Guppy bouncing around tank

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Guppymai

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Hi all, I’m pretty new to having aquariums and I’ve noticed some strange behaviours.

I have a 115l tank with 5 female guppies, 3 males, 2 mollies and 2 zebra snails. The tank has been running for 6 weeks and I’ve introduced the fish gradually. Last week one of the females became sick - she started hiding behind the filter and later moved to the ground and just stayed there. At the time I had only 4 females,and as I noticed someone had been nipping her tail fin, I added two more females, totalling 6 females. Sadly, she passed yesterday. I noticed that she had turned a bit yellow on the sides.

This morning, another of the females started bouncing around the tank. She looks fine but her bouncing concerns me. I’ve done a 30% water change weekly, including today. Ammonia is below 0.02 ppm and according to my water tests all other parameters are looking fine, except pH looking a bit high.

Any suggestions as to what might cause her bouncing and twitching? All the other fish are active and are not showing the same symptoms.
 
Pictures and video of the fish?
Upload video to YouTube, then copy & paste the link here.
If you use a mobile phone to film the fish, hold the phone horizontally (landscape mode) so the footage fills the entire screen and doesn't have black bars on either end.

What are the exact numbers for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH?

If a fish is sick, never add more fish because you can add new diseases and make the problem worse. If the tank is newly set up and there is an issue with ammonia or nitrite, adding more fish will make that worse too. If a fish dies, wait at least a month before adding anything else to the tank.
 
Video of Guppy

Hi!
Thanks for your reply! I’ve attached a video above.

Ammonia <0.02 (this is the most precise my test can read)
Nitrates around 10
Nitrites are at 0
oh is between 7.6-8.0
Chlorine around 0
KH 6
GH/DT/TH >7

I added the additional 2 females as the local aquarium shop told me the other female was probably being bullied and this could cause her to hide. All the guppies are from the same shop/tank.

Thanks in advance!
 
It could be a disease. it could also be a swimbladder problem. But it seems as if she's also slightly bend. If a fish has been stuck somewhere for a while, this kind of swim behavior does also occur.
 
Thank you so much for your reply! Would you recommend treating them with something?
She doesn’t seem to be bent in real life and she does have periods where she’s swilling somewhat normally and she’s still eating.
 
Has the front half of her body always been that light grey colour or is that recent?

It looks like she has an external protozoan or bacterial infection on her back but it's hard to tell. Rubbing on objects in the tank is a common symptom of an external protozoan infection.

I would add salt to the tank and see how she looks in a few days.

Most of the fish also appear to have slightly flared gills and this can be from gill flukes. Salt should help with that.

--------------------

Before you add salt, do the following.
Wipe the inside of the glass down with a clean fish sponge. This removes the biofilm on the glass and the biofilm will contain lots of harmful bacteria, fungus, protozoans and various other microscopic life forms.

Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate. The water change and gravel cleaning will reduce the number of disease organisms in the water and provide a cleaner environment for the fish to recover in. It also removes a lot of the gunk and this means any medication can work on treating the fish instead of being wasted killing the pathogens in the gunk.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the tank.

Clean the filter if it hasn't been done in the last 2 weeks. However, if the filter is less than 6 weeks old, do not clean it. Wash the filter materials/ media in a bucket of tank water and re-use the media. Tip the bucket of dirty water on the garden/ lawn. Cleaning the filter means less gunk and cleaner water with fewer pathogens so any medication (if needed) will work more effectively on the fish.

Increase surface turbulence/ aeration to maximise the dissolved oxygen in the water.

--------------------

SALT
You can add rock salt (often sold as aquarium salt), swimming pool salt, or any non iodised salt (sodium chloride) to the aquarium at the dose rate of 1 heaped tablespoon per 20 litres (5 gallons) of water. If there is no improvement after 48 hours you can double that dose rate so there is 2 heaped tablespoons of salt per 20 litres.

If you only have livebearers (guppies, platies, swordtails, mollies), goldfish or rainbowfish in the tank you can double that dose rate, so you would add 2 heaped tablespoons per 20 litres and if there is no improvement after 48 hours, then increase it so there is a total of 4 heaped tablespoons of salt per 20 litres.

