Guppy with clamped tail

potameid

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Hello! I am new to fishlore (and fishkeeping).
My partner and I have a 29 gallon freshwater planted tank, sand substrate. It's been cycled for one month, after a fishless cycle. The water parameters are: pH 7.4, Ammonia 0ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, Nitrate 5ppm, temperature 74.8 F. They have been steady. We currently only have four male guppies. Three appear healthy, but one is increasingly ill. When we first received them, we noticed a few very pale (but not stringy) poops from a few fish. I worried about parasites, but haven't noticed this after the first week.

A week or two ago, we noticed that the coloring of our sick guppy seemed less vibrant. He had a bright yellow head when we purchased him, which is now pale. This week, his tail fin has become progressively clamped. Tonight his tail was the skinniest I had yet seen it, and his swimming was slower and more labored. It's possible that he has a bit of white on the tip of his dorsal fin, but otherwise, his body seems clear of any obvious infection. He is eating normally.

Our sick guppy was previously one of the most active fish in the tank--always playing in the current of the airstone and zipping along. He had a tendency towards aggression, and at first, we wondered if he was merely stressed, trying to establish himself as leader of the pack. (His unofficial name is "Jerk Friend" because of his general behavior. He displayed A LOT, but I didn't witness anyone nipping him.)

Our area of the east coast USA is currently very shut down due to coronavirus. The LFS are closed, and an understocked petsmart is our option. Unsure of what to do, but wanting to take action, we treated the tank this evening with e. m. erythromycin. We removed charcoal from the filter and are using the remaining filter and sponge media. We also have some paraguard, which I have not used.

1) How soon should I see improvement with the erythromycin, if it is working?

2) Since I'm having trouble identifying the illness, should I add any other medications to the tank (like the paraguard) or would this hurt the beneficial bacteria too much? Or, is there a medicine to treat gram negative bacteria that you would recommend? (Note that we would probably need to order online.)

3) How can we prevent a cycle crash? I know that a quarantine tank would have been ideal, but we currently don't have the equipment or a quick means to obtain it.

Thank you for your help and insight! I'm crossing my fingers for this little guy.
 
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potameid

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Oops...just saw that I missed the sticky post! I'll add details I missed in this comment:

Tank
Does it have a heater? yes

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? 1x per week
How much of the water do you change? 25%
What do you use to treat your water? Seachem Prime
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? I vacuum and agitate the sand to prevent ammonia pockets.

*Parameters - Very Important
What do you use to test the water? API Test Kit

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? 1x per day
How much do you feed your fish? 1 small pinch of flakes; they finish in 1 minute
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Aqueon Tropical Flakes
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? Omega One freeze dried shrimp 1-2x per week

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 4 weeks
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No
 

Fisheye

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potameid said:
When we first received them, we noticed a few very pale (but not stringy) poops from a few fish. I worried about parasites, but haven't noticed this after the first week.

-From a fish store or shipped?

A week or two ago, we noticed that the coloring of our sick guppy seemed less vibrant. He had a bright yellow head when we purchased him, which is now pale. This week, his tail fin has become progressively clamped. Tonight his tail was the skinniest I had yet seen it, and his swimming was slower and more labored. It's possible that he has a bit of white on the tip of his dorsal fin, but otherwise, his body seems clear of any obvious infection. He is eating normally.

-He should be removed from the healthy fish. You will need to do daily water changes in the holding container.

We also have some paraguard, which I have not used.

You could dose the holding tank.

1) How soon should I see improvement with the erythromycin, if it is working?

- a week or so.

2) gram negative bacteria that you would recommend?

-how did you come to this conclusion?

I'm crossing my fingers for this little guy.

- Me too!
 
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potameid

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Thanks for your reply!

- From a fish store or shipped?
We bought him from a fish store.

Sadly, we don't have a quarantine tank. Since we just have four guppies, purchased together, we didn't initially quarantine. Right now, I'm not sure I can find everything needed for a quarantine tank. We started fishkeeping right as the pandemic hit, and stores or either closed or haven't restocked for over a month.

-- gram negative bacteria that you would recommend?
-how did you come to this conclusion?

I have no idea what is wrong with him...I just read that some bacterial infections are gram negative and worried that he might have an internal infection that wouldn't be responsive to meds.
 

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