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cant keep guppies alive

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Post Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:34 am
gorak Level 3 Member
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Posts: 63
I have been having a hard time keeping guppies. It doesn't matter were they come from. I have them in my well established tank and they just last a few days. They are all active and eating. Then they go up to a corner and become anti social, then the next day they are dead. I can't figure it out. I have angels spawning, raise/spwan discus, freshwater stingrays, peacock bass, payara and many other rare challenging fish without problem for a good 20years. Yet guppies just die on me. I like them for my kids tank but just can't keep them. Last week I bought 9. I have since had 4 die and I get the replaced but that seems a high death rate for one week.

The tank is a 20high with live plants. Filtration is 2 spongefilters. My water is 0-0-10ppm. PH is 7.4 it is soft water.

Any thoughts?
"In the end we are all just chalklines on the concrete. Drawn only to be washed away. For the time that I've been given, I am what I am..." -5fdp

Post Sat Nov 02, 2013 6:17 pm
Templeflower Level 4 Member
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Posts: 129
Location: Dakota County

What other fish are in the tank? You could have a more aggressive tank mate that stresses the guppies to death- this is what happened to my daughter's pair. Are you quarantining them before putting them into their permanent home? This could give them time to adjust from the stress of the move. Soft water may be the issue to some extent. Of course guppies are pretty flexible, but they do tend to prefer harder, basic water. I'm not a guppy expert, but these are things to consider.

Post Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:02 am
gorak Level 3 Member
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Posts: 63
The tank has now 6 guppies and 3 dwarf wood cats. The woodcats are harmless and are non agressive. I have 2 males and the rest are/were females. The tank was emptied for them so there was no qt tank for them since they are the only inhabitants. I am averaging b one lost every day. Water is perfect, aside from the soft deal but it is west st Paul water. My friend a few blocks away has a nice healthy stock of guppies in his tank and the water is the same as mine.

That is why I am stuck. I can't figure it out. In all my history of fish keeping every guppy venture ends the same way. Overnight unexplainable death. Happy eating being a guppy then the death slide. It happens with feeder guppies and fancy guppies alike.
"In the end we are all just chalklines on the concrete. Drawn only to be washed away. For the time that I've been given, I am what I am..." -5fdp

Post Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:37 am
vl2lx Level 3 Member
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Posts: 70
Location: stp
Maybe try to keep them in a separate container for a few days and see how they do, If they survive it may be something with that specific tank. Maybe also want to stir up your gravels a bit and let it air out, might be bad gas trap in the substrate.

Post Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:53 am
gorak Level 3 Member
Level 3 Member

Posts: 63
I'll try the separate tank as I have several around. The sand was just added to the tank just before the guppies went in so no gas build up. This has been my trend with every tank I have ever had guppies in.

Also I have a male that has been in there since I first got them and he has out lasted all the others. I think I have 2 left from the first buy. All the others from the first buy have died. All these are from the same batch at the store. All the stores fish are fine.
"In the end we are all just chalklines on the concrete. Drawn only to be washed away. For the time that I've been given, I am what I am..." -5fdp

Post Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:46 pm
gorak Level 3 Member
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Posts: 63
No marks on the dead guppies. There are plants and a big rock pile for hiding. Along with 2 sponges. The guppies are not picking on each other at all. They are swimming and eating as a group without issues. Then one will start to be on its own. Then it stays at the surface. Then it is dead, with no marks no bite fins no nothing. While this is going on the rest of them go on eating and being a school of guppies.

