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FAQs on the Platies 1

Related Articles: Platies, Poeciliids: Guppies, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies by Neale Monks, Livebearing Fishes by Bob Fenner, &

Related FAQs: Platies 2, Platy Identification, Platy Behavior, Platy Compatibility, Platy Selection, Platy Systems, Platy Feeding, Platy Disease, Platy Reproduction, Livebearers, Guppies, Swordtails, MolliesLivebearer Identification, Livebearer Behavior, Livebearer Compatibility, Livebearer Selection, Livebearer Systems, Livebearer Feeding, Livebearer Disease, Livebearer Reproduction,


A gorgeous male Orange Wagtail

Platy Pregnancy Problem Sorry if this has already been answered, but I'm new to this breeding deal and my boyfriend and I are at a loss. <Don spits out coffee> I purchased a couple of platies about a month ago. About 3 weeks ago I noticed my female Mickey mouse platy was pregnant, her stomach is swollen and she has the black dots within her stomach. I want to keep the fry but I have no idea when she is going to drop them. I have one of those breeding containers, where you put the female in and the fry drop to the bottom, and it says to put her in 1-2 days before she gives birth. How will I know when she is going to? How long does it usually take before the platies give birth? I saw in one place you said they drop fry every 3-4 weeks, and somewhere else you said something about 3 months. I don't want to put her in the container too early and then have her die from the close quarters. Any advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated! Thanks! Kelly <Hi Kelly, Don here. I've seen, and laughed at, that same instruction. There is no way to be sure exactly when she will give birth. Watch for the dark area above her anal fin to darken as she readies to drop. If the breeder allows a good flow of tank water she will be OK in there for a few days. A mature healthy female platy can give birth every month or so. But that does  mean they all do. Temp is also a big factor>  

Slow Growing Fry Hi, I have baby platys that have been in their own tank for nearly two months. They are growing slowly, but steadily. Since they are still small and almost "see-through," I have noticed that their belly area is much darker than usual. They are platys, and their mother is a "Minnie Mouse" platy, but these are not spots on the outside, but rather darkness around their abdomen.  Is this some sort of disease?  I have looked through almost every entry in the FAQ, but found nothing about this sort of "disorder."  Please advise as soon as possible. Thank you, Elaine <It may just be food you are seeing. If they seem active and healthy I would not worry too much. My concern is that in two months they should be past the "see thru" stage. You may want to take a look at the diet you feed. Try hatching some baby brine shrimp. If they are large enough to take them, frozen bloodworms or other meaty foods may get them growing. Don>

A question re Pregnant Platies. Hi, I wonder if you can help me. <This is Jorie...I'll try to help!> I had two pregnant platies.  I removed them from the large communal tank and put them in a tank on their own.  They seemed to have got on well although one was quite dominant over the other and there was a bit of bullying going on.  Thinking back, I should have separated them instead of putting them both in the same birthing tank. <Depending on how big the tank was, this may have been a good idea; another thought, though, would have been to provide more hiding spots perhaps? It's all a learning experience, don't beat yourself up.> Eventually, babies were born - approximately 9 fry only.  Once I was satisfied that they were no long pregnant I returned the mothers to the communal tank.   Within the next two days the weaker mother was dead. <This is really not that uncommon...she may have gone through a particularly difficult birth. I've had it happen to one or two of my molly mommies at different times.  Really not much you can do about it. Again, don't blame yourself.> It looked as though she'd taken quite a battering from the other fish. I feel sad about that. <Chalk it up to learning...that's how virtually all of us have gained the necessary knowledge and experience about this hobby.  You certainly didn't do it out of malice.> On a happier note, I now have a nursery tank with the 9 babies. <Yay!> Then a day or so later I noticed several white spongy things attached to the glass.  I can only describe them as slithers of white slimy stuff that looked like bits of string measuring approx 3mm in length.  I thought nothing of them at the time but then one day I noticed they had gone and some tiny, tiny creatures swimming around in the water.  They are so small that I can't make out what they are.  You could probably get 2 or 3 of them onto a pin head. I was wondering if you'd ever heard of anything like this.   I'm thinking that the white stuff attached to the glass was eggs!  But Platies are livebearers, aren't they? <Yes indeed, platies are livebearers, just like mollies and guppies.  Perhaps these are water fleas...a few of them won't hurt anything, and in fact will be good food for everybody, but if you have an over abundance of these guys, it's a sign of poor water quality.  Consider stepping up your water change schedule.  Try to siphon some out when you do the water changes.  Also, consider changing your filter media if you haven't done so recently.> I've spoken to my local aquarium shop and they've never heard of anything like it. The creatures are still in the tank with the babies and I'm worried what they might be and whether they will harm the babies. I hope you can help me. <Just be sure to keep your water quality pristine for the babies.  If they are anything like molly fry, they are much more sensitive to poor water quality than their older, more mature parents...keep temp. and pH as stable as possible when switching old and new water.  Do check the water parameters frequently as well.> Look forward to hearing from you Regards Angela Robinson in England <Good luck with your new fishies, my friend! Sounds like you are very diligent in tanking good care of everybody, so things should be just fine.  Just keep an extra eye on the water quality in the babies' tank, remove as many of the little water-flea type creatures as you can with a siphon, and be sure not to overfeed the tank.  Take care, Jorie.>

