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Badmans Tropical Fish Message Center: archive: Sick Guppy
July 28, 2001 - 05:44 pm
I need some advice...I have a female guppy that is sick and I'm
not sure of what the problem is. She looks bloated (I thought
she was pregnant, but then she started acting funny), and just
sits (rests, whatever you want to call it) on the bottom
of the tank. In our larger tank, she would hang around in the plants,
etc... She has not eaten for a while, and it looks like she is panting
for breath (gasping real hard, rapid mouth and gill movement).
Yesterday, my wife and I moved her to a hospital tank and started
treating her for dropsy with Maracyn-2 (both the diagnosis and
treatment came from Badman's page...THANKS for the resources).
We are following the diagnosis on the package...first day was 2
tablets, today she got one. We are going to continue for 5 days.
However, I expected some change after the first treatment (When
I go to the Dr. and get medicine, after I take a dose or 2, I begin
to feel better IF the diagnosis is right)....
Do you all have any ideas? Prior to her getting sick, we were on
vacation and had a neighbor feeding our fish. We came back and found
2 dead zebra danios (I measured out the food and oput it in
Dixie cups. No indication of what happened...) The water parameters
were all right, and the other fish looked healthy. Before going
on vacation, we were feeding flake food in the AM, and either freeze
dried blood worms, freeze dried krill, or shrimp pellets in the
July 28, 2001 - 06:16 pm
I failed to mention that she does swim around every once and a while...Although
it is getting to be less and less. And her front fins look kinda
raggedy (imagine a fin with spiny things but no materail connecting
July 28, 2001 - 08:10 pm
Matt I think you are doing all you can for the guppy. Dropsy is
just hard to treat and it kind of depends on how bad she was when
you caught it. Some fish will recover others won't and you just
have to do what you can. You could try adding an airstone and pump
to the QT tank. Some meds will advise this on the package. The extra
water movement will help keep the oxygen content up in the tank.
Don't stop the treatment just because you don't see a difference
in a day. Kick can advise better on the Maracyn since she uses it.
July 28, 2001 - 08:31 pm
Thanks for the input. Don't worry about me stopping. Since the
box said 5 days, I will treat for 5 days (even if she was all
better today. I'm the kind of person that when the Doc says
take this for 10 days, I take it for 10 days, or if it says take
till gone...you guessed it...I take it till it's gone.).
The box says I can repeat the cycle once...I was going to do that
if the first cycle did not help. What do you all think of that?
July 29, 2001 - 08:04 am
Well, I just wanted to give anyone interested an update....Mrs.
GHuppy died last night. When I went to bed at Midnight, she looked
bad, and this mroning when I got up, she was not breathing and was
Now a few questions...How is dropsy "caught"? Should I worry
about the other fish in my main tank getting sick?
July 29, 2001 - 06:18 pm
Matt dropsy is not caught it is organ failure from either an unsuitable
diet or environmental factors such as too high of nitrate or too
high sodium chloride. The best thing you can do is test your water
parameters, do frequent water changes and make sure you aren't
overfeeding your fish. Some of your fish may just be a little hardier/healthier
than the guppy. Be sure you go a little easy on the freeze dried
bloodworms and krill..high protein foods can be a little harder
for some fish to digest.
July 30, 2001 - 12:29 am
I do think this fishie's problem probably was dropsy, but there
is one sure way of telling. Were her scales sticking out giving
her basically a "golf ball" appearance. Another thing I
was wondering about while reading the posts is could there have
been any possibility of her being constipated? This happens sometimes
with high protein foods that you say you are feeding, and about
the only cure for it in guppies is to stop feeding or sometimes
they will take in a skinned, blanched piece of pea. Constipation
causes the bloating you mentioned along with swim bladder dysfunction
which might possibly have caused her demise.
A little note: All depending on what else you have in the tank,
guppies like a little salt in their water and this helps fight off
disease and constipation. The danios can withstand this salt, but
you must be careful with certain species as they can be sensitive
Another little note: Dropsy usually is very hard to treat. The problem
is that it usually is a symptom of some other underlying disease.
And sometimes we can not "see" what that disease is. Sometimes
the treatment will work, but in most cases, once this symptom is
seen, it more than likely may be too late for the fish. Don't
blame yourself. This is just something that happens in the fishkeeping
hobby. For all intense and purposes, it sounds like you basically
have a healthy tank, and it is hard to understand how things can
go awry when you are away from home. Maddening, isn't it?
I would probably cut back on the two-a-day feedings to just once
a day and only give the krill and bloodworms a couple of times a
week. These are rich foods and in my household considered "treats"
for my buddies. I am not saying the food killed your little friends,
but overfeeding may have been a contributing factor.
July 30, 2001 - 07:59 pm
Thanks for the update. So we should only feed once a day? Just go
with the flakes and mabe 1 or 2x per week treat them at night with
Thanks for all the info.
