could set them apart and try to breed them but the female has been exposed to other males so she wouldn't produce many, if any, offspring from my half black male. So for now I just enjoy them.
  16. ashark8me Member Member

    This is not my picture but this photo is very representative of the strain I am working with right now. I've got a good colony of them going (but obviously none have been successfully introduced to the main tank)
    They are nice, but not like super uncommon or anything. I have 2 more strains coming in a couple of weeks. One that I would classify as "nicer" and one that I'm hoping is nice but I have really not seen great pictures of them, really just the colors appealed to me and I thought they would look good with the black background I have on the tank.
  17. OnTheFly Well Known Member Member

    Reality is you need 10-15 tanks and five years to develop only one true breeding high quality strain. I am finding the middle ground and keeping it fun. I'll finance a few tanks and some food lol. I'll not make a real profit if my time has any value.
  18. OnTheFly Well Known Member Member

    Very nice guppies. Fins are very similar to mine.
  19. ashark8me Member Member

    True story. I think I will not need quite so many because I am just trying to maintain the strain rather than develop it, so I think I get away with having fewer tanks, but right now I've got 4 tanks dedicated to them. 1 has the breeders in it. When they drop fry, those go into the first fry tank where they can get the amount and quality of food they need without a lot of competition from larger fish. After a couple of weeks they move to the second fry tank (because by then more fry have usually come along) where they stay until they are sexable. From there they get sorted into males and females (a 40 br that is divided). Recently, I have selected some outstanding adults to go back to the breeder tank because my original group of 5 (2m, 3F) are getting older and I want to make sure to have the next gen of breeders in place. They were full on adults when I got them in Feb, and no way to know how old they were then so just in case they were on the older side, I'm all set. I also have access to the breeder they came from in case I want to bring in some less closely related fish, but I am really just starting the second generation now, as in having fish of breeding age. Unfortunately much of my first couple of drops went to attempts to get fish into the main tank.
  20. ashark8me Member Member

    I'll try to grab a pic of my half black blues. They're not show quality but I like them. Too bad I'll never get to breed them.