Guppies: red fringe on tail edge, fins close to body

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Lauren

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Hello -

A few weeks ago I suffered infatuation at a pet store & brought home 3 gorgeous male guppies, which I added to my (until now) very healthy male guppy tank.   After about a week the newcomers began dying & I would find them lying on the bottom with no signs of illness (no redness, no change in body shape).   

The following week my own guppies, which I had previously considered very hardy, began dying.   I removed my filter, did a 50% water change, & began treatment with Melafix.   Again, the corpses looked quite normal.   By the 3rd day of treatment there were no more deaths, although I continued the Melafix a coupel more days.

Today I noticed that a few of my males had lost their curves & looked like sheaths; they were having difficulty swimming as their fins seemed stuck to their sides.   Their normally fanned out tails were the same width now as their torsos & a couple had dark red fringes on the ends of their tails (not normal).

I checked pH, which was 6.5-7.0, slightly lower than usual.   Ammonia was 0.   I took the sick males out & put them in a separate small tank.   I tried to get pictures for the forum, but they didn't come out too well; sorry!   Does anyone have any ideas?   I assume it's bacteria from the new fish?
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Isabella

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Well, how large is your tank? How many guppies total do you have in there? Any other fish? If so, what fish and how many? It's good that your ammonia is 0. Do you know your nitrite and nitrate readings? It would be good if you posted them.

Your fish can be getting sick and dying because of poor water quality. Another reason may be that the new fish you bought were sick, and have infected all the others. Or, they may have been healthy, but if you have not acclimatized them properly, they could have gotten sick from that, and then - also - infect all the others.

You first need to know your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate readings. If you have ANY ammonia or nitrite in your water, you should perform daily 50% water changes until they are both at 0. If your nitrate is high, you should also perform larger or more frequent water changes to lower it. Nitrate shouldn't be higher than 20 ppm. However, it should be kept as low as possible when the fish are sick.
 
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Lauren

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The males' tank is 10 gallons & there are probably about 20 fish in there. I do not know my nitrate & nitrite readings; I'll have to buy new kits as my old ones were destroyed in a flood last year. I have the reagents & hardware but the instruction booklet is no good. So annoying.

As far as acclimatization, I floated the bag of new fish in the tank for over an hour. I checked bag water & tank water pH & they were about the same.

The smallest of the quarantined fish has died & the other 2 have lost their red fringe but still look unhappy. I notice that only my yellow guppies have fallen sick while the "mutts" seem untouched.
 

shollia

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20 fish in a 10gallon? Wow! That is extremely overstocked! You really need to go out and get tests for nitrite and nitrate.
I dunno what's wrong with your fish... I'm still a newbie trying to figure everything out still heh... but you should think about either getting a larger tank, or getting another tank so that one isn't so overcrowded...
I'm sure someone will be able to help ya with that.. like what size to get and all that.
OR if you have the option, perhaps taking back some of the fish from where you got them.
 

tan.b

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i know nowt about fish...still learning, but i have a 15gal and cannot imagine having 20 fish in it! so i agree it does sound like a lot. i dont know how many your 10 gal could manage though. i'm sure someone else can help you with that bit!
 

Izabela

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Hello Lauren,

Your guppies sound pretty sick. With the tank being so overstocked it could be a number of things. They could be stressed from overcrowding and the stress lowered their immune system, thus making them more susceptible to disease. They could be nipping at each other, especially with the crowding situation. I only have 3 guppies and they do sometimes chase each other and try to "fight". Also, it could be tail/fin rot. I'm amazed that your ammonia level is 0, but that is good, very good. You really need to know the other levels....with an overstocked tank these levels are usually way too high, and FREQUENT water changer are a must. Even if your nitrite is ok, the nitrate will just buil up so quickly.

Just think of it this way...20 guppies in a 10 G tank is like 20 people sharing a 1 bedroom apartment...there will be crowding, disagreements and competition for space. If you can't upgrade to a bigger tank or get another 10, and can't take them back to the store, perhaps you can post to your local freecycle board...this is what I did with my molly fry and have plenty of experienced fishkeepers more than happy to take them. Estimating that adult guppies will grow to about 2 inches, you should have no more than 5 in your 10 gallon tank....maybe 6-7 if you really keep up with the water changes. Good luck and keep us posted
Izabela
 
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Lauren

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There have been that many fish in the tank for over a year without any problems or signs of stress until the recent introduction of new fish which I mentioned in my original post.   These are my 4th generation of these particular guppies & I think I know them pretty well.   I spend a lot of time with them & with the tank.

I did go through the water condition **** for the first year I had fish & I do my best to be vigilant.   A new nitrite kit is certainly on the list. I got a bit lax with it since it's always tested low to nothing. I notice my fish are sensitive to pH, so that is what I have focused on & so far so good.

I was wondering if anyone recognized the symptoms 3 of my fish have so that I could maybe treat them.   If not, then it's not a big deal; the tank seems to have recovered although I will keep treating it for the time being.   The 3 fish I quarantined don't look like they're going to make it, but at least the rest are ok.

Thanks for your responses & I hope everyone had a great weekend.
 

Izabela

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Well, I'm glad you're staying on top of your water maintenance. One comment though...just because fish survive in a certain crowded environment does not mean that is what is best for them. I guess what we were trying to tell you is what the best conditions for the fish are. I mean, 20 people can survive in a small apartment....just won't be too comfortable is all. Anyways, hope your 3 little guys get better, and good luck to you.

Izabela
 
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Lauren

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Thanks Izabella...

I would love to have a lower population & am truly working toward that, but the 20-fish tank isn't the priority right now; I'm still trying to preach birth control to these kids. I donate fish to 3 different pet stores because I made the mistake of not separating 6 fish a long time ago. It's taken months to separate the males & females in my 25-gallon tank & I've been depositing them in "Boy" & "Girl" tanks, & the ones I didn't catch in time are now proud parents, with me pulling my hair out. I have some friends with arowanas but I can't bring myself to donate to them just yet. But I'm getting close.

1 quarantined fish died, but the other 2 actually look pretty good today, & are eating. The red fringe is completely gone from one & much diminished in the other. I am keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks very much everyone. =)
 
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