Lost A Male Guppy - Not Sure What Killed Him Question

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by surajk, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. surajk

    surajkValued MemberMember

    I lost a male fancy guppy on day3 of stocking my tank. All other fish are doing well.
    day 1 I put them into a cycled tank. he looked good, active and happily chasing the two females.
    day 2 he spent all day either laying on the gravel or up at the surface, early day 3 he was dead. All other fish look healthy and are doing well. No sign of disease. It bothers me because I thought I'd been real careful, but thinking back, I see many possible ways he could've died.

    Thoughts? Any idea what would cause a sudden change in behaviour? colour, fin etc were all good, even when he was dead. key info below:

    Tank - 40litre/10g cycled tank. HOB filter, air-driven box filter, with coral rubble as biomedia, some plants, pea gravel. cycled 2 weeks with Aquamedi Bio Bacta (bottle bac) water temp 26-27c, was cycling 2ppm ammonia levels down to nitrates. Did a 70% water change 1 day before introducing fish. Ammonia zero, Nitrites zero, didnt bother doing nitrates because water change- Ph was 8 (my tap water is 8)

    Fish - stocked six small neon tetras, 1 male fancy guppy, 2 females, 1 small nerite snail. know i shouldn't have done it all at once but thought i could manage the water parameters. Saw a small spike in ammonia to 0.5pmm, but with both filters running ammonia went to zero within a few hours. Could the ammonia spike have killed the weakest fish in the tank? Nitrites consistently at zero. Nitrates at 10ppm day he died.

    The guppy that died came from an lfs in a ~10g tank with 30 or so other guppies, and a dozen snails, running only a box filter - possible nitrate poisoning at lfs? all other fish were from same lfs in slightly better tanks.

    Transport- The lfs guy gave me all these fish and snail in a single bag- they were pretty stressed by the time I got home, took the time to equalise water temp, introduce tank water into the bag etc. didnt check the ph of the water in the bag though - come to think of it, the LFS guy didnt use tank water, he used fresh dechlorinated water in the bag. Possible ph shock, ammonia poisoning during transport?
  2. Morpheus1967

    Morpheus1967Well Known MemberMember

    When you say your bio media is coral rubble, what do you mean? Coral raises ph. And you already have a high ph right out of the tap. Perhaps this is part of the issue. The little guy could not withstand that high of a ph?
  3. Doonze

    DoonzeNew MemberMember

    Guppies, in my experience, live life hard, are full of joy and vigor, and die quickly. The candle that burns twice as bright, and all that. They play hard, breed hard, and burn out. Historically, my guppies had a pretty high morality rate during the accumulation period, and just after. I'd say 15-20%. Most of my other fish have been well below 5%. It's always a gamble with fish store fish. And most keep so many guppies some may be pretty old by the time they finally get caught and sold.

    Many of my fish lived 10 years, even ones that normally are listed as having much shorter life spans. But I could never keep guppies around much longer than about a year. I love their energy and antics, but I hate losing fish. Since I've resurrected my tank I'm on the fence on if I'll even bother with them this time. But they are so much fun!

    For a 10 gallon, that was likely a bit heavy to be adding all them at once. But on a cycled tank.. meh, likely not the cause. pH is a bit high, but not insane. Maybe get some small driftwood for the tank and see if that helps?

    Just my .02 cents...
  4. jjohnwm

    jjohnwmWell Known MemberMember

    Just because a tank is cycled does not mean that there are no limits to introducing fish. A cycled tank has a population of beneficial bacteria that is sufficient to metabolize the ammonia that is present; when there is a relatively huge influx of ammonia-producing organisms (and in a 10-gallon tank, the number you introduced simultaneously is indeed pretty large) there is going to be a spike in ammonia followed by nitrites. It won't last long...just until the bacterial population grows to accommodate the extra ammonia...but it will exist.

