Author Archives: animalsaremylife

Guppy tank water chemistry.

I have never had any patience when it comes to water chemistry or when it comes to fish in general. In the past I have over fed my fish and they have died as a result from poor water quality and over feeding. I wish I had known more about cycling tanks and how important the nitrogen cycle is when it comes to keeping an aquarium of fish healthy. It really takes weeks to fully cycle a tank.

After replacing my old aquarium filter with my new  sponge filter I left the old filter in the tank for a week so the beneficial bacteria could colonize the new filter. Doing so did raise the nitrate and ammonium levels. The ammonia levels were at 1 ppm and the nitrite levels were at 5 ppm. I removed the old filter and tested the water for the past couple of days and the ammonia has decreased to 0 ppm and the nitrites are down to 2 ppm again. Hopefully the water changes and better filtration will help keep the tank cycled.

The guppy fry are 5 weeks old (one month and a week). They have developed more color. At 4 weeks they had only developed their black markings, but now you can definitely see the difference between the coloring of the males and females. Six of the fry are females and four are males. The obvious difference in fin shape only just developed. The males have a gonopodium, which is a specialized fin that is used to deliver sperm to the female.

I ordered a male turquoise tuxedo guppy from a member on Guppy Fish Enthusiasts facebook page. I saw some in petsmart that were about 4 months old, but did not want to buy another guppy from Petsmart at the moment. This guy is 1 year and a bit, but he was too beautiful to resist. He arrived on Thursday in perfect health. I also started cycling a new tank using one of the mature sponges from my original tank. I have managed to separate my females from my males.

Another update: The mystery snails have exhibited mating behavior and  I expect I will see eggs soon.

Having technical problem’s with photos. Will update as soon as I fix them.


Guppies; Water tests, brine shrimp and mystery snails

On Monday I received my brine shrimp eggs in the mail. I set up my own shrimp hatchery. I used a screw driver to make a hole in the top of a mason jar. I placed some aquarium air tubing through the hole and attached an air stone to it. I put some sea salt into the jar, added a little bit of baking soda and used some dechlorinated water. I put the eggs in and the next day I had baby shrimp. Since the shrimp hatched I added some more eggs and was able to feed quite a few to my guppy fry. I have been feeding them shrimp at least a few times a day. I have been having a lot of fun watching them eat the shrimp. (I had to put this project on hiatus until I purchase a better air pump.

On Wednesday I received my API water testing kit. I tested the water and the ammonia levels have decreased, yay!. They went from 3ppm down to between 0-0.25ppm. This is a good sign that the Nitrosomas bacteria have broken down the ammonia into nitrites. I then tested to see what the nitrite levels in the tank were. They had risen from 0 ppm to 5.0ppm. Nitrite is still harmful to fish and once the tank has gone through the full nitrogen cycle the nitrite levels should be 0ppm. In this case it is a new tank and the high nitrite levels are due to the fact the tank has not fully cycled yet. There also may not be enough beneficial bacteria established on the filter yet. I added more bacteria starter and have been doing 10-20% water changes since I tested the water. The ammonia levels have decreased a little more and it looks like the nitrate level is starting to increase.

I added two mystery snails to the tank to help clean up some of the debris on the tank. I chose a yellow and an ivory mystery snail. I am hoping that the nitrite levels in the tank will not affect them. It looks like they brought some nematode hitch hikers with them, but the guppy fry have been attacking the nematode eggs. I also noticed some hydra clinging to the side of the tank. I personally love hydra after studying them in my Animal Biology class at Pikes Peak Community College.


Ivory and yellow mystery snails. They are a lot of fun to watch.

Earlier this week the fry started to developed some black coloration on them mainly black spots on their tails. Their scales are looking greener and their tails are looking like they will be white like their mothers. She had some blue in her tail, so I am hoping there may be some blue coloration too. I am also beginning to be able to tell the males and females apart. They are 3 weeks old today!


The fry are three weeks old today and they are now exploring the whole tank.

Another development is that released the guppy fry into the tank. They are currently too small for me to put the divider in the tank. I know this because I put it in and they swam through a tiny gap between the wall and the divider. That was fun, because I had identified all the females and males and had separated them.

Out of the ten guppies there are two that have bent spines. I have read many breeding resourced that say to cull those ones, but I am going to keep them. I know that guppies reproduce really fast, but I want to keep these ones separate or in a tank with fish of the same sex and let them live out their lives as long as they are not suffering. They have come this far right?

On Friday I received my XY-2831 Air Pump Sponge Filter. I tried to set it up in the tank with the other filter and the shrimp hatchery going at the same time. The air pump just isn’t strong enough to do that. I ended up unplugging the hatchery and the other filter. I left the other filter in the tank to keep the beneficial bacteria in the tank. So far I love my new filter. I got the idea from a video blog I watched by Home Aquatics. Here is a link to his blog.

Well thats all for now. I have been doing a lot of reading about show quality guppies, watching a lot of video blogs and joined a faceboook group called Guppy Fish Enthusiasts that is run by the same guy in the Home Aquatics videos.