All the guppies are to big to be eaten. Only new fry would be at risk they have very very small mouths. The cats scientific name is Trachelyichthys decaradiatus. they are about 2-3" long each. They fill up on flake and are rarly out. Cory cats are more of an issue then these cats.
"In the end we are all just chalklines on the concrete. Drawn only to be washed away. For the time that I've been given, I am what I am..." -5fdp

Post Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:27 pm
Passionfish Level 20 Member
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Posts: 12028
Location: apple valley, mn
There is a source of stress that is overwhelming the guppies. From history, source of stress is not tankmates, it is not the water, it is not decor, it is not the food.
How soon do they die after being added to the tank?
Like a complete unknown

Post Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:33 pm
gorak Level 3 Member
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Posts: 63
Honestly it verys guppy to guppy. I have some the drop in 24hrs and others take a week. I have 2 that are going on a week and a half while the others are on day 4-5. So far today looks good and I am holding at 6 that look great. 2 males and 4 females. (I have 3 in the freezer pending exchange, I am waiting to see if any more drop so I stop going in every day with one guppy. Also it is not the newly added guppy that goes most times. It is a mid range guppy.)

I am feeding omega one flakes.

I have 3 sides of the tank blued out so only the front panel is open. Most of the days they are alone and I peek in on them from time to time other then when I am in there watching them.

Water still reads 0-0-10ppm. I have been thinking of adding salt just to try something I haven't. There is no illness in the tank or in the fish all look healthy until they go solo to die.

When they go solo to die they start to turn white. Lose all their colors and sit in a corner at the top. Once they go solo to a corner it is about 12hrs and I find them on the bottom dead. Once on the bottom their fins are still in perfect shape not even one nip. This is the "normal" for my guppy keeping experience. I am just stumped.

The last time this happened after 15 guppies I gave up and put a pair of discus in the same tank and they bred within a week.
"In the end we are all just chalklines on the concrete. Drawn only to be washed away. For the time that I've been given, I am what I am..." -5fdp

Post Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:58 am
AreYouAShoggoth User avatar
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Posts: 35
It sounds like all of your guppies come from the LFS. I would recommend getting some guppies straight from other hobbyists, either through this forum or at the next auction. I have found that the fish that I buy from other hobbyists are often hardier (or better adapted to tank life) than those from the LFS, for a variety of reasons.

Then, put them in a tank of their own for a while. Start off not with St. Paul tap but water made from RO and buffer salts so it's guppy-hard.

Finally, feed them a varied diet.

See how this works.

Post Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:27 pm
gorak Level 3 Member
Level 3 Member

Posts: 63
Passionfish wrote:
I would be sure to add Prime or similar product with each water change.
Vary food just in case a single food is resulting in a diet deficiency.
It is my understanding that municipal water supply adds sodium hydroxide to certain areas of St. Paul. The reason is to keep lead from leaching out of old pipes that have never been replaced. This is why hardness and carbonate concentrations can be moderate to low and pH of tap water will be greater than 8. After a few days, pH drops closer to 7 than 8. That is a fairly large pH swing and would stress fish. Aging water is perhaps the only way to deal with this issue.
Add charcoal filter with very fresh charcoal used for 3 days post every water change based on assumption there is an unknown toxin in water supply. This could vary over time as it is my understanding municipal water supply in St. Paul is from surface water source and wells. At some times during year, it maybe to City advantage to use surface water and other times to use well water.
Lastly, any chance someone used copper sulfate in this tank at one time? A copper test kit could identify if copper levels are great enough to be toxic. Since discus were happy, it would be quite a surprise to find high levels of copper. Nevertheless, I would test for copper just to know what it is.


I use api for my dechlor. I used to use prime but I have had a few bad bottles cost me $3000 in stock kills so I stopped using them.

I am the only one that touches my tanks. So no one in the house could have added copper. I have had this tank for 20yrs and no copper has ever been in this tank.

I was told most st Paul water came from lake vadnis. I wouldn't be surprised that they do mixes of things.

My pH comes from the tap at 7.4 and holds there. I check it often and maintain it. I have freshwater rays, discus, breeding angels, and armatus payara in addition to other pH sensitive fish. I check it a lot.

I will start adding more things like pellets and other fresh meaty foods. I am a big fan of mixed diets myself.

