Why Are My Guppies Swimming More Slowly?

  1. guppiesandpuppies Member Member

    Hi. I have three adult male guppies. Two days ago (7/9/17), I switched them from a 5.5-gallon tank to a 10-gallon tank. I rinsed all the new stuff thoroughly before put it in the tank or on the tank and I scrubbed the inside of the tank with one of my aquarium sponges (without soap or any other chemicals, of course) with some water. My guppies having been swimming more slowly than usual for the past two days. The only two potential causes I can think of are that I know the nitrates went to 0 ppm and they were at 5 in the old tank and that I haven't yet added enough crushed coral to the filter for the new tank because I keep forgetting and so the pH went down quite a bit. How much more crushed coral should I put in? I have two tablespoons in there. Actually, I just realized I forgot to feed them today, so that may be what's causing it today, I guess. But I know it's common to skip every other day of feeding guppies if a tank is cycling, so it doesn't seem like that could be the cause. If it's the nitrates, what can I do to fix it other than just waiting for the nitrates to go up?

    Water parameters from the last two times I tested it:

    Nitrate 5 ppm
    Nitrite 0 ppm
    Ammonia about 0 ppm
    High range pH 7.9-8.0

    Nitrate 0 ppm
    Nitrite 0 ppm
    Ammonia 0 ppm
    High range pH less than 7.4?
    pH 7.6

    I planned to test it on 7/7, but I couldn't do it (I don't remember why) and then I just completely forgot about it until the night of 7/8, when I had already decided I was getting a new tank on the morning of 7/9, and I was thinking that the testing could probably wait 12 hours, especially since the new tank is much bigger and would therefore require a big water change. Then after I set it up, I figured that I should give the tank a day to get itself properly working for filtration because if I tested it now, I might get a result that just wouldn't be true in a few hours, and if it were a bad result I got, I'd try to fix it and maybe accidentally make things worse.

    Their gills are getting red now, so I'm gonna go test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates again.
  2. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Did you put the old filter media into the new filter?
  3. guppiesandpuppies Member Member

    Ok, all of the test results I just got:

    Nitrate about 1 ppm
    Nitrite 0 ppm
    Ammonia 0 ppm
    High range pH less than 7.4

    Can't test normal pH because I don't have any more test tubes ready right now (some are drying and the ones that are still in the box I bought them in were stored with the test kit, and I'm very cautious about the chemicals in the test kit, so I'll have to wash those test tubes before I can use them).

    No, I used the old filter as the only filter on the new tank, with its old media and all. It's a filter meant for the new tank's size.
  4. fjh Well Known Member Member

    How did you acclimate the fish? Or did you just net them and move to the new tank?

    Since your parameters between the tanks are so different, that might be the problem.

    Also as a side note, if you used the filter media from the old tank, then the 10g is already cycled :) some people have a fasting day once a week to minimize waste and prevent certain health issues like swim bladder, but it's not necessary and I don't see why you would feed every other day in your new tank.
  5. guppiesandpuppies Member Member

    First I'll say this: From when I put them in the Tupperware container with only some of the old tank's water so I could start draining the water of the old tank to when I was finished putting water, gravel, the heater, the filter, the decorations, and the seaweed clip in the new tank, about 2.5 hours passed. Partially because I accidentally forgot to clean the new stuff and test the new light before putting them in the container and partially because until after putting them in the tank, I didn't think of the fact that some of the stuff I did (the seaweed clip, for instance) could've waited until after they were in the tank. This long amount of time meant the water in the container to become cooler while they were in it. The water I put in the new tank was warmer than the water in the container once I was ready to get them out. I didn't want to keep them in the container's water much longer to wait for the temperature of the tank's water to go down because I was sure the container's water had become unhealthy. So I poured some more water in the tank. It was very cold water to make the temp go down. Shortly after, I stuck my arm in the tank to make sure its water temp was the same throughout the tank. It seemed like it was. I put one finger in the container's water and one in the tank and the container was still a little cooler than the tank. I checked the tank's thermometer (which I now know was likely to be wrong because it's a sticker thermometer) and it said some temp that was fine for guppies (don't remember which temp), and I didn't want to keep them in unsafe water anymore, and it seemed to me like them going into a new temperature all at once was safer than them staying in water in a small-ish container that they had already pooped a lot in.

