Guppy’s fins are disappearing SOS

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Hey guys! I recently noticed that one of my two guppy fish’s fins are disappearing. They used to be fanned out but now they look small and stubby. I have no idea what to do besides the classic Melafix. I have had this happen to my fish before and unfortunately before I could do anything about it it passes away so this time I want to make it right. I originally thought it was because my other guppy was attacking her like crazy and she was stressed but I think there’s more to that. I don’t know if it shows in the pictures, but I also thought the back of its body looks like there’s a white film on it? What should I do?
Thanks so much!
 

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The fish is covered in excess mucous and has the start of a muscle wasting disease (the muscle tissue in the body is starting to turn white/ cream).

Check the water quality for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and GH.

Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a week.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

Add some salt.
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Using Salt to Treat Fish Health Issues
You can add rock salt (often sold as aquarium salt), sea salt or swimming pool salt to the aquarium at the dose rate of 2 heaped tablespoon per 20 litres (5 gallons) of water.

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 4 heaped tablespoons 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, 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 will not affect 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.
 
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Thanks for the detailed instruction! I have 3 shrimp, 1 nerite snail and 4 baby guppies in the tank. I know you said it should be ok with shrimp and snail but I just want to double check that it will also be ok with the fry and especially the snail. Last time when I tried melafix the snail went out of the water for a long time so I just want to make sure. Thanks again! @Colin_T
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Thanks for the detailed instruction! I have 3 shrimp, 1 nerite snail and 4 baby guppies in the tank. I know you said it should be ok with shrimp and snail but I just want to double check that it will also be ok with the fry and especially the snail. Last time when I tried melafix the snail went out of the water for a long time so I just want to make sure. Thanks again! @Colin_T
Guppy fry will be fine, guppies are very salt tolerant, and the shrimp and snail should be fine at that lower dosage too. I've used salt treatment with baby guppies in the past without problems.

Just to help get to the root of the cause, what are your water test results? And how often do you usually do water changes and how large a percentage do you normally change?
 
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Guppy fry will be fine, guppies are very salt tolerant, and the shrimp and snail should be fine at that lower dosage too. I've used salt treatment with baby guppies in the past without problems.

Just to help get to the root of the cause, what are your water test results? And how often do you usually do water changes and how large a percentage do you normally change?
I can't do the testing right at this moment (It's pretty late where I am :) ) but I will do it in the morning as soon as I can and let you know! I have been doing15% - 20% weekly water changes. I have only had them for 3 weeks to be honest so I only had 2 water changes. The last time was last Friday...4 days ago. Oh also, I have plants in the tank, Cryptocoryne wendtii and some floating plant that the guy at the fish store gave to me for the shrimp to hold on to on the way home. How would salt affect my plants? Thanks!
 

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I can't do the testing right at this moment (It's pretty late where I am :) ) but I will do it in the morning as soon as I can and let you know! I have been doing15% - 20% weekly water changes. I have only had them for 3 weeks to be honest so I only had 2 water changes. The last time was last Friday...4 days ago. Oh also, I have plants in the tank, Cryptocoryne wendtii and some floating plant that the guy at the fish store gave to me for the shrimp to hold on to on the way home. How would salt affect my plants? Thanks!
Sounds good :)
What size is the tank?
I'd suggest upping the size of the water changes once this has passed, do between 50 and 75% weekly. Large water changes are better than smaller ones for keeping a tank stable, especially when it's a new tank, and resist overstocking it too. Since the tank is new, it's very likely that water quality has had an impact on them. Large weekly or even bi-weekly changes if the tank is small, will improve the water quality. The tests will tell us more. But as Colin said, large daily changes for now to try to heal the fins and infection.

Would like to see photos of the male and possibly the fry too tomorrow, the tail on the male in that photo looks a little concerning too.

Crypts are hardy, and most plants will tolerate the lower dose salt treatment okay, but even if they didn't, saving the fish is more important.

It's great that the guy at the store added plant to the bag for shrimp to hold onto. That's something not enough places do, and it's good for the little guys to have something to grab into when they're bagged. That's an encouraging sign that your store might be a good one!
 
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Sounds good :)
What size is the tank?
I'd suggest upping the size of the water changes once this has passed, do between 50 and 75% weekly. Large water changes are better than smaller ones for keeping a tank stable, especially when it's a new tank, and resist overstocking it too. Since the tank is new, it's very likely that water quality has had an impact on them. Large weekly or even bi-weekly changes if the tank is small, will improve the water quality. The tests will tell us more. But as Colin said, large daily changes for now to try to heal the fins and infection.

