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Old 07-12-2008, 01:28 PM   #1
pog0
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Default Guppy not eating, turning black. What's wrong?

Hi! I'm new - to this board and to fish in general. I have a rag-tag team of fish that I inherited a couple months ago in a small (5 gallon) tank; a bala shark, a red-tailed shark, a pleco, and a guppy. There was also a betta in there when I received the tank, but he died several weeks later.

All was well with the remaining inhabitants until about 3 weeks ago, when I noticed the guppy was turning black. Nothing else appeared wrong with him, just the area around his lips and the back half of his body were much darker than usual. I read online that it could be a result of stress, so I started keeping a close eye on him. About 2 weeks ago he stopped eating, and he had been a voracious eater before that. At first I thought it was Velvet (I thought I saw a vaguely yellowish patch behind his fin, and I caught him rubbing once on a rock) and treated with Quick-Cure for a week. Another week has now passed, and my poor guppy is still black, and will eat neither flakes nor brine shrimp that I provide. He has no sores, patches, or strange behavior that I can perceive (yellowish spot still there, but I think maybe it always was and I'm just paranoid), he still swims around normally. I also thought he might be constipated, but I've seen him poop twice, though it was kind of white and stringy.

I've done some searching and the only thing that seems to match his symptoms is hexamita. (from this website: http://animal-world.com/encyclo/fres...s.htm#Hexamita) But I hate to subject them to more treatment without knowing for sure what's wrong.

I'm picking up a larger (20 gallon) tank tomorrow, but I'm kind of hesitant to change these sick fishies' environment. Any ideas what may cause lack of appetite and color change and what I can do to help him (and keep his tankmates from getting sick)? I'll attach a picture, in case a visual aid helps. Thanks!
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Old 07-13-2008, 01:49 AM   #2
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The picture doesn't make the situation abundantly clear, but, from the looks of it, you're guppy is a she, not a he. I'd guess that the dark coloration in the back half of the body is babies - I think that she may be pregnant. As for the lips, not a clue.

Oh yeah - I forgot - quick fix to a hunger strike: garlic. Take some tank water out, put it in a glass, and stir in some of that very basic garlic powder from your kitchen cabinet. Pour it back in the tank, feed a few moments later. You'll see some serious chow down.

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Old 07-13-2008, 08:58 AM   #3
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S/he could be stressed. What are your water quality readings? None of those fish (save for the guppy) belong in a 5 gallon tank. A bala shark is a very active and nervous fish, in such a tiny tank, it's possible that it could be stressing it out.
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by COM View Post
you're guppy is a she, not a he.

Oh yeah - I forgot - quick fix to a hunger strike: garlic.
Poor transgendered guppy. Thanks for clarifying - I guess I'll have to change his name from Mr. Gup to Ms. Gup. I'll have to read up on guppy pregnancy - that's one thing I never considered!

Thank you for the garlic tip - I'll give that a try!
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:58 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by trashion View Post
S/he could be stressed. What are your water quality readings? None of those fish (save for the guppy) belong in a 5 gallon tank. A bala shark is a very active and nervous fish, in such a tiny tank, it's possible that it could be stressing it out.
Ammonia and nitrites are 0, nitrates are 20 ppm. pH is 7.6.

Yeah, I figured they need a bigger tank, that's why I'm getting the 20 gallon. Do you think that will be big enough for the bala shark? I inherited the whole set-up from a co-worker who was going to just abandon all the fish. I had no fish experience before, but I took pity on them and now I'm trying to learn... this forum has helped a lot.
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Old 07-13-2008, 06:15 PM   #6
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No, a 20 gallon is not big enough for the bala, red-tailed shark, or pleco. Balas really need shoals, and reach a foot long, so I'd recommend no less than 125 (and that's a little small.) The RTS will reach about 8", so I'd say at least a 55. The pleco, if it's a common (which it probably is) will probably reach well over a foot. Few people have aquariums sizeable enough to keep full-grown common plecos. I would suggest returning all of these fish to a local fish store (LFS) Most good LFS are okay with taking unwanted fish off of your hands (some do it for store credit!) There are plenty of options for a 20 gallon
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Old 07-14-2008, 10:39 AM   #7
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well, in the meantime - do you think the guppy isn't eating because of stress? he hasn't eaten in over a week now.
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Old 07-20-2008, 09:39 PM   #8
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As long as she looks healthy, doesn't start to look skinny, and swims normally; don't worry. You might soon have more guppies.
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Old 07-21-2008, 07:59 PM   #9
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If the guppy was young when you got it, the dark coloration could be normal. When half-black guppies (that's the variety you have) are born, they usually have yellow or light coloration. As they age, they develop darker, black coloration on their bodies, mostly on the back half.

Good luck!
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