More pregnancy questions about Platys First off,  I must say that you folks are the most "common sense" informative site out there. I've been searching ("Googling") around a lot since I started my tanks up again, and I keep coming back to you for my info and to just keep up with it all. Great job!!! <Why thank you very much! WWM is how I got started in the aquarium hobby, so I owe them a great deal of gratitude myself!> And many thanks too! <Thanks for taking the time to care enough about your fish to wind up here...it goes both ways!> Here's the questions: I've got a Platy that was obviously pregnant ( a fat, light colored fish with the "dark pregnancy area"  when I got her (about 2 months ago). <Called a "gravid spot".> She is getting bigger and bigger, is happy, healthy, eats like a horse, but never delivers. Will she? <It's very hard to say exactly when a livebearer will deliver, but typically the gestation period is around 3 mos.  Just keep her comfortable and stress-free and everything should be just fine.> What are some reasons she hasn't? <Gestation period isn't over?> She is by herself (for about three weeks now) in an aerated 1 gallon (specifically for delivering those babies - if and when she has them, she'll be moved back with the others in  larger tank and babies can stay here for a while). <Sounds like a good setup to me...just make sure to keep up with the water changes, as platys, like other livebearers, tend to be pretty big waste producers.  Also, make sure she has some cover (i.e., plants, decoration, etc.) to keep her comfy and stress-free.> Also, I have two other light colored females that don't exhibit the black pregnancy spot, but instead have what looks like large clear-ish eggs developing in that same area (the area is sort of see-through and the eggs(?) are more reddish and look about .5 to 1 mm). <Well, platys are livebearers, which means that they won't lay eggs, but rather will give birth to adorable teeny tiny little fry when the time comes. Perhaps the little spots you are seeing are the fry's eyes...> These ladies are also fat, happy, eating well (sometimes frantically so) in a 7 gallon tank with two other females and a male. I have not seen the male pursue them as I have other males, (he was so aggressive with two other males that I removed them to their own tank. Could he be infertile? <I suppose that is possible, but wouldn't jump to that conclusion yet.  How long have these fish been together in the 7 gal. tank?> He was the prettiest, so wanted him to be "dad") <Cool. Do keep in mind, though, that if the platys came from a fish store where everybody was kept in a community tank, it's anyone's guess as to who the "daddy" is! Female livebearers can actually store the male's sperm for up to 6 mos., and give birth pretty much "anywhere, anytime", so unless you raised these guys from birth, you won't know for certain who the fish daddy is.> Any info would be great. I've been searching and stewing for a while now, and not finding answers decided to "bug" you. <We definitely don't consider it to be "bugging" - we are here to help folks like you out!> Thanks so much! Deb <You are welcome.  Jorie> Platy Hickies Hi, I have had a female sunset platy for over a year, in my aquarium. Recently, I have noticed that it has very small round red marks on its lower side, and upon closer inspection, they look like chunks of flesh have been removed from it. How can I stop the other fish biting it (if this is the cause)? <Have you seen any aggression?> I have a breeding net; should I place her in that? <I would, just in case it is aggression> Please give me as much help as possible as this really is a desperate situation for me. Thank you very much, Eitan <Hi Eitan, Don here. What other fish are in the tank? What size tank? Any plants/hiding places? Have you added anything from a local stream like plants, gravel, rocks? Small round bite marks could be from a leech. Try to spy on them a few hours after lights out. Look for anything worm-like hanging from the fish or crawling around in the dark. Lastly does the fish show any other signs of illness such as loosing or gaining weight, curved spine, etc.? For now the breeding net sounds like a good place for her. If a white cotton-like growth appears treat with salt. A tbls for every 3 or 4 gallons of water should do it. Don>     Platy is Preggers Yesterday I bought two platy females. (I know for a fact that's their gender) I already know they are live bearers. <Yep> One of them has an enormous belly. I think she could be pregnant but I'm not sure. What are the pregnancy signs of platies? Please email me back at xxx@xxx.xxx <Hi Margaret, Don here. For platies the only way to tell is by the size of the belly. You may see a large black area develop near the anal fin if her normal coloring is not so intense as to wash it out. Good luck with them> Platy illness Thank you for being such a great fish support...my female platy seems to have a case of dropsy.  She is huge and her scales are all puffed out.  She has a voracious appetite, gobbling up her food, and had lots of energy (until this morning) - she is darting all over the tank.  I have been treating the tank with Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone, and potassium dichromate (fungus clear), vacuuming the bottom of the tank, and changing the water (I am adding Epsom salt to the water), but nothing seems to be helping her.  She actually is starting to look worse, and this afternoon is spending more time in one spot in the tank.   Anything you can suggest for me to try?  Thank you!  Lissa < Try Metronidazole. It is the only thing I am aware of that treats the anaerobic bacteria that causes bloat.-Chuck.>

What is an ideal Platy tank? Hey Crew, I just searched your site and couldn't find this covered.  I'm not a newbie to fish or to livebearers, but I am wondering what would be the ideal set up for a platy tank.  It will have live plants, some Otos, and some Corys.  Is there any other fish that should be included for "house keeping"? < Keep the water warm and alkaline. The harder water is usually tough on the Corys and Oto's though . Keep the water clean. Get non-aggressive community fish about the same size that do well in hard water. Stay way from South American tetras.> I know with guppies show breeders usually keep older fry in 10 gallon bare bottom grow out tanks.  They are  usually have a lot of tanks, and a breeding program set up.  I want a Platy community, but don't know what would be the ideal size.  10 gallons?  20 long?  30?  40?  60? < All depends on how many you want to keep. With all the different color morphs now available you could have quite a tank. With a filter that turns the water over at least 3 to 5 times per hour and weekly water changes you could keep easily 25 platies in a 25 to 30 gallon tank. More if you check the water quality and get the water changes dialed in.> I know the larger the tank, the more stable water quality, but I wonder if the tank is too big if these smallish fish will starve because they can't find the food in a tank that large. < Don't worry about that. When one starts eating they all will be over in a minute to get their fair share.-Chuck> Your help is appreciated, Michelle