    Ok, now the answer to the questions: Because I thought the parameters would be the same as my old tank, and because of the above, I didn't see any need to acclimate them. I just netted them and moved them.

    I don't plan to feed every other day. I plan to continue feeding them every dayI meant I accidentally forgot to feed them and that may have caused the problem today, but it seems unlikely, since some people feed their guppies every other day and their guppies don't start swimming more slowly.
  6. fjh Well Known Member Member

    Hmm well based on everything you said, your fish are probably in shock right now. If none of them have died yet, they will probably be fine and just need time to recover. Don't add anything else to change the ph, 7.4 is fine for guppies and it'll take longer for them to recover if the parameters keep changing.

    On another side note, do you use dechlorinator? Or well water? Or some other way to elimitate chlorine? I'm not sure if you use tap water, but that always has chlorine/chloramines added by the water company. It's fine for showers etc, but is detrimental to your tank.
  7. guppiesandpuppies Member Member

    I use Prime and when I put the new water in the new tank, I think I used Stability just in case my tank wouldn't get an instant cycle from using the old filter.

    The reason why I may have to add more crushed coral is because before I added it to the old tank, my pH kept swinging from 7.4-7.9 and back. It was gradual, but still bad.
  8. vin Well Known Member Member

    For future reference, use as much of your old tank's water in your new tank as possible. All of it if you can, and gradually add treated water to the new tank to fill it. Much like acclimating fish to your main tank some of the water chemistry will carry over. Also this where that floating thermometer we were telling you about comes in handy. You can use it in the bucket you use to fill your tank to get the water as close to optimum temperature as you need. If you have a submersible heater you can put that in the water right away and begin bringing your water to temperature before adding the fish back to the tank. Then acclimate your fish just as you would if moving them from a QT tank.

    As for the crushed coral add the same amount you had in the old tank. Let it set for 24-48hrs. Check your readings. Wait another 24 hours. Check your reading again before adding more. pH will not bump or drop instantly. And remember - crushed coral boosts pH, not the other way around. Once you hit that target it should stabilize.
  9. guppiesandpuppies Member Member

    I bought two thermometers that can stick to the inside of the tank with a suction cup or float. I have them using the suction cups because I don't want them to crash into the fish. I have one sticking to the inside of my home and the other one sticking to the inside of the office tank I take care of.

    The crushed coral was in the filter in the old tank and stayed in when I put the filter in the new tank. But don't I need to put in more in addition to what I have in there, since the new tank is 10 gallons and the old one is 5.5 gallons?
  10. tjander Well Known Member Member

    Not to be offensive but it seems like you forget or can't remember a lot of facts. Are you sure your water parameters are accurate?

    If your guppies gills are red I would suspect ammonia in your water. Something is irritating the gills and this will lead to dead fish.

    First I would get your crushed coral in the water. Then I would after a few days go to your LFS and have them test your water to make sure you have accurate readings.

    Good luck
  11. guppiesandpuppies Member Member

    I use the API Freshwater Master Test Kit and keep a detailed log of my test results in my phone. The only reason I can think of that my test results may be inaccurate is that I can't hold the test bottles vertically while I'm putting the drops in the test tubes. My arms (especially my hands) get very shaky, so I have to rest my elbows to hold the tube and bottle steady, which doesn't let me hold the bottle vertically.

    How much more crushed coral should I put in?

    Lol none are sticking to the inside of my home. One is sticking to the inside of my home tank.
  12. vin Well Known Member Member

    I would start with the same amount as the old tank and gradually adjust from there. Better to gradually increase than decrease.
  13. guppiesandpuppies Member Member

    When I set up the new tank, I transferred the old filter to the new tank, with the old media, old coral, and all. It's the only filter on the new tank (it was built for 10 gallon tanks). There are two tablespoons of coral in there. Please tell me a good schedule for adding more.

    Just had a thought: Does anyone think maybe my guppies are swimming more slowly because there's not as much current in the new tank? It has the same filter and the same air stone and no new air stones.
  14. vin Well Known Member Member

    I would give it a week and add a tablespoon at a time if needed. Wait a week in between.

    Guppies have to drag those fancy tails with them and are fairly slow swimmers.