Keep the salt level like this for at least 2 weeks but no longer than 4 weeks otherwise kidney damage can occur. Kidney damage is more likely to occur in fish from soft water (tetras, Corydoras, angelfish, Bettas & gouramis, loaches) that are exposed to high levels of salt for an extended period of time, and is not an issue with livebearers, rainbowfish or other salt tolerant species.

The salt will not affect the beneficial filter bacteria but the higher dose rate (4 heaped tablespoons per 20 litres) will affect some plants and some snails. The lower dose rate (1-2 heaped tablespoons per 20 litres) will not affect fish, plants, shrimp or snails.

After you use salt and the fish have recovered, you do a 10% water change each day for a week using only fresh water that has been dechlorinated. Then do a 20% water change each day for a week. Then you can do bigger water changes after that. This dilutes the salt out of the tank slowly so it doesn't harm the fish.

If you do water changes while using salt, you need to treat the new water with salt before adding it to the tank. This will keep the salt level stable in the tank and minimise stress on the fish.

When you first add salt, add the salt to a small bucket of tank water (about 2 litres) and dissolve the salt. Then slowly pour the salt water into the tank near the filter outlet. Add the salt over a couple of minutes.
 
Has the front half of her body always been that light grey colour or is that recent?

It looks like she has an external protozoan or bacterial infection on her back but it's hard to tell. Rubbing on objects in the tank is a common symptom of an external protozoan infection.

I would add salt to the tank and see how she looks in a few days.

Most of the fish also appear to have slightly flared gills and this can be from gill flukes. Salt should help with that.

--------------------

Before you add salt, do the following.
Wipe the inside of the glass down with a clean fish sponge. This removes the biofilm on the glass and the biofilm will contain lots of harmful bacteria, fungus, protozoans and various other microscopic life forms.

Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate. The water change and gravel cleaning will reduce the number of disease organisms in the water and provide a cleaner environment for the fish to recover in. It also removes a lot of the gunk and this means any medication can work on treating the fish instead of being wasted killing the pathogens in the gunk.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the tank.

Clean the filter if it hasn't been done in the last 2 weeks. However, if the filter is less than 6 weeks old, do not clean it. Wash the filter materials/ media in a bucket of tank water and re-use the media. Tip the bucket of dirty water on the garden/ lawn. Cleaning the filter means less gunk and cleaner water with fewer pathogens so any medication (if needed) will work more effectively on the fish.

Increase surface turbulence/ aeration to maximise the dissolved oxygen in the water.

--------------------

SALT
You can add rock salt (often sold as aquarium salt), swimming pool salt, or any non iodised salt (sodium chloride) to the aquarium at the dose rate of 1 heaped tablespoon per 20 litres (5 gallons) of water. If there is no improvement after 48 hours you can double that dose rate so there is 2 heaped tablespoons of salt per 20 litres.

If you only have livebearers (guppies, platies, swordtails, mollies), goldfish or rainbowfish in the tank you can double that dose rate, so you would add 2 heaped tablespoons per 20 litres and if there is no improvement after 48 hours, then increase it so there is a total of 4 heaped tablespoons of salt per 20 litres.

Keep the salt level like this for at least 2 weeks but no longer than 4 weeks otherwise kidney damage can occur. Kidney damage is more likely to occur in fish from soft water (tetras, Corydoras, angelfish, Bettas & gouramis, loaches) that are exposed to high levels of salt for an extended period of time, and is not an issue with livebearers, rainbowfish or other salt tolerant species.

The salt will not affect the beneficial filter bacteria but the higher dose rate (4 heaped tablespoons per 20 litres) will affect some plants and some snails. The lower dose rate (1-2 heaped tablespoons per 20 litres) will not affect fish, plants, shrimp or snails.

After you use salt and the fish have recovered, you do a 10% water change each day for a week using only fresh water that has been dechlorinated. Then do a 20% water change each day for a week. Then you can do bigger water changes after that. This dilutes the salt out of the tank slowly so it doesn't harm the fish.

If you do water changes while using salt, you need to treat the new water with salt before adding it to the tank. This will keep the salt level stable in the tank and minimise stress on the fish.