Re: What is an ideal Platy tank? Hey, thanks for your reply! I am interested in a biotope, or habitat tank for the platies.  If the Otos and Corys don't come from the same area as the platies in the wild, what fish do? < Unfortunately the other fishes that come from the same areas are either aggressive cichlids like convicts or piscivores (fish eaters) like gobies, larger cichlids, Mexican tetras, and other fish eating livebearers. I would go with a standard Pleco for eating algae. When he gets too big trade him back to the store for a smaller one. For catfish try the dwarf Syn. petricola from lake Tang in Africa, A small silvery fish with black spots. These are very attractive easy to care for and would do much better than Corys.> Also, what would be biotope correct plants< < No plants are commercially exported from the area. Other plants that would work well are species of Anubias, Java fern, Java moss, and Crypt. wendtii.> Hmmm... so I could go with a 40 or 60g tank and that wouldn't be too big for a Platy community? < The only thing is the way a big tank looks filled with little two inch fish. If they are all the same type then it looks like a dealers tank at the store. If you mix all the varieties together then they will interbreed and the  fry look like mutts and you end up with a tank full of multicolored mutts that all look the same in a couple of years anyway as they replace the adults. One way to get away from this is to fill the tank with multicolored males. Females may already be pregnant at the stores so getting all males then guarantees there will be no fry to worry about-Chuck> Thanks, Michelle

Platy problem Hi, I have an on and off problem with my platy's. My Platy will begin to lose it's round shaped belly. The belly  begins to look flat and then it loses it's buoyancy... or it's ability to swim horizontally. It's swimming becomes erratic and with more of a vertical line to it. Eventually the fish dies after a number of days. What's up? could this be a swim bladder problem or whirling and wasting away. I just purchase Paragon II made by Aquatronics, but it looks as though I'm going to loose a large spotted platy anyway. Thanks in advance for the response. < Internal bacterial infections are usually caused by stress. Water too hot/too cold or wrong food/old food or something like that. To treat you should use a medication with Metronidazole in it. If you can treat in a separate hospital tank. If one is not available then watch out for ammonia spikes in the tank. Medications affect the good bacteria too that are used to break down fish waste into nitrates.-Chuck>

Re: platy problem Thanks, How come this seems to affect live bearers and not the other fish? < Platies have been domesticated since the early 1930's and the hundreds of generations may have developed some strains that are not as resistant to certain diseases as their wild ancestors.-Chuck> R

Telling platy preggers Thank you for your very informative site.  I am a fish novice, and have just two platies.  I am thinking that the female is pregnant, but I am not sure.   How can you tell? < The female should be round, fat and still eating well. The back ventral area should be dark from the eyes of the fry. No scales should be protruding and she should be behaving normally.>   She looks plump, but are there any other tell tale signs or behaviors that I should be looking for? < If she is fat but listless and the scales are protruding then it could be bloat and she would need to be treated with Metronidazole medication.-Chuck> I appreciate any information you can share.  Thanks! Lissa

New tank and platy choices Hello, I recently got my daughter a tank (Eclipse 12 system) for her 11th birthday (Aug. 18)- added water and Cycle and let run for 4 days. Her Aunt then got her fish (wrong kinds for a beginner tank- 3 hatchet fish, 3 cardinal tetras, an Oto and a frog). Well, 2 days ago the last tetra died. I did a 90% wc, re-filled and added Bio-Spira yesterday. Today I got her 2 platies (turns out one male and one female). My question is: should I get another 1-2 FEMALE platies- and if so, how to hand the fry that I am sure will eventually show up? I have some live grass and java moss in the tank, so I guess the fry will have some places to hide, but I do not have any other tanks at this time. Also, how do you get a "nursery tank" set up and cycled with out any fish in it constantly? Sorry for the long post- but don't want to got through any more "funerals"! (I do w/c about 1x week and do test for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates about 1-3 times a week). < Another female will take some of the stress off of the single female by the male. If you want to save the fry then you need to set up another tank. The fry from the platies are going to be small and either eaten by other fish or sucked up into the eclipse's powerful filter intake. If you see the female is pregnant from the large size then you can always put he in a breeder net device designed to separate the mother from the fry. They can then go into another tank until they are large enough not to be eaten by the adults. In a new tank with the fry you can do small water changes to keep the ammonia in check. Add some gravel from the main tank to get things going.-Chuck> Marcell (Alaska)

