Guppy Gasping Behaviour After Feeding

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by W_M, May 30, 2018.

  1. W_MNew MemberMember

    Hello, I have a 25 liter (6.6 gallon) tank setup since about 3 months, first I let the plants grow for a bit and 4 weeks ago I started with 5 guppies, only I notice stressed and odd behaviours so now I've come to a forum to see if someone can help.

    Actually one guppy has died already which alarmed me, now I observe them every day to get a grasp on understanding what is the matter. I bought a test kit to test for unhealthy levels, but from what's tested I can't see anything wrong, here are the levels in case anyone is wondering:
    Nitrate: 20-25
    Nitrite: 0
    GH: 6.7 deg
    Carbonate Hardness: 9.0 deg
    PH: 7.6
    Chlorine: 0
    Perhaps the general hardness is a bit low, I've read guppies like harder water, maybe someone can confirm that.

    Here I'll describe my observations.

    One of the fish is taking air, followed by swimming straight down, as if its trying to swallow it, the bubble either comes out from its gills or mouth, and then it repeats this for almost 2 hours after feeding. I feel like it is some kind of survival mechanism, due to she is ignoring any other fish that bite her and goes straight back to doing this process. After about 2 hours, she just gasps for air without swimming down, for about 30 minutes or so, then it just starts swimming again.

    Another fish I noticed today is slowing down to either the bottom or plants, then rolls sideways and shoots forward, like it has a big itch, perhaps in gills, it looks abnormal and unhealthy.

    Then there's another fish sitting near the filter pump outlet, sideways in the stream all the time, perhaps not too alarming, but the fish who died did this all the time too.

    I also notice color intensity of the fish has dropped down a bit.

    Anyway, I'm hoping someone has ideas on what to do, I'm worried. Tell me if more info is required.

    I usually feed once a day, allowing them to eat for about 2-3 minutes. I feed them Tetra - Guppy mini flakes. I also use Tetra AquaSafe conditioner with a water change, changing 20% every 2 weeks.

    I wonder if I need to use more/less conditioner, more/less water changes or give them more/less food. Tab water has almost the same test values, only nitrate is less.

    I made a video, you can see 2 of the described behaviours.
  2. AngelTheGypsy

    AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    From your test results it looks like you are using test strips. These will work in a pinch but are usually not as accurate as a liquid test kit. They also don't test for the very dangerous ammonia, which I assume may be the problem.
    The symptoms you are describing can be from ammonia poisoning. How did you cycle your tank? Also, the fish that is "scratching an itch" is doing just that. Something is irritating him and he is trying to get it off. This could be gill irritation from ammonia, or it could be an external parasite like ich or flukes.
    I would perform a 50% water change, and do this at least weekly. I would also switch to a water conditioner such as Seachem Prime, which will detoxify ammonia and nitrite up to 1 ppm for 24 hours, heling to keep your fish safe in case these levels are elevated. Lastly I would purchase a liquid test kit. Most use the API Freshwater master kit, as it is not too expensive and is very accurate. If that is not possible right now, I would at least pick up some ammonia test strips. They're not as reliable, but better than nothing. (The master kit is more expensive up front, usually between $25-35, but you will get 100s of tests out of it, where with the strips you get 25 for $10, plus have to buy the ammonia ones separate. This actually gets more costly in the long run)
    If you cycled your tank, this may just be a mini cycle from adding too many fish at once. It is easily remedied with frequent water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite in safe levels while waiting for the bacteria colony to catch up.
    If after a water change, the fish don't improve, come back and give us an update and we will go from there.
  3. Keith83Valued MemberMember

    Can you test for ammonia? Also you need to do more frequent water changes. Id do one right now. Do ay
    at least 50 percent. Get seachem prime also. You might have a lot of ammonia in the water and that will not only take out the chlorine, it will detoxify ammonia. what kind of filter are you using and how big is your tank?
  4. Mick Frost

    Mick FrostValued MemberMember

    There are a couple bacterial infections that can cause these behaviours as well, but WCs and monitoring are still your best bet at this point. Your GH is fine. What's the temperature?
  5. OP

    W_MNew MemberMember

    Yesterday I performed a 50% water change to be sure, I was under the impression that water changes weren't that healthy for the fish and plants, due to the lack of beneficial bacteria or minerals to grow on. Also I haven't heard of the term 'cycling an aquarium' before, I did some research and it sounds important. I thought it just needed some time with only plants and then it would be good.

    I indeed used a test strip. Now I've ordered a JBL liquid test kit which includes a NH4+/NH3 test, and also ordered Seachem Prime, they should be arriving hopefully tomorrow, I'll post the test results when I can.

    Another note is that my plants don't grow as successful, all plants create new leaves, but they're all transparent and turn brown easily. Perhaps it says something meaningful, myself I thought it was because of too many water changes and the lack of nutrients in the water.

    As for filter, I use a stock filter which comes with the Ciano aquarium, I have a 25 liter (6.6 gallon) tank with a filter that uses small cartridges, it's a chemical filter which should keep the water clear from colour and small debris, it needs changing every 30 days.  

    Water temperature is 27 C (80 F), I have an automatic heater that keeps it above or around 23 C (73 F).

    I'll read some more about cycling an aquarium.

    Thanks for the responses.
  6. Mick Frost

    Mick FrostValued MemberMember

    Not familiar with the filter, but it looks similar to our TopFins. The bottom section is just foam, right?
    If so, the foam should be squeezed out and rinsed in tank water during a WC, not replaced. The "biological" section can be filled with bio rings or more foam, again no replacement necessary. The "chemical" part is optional, and can be used on an "as needed" basis with Carbon, Zeolite, etc.
    80 degrees is a little warm for freshwater (oxygen levels start to decline), but it's not the issue here.
  7. OP

    W_MNew MemberMember

    Hello again,

    I've done the liquid tests, all dangerous chemical levels seem to be near zero, only the nitrate test shows some change in color, but shouldn't be harmful at 4 ppm.
    NH4: < 0.05 ppm
    NO2: < 0.01 ppm
    PH: 7.75

    As for how it's currently standing, the fish who I said wasn't too alarming sitting in the stream is currently dying, it hardly eats, swims and sits at the bottom of the tank, sometimes it gathers strength and comes to the top, but it mainly lays down, it also has a heavily decayed tail fin. I don't like to see it suffer.

    Today I've done more water changes one of 40% and a smaller of 10%. I'm wondering if it can hurt to change 10-15% water every day. Do fish do well on tab water? My tab water contains no chlorine and is considered very clean, it has a GH of 6.5.

    The other fish gasping now does this also when not being fed. I just think it's something to do with the water quality although I can't seem to measure it.

    Also I've added a biological filter to the filter system. I noticed the filter was clumped up with brown slime, maybe that says something, I've cleaned it and changed the filter media.

    If anyone has ideas, they're welcome.

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