Guppies dying in a newly planted tank - trying to save the remaining two

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Alexter

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Hello,

I'm having major issues with my first tank. Since adding male 5 guppies and 2 cherry shrimp around one week ago, three of the guppies have died. A fourth looks like he might pass away soon. I'm hoping I can at least save the fifth guppy, even if the fourth is too far gone, but I've got no idea where to start.

The progression has always been the same for each one that has died. The first warning sign is that the fish starts swimming stuck to the surface (usually swimming in the same place against the filter flow), almost like they are having trouble going deeper. Sometimes they stop swimming and tilt back in the water with the head pointing upwards, before correcting themselves. Within a few hours I find the fish resting against the filter inlet at the back of the tank and barely moving. They'll occasionally have short periods of rapid and uncontrolled swimming (often swimming into objects or glass - like they don't really know what they are doing). Then a few hours later they are dead. The whole process only takes a few hours from first symptoms to death.

The first fish died like this a few hours after I got them. The second died 24 hours later, but the others seemed to be fine, so I hoped it was just the stress of being moved (I asked a local fish shop whether I should treat the water anyway and they said it wasn't a good idea without signs of illness in the remaining fish). However, a third died yesterday (one week after being added to the tank). The fourth guppy is currently just swimming lethargically against the filter flow and has been doing that all day.

I haven't noticed any signs of illness on the scales or fins, although very occasionally I saw them flashing on the substrate when I first got them. This seemed to stop after a few days though. I've done several 30% water changes, including rinsing the filter sponge in tank water.

I've been trying to research what's going on, and the only thing that seems to match is flukes. I've ordered some Vetark Fluke Solve from Amazon, which will arrive tomorrow - I chose it because it's apparently safe for cherry shrimp. Does treating the water with this seem like a good plan? Is there anything else it could be? Sadly I'm worried that tomorrow might be too late, but I went to my local shop earlier and they didn't have it, so I don't think I'll be able to get it sooner.

Thanks in advance.

Tank details:
  • Size: 55 litres (Aqua One Aqua Nano 40)
  • Temperature: 25C
  • Inhabitants: Originally 5 male guppies & 2 cherry shrimp. Now just 2 male guppies and 2 cherry shrimp.
  • Setup around 5 weeks ago, planted around 3 weeks later, cycling since then with no fish.
  • I've been checking the water parameters daily, and they have seemed fine. (Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate ~20ppm, PH7.2-7.6)
  • Before adding the fish, I tested GH (125ppm) and KH (89.5ppm), but i haven't tested them since.
  • Water change schedule - 30% weekly, although I did extra water changes on the two days after the first guppies died.
 
Here's a picture of the tank and a close up of the fourth guppy, who sadly seems to be going downhill rapidly.
 

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That is definitely an unwell fish. This could be flukes? That would explain the flashing on substrate and rubbing on oxygen. Staying at the surface and a pointing- downwards tail indicates that the fish is very unwell.
When my fish had flukes, I had to set up a quarantine tank and used this medicine (as well as aquarium salt), however it kills shrimp so you will need a temporary home for them in the meantime if you use this:

Your healthiest guppy likely has flukes too (if the previous ones had it) so start medication as soon as possible. Good luck and keep us updated.

RIP to the other guppies that died :rip:
 
Thank you for your response. The Vetark Fluke Solve is arriving tomorrow, so I'll start treating with it as soon as it arrives and hopefully save the last one. Their website says it's safe for shrimp, which is why I went for it over the other options.


I could definitely setup a small tank for the shrimp and use the NT Labs one if you think it'll give me a better chance of a good outcome though? I'm not sure how I would do that as I only have one tank and the filter is built into the back of it, but I'm sure there's a way.
 
The Vetark medication contains praziquantel which will kill flat worms such as tapeworms but not round worms such as camallanus worms which are common in livebearers bred in the far east. It would be better to use another medication as well, one that kills round worms such as eSHa-ndx which contains levamisole (NOT eSHa gdex as that is the same as the Vetark med) The NT Labs medication contains flubendazole which kills both types of worms, but as you have already ordered the one which kills flat worms it would be better to get the eSHa one.
 
The Vetark medication contains praziquantel which will kill flat worms such as tapeworms but not round worms such as camallanus worms which are common in livebearers bred in the far east. It would be better to use another medication as well, one that kills round worms such as eSHa-ndx which contains levamisole (NOT eSHa gdex as that is the same as the Vetark med) The NT Labs medication contains flubendazole which kills both types of worms, but as you have already ordered the one which kills flat worms it would be better to get the eSHa one.

Thank you. I've ordered eSHa-ndx from Amazon - it's also arriving tomorrow. Is it safe to use both the eSHa and Vetark together in the tank with shrimp? Individually they seem to both be OK for shrimp, but I'm wary of how they might interact.
 
eHSa say levamisole in ndx is OK with shrimps and their gdex which contains praziquantel like the Vetark med also says it's OK with invertebrates.
It's flubendazole (NT Labs Fluke & Wormer, and maidenhead Aquatics own brand AquaCare Fluke & Wormer, and Kusuri Wormer Plus) which kills inverts.


Don't use both meds at the same time, use one then do a water change as the instructions say, then use the other. You may well find that both say to repeat the med; this is because there will probably be eggs in the tank and the meds can't kill those, so subsequent doses are to kill the newly hatched worms.
 
Thanks for your help. I'll start with the Vetark when it arrives tomorrow, then I'll follow up with the eHSa once I've finished the first treatment. I'll report back on how it goes - fingers crossed it saves the last one.
 
Report back - it could easily be a bacterial infection from the supply chain. Buying guppies can be a bit of a gamble, unfortunately. There's no guarantee that's flukes, but give it a try and may luck be with you.
 
A quick update on the tank...

Sadly the fourth guppy (who was already showing severe signs of illness when I made this thread) passed away before I received the medication.

However, the good news is that the last guppy is still going strong. I started the Vetark medication around 6 days ago, and quite quickly he started to seem more energetic. I also haven't seen him flash at all in the last 4 days and his fins aren't clamped, so I'm hopeful that the medication is working (and that it actually was flukes). I know that the others went downhill very quickly and that he may still be carrying a different illness, so I haven't relaxed yet though.

I'm still doing weekly water changes on Saturday, but I'm topping up the medication to ensure the concentration remains the same. The Vetark website says to do this for 3 weeks, then repeat the initial dose to ensure any eggs are killed.

One thing I'm worried about is that he's on his own, as I know guppies are social fish. I don't want to add more guppies until the medication has been completed though - and I want to quarantine new fish before adding them (I'll definitely be getting them from a different shop too!) My plan is to setup a quarantine tank and cycle it over the next couple of weeks, then keep the new fish in there for 3-4 weeks. However, that means my last guppy is on his own for another 6-8 weeks. Is that too long for a guppy to be alone? Or am I worrying unnecessarily?

Thank you for your help and kind words.
 

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