Platy Parasite? Help needed for treatment. Hi again, I appreciate always getting good advice from you guys - I hope you can help me again. Here's the setup:  I have a 5g tank with a filter that has a carbon filter pad and a bio-wheel. There are 3 platies in the tank - 1 male that we've had since7/25, and 2 females since 8/14.  The females both gave birth about a week ago, 3 days apart, but the babies are in a separate tank (and doing just fine).  The tank has been set up about a month and I was pretty sure it was well cycled, all water levels were fine.  Our water is from a well, so very alkaline and very hard. Just after the females gave birth I noticed their feces were often white & stringy, sometimes clear.  I had I was advised not to treat simply on that "symptom" but I watched them carefully. They were still very active and eating well, and looked generally healthy and happy.  Early this week I noticed that one of my females was hiding a lot, and that both females had a single white spot near their mouth. I watched it over the course of a day and it was getting larger.  My male also seemed to be acting strangely - laying his fins down and just being much more calm than usual. Though most of the time they were all active and definitely were all eating well.  But based on the behavior and the spots,  I assumed it must be a parasite and treated with CopperSafe on the 24th (which I've had very good luck with in a previous tank when my male platy was new). Before treating I removed the bio-wheel and kept it in a plastic container with water from the tank.  The following day I got a spike in Nitrites, which I assumed to be from removing the bio-wheel.  I started doing 20% water changes daily starting 24 hours after treatment. I couldn't get the Nitrites to go down, so I put the bio-wheel back in yesterday (the 27th).  I haven't even gotten to testing the water yet today, but I woke up to see one of my females covered with white spots!  First I thought Ich, but they might be worms... I can't get a good look. One was kind of "hanging out", which is why I thought worms.  And the "spots" sometimes seem to protrude more than others.  All the fish are energetic (no more hiding out) and eat VERY well (though I reduced feeding because of the Nitrite levels).  They look great, except for the very obvious parasite on the one fish.  Could it be from the water changes? (reducing the amount of CopperSafe in the water) I thought I'd be better off reducing the amount before returning the bio-wheel.. but with Nitrites going crazy, I thought it worth the risk to put it back anyway.  I'm just confused and not sure what to do next.  I also though it possible that the meds may be forcing the internal parasite to the surface and maybe this isn't such a bad thing. But I've seen no change since this morning (it's been approx 6 hours). Any help with this would be much appreciated.   < There are a few things going on here. I think your fish had ich. Worm type parasites usually don't multiply like that overnight. Hopefully the CopperSafe has gotten rid of the ich by now. Next time you do a water change you should vacuum the gravel to remove the junk that has accumulated there. That will help reduce the nitrites. While your fish are sick they don't eat and the food then goes to ammonia and nitrites. Make sure that all the food is eaten in a couple of minutes each day. Once the water is stabilized you can see if they truly have any worm type parasites. If they do I would treat with clout.-Chuck> Jennifer

Re: Platy Parasite? next steps Thanks. I think it was Ich after all.  We lost one of the female platies 2 nights ago. The morning after I sent the email to you, the 2nd female ended up covered with spots.  Another day went by and the 1st female's spots started to disappear, and the 2nd had less, so I thought the treatment was working. I started adding additional CopperSafe with water changes to make sure I wasn't diluting it too much.  Unfortunately the next afternoon female #2 started to float vertically (tail up) and so I removed her to a new container immediately with fresh water (conditioned and ready for future water changes) hoping she would perk up.  Unfortunately she was gone in about 6 hours.  Do you think it's more likely the ich that killed her or nitrites? She had ich spots for maybe 24 hours and they were all gone by the time she died. < I think she was weakened by the ich and done in by the nitrites.> I finally went and bought Start-Zyme bacteria started and added it to the tank (since I'm sure I've killed off the bacteria with the copper).  I do 20% water changes twice a day now, trying to get Nitrites in check.  I also bought another 2g tank for treatments and quarantining new fish (since our other ended up full of babies).  I am setting it up today because I may have to move the male out of the main tank.  Now he's just got one female to chase, and I'm afraid he's running her a bit ragged. I certainly can't add new females till I get the water stabilized. Does this sound like I'm doing the right thing? < Separating a stressed fish from an over anxious male is a good idea.> I don't want to make things worse.  By the way, I always do my water changes with the gravel vac so that I can get as much waste from the bottom of the tank as I can... and also my fish are still eating very well and finish everything I give them. I've reduced feeding because of the Nitrite levels, and just give them a small amount once a day.  Once I get my tank cycled and am ready to add new fish, how long should I quarantine a new Platy before adding her to the tank? < At least a couple of weeks.> (I am hoping to get 2 more females).   Also, how long do you think it will be before the babies are big enough to swim with the adults in the main tank? < They should be at least 1/2 the size of the adults so they don't get eaten. The adult males will chase young females in an attempt to spawn.> And how many Platies do you think I can keep in the 5g tank without overloading it? I've got 11 babies, and we'd like to keep a few and we'll try to find good homes for the rest of them. < Depending on the size of the fish and how often you do water changes I think 10 or so would be ok for awhile. Continue to check the nitrates. If the nitrates get above 25 ppm in between water changes then you need to remove some fish of do water changes more often.-Chuck> Thanks again for your help! It seems like I'm asking questions of you guys all the time. Jennifer

