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Why are my guppies dying?

@Flowerfairy13 I can give you some cuttings of my fast growing plants, not masses but enough to get started since they are fast growers. I can give you some cuttings of Egeria densa (dense waterweed), Ceratophyllum Demersum (Hornwort), and Limnophila Sessiliflora. The salvinia auriculata is still yours too, and if you'd like them, the new java fern plants that were grown from the leaves of my java ferns.
That's so kind of you! I love seeing hobbyists help each other out like this. 😍 :drinks:
Edit: I just looked back and saw that Adora already answered the question. Worth checking any de-wormer either of us gets.

Check out the thread on worms here

Fish do a stringy white poop for several reasons.
1) Internal Bacterial Infections causes the fish to stop eating, swell up like a balloon, breath heavily at the surface or near a filter outlet, do stringy white poop, and die within 24-48 hours of showing these symptoms. This cannot normally be cured because massive internal organ failure has already occurred.


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2) Internal Protozoan Infections cause the fish to lose weight rapidly (over a week or two), fish continues to eat and swim around but not as much as normal, does stringy white poop. If not treated the fish dies a week or so after these symptoms appear. Metronidazole normally works well for this.

There is a medication (API General Cure) that contains Praziquantel and Metronidazole.
It's interesting that API and the Californian government have listed Metronidazole as a carcinogen. That's a concern considering it was widely used to treat intestinal infections in people.

Anyway, if you use this or any medication, handle with care, don't ingest or inhale the medication, and wash hands with soapy water after treating the fish or working in the tank.


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3) Intestinal Worms like tapeworm and threadworms cause the fish to lose weight, continue eating and swimming normally, and do a stringy white poop. Fish can do this for months and not be too badly affected. In some cases, fish with a bad worm infestation will actually gain weight and get fat and look like a pregnant guppy. This is due to the huge number of worms inside the fish.

Livebearers like guppies, mollies, swordtails & platies are regularly infected with gill flukes and intestinal worms. If the fish are still eating well, then worms is the most likely cause.

You can use Praziquantel to treat tapeworm and gill flukes. And use Levamisole to treat thread/ round worms. If you can't find these medications, look for Flubendazole, which treats both lots of worms.

In the UK look for:
eSHa gdex contains praziquantel that treats tapeworm and gill flukes.
eSHa-ndx contains levamisole and treats thread/ round worms.
NT Labs Anti-fluke and Wormer contains flubendazole.
Kusuri wormer plus (contains flubendazole) - sold mainly for discus, comes as a powder which is quite hard to dose in smaller tanks
Sera nematol (contains emamectin)

Remove carbon from filters before treatment and increase aeration/ surface turbulence to maximise oxygen levels in the water.

You treat the fish once a week for 4 weeks. The first treatment will kill any worms in the fish. The second, third and forth treatments kill any baby worms that hatch from eggs inside the fish's digestive tract.

Treat every fish tank in the house at the same time to prevent cross contamination.

You do a 75% water change and complete gravel clean 24-48 hours after treatment. Clean the filter 24 hours after treatment too.

Do not use the 2 medications together. If you want to treat both medications in a short space of time, use Praziquantel on day one. Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate on day 2 & 3. Treat the tank with Levamisole on day 4 and do a 75% water change and gravel clean on day 5, 6 & 7 and then start with Praziquantel again on day 8.

The water changes will remove most of the medication so you don't overdose the fish the next time you treat them. The gravel cleaning will suck out any worms and eggs that have been expelled by the fish. Repeating the treatment for 3-4 doses at weekly intervals will kill any worms that hatch from eggs. At the end of the treatment you will have healthier fish. :)


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Thanks to essjay for providing the information about deworming products available in the UK. :)

I disagree with the dosing instructions here, but it's true about the active ingredients for killing each type of worm, and a lot of de-wormers on the market not containing those ingredients.

If I remember rightly, the eSHa-GDX (instructions on how much to dose, for how long, on bottle and on leaflet, read carefully) involved two treatments, with a two week gap inbetween. I did the first round of GDEX, water changed it out through several large water changes and running some charcoal in the filter to remove any remaining medication in the tank, then did the whole course of levamisole (active ingredient in eSHa-NDEX) during that two week gap, removed all traces again once that course was done through large water changes and charcoal in the filter, then did the final round of GDEX.

A lot of work and hassle, but I was treating several tanks at once, and disinfecting fish equipment too, so I didn't end up transferring worm eggs via nets, buckets, and between tanks etc. But it was worth it, because I lost too many lovely fish to those worms that came in with my livebearers before I finally had visual confirmation of worms, and the thorough worming with effective meds did resolve my problem!
 
I can give you some cuttings of my fast growing plants, not masses but enough to get started since they are fast growers. I can give you some cuttings of Egeria densa (dense waterweed), Ceratophyllum Demersum (Hornwort), and Limnophila Sessiliflora.

All of those are fantastic plants for adding to a tank like this, they're all easy, fast growing and great for using up ammonia from the fish waste before the nitrifying bacteria even get a chance to begin converting the ammonia to nitrites and then nitrates! The fish really appreciate the floating plants too, and all the dense fast growing plants will give your fry more hiding places too, so don't be surprised if less fry get eaten by adults! (not all adults eat fry anyway, but some will).

l. sessiliflora is a personal favourite of mine - pretty as well as just as useful as all the above! It's gorgeous if you plant the stems and let them grow the full height of the tank. Then simply trim them at any height you like, and replant the top half you'd trimmed off, and you can keep propagating it like that forever. I kept doing that until I had dense hedge of it growing in a semi-circle around my sponge filter to hide it, but shrimp and fry especially loved that plant for hiding in too!

Java ferns are the only slow growers on there, but they're still a good easy beginner plant, nice to have lower down in the tank and provide hiding spaces and don't need a lot of care beyond knowing not to plant them in the substrate, because the rhizome (the thick stem that the roots and leaves grow from) cannot be buried below the substrate, or it'll rot and kill the plant. You can attach rhizome plants like java fern, anubius and mosses to hardscape, or just place it where you want it without burying, or leave them to float around the tank :) Despite being slower growing, they do tend to propagate pretty easily and keep you well supplied in baby java fern plants!
 
