Lethargic Guppies - Question unique to my situation

Ioiwin

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Hi all, I have a 10 gallons tank with 5 male guppies had them for a few weeks maybe. Parameters are ammonia/nitrite = 0 and nitrates 5-20 (about 10)

Just yesterday and today it seems like 2 of them have been lethargic, mostly keeping to the surface or one area, no interest in swimming around, tails kind of tight, sometimes tail pointing downwards, with 1 of the guppies a big belly. I’ve done a lot of research and looks like it could be multiple causes.

I think they may have ate too much, I feel I may have been feeding them too much. I will hold off for 2 days. One of them had a big brown poop with a long white stringy poop attached to it.

What do you guys think could be the possible problems? I have API general cure coming tomorrow. Should I let it ride and give them a pea in 2 days? Would they just “snap” out of this?

Or should I use the API cure for the heck of it? Will there be any risks to my tank or other fish if I do? I don’t have carbon filter in there now, do I need to add a carbon layer after API cure treatment?

Thank you all!
 

vyrille

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Hi all, I have a 10 gallons tank with 5 male guppies had them for a few weeks maybe. Parameters are ammonia/nitrite = 0 and nitrates 5-20 (about 10)

Just yesterday and today it seems like 2 of them have been lethargic, mostly keeping to the surface or one area, no interest in swimming around, tails kind of tight, sometimes tail pointing downwards, with 1 of the guppies a big belly. I’ve done a lot of research and looks like it could be multiple causes.

I think they may have ate too much, I feel I may have been feeding them too much. I will hold off for 2 days. One of them had a big brown poop with a long white stringy poop attached to it.

What do you guys think could be the possible problems? I have API general cure coming tomorrow. Should I let it ride and give them a pea in 2 days? Would they just “snap” out of this?

Or should I use the API cure for the heck of it? Will there be any risks to my tank or other fish if I do? I don’t have carbon filter in there now, do I need to add a carbon layer after API cure treatment?

Thank you all!
Generally my rule of thumb is, if you feel you're feeding too much, you probably are. I think fasting for 2 days and then unshelled peas is the right call, medications not so much. Unless you have good enough reason to believe that it's parasites, other than stringy poop, then fine. Otherwise, hold off the meds for now.
 
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Ioiwin

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Generally my rule of thumb is, if you feel you're feeding too much, you probably are. I think fasting for 2 days and then unshelled peas is the right call, medications not so much. Unless you have good enough reason to believe that it's parasites, other than stringy poop, then fine. Otherwise, hold off the meds for now.
Is there a reason as to wait for adding meds? Is there any reason not to? As in, will it negatively affect my tank or other fish? Just curious... thank you

Generally my rule of thumb is, if you feel you're feeding too much, you probably are. I think fasting for 2 days and then unshelled peas is the right call, medications not so much. Unless you have good enough reason to believe that it's parasites, other than stringy poop, then fine. Otherwise, hold off the meds for now.
Is there a reason as to wait for adding meds? Is there any reason not to? As in, will it negatively affect my tank or other fish? Just curious... thank you
 

vyrille

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Is there a reason as to wait for adding meds? Is there any reason not to? As in, will it negatively affect my tank or other fish? Just curious... thank you
My primary reason for holding off is because API general cure has an antibiotic in it (metronidazole), and that while considered relatively safe, can potentially exacerbate your problem by 1) causing undue stress during treatment, 2) upsetting the fish's gut bacteria, resulting in the fish version of psuedomembranous colitis, causing their gut to swell further, 3) selective targeting of relatively harmless bacteria, leaving more space for possible pathogenic bacteria to grow.

While these are really worst case scenarios, they are risks that are imo unnecessary, especially if the fasting works, because firstly we don't know what's causing your fish to bloat. for all we know it's an osmoregulation problem, and the bloating is actually fluid buildup. Secondly, should it be actually a bacterial infection causing the bloat, metronidazole won't touch it, that would be the job of another antibiotic (kanamycin, for example).

All that said, the decision ultimately is on which you are willing to risk, really. Should you decide to go ahead and treat and they recover, then great! I've also had my 'no way!' moments treating with antibiotics as a nothing-to-lose attempt and manage to save fish. The hobby is a constant learning process and the forums are here so we can learn from each other. Much of the microbiology side of fish illness is sadly pretty much guesswork for the average hobbyist, without microscopes, culture agars, stains, prevalence charts, and CNS plates. but what i suggested is what I would personally do, if it were my tanks and my fish, and sadly that's all the assurance i can offer you..
 