Surprise Platy Baby! Good Afternoon! First of all, thanks for all your help in the past with our platies and our very small tank. I currently have a 5 gallon tank set up with 3 platies (2 female, 1 male). The male we've had for a month, and previously resided in a 1 2/3g tank my son got for his b-day.   The 2 females are red wags and we've had them 6 days now.  The 5g has a bio-wheel filter and seems to be doing great. Water quality is great and I do regular partial water changes w/gravel vac.  All is well in our tank and the fish all get along great (and entertain us well.. they are such piggies at feeding time!).   Anyway - yesterday at feeding time, we got a big surprise. Or I should say a TINY surprise!  One tiny baby fish showed up looking for food!  I can't tell which female it came from since neither was obviously pregnant, nor have either really changed in look/shape since we got them. I don't (and didn't) notice a gravid spot.  No sign of any more fry either (I've really searched). I have breeding grass in the tank already but the little guy hasn't gone near it.  He did spend a lot of time in the small "flower" of a floating artificial plant, but when he ventured out the adult male noticed him and made a beeline. A small tap on the tank distracted him and I scooped that baby out and put him in our small tank.  He's been in there over 24 hours now, and seems to be doing great. I feed him flakes & granules that I've ground to a powder and have seen him eat it.  But he's so tiny!  Like a little grain of rice!  He's nearly all clear with just his eyes and some orange/red area in the middle where we see his "insides".  I'm guessing he's just a day old, since I saw no sign of him before - but I guess he could be up to 5 days old since that's how long we've had the females.   I figure either she had just one fry, or ate the rest. Or maybe more are on the way. My biggest concern is caring for the baby now.  Anything special I need to do? He's in an already cycled tank, and seems to be doing great - but what do I know?  The adult fish are all going about their normal business and happy as can be. But since my 5 year old son has already named the baby fish, I want to make sure to give him the best chance for survival. Will he be alright alone in that tank? It seems so huge for such a little guy (and it seemed so small with our adult platy in it).   Also, the water is a bit of a concern.  We have well water and it's extremely hard (the test kit literally shows it as "Very Hard" on the strip, approx "300"ppm? ), and pH & alkalinity are very high as well. (Nitrates/nitrites & ammonia are "0")  The platies have been doing just fine, but I know babies are more sensitive.  Would it be better to get softened water from my tap?  (making the change gradually of course)  Right now I use the outside bypass valve to get the water unsoftened.  I'd prefer to use water right out of the tap if that would work. (our water is softened with salt, not potassium).   I also let the water stand 24 hours to come to room temp since it come out of the outdoor tap very cold.  The tanks are about 76 degrees, without a heater (I figure I can invest in a small heater before the weather starts to turn cold). I'd appreciate any tips for making my baby's environment as safe/healthy as possible (and the adult fish too of course). < All sounds good. Definitely use the well water instead of the water softener water. Platies actually prefer hard alkali water. Try not to over feed the baby fish. Sometimes it is hard when you see a little fish and wonder if he  or she will get enough to eat. You put the food in an it goes all over the place. Remove any uneaten food after a couple of minutes or it may foul the tank.-Chuck> Thanks a million!! Jennifer

Re: Ok, NOW I need help! More babies Hi, and Thanks Chuck for the advice on my new addition.  However, I was wrong about having only one survivor. Last night (3 days after I found the first baby platy) I discovered there is a brood of them living UNDER the breeding grass.  One ventured out at feeding time again and totally freaked me out. I'm glad to know more than one survived, though now I'm paranoid about them. I worry they'll be sucked into the filter (found one in there the other day), or eaten by adults.  Do you think I should leave them alone or try to move them to the "baby tank" where I have their single sibling? < If you move them the you know you have them. If you don't then you will drive yourself crazy worrying about them.> By closely observing my 2 females, I believe that the smaller of the 2 dropped the fry that we have now (she's starting to look thinner... shaped more like the male now) and that the other one is quite pregnant.  Our male fish seems to have been given an aphrodisiac, and chases the females incessantly - spending more time with the smaller female.  Could he sense that she is no longer pregnant and wants to breed with her now? < The male will always be trying to breed with any available female.> pregnant female gets, er... ticked off, at him when he tries to sidle up to her. He's VERY obviously courting them - kind of funny actually. He chases the females but doesn't nip at them, so I'm not too worried. But could this stress the pregnant female too much? < It could but that's why the females are larger so they can handle some attention. If it gets to the point that she is not eating or is being so stressed that she is hiding in the corner then she should be removed to another tank.> She tries to "hide" between plant leaves and I notice she gets real still when he gets near her, but takes off if he tries to get too close. And here's a bigger question... I've been reading other responses on your site about an internal parasite causing "pale feces" in fish.  At least 2 of my 3 adult platies have had white or clear feces for the past few days. Not every time, because I do notice they have normal looking ones as well. But sometimes they are thin and white or clear.  Does that indicate a parasite? < It could but if everything is Ok then I wouldn't worry about it too much unless there are other symptoms. I think it rejects what they have been eating.> And to go about treating it (my extra tank is a baby tank now - can't use that) what would it do to a) the babies hiding out under the grass; b) the bacteria in my nicely cycled tank? < I would not treat at all. The fish are breeding and very active. I would only treat if the fish look like that are becoming very thin an lethargic.> To refresh, I have a 5 gallon with a filter that has a carbon pad and a bio wheel.  (I think based on what I've read that if I just rinse the gunk off the carbon filter cartridge once in awhile I really don't need to change it?).  I have a bottle of CopperSafe that I treated my previous tank with for velvet (worked great).  Can I use that?  Should I take the bio-wheel or the filter cartridge out when I treat? My other option would be to move the baby back into the main tank and my 3 adult platies into the small tank (1 2/3g) for treatment, though I know it's quite small for them - at least it's temporary. Please... any advice would be great.  I appreciate all the help I've gotten in the past. < Anytime you medicate a tank you run a risk of affecting the good bacteria. Luckily the Bio-wheel can be removed while the tank is being medicated and replaced when treatment is over. Keep the BioWheel moist in some aquarium water and it will be all right for days.-Chuck> Jennifer