Trigger Warning - long rambling essay post. It annoys some, but it's just how my brain works! Anyone is free to skip reading it. ;)



@rebe Hi! I don't think I've seen you before since I've been AWOL on the main forum threads for a year or so, but love that you're helping @Flowerfairy13 in person and giving them plant trimmings! @Flowerfairy13 said you recommended this forum (yay!) and that you're knowledgeable, do you agree with what I'm thinking about heavily stocked tank and a bit of old tank syndrome going on, and potentially some disease or parasite like worms being introduced and causing long term stress, and eventually, deaths?
250 Litres/66 Gallons
3 years old.

Sorry to be nosey, but because I haven't been active on the forum recently, I don't know many of the newer posters well, but would like to make up for it and help where I can, if I can! But I'm not an expert on anything, just another hobbyist who has spent a lot of time here, and had to go through similar things when I inherited an overstocked and neglected tank with livebearers, then began keeping livebearers myself, that turned out to have worms, so I had to do a lot of research, get advice here, and a lot of work to make sure my tanks are free of disease! But the more people that chip in with their opinions and advice, the better!

So the nosey part - I had a quick scan of the threads you've made @rebe , and wondered whether the tank in this thread belonging to the friend you were trying to help was @Flowerfairy13 's tank?


Just because taken all together, getting that tank history can be helpful in attempting to diagnose.


Planted tank with sand
Temp constantly between 25-25.5 degrees Celsius
Water changes completed weekly. I also use Flourish, API Stress Coat & Seachem Prime when completing changes. I also have well water.

Sounds like you might be overfeeding a bit, sorry to say! We all tend to do that, since it's fun to feed the fish, but more food in means more uneaten food waste rising nitrite levels (and exploding populations of pest snails! Do you get over run with bladder snails at times?) plus more food in the fish means more waste expelled.. plecos are known for being waste producing machines... a bristlenose is fine in a 66g tank, but since it's also an established tank with lots of natural food in there, fed twice daily, adding a whole algae wafer daily for the bristlenose may also be too much, and contributing to the high nitrate levels.

Do you see the bristlenose eat the whole wafer? I snap an algae wafer in half, one half each side (they have their own sides of the tank for their fav hiding spots) for two L181 plecos in a 57g only a couple of times a week, since they also eat biofilm and algae from the tank, and the bug bites and live and frozen food I add for the upper level fish and corydoras.
Fed 2 small meals a day, Fluval bug bites in morning & brine shrimp in evening (plus algae wafer for bristlenose)

Species;
Salt & Pepper Corys x 6, Bronze Corys x 8, Albino Corys x 6, Neon Tetra x 15, Guppies x 15, Swords x 3, Mollies x 8, Golden Bristlenose x 1, Pearl Gourami x 2, Bladder Snails, 3 Spot Red Snails, Nitrite Snails, Guppy Fry & Sword Fry. There are also a few shrimp, unsure of how many exactly as they keep themselves well hidden.

I do like that you have a big gang of cories! 😍 In decent numbers for each species. Love to see it! And much like my set up, only I have two L181 plecos, around 10 bronzes and 2 albino versions of bronzes, 6 sterbai cories, and some spotty rescue cories I adopted and added to the gang, since at least they have the company of the other cories and better water conditions than they had before.

Can you give me the tank dimensions, please? Length, width and height. Just want to check with a stocking calculator how it's looking stocking wise, with or without neons. :)

Just beware that it's the growing livebearer fry which will keep being produced and can rapidly get out of hand that is pushing your tank stocking, plus a lot of bottom dwellers too. It's nice to have a large gang cories, but when you have a lot of bottom dwellers (including messy plecos), top level fish like gourami but without floating plant cover that they like (I know you're getting some from @rebe though, which all the fish will appreciate!), and then a ton of breeding midwater dwelling species like tetra and all the livebearers that can reach large sizes given the right conditions, while popping out huge batches of fry, often... I definitely wouldn't add any more stocking, and would check with your local fish stores if they're willing to take young livebearers you've bred yourself, because not all will I'm afraid.
Parameters;
Ammonia – 0PPM
Nitrite – 0PPM
Nitrate – 60PPM
PH – 8.2
GH – 200-400PPM (21 drops in GH test kit)
KH – 100-200PPM (9 drops in KH Test kit)
Is it the API Freshwater master test kit?
If so when testing nitrates, and the instructions tell you to shake the bottle and tube for a minute and for 30 seconds? It doesn't emphasis it enough. @Essjay taught most of us this, and in one old thread I made because I found my test tubes were becoming stained a light blue, no matter how I tried to clean them, and the chemicals used in the second (is that right, essjay?) bottle for nitrates separate easily, need to be really knocked about, banged against the wall, shaken hard for ages - heck, throw the bottle across the room a few times even! It separates easily, and really needs to be banged about and shaken hard to make it mix again before each test, or it can give false results.

My test tubes were becoming stained because I would often test, put the full tubes back in the kit in the cupboard while I mucked about with the tank and filter etc, because I didn't want to clumsily break the tubes, then forget to clean out the tubes until I next tested a week later. :blush: So the nitrate solution was leaving residue on my test tubes that wouldn't just easily wash off and could skew the results for all future tests.

It's also better if you can take a water sample to test from lower down in the tank, not from the surface. Use something like a clean syringe or turkey baster (unused, just for fish keeping purposes! Surprisingly useful bit of kit) to take some water from lower down in the tank, not from the surface.

I can't remember why that's important, I'm a chemistry dunce, but remember @Essjay and @Wills all discussing this when we were talking about my laziness about not washing out test tubes immediately stained my test tubes, not shaking the bottle enough for the solution to mix properly, or taking the sample from the surface, can skew your results.

So much to learn and share in this hobby! But that's what this forum is all about. :)
HELP!!!!!! I have no idea why my guppies keep dying. About 2 weeks ago I lost my first guppy. She was around a year old and I found her floating in the tank one morning. I didn’t think too much of it as she was about 1.5 years old

As @emeraldking said, these fish store livebearers tend not to be healthy stock, especially when buying from large chain stores. They're mass produced in huge fish farms abroad then shipped around the world. Disease like worms, ich, gill flukes etc spread like wildfire under these conditions and in even the best stores, if one tank of fish has worms and a net is used in the worm infested tank then used in another tank, worm eggs can be transferred that easily.

Fish also often jump from warehouse tub to another warehouse tub, or in stores from tank to tank too. It's not rare to find a male guppy has jumped into the female guppy tank next to them and had a wild time... then not only can disease spread that way, but the people buying female livebearers often find fry appearing even with no male around, since female livebearers can store sperm packets and choose when to use them, continuing to pop out fry for months, even up to a year, even if no males around, just from that one contact from the leaping fish store male!

