Guppy Dying In Rhythm - Mystery - Strange Behavior

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by infotalk, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. infotalkNew MemberMember

    I am a very new fish tank owner. Got Aqueon 2.5G for my daughter at christmas. It has a good filter and before I started used the soap to make sure water was conditioned.

    I started with 1 Guppy (Yellow) and it worked well for 3 weeks. Daughter asked for 1 more. So we got 1 more guppy (Orange). So now there are 2 guppies in the tank. Exactly after 2 weeks, the guppy that I got earlier (Yellow) died. The tank seemed to be fine.

    So next week we went to the store and got another guppy (Blue). It was great the Blue & Orange we perfectly fine and they were playing. Exactly after 2-2.5 weeks, the Orange guppy (which was already there when I added Blue) died.

    This was very strange because now I have lost both of my original (Yellow and Orange) guppies and I am worried, what is going on. So I think may be I am doing something wrong and decided to not get another fish for next 5 weeks. Interestingly the only guppy remaining now (Blue) continued to survive. It seemed alright. And I thought may be the previous two dead guppies (Yellow and Orange) were sick from the store or something.

    So I let another couple of weeks pass by (now 7 weeks since the Blue one was alone) and decided to add another guppy to the tank (Black). Exactly after 2 weeks now, the Blue one is dead.

    So every time I have added a guppy to the tank the existing guppy dies in 2 weeks. I am not sure what is going on. I feed them flakes once a day in the night.

    Fish experts, please help me. I want to add more than one guppy to the tank but every time I add another guppy the previous one dies. Thank you in advance. Please help me solve this mystery.

    Sample Fish Tank :  
  2. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    Hi, welcome to Fishlore. Sorry about your guppys!
    First I need to ask a few questions so we can get an idea of what might be going on.
    1. What did you mean by "I started used the soap to make sure water was conditioned."
    2. Did you cycle your tank before you put fish in it?
    3. How often do you do water changes and how much water do you replace?
    4. Do you have a filter and heater on the tank?
    5. What are your water parameters now?

  3. infotalkNew MemberMember

    1. Used the water conditioner that came with the fish tank kit for 48 hours before I put the fish in
    2. Yes
    3. 1/3rd water every 2-3 weeks
    4. Filter yes, heater no
    5. Don't know about parameters. I am new. Don't have a kit for parameters. Which one to get ?

  4. FrostedFlakesWell Known MemberMember

    When we ask if you have cycled the tank, we are referring to the nitrogen cycle. I see on your profile you are not aware of the cycle, and I have a feeling this may be why you are losing fish. The nitrogen cycle is an essential part of fishkeeping.

    Here's the simple run down:
    Our fish produce ammonia through their poop, breathing, etc. Unfortunately, ammonia is highly toxic to our fish, even in low quantities. But, nature has a way of fixing that. The nitrogen cycle is the conversion of ammonia to nitrite to nitrate by 2 special strands of bacteria that develop on surfaces in your tank. I am unfamiliar with what filter you have, but it if it had something called "biomedia", that is where the bacteria grows in our filters, usually in the form of ceramic. The good bacteria can also form on sponge within your filter.

    The first strand of bacteria converts the ammonia into nitrite, which is also highly toxic. Then, the nitrite is converted into nitrate which is much less toxic and is only of concern if levels exceed 40 or even more. The cycle is a long process, about a month without fish and without the aid of an effective bacterial supplement. With a fish in, you can use a bacterial supplement to help establish the cycle quick, two weeks-ish, or do frequent water changes until the tank cycles.

    I am so sorry to hear about your guppies! I keep gups too and they like around 75 degrees, maybe more. I'd say for your tank size, you can't do much in the way of a shoal. 2.5 gallons is fairly small and considered by some unsuitable for virtually every fish, myself included. Guppies do like groups so you can't keep them in much smaller than a ten, in my personal opinion. But, if you are willing to upgrade to a 5 gallon, then I would consider a betta fish. Very fun and beautiful fish if I do say so. Some say that bettas could be kept in a 2.5, I disagree, but to each their own. Will a betta die in a 2.5? No, but it just seems a bit crammed to me. Whichever you choose, we are here to help! Ask all the questions you need answering! Also, as for test kit, the best for freshwater is decidedly the API Liquid Master Test Kit.
  5. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    Okay. It sounds like your tank probably wasn't fully cycled before you put the first fish in it and your guppys probably died from high ammonia levels in the tank. Since you haven't tested the tank water, you wouldn't have any way of knowing how much ammonia or nitrite (which are toxic to fish) is in it. Do you have a dechlorinator to treat water you replace in the tank?
    If so, first thing you need to do is a 60% water change (1.5 gallons).
    I recommend getting an API master test kit. It's about 20-25 dollars US. You'll need a kit that tests pH, Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates.
    You'll need to get an aquarium heater for guppys because they're tropical fish and require stable water temperature between 74 to 82°F.
    You'll probably need Seachem Prime while your tank is cycling with fish in it to protect them from ammonia and nitrites.
  6. SarahMcGeeValued MemberMember