Re: Ok, NOW I need help! More babies Thanks for your advice. I believe my 2nd female had her babies, since she looks much less plump today, and I see more and more tiny fish hiding out all over the tank. Yesterday I managed to scoop out 2 more babies that ventured to the top and put them in the 'baby tank'.  I may try to grab up the rest of them tonight just to be sure. At least then I'd know they are eating - I think they are venturing upward because there isn't a lot of food getting down to their level (the big fish are pigs)  And you are right... I am obsessively worrying about them in the big tank (though I try to tell myself to let nature take it's course and be happy that I've saved at least 3 of them). I am probably more worried about them getting sucked into the filter than anything else. The clear/white feces of the adult fish could be from eating a bunch of newborn fry? < No mainly from foods that are low in fiber.-Chuck>   That would be my guess anyway.  They are acting fine and eating great. Both females are out of hiding and energetic.  They all seem happy, so I'll just keep a good eye on them for now. Thanks a bunch!  I'm much less stressed now. :) Jennifer

Platy fry not growing Hello Crew, first, let me thank you for such a fabulous site, its been of great help to me, there is so much I have learned and so much still waiting to be acknowledged, exciting. Ok, on to the problem, I have 8 week old platy fry and molly fry, the matter is that molly fry are growing fast, but platy fry are just not, why could it be? I feed both batches the same food, and once or twice a week live food.  Is there something else I need to know about platy fry? or am I doing something wrong? Ok, just for the record, mollies are separated from platys. < Fish like clean water and it is essential for young fish to have water with no ammonia, nitrites and low nitrates. Check these levels and make the needed adjustments. Different fish have different tolerances to waste products. Giving them some live food would help too.-Chuck> Hope any one can help me. Thanx Miguel

Mysterious Platy Illness - Please Help Last night we discovered a white pimple-like growth on the chin area of our red platy (he was just added to the tank 2 days prior). Also, he had a very wispy white thread-like thing that appeared to be coming off his anal fin. We are new to the hobby, and do not have a hospital tank. Afraid he would quickly infect the other fish (also in the tank are 2 rosy barbs, 3 zebra danios, and 1 red wag platy), we made the difficult decision to euthanize him. Late this afternoon, we noticed 1 of the rosy barbs now has the same white pimple-like growth on his upper lip area. Neither of these fish are displaying any lethargy, scratching, or other symptoms. We do not know what disease we could be dealing with here, as it does not really adhere to any descriptions of common aquarium diseases. We are thinking it could be a Lymphocystis, but we really don't know. Ich is possible we suppose, but there is only 1 white growth. Any ideas or experience with this? < Sounds like a bacterial infection. Try treating with Furanace or Maracyn and follow the directions on the label. These medications will affect the good bacteria in your tank so you need to watch for ammonia spikes.-chuck.

My Platy is barely eating > Hello, <Hi Tim, nice to meet you, MacL here tonight to help you.> > I have had a 10G tank running for 5-6 days. <Great brand new tank and very exciting.> I bought 1 molly and 3 platies after the tank was running for 2 days. The question I have is about one of my platies. I have no idea if this platy is a male or a female. Every time I feed my fish (I turn off the filter before start) all the other fish start eating except for this one. <Its possible the other fish are bullying it or its possible that the platy might not be well.> it stays at the bottom. <Not a good sign Tim, have you looked at it closely? Does it have any spots or dots on the fish?> It will only go up once or twice to get food. <But it is eating some?> My dad says it only was overfed once and that's it, but I am still worrying. <Its hard to learn the right amount to feed and very easy to overfeed Tim.> I hope you can answer my question with just the information I gave you. I just didn't know I had to check my nitrate levels and stuff. <Tim I think you are on the right track, you are watching your fish and that's what's important. Look for signs of bullying and take a small water sample to your local fish store to have your water levels checked. Also you might want to invest in an ammonia test kit. If you see any signs of anything like dots on your fish let me know, it might possibly be a fish disease that is fairly common called ich.> Thank you. Tim > <Good luck Tim, MacL> Thank you for your help but my platy just died this morning. it was bullying from another starburst platy. don't feel bad you did your best. I will always refer to your site for any other questions. I'm sorry for your loss!  MacL

Salty Platies Good morning- I have 3 platys in a 29G tank along with 5 cherry barbs, 7 Neons and 2   Cory cats.  My ph is 7, nitrites 0 and nitrates less than 12 and the temp is  about 27C. I also add aquarium salt to the water with water changes.  I recently had to move one of my female platys to a H-tank due to some fin  damage (she's doing fine).  The remaining 2 platys 1M and 1F constantly  swim up and down the side of the tank, almost in an aggressive manner.  The  female does it much more than the male does only because he takes algae eating  breaks.  My question is could this behavior be due to less than ideal water  conditions for platys? Should I add more platys?  The female looks  pregnant, but I'm not entirely sure.  Do pregnant platys normally do  this?  Thanks for your advice.  Chris <<Hello. In order to be sure about water quality, one must test all three: ammonia (should be zero), nitrites (should be zero) and nitrates (should be low, say 20-40ppm). If your tank does not measure up, water changes must be done in order to get the water quality under control. Fish behavior is always a good indication that things are not right, so testing is in order. Also, make sure you have not gotten the salt level too high, it can creep up over time without you noticing...take a tank water sample to your LFS, they can use a saltwater monitor to measure the salt level, even brackish, which yours probably is by now... You want to be sure it hasn't gotten too high for your freshwater fish. If they can't do that, and you do not know the exact amount of salt in your tank, do some freshwater-only water changes to see if that helps the fish. -Gwen>>

