Parasites, bad water, or both?

KiwiFish22

Hi all. I've been dealing with sick fish for a few weeks and after starting out with 9 guppies im down to 3 with it looking like another is on his way out This all started a few weeks ago after getting 3 new guppies and they all died within the week with 2 of the 3 getting clear stringy poop. After posting on here it seemed I was dealing with parasites. I tried to treat with Imagitarium Parasite Remedy. I did a 3 day treatment but didn't realize I was supposed to take out the carbon filter so a few days later did another 3 day treatment with the carbon filter out. I lost more fish during this time before finally getting the API Master Test Kit and found out my Ammonia was .25ppm and Nitrites were between .5-1.0ppm with Nitrates at 5.0ppm. I started another treatment but after talking to the LFS the guy said he thought it was from the water quality so I stopped the parasite treatment and got a thing of Microbe-lift Special Blend Water Care and that had helped the water alot! My ammonia is now down close to 0ppm, nitrites are less than .25ppm, and nitrates are still 5.0ppm. I also tested my tap water and the ammonia was 1.0ppm so I figured I found the cause of my sick fish. Until today when 2 of my remaining 3 guppies started having clear stringy poop, they had also started swimming at the top of the tank in the last couple days as well. My endler guppy has been hiding majority of the day. When I saw him a few times his tail was down and his fins clamped. The other guppy with clear poop is sometimes at the top of the tank but is still sometimes swimming with my only guppy that has remained totally untouched in all of this. Basically at this point idk if I should be treating for parasites or assuming it was the chloramines in the tap water? I was going to get a bottle of Seachem Prime to use as a conditioner going forward and was considering buying API General Cure for the parasites. Its a 20 gallon tank that has been set up since Oct 31st and has 3 guppies and a bn pleco, if any of that is important as well!
 

The2dCour

If you didn't let your tank cycle, didn't use a water conditioner, and the ammonia and nitrites were above 0 most likely parasites weren't your problem.
 
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KiwiFish22

I have been using a water conditioner just not one that works with ammonia since i didn't know my tap water had it in it. I was told my tank had cycled but I was taking the word of my LFS cause I didn't have a water test at home, once I got one was when I found out how high my levels actually were. I figured it must have been the ammonia I just wasn't sure anymore because of the clear poop. So is my best plan basically just using Prime from now on and waiting this out?
 
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The2dCour

I have been using a water conditioner just not one that works with ammonia since i didn't know my tap water had it in it. I was told my tank had cycled but I was taking the word of my LFS cause I didn't have a water test at home, once I got one was when I found out how high my levels actually were. I figured it must have been the ammonia I just wasn't sure anymore because of the clear poop. So is my best plan basically just using Prime from now on and waiting this out?
Unless you see something that looks suspiciously like parasites, clean water, stable parameters and time sounds like the plan. Clear poop can mean they aren't eating much and just pooping out mucus or whatever.
 
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Shrimp42

Honestly it's probably both. Livebearers (which includes guppys) are notorious for containing internal parasites, mainly nematodes such as the camallanus worm. However, with 1 nitrites and. 25 ammonia it could be bad water quality. If the fish aren't eating, then that's why they have stringy poop. Stringy poop CAN mean internal parasites, but it's not always the case, it usually is just an empty fecal cast which is caused by the fish not eating.
 
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KiwiFish22

Honestly it's probably both. Livebearers (which includes guppys) are notorious for containing internal parasites, mainly nematodes such as the camallanus worm. However, with 1 nitrites and. 25 ammonia it could be bad water quality. If the fish aren't eating, then that's why they have stringy poop. Stringy poop CAN mean internal parasites, but it's not always the case, it usually is just an empty fecal cast which is caused by the fish not eating.
They have still been eating but I've been feeding a little less because I didn't wanna add to the ammonia levels. Also my endler thats struggling looks like his fin might have some rot to it now. Can that also happen from the water quality? He's gone downhill just today it seems. I flipped the light on the get a picture so hes a little more lively now
Unless you see something that looks suspiciously like parasites, clean water, stable parameters and time sounds like the plan. Clear poop can mean they aren't eating much and just pooping out mucus or whatever.
I hope the fish agree with that plan haha thank you for your advice!
 