So even if you reach the point of wanting to stop them breeding, it's not as easy as separating the males and females, since the females will have stored sperm packets, and with each female producing maybe 30 fry a month on average, which then need separating out into different male and female tanks as soon as the fry are old enough to sex, or the young females will soon also be gravid by about three months old.

Guppies are called "the million fish" in some places for a reason! They're so pretty though, and breeding them can be a lot of fun. So long as a store is willing to take batches of juveniles from you once old enough to sell, so you don't wind up overstocked. Or if you don't mind doing private sales through somewhere like gumtree.

Anyway, because fish store guppies tend not to be the healthiest stock, they're not the hardy fish they were 30-40 years ago. If you can get some fry from them, the fry are usually healthier and longer lived. But if you bought a juvenile/adult guppy from a chain store, a year and a half is pretty good, for a fish store mutt guppy. Sorry you lost your favourite though, been there. :(:rip:
and had no obvious signs of infection or damage so I put it down to age. Since then, I have lost 9 more guppies in different circumstances and I can’t understand what’s happening. A few more died seemingly for no reason, one due to dropsy which seemed to come on over the space of a few hours. He was totally normal at feeding time in the morning, by the afternoon he had pineconed really dramatically and was bloated and struggling to swim. Another guppy today seems to be slightly bloated, hasn’t eaten this evening & her fins look shredded? Again, she was perfectly fine this morning, she ate and her fins were normal. I always pay particular attention to this guppy as she is my favourite, so I know 100% she was fine just this morning.

None of these guppies are from the same bloodline to my knowledge, I have not bred them myself but they have come from different stores.

The bloating can be a result of overfeeding, or the worm load the fish is carrying becomes overwhelming and kills the fish. Dropsy is a symptom rather than a disease of it's own - it's a symptom of the organs failing, which is why it's nearly always fatal. Hard to reverse organ failure once it's started in any animal, including humans, so very hard to stop if a fish has reached that point.

Can you describe any other symptoms the fish showed before passing away, or how you found them? Any listlessness, skinniness, long stringy white poop?
I did add 3 new Guppies & 6 new corys last thursday but I don't think this has anything to do with it as the Guppies started dying before then. The only thing I have done differently in the past month that I have never done before is give them live food once. I ordered some live brine shrimp from a fish store and fed them to the tank. I rinsed the s
Highly doubt the brine shrimp did any harm, and I'm sure the fish went wild for the live food! It's fun to watch the hunting behaviour when you feed live food. It's different from how they react to commercial dried foods, or even frozen foods. Love to watch gourami hunt for live food among the floating plants!
2 weeks ago my Gouramis did start acting strange, they were chasing each other and nipping each other. I never saw them nipping anything other than each other, and they have stopped now so I am not sure that is an issue either.
Can you get more photos or even better - videos - of the fish? Seeing their movement can help a lot. Videos won't upload directly to the forum, but if you upload them to youtube, can link it here.

Remember that the fish you buy in store are nearly always juveniles. Behaviours can change a lot once fish mature and reach breeding age and condition. Gourami are very territorial surface feeders, labyrinth fish, and males build bubble nests on the surface when ready to breed. They appreciate a lot of plant cover to hide in for these reasons. It's also why I recommend stopping adding stress coat. It's not that helpful, and research has shown it can be harmful to labyrinth fish like bettas and gourami, since it contains aloe vera that can coat the labyrinth organ. The Prime and Flourish are good products though. :)

I don't know enough about gourami to sex them, but someone else here will be able to for sure.
If you got them a while ago, the change in behaviour is likely down to them being juveniles when you got them, they've matured to adulthood in your tank. Then not having enough plant matter to break lines of sight and establish territories, and getting the balance right can be tricky, including male/female ratios and number of gourami in the tank of which sex, and some gourami species being more aggressive than others. Your pearls are usually known as being more peaceful I think, but if you have say two males who each consider the whole tank their territory, they could fight over that. With clear pictures of them both, or video, I know someone else will be able to sex them, see if they're getting into breeding condition, and give more specific gourami advice!


I'm sure yours will be thrilled by the floating plants and fast growing stem plants (leave some floating, don't plant all the hornwort/elodea, leave some to float and it'll still grow well, can reach CO2 at the surface, give fry a hiding area, and the gourami will appreciate it too. Hopefully with that cover so the two gourami aren't in each others eyeline all the time, they might each establish their own parts of the tank and settle down.

There was an incident a few weeks go where my daughter overfed them, by the time I had gotten the net to scoop the excess out of the tank the guppies had quite a feed. Could this be causing my problem? Could they have overindulged and now having intestinal problems?

If stuff like that happens in future, net out what you can, then use the gravel/sand vac to remove as much of the food from the tank as possible, and do a large water change. One gorging session might make the fish fat and bloated for a bit, but shouldn't cause long term damage. The problem is more the excess food in the tank rotting and producing more ammonia than the tank can handle, along with the fat well fed fish producing even more waste than usual - can cause an ammonia and nitrites spike, then high nitrates as the bacteria slowly processes it.

Removing as much from the tank manually as you can means the excess won't be sitting in the tank rotting and still being gobbled up by the fish, and the large water change to try to get the water as clean and fresh as possible, with as low nitrates as possible, since you know the bioload of all that extra food the fish ate will produce more waste than the tank usually has to process, and with a heavy stocked tank, that can lead to disaster quickly without intervention.

A friend of mine turned her back on her tiny kid for a minute while cleaning her tank, and the kid dumped a whole tub of flakes into the usually pristine and heavily planted tank, made such a mess! But was also an emergency -she had to do back to back large water changes to suck up as much of the flakes as possible, then daily large water changes and using Prime to bind ammonia and nitrites and keep the fish safe between those huge daily water changes as the tank stabilised again.

Had she left it in there, ammonia would have spiked so high it would have killed off the whole tank of fish by the morning.
Everyone in the tank is behaving normally, even the guppies. Aside from that one who had dropsy, all of the others appeared totally normal until they died.. All of the fry in the tank are doing really well and to my knowledge I haven’t lost any of them. I would assume they would suffer first if their was a problem with the tank?

