Guppies hanging out towards top of tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 19
Hi all,

I recently added 3 male guppies to a moderately planted 20 gallon long tank (48 hours ago). On the first day, all three roamed around the tank and acted very normal. The following day, one was spending a lot of time right up against the surface of the water. His fins move, but he stays in place. I tested my water, and everything looked fine (ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm, nitrates 10-20ppm), but I went ahead and did a 25% water change to be safe. I did not notice a change in this behavior. Today, two guppies are now exhibiting this behavior. The third occasionally comes to the surface, swimming near the other two but eventually going back to roaming around the tank.

I'm not sure what's causing the guppies to act like this. My tank is cycled: ammonia levels never reach or go above 0.25ppm, nitrites are always 0, and currently nitrates are 10-20ppm. I can confirm its cycled since my nitrates creep up over the week. The temperature fluctuates is between 77-79F, pH is 8.0, gH is 13, and kH is 9-10. I bought them from a LFS that uses the same water source and has very similar parameters.

At first, I thought it might be an issue with oxygenation. I have a HOB filter (Aquaclear 30) which is meant to handle up to 30 gallons. I have it on max output, so all the water on the top of the tank is circulated. I can see bubbles in the column where the water falls into the tank from the filter. However, the guppies are not gulping for air. Additionally, there are 6 pygmy corydoras in the tank as well, and they do not go to the surface for oxygen more than what is considered normal--they're actually quite happy and active! So, I'm not sure oxygenation is the issue.

To try and test if oxygenation was an issue, I've tried lowering the water level while the filter is on max to try and get more gas exchange at the surface. This did not change the guppy's activity after an hour or two. Then, I switched it to a lower flow, just in case that might be what was bothering them. This also did not affect anything. The last thing I did was gently squeeze/swish around my filter media into some of the tank water I removed to lower the level to try and clean it a bit to see if that allowed better water flow and improve water conditions. This has not done anything either.

I'm not sure what else to try. Does anyone have any experience with this and have suggestions on what to do? It's puzzling given that my pygmy corys and amano shrimp are happy and active, seeming to be just fine.

One last note: on the first day, one of the guppies was fin-nipping. This has substantially decreased, but the stress of this may be affecting their behavior. The two guppies that are hanging out at the top are the aggressor and the victim (the third does his own thing for the most part, but often hangs around the victim). The aggressor was from a male-female mixed tank, while the other two were from male only tanks.

Update: I just turned off the tank lights as I normally do at this time of day, and now the two guppies are acting normally. I wasn't under the impression that the lights could have an effect--what's going on here? I don't want to keep the lights off or go lower in intensity since my plants and algae management are working really well with this lighting level/schedule. What should I do to make them feel more comfortable with the lights on? A lot of my plants are still short/young, so could it be that they don't feel like they have enough hiding places with the lights on?

Last edited by Darkblade48; 09-25-2019 at 12:42 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
streamfrost is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 02:23 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: PA
Posts: 1,688
Quote:
Originally Posted by streamfrost View Post
I recently added 3 male guppies to a moderately planted 20 gallon long tank (48 hours ago). On the first day, all three roamed around the tank and acted very normal. The following day, one was spending a lot of time right up against the surface of the water. His fins move, but he stays in place. I tested my water, and everything looked fine (ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm, nitrates 10-20ppm), but I went ahead and did a 25% water change to be safe. I did not notice a change in this behavior. Today, two guppies are now exhibiting this behavior. The third occasionally comes to the surface, swimming near the other two but eventually going back to roaming around the tank.
It is normal for guppies to spend most of their time near the surface. If they show other signs of distress, such as; closed fins, hiding in corners, wobbling along their length or obvious disease symptoms, then you should be concerned.
Deanna is offline  
post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
It is normal for guppies to spend most of their time near the surface. If they show other signs of distress, such as; closed fins, hiding in corners, wobbling along their length or obvious disease symptoms, then you should be concerned.
One of the two is acting normally now, but he is clamping his top fin. The other is hiding on the bottom in a decoration, but is not clamping fins. He hasn't moved in a few hours. Since my parameters aren't bad, what could have caused this? What can I do to "treat" the one at the bottom? I don't have a hospital tank I can isolate him in. Could it just be an issue with this particular guppy (bad genetics?) since all the other (smaller and more sensitive) inhabitants are fine?
streamfrost is offline  
 
post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 06:58 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: PA
Posts: 1,688
Your water parameters look good for live-bearers. I think you just have a finicky one that may, or may not, adapt. I can't tell how long your tank has been set up, but if it's only recently, keep your eye on ammonia and nitrites for a few weeks. Continue with the weekly water changes and make sure you clean the filter with each water change.

Are they all eating normally (jump for the food)? If so, that's a good sign, but inspect them once or twice a day for signs of disease.
Deanna is offline  
post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
Your water parameters look good for live-bearers. I think you just have a finicky one that may, or may not, adapt. I can't tell how long your tank has been set up, but if it's only recently, keep your eye on ammonia and nitrites for a few weeks. Continue with the weekly water changes and make sure you clean the filter with each water change.

Are they all eating normally (jump for the food)? If so, that's a good sign, but inspect them once or twice a day for signs of disease.

The first day I fed them (Hikari Fancy Guppy food), they all ate from the top as soon as I put food in. Now, none of them do this. The most active one usually notices it midwater and eats it, however. But the two more active guppies typically peck/scavenge at biofilms and plants, and they both are pooping so they are eating.