    Api master test kit is generally considered to be one of the best test kits. It's a little more complicated to use then the test strips though so watch a YouTube video on how to use one before you buy it and if you don't think you'll like it just get test strips. Another option if your really close to a petsmart or petco is they test water for free. If you have them test your water have the results written down and then post them here don't let the employees sell you any products. I think most of the employees are intentionally given bad information during training so the stores can sell more products.
    Can you test the temperature of your water and let us know what it is? Due to evaporative cooling water is typically several degrees below the temperature of the air in the room if it's not heated. Putting a tight fitting lid on a tank can keep it a few degrees warmer just by stopping evaporation.
    You said you let the tank sit for 48 hours before adding fish. That isn't cycling a tank. It sounds like you might be confused about what cycling a tank is. Cycling is a process where beneficial bacteria is allowed to grow in your filter and on the tank surfaces. This bacteria converts ammonia to nitrite and then nitrite to nitrate. Cycling a tank usually takes at least a month and requires a few things to happen properly. If you have questions about the nitrogen cycle there are posts on this forum to explain it.

    Edited to say oops I'm a slow typer so someone beat me sorry for the repeat info
  7. FrostedFlakesWell Known MemberMember

    I do believe the water being cooler is more because of specific heat than evaporation, and while evaporation does make water a bit cooler, I would ultimately suggest a heater rather than a tighter lid, which would not entirely rid of evaporation and I feel as though a heater would ultimately be more reliable.
  8. SarahMcGeeValued MemberMember

    Oh yeah a heater is definitely more effective then just a lid. You would basically have to heat your house to like 80 degrees to have a tank at optimal temperature for guppies with no heater. But I disagree about specific heat being the reason it's cooler. I've tested this in my own tanks and had 2 tanks sitting without heaters next to each other one had a lid and was 3 degrees warmer then the one with no lid. It's been a few years since my college chemistry classes but if I remember correctly specific heat has to do with the energy needed to change somethings temperature.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  9. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    Here is a Fishlore link that explains the nitrogen cycle:
    You'll need to help your tank through the cycling process and protect the fish that's in it while doing so. The Seacchem Prime temporarily binds with ammonia and nitrites (you'll redose tank every 48 hours) but still leaves them biologically available for nitrifying bacteria to use. Prime also removes chlorine so it can serve as your dechlorinator while cycling as well.
  10. FrostedFlakesWell Known MemberMember

    The heat capacity of water is higher than air, so it takes more energy to heat water than it would for air. Because of this, the air would heat up quicker than water would with the same amount of energy. The same is true for when the air is colder and the water is warmer. It takes more time for it to cool down that air does. A tight lid is hotter because you are trapping in more heat, not solely because you are preventing evaporation. You are essentially insulating the tank. If heat escapes the tank, it is colder. If you have a lid trapping the heat, it is hotter. This is why fish are safe in natural ponds. The temperature doesn't fluctuate a great amount because of the specific heat capacity of water.
  11. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    The heat capacity of water is exactly why having a thermostatic heater in a tank is far better than relying on a 'tight-fitting lid' to maintain temperatures in an above ground aquarium. There is no insulation around the largest area of most tanks-the sides and ends. Granted, putting a tight fitting lid on a tank, with air between the lid and water provides some insulation, BUT the heat capacity of glass is much lower than water and where there is no such 'air cushion' the transfer of outside cold (through temp exchange) to inside water will still occur rather rapidly depending on the volume of water in the tank and outside air temperature and air circulation around the tank. Ponds have the advantage of soil insulation around and under the entire body of water. Since it isn't possible to maintain life in an aquarium that has no surface gas exchange, or some other way of delivering dissolved O2, CO2 etc. to the system, a tight fitting cover, in an environment of significant external temperatures, would be a temporary solution for preventing heat loss at best.
  12. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    So, @infotalk how is Black doing? Have you had a chance to peruse the nitrogen cycle link? Keep posting questions and concerns. Sometimes we get 'off track' with discussions about specific concerns/issues, but you can still get a lot of info. from those as well. Keep us posted!