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Ioiwin

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My primary reason for holding off is because API general cure has an antibiotic in it (metronidazole), and that while considered relatively safe, can potentially exacerbate your problem by 1) causing undue stress during treatment, 2) upsetting the fish's gut bacteria, resulting in the fish version of psuedomembranous colitis, causing their gut to swell further, 3) selective targeting of relatively harmless bacteria, leaving more space for possible pathogenic bacteria to grow.

While these are really worst case scenarios, they are risks that are imo unnecessary, especially if the fasting works, because firstly we don't know what's causing your fish to bloat. for all we know it's an osmoregulation problem, and the bloating is actually fluid buildup. Secondly, should it be actually a bacterial infection causing the bloat, metronidazole won't touch it, that would be the job of another antibiotic (kanamycin, for example).

All that said, the decision ultimately is on which you are willing to risk, really. Should you decide to go ahead and treat and they recover, then great! I've also had my 'no way!' moments treating with antibiotics as a nothing-to-lose attempt and manage to save fish. The hobby is a constant learning process and the forums are here so we can learn from each other. Much of the microbiology side of fish illness is sadly pretty much guesswork for the average hobbyist, without microscopes, culture agars, stains, prevalence charts, and CNS plates. but what i suggested is what I would personally do, if it were my tanks and my fish, and sadly that's all the assurance i can offer you..
Thank you this is great information. As far as my fish symptoms and looks like my water parameters are correct, can these guppies “snap” out of it? As in, they are super lethargic and don’t even want to swim really, just staying afloat and occasionally using their tail. What are general causes of this exact behavior besides parasites/infection? Would overfeeding and then fasting help them get back to normal? Or am I.... looking more towards them not making it? I know it all depends but not sure how serious this behavior was....
 

vyrille

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I honestly cannot say. If they seem much worse now than what you described in the first post it may be progressing faster than a normal constipation problem. You can try doing an epsom salt bath for them, 1/4 tsp of espom salt per gallon of water and put them in there for 15-30mins if they can tolerate it.
 
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Ioiwin

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I honestly cannot say. If they seem much worse now than what you described in the first post it may be progressing faster than a normal constipation problem. You can try doing an epsom salt bath for them, 1/4 tsp of espom salt per gallon of water and put them in there for 15-30mins if they can tolerate it.
I would quarantine them in another tank correct? Am I supposed to have a filter etc in this other tank? What does epsom salt bath do?
 

vyrille

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I would quarantine them in another tank correct? Am I supposed to have a filter etc in this other tank? What does epsom salt bath do?
The quarantine tank should be cycled, so yes a filter is a must. If you don't have one, the main tank will do. You will be doing baths anyway, you won't be dosing the entire tank. Take a bucket or similar receptacle, fill it with a gallon or two of water, deep enough to submerge the fish completely with some clearance, and then add 1/4 tsp epsom salt per gallon. If your fish can tolerate it, you can add upto 1 tsp per gallon. Epsom salts are used to treat fluid retention in fish, like that from swim bladder disease, bloatedness, dropsy, etc. In fact I'm currently treating a swordtail with suspected SB issues with epsom as well :/
 
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Ioiwin

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The quarantine tank should be cycled, so yes a filter is a must. If you don't have one, the main tank will do. You will be doing baths anyway, you won't be dosing the entire tank. Take a bucket or similar receptacle, fill it with a gallon or two of water, deep enough to submerge the fish completely with some clearance, and then add 1/4 tsp epsom salt per gallon. If your fish can tolerate it, you can add upto 1 tsp per gallon. Epsom salts are used to treat fluid retention in fish, like that from swim bladder disease, bloatedness, dropsy, etc. In fact I'm currently treating a swordtail with suspected SB issues with epsom as well :/
I see. This bath bucket.... do I have to fill it with aquarium water or just treated tap water (with prime)? Is a gallon necessary for 2 guppies? Can I just do 1/2 gallon? Also, how long do I keep them in the bath and when are they safe to return or how do I see if it worked? Thanks...
 

vyrille

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I see. This bath bucket.... do I have to fill it with aquarium water or just treated tap water (with prime)? Is a gallon necessary for 2 guppies? Can I just do 1/2 gallon? Also, how long do I keep them in the bath and when are they safe to return or how do I see if it worked? Thanks...
Tank water would be better to avoid large differences in the other water parameters. you'll be changing the osmotic pressure drastically, so it's best leave the other water variables alone. A gallon is a good minimum to allow waste dilution while they're in the bath, in fact more would be better. Keep them in for 15-30mins, 30 if they seem okay with it, 15 if they seem stressed. If at any point they start swimming erratically, like darting and bumping into the walls, stop the treatment immediately. Also, i wouldn't expect a single bath treatment to instantly make them well again, if at all. i do it twice a day and see the response.
 