The one at the bottom hasn't eaten anything in 2 days, however.


Edit: I also have sinking (non algae) wafers for my pygmy corys that I've seen the two active guppies poke at, so I'm sure they've been eating some of that as well
streamfrost is offline  
post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 01:28 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: PA
Posts: 1,688
My guppies are constantly very active at, mostly, the top ...and I have very poor water parameters for guppies (~2.8 dGH, 0 dKH and TDS <100). Your conditions are better, the guppies may be ok with a little more time and consistent water (no big changes unless you measure something bad developing).

The only other thoughts I can come up with are:

- Circulation - could it be a little too much for them? You have to be the judge of that but, if you decide to cut down, try not to sacrifice surface agitation to keep gas exchange going strong.

- Could your tap contain something evil, such as way too much copper or other metal? Your water company should be able to provide this info.

- I'd put some AC in my filter and, also, some Purigen. It may be possible to scavenge some bad actors, if they are present. You can remove them when/if the guppies return to an active condition.
Deanna is offline  
post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 19
Thank you so much for your suggestions. I tried playing with the circulation earlier and that didn't seem to change much.

I have a liquid test kit for copper (since I have shrimp) and that has consistently been 0. I also have had carbon filter media in the filter the entire time the tank has been up and running.

Unfortunately, I lost both of the guppies that were acting sick as of today. I can't help but think it was stress from aggression since they were all males and the remaining guppy did chase the other two occassionally. Everyone else is still doing fine.

I think in the future, I will do only female guppies to avoid aggression/stress from aggression.

Thanks again.
streamfrost is offline  
post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 10:43 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: WI
Posts: 11,589
I had over 11 male guppies in a 55.. Very little if any aggression..
They'd actually swim en masse against the filter pipe current till getting to the end then.. stop swimming allowing the current to blow them back to the other end of the tank.
Was a real hoot..

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
jeffkrol is offline  
post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 11:18 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: PA
Posts: 1,688
I wouldn't give up. My guppies (mostly male), in the unfavorable water I have for them, behave just like @jeffkrol's do by swimming (playing) directly into the flow from the pumps and are very active throughout the tank.

I think you hit it when you suspect a knock-down shock from transfer. It may help to acclimate your fish between LFS and your tank - assuming that you don't now. For example; when I set up my QT for new fish, I test the LFS water for GH, KH and TDS. I then adjust the QT water to match these LFS levels before putting the new fish into it. Then, over several weeks (primarily to observe for disease), I gradually adjust the QT water to my display tank water so that they match before moving the fish into the display tank.
Deanna is offline  
post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 07:55 PM
A.K.A. Fishroom Bum
 
DigityDog70's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Davis, CA Fish out of water.
Posts: 663
I don't see any mention of CO2 running in this tank but just to be sure, if any running, cut it off for now. Otherwise... I think you'll be fine if you have plenty of oxygen and the water was recently changed.

Use a quarantine tank!
DigityDog70 is offline  
post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
I wouldn't give up. My guppies (mostly male), in the unfavorable water I have for them, behave just like @jeffkrol's do by swimming (playing) directly into the flow from the pumps and are very active throughout the tank.

I think you hit it when you suspect a knock-down shock from transfer. It may help to acclimate your fish between LFS and your tank - assuming that you don't now. For example; when I set up my QT for new fish, I test the LFS water for GH, KH and TDS. I then adjust the QT water to match these LFS levels before putting the new fish into it. Then, over several weeks (primarily to observe for disease), I gradually adjust the QT water to my display tank water so that they match before moving the fish into the display tank.
I talked to the LFS before buying the fish, and they have nearly identical water parameters to mine--we both use the same city water (which makes things easier!). But, just to be safe, I did acclimate them with the drip method until the volume was roughly 1/4 LFS water and 3/4 my tank's water. I bought a simple 10 gallon starter kit to use as a QT tank yesterday, so I will have one going forward. Your method sounds like a great way to help with acclimation--I will definitely measure the values myself to be sure and adjust the QT tank as necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DigityDog70 View Post
I don't see any mention of CO2 running in this tank but just to be sure, if any running, cut it off for now. Otherwise... I think you'll be fine if you have plenty of oxygen and the water was recently changed.
I have a low-tech planted tank, so I have no CO2 injection.


I was recently talking to someone I know who's kept guppies before, and they mentioned I might have seen aggression problems since I only had 3. They advised me to try at least 5 next time to try and "spread out" any aggression problems as well as getting males that have been kept in male-only tanks. I think I will try males again in a couple weeks, but following this advice and keeping them in QT for a couple weeks.
streamfrost is offline  
post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 04:26 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Palm Springs, CA
Posts: 593
Quote:
Originally Posted by streamfrost View Post
Unfortunately, I lost both of the guppies that were acting sick as of today. I can't help but think it was stress from aggression since they were all males and the remaining guppy did chase the other two occassionally. Everyone else is still doing fine.

I think in the future, I will do only female guppies to avoid aggression/stress from aggression.

Thanks again.
Female guppies can be just as aggressive in small groups. I started with two females & a smaller male, and the larger female bullied the male relentlessly until he disappeared. Not sure if he jumped and the dog had a sushi snack, or she bullied him to death and the shrimp & snails cleaned him up. Luckily she and the other female were already pregnant, and they've been kinder to their offspring.
Desert Pupfish is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome