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Getting New Guppies?


Some tips to keep your new guppy, and the fish you already have, safe!

Purple DeltaThe guppy keeper should remember that many diseases and parasites can simply be avoided with proper care and maintenance of the guppy tank. Regular, non-stressful water changes, warm and alkaline water conditions, and a proper diet should keep the guppy healthy and strong. New fish should always be quarantined in a separate tank for a month to see if they are carrying any parasites or infections before being released among your other fish.

Sometimes guppies seem to die soon after purchase with no apparent cause. When a guppy is either shipped to you or you have bought it from a store, it has undergone a stressful change that shortens its normal lifespan. A guppy bought at a pet store has undergone 10 times the stress than a guppy bought straight from an independent breeder has. Such fish may have been shipped overseas, drugged for the journey and then medicated again as a preventative measure when received.  Such fish are weakened, and in no state to be sold.  Never purchase a guppy that has just arrived at the store; ask that your choice is separated from the rest and put into a separate tank for 1 week (some good local fish stores will do this).  After that time, if the fish still looks healthy, bright and colourful, and active with no fraying fins or strange movements, it should be safe to take it home--to a quarantine tank.  Patience is a virtue!

Acclimatizing

When you take your new acquisition home, remember again: patience! Open the bag and float it in the water (without letting the guppy out!). Secure it to the side of the tank with a clip away from lights or the heater. Add a small amount of water from the tank into the bag, and let sit for 10 minutes. Then remove some water from the bag, pouring it down the sink - NOT into the tank - and add some more water from the tank to the bag. Continue this process every 15 minutes or so until all the water from the bag is tank water, and let the fish swim out on its own. This is the only proper way to acclimatize new fish, and it should take almost an hour.

Test the pH of your water and the water from the store or breeder you want to purchase from. If there is a difference of .3 units, there will be undue stress for the guppy in acclimatizing. A change of .3 per day is stressful. If you must purchase from a tank with a large difference in pH, gather some of the store's water for a quarantine tank, and slowly add some of your water until the fish has become accustomed to your pH.

Some guppies will be used to a salted environment, particularly those that come from breeders, and if you are spending a lot of money on such quality fish, you should consult with the breeder and see if he uses salt; if he does and you do not, you can have a lot of trouble keeping his fish alive. A fish going from a non-salted tank to a salted tank is fine, but a fish used to a brackish tank should remain in such an environment.

Remember, no matter where a fish comes from, it undergoes a stressful change in it's life when it is moved.  It's immune system is affected adversely and every precaution to reduce stress should be taken.

How To Have A Healthy Aquarium.

  • Avoid crowding fish
  • Quarantine new fish for 4 weeks
  • Mix only compatible species
  • Feed a variety of fresh, quality food
  • Maintain the preferred water parameters for your fish
  • Use a quality filter that is the right size for the tank; clean it regularly
  • Maintain regular water changes while vacuuming bottom debris - be meticulous
  • Make sure all replaced water matches that of the water removed in temperature, pH, salinity, and be toxin-free
  • Watch daily for any signs of stress or disease and act immediately
  • Remove dead fish and snails immediately

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