Would like to see photos of the male and possibly the fry too tomorrow, the tail on the male in that photo looks a little concerning too.

Crypts are hardy, and most plants will tolerate the lower dose salt treatment okay, but even if they didn't, saving the fish is more important.

It's great that the guy at the store added plant to the bag for shrimp to hold onto. That's something not enough places do, and it's good for the little guys to have something to grab into when they're bagged. That's an encouraging sign that your store might be a good one!
Hi! So I just ran some tests
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 10 ppm
Total hardness: 75 ppm
Chlorine: 0 ppm
Total alkalinity: 80 ppm
PH: 7.2

HOWEVER, the ammonia didn’t look completely 0 to me. It looked almost 0.25 ppm which surprised me a little since it’s only been 5 days since water change and I made sure to have the tank cycled before getting fish. You were right about the water condition.

I use the solution test for ammonia but a strip for all the other ones and all the units beside ph are in ppm.

The tank is only 5 gallon and I have had it since June. I didn’t get fish until the end of August. This is the first tank that I set up by myself (as opposed to with my parents at home. For context I have a couple of years left of school still and with online classes and all I thought some aquatic animals would be good companions). And don’t worry when I move again I will definitely take my fish with me haha.

I think I will start doing larger water changes like you said. I was scared that the fish wouldn’t like but seems like a good idea now that this is happening.

Check out the pictures of the tank! Both of the fish are actually females. I had no idea they came pregnant. Really wish the person at the store had told me (maybe he didn’t know) because with my tank there is no room for new fish. I made the breeding box for the fry in the upper left corner. Not ideal but it works. Let me know what you think !

And please let me any other advice you may have!
 

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AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Ah yes, female guppies from the store are often already gravid I'm afraid. It's always a risk with female livebearers. Not unusual for a male to have jumped into the female tank at the store or:( at the fish farm, or if the fry aren't separated by sex quickly enough, they can get knocked up way too young.

Unfortunately, your tank is really too small for guppies, but especially for breeding guppies. Females can store sperm, so even with no male around, they can keep churning out fry every month for a year or more. Chances that the other is also carrying sperm packets are also high. One was, so it's likely both have been near a male.

Five gallons isn't a lot of water volume, so it can turn toxic quickly, and it's soon going to be overcrowded with the two adult females and four rapidly growing fry, plus however many fry are born in the coming months. Guppies often have 30-40 fry per month, and they've even dropped as many as 200 in a batch... you need extra tanks for fry, and to separate fry by sex, and you also need somewhere willing to take fry. Most big box chain fish stores won't take livebearer fry bred by home hobbyists since the risk of disease is high, so you'll need to approach privately owned LFS to see if any are willing to take them. My LFS takes in my livebearer young, but even then, I have to grow them out until they're three months old so they're old enough not to get sucked into the store filtration system, and old enough to sell.

Sad as it is, unless you can find a store willing to take them, or sell/give away guppy fry yourself privately, and get a larger tank for the adults (a ten gallon for 4-5 adult guppies plus shrimp and snails could work) and use the five gallon as a grow out tank for fry, you might need to return or rehome the guppies once they're well :(

It's a cute little tank, it could work as solely a shrimp and snail tank, or it could work for a single betta fish if designed right, but not much else I'm afraid. For the future, a tank that is longer than it is tall is better for fish. They appreciate the horizontal swimming space since they don't tend to go up and down as much as they like to go from side to side, so these tall tanks are cute, but less ideal for fish.

I'm really sorry, I hate breaking this sort of news :( Or telling people they need to get rid of fish. You could probably rig a temporary tank for the fry using a plastic tote like this;
storagebox.jpg


With a heater (and heater guard so you don't melt the plastic!) and a sponge filter, it can work brilliantly as a temporary hospital, breeding, or grow out tank. Not exactly pretty, but it gets the job done! Also more water volume means the toxins produced by fish waste (ammonia and nitrites) are more diluted, keeping water levels more stable and giving you more time to react and do water changes before the levels become dangerous.

