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Why are my guppies dying?

I'll do some research around protozoans and viruses that affect the brain
 
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?
View attachment 337345

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.
I will order those right now. Thank you so much. With my poor guppy - is it time to PTS?
God fish keeping is so brutal! I never thought I would cry so much over fish!!!
 
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!

Don't be sorry! Managing a toddler is plenty enough to worry about and keep you busy, and you've still been very on top of things with your tank, so don't feel you need to rush to respond, especially if it's one of my long, rambling, essay posts!

Useful if I've asked any specific questions to just highlight and add those questions to quotes, then just answer the specific questions and skip all my other waffling ;)
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.
That's great! Keep that hope alive. I know it's hard, and sad when you see a fish you really like dying, but overall you're still making improvements with the water quality, adding plants, and trying to figure out the causes of death and fix them, so stop beating yourself up!
I feel very ready to throw the towel in today and sell the tank ☹

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!

I completely understand the feeling - but stop that, right now! This doesn't mean you're a bad fishkeeper, you caused this, or that you can't do it, or any of the other things you're telling yourself right now.

As we said, fish store fish can often come pre-loaded with illnesses, disease, parasites - and usually aren't the heathiest, most robust and well bred stock anyway. To get a lot of these fancy pretty guppies to breed true involves a lot of inbreeding, which can cause issues later down the line, and being mass produced in sometimes dodgy fish farms abroad then exposed to all sorts of diseases in store, it's not your fault if you've bought what looks like a beautiful healthy fish (and you have a lot of stunning, healthy looking fish in there, despite the few ones with symptoms I've spotted) and it's not your fault if they came in with an illness and then die as a result of that illness.

You also weren't to know how often livebearers come pre-loaded with worms. I didn't know that either when I first got into the hobby, despite having parents who were in the aquatics trade and doing tons of research when taking over my dad's tank, and setting up my own! I thought I was well prepared, but many of us learn this the hard way - I did just like you, and wound up learning about it here, that the pretty guppies I was buying and adding to my established, zero ammonia/nitrite/low nitrate tanks - were just badly bred, sickly fish store guppies, and I was unlucky with those first few. But I felt like a fish murderer and so frustrated that I couldn't figure out why they kept dying, but assuming it must be something I was doing wrong, but couldn't find out what it was!

So I understand how it hurts, how easy it is to blame yourself, and the urge to give up and throw in the towel when disaster strikes. But please don't!

It's a complex hobby with a very steep learning curve, many things can go wrong, there's a lot of misnformation out there to confuse us too... none of us can know everything, so please. Take some deep breaths, let yourself cry when you need to, but try to stop blaming yourself, or thinking you should quit the hobby.

You clearly care about the fish a lot, there is plenty of hope of fixing these issues and riding out this rough patch, and still having a beautiful, healthy, successful tank!

The tank was doing absolutely great until a few weeks ago! No deaths and levels were consistently ok!

The fact you care a lot, and it bothers you so much you blame yourself and get upset shows how much you care and want it to work, and for your fish to be healthy. You've worked hard and gone above and beyond in being willing to listen to advice, do water changes and treatment when needed, getting the live plants etc. Having a disease enter your tanks or losing fish to a mistake doesn't make you a bad aquarist or mean you should quit the hobby. Quite the contrary, you're exactly the sort of person the hobby needs, and who can get through this rough patch by doing what you need to, and come out the other side.

For now, I wouldn't add or remove any of the inhabitants of this tank, need to treat them first, then can look at stocking levels and whether to rehome any, or how you can manage to keep the tank and water levels stable (like with extra water changes, and adding the live plants) to support a more heavily stocked tank, then rehome the younger livebearers you've bred once you start to reach your limit/ones you don't want to personally keep. But for now, treat the tank like a QT tank, since all of the inhabitants will need treating at once, so better to just focus on treating this tank and making sure we've sorted any worms, infections or other diseases.

Then once it's healthy and balanced and you're wanting to add new stock, you've learned the hard way sadly, as many of us do - the importance of quarantining new stock before adding them to your main tank. And why so many of us are wary of fish store fish, especially the big chain stores, as compared to some higher quality privately owned stores (although not all of those are good either, can vary!)