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Shrimp42

They have still been eating but I've been feeding a little less because I didn't wanna add to the ammonia levels. Also my endler thats struggling looks like his fin might have some rot to it now. Can that also happen from the water quality? He's gone downhill just today it seems. I flipped the light on the get a picture so hes a little more lively now
It very well could be fin rot. The ammonia and nitrites can cause that by weakening the fish's immune system. This leads to bacteria eroding the fins away. The best thing you can do are water changes, and I mean really like daily water changes. Your tank is cycling right now, so in order to protect your current fish you want to keep them safe by keeping ammonia and nitrites low until its cycled. 50%+ daily should work, just keep ammonia and nitrites at .25 and lower. When I started the hobby I had the exact same issue and was advised the exact same advice. It worked for me, so hopefully it will work for you.
 
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KiwiFish22

It very well could be fin rot. The ammonia and nitrites can cause that by weakening the fish's immune system. This leads to bacteria eroding the fins away. The best thing you can do are water changes, and I mean really like daily water changes. Your tank is cycling right now, so in order to protect your current fish you want to keep them safe by keeping ammonia and nitrites low until its cycled. 50%+ daily should work, just keep ammonia and nitrites at .25 and lower. When I started the hobby I had the exact same issue and was advised the exact same advice. It worked for me, so hopefully it will work for you.
I won't be able to do a water change until I get the Prime which won't be until Saturday with the holidays. So I'm hoping the fish can hold on until then! Especially the endler, he's my favorite so I'm really bummed about him not doing well
 
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The2dCour

I won't be able to do a water change until I get the Prime which won't be until Saturday with the holidays. So I'm hoping the fish can hold on until then! Especially the endler, he's my favorite so I'm really bummed about him not doing well
Next best thing is having some water aging in buckets, the chlorine will evaporate eventually. You don't really have ammonia coming out of your tap right?!
 
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Shrimp42

I won't be able to do a water change until I get the Prime which won't be until Saturday with the holidays. So I'm hoping the fish can hold on until then! Especially the endler, he's my favorite so I'm really bummed about him not doing well
Yeah that is bad, I must have missed that part sorry. Just check on the fish from time to time and feed less until you get a hol of some prime. Maybe he'll be tough and pull through, only time will tell. Update me if anything happens or you get get prime and are able to do a water change.
Next best thing is having some water aging in buckets, the chlorine will evaporate eventually. You don't really have ammonia coming out of your tap right?!
Wont chloramines (Might have spelt that wrong) still be present even after aging? That would be just as bad as chlorine. The only way OP can know if he has chloramines in there water is checking there local water report.
 
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KiwiFish22

Yeah that is bad, I must have missed that part sorry. Just check on the fish from time to time and feed less until you get a hol of some prime. Maybe he'll be tough and pull through, only time will tell. Update me if anything happens or you get get prime and are able to do a water change.

Wont chloramines (Might have spelt that wrong) still be present even after aging? That would be just as bad as chlorine. The only way OP can know if he has chloramines in there water is checking there local water report.
I tested my tap water and the ammonia was 1.0ppm, which was double what my tank was at at the time. I could be wrong but everything I read online said that means chloramines? I was able to find like 1 article online from 2009 saying they use chloride and ammonia in the water in my city
Next best thing is having some water aging in buckets, the chlorine will evaporate eventually. You don't really have ammonia coming out of your tap right?!
I tested my tap water with the API kit and it said the ammonia was 1.0ppm
 
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RayClem

Guppies are somewhat tolerant of ammonia and nitrate levels in the tank. They are one of the fish that are often used for fish-in cycles, although adding nine fish at one time would not normally be recommended.

If your tap water is treated with chloramine you have an additional issue as water changes will add ammonia to your tank. That is not a big problem once the colonies of beneficial bacteria are established. In a new tank that is not yet cycled, it can be a problem. Using an ammonia detoxifies such as Seachem Prime can help.

Most parasite treatments are designed to treat external parasites like ich. They may not be effective against internal parasites like worms. A significant percentage of livebearer shipments are infected with internal parasites. One medication recommended for treatment of internal parasites is Hikari PraziPro. It contains praziquantel. However if the issue is camallanus worms, you might need even more powerful meds like fenbenzadole or levimasole.
 
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Shrimp42

Guppies are somewhat tolerant of ammonia and nitrate levels in the tank. They are one of the fish that are often used for fish-in cycles, although adding nine fish at one time would not normally be recommended.

If your tap water is treated with chloramine you have an additional issue as water changes will add ammonia to your tank. That is not a big problem once the colonies of beneficial bacteria are established. In a new tank that is not yet cycled, it can be a problem. Using an ammonia detoxifies such as Seachem Prime can help.

