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Sick guppy, parasite?

Sandra the fish rookie

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Hi ~

On Saturday (Feb 6th) I added 5 new guppies to my 20 gallon high aquarium. my water parameters are very stable. I do not have a quarantine tank and don't really have the space to even have one at this point, as I am new to the hobby. I acclimated them to the tank (float 15 min, added 1/3 cup of my tank water every 15 minutes x3). netted them out, and into the tank with my 1 existing guppy, 2 cory cats, 1 mystery snail, and Ramshorn snail. Note, that I did an aquarium clean, water change, and added some Fritz Zyme to my tank and filter, due to adding more new fish. Checked my parameters PRIOR to the aquarium clean. 

1) checked chemistry prior to tank clean. again prior to adding new fish to tank, again 5 hours post new arrivals. and have been checking my chemistry twice daily.

I observed them carefully, and they kinda zipped around, and my existing guppy was a bit territorial, but began to calm down a bit. I kept the lights off for 2 hours while everyone was adjusting. there was a bit of bulling initially that was short lived, and was only with the guppies. 

Sunday afternoon, 1 guppy was not looking well. looks to be gasping, staying at the top, but occasionally going to the bottom or swim side to side. But he just does not look that great. he won't eat much either. I am not sure if he just is not transitioning well due to stress, if he was maybe picked on more than the others (which is why he stays mostly to himself) of if he is sick.. Then I saw something dangling .. but was not 100% sure if it was a parasite or not. All the others are eating, swimming etc. just fine.  Here are my parameters 

PH 7.3, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrates 0 KH 110, GH 120, Chlorine 0 Water/Aquarium temp 78.9

Should I treat him/all of them? I won't have a choice till I get some kind of system set up. 

I am so frustrated, because I know I need to get a quarantine system set up. I have clear bin medications, etc., but I just don't have all the space to keep this stuff set up for like 3 weeks... ugh.. and I don't know how long in advance I have to set up a quarantine tank before knowing if I will get fish or not.. sometimes, I see nice fish,,, sometimes I don't... so do I set it up in "anticipation" of getting fish, and take it all apart when I don't? 

I feel frustrated, and angry with myself.. because it seems when I think everything is fine.. its just not. 


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Sorry about the situation, I would start by saying the white stringing feces from the guppy in the picture is likely an indication of internal parasites. Treating the entire 20 gallon is an option, meds like paraclease and general cure would be the go to. 

As far as quarantine, if you find a small or nano sponge filter you could tuck it away somewhere in your main tank to become "cycled" or seeded. Then you get new fish, fill up your 5 gal bin or whatever and pull the sponge filter out of the main tank, put it in the quarantine tank, connect it to air and you're set. After quarantine you can sterilize/wash the sponge and put it back in its place to become reseeded if you need it again. With this method you can buy fish, take em home, set up your quarantine, add sponge and introduce fish as soon as the water is in the bin (dechlorinated and at temperature, of course). 

Hope that help. And hopefully your guppy pulls through. 

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Well, if one guppy has it, and you have never treated for internal parasites, then all of them have internal parasites and will die in a few months. The meds themselves will not kill the whole tank, but if a fish can not poop out the internal parasites that die in them, and they get blocked up some can die, one or two fo your fish may die, but all of them will eventually die if you don't treat. To help keep the fish from getting blocked up, when you are treating them do not feed them, maybe once... but fish can go a long time without food. I would just treat them and do what Mac says to do. I hope every thing works out. 

Edited by FriendlyLoach
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I have watched all the videos. I have started treatment, and will follow the instructions. The other video he mentions he takes a 2 week break and then does another treatment. So, to make sure I understand clearly, Day 1 treat (I have a 20 gallon, so 2 packets), Day 3, treat again, Day 5 do a 25% water change. Then per Cory, wait 2 weeks, and do 1 more treatment or do I do the entire process again? 

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@MAC should I wait till I am done with treatment, to put an additional filter in the tank? I have so many extra sponge filters.. I am going to get everything ready for the next time. 

With this lesson learned. How long do most of you quarantine your new fish? a week, two months??? 

Thank you all for your help! 

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Too bad about the guppy. That's never fun. 

As far as putting another sponge in you can do it whenever just so long as there's time for it to house beneficial bacteria before you use it for a quarantine tank. 

For treating with paracleanse I would think of it as 'treatment' being one complete round of using as directed. So day one, 'dose' with 2 packets for your 20 gallons, day three 'dose' again 2 packets for 20 gallons, day five the water change. That rounds out one treatment. So in a few weeks to treat again you would follow the same process. 

For quarantine time I start with two week minimum. I think that gives enough time to get an idea whether I not the fish are healthy or needing extra attention. Some folks probably are fine with less, some probably go 10 times as long. It's up to you and your comfort level, I err on the side of caution because, like you, I learned by losing fish in my main tank and dosing large amounts of medication. 

The fun of learning! Anyways, hope that helps.

Edited by MAC
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Have you ever seen nitrates in the tank to indicate it has been cycled? I noticed you had 0 nitrates. Perhaps there was an ammonia spike after adding the fish and increasing the bioload of an uncycled tank.

Just an idea of a possibility.

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I have been carefully monitoring my chemistry, and even after administering medications, everything is stable and has not changed since pre medication. 

I noticed that there was another guppy displaying something funky.. not sure what it is.. but he just does not look right. I decided to follow Cory's quarantine protocol, and dose all 3 meds. I just feel that at this point, they will either live or die but not treating them and at least giving them a chance, is the very least I can do.

Being a nurse, I can't just sit back and not do anything and cross my fingers. I had to do something to try to recover from my huge error in judgment. I now know why people leave the hobby.. its heartbreaking. 

Upon waking up this morning, everyone is still alive, including the one that seems to look strange to me. My peppered cory cat fish seems in distress, he is going up and down the side of the tank..then stops... I don't know.. I am going to pray he does not die from all this treatment. 

@MAC Thank you so much for your advice. I am going to put in another sponge filter today. I am also going to purchase everything I need to make a quarantine tank.  I have learned a very valuable lesson unfortunately at the price of my fish.. who were doing well until I had the stupid idea to get them some more buddies. Now I just am riddled in regret, and total sadness. I am so angry with myself. I should have known better.. I watch enough video's, read enough articles.. and took a chance... 

@quikv6 I will be honest, I had a slight increase in Ammonia at the very beginning, with trace of Nitrite and Nitrate.. it lasted 4 days.. and boom.. gone.. and I have had no changes in any parameters since. My aquarium plants have doubled in size. So its the only thing I can go on at this point. I also used Fritz Zyme and continue to do so when I do water changes (add a little bit to the filter). 

Thank you both for your feedback. Its much appreciated. 

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Just now, Sandra the fish rookie said:

@Riverstream I have ParaCleanse. Is there a difference between general cure and Paracleanse? 

I believe they have the same active ingredient so it would work just as well. Repeating the treatment every two weeks is important as this only kills the adult worms, not the eggs. 

in the future, my be good to invest in a quarantine tank. I like mine to be 10 gallons so it’s cheaper medication wise. I deworm all fish before they go in my display tanks 😊

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