When you first add salt, add the salt to a small bucket of tank water (about 2 litres) and dissolve the salt. Then slowly pour the salt water into the tank near the filter outlet. Add the salt over a couple of minutes.
Thank you for the thorough explanation!

She’s always had this colour, but the previous female that died did become a bid more yellow on her last days. I did a 30% water change yesterday, would it be okay to do the 75% today? Will the salt affect my Zebra snails?

I’ve also noticed that one of the males is being picked on by another male, and he’s aggressively nipping the fins. Is there something I can do to help here?
 
She’s always had this colour, but the previous female that died did become a bid more yellow on her last days. I did a 30% water change yesterday, would it be okay to do the 75% today? Will the salt affect my Zebra snails?
You can do another water change today, just make sure the new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

If you add 2 heaped tablespoons of salt the snail should be fine. Don't add 4 heaped tablespoons because that could affect the snail.


I’ve also noticed that one of the males is being picked on by another male, and he’s aggressively nipping the fins. Is there something I can do to help here?
If it has been going on for more than a couple of weeks, then it's always going to be a problem and the only way to stop it is to separate them permanently.
 
You can do another water change today, just make sure the new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

If you add 2 heaped tablespoons of salt the snail should be fine. Don't add 4 heaped tablespoons because that could affect the snail.



If it has been going on for more than a couple of weeks, then it's always going to be a problem and the only way to stop it is to separate them permanently.
Thank you for your advice! I’ve done as you’ve instructed and the female guppy already seems much much better and is swimming almost normally. The male molly I have seems a bit sad though, he started hiding behind the filter or at the bottom now too. He comes out when I feed them and looks healthy otherwise. Could it be the same infection making him behave like that?
 
I’ve also noticed some very stringy, hair like poops and read it could be parasites/infections. Would the salt help with this too?
 
Thank you for your advice! I’ve done as you’ve instructed and the female guppy already seems much much better and is swimming almost normally. The male molly I have seems a bit sad though, he started hiding behind the filter or at the bottom now too. He comes out when I feed them and looks healthy otherwise. Could it be the same infection making him behave like that?
No idea, need pictures and video of the molly. But keep the salt treatment going for a couple of weeks to deal with the guppy, then worry about the molly. Mollies are fine with salt so the salt isn't causing it issues, it will be something else.

---------------------

I’ve also noticed some very stringy, hair like poops and read it could be parasites/infections. Would the salt help with this too?
Did they look like thin red hairs sticking out the fish's butt?
If yes, they are Camallanus thread worms and you need a deworming medication like Levamisole to treat them. Section 3 of the following link has info on deworming fish. Wait till you have finished 2 weeks of salt before starting the worming medication. Until then feed the fish more often so they can produce more blood and hopefully not die from the worms (assuming it is worms). A picture can help with identifying the issue.
 
Last edited:
No idea, need pictures and video of the molly. But keep the salt treatment going for a couple of weeks to deal with the guppy, then worry about the molly. Mollies are fine with salt so the salt isn't causing it issues, it will be something else.

---------------------


Did they look like thin red hairs sticking out the fish's butt?
If yes, they are Camallanus thread worms and you need a deworming medication like Levamisole to treat them. Section 3 of the following link has info on deworming fish. Wait till you have finished 2 weeks of salt before starting the worming medication. Until then feed the fish more often so they can produce more blood and hopefully not die from the worms (assuming it is worms). A picture can help with identifying the issue.
It’s not red, more a translucent or white colour.

I’ve attached a video of the molly, but they all occasionally have this kind of poop.
 
That is stringy white poop. It is normally caused by intestinal worms like Camallanus or tapeworm. Camallanus is more common, especially in livebearers like mollies.

You can use salt and deworming medications at the same time. Just remove carbon from filters before deworming because carbon will remove the medication from the water.

I fixed the link in post 11, it had the wrong link for some reason. I will post the deworming link below.

The fish is a balloon molly and they are mutants created by man to look different. Their bodies are shorter than normal and their organs get squished up. This causes them to have more internal problems and die sooner compared to normal shaped fish. It's preferable if people avoid buying any type of balloon fish to discourage the breeders from making them.
 

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