More than happy to help you figure out what you want to do next, that tank would fantastic to aquascape as a shrimp tank, shrimp don't mind and will use vertical space if you scape it right, and a colony of red cherry shrimp or blue dreams are endlessly entertaining, and pretty. Or a nice betta perhaps, they have some personality! Some of them don't get on with shrimp and will eat them, but some ignore shrimp completely, comes down to the individual bettas personality.
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Looked at this again, and your water is also too soft for guppies really. They're a hard water fish, who will struggle in water as soft as yours is. It would be fine for a betta though.

What species of shrimp do you have?
 
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Ah yes, female guppies from the store are often already gravid I'm afraid. It's always a risk with female livebearers. Not unusual for a male to have jumped into the female tank at the store or:( at the fish farm, or if the fry aren't separated by sex quickly enough, they can get knocked up way too young.

Unfortunately, your tank is really too small for guppies, but especially for breeding guppies. Females can store sperm, so even with no male around, they can keep churning out fry every month for a year or more. Chances that the other is also carrying sperm packets are also high. One was, so it's likely both have been near a male.

Five gallons isn't a lot of water volume, so it can turn toxic quickly, and it's soon going to be overcrowded with the two adult females and four rapidly growing fry, plus however many fry are born in the coming months. Guppies often have 30-40 fry per month, and they've even dropped as many as 200 in a batch... you need extra tanks for fry, and to separate fry by sex, and you also need somewhere willing to take fry. Most big box chain fish stores won't take livebearer fry bred by home hobbyists since the risk of disease is high, so you'll need to approach privately owned LFS to see if any are willing to take them. My LFS takes in my livebearer young, but even then, I have to grow them out until they're three months old so they're old enough not to get sucked into the store filtration system, and old enough to sell.

Sad as it is, unless you can find a store willing to take them, or sell/give away guppy fry yourself privately, and get a larger tank for the adults (a ten gallon for 4-5 adult guppies plus shrimp and snails could work) and use the five gallon as a grow out tank for fry, you might need to return or rehome the guppies once they're well :(

It's a cute little tank, it could work as solely a shrimp and snail tank, or it could work for a single betta fish if designed right, but not much else I'm afraid. For the future, a tank that is longer than it is tall is better for fish. They appreciate the horizontal swimming space since they don't tend to go up and down as much as they like to go from side to side, so these tall tanks are cute, but less ideal for fish.

I'm really sorry, I hate breaking this sort of news :( Or telling people they need to get rid of fish. You could probably rig a temporary tank for the fry using a plastic tote like this;
View attachment 116547

With a heater (and heater guard so you don't melt the plastic!) and a sponge filter, it can work brilliantly as a temporary hospital, breeding, or grow out tank. Not exactly pretty, but it gets the job done! Also more water volume means the toxins produced by fish waste (ammonia and nitrites) are more diluted, keeping water levels more stable and giving you more time to react and do water changes before the levels become dangerous.

More than happy to help you figure out what you want to do next, that tank would fantastic to aquascape as a shrimp tank, shrimp don't mind and will use vertical space if you scape it right, and a colony of red cherry shrimp or blue dreams are endlessly entertaining, and pretty. Or a nice betta perhaps, they have some personality! Some of them don't get on with shrimp and will eat them, but some ignore shrimp completely, comes down to the individual bettas personality.

Thanks for the suggestions! And no worries I was fully aware of the limitations of my tank when I got it. I was never really a fan of betta fish so I went with the next best thing. And yes I will definitely give away my fry at some point time. There is no way I am going to house two adult and four young ones in the tank. If there are more fry to come I will give them away as well, though that would make me really sad. I already called the fish store where I got my fish from and they said they would take the fry. So at least I have somewhere to give them too.

I have cherry shrimp in the tank currently. I actually got the shrimp and the snail a month before the fish and enjoyed them very much. Funny how you suggested that I can just make the tank a shrimp tank because I actually thought of that as well haha. I just thought the tank would look prettier if there are fish swimming around top instead of just having shrimp on the bottom. But for right now, I think I'll focus on healing the fish.

As for the two adult fish I have now....I don't think I have the heart to give them away. If I can nurture them back to good health, I think I will keep them for as long as they live (unless an opportunity presents itself i.e. when I know they will be in good hands). I put calcium carbonate in the tank from time to time for my shrimp and snail but any idea on how I can improve the hardness otherwise?

I would really love to redo that tank for a shrimp tank and potentially get a bigger tank for something else in the future but right now I don't have the resources. I will hit you up when I finally get around to it!

Thanks again for all your advice. I really needed it!
 

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