Most parasite treatments are designed to treat external parasites like ich. They may not be effective against internal parasites like worms. A significant percentage of livebearer shipments are infected with internal parasites. One medication recommended for treatment of internal parasites is Hikari PraziPro. It contains praziquantel. However if the issue is camallanus worms, you might need even more powerful meds like fenbenzadole or levimasole.
I completely agree, that's why I didn't know if aging water would be effective against chloramines.
 
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KiwiFish22

Guppies are somewhat tolerant of ammonia and nitrate levels in the tank. They are one of the fish that are often used for fish-in cycles, although adding nine fish at one time would not normally be recommended.

If your tap water is treated with chloramine you have an additional issue as water changes will add ammonia to your tank. That is not a big problem once the colonies of beneficial bacteria are established. In a new tank that is not yet cycled, it can be a problem. Using an ammonia detoxifies such as Seachem Prime can help.

Most parasite treatments are designed to treat external parasites like ich. They may not be effective against internal parasites like worms. A significant percentage of livebearer shipments are infected with internal parasites. One medication recommended for treatment of internal parasites is Hikari PraziPro. It contains praziquantel. However if the issue is camallanus worms, you might need even more powerful meds like fenbenzadole or levimasole.
Sorry I didn't clarify this part: I didnt add 9 at once, I just had 9 when this all started. I got 4 to start with, added 2 more about a week later, one of the original 4 died a few days later I assume because I changed the carbon filter the day before or after a water change, about a week after getting the 2 I got the 3 guppies that I was worried were sick that all died in a week and kinda kicked started my great dying. I thought that would be enough time in-between adding them? Also clearly my math was off and I only had 8, not 9.
I'm going to get Prime on Saturday once stores are open after the holidays again.
So should I treat for parasites then or just assume its the water? I have a bn pleco as well so I know whatever I use has to be safe for invertebrates but I don't know what ones would be good
 
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Shrimp42

Sorry I didn't clarify this part: I didnt add 9 at once, I just had 9 when this all started. I got 4 to start with, added 2 more about a week later, one of the original 4 died a few days later I assume because I changed the carbon filter the day before or after a water change, about a week after getting the 2 I got the 3 guppies that I was worried were sick that all died in a week and kinda kicked started my great dying. I thought that would be enough time in-between adding them? Also clearly my math was off and I only had 8, not 9.
I'm going to get Prime on Saturday once stores are open after the holidays again.
So should I treat for parasites then or just assume its the water? I have a bn pleco as well so I know whatever I use has to be safe for invertebrates but I don't know what ones would be good
Fix the water first, if symptoms continue treat for internal parasites.
 
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RayClem

I completely agree, that's why I didn't know if aging water would be effective against chloramines.

If you age water long enough, the chloramine will evaporate, but it is a far more stable chemical than either chlorine or ammonia alone, so it will take several days. That is why it is becoming more popular with water suppliers. It lasts a lot longer in the pipeline than chlorine alone.

Adding a water conditioner containing sodium thiosulfate breaks the chlorine bond and then reduces the chlorine gas to chlorides. However, a simple water conditioner does nothing for the remaining ammonia (typically 1 ppm). Some of the better water conditioners like Seachem Prime contain other ingredients that will combine with ammonia to render it less toxic to fish. However, the ammonia remains in the system until beneficial bacteria convert it to nitrite and then to nitrate. It will contribute to buildup of nitrates in the tank. Keeping either aquatic plants or emerged plants like Pothos or bamboo will soak up some of the nitrates.

My tap water contains chloramine and it is also very hard (20-29 dGH) and very alkaline (8.2+ pH). I decided that it would be far easier for me to install a RO system to produce water for my aquariums rather than fight three issues. I do have to add minerals back to the RO water, however, to adjust the GH and KH in the tank. I use Seachem Equlibrium to add calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, and potassium. I use a combination of phosphate buffers and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to control the KH and pH.
 
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KiwiFish22

Update: my Endler died while I was at work yesterday when I woke up his fins were really raggedy from fin rot so I knew he didn't have long left. I was able to get Prime on my way home from work though and did a 20-30% water change and my ammonia and nitrites are finally down to 0! Now I'm just hoping my other guppy who was struggling a little bit (but was much healthier than the endler) gets back to 100% health. Thank you all so much for your suggestions!!
 
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