Not always, especially not with worms. Worms reproduce by laying eggs that fall from the adult fish's intestines, and are eaten by the other fish. Once the fry eat some worm eggs, it continues eating and growing as usual. Worm eggs hatch in the fry's intestines, and latch onto the insides of the intestines to steal nutrients from the fish. They're a parasite, but at first, they're still quite small and not taking too much from the fish.


In the wild, the fish aren't usually overfed, so neither are the worms, so both fish and parasites will grow and reproduce more slowly.

In our well fed tanks, fry will continue to grow, as will the worms. Depending on how many eggs the fish has eaten, if it's infected with both flat and roundworms, and has a heavier burden of worms than others, it will begin to suffer and fail as the worms take more and more of the fishes nutrition, damage the fishes intestines by latching on and causing internal damage, and the fish begins to waste and become listless. Then those growing, well fed worms produce more and more worm eggs, which fall to the substrate, and can be transferred easily between tanks via shared equipment like nets and buckets, or moving fish or plants between tanks.

In one of the photos, a dalmation molly and a couple of guppies had that "wormy look" to them that I recognise, I think, although a video would be clearer.

A large, otherwise healthy, worm-free fish introduced to a tank with worms might pick up a couple of worm eggs that hatch, but the worm load remains small and not too draining on the fish for months, maybe even a year if not heavily overfed or also stressed by high nitrates... until it does becomes too much.

Even when treating for worms, sometimes the worms die inside the fish but aren't expelled, then the dead worms rotting inside the fish's body kills it. Or if it had a heavy worm burden and did expel the worms, the wounds from the worms latching on being left open and exposed can still be too much for the fish, or develop a secondary infection.

So the tiny fry aren't the first affected. Once my camallanus worm outbreak happened, I was losing fish of all ages except newborn fry, but began to lose a lot of young once they'd reached 2-3 months old, and they had eaten a lot of worm eggs, and the worm burden was now too much for them.

The worm eggs are why it's important to use the substrate vac as often as you can before, during and after treatment, every water change, gravel vac as much as you can, and complete the treatments. Anyone with multiple tanks and suspected worms should treat all of the tanks at the same time. Trust me on that one! You'll regret it if you try to just treat the one tank you think is infected but skip the others since it's expensive to treat multiple and large tanks... but it's worse to discover worms are still present in another tank six months later and have to do it all over again!
Is it just a coincidence that I have lost so many in the last few weeks? I really don’t know what’s happening but I don’t want to lose anymore!!
Not a coincidence, you did the right thing asking for help, losing so many so close together does mean something is wrong, and I still suspect old tank syndrome from heavy stocking/overfeeding/not enough large water changes, live plants and filtration to handle the bioload so long term high nitrates cause stress and damage over the long term, until it reaches a tipping point. You caught it at a tipping point and did what you needed to resolve it. :)

But I also still strongly suspect worms, and they've reached a tipping point there.
But be also aware that commercial guppies (especially those form Asian fish farms) are prone to disease, worms or even parasites. And even if you would buy those guppies at different stores, they can still come from the same wholesaler.
@emeraldking is a livebearer breeder, expert and author, so definitely trust his advice above!

Thank you for the response. Do you think that it could be something infectious if the guppy fry are doing okay? I would have thought that they are much more sensitive. Although I can't see every fry all of the time, due to the hiding places like moss in my tank
Whoops, see above for the answer to that!

High nitrates also won't kill fish and fry instantly when they're born into it, or it rises gradually. It's a long term stressor, and might slow growth, but born into it and with no choice, they will do their best to survive and grow. Plus the worm thing explained above. :)
I will dose it now! I can do a water change tomorrow afternoon. I usually do around 25-30% each Sunday..
:)
Thank you so much! A little update this morning. I was up early to do a water change before the morning rush began here... I tested my well water for Nitrates and got a reading of 10PPM.

That's brilliant, kudos for getting straight on it! Roughly what percentage of the tank water did you change?

Can you test your well water for all the parameters you can, and share the numbers here please?

Then the test results for the tank either tonight, or tomorrow, bearing in mind the above advice about the API nitrate test kit and sampling.
Then tested my tank water immediately after the change and again got a reading of 10PPM. I will test again this evening to check and if Nitrates have spiked again I will do another water change.
While doing the change I made sure to suck up as much debris as I could and I spent alot of time examining the fish. All of them look healthy and active to me and I don't see any obvious signs of infections.
I am lucky enough to have an amazing friend who lives local to me who has very kindly offered to give me some of her floating plants & cuttings from her fast growing plants to try and reduce the nitrates & keep them under control going forward. She is so knowledgable on almost all aspects of tropical fish & I'm so lucky to have met her!! She is the one who introduced me to this forum.

It's awesome to have hobbyist friends on the forum, and even better local to you! Getting involved in local fish clubs and events, trading things via things like the BAND ap and Gumtree, or FB, so you find local hobbyists can help you rehome youngsters, sell fish or unwanted equipment, find cheap tanks second hand (you could pick up a cheap second hand basic ten gallon for a QT/hospital tank, no need to save up for a new one or spend a lot of money! Just give it a good clean before use.
In relation to stocking - I have found someone who wants to rehome the neons (fully aware of the tank situation and has a QT tank which they will go into before they go into her main tank), so hopefully this helps with the overstocking issues. I truly didn't think the tank was overstocked to be honest, and had actually planned on adding more stock so I am really grateful for your advice!

I'm happy to help when I can! :) Especially when the keeper is willing to put in the work to help the fish, plus I remember what a nightmare it was when I dealt with similar issues, so if we can help you through that and avoid a tank crash and you losing more fish, then we're happy!
In relation to the QT tank, yes - my plan for a few months has been to buy a 54 L tank to use as a QT tank but every time I have enough money saved something else seems to come up and the QT tank becomes less of a priority :(
With my filter - I will pop the link below. I have 2 of these going at the moment and have had for months as I was conscious of the bioload

No need to go expensive, or have another tank permanently set up for QT when you have an established tank to borrow from - but only after you've treated the main tank for worms. A second hand smaller tank is fine for the species you have for a month of QT, observation, and potentially medication for worms before adding new stock (especially with livebearers). It's safer and cheaper to worm them in a little 10-15g tank prior to adding them to your main tank(s), and know for sure they're not re-introducing worms into your (hopefully worm free after treatment) large main tank again!
when the fry started to appear. I also have activated carbon with the sponge cartridge in these filters. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0868BTTQ5/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I have also started fasting them for a few days.
Thank you SO SO much again for all the effort you put into helping me, I am truly grateful :)

Awesome to fast them for a few days. Would also be interesting after you've run the ammonia/nitrites/nitrates/pH etc tests on the tank after fasting for a while, if you then feed the previous amounts you used to do twice daily plus the algae wafer for a few days, then test the water again and see what the results are.

