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229 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I didn’t post on this forum immediately because I didn’t think it was the right place to post about a fish other than Bettas, however I haven’t been able to get many responses on the other forum I posted at, so I’m trying here now.

A few days ago (~5), I noticed my guppies were looking paler than usual (they are a pair of albino blue tailed guppies, the color on their fins was less vibrant). I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it or how bad the change was so i kept an eye on them. A day later, their fins were clamped and the boy had a tear on his tail. In addition, they were both swimming near the surface and “shimmying” or having some difficulty swimming. I gave them a 25% water change then and the next day a 60% water change. Since then, the female seems to have recovered for the most part, however the male has grown worse. He swims at the surface at a 45 degree angle, his fins have clamped so much he looks like a noodle, and he has red all across the end of his tail. Yesterday, (the day after the 60% water change) I did another 25% water change and slowly added a half cup of salt (dissolved in some tank water before hand) over the course of 4-6 hours, and a dose of microbes lift artemiss over the course of maybe 2-3 hours, adding a few cups of the mixture every half hour or so..

Here are some pictures of the male, both before he got sick, and as it has progressed. I will try to find the form to fill out for sick fish and fill that out as well, ASAP. Thanks all for the help, anything is appreciated!

He also seems to be resting almost completely vertically in intervals now.

Although it will be included in the form as well, here are the water readings:

Ammonia: 0 (it looks like the 0.25, but every time I’ve tested my water it look a this way..?)
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 30ppm
PH: 8.2
KH: 9 drops
GH: 18 drops


229 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
How many gallons is your tank? 27 gallons
Does it have a filter? Yes, a large sponge filter and currently a hang on the back fluval clear from another tank to help out
Does it have a heater? Yes, 150 W
What temperature is your tank? 79 degrees
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? A Never clog air stone in sponge filter
Do your guppies have tank mates? What kind? There are two guppies and maybe 15 or so snails (pond)

What food brand do you use? I have been using Hikari and aqueon goldfish food crushed, however at Petco, they recommended fluval bug bites tropical formula which I just switched to. I also feed frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, and other frozen packs occasionally.
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? Occasionally
How often do you feed your guppies? How much? I have previously fed them 3x a day, a small pinch (6 small pellets crushed smaller)

Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? About once every 1 1/2 or 2 weeks
What percentage of water did you change? 30%
What is the source of your water? Tap
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Lightly vacuum
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? Prime, I just recently started adding aquarium coop all in one fertilizer.

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters? Please give exact numbers. If tested by pet store please get exact numbers. "Fine" or "Safe" won't help us help you. Important: Test your water before the regular water change; not after one.

Ammonia: 0/0.25 (not sure, my tests have always seemed to read in this range.. )
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 30ppm
pH: 8.2
Hardness (GH): 18 drops
Alkalinity (KH): 9 drops

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? About 5 days ago
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? My male guppy has red across his tail, is paler, his eye is also paler, and he looks like a noodle, his whole body seems less defined.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? He swims mostly near the surface and wiggles a lot to move
Is your Betta still eating? It’s hard to tell, I tried to feed him and saw the female go for the food while he feebly did not seem to notice..
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? 1/2 cup salt, one dose of Artemiss
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? I’ve only had him for two weeks :/
How long have you owned your Betta? 2 weeks
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? No

Additional important detail: when I first put the pair in the 27 gallon it was only a few days old. I thought with such low bioload and the fact the substrate was from a cycle day tank and I fed a filter from a cycle down tank for the first few days, that everything would be okay... I can now see I did not think thoroughly enough through it. Also, I have never read high levels of ammonia, nitrite, or nitrates, but it’s possible I missed a spike. I’ve tested about once a week.

229 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Sorry this is all so long.. just thought I’d add that I’ve recently had wood mold from a leak In the same room the fish are in, and that the lights aren’t programmable, and I leave them on for possibly too long, usually around 9-11 hours

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19,187 Posts
Everything I've read about shimmies indicates it's a symptom of water chemistry problems. The fish lose control of their nervous system. Some call it "Mollie Disease" but any livebearer can get it. The "cure" seems to be upping the salt. But, they also make meds for it. I think "Mollie Bright" is one.

It's one reason I no longer keep livebearers. We weren't sure back then was really caused it but whatever "it" was resided in my water supply.

As far as the red/blood in his caudal, I don't believe it's septicemia as that usually is seen at various points on the body and not just one centralized spot. Symptoms can also be bulging eyes, lethargy and lack of appetite.

And, just so's you know, it can take upwards of six weeks to seed a tank using media from another filter. Substrate doesn't carry enough nitrifying bacteria to do much good. I'm wondering why the 30 ppm Nitrates? That is awfully high. Instead of doing large changes, do 10% ones and try to get the Nitrates under 15.

Those are gorgeous Guppies. I can see why you wanted them.

229 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Hey, thank you for your response btw :) I’m sorry I’m so late in responding. I really appreciate it and now if I get nice guppies again I will be more prepared to take care of them.. The two both died. Although I was hopeful about the female, she also didn’t make it and died a few days after my post. I didn’t realize 30ppm nitrates was so high.. The varying information I’ve received online and offline led me to believe 40ppm was a good limit for nitrates, but even then they weren’t very harmful... Thanks, now the tank is empty, but I will keep that in mind with my other tanks. Thank you again for the response and the help, I will be more careful in the future!
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