Guppies are the third most commonly kept freshwater fish in the fish keeping hobby today with only goldfish and betta fish being more popular than them. After publishing our article on treating a betta fish prolapse, we noticed that there were a number of people asking about treating a guppy prolapse too so we wanted to publish this article to help our readers who have a prolapsed guppy.
You are usually able to effectively treat a guppy prolapse by giving the guppy an epsom salt bath for around ten minutes per day, each day for around a week with this often being able to retract the prolapse. There are different ratios of water and emsom salt that perform differently but the one tablespoon of emsom salt to two gallons of water is the most common ratio used to treat a prolapse.
The problem with an epsom salt bath for treating a guppy prolapse is that it can be surprisingly difficult to find suitable epsom salts that are 100% natural. Although it is easy to find epsom salt, many of the products on the market have added scents and other things that make them unsuitable for use with fish. In cases of a bad prolapse on your guppy, you may want to book a video call with a veterinarian to have them assess how bad it is and advise you accordingly on how to move forward.
What Is A Guppy Fish Prolapse?
A guppy prolapse is a condition where the anus of the guppy protrudes out of the body of the fish and is visible. This can cause a number of problems in the guppy and it is unlikely that the condition will go away naturally so the fish keeper usually has to intervene to save their fish as overtime, a prolapse can cause a fatality in a fish.
Thankfully, it is usually easy to see a prolapse on a guppy in its early stages due to the small size of a guppy making it obvious that there is a protrusion out of the fish. Just like many problems with fish, the earlier you catch it, the easier it usually is to fix so you often have more notice to treat the prolapse in a guppy than in larger fish as it is easy to notice right away.
If the prolapse is less than one millimeter then you can usually treat the prolapse in your guppy with epsom salt baths quickly but anything longer than that can become problematic. Many people also confuse a prolapse with various types of parasites coming out of the fish too but both need to be treat in very different ways.
Is It A Prolapse Or Internal Parasites?
Many people can misidentify camallanus worms of flukes on their guppies as a prolapse with even experienced fish keepers often making this mistake. Internal parasites usually have the ability to move freely where as an actual prolapse is relatively rigid in its movement.
It can be much easier to treat internal parasites than a prolapse in your guppy too so it can actually end up working to your advantage if your guppy does have camallanus worms, fukes, or another parasite. Just keep in mind that you do usually need a specific anti-parasite treatment for your fish though but camallanus worms will often require fenbendazole, levamisole, or praziquantel rather than a generic treatment.
Flukes are usually much easier to realize that they are a parasite rather than a prolapse if you look at your fish closely. Camallanus worms can be more difficult to confirm but one way to do it is to monitor their color as they will usually change from a pale color to a dark red color after they have eaten blood from your guppy helping you confirm it is not a prolapse that has a steady color.
Why Do Prolapses Happen In Guppies?
The majority of prolapses in guppies are due to overfeeding causing constipation in the fish with the resulting straining then causing the fish to prolapse. Although less common but still a possibility, a guppy can prolapse due to having problems with an internal infection, having problems when giving birth, or due to injury.
As guppies are omnivores, they tend to do well on the majority of fish food products on the market so it is unlikely that your guppy has had a prolapse due to being offered an unsuitable type of food. Overfeeding in guppies is common though, especially for people new to the fish keeping hobby so it is very easy for people to accidentally overfeed their guppy, cause constipation, resulting in a prolapse.
Unlike most other species of fish, guppies are livebearers meaning they retain their eggs and actually release live young when ready. Depending on the number of young being released by the female guppy, there can be a high chance of her prolapsing due to straining to help the guppy fry out into the aquarium water. This does tend to be more common for a guppy during her first pregnancy and becomes less common for each pregnancy after that.
How Do You Fix A Guppy Prolapse?
The easiest way to fix a guppy prolapse in most situations is to give the guppy an epsom salt bath to encourage the prolapse to naturally retract. One bath per day for around ten minutes for around seven days should be enough to retract the majority of guppy prolapses provided you catch it early enough.
It is easy to make a guppy epsom salt bath and you usually just require a temporary container that you can put your guppy in for around ten minutes that is able to hold one gallon of water. Add one tablespoon to the two gallons of water, stir it until mixed and place your guppy in the epsom salt bath. Just be sure not to accidentally forget that your fish is in there as it will need removing after a maximum of fifteen minutes!
If your guppy has a more serious prolapse then it may require a stronger solution or unfortunately, may not be treatable. This is why we would recommend that you book a video call with a vet to have them check the fish via the camera on your smartphone to offer you their professional opinion on what you should be doing to treat the prolapse.
Is A Guppy Prolapse A Serious Problem?
A prolapse in a guppy is a serious problem and can be fatal but provided you notice the prolapse and begin a suitable treatment as fast as possible, you can usually treat the condition quickly. The longer your guppy has suffered from the prolapse and the longer the size of the prolapse is, the lower the chances of survival for the fish become.
As we touched on earlier in the article, it can be common for people to accidentally think that internal parasites showing on their fish is a prolapse. This is less serious than a prolapse provided that you realize that the issue is actually parasites and start to treat it as soon as possible.
That brings our article going over how to treat a guppy prolapse to an end and we hope that we have been able to help our readers better understand the condition that their fish is suffering from. Provided that you catch the issue early enough it is usually easy to treat in a guppy and your fish should have a high chance of making a full recovery in most cases.