Ammonia and guppies

The male guppy was swimming at the bottom of the tank. The next morning I found him by the filter. I also found three of the guppy fry dead in the bottom of the breeder box. I took in a sample of water to Petmart and the ammonia levels in the tank had risen to a harmful 3. I did a 50% water change before I left for Petsmart. I had just finished treating the tank with Melafix and had replaced the carbon in the filter. The ammonia was probably caused by the food, which I have not found a good balance yet for feeding the fry and one adult guppy. I was feeding them frozen brine shrimp, rotated with spirolina. Now that there are 10 guppy fry I changed over to freeze dried brine shrimp and have only given them tiny pinches of food at feeding times.

I ordered an API freshwater testing kit, because as much as I like going into the pet store I want to be able to check the water quality frequently. I also ordered a new sponge filter for the tank that may work a better than the current one. Its a XY-2831 Air Pump Sponge Filter. It is a biological and mechanical filter, that a lot of guppy breeders use in their tanks. Like the current one I have it will prevent fry from being sucked into the filter and will be easy to clean. Since this model has two sponges I can also use one of the mature sponges when I want to start up a new tank. I will be starting a new tank when I am ready to breed the current fish I have.


The fry are two weeks old now. I am beginning to see differences in their markings and tails. Also so of them are a little darker than the others. There is still no difference between the sexes, but I don’t expect to see a difference until they are 4-6 weeks old. I will release them into the main tank when they are a little bigger so I don’t lose them while I am trying to clean the tank. I have some brine shrimp eggs arriving soon, so the fry will have some live food. I will let you know how I end up hatching the brine shrimp.


2 weeks old. 10 guppy fry.

Guppy fry are a week old now and more updates

The guppy fry are now a week old and have doubled in size. Some are slightly smaller than other. Their scales are shinier and they are starting to look more and more like fish. It is not yet easy to tell the difference between males and females. I expect it will be easier to tell in a week or two. I am looking forward to seeing the difference  in size and appearance in a week.


Its hard to see but the fry have grown.

I lost the other two females. One had a graze near her gills and started to swim sideways and upside down. It looked like the issue might have been swim bladder related, but I am not quite sure why she had a visual wound. I tried feeding her a little piece of green pea in case she was bloated. The other female, who is the mother of the fry had something wrong with her mouth. It looked like her upper lip was missing or that her jaw had been dislocated.

I had already done a water change and have been adding melafix to the tank. Today I am on day five of treating the tank. I also went into Petsmart and had the water tested. The pH level was 8.4 which is too alkaline for keeping guppies. The ideal pH for guppies is between 7.0, but they can handle 6.8-7.8. The ammonia level in the tank was .5, since there had just been a death in the tank the woman testing the water suspected it was due to that. She suggested that I buy bacteria starter for my tank. She led me to Marineland Total Care Aquarium Bacteria. I treated the tank for three days and did a 25% water change today. I am taking some water in tomorrow to be tested again. Another thing I could have done was started a tank and cycled it for about four weeks before adding fish. Cycling the tank would help increase Nitrosomanas and Nitobactor bacteria in the tank, which help change ammonia into Nitrate.


Water test from Petsmart showing the pH and ammonia levels.

I am hoping that the pH and ammonia levels have changed.

Tail rot in guppies

Well things started off really well, but the day before yesterday I noticed that the black tailed female had some white spots one her tail. At first I though it could be ich, but then her tail started deteriorating at an alarming rate. I did some research and came to the conclusion it must be tail rot or fin rot if it is affecting the fishes fins. Tail rot is caused by flesh eating bacteria that occur when water conditions are poor or if a fish is stressed. She looked pretty healthy when I first brought her home so I am hoping that the infection was not from my tank. I am going to to test the water to make sure. I will need to either take a sample into the pet store of invest in a water testing kit.

To treat the infection I bought and All-In-One remedy made by Marineland that treats external parasites, viral, fungal and bacterial infections. I had to remove the activated carbon from my filter and place 1 tablet per 5 gallons of water. My tank is 10 gallons so I placed 2 tablets in. I was to do this for 5 days. Unfortunately after only two days the fish did not make it. Perhaps her infection was much further along than I thought. It could not have helped that she was pregnant too. I think I should have bought some Melafix, which is a natural medication that heals open wounds and abrasions, treats fin rot, eye cloud, mouth fungus and promotes regrowth of damaged fin rays and tissues. It could of been useful to have had some on hand when I was transitioning the fish from the store into my tank. I will have some handy next time I introduce a new fish into my tank.


Here is the product I used to try and treat the tail rot


A picture showing how much of her tail was eaten by the bacteria. Earlier today she did have more of a tail.


I wanted to see how pregnant she was. The fry were not very developed.

It is very interesting learning these things about my fish. Next time I will know a bit more about tail rot. I know I may come across many other things, but I do hope that I will be able to fix things faster.

All the other fish look well and the babies are growing every day.

Guppy breeding,what a surprise

Yesterday I mentioned that one of my guppies was exhibiting signs of labor, the one with more white on her tail. She was staying still and spending a lot of her time either hiding in the plants or staying right by the water heater. Well I was right! I checked the tank in the morning and there didn’t seem to be signs of any fry. I fed the cats, let the chickens out, fed my dog and was upstairs for a bit. I went back downstairs to check her and found quite a few fry swimming around in the tank. Not only that I actually witnessed one of the fry being born.


