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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I've had a planted tank for almost a year now. For the first few months I just had plants and snails. For about six months now I've had Ottos and Guppies. The Ottos have been pretty hardy. A few have died within a week or two after bringing them home, but once past that initial introduction they have tended to last.

The Guppies I haven't been as successful. I started out with three females and one male. The females started dying about a week after giving birth. I traded some of the offspring for another female. She died within a couple of weeks after bringing her home. After that one female started to look like someone was picking on her tail and after declining for a couple of weeks she died. I bought three more females so that the original male wouldn't harass the lone female to death. Within a month all guppies, original and new, have died. They all look like someone is picking on their tail fins and then their color starts to fade. One of the females had babies during the last month and the two babies that are left are starting to get the same symptoms. The Ottos are still going strong.

I've also noticed that I have a worms/parasites in the tank. They up to about a centimeter long and about a millimeter wide. They are whitish with a diamond shaped head. Very similar to planaria. Could these worms be the problem?

Specs
10 gallon planted tank
nitrate/nitrite/ammonia all within normal parameters.
3 Otto Cats
2 Baby Guppies
Tons of snails
Tons of planaria-like worms.

I do not have a quarantine tank. :icon_sad:
 

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Something tells me you may be overfeeding. A lot of times when you see tons of snails and worms, that means there is a lot of waste for them to feed on. How often do you feed the fish and how much?
 

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The worms you are seeing are planaria, and that is an indication of overfeeding.

I have trouble with guppies too. Pet store guppies are usually bred and kept in overcrowded, less than ideal conditions and seem to be about as disease-ridden as feeder goldfish. I'd suggest quarantining any new ones you get for at least a couple of weeks in a separate tank, and deworming them while they are in there. Also, you should deworm the main tank. Try adding a little salt, about 4 tablespoons or so for your ten gallons. Guppies seem to like salt in the water.

Since you don't have a quarantine tank, I would recommend getting one. It could be just a little one, 2-5 gallons, with just a little filter and heater. Or you could even get a spare heater and filter and use a plastic bucket, which is what I generally do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I had only been feeding once a day in the evening. A pinch of flakes and about a third to half of an algae tab ever other day.

Looks like one of the baby guppies didn't make it through the night, so I think I'll just stop feeding altogether to try to reduce the snail and worm population. The other baby guppy doesn't look like it will last much longer. The Otto cats can work a little bit to get their food for a while.

We're probably going to try something other than guppies. My husband and I are both tired of sick/dying/dead fish. Poor things. Any suggestions for small, friendly, colorful... and most of all, healthy fish?

Thanks for the help!
 

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The fact that even the baby fish have died means that there is something wrong in your tank right now. Either the water parameters are off, or you've got a something very contagious and lethal. I really think you need to figure out what is going on before getting more fish, or you're just likely to have the same keep happening.

Have you checked the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates recently?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The fact that even the baby fish have died means that there is something wrong in your tank right now. Either the water parameters are off, or you've got a something very contagious and lethal. I really think you need to figure out what is going on before getting more fish, or you're just likely to have the same keep happening.

Have you checked the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates recently?
I was thinking the same thing, except the Otto Cats are just fine. They are fat and happy. I just retested and only the ammonia was a little off, probably due to the missing baby guppy. Added some Prime to bring it back down.

What would you do to worm the tank?
 

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Adding Prime won't solve the problem, it will only lock up ammonia for 24 hours at most. The best way to deal with ammonia is to do a water change.

You can get wormers at most LFSs, or from a vet.
 

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I keep and breed guppies and have hd a similar problem from time to time.
Over feeding has been the cause every time. One of the things that I do and believe that it will work for you as well, is to place a couple of cat fish type fishes in your tank.

The reason that I say this should work for you is that one, It has worked for me in the past, and two, your Otto's are doing fine.

Otto's are actually a type of catfish, for some reason, catfish are very hardy and what's more, they eat almost everything.

I would suggest a type of Cory. (I use Panda's) or even something like a clown loach.
These fish will seek out all those pesky lasty little worms, gobble them and help to keep their population from comming back.

In the mean time, cut back on the feeding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I keep and breed guppies and have hd a similar problem from time to time.
Over feeding has been the cause every time. One of the things that I do and believe that it will work for you as well, is to place a couple of cat fish type fishes in your tank.

The reason that I say this should work for you is that one, It has worked for me in the past, and two, your Otto's are doing fine.