The fast growing live and floating plants will help reduce nitrates simply because they suck up and use the ammonia faster than the nitrifying bacteria can, so less of the waste is processed by filter bacteria into nitrites and then nitrates. Some filterless tanks rely entirely on plants. But can't really do that without heavy planting of fast growing plants, and a lightly stocked tank without a high bioload.

Heavily stocked and breeding tanks, even with live plants, will need larger and more frequent water changes, and things can go wrong faster since the tank is so full and with a heavy bioload, so can turn toxic quickly.

You don't need charcoal in the filter all the time. It does get "full" after a month or so, so when using it to remove meds or something, needs replacing or recharging monthly to be effective, so it's pointless and expensive to use charcoal all the time. Replace that gap in the filter with sponge or filter foam cut to size, then only use the charcoal when you've finished a course of meds, and the charcoal can help remove the traces left behind after your water changes. Or if the tank is otherwise good with stable water conditions and parameters, and you just want that polishing from the charcoal. :)

Whew! Sorry for another super long reply and info dump! It took ages and I just did it a bit at a time between chores and cleaning. :lol:
 
Since you mentioned me ;)
Nitrate testers have one bottle where one of the ingredients isn't really soluble, and it settles out on the bottom of the bottle. If it's not been used for a while, it can solidify into a lump. That's why all the shaking is needed, to mix it back into the liquid. It's also a good idea to tap the bottle on the worktop a couple of times before starting - that breaks up any lumps that have formed.

it's the nitrite tube that gets stained if not washed as soon as the test has been read :)
 
Thank you for the response. Do you think that it could be something infectious if the guppy fry are doing okay? I would have thought that they are much more sensitive. Although I can't see every fry all of the time, due to the hiding places like moss in my tank
Actually, fry are much stronger than those adults.
 
@rebe Hi! I don't think I've seen you before since I've been AWOL on the main forum threads for a year or so, but love that you're helping @Flowerfairy13 in person and giving them plant trimmings! @Flowerfairy13 said you recommended this forum (yay!) and that you're knowledgeable, do you agree with what I'm thinking about heavily stocked tank and a bit of old tank syndrome going on, and potentially some disease or parasite like worms being introduced and causing long term stress, and eventually, deaths?
Hello! I've definitely read posts and your replies on TFF before, but I don't think we've had a proper conversation or discussion before. I'm no expert myself, with only being in the hobby properly for less than a year. I am however an avid and enthusiastic learner and "researcher". So I'm delighted to be at the stage where I can help someone else with the hobby, even if it's something tiny.
It's fabulous to have met @Flowerfairy13 , especially since we live reasonably close to each other!

As to your question Adora, I do think it's possible. I don't really know what qualifies as overstocked, but I think without the tetras being re-homed and if the livebearer fry all grow up and are kept, then I would consider the tank at least fully stocked. My personal tanks have always had a low to moderate level of stocking, so even a properly well stocked aquarium would seem full to me.
Water quality issues would have played a role I think, if the nitrates were up to 60ppm a couple of days after a water change. So surely they would have been higher, if not the same before the water change. If the water quality isn't close to perfect then I think that it would effect the immunity and resistance in fish, even just a little. Great that you've got them down to 10ppm now @Flowerfairy13 ! Maybe there were minor underlying issues that the nitrate level exasperated and made things worse these last few weeks.
I have little to no experience (luckily) with fish parasites, so I don't know about worms and the effects they may be having on your fish. If the worms are developed in the fish as they grow like @AdoraBelle Dearheart said, and if the fry are stronger than the adults like @emeraldking said, then it makes sense to me why the adults are suffering when the fry are doing fine.


So the nosey part - I had a quick scan of the threads you've made @rebe , and wondered whether the tank in this thread belonging to the friend you were trying to help was @Flowerfairy13 's tank?

Just because taken all together, getting that tank history can be helpful in attempting to diagnose.
No, they aren't the same tanks or people actually 🤗
 
Actually, fry are much stronger than those adults.
This is also why I prefer to purchase young specimens that haven't been raised in a high pace. Like the livebearers I ordered that came in today. I requested specifically for juvenile specimens.
And younger specimens adapt easier to other circumstances than adults do.
 
This is also why I prefer to purchase young specimens that haven't been raised in a high pace. Like the livebearers I ordered that came in today. I requested specifically for juvenile specimens.
And younger specimens adapt easier to other circumstances than adults do.

I imagine that would apply to other kinds of fish too?
 
Hey guys, I'm posting this on behalf of @Flowerfairy13 , who things are hectic for and I'm free now to get this posted as soon as possible.

Very sadly, another of her favourite guppies is struggling to swim and appears to be dying. She sent me this clip so I've uploaded it to YouTube to share on the forum.


Does anyone have any idea what this could be? We tested nitrates last night when I was giving her the plant cuttings and they were 10ppm or below.

It would be helpful to hear what you think @emeraldking , and @AdoraBelle Dearheart . You've both been very helpful on this thread so far.

Another opinions or advice is welcome too
 
This particular guppy was doing really well last night, I saw him myself. I was even taking pictures simply because how beautiful he was. They aren't very focused pictures but they might help a little?
I didn't see any symptoms of illness or parasites that I know
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Trigger Warning - long rambling essay post. It annoys some, but it's just how my brain works! Anyone is free to skip reading it. ;)



@rebe Hi! I don't think I've seen you before since I've been AWOL on the main forum threads for a year or so, but love that you're helping @Flowerfairy13 in person and giving them plant trimmings! @Flowerfairy13 said you recommended this forum (yay!) and that you're knowledgeable, do you agree with what I'm thinking about heavily stocked tank and a bit of old tank syndrome going on, and potentially some disease or parasite like worms being introduced and causing long term stress, and eventually, deaths?


Sorry to be nosey, but because I haven't been active on the forum recently, I don't know many of the newer posters well, but would like to make up for it and help where I can, if I can! But I'm not an expert on anything, just another hobbyist who has spent a lot of time here, and had to go through similar things when I inherited an overstocked and neglected tank with livebearers, then began keeping livebearers myself, that turned out to have worms, so I had to do a lot of research, get advice here, and a lot of work to make sure my tanks are free of disease! But the more people that chip in with their opinions and advice, the better!

