Why are My Guppies Flashing?

When guppies scratch, they frequently exhibit flashing, which is a behavior associated with a parasite condition. Guppies don’t have arms or fingernails, so they scratch themselves on objects around them whenever they get itchy. Your guppies may lay down straight and massage themselves on the substrate while you watch them. Fish that swim jerkily or in sudden bursts are another sign. Some guppies may leap out of the tank to stretch themselves against the surface tension of the water.

If your guppies aren’t actively flashing, you might be able to view the auxiliary indicators. Due to scratching, they could lose their scales, develop bruises on their body, or sustain injuries to their head or fins. If you don’t investigate the situation right away, it might turn into something very dangerous for the fish, such as a bacterial or fungal illness. If you don’t take care of your flashing guppy, things might grow worse and even worse.

Causes of Flashing in Guppy Fish

An infection with a parasite is the most frequent cause of flashing in guppies. The protozoa Trichodina, Ichthyophthirius, Costia (Ichthyobodo), and Chilodonella are the most common parasites in freshwater aquariums that cause flashing. Monogenean trematodes, often known as flukes, are another name for these parasites. Since all of these parasites are quite little, you need to take your fish to a knowledgeable vet so they can identify which ones they are.

Aquariums containing new fish or live plants that have not been thoroughly quarantined are commonly infected with primary parasites. On the other hand, outbreaks can occur in fish when they are exposed to long-term stresses like poor water quality or overcrowding.

Causes of Flashing Guppy Fish

A parasite outbreak’s ability to spread depends on temperature. The faster the parasite life cycle, and thus the more quickly your guppy fish may get stressed, the warmer the water. Do not change your temperature if you believe there may be a parasite outbreak until you have spoken with your veterinarian. But if the right course of action is suggested, raising the water’s temperature can frequently be beneficial.

Treatment of Flashing in Guppy Fish

How to cure flashing will depend on which parasite is generating the discomfort. No “one size fits all” treatment can guarantee that each and every one of your fish will be treated magically. Some therapies may focus on addressing the primary stressor, such as poor water quality that leads to overpopulation, rather than directly treating the parasite. In mild outbreaks, the fish will be able to manage the infection on their own after the main stressor has been removed.

Treatment of Flashing in Guppy Fish

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How to Prevent Flashing in Guppy Fish?

The simplest way to stop a parasite outbreak in your freshwater tank is to isolate any new fish or live plant additions for four to six weeks before putting them in your main aquarium. By doing this, you’ll be able to separate any possible sick fish and keep parasites, germs, and viruses from infecting your healthy body. When kept in isolation in the quarantine tank, your new guppy fish can be rapidly and successfully treated if they become ill. To disrupt the parasite life cycle, quarantine plants in a tank devoid of live fish.


If your guppy fish only sometimes flashes, no additional fish or live plants have been introduced in the previous three months, your water quality is within the typical range, and you are feeding them a healthy diet, you shouldn’t be very alarmed. A fish may occasionally flash simply because its skin is itchy or because it has relatively few parasites, which it can get rid of on its own. However, if you notice more flashing, it should be looked into and treated before it affects other guppies in your aquarium.

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