I have been thinking of picking up an to unit and making a storage container to run to on all my tanks. I know once I move my house will be set up to have an auto drip system on every tank I have with to water.
"In the end we are all just chalklines on the concrete. Drawn only to be washed away. For the time that I've been given, I am what I am..." -5fdp

Post Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:35 pm
gorak Level 3 Member
Level 3 Member

Posts: 63
AreYouAShoggoth wrote:
It sounds like all of your guppies come from the LFS. I would recommend getting some guppies straight from other hobbyists, either through this forum or at the next auction. I have found that the fish that I buy from other hobbyists are often hardier (or better adapted to tank life) than those from the LFS, for a variety of reasons.

Then, put them in a tank of their own for a while. Start off not with St. Paul tap but water made from RO and buffer salts so it's guppy-hard.

Finally, feed them a varied diet.

See how this works.


Yeah all mine have come from the LFS. Petco to be exact in this case. I have had this problem with guppies from every lfs from flp and every local store in st paul area. This my play a big part in the guppy death issue. I'll have to check on some hobbiest guppies if I continue to have this problem.

I know I am getting to the point were I am about to give up on guppies again and get some thing else for the kids.

As I stated above I am working at a ro unit.




Thanks for the ideas I will be trying them. As for an update I still have the 6 holding strong.
"In the end we are all just chalklines on the concrete. Drawn only to be washed away. For the time that I've been given, I am what I am..." -5fdp

Post Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:03 pm
guppygeek User avatar
Level 3 Member
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Posts: 69
Location: Elgin, MN

When I first started getting back into guppies, I did grapple with stress and some deaths and attributed them (maybe incorrectly) to one of two things:

pH swings (Like Passionfish said)
uneaten live / frozen foods

I live in a rural area north of Rochester and have well water with a higher pH . In the beginning, I made attempts to lower the pH of my tanks with chemicals and then eventually peat and Malaysian drift wood. It was very difficult to maintain an even pH and the fish would stress and some died. I decided to take a different approach and slowly acclimate my guppies to my tap-pH. For example, I purchased a new strain of guppy to work with and kept them isolated and over the course of several weeks I raised the pH to my tap level. The first fry born were born into the higher pH water and do just fine.

The other issue that I have run into, and I believe that I have seen a guppy turn white and die from this in addition to bloat and other diseases related to this, is when a guppy might get a hold of some festering uneaten live / frozen food. I feed my guppies frozen beef heart and BBS and live microworms. I've found that sometimes the beef heart would sink before getting eaten completely and could then get consumed later before I can clean it out. I do not use gravel in my tanks, but lots of java moss (switching to guppy grass now). The food can get trapped in the java moss.
Willie gave me some simple and great advice and I have not had a problem since. Snails. I plopped one mystery snail (sometimes two) in each 10 gallon tank and they keep the tanks free of uneaten food. I have not had any issues since then.

If you are looking for some cheap, but pretty guppies to try, I might have some. I have a couple of Blue Green Moscow males from my last drop of fry that I will not be breeding or selling as show fish because their coloring isn't up to par. They are still pretty, just not show-worthy or anything that I would want to contribute to the line.

Good luck!!

John
My Site - http://www.guppygeek.net
Minnesota Fancy Guppy Club -http://www.mfgc.org

Post Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:30 pm
Soup3777 User avatar
Level 8 Member
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Posts: 1109
Location: Minneapolis, MN
load the tank with guppy grass

Post Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:56 pm
gorak Level 3 Member
Level 3 Member

Posts: 63
Thanks for the tips I'll try that.
"In the end we are all just chalklines on the concrete. Drawn only to be washed away. For the time that I've been given, I am what I am..." -5fdp

Post Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:10 pm
willie Level 8 Member
Level 8 Member

Posts: 1391
Location: Minneapolis
Take John up on his offer of some quality guppies. The stuff from LFS and PetSmart will die on you quickly.

Willie

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