So the nosey part - I had a quick scan of the threads you've made @rebe , and wondered whether the tank in this thread belonging to the friend you were trying to help was @Flowerfairy13 's tank?


Just because taken all together, getting that tank history can be helpful in attempting to diagnose.




Sounds like you might be overfeeding a bit, sorry to say! We all tend to do that, since it's fun to feed the fish, but more food in means more uneaten food waste rising nitrite levels (and exploding populations of pest snails! Do you get over run with bladder snails at times?) plus more food in the fish means more waste expelled.. plecos are known for being waste producing machines... a bristlenose is fine in a 66g tank, but since it's also an established tank with lots of natural food in there, fed twice daily, adding a whole algae wafer daily for the bristlenose may also be too much, and contributing to the high nitrate levels.

Do you see the bristlenose eat the whole wafer? I snap an algae wafer in half, one half each side (they have their own sides of the tank for their fav hiding spots) for two L181 plecos in a 57g only a couple of times a week, since they also eat biofilm and algae from the tank, and the bug bites and live and frozen food I add for the upper level fish and corydoras.


I do like that you have a big gang of cories! 😍 In decent numbers for each species. Love to see it! And much like my set up, only I have two L181 plecos, around 10 bronzes and 2 albino versions of bronzes, 6 sterbai cories, and some spotty rescue cories I adopted and added to the gang, since at least they have the company of the other cories and better water conditions than they had before.

Can you give me the tank dimensions, please? Length, width and height. Just want to check with a stocking calculator how it's looking stocking wise, with or without neons. :)

Just beware that it's the growing livebearer fry which will keep being produced and can rapidly get out of hand that is pushing your tank stocking, plus a lot of bottom dwellers too. It's nice to have a large gang cories, but when you have a lot of bottom dwellers (including messy plecos), top level fish like gourami but without floating plant cover that they like (I know you're getting some from @rebe though, which all the fish will appreciate!), and then a ton of breeding midwater dwelling species like tetra and all the livebearers that can reach large sizes given the right conditions, while popping out huge batches of fry, often... I definitely wouldn't add any more stocking, and would check with your local fish stores if they're willing to take young livebearers you've bred yourself, because not all will I'm afraid.

Is it the API Freshwater master test kit?
If so when testing nitrates, and the instructions tell you to shake the bottle and tube for a minute and for 30 seconds? It doesn't emphasis it enough. @Essjay taught most of us this, and in one old thread I made because I found my test tubes were becoming stained a light blue, no matter how I tried to clean them, and the chemicals used in the second (is that right, essjay?) bottle for nitrates separate easily, need to be really knocked about, banged against the wall, shaken hard for ages - heck, throw the bottle across the room a few times even! It separates easily, and really needs to be banged about and shaken hard to make it mix again before each test, or it can give false results.

My test tubes were becoming stained because I would often test, put the full tubes back in the kit in the cupboard while I mucked about with the tank and filter etc, because I didn't want to clumsily break the tubes, then forget to clean out the tubes until I next tested a week later. :blush: So the nitrate solution was leaving residue on my test tubes that wouldn't just easily wash off and could skew the results for all future tests.

It's also better if you can take a water sample to test from lower down in the tank, not from the surface. Use something like a clean syringe or turkey baster (unused, just for fish keeping purposes! Surprisingly useful bit of kit) to take some water from lower down in the tank, not from the surface.

I can't remember why that's important, I'm a chemistry dunce, but remember @Essjay and @Wills all discussing this when we were talking about my laziness about not washing out test tubes immediately stained my test tubes, not shaking the bottle enough for the solution to mix properly, or taking the sample from the surface, can skew your results.

So much to learn and share in this hobby! But that's what this forum is all about. :)


As @emeraldking said, these fish store livebearers tend not to be healthy stock, especially when buying from large chain stores. They're mass produced in huge fish farms abroad then shipped around the world. Disease like worms, ich, gill flukes etc spread like wildfire under these conditions and in even the best stores, if one tank of fish has worms and a net is used in the worm infested tank then used in another tank, worm eggs can be transferred that easily.

Fish also often jump from warehouse tub to another warehouse tub, or in stores from tank to tank too. It's not rare to find a male guppy has jumped into the female guppy tank next to them and had a wild time... then not only can disease spread that way, but the people buying female livebearers often find fry appearing even with no male around, since female livebearers can store sperm packets and choose when to use them, continuing to pop out fry for months, even up to a year, even if no males around, just from that one contact from the leaping fish store male!

So even if you reach the point of wanting to stop them breeding, it's not as easy as separating the males and females, since the females will have stored sperm packets, and with each female producing maybe 30 fry a month on average, which then need separating out into different male and female tanks as soon as the fry are old enough to sex, or the young females will soon also be gravid by about three months old.

Guppies are called "the million fish" in some places for a reason! They're so pretty though, and breeding them can be a lot of fun. So long as a store is willing to take batches of juveniles from you once old enough to sell, so you don't wind up overstocked. Or if you don't mind doing private sales through somewhere like gumtree.

Anyway, because fish store guppies tend not to be the healthiest stock, they're not the hardy fish they were 30-40 years ago. If you can get some fry from them, the fry are usually healthier and longer lived. But if you bought a juvenile/adult guppy from a chain store, a year and a half is pretty good, for a fish store mutt guppy. Sorry you lost your favourite though, been there. :(:rip:


The bloating can be a result of overfeeding, or the worm load the fish is carrying becomes overwhelming and kills the fish. Dropsy is a symptom rather than a disease of it's own - it's a symptom of the organs failing, which is why it's nearly always fatal. Hard to reverse organ failure once it's started in any animal, including humans, so very hard to stop if a fish has reached that point.

Can you describe any other symptoms the fish showed before passing away, or how you found them? Any listlessness, skinniness, long stringy white poop?

Highly doubt the brine shrimp did any harm, and I'm sure the fish went wild for the live food! It's fun to watch the hunting behaviour when you feed live food. It's different from how they react to commercial dried foods, or even frozen foods. Love to watch gourami hunt for live food among the floating plants!

Can you get more photos or even better - videos - of the fish? Seeing their movement can help a lot. Videos won't upload directly to the forum, but if you upload them to youtube, can link it here.

