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Sick Guppy Help

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by rmh105, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. rmh105New MemberMember

    Hey everyone. I am new to the whole fish keeping and forum thing but i figured this was the best way to get some advice.

    A few months ago, I helped a friend set up a 10 gal fish tank. I told him about how to fishless cycle it and everything. He, however, was stupid and got a few guppies to cycle his tank. Two of them survived. Fast forward to a few days ago: I just set up a 5 gal in the hopes of getting a betta when it cycled. I have a filter (sponge, rated for 10 gal) and gravel and all the necessary stuff (including 3 live plants). However, my idiot friend decided to bring me his guppies knowing that my tank isn't yet cycled. He wouldn't take them back and I don't know anyone else that will take them.

    This brings me to my question: Are my guppies going to die or is there anything I can do to save them? I have only had them for 24 hours now but I am attached to them.

    I found this question thing I will try to fill out to help:


    What is the water volume of the tank? 5 gallons
    How long has the tank been running? -Like 3 days?
    Does it have a filter? -Yes. Sponge rated for 10 gallon
    Does it have a heater? -Yes
    What is the water temperature? -78 degrees F
    What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) -Two guppies of unknown variety

    How often do you change the water? -I haven't yet but I plan to weekly
    How much of the water do you change? -Haven't yet but plan to 10-15%
    What do you use to treat your water? -Aqualife Complete Water Conditioner
    Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? -water

    *Parameters - Very Important
    Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? -No (I realize this is more than likely the problem)
    What do you use to test the water? -API Liquid Test Kit
    What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

    Ammonia: 0
    Nitrite: 0
    Nitrate: 0
    pH: 7.2

    I feel it is important to note that he gave me a bottle of tetra safe start plus with the fish and I followed the directions on the back before adding them.

    How often do you feed your fish? -Once a day
    How much do you feed your fish? -a little pinch. only what they eat in a couple minutes
    What brand of food do you feed your fish? -I am not sure
    Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? -I have given them bloodworms

    Illness & Symptoms -Only one of the two fish is showing signs of illness, the other seems fine
    How long have you had this fish? -24 hours. My friend had them for a few weeks I think.
    How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? -I noticed before we put them in my tank
    In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? -Erratically spinning in circles and twitching. If you look up whirling disease it looks like that.
    Have you started any treatment for the illness? -Not really. I read it might be swim bladder so I attempted to feed him a pea because that might help?
    Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? -I don't believe so
    How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? -The erratic swimming, hanging out at the top or bottom of the tank, not eating, my friend says he is slightly paler

    Any advice will help! I realize it is probably water conditions but on the off chance it isn't, any advice is appreciated!
  2. SomeoneFISHyValued MemberMember

    It seems safe, keep monitoring the ammonia, and nitrites. Nitrates are important, but less dangerous. I would recommend getting some beneficial bacteria, to give the tank a boost. I would add more than you need, since this seems like an emergency. Other people would have more info.

    I let my tank run for a few days, then I added in fish. They should be OK. But your friend added them in immediately, which caused the sickness. Just my experience.
  3. GuppyDazzleWell Known MemberMember

    First of all, fish-in cycling is not "stupid." There are more ways than one to accomplish what you need to with aquariums. Different people use different methods. Some people think that only their chosen method must be used, and anyone who doesn't fully agree with them is "stupid," evil, cruel, etc. Seeing those kinds of opinions is probably where you got descriptions like "stupid" and "idiot" to describe your friend.

    You have everything you need to accomplish a successful fish-in cycle. Test your water every day until a pattern is established. Do partial water changes to keep combined ammonia and nitrites at 1 ppm or below, and your fish will be fine. API Prime is recommended for water changes because it detoxifies ammonia and nitrites as well as dechlorinating tap water. One you have zero ammonia, zero nitrites, and a nitrate reading, you're cycled, and you can reduce the frequency of water changes to keep nitrates from getting too high.

    I don't recommend adding bottled bacteria when you're doing a fish-in cycle because you can't do those water changes and your test readings will be out of whack and you won't be able to see what's going on with your cycle.

    You'll be fine as long as you're diligent about testing and doing partial water changes based on the test readings.
  4. JChiValued MemberMember

    They will be ok!! I had to do an emergency fish-in cycle and my fish survived. I was upgrading my tank when my 7yo accidentally spilled an entire can of fish food in her smaller tank which spiked the tank and caused all kinds of issues!

    Here's how I did it, and I didn't lose my fish, and they didn't get sick either. I tested at the same time before feedings so that I could get a 1:1 comparison.
    • If it was 1 ppm combined, I dosed with prime and went on my merry way. Prime "locks up" the bad stuff but only for 24-48 hours and overdosing is better than under according to their site.
    • If my levels were over 1 ppm combined, I did a water change and dosed with Prime. I dosed for the full tank but added to the new water first. I also grabbed the water at the top of the tank and didn't disturb the substrate as to let the bacteria build up.
    • I added in TSS bacteria daily
    • I started the weekly cleaning after the first week, but was lighter on the gravel vacuum than I am now that the tank is cycled. I mainly just focused on getting up the poop so that wouldn't contribute to the ammonia in the tank
    • I did not touch the filter or any of the decorations
    It felt like forever before the ammonia went to zero, but once that happened then it seemed like overnight my tank was cycled.