We can help you learn how to set up a temporary and inexpensive QT tank too, so no need to save up for a new, expensive tank. But we can cover that when the time comes, or you can search the forum for "temporary QT tank" or "emergency QT tank" to see how others do it.
 
@GaryE I'm sorry, I know you say you're not a disease expert, but none of are really - Colin seems to know the most, but he's not here and doesn't love wading through long threads... would you please at least take a look at the photos and videos, and see what you think?

(@Flowerfairy13 - as an aside, I also bought a black guppy, used to keep and breed some of those stunning blue platies, and love a lot of the ones you chose!)

Can anyone ID these two fish for me though, please? I can't see them well enough, but the shape plus the way the two hang back together near the surface at the back of the tank in all the pics has me wondering what they are? Are they WCMM?
mystery fish circled.jpg
 
i cant be bothered reading this, sum it up and show me pictures

Just scan for photos and videos - the latest video has me suspecting something affecting the brain and/or nervous system since it was overnight and the body and tail curl at the end of the clip. :(

Nitrates were also high but that has been fixed with water changes. Suspect worms since these are various fish store fish, lot of livebearers from fish farms not QT and all added to main 66g tank, several fish lost over couple of weeks, so I suspect some effects from high nitrates causing stress, likely worms and some signs of them in the fish in the photos throughout the thread, but with the latest video showing a guppy dying with potential brain infection of some kind, also something going on besides fixing the nitrates, more live plants added yesterday and filters rinsed, substrate vacced and water changed yesterday so nitrates now only 10ppm.
 
I just read the whole thread, and I am sad to say it looks like the answer was in @emeraldking 's two posts. I usually avoid posts about guppies, because they do tend to die and we don't know what of. I suspect viral diseases, simply because the last pet store owner I discussed this with was a knowledgeable marine biologist, and he felt that was why he couldn't get good farmed guppies.

Some experienced aquarists will breed fish they like from farms, and raise them with zero contact with their parents, for life.

I suspect the biggest "hobby killer" is the cheapness of fish, and things that are done to make them that cheap. It is a short-sighted business. I avoid answering guppy questions because medications rarely work if it's viral. My advice will sound harsh, but it would be to buy no more guppies. See if the fry dodged the bullet on the disease, and go with the other fish.
 
For now, I wouldn't add or remove any of the inhabitants of this tank, need to treat them first, then can look at stocking levels and whether to rehome any, or how you can manage to keep the tank and water levels stable (like with extra water changes, and adding the live plants) to support a more heavily stocked tank, then rehome the younger livebearers you've bred once you start to reach your limit/ones you don't want to personally keep. But for now, treat the tank like a QT tank, since all of the inhabitants will need treating at once, so better to just focus on treating this tank and making sure we've sorted any worms, infections or other diseases.
Sorry - I'm not sure if I am doing this quoting thing right, hopefully I am :)
Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. It really is devastating for me to lose any of the fish. For me, it's so conflicting at the moment because I am so against unnecessary deaths.. Rebe will tell you when I bought the bag of live brine shrimp recently I really contemplated setting up a tank for them and not killing them..... I'm too soft for my own good :lol: I still think about them almost daily, which is ridiculous I know but it's just the type of person I am lol. I love all animals with a passion, so the fact that my fish are suffering right now is so devastating!
I have decided against rehoming the neons for now.. I have purchased a QT tank today. It's 60L. For now I have moved my snails into it, as I read that the ndx and gdex treatments will kill the snails. Again, I know a lot of people consider them pests but I truly do enjoy watching them and would hate to kill them!
I am also considering putting my fry into the QT tank tomorrow before I start treating the tank? They all seem so young and healthy, I'm hoping that maybe by moving them I can avoid them catching whatever is in the tank.

My advice will sound harsh, but it would be to buy no more guppies. See if the fry dodged the bullet on the disease, and go with the other fish.
Thanks for your advice Gary. I completely understand what you mean. I think I am going to separate the fry from the main tank and hope they are ok!
Can anyone ID these two fish for me though, please? I can't see them well enough, but the shape plus the way the two hang back together near the surface at the back of the tank in all the pics has me wondering what they are? Are they WCMM?
Adora - yes, I think this is a white cloud mountain minnow, sorry I always count him in with my Tetras. When I ordered my tetras I ordered 20, they came with 18 neons, 1 black tetra and 1 WCMM for some reason!
 