Remember that the fish you buy in store are nearly always juveniles. Behaviours can change a lot once fish mature and reach breeding age and condition. Gourami are very territorial surface feeders, labyrinth fish, and males build bubble nests on the surface when ready to breed. They appreciate a lot of plant cover to hide in for these reasons. It's also why I recommend stopping adding stress coat. It's not that helpful, and research has shown it can be harmful to labyrinth fish like bettas and gourami, since it contains aloe vera that can coat the labyrinth organ. The Prime and Flourish are good products though. :)

I don't know enough about gourami to sex them, but someone else here will be able to for sure.
If you got them a while ago, the change in behaviour is likely down to them being juveniles when you got them, they've matured to adulthood in your tank. Then not having enough plant matter to break lines of sight and establish territories, and getting the balance right can be tricky, including male/female ratios and number of gourami in the tank of which sex, and some gourami species being more aggressive than others. Your pearls are usually known as being more peaceful I think, but if you have say two males who each consider the whole tank their territory, they could fight over that. With clear pictures of them both, or video, I know someone else will be able to sex them, see if they're getting into breeding condition, and give more specific gourami advice!


I'm sure yours will be thrilled by the floating plants and fast growing stem plants (leave some floating, don't plant all the hornwort/elodea, leave some to float and it'll still grow well, can reach CO2 at the surface, give fry a hiding area, and the gourami will appreciate it too. Hopefully with that cover so the two gourami aren't in each others eyeline all the time, they might each establish their own parts of the tank and settle down.



If stuff like that happens in future, net out what you can, then use the gravel/sand vac to remove as much of the food from the tank as possible, and do a large water change. One gorging session might make the fish fat and bloated for a bit, but shouldn't cause long term damage. The problem is more the excess food in the tank rotting and producing more ammonia than the tank can handle, along with the fat well fed fish producing even more waste than usual - can cause an ammonia and nitrites spike, then high nitrates as the bacteria slowly processes it.

Removing as much from the tank manually as you can means the excess won't be sitting in the tank rotting and still being gobbled up by the fish, and the large water change to try to get the water as clean and fresh as possible, with as low nitrates as possible, since you know the bioload of all that extra food the fish ate will produce more waste than the tank usually has to process, and with a heavy stocked tank, that can lead to disaster quickly without intervention.

A friend of mine turned her back on her tiny kid for a minute while cleaning her tank, and the kid dumped a whole tub of flakes into the usually pristine and heavily planted tank, made such a mess! But was also an emergency -she had to do back to back large water changes to suck up as much of the flakes as possible, then daily large water changes and using Prime to bind ammonia and nitrites and keep the fish safe between those huge daily water changes as the tank stabilised again.

Had she left it in there, ammonia would have spiked so high it would have killed off the whole tank of fish by the morning.


Not always, especially not with worms. Worms reproduce by laying eggs that fall from the adult fish's intestines, and are eaten by the other fish. Once the fry eat some worm eggs, it continues eating and growing as usual. Worm eggs hatch in the fry's intestines, and latch onto the insides of the intestines to steal nutrients from the fish. They're a parasite, but at first, they're still quite small and not taking too much from the fish.


In the wild, the fish aren't usually overfed, so neither are the worms, so both fish and parasites will grow and reproduce more slowly.

In our well fed tanks, fry will continue to grow, as will the worms. Depending on how many eggs the fish has eaten, if it's infected with both flat and roundworms, and has a heavier burden of worms than others, it will begin to suffer and fail as the worms take more and more of the fishes nutrition, damage the fishes intestines by latching on and causing internal damage, and the fish begins to waste and become listless. Then those growing, well fed worms produce more and more worm eggs, which fall to the substrate, and can be transferred easily between tanks via shared equipment like nets and buckets, or moving fish or plants between tanks.

In one of the photos, a dalmation molly and a couple of guppies had that "wormy look" to them that I recognise, I think, although a video would be clearer.

A large, otherwise healthy, worm-free fish introduced to a tank with worms might pick up a couple of worm eggs that hatch, but the worm load remains small and not too draining on the fish for months, maybe even a year if not heavily overfed or also stressed by high nitrates... until it does becomes too much.

Even when treating for worms, sometimes the worms die inside the fish but aren't expelled, then the dead worms rotting inside the fish's body kills it. Or if it had a heavy worm burden and did expel the worms, the wounds from the worms latching on being left open and exposed can still be too much for the fish, or develop a secondary infection.

So the tiny fry aren't the first affected. Once my camallanus worm outbreak happened, I was losing fish of all ages except newborn fry, but began to lose a lot of young once they'd reached 2-3 months old, and they had eaten a lot of worm eggs, and the worm burden was now too much for them.

The worm eggs are why it's important to use the substrate vac as often as you can before, during and after treatment, every water change, gravel vac as much as you can, and complete the treatments. Anyone with multiple tanks and suspected worms should treat all of the tanks at the same time. Trust me on that one! You'll regret it if you try to just treat the one tank you think is infected but skip the others since it's expensive to treat multiple and large tanks... but it's worse to discover worms are still present in another tank six months later and have to do it all over again!

Not a coincidence, you did the right thing asking for help, losing so many so close together does mean something is wrong, and I still suspect old tank syndrome from heavy stocking/overfeeding/not enough large water changes, live plants and filtration to handle the bioload so long term high nitrates cause stress and damage over the long term, until it reaches a tipping point. You caught it at a tipping point and did what you needed to resolve it. :)

But I also still strongly suspect worms, and they've reached a tipping point there.

@emeraldking is a livebearer breeder, expert and author, so definitely trust his advice above!


Whoops, see above for the answer to that!

High nitrates also won't kill fish and fry instantly when they're born into it, or it rises gradually. It's a long term stressor, and might slow growth, but born into it and with no choice, they will do their best to survive and grow. Plus the worm thing explained above. :)

:)


That's brilliant, kudos for getting straight on it! Roughly what percentage of the tank water did you change?

Can you test your well water for all the parameters you can, and share the numbers here please?

Then the test results for the tank either tonight, or tomorrow, bearing in mind the above advice about the API nitrate test kit and sampling.


