Curing Guppy Illness

what to do for a sick guppy

Guppies are generally hardy fish that don't get sick often, but they can be affected by a range of diseases, infections, and parasites. Early detection is key to a successful outcome, so it's important to monitor your guppy for any signs of illness and take preventative measures to maintain a healthy environment. If your guppy does become sick, there are several steps you can take to treat it and prevent the spread of disease.

What to do for a sick guppy

Characteristics Values
Quarantine tank Use a smaller, bare tank to hold new fish before adding them to the main display aquarium
Broad-spectrum medications Treat bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections with Maracyn, Ich-X, and Fritz ParaCleanse
Specific treatments Follow instructions on medication packaging, e.g. Maracyn and Ich-X for fish fungus, ParaCleanse for tapeworms
Water changes Change 30% of water after one week of treatment; perform regular partial water changes for healthy aquarium maintenance
Quarantine procedures Use water from the main tank for quarantine; keep quarantine tank away from the display tank; wash hands and arms with soap and hot water between tanks
Tank maintenance Regularly clean the tank, wipe aquarium walls, vacuum substrate, and check water quality; provide hiding spots to reduce fish stress
Temperature Adjust to the correct temperature for guppies; slight increases can speed up the Ich life cycle
pH Maintain consistent pH levels; Guppies require a pH of 5.5-8.5
Diet Ensure an adequate and appropriate diet
Stress Reduce stress by keeping lights dim and avoiding sudden movements near the tank; provide hiding spots


Quarantine the sick guppy and use preventative medications

Quarantining a sick guppy is crucial to prevent the spread of infection to other fish. If you notice any signs of illness, it is best to isolate the guppy in a separate tank. This quarantine tank should be smaller and bare, with no decorations, and ideally located away from the main display tank. Using the water from the main tank for the quarantine tank will help the fish avoid the stress of acclimating to new water conditions.

When quarantining a sick guppy, it is important to use preventative medications to treat a range of possible infections. Ich-X, Mardel Maracyn, and Fritz ParaCleanse are three medications that can be used together safely and effectively. These medications target bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections, which are common issues for guppies. It is important to follow the recommended dosage and not to overdose, as this could be toxic to the fish.

In addition to medication, there are some general care practices that can help reduce stress and aid in the guppy's recovery. Keeping the lights dimmer and avoiding sudden movements near the tank can help lower stress levels. Maintaining optimal water quality and temperature is also crucial, as fluctuations can increase stress and impact the guppy's immune system.

By quarantining the sick guppy, using preventative medications, and providing optimal care conditions, you can give the guppy the best chance for a full recovery while also protecting the health of your other fish.

Is Swollen Guppy Belly Contagious Check?

You may want to see also


Identify the illness and treat with broad-spectrum medications

Identifying the illness affecting your guppy can be challenging, and there are often multiple possible causes. However, there are some simple diagnostic methods you can use at home. Firstly, observe your guppy closely for any signs and symptoms of disease, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, colour change, clamped fins, fin rot, ich, dropsy, redness, swelling, inflammation, ulcers, sores, wounds, fungus growths, cotton-like patches, breathing difficulties, gasping at the surface, bulging eyes, bent spine, or abnormal behaviour. You can also test your water quality regularly, as poor water quality is a common cause of guppy diseases. Use a simple test kit or strips to check parameters such as ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, hardness, and temperature.

If you are still unsure of the cause, you can use a magnifying glass or even a microscope to examine your guppy more closely for signs of parasites, fungus, or bacteria. You can also consult an expert for advice and diagnosis if you are unable to determine the cause of your guppy's illness.

Once you have identified the illness, you can treat your guppy with broad-spectrum medications. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are often used to treat bacterial infections, which are the second most common cause of diseases in guppies after parasites. Common antibiotics on the market include API Fin And Body Cure, Midland Vet Services Aqua-Mox Forte Amoxicillin, Fishbiotic Ampicillin, and Thomas Labs Fish Mox (or Doxy). It is important to note that these antibiotics are only effective when ingested by the fish and will not work if added directly to the water.

In addition to antibiotics, there are also broad-spectrum treatments for fungal infections. API Fungus Cure and Mardel Maracyn are commonly used to treat fungal infections in guppies. To treat your guppy effectively, you should follow the instructions on the packaging or manufacturer's website for the specific medication you are using.

It is also important to isolate your sick guppy in a quarantine tank to prevent the spread of illness to other fish. Maintain good water quality and hygiene in your quarantine tank, and monitor your guppy's recovery closely.

Mr. Grouper: A Friendly Fish Teacher

You may want to see also


Treat secondary infections

Guppies are generally hardy fish and don't get sick often. However, they can get secondary infections from bacteria, fungus, or parasites. Here are some steps to treat secondary infections in guppies:

  • Quarantine the sick guppy: When you notice any signs of illness, immediately isolate the affected guppy in a separate tank to prevent the spread of infection to other fish.
  • Identify the issue: Try to identify the specific ailment affecting your guppy. This can include bacterial infections, fungal infections, or parasitic infections.
  • Medication: Depending on the identified issue, treat the guppy with the appropriate medication. For bacterial infections, antibiotics such as Maracyn, Maracyn-Two, Tetracycline, or API Melafix Fish Remedy can be used. For fungal infections, antifungal medications like API Fin and Body Cure, Methylene Blue, or Aquarium Salt can be effective. If your guppy has parasites, consult a veterinarian for special medications.
  • Tank maintenance: Clean the tank regularly and maintain optimal water conditions. Change the water frequently, ensure proper water temperature and pH levels, and improve water quality by removing waste and using filters.
  • Feed antibiotics: If the guppy is eating, feed it antibiotics rather than treating the water. This method is more effective in treating the infection.
  • Preventative measures: To prevent future infections, provide a spacious tank with hiding places, maintain a group of at least two females per male, and quarantine new fish before introducing them to the main tank.

