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Help! Guppy Sick!


New Member
Jun 12, 2018
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Hi everyone! I'm still pretty new at this, but I have had had 3 neon tetras for about half a year now. When I moved back home for the summer, one of them suddenly died. I assumed it was because of the stress of moving between states. Currently, I have a 3.5-gallon tank. Two neon tetras, two guppies, a few snails and a moss ball. I upgraded the filter on the tank because the old one didn't seem to be doing anything. I also have a bubble stone but haven't gotten my paycheck to be able to afford a pump for it yet (the one I currently have is too powerful).

All of my fish seem to be doing great. However, I came home from work today and one of my guppies (Shattermaster) was lying at the bottom of the tank. His breathing is rapid. He can swim up a few inches and tries to every little bit. However, he keeps sinking back down and looks like he's really struggling. I do 25%+ water change every other day and I just did a 50% water change (conditioning it before I added it). I'm really worried I'm going to lose him!


Jan 26, 2008
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Perth, WA
Hi and welcome to the forum :)

Once fish start breathing heavily and sinking to the bottom or floating to the surface, it is usually too late for the fish. Quite often it is an internal infection or massive organ failure and the fish dies within 12-24 hours of the symptoms first appearing. Your best bet is to euthanise the fish or at least put it in a separate tank with a bit of gentle aeration and see how it goes.

To euthanise a fish put it in a small amount of water (about 1/2 litre). Have an airstone bubbling away gently in the water and add 1 drop of clove oil. Wait 20-30seconds then add another drop. Wait another 20-30 seconds. Continue adding 1 drop at a time until the fish rolls onto its side. The fish is not dead but is unconscious. Then put a lid on the container and pop it in the freezer. Wait until the water is frozen solid, then bury the iceblock with fish in the garden and wash the container with hot soapy water.

You can put a T-piece and tap (available form any petshop) on the airline for the current airpump you have and that will let you release some of the extra air so it doesn't go into the tank. This means you can use your current airpump instead of buying a new one. All you do is cut the airline a few inches away from the airpump. Insert the T-piece into the airline so it joins the 2 bits of airline together. Then put a 1 inch length of airline onto the spare arm of the T-piece and attach a small plastic tap to that. Get a length of airline about 1-2foot long and attach it to the outlet of the tap and let the end of that bit of airline just hang around doing nothing. The 1-2 foot length of airline that comes off the tap is to muffle the noise of the air. You don't need it but without the extra airline on the tap you get a hissing noise as the air comes out of the tap.
Then you simply adjust the tap to get the desired amount of air into the tank and the rest of the air is allowed to go out the tap.


Tank of the Month!
Jan 14, 2015
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I have a 3.5-gallon tank. Two neon tetras, two guppies, a few snails
Your tank is way overstocked, 3.5 g is barely enough for 1 betta.


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