    But, honestly, I don't think that killed your fish, especially without having any effect on others. Let's face it: people walking down the street keel over dead periodically, and without an examination by trained medical personnel, or maybe even an autopsy, we wouldn't know why. Aneurisms...heart attacks...strokes...stuff happens.

    Like @Doonze said, guppies live...and then they die.
  5. Mr. Kgnao

    Mr. KgnaoValued MemberMember

    Guppies always seem to be a bit of a toss up, some are nearly indestructible, others are impossible to keep alive. If an organism's reproductive strategy is constant exponential multiplication, a fairly high degree of attrition among the offspring is more or less inevitable.
  6. Doonze

    DoonzeNew MemberMember

    @Mr. Kgnao Exactly right. I didn't want to be graphic, but the guppies survival tacit is to breed like crazy, make a gazillion babies, and carry on because a few survive. I mean they can literally breed themselves to death. I've read stories of tanks where the males largely outnumber the females, of them doing exactly that to the few females. Or even other males if there are not enough females. Crazy fish, guppies.
  7. OP

    surajkValued MemberMember

    I mean just that - I live in Asia where coral rubble is really cheap so we tend to use that as bio-media rather than ceramic noodles. That said, my Ph has been extremely stable at 8. It maybe dropped to 7.8 during cycling but never higher than 8. They might be contributing to hardness and to be honest the tap water in my part of the world is said to be fairly hard. But I thought that was good for guppies. I have not invested in a Gh or Kh kit. If I lose more fish with other parameters fine, I might
  8. OP

    surajkValued MemberMember

    its great to be able to get all this great knowledge from you all. Thanks to everyone who answered!

    Your responses really turned over my perception of guppies - I thought they were this hardy unkillable fish. It sounds like the individuals are not necessarily hardy or long-lived, but the guppy species is. I get it - classic evolutionary biology - lots of kids every month, doesn't matter if they don't make it far past reproductive age. I like how @Mr. Kgnao puts it

    So now I have two female guppies, a wife who's torn up about that male guppy dying (she picked him out) and a toddler with whom I'm am NOT prepared to have that talk about her fishy going to live in that big stream in the sky... yup, no more guppies for now. :)

    I guess I'll let the tank rumble along for a bit and see how big my neons grow before adding any more fish.

    Oh and @Morpheus1967 I think coral rubble is also called live rock rubble. Its essentially the same stuff as live rock but without being 'live' - no organisms. it gets colonized by BB in the filter and tank. It is also supposed to help keep ph stable according to lfs, but they couldn't tell me how. Will post if I find out through research

    I do have some driftwood that's tied to plants. tbh I've been monitoring ph and its been rock solid at 7.8-8. even when I was adding ammonia while cycling I got ammonia at 2ppm and nitrates at 50-60ppm, I still saw my Ph at 8 - I'm using the API master kit.

    hmmm.. Maybe the high range ph bottle is a dud. I think I'll put a little lime juice into the test tube and see if the reading changes.
  9. OP

    surajkValued MemberMember

    I'm going to close out this thread but wanted to share my final conclusions:
    I think it was bad acclimation that killed my guppy, which is partly my fault, partly LFS. The guy at LFS bagged him in clean water, not his tank water. This must've been a pretty bad shock in itself. My acclimation to my tank was also half-assed, done in 0.5 hour with 50% water changes in the bag. There's a note in the beginners forum - early mistakes thread that talks about how they lost a 9 male guppies through bad acclimation. Not to mention fancy male guppies are likely highly inbred and weak

    Ph bottle is fine, Ph is now down to 7.8, Amo , No2 both zero, nitrates at 10-20ppm. Water change over the weekend. All the other fish are happy. Snail seems happy. guess they're just made of hardier stuff.

    Coral (lr) rubble keeps ph stable by dissolving calcium into the water when ph drops - little research in the same forum. probably by the same mechanism will raise ph when put in low ph tap water.

    Again, Thank you everyone for your answers.