August 13, 2001 - 05:33 pm
not to tread on Matt's problem, but I have guppy problems too.
I have this gen gallon tank that just seems to be a fish killer.
About 3 or 4 weeks ago I put in a pretty oriental goldfish that
died within a week.
Now my wife and I put in 2 guppy's and in 3 days both are stagnant
just below the water surface and both pretty tails on the fish have
rotted. I realize that this tank does need to cycle, but could there
be bacteria in the gravel or the decorations (all plastic or
stone) that is causing this sudden death. I really think it
is the end for the guppy's but any remedies would be appreciated,
August 13, 2001 - 11:45 pm
Calvin, after the goldfish, did you happen to basically clean the
tank and start again. The goldfish could have had an ailment that
has infected the tank and is making the others sick. The first idea
of fish disease and death in a tank is poor water conditions. Do
you know the perimeters, such as ammonia, nitrite, nitrate (if
any) and what the pH is. Also do you use a water conditioner
that removes chlorines and chloramines from the water or better
yet where does your water supply come from. Fin rot can also be
caused by a "bad" bacteria in the tank and could have come
from the goldfish. Give us some more details and hopefully we can
get the problem corrected.
August 14, 2001 - 09:08 am
I do know about ammonia, nitrate and nitrite and I tested them last
week before I placed the fish in. (there was no ammon or nitrite
and little nitrate. The ph was a touch below 7, and we do use start
right to treat the water.
After the goldfish, we did not clean the tank, we let it sit and
run through the filters for 2 weeks. So if I understand you correctly,
this could be a bacteria that the goldfish brought with him... I
guess I wonder why it died also. He had ich in 2 days of placing
it in, I treted it and the ich dissappeared, but then he went downhill
from there. What do you think? Thanks,
August 14, 2001 - 10:30 am
Since this is a 10 gallon and apparently void of fish right now,
I think I would break the tank down, clean everything and start
over. You can use a bleach solution on the tank, filter (except
for the media), and plants. You cannot use bleach on the substrate
so boiling it to get rid of any bacteria or disease causing substances
is about your only option here. I use 2 capfuls of bleach per l
gallon of water. After you have finished the bleach process, you
will need to rinse very well with plain water and then dip in solution
of water conditioner to be sure to remove any remaining chlorine
that may be left behind. Get the tank up and running again, leave
empty of fish for about 2 weeks, then stock slowly, no more than
2 small fish at a time.
You need to look at the bottle of Start Right as I don't use
this product. Does it say that it will rid the water of chloramines
along with the chlorines? Some water companies add the chloramines
also for purifacation, however, some water conditioners are not
capable of neutralizing it. Always make sure the product says "removes
chlorines and neutralizes chloramines".
To answer your question, yes, I do think the goldfish probably had
a bacterial something or other going on that killed him. Usually
goldfish are pretty hardy creatures and can withstand not so sanitary
conditions, however, the more maintained the water is, the longer
they will usually last. They carry diseases that are deadly to tropicals,
and I strongly feel that is what has happened in your case.
August 16, 2001 - 01:06 pm
I really appreciated your in depth ideas on this fish tank. My wife
and I were ready to clear the tank this weekend, however one problem.
One fish is still living! I can't believe it, the only guppy
that I thought as the healthier of the two died, and the entire
tail was gone, it disentigrated. The alive guppy looks healthy as
ever right now. Should I let this fish cycle the tank?
Start Right does not say it rids chlorimines, I do have a 30 gallon
and those fish are surviving after a few water changes, should I
still look into it?
August 16, 2001 - 01:19 pm
Calvin I couldn't swear to this, but I think I have a bottle
of start right at home and have just forgotten to throw it out.
You should be able to pick up a small bottle of the good stuff at
any LFS for a very reasonable amount of money. Just check like Kick
advised. Seems like everyone uses amquel, but I have some jungle
stuff that works okay too.
August 17, 2001 - 09:05 am
Calvin, I would break down the tank and clean it before adding any
more fish. If you only have l little critter left, you can set up
a "clean" bucket that has had no soap or detergents in it
with conditioned water and an airstone until you can get the job
done. Since you have lost the majority of your fish, I still feel
the goldfish left something behind that was deadly to the tropicals,
and I would not want to risk killing any more with this thought
in the back of my mind. You can probably replace the guppy very
soon after getting this tank back up, and if he survives the transition,
get a couple more after about 1 1/2 weeks. Of course, the tank will
have to cycle again, but hopefully it will be with non-contaminated
I didn't think the Start Right was a good product to use as
a conditioner. This is more for starting up a new tank, but it is
not one of my choices. Stress Coat is easy to find and is my conditioner
of choice. Some use the Amquel but it really should be used with
another product called Aqua Nova, and in all reality, I think the
Stress Coat is just as good, easily found and not expensive.
Keep us posted!