Otto's are actually a type of catfish, for some reason, catfish are very hardy and what's more, they eat almost everything.

I would suggest a type of Cory. (I use Panda's) or even something like a clown loach.
These fish will seek out all those pesky lasty little worms, gobble them and help to keep their population from comming back.

In the mean time, cut back on the feeding.
Thanks! I've had shrimp in the past and have liked how they cleaned house. Now that I think about, I did start having problems when I didn't have shrimp. I'll have to try one of your suggestions.
 

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In the meantime, due a cleaning of the substrate with a gravel vac. Not normally necessary with a planted tank, but with that many worms, it will help get rid of their food source. You can use fenbendazole (dog dewormer) to get rid of worms. However, it is being found to be hard on nerites, so if you have them - skip this route.
 

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In the meantime, due a cleaning of the substrate with a gravel vac. Not normally necessary with a planted tank, but with that many worms, it will help get rid of their food source. You can use fenbendazole (dog dewormer) to get rid of worms. However, it is being found to be hard on nerites, so if you have them - skip this route.

Just reading this and thinking that I should probably worm my tank! Never done it before so I am totally confused on how to do it. What is wormer and how do you worm a tank? Is it ok to do it with shrimp and snails in the tank?
 

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I use medicated food from www.AngelsPlus.com. Just skip feeding the fish for a few days (so they'll be good and hungry) and then feed the food. Their wormer is a garlic/fenbendazole combo. I started routinely worming all new fish and also annually re-worming all my tanks a year or two ago.

You can also buy wormers at most LFSs, or get some from a vet's office. Not much is needed.

In this case I recommended treating the tank b/c most if not all the fish are already dead, so food would just go uneaten.
 

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I do not recall the Ph of the guppy death tank being posted.
Livebearers like guppies,mollies,platies,and swordtails all do poorly in soft acidic water and much prefer pH values around 7.4 to 8.0.
I have found that otocinclus are usually the first fish to perish when water conditions begin to deteriorate and I think that water that was soft would suit the oto's just fine while having a negative effect over the long term with the guppies. IMHO
 

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I use medicated food from www.AngelsPlus.com. Just skip feeding the fish for a few days (so they'll be good and hungry) and then feed the food. Their wormer is a garlic/fenbendazole combo. I started routinely worming all new fish and also annually re-worming all my tanks a year or two ago.

You can also buy wormers at most LFSs, or get some from a vet's office. Not much is needed.

In this case I recommended treating the tank b/c most if not all the fish are already dead, so food would just go uneaten.
Thanks Laura, I will definitely look if my LFS carries some wormer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I do not recall the Ph of the guppy death tank being posted.
Livebearers like guppies,mollies,platies,and swordtails all do poorly in soft acidic water and much prefer pH values around 7.4 to 8.0.
I have found that otocinclus are usually the first fish to perish when water conditions begin to deteriorate and I think that water that was soft would suit the oto's just fine while having a negative effect over the long term with the guppies. IMHO
My pH usually runs around 8.5.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Guppy Death - Update

Alright. It has been about two months since I wrote about my guppy death and thought I'd give the curious an update.

I have not put any food what-so-ever in the tank and the ottos are still going strong. My snail population has been reduced by quite a bit, but the planaria still seem to be hanging in there. I have not wormed the tank.

Although I would love to get more fish, I am holding out till I get a quarantine tank. That way my poor otto cats, who have seen so much death, won't be put through more. :) I will keep the suggestions for getting cory cats in mind.

So, lessons learned.

Otto Cats don't need to be fed if you have a well planted tank with algae (duh). Don't give them extra food even if you are worried about them starving. If you are worried, check their bellies every few days and see how full they look. Mine still looked stuffed after two months of not feeding them.

Don't feed your fish more than they can eat in a few minutes. Even if they act like they are starving, DON'T feed them more.

Skip feeding them every so often and DON'T worry about it.

Get a quarantine tank and keep the new arrivals in there for a really long time. More than two weeks is good. A month or more is even better.

I've attached a brand new photo of the tank. It looks cloudy because I just did a vacuum and was too impatient to wait for the water to clear. Yes, that is an Amazon Sword on the right, and anacharis in the background on the left. I didn't clean the glass this time and I hardly ever clean the glass on the back so, yes, there is algae. I can never remember the names of the rest of the plants, even though I have them written down somewhere.

Rachel
 
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