Platy Parasite Problem Hi, Sorry to bother you, but I have been searching for hours & can't find an answer! I have a 20gal. tank w/ 3 male guppies, 3 neon tetras, 1 black skirt tetra, & 2 blue platies. The platies are the problem- I kept 1 of the fry from the last batch & he seems to be doing fine- active & growing well, but I noticed that moms dorsal fin started getting red and sometimes her fins are clamped, but not all the time. I check the water daily, temp 80, ph 7.2-7.4, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 40. I have been doing daily or every other day water changes and the nitrates are down to 20. All the other fish are doing fine. The mom would hide a lot, but that didn't worry me, I thought it was time for more fry. I just put her in my 5 gal. that I used when she had the babies. Her fins perked right up, and she seems to be more active, though the dorsal still looks discolored to me. The lighting in this tank isn't as bright as my other one, and I may be worried over nothing, but it looks to me as if the skin at her head is looking "reddish". My husband says I worry too much, & everything is fine, but I just don't feel right about this. Sorry this is so long, but like I said I can't find any info that totally fits this situation. You guys have been so great in the past, I'm hoping you can help me now! Thanks, Elizabeth <<Dear Elizabeth; It sounds like a simple case of parasites to me :) Not a big deal, but the weakest fish will be the most susceptible. Your pregnant platy sounds like she is having a hard time dealing, so I would recommend a better diet.. A variety is best: get your fish a container of high-quality Spirulina flake food, a small container of Tetra ColorBits, and some frozen foods like bloodworms three times a week. And definitely some more "rest time" in her 5 gallon. The problem with livebearers is that they are becoming more and more inbred. Therefore they are much less resistant than they used to be, some more so than others. Also the fact that the males constantly harass the females, giving them no time to rest which can be quite hard on the poor girls. What I recommend is that you gradually add some aquarium salt to BOTH tanks, about three to five teaspoons per gallon, and also some Melafix to the 5 gallon. Good luck! -Gwen>>

Health Problem- Female Platy I hope you can pin down exactly what is going on with my female platy.  I've had her approximately 1.5 months in a 10 gal. tank which I cycled using Bio-Spira along with one male platy, a male Betta, and a panda Cory.  Approximately 2 weeks ago she developed a white spot resembling a pimple on her underside so I raised the temp on the tank to 82 degrees and used Jungle's Ich Guard II for two days (per instructions).  No other spots appears but neither did the one spot disappear.  Other then the spot she's behaving normally.  My daughter then over fed the tank and we had for a weeks a spike in the nitrItes of .25 ppm for a week which now has subsided after cleaning the tank and fasting fish for three days.  Two days ago a second white spot appeared on her tail fin. I removed her from the main tank and put her in a 3 gal tub, a 7.5 watt heater, a hiding pot, box filter (using a piece of floss from the main tank and no charcoal)  and treated the water with Novaqua and Amquel.  The actual meds I've used  are a 1/3 of a pill of Kanacyn and two drops of Aquari-sol going on the assumption that its possibly a "fungus" but I am not sure since she doesn't demonstrate any of the "classic" either Ich or a fungus since she's not flashing, hiding, lethargic, scratching nor do the spots appear "fluffy".  They cysts or pimples.  She's still swimming normally and vigorously eating.  Any information would be greatly appreciated. Lisa <<Dear Lisa, I have no idea. It doesn't sound like a fungus or a parasite. Fish DO get cysts and tumors. All I can say is, be careful you do not harm your biological filtration with all the meds you are using. PLEASE test your ammonia, your nitrite, and nitrate to make sure. Email me the results. Aside from that, hopefully just good clean water and a bit of aquarium salt will keep her from any further problems. -Gwen>>  

Re: Health Problem with female platy Dear Gwen, Thank you for your quick response.  I checked the water chemistry in the hospital tank as you requested and the baseline chemistry from the tap. From the tap as baseline using Aquarium Pharmaceutical test kits: Ammonia 0 ppm, NitrIte 0 ppm, NitrAte 40 ppm - I live in an agricultural area and the water table was low then we received a ton of rain so there is a lot of run off from the fields in the town water. From the 3 gal Hospital tank: Ammonia 0 ppm, NitrIte 0 ppm, NitrAte 40 ppm, pH 7.8 using Jungle Quick Dip test strip  I have no substrate in the hospital tank and am sucking up as much fish poo as I can using a baster I use only for the tanks.  Also I dosed the water with a bit of Amquel this morning to help with any ammonia build up.  I plan to do a partial water change tomorrow afternoon to help keep the ammonia levels from rising too fast. The readings for my 10 gal tank are the same as for the hospital tank since I just did a water change yesterday. I am thinking I should finish out the Kanacyn treatment just in case those white spots are areas of secondary infection.  Any other thoughts would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance. Lisa <<Lisa, you are welcome :) You seem to have things under control, the only thing I would add is to keep testing the water for the duration of the hospital tank treatment. If you DO start to have trouble with rising ammonia, you can usually find a decent ammonia-removing filter resin to help control that at your LFS. Keep up the good work! -Gwen>> Health problem with female platy I hope you can pin down exactly what is going on with my female platy.  I've had her approximately 1.5 months in a 10 gal. tank which I cycled using Bio-Spira along with one male platy, a male Betta, and a panda Cory.  Approximately 2 weeks ago she developed a white spot resembling a pimple on her underside so I raised the temp on the tank to 82 degrees and used Jungle's Ich Guard II for two days (per instructions).  No other spots appears but neither did the one spot disappear.  Other then the spot she's behaving normally.  My daughter then over fed the tank and we had for a weeks a spike in the nitrItes of .25 ppm for a week which now has subsided after cleaning the tank and fasting fish for three days.  Two days ago a second white spot appeared on her tail fin. I removed her from the main tank and put her in a 3 gal tub, a 7.5 watt heater, a hiding pot, box filter (using a piece of floss from the main tank and no charcoal)  and treated the water with Novaqua and Amquel.  The actual meds I've used  are a 1/3 of a pill of Kanacyn and two drops of Aquari-sol going on the assumption that its possibly a "fungus" but I am not sure since she doesn't demonstrate any of the "classic" either Ich or a fungus since she's not flashing, hiding, lethargic, scratching nor do the spots appear "fluffy".  They cysts or pimples.  She's still swimming normally and vigorously eating.  Any information would be greatly appreciated. Lisa <BR>><<Dear Lisa, I have no idea. It doesn't sound like a fungus or a parasite. Fish DO get cysts and tumors. All I can say is, be careful you do not harm your biological filtration with all the meds you are using. PLEASE test your ammonia, your nitrite, and nitrate to make sure. Email me the results. Aside from that, hopefully just good clean water and a bit of aquarium salt will keep her from any further problems. -Gwen>>  