It's awesome to have hobbyist friends on the forum, and even better local to you! Getting involved in local fish clubs and events, trading things via things like the BAND ap and Gumtree, or FB, so you find local hobbyists can help you rehome youngsters, sell fish or unwanted equipment, find cheap tanks second hand (you could pick up a cheap second hand basic ten gallon for a QT/hospital tank, no need to save up for a new one or spend a lot of money! Just give it a good clean before use.


I'm happy to help when I can! :) Especially when the keeper is willing to put in the work to help the fish, plus I remember what a nightmare it was when I dealt with similar issues, so if we can help you through that and avoid a tank crash and you losing more fish, then we're happy!


No need to go expensive, or have another tank permanently set up for QT when you have an established tank to borrow from - but only after you've treated the main tank for worms. A second hand smaller tank is fine for the species you have for a month of QT, observation, and potentially medication for worms before adding new stock (especially with livebearers). It's safer and cheaper to worm them in a little 10-15g tank prior to adding them to your main tank(s), and know for sure they're not re-introducing worms into your (hopefully worm free after treatment) large main tank again!


Awesome to fast them for a few days. Would also be interesting after you've run the ammonia/nitrites/nitrates/pH etc tests on the tank after fasting for a while, if you then feed the previous amounts you used to do twice daily plus the algae wafer for a few days, then test the water again and see what the results are.

The fast growing live and floating plants will help reduce nitrates simply because they suck up and use the ammonia faster than the nitrifying bacteria can, so less of the waste is processed by filter bacteria into nitrites and then nitrates. Some filterless tanks rely entirely on plants. But can't really do that without heavy planting of fast growing plants, and a lightly stocked tank without a high bioload.

Heavily stocked and breeding tanks, even with live plants, will need larger and more frequent water changes, and things can go wrong faster since the tank is so full and with a heavy bioload, so can turn toxic quickly.

You don't need charcoal in the filter all the time. It does get "full" after a month or so, so when using it to remove meds or something, needs replacing or recharging monthly to be effective, so it's pointless and expensive to use charcoal all the time. Replace that gap in the filter with sponge or filter foam cut to size, then only use the charcoal when you've finished a course of meds, and the charcoal can help remove the traces left behind after your water changes. Or if the tank is otherwise good with stable water conditions and parameters, and you just want that polishing from the charcoal. :)

Whew! Sorry for another super long reply and info dump! It took ages and I just did it a bit at a time between chores and cleaning. :lol:
Hello!

I’m really sorry for the delayed response!!My daughter is 2 years old and is a real live wire, so my free time during the day is far and few between!

I will reply to your bits further down, just wanted to start by giving a little update. I was really positive yesterday, got the nitrate down to 10ppm and it stayed that way all day. Rebe came down with the plants and we got everything planted and the tank looked great.

This morning, I have come down to find one of my newest guppies lying on the bottom of the tank. He doesn’t look too good, looks like he is struggling to swim and is really lethargic, which isn’t like him as he is normally very active ☹ I have tested the water again and still at 10PPM for my Nitrates, Ammonia at 0ppm and Nitrites at 0ppm. I feel very ready to throw the towel in today and sell the tank ☹ Rebe also posted below for me. He seems to be worse now than he was this morning, just laying on the floor of the tank. He doesn’t look like he is gasping for breath but also doesn’t seem like he has any intention of trying to swim.

I have been keeping fish for years now and I really thought I was better than this! I feel so disappointed to have obviously put the fish in a position where their health is compromised!

The tank was doing absolutely great until a few weeks ago! No deaths and levels were consistently ok!
RE Overfeeding; That could be very possible. I will cut the feeding time to maybe once every two days. I was definitely feeding because I enjoyed watching them! So I will cut that right back. Also, the pleco spends most of his time on the filter, so I might just stop the algae wafers for a while as I don’t think he even eats them, its mostly the corys who eat them. He is only about 2 inches long, hes pretty small still.

I absolutely love my corys, they are just so much fun! I could watch them for hours!!

Tank dimensions are 121 x 41 x 55cm

I do have 2 fish stores locally who will take some of the fry, I have confirmed that with them. It was always the plan to give away the fry, I just really enjoy watching them grow up and develop their colours.

With the test kit; It is the API kit, but I did it exactly how the instructions said and Rebe also tested for me so I’m certain it was tested correctly😊

With other symptoms. There were no other symptoms… All of the fish were behaving perfectly normal. No lethargy, no signs of worms, no skinniness. I only noticed the bloat when they were dead.

Do you think I should start using a dewormer now? Or should I hold off a little while?

I have uploaded some photos now, its really hard to get good photos of them all, this was the best I could do.
 

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Poor guppy... and poor @Flowerfairy13 - I'm sorry to say, but I think there may be more than one disease and issue going on.

It's good that nitrAtes are now below 10ppm, especially if that's the number the well water comes with, and means it's not in old tank syndrome now, and can do huge water changes when needed.

Quick confirmation, is the guppy in the video that yes, is dying and beyond saving, I'm sorry - the same one in this photo from last night?
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I think the struggling to swim combined with that tail curl right at the end of the clip, plus such sudden onset, means the brain and/or nervous system is what's involved and killing the fish.

That could be a few things. A protozoan, virus, or even a secondary bacterial infection can spread to the brain and then cause these symptoms before death.

While there are some really stunningly pretty fish in those photos (I love your taste in guppies, @Flowerfairy13 ! I do see some worrying signs of health issues, including some that look wormy. That Dalmation molly is both fin clamped, and has that skinny, off look that I've seen with worms, as do some of the long, skinny young guppies that are around 1-2 months old.

Some of the other fish are fin clamped (indicates stressed and unhappy, whether through water conditions, illness or disease) pale (ditto) and even the albino aeneus cories are redder than I like to see in all the photos, which also indicates something is irritating them.

But that guppy, and if the others have had similar sudden symptoms and then deaths, then that isn't from the worms, and something else above my level of research and skill level is going on, and would be hard to diagnose without a necropsy, which are expensive and not usually something anyone wants to do for typical cheap livebearer fish. On the other hand, we don't want to throw in meds randomly without trying to pinpoint what we're treating, and definitely not all at once - since all cause some stress even when targeting the right condition, and some are snake oil rubbish, and even the effective ones you can't do all at once without potentially creating a chemical soup.

Need @Colin_T here, please chip in, Colin! That video clip suggests brain/nervous system, right?

@Flowerfairy13 if you can afford it, and agree, I'd go ahead and order eSHa 2000, and the two eSHa wormers, the gdex and ndx.
 

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