Remember to always follow the instructions on medication packaging and consult a veterinarian if you are unsure about the diagnosis or treatment.

How to Identify Breeding in Guppies

You may want to see also


Reduce the guppy's stress

Guppies are quite hardy and adaptable, but they can still get stressed, which can induce illness and reduce their ability to heal. To reduce your guppy's stress, you should ensure its environment is suitable. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Maintain a stable water temperature. Guppies are tropical fish and require warmer waters. The ideal water temperature for them is between 75-78 °F (24-26 °C). You can use a heater to maintain this temperature.
  • Ensure your tank is not too small or overcrowded. For adult guppies, follow the 1-inch fish per gallon rule to calculate the maximum number of fish per tank. For guppy fry, provide 0.5-1 US gallons (2-4 liters) of water volume per fish.
  • Avoid keeping guppies with aggressive tank mates that may bully them. Guppies are peaceful fish and won't fight back, so keep them with non-aggressive fish only.
  • Maintain good water conditions. Use a filter to prevent water contamination and keep waste products such as ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates at safe levels.
  • Ensure your guppy has enough space and oxygen. Guppies need constant access to oxygen, so use a pump or a filter to disturb the surface of the water and oxygenate it.
  • Add live plants to your tank, which can help reduce nitrates and provide hiding spots for your guppies.
  • Avoid using tap water, as it contains chlorine and heavy minerals. Use a water conditioner to remove these substances from tap water, or consider using distilled water.
  • Quarantine new guppies in a separate tank before introducing them to your main tank. This will help you observe their behaviour and treat any illnesses before they can spread to other fish.
  • If your guppy is already sick or stressed, isolate it in a quarantine tank or breeder box to reduce its stress and prevent bullying by other fish.
  • If your guppy is gasping for air near the surface, increase surface agitation by adding an air stone or pointing the filter output towards the water's surface. This will improve oxygen exchange and help cool the water through evaporation.
  • If your guppy is hiding, provide places for it to hide, such as floating stem plants.
  • If your guppy has stopped eating, try feeding it antibiotics.
The Ideal Temperature Range for Guppies

You may want to see also


Improve water quality

Guppies are susceptible to a wide range of diseases, and poor water quality is often the cause. To improve water quality for your guppies, there are several steps you can take:

Water Testing

Before adding guppies to a new tank, test the water to ensure it is suitable. You can use a water test kit to check the pH levels, water hardness, nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia. Guppies prefer a pH level of 7.0 or greater, and thrive in hard water with good amounts of calcium, magnesium, and other essential minerals. If your water is naturally soft, you can add Wonder Shell to your aquarium to increase water hardness and add minerals.


Use a biological filter to break down dangerous ammonia and nitrate in the water. It can take several weeks for the beneficial bacteria to grow in these filters, so wait a few weeks before adding guppies to a new tank. Clean and change the filter cartridge regularly.

Water Changes

Perform partial water changes weekly to maintain good water quality. Change 15-25% of the water, and no more than 50% at a time. Use dechlorinated water that is the correct pH, as chlorine can harm guppies and the beneficial bacteria in the tank.

Live Plants

Add live plants to your tank, as they absorb carbon dioxide and nitrates, which are required for algae to grow. Live plants also provide oxygen and improve water quality. Be sure to inspect and wash plants before adding them to your tank to avoid introducing parasites.

Tank Maintenance

Keep your tank clean and well-maintained to prevent the growth of bad bacteria and parasites. Use a siphon vacuum cleaner to remove waste and leftover food from the substrate. Avoid positioning your tank in direct sunlight, as this encourages algae growth.

Quarantine Sick Guppies

If any of your guppies show signs of illness, quarantine them in a separate tank to prevent the spread of disease. Treat the sick guppy with medication, and be sure to wash your hands and arms with soap and hot water between tanks to avoid transferring water droplets.

Frequently asked questions

Guppies are generally hardy fish that don't get sick often. However, they can be affected by various diseases, including White Spot Disease (Ich), Fin Rot, Gill Flukes, Dropsy, Velvet Disease, Mouth Fungus, Swim Bladder Disorder, Haemorrhagic Septicaemia, and Fish Tuberculosis.

Sick guppies may exhibit a range of symptoms, such as loss of appetite, rubbing their bodies against objects in the aquarium, gasping for air at the water surface, rotting fins or tails, swollen body, or behavioural changes such as lethargy.

If your guppy shows any signs of illness, it is important to act quickly. First, isolate the sick guppy in a quarantine tank to prevent the spread of disease to other fish. Maintain optimal water quality and temperature, as stress can weaken the guppy's immune system. Consult a guppy care guide or a veterinarian to determine the specific treatment required for the identified disease. Common treatments include drug medications, salt baths, and water changes.

To prevent diseases in your guppies, focus on providing optimal living conditions. This includes proper aquarium setup, regular maintenance, optimal water quality and temperature, adequate hiding spots, and a well-balanced diet. Quarantine new fish before introducing them to your main tank to reduce the risk of introducing pathogens.

Written by
Reviewed by
Share this post
Did this article help you?

Leave a comment