Here is a picture of the female staying by the water heater.

The gestation of a female guppy is around 20-30 days. Since I have no idea when her eggs were fertilized, I have no idea how long her pregnancy was. From what I have read, her labor could last from 12-24 hours. I had her in the fry nursery box for a little while, It was getting hard to catch the fry. I released her before I went to yoga, in order to avoid stressing her out and also to avoid coming back to less fry. After I came back there was one guppy fry in the main tank. I am keeping an eye out for more. So far the fry count is thirteen.

Females can drop 2-200 fry. Thirteen fry is pretty good for what I suspect is a first time mom. A lot of new moms will have 2-6 fry in their first drop. Guppies tend to eat their young, so I am keeping the guppies I caught in my fry nursery box. This will give them a chance to grow without becoming food.


Fry in nursery box. I placed a plant in the top for the fry to hide. Since I took the photo I removed the fry catcher from the bottom.

The fry are so small and are look very much the same. In a week I should be able to see some difference between them. But first I need to feed them at least five times a day. Preferably they should be eating live brine shrimp, frozen is a good substitute. Unfortunately I only have the food I a feeding the adults, which is TetraMin tropical granules. I have been crumbling the granules into powder so the fry can fit the tiny pieces in their mouths. Fry can also eat algae from plants and vegetables. I actually had some spirulina powder in my fridge so I sprinkled a small amount in the tank for both the fry and adults. The fry especially liked it.

That is my update for today. I promised pictures of my adult fish so I will end this post with them.


My male yellow and black tuxedo guppy.


My white/blue and my black guppy.



All four guppies in the bare bottom tank. You can see some of the colors better in this picture.

African clawed frogs to guppy breeding!

I recently decided to start breeding guppies. I previously bought guppies to feed my two African clawed frogs that I acquired from a friend of mine. His friend gave them to him with their tank and everything they needed, except for a filter.

I set up the tank using an internal filter that would normally be used in a turtle tank. I filled the tank halfway full, this created a waterfall stream effect to the tank.  I added plants including bamboo which kept the tank oxygenated and added a hideaway for  the frogs.

From what I recall I bought about seven guppies to add to the tank. A few were males and the rest were females. They were able to hide in the plants and tended to swim in the current that the filter made.

At first I thought the frogs would just eat them all and that would be that, but I was surprised to find that they only ate a couple of the adult fish. The females started dropping fry in the tank and the frogs would eat the fry instead.

The tank had become its own sustainable environment. I added minnows, snails (they started started taking over the tank), plecostomas and a clown loach. My mom bought me another tank, which was a fluval chi tank. I added guppies, loaches, dwarf frogs, smaller plecostomas, shrimp and some dwarf African clawed frogs.

That tank was pretty successful too except the guppy fry were getting eaten immediately and some were getting sucked into the filter. I wanted to try to breed my guppies in a way that I could keep some to the fry.

Unfortunately after a while the tank lost a lot of its inhabitants and eventually my cay managed to shatter my tank. My mom bought me a replacement, but I am not using this one for my current fish.

It’s been years and my frogs have long since passed and the other tank was empty for a while. I ended up giving that tank away along with other tanks I had for my snakes. I decided to start again with guppies. This time I decided I am going to breed guppies.

I researched the ways in which guppy breeders breed to create show quality fish. Most of the time this is done through inbreeding to create true strains. These strains are homologous meaning the offspring will look just like their parents. For example someone likes a fish that is blue, they will breed that trait into their populating and keep the offspring. They will then select to breed the father with his daughter or brother with his sister. They can then create strains that will be kept separate, but can cross breed the distant relatives the keep that trait.

What I want to do is try to avoid inbreeding the fish. I am sure people have done this before. I will have to do more research to see what others have done, but I am starting with a male and three females. My male is a yellow and black tuxedo fancy guppy and the females are two white/light blues and a black. The black female has a similar tuxedo to the male. I will take pictures soon. All three females are already gravid, which means they are pregnant. I had started with a different group of guppies, but the heater failed and I lost them all.

I have started with a bare bottom breeding tank. There are some plants. I am planing on planting the tank up more over time.There is a heater and a air driven bio-mechanical sponge filter.

I have had the fish since January 13th. I am observing the females to see if any are exhibiting signs of labor, because I am not entirely sure how pregnant they are. One is spending a lot of time by the water heater or staying really still in the plants. These are usually some of the signs a guppy is going into labor. I’m keeping a close eye on her and hoping to save her first drop of fry. Meanwhile the male is quite happily chasing the other pregnant females around.

I want to keep the fry from all three females to see what genetic traits they have. Since the females were not impregnated by this male there will be a lot more variety for breeding. I will also be able to keep a tank of virgin females.

There is a lot more I could say, but I will go into more detail in my next blog as I figure things out. Once the fry are born. I should be able to sex them within a week and by then I should know a little bit more about what I am doing. The main thing is I am doing this for experience and to have fun.