The Fish Guru

The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Guppies Healthy

Guppies are one of the most popular aquarium fish species, known for their colorful and lively nature. However, like all living organisms, they are prone to various health conditions and diseases.

In this article, we will explore the most common health issues that affect guppies and the different measures that can be taken to prevent and treat them. White Spot Disease/Ich

Ichthyophthirius Multifilis, commonly known as ich, is a parasitic infection that presents as small white spots on the body and fins of guppies.

The parasite attaches itself to the fish and forms cysts, which eventually burst and release the infectious stage. This can lead to severe lethargy, poor appetite, and even death in severe cases.

To treat ich, increase the temperature of the tank to 86F for several days. This will speed up the parasite’s life cycle, preventing it from reproducing.

Additionally, medication and aquarium salt can be used to kill the parasites. A bigger water change, around 50%, should also be done to remove any remaining parasites from the tank.

Fin and Tail Rot

Fungal and bacterial infections are often responsible for fin and tail rot in guppies. Additionally, high levels of ammonia in the water can also lead to ammonia burns, which weaken the fish’s fins, making them susceptible to infection.

To treat fin and tail rot, separate the infected fish from the others and start antibiotics immediately. Special medication is available for this infection from pet stores.

High-quality water is also crucial for the survival and recovery of the fish, so regular water changes are a must.

Swollen Gills

Swollen gills are often an indicator of high levels of ammonia and toxic chemicals in the water. While most guppies can tolerate slight variations in water parameters, sustained exposure to high levels of toxic chemicals can negatively affect their health and lead to the disease.

To treat swollen gills, test the ammonia levels in the aquarium water. If it is high, a sufficient water change must be made.

Stop daily feeds to reduce the amount of ammonia produced, and ensure that nitrifying bacteria are added to the aquarium to reduce the risk of nitrogen buildup.

Swim Bladder Disorder

Swim bladder disorder is a common condition in most fish species, including guppies. It affects the swim bladder, which controls the fish’s buoyancy, making it difficult for them to maintain their balance and swim normally.

Swim bladder disorder can be caused by stress, overfeeding, and warm water temperatures. To treat this condition, eliminate all potential stress factors and maintain low levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in the water.

Additionally, changing the water temperature to a stable and optimal level for the fish can also help them recover. Columnaris & Mouth Fungus

Columnaris and mouth fungus are bacterial infections that commonly affect female guppies.

They are both highly contagious and can rapidly affect other fish in the aquarium. To treat columnaris and mouth fungus, special chemicals and aquarium salt can be used as a medication bath.

It is essential to ensure the aquarium has sufficient minerals, and regular tank maintenance is carried out to reduce the fish’s stress.

Velvet (Oodinium)

Velvet or oodinium is a parasitic disease that presents as a gold-dust-like appearance on the guppy’s scales, but unlike ich, it also covers the gill area. It is highly contagious and can lead to severe lethargy, poor appetite, and death.

To treat velvet, turn off the lights in the aquarium to reduce stress levels and do frequent water changes to prevent the spread of the disease. Copper medication can also be added to the water to kill the parasites.

Popped Eyes

Popped eyes can be caused by various conditions, including injuries, poor water quality, and bacterial and fungal infections. However, tuberculosis and internal parasites are also significant contributors to these conditions.

To treat popped eyes, it is essential to address the underlying cause of the injury. For example, if it is due to poor water quality, water changes need to be made, and the fish must be isolated for treatment with medication.

Similarly, if it is due to infection, appropriate medication must be started immediately.

Red Blood Spot

Red blood spots are usually caused by ammonia poisoning or the presence of toxic compounds in new aquariums. It is a severe condition that can lead to death if not treated promptly.

To prevent red blood spots, it is essential to cycle the aquarium thoroughly to develop beneficial bacteria that convert the ammonia into nitrite and then into the less toxic nitrate. Adding conditioned water to new aquariums is vital to avoid the presence of harmful chemicals.

Camallanus Internal Worm

Camallanus Internal Worm is a parasite that resides within the guppy’s digestive tract. It is highly contagious and can rapidly spread through the aquarium if not treated promptly.

To treat

Camallanus Internal Worm, the infected fish must be isolated, and Levamisole can be added to the water as a medication. The tank’s substrate and filter also need to be vacuumed, and a thorough water change is vital to remove all traces of the parasites.

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS)

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia is a viral disease that presents as red pest on the fish’s skin, followed by lesions and ulcers. The fish’s fins may also start to rot, leading to death in severe cases.

To treat VHS, it is essential to start Maracyn treatment and conduct a thorough water change. The infected fish should be isolated to prevent further contamination.

Scoliosis (Bent Spine)

Scoliosis or a bent spine is mostly caused by genetics or inbreeding in guppies. It is a permanent condition that does not have any cure.

To prevent scoliosis, it is essential to avoid inbreeding in the fish population. Proper breeding programs should be formulated to ensure the fish’s successful propagation and good health.

Fish Tuberculosis

Fish tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that presents as hollow belly, lesions, and a bent spine in guppies. It is highly contagious and can cause death in severe cases.

To treat fish tuberculosis, quarantine the infected fish and use Levamisole as a medication. The tank’s water must be cleaned periodically to avoid further spread of the disease.


Hexamitiasis is a protozoal infection that often occurs due to poor filtration, inadequate water changes, and low oxygen levels in the aquarium. To treat hexamitiasis, isolate the infected fish, and treat them with Metronidazole, or add medication to the water.

Proper filtration, regular water changes, and adequate oxygen levels are essential to prevent the disease’s recurrence.

Gill Flukes

Gill flukes are tiny white worms that attach themselves to the fish’s gills, causing significant damage and respiratory distress. To treat gill flukes, special medication can be used, and poor water quality should be avoided by regularly cleaning the aquarium.

Quarantine of the infected fish is essential to prevent the spread of the disease.


Dropsy is a bacterial infection that affects the fish’s liver and kidneys, causing a bloated abdomen. It is often a result of stress, poor water quality, and feeding of bloodworms.

To treat dropsy, antibiotics must be used immediately, and the cause of stress must be eliminated. Feeding of bloodworms should be avoided, and the frequency of the water changes increased to maintain proper water quality.


Guppies are beautiful and amiable creatures that bring joy to many aquarium enthusiasts worldwide. However, ensuring the health and well-being of these fish requires proper care, regular water changes, accurate monitoring of water parameters, and prompt action when any disease symptoms are observed.

With proper care, guppies can live for several years and continue to brighten our homes with their vibrant colors and playful behaviors. In conclusion, it is essential to properly maintain an aquarium and monitor the health of guppies to prevent and treat the various diseases they can be susceptible to in an enclosed environment.

Common health issues like white spot disease, fin and tail rot, swim bladder disorder, and columnaris and mouth fungus require prompt attention and treatment to prevent further spread. Proper care includes regular water changes, testing water parameters, quarantining infected fish, and providing high-quality water.

With attention to these needs, guppies can thrive in their aquarium and be a source of joy for many years.

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