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Help! Guppies Dying, Loaches In Peril?

Posted By: Lisa
Date: Thursday, 20 June 2002, at 9:15 p.m.

Please help me guess what's wrong with my fish. I have 5 guppies, 3 Kuhlis, 3-4 very small clowns (can't find one), 1 oto cat, and 8 guppy fry in a 20-Long tank. One tablespoon of salt per 5 gallons of water. A few live plants, lots of caves. Lots of unwanted snails. My Kuhlis seem to have done well with the guppies. I see them at night, that's all, but they are great fish.

I originally had 8 guppies. Three have died since I added the clowns. I bought 4 small clowns last week to help with my snails and live in my small tank until we set up our big tank in October. I bought two at one shop and two at another. I do not have a quarantine tank set up yet (mistake). I went back to the first pet store after the guppies began dying, and their little clowns from my batch looked fine, but their medium clowns were covered in Ick. Had arrived the same day, but had been bagged separately.

Also, when the guppy fry were first born (2 weeks ago), I gave them a little mashed egg yolk paste and did an awful job cleaning it out of the breeder net, and later found some egg with white stuff growing on it. I sucked it all out using a vacuum made out of air line, and did an immediate water change. I've been changing the water, 20-25%, three times a week since the babies were born.

The tank looked cloudy after the egg fiasco so I found some Cloudy Tank instructions online and followed those for 7 days. Changed the water 25% every other day, used half dose of Quick Cure, removed the carbon.

Ammonia had been zero since the tank cycled, but today was .25. Nitrites were .25. I do not have a Nitrate kit. I had changed 20% of the water last night, so I added 8 ml Amquel tonight when I saw the ammonia reading. I started with Melafix yesterday because the latest guppy casualty showed signs of Tail and Fin Rot. I had done 7 days of Melafix earlier in the month, too. I hate doing too much because I don't like having the carbon filter out all the time.

These are the signs I have seen: the doomed guppy will hover within a plant for a day or so before s/he dies, will come out to eat but otherwise not move, the next day it will lie on the bottom and weakly flutter its fins. One male looked swollen, (perhaps with dropsy?) for several days before he showed other signs (and that was before we got the clowns). Some have shown redness in the gills, some haven't. The new oto cat looks pinker in the gills than when I got him.

Twice a fish has died during the night and I have found him the next day with the loaches. I hope the guppy just swam into the cave to die. Clowns and Kuhlis wouldn't kill guppies, would they? They have not looked gnawed on in any way.

I have a fake coral with bubbles coming out of it and the three Kuhlis and the first two clowns live in there. The two other clowns explore all over the tank and like a shale shelf I made. They go in and out of the coral decoration with the other loaches (guppies never go in that cave) but don't seem to need to hide in it all day. I have only seen one of the first two clowns at a time (so I don't know if I've seen them both or just the same one over and over). I found one dead guppy in there when I couldn't find him anywhere else. I picked up the decoration and shook it gently (still underwater) and the guppy floated out. I wonder if one of the clowns is in there dead. Could that account for an ammonia spike? I don't want to stress the other loaches by shaking it around again.

I would really appreciate any help you can give me. So far I've used Melafix and Quick-Cure. If I need an antibiotic or parasite killer, which should I try that would be okay for a bio-filter? I am very new at all this and hate making things worse for my guys.

It's funny that (knock on wood) whatever is killing the adults hasn't touched the babies in the breeder net. Hmmm.

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