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Ioiwin

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So looks like another guppy is sick. It seems like 3-4 weeks of having each guppy it gets lethargic, now this one has a long stringy poop also. I’ve done weekly water changes. Is there something I’m doing wrong? Why is each guppy getting sick at right about a month? Do I need to treat the tank with general cure? Thank you..
 

vyrille

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So looks like another guppy is sick. It seems like 3-4 weeks of having each guppy it gets lethargic, now this one has a long stringy poop also. I’ve done weekly water changes. Is there something I’m doing wrong? Why is each guppy getting sick at right about a month? Do I need to treat the tank with general cure? Thank you..
Hi! Do they recover and then get sick, or is it a new one gets sick after a month and stay sick?
 
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Ioiwin

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Well, 2 of my other guppies Got sick 1 week ago, and didn’t recover. Now this is a brand new 3rd one that got sick 1 week after the other ones got sick, I’ve had it for about a month. It’s swimming slowly, has a long poop attached to it, and not eating and swimming like it used to. I was hesitant to use medication based on the above posts. Not sure why they’re getting sick?
 

vyrille

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Well, 2 of my other guppies Got sick 1 week ago, and didn’t recover. Now this is a brand new 3rd one that got sick 1 week after the other ones got sick, I’ve had it for about a month. It’s swimming slowly, has a long poop attached to it, and not eating and swimming like it used to. I was hesitant to use medication based on the above posts. Not sure why they’re getting sick?
1 week is too long for simple overeating. I would start medications at this point. Do you have a quarantine tank? And are the fish still eating?
 

vyrille

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Would the long poops be parasites?
Not necessarily. Long white fish poo is equivalent to human diarrhoea. It could be parasites, bacteria, stress, or even something they ate that they didn't agree with. If seen only once in a while, it could be normal, but for OP's case it seems to spread and progress so it appears to be either bacterial or parasitic.
 
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Ioiwin

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So, what constitutes a quarantine tank? Would it be a whole new setup with filter etc? I have a 3.5 gallon tank that is empty. How would I set this up as a quarantine tank?

Can this parasite simply go away on its own? Can I treat the whole tank (with all 5 guppies in it) or should I only treat affected fish in a quarantine tank? Sorry for all the questions I have never dealt with this. Thanks

1 week is too long for simple overeating. I would start medications at this point. Do you have a quarantine tank? And are the fish still eating?
The sick fish ate a little, but not like it used to. It used to devour the food the most before. Other 4 fish are OK for now....
 

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IMHO, I would treat all of them. But not sure what with.

i bought 3 pairs of top quality guppies from overseas. One male was doa, and One male I added to another guppy tank as she had no mate ( all very well documented )A week later, one had babies. The next day she died. Then a few days later one had 5 fry and died next day. This morning the biggest one, who looked ready to birth any minute died later that day. No babies...

stupidly I thought the deaths were from birthing. All I have left, is two superior males in with the wrong mates.
if I had treated them, I think it would be a different story. The last one to die, wasn’t pregnant, just hugely bloated, but eating very well.
 

vyrille

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So, what constitutes a quarantine tank? Would it be a whole new setup with filter etc? I have a 3.5 gallon tank that is empty. How would I set this up as a quarantine tank?

Can this parasite simply go away on its own? Can I treat the whole tank (with all 5 guppies in it) or should I only treat affected fish in a quarantine tank? Sorry for all the questions I have never dealt with this. Thanks
A quarantine tank is a whole new setup with its own mature and cycled filter. It cannot share water with the main tank. Ideally it should also have its own net, and equipment because even a single drop of water can cross contaminate. In your case, however, i would advise treating the entire tank since most likely parasitic eggs and larvae are already in the tank anyway. For internal worms, i would advise getting flubendazole/fenbendazole/mebendazole/albendazole whichever is available to you, combined with general cure.
 
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