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Treatment of a Sick Guppy

Change water

Watch for improvement

Remove prior medication

Have a hospital tank available

Hospital Tank In Use

A hospital in use, treating with Fungus Cure

Benefits: Isolation/quarantine of diseased fish helps protect healthy fish; provides safety to ill fish from aggressive fish; less medication used in smaller tank gives cost savings; hospital tank can easily be sterilized after use; more specialized care such as water changes can easily be carried through; medications can quickly and easily be removed or changed; biological filter in main tank is protected.

Shows a large box filter in 10 gallon tank of young Guppies


HOSPITAL TANK/QUARANTINE TANK -- essential in fishkeeping.

Whether used only when needed or kept with fish in it that can be removed when necessary, it should be available whenever needed to isolate and treat sick fish. This would not include treatment for a problem that is parasitic -- at those times, treat the main tank.

You should add an ammonia remover in the filter if you start up the tank only when needed since it is not cycled -- Ammo Chips are excellent for this in an inside box filter. Antibiotics will usually destroy the good bacteria in a cycled tank and cause more problems with ammonia. A Guppy hospital tank should be around 5 gallons in size, have a clean, bare bottom and be free of decorations that can be stained by medications or carry with them harmful bacteria. A hiding place for the Guppy is appreciated and can help in reducing stress. A light is not needed except for inspection; simple daylight suffices.

Use a separate set of equipment, such as nets, siphone, bucket, etc. for the hospital tank. After each use, these should be cleaned with hot water and dried to avoid re-contamination.

PROPER TREATMENT

When medicating, it is important to make partial water changes. Change water in the hospital tank if it has been in use before treatment, and do so as well before each re-treatment, even if it is not specified on the medication's instructions. The reasons for this are: it removes any additional disease-causing organisms in the water; it removes a portion of the medication that has partially or completely decomposed or become deactivated; helps insure against a build-up of toxic substances including ammonia due to biological deterioration (by for instance an antibiotic); it adds oxygen.

Remove all activaated carbon/charcoal from the filter. If the fish show signs of distress in the first 30 to 60 minutes, remove them immediately to clean, aerated water of the same temperature. Some medications can be too strong for fish that are already ill. Water conditions, such as pH and hardness can affect the toxicity of some chemicals. Most proprietary brands of medications, however, take this into consideration, and this makes them a favourable choice.

It is also important to remember that medication needs to be given a chance to work; also that there is a possibility that it is the wrong medication and you should keep a close eye on the patient. You should see improvement within a week of starting medication. Three full treatments of most medication (follow instructions as shown on remedy)should be given (as well as 3 partial water changes), and if there is any improvement, proceed until finished.

If there is no sign of improvement or if the fish's condition seems to be worsening, try changing treatment. In order to do this, however, the old medication needs to be removed. The safest way to remove copper and other chemicals is to make a 50-75% water change in addition to carbon filtration for 12 hours.