Can anyone ID these two fish for me though, please? I can't see them well enough, but the shape plus the way the two hang back together near the surface at the back of the tank in all the pics has me wondering what they are? Are they WCMM?
And sorry, the other one is definitely a guppy, she is young so her tail colours haven't come in properly!
 
Bear in mind that if you move fish from this infected tank - and I truly believe they have worms as well as potentially another infection, that you'd be spreading both the worms and possibly whatever other illnesses are affecting them to the QT tank too, and both would need to be treated... especially when you don't know what disease(s) might be present.

But I'm losing confidence in my own opinions since @GaryE said that @emeraldking has it right, he's read the whole thread, and apparently disagrees with my advice... and @Colin_T hasn't responded to my summary either, and all three of them are much, much more experienced hobbyists and experts. I'm a nobody who only has a few years in the hobby really, and now I'm feeling bad thinking maybe I'm totally wrong, wasting your time, and shouldn't get involved. :(

I'm very sorry if I'm wrong and wasted your time. You seem like a lovely person, as does Rebe, and when people aree struggling with a problem I've also experienced, I want to try to help them.

But perhaps I've overstepped some bounds, or not given enough warning that these are my opinions. I'm sorry if I'm wrong and didn't help. :(
 
Nobody summed it up so I had to read most of it and couldn't be bothered.

The two pearl gouramis are males and are fighting over territory, you need to get rid of one. Having bigger floating plants like Water Sprite could offer more territory for them and reduce aggression but it will always be a problem due to having two males in the tank.

The pH is a bit high, and the GH of the water is a bit hard for Corydoras, tetras and gouramis but is fine for guppies, platies, swordtails and mollies. None of this relates to the dying guppies.

The tank is heavily stocked and the high nitrates would suggest you need to do a bigger water change each week. Instead of doing a 30% water change each week, do a 75% water change. Gravel clean the substrate every time you do a water change. You want nitrates to be as close to 0ppm as possible and under 20ppm at all times. However, if your tap water has nitrates that will be the lowest level you can get in the tank unless you use reverse osmosis or rain water. Lots of live plants (especially floating plants) will help keep nitrates lower.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

There are a number of rocks on the substrate and these can collect gunk under them, which can lead to external protozoan infections. The fish do not appear to have any external protozoan infections. I would remove most of the rocks so there is more open areas for the catfish and it will make cleaning the tank easier.

The two albino Corydoras appear to have minor bacterial infections (red patches) on the side of their body behind the head. This could be from the nitrates or something else. Clean water, a clean substrate and cleaning the filter should help. Getting the nitrates down should help too. I wouldn't treat them at this stage, just clean the tank and see how they look.

I don't know if you have a blue light above the tank but fish and plants do best under white light, which consists of red, yellow, blue and green wavelengths. Straight blue light can stop plants growing as well.

The white guppy in the video probably has a swim bladder problem and there's no cure. It also appears to have gill flukes, which is common in aquarium fish. Treat the tank with salt and if there is no improvement after a week, euthanise the white guppy.

The other guppies could be dying of old age or age related ailments. I need clear pictures of them but if the young fish are fine and the older ones are dying, I would say it's most likely age related with high nitrates and parasites (gill flukes and intestinal worms) contributing to the problem.

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I would remove the rocks permanently. Clean the filter, that should be done about once a month. Wipe the inside of the glass down. Gravel clean the substrate and change about 75-80% of the water. Then add some salt. After a couple of weeks of salt, deworm them. If more fish get sick in the mean time, post clear pictures of them under white light (no blue lights on) and video as well if you can.

Look at rehoming one of the gouramis.

Don't add any new fish if you are losing fish. It just adds to the problems. If you lose a fish, do not add anything new to the tank for at least one month after everyone has recovered. The only exception to this is live plants. They can be added any time but try to avoid getting them from tanks that contain fish, and rinse them under tap water before adding them to the aquarium.

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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.

Keep the salt level like this for 2 weeks.

The salt will not affect the beneficial filter bacteria, 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 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.
 
The sudden deaths of your guppies can be attributed to several potential factors. Firstly, it's crucial to assess the water quality in your aquarium. Poor water quality, caused by high levels of ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate, can stress out guppies and make them susceptible to illness or disease. Ensure that you are regularly testing and maintaining appropriate water parameters.
 

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