Dawn Platy Swimming Behavior Hello Bob, <<You mean Gwen, right? :P>> I have a 10 gallon tank. About 4 weeks ago we purchased a female and male platy (light yellow fore body with orange tails). About 2-3 weeks ago, the female grew and now has her belly of fry. Recently, the guppies began picking and nipping on her, but they leave the male alone. My question is, she has developed some odd swimming waddle. She has been moved to a birthing net because of the guppies to relieve some of her stress. However, she sits on the net ever so slightly and waddles back and forth. I have also noticed that she is posturing her fins close to her body. Her tail which she use to span is now very narrow. Do they have symptoms of labor? Such as an odd swimming pattern? Lack of motion? Increased bowel movements? <<Sounds more like a parasite problem. Have you had your water tested lately for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates? Please do some water tests and let us know. For the time being, do a small water change, raise the temp to 82F, (gradually!) and add one teaspoon of salt per gallon of water, and see if she improves. If she starts to show signs of ich, (like white spots on her fins or body) you may need to advance to a medication such as Quick Cure. Please get back to us with your test results. -Gwen>>

Strange platy behaviour...is it mating behaviour? Hello and sorry to bother you, I have tried several times to register so I can ask on the forums but can't get it to work, <I have copied this message to our administrator Lorenzo> I am very new to this hobby and therefore have no idea if the behaviour of my platies is normal or not. I have had them almost 2 weeks in a 10G tank that I will use as a QT when my 25G has finished cycling. The 10G they are in has cycled (I used some Bio-Spira, it must have helped) as ammonia and nitrite readings have been at 0 for several days now, nitrate is about 5. <all good> anyway.... just today my female platy has taken to resting on the sucker that holds the heater to the wall of the tank, so she is between the heater and the wall. She is actually resting on the plastic sucker. The male meanwhile is circling round and round from the top of the heater to the bottom and back up almost constantly. Is this some sort of strange mating behaviour?  <no... stress of some kind perhaps. If the temperature is comfortable (75-78 F), then do a water change and add some non-iodized salt (1 TBN per 5 gallons of tank water) to help relieve them> Is the female just hiding from his unwanted attentions?  <that is common and quite possible> As I have no experience I can't tell if she might be sick or just hiding. She hasn't done this before. <tough for us to say from general symptoms described. DO look into a local aquarium society (search online and query big message boards for help finding one... good local fellowship and information)> I was planning on a water change this afternoon, I am just aerating the water at the moment. <excellent intuition... when in doubt, do a water change> Please let me know if this is normal. I really am growing attached to Ed and Carol and want to know if there is anything I should be doing for them! Maggie <you are very much on the right path, it seems... best of luck! Anthony> 

Minnie Mouse Mom Hello! I have a "Minnie" Mouse platy who is certainly pregnant (I think). She's been fat for about four weeks, and she is very dark in her stomach area. I moved her to a plastic breeder last night. She's eating blood worms and she hasn't aborted her babies, but she won't drop them. She doesn't seem to be stressed, but she was a little stressed when I moved her, then later settled down. I think I can see the fry's eyes, they look like little black speckles in her stomach area. How long will it be before she drops the fry and how can I help her if she doesn't. She looks as if she could explode! All of the water levels are fine! Rachel P.S- thanks Gwen, for the help with my midget platy fry! I let her out last night to swim with the big fishies! :) She's doing great!!! <<Rachel, you are welcome :) and she should be producing fry any day now. You seem to be taking good care of her, so probably just patience is required at this point. I'm sure she will be fine. Keep up the good work :) >Gwen

Help... responded to query re platies I sent a question April 24th and have not got an e-mail & can't find the answer to my question.  Where do I look for the answer?  My firs message was called "Please HELP our Platy fish has had babies"  Thanks Lisa <<Dear Lisa; your reply would have been posted on this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs.htm However, you will need to read thru all the FAQ's pages to find it now, as it would have only been on the dailies for one day. If you wish, you can re-send me your info, and I can reply again. Thanks, Gwen>>

Please HELP Our Platy fish has had babies. Please help our Platy fish has had babies on yesterday.  I bought a fish net thing to put the babies in.  We only started our tank about 2 months ago. And really have had a hard time with fish living in it.  All the fish have died at some point or a another.  It was not quite a week ago we got 2 more platy fish.  One died on Wed, the other had babies on Friday.  There are 4 live babies (about 6 were dead) What do I feed these little ones. < Baby platies are actually pretty good size when they are born and should do ok on crushed flake food.> How big do they have to be before I can let them out with mom. < They should be too big to be eaten by the other fish. At least 1/4 to 1/3 the size of the others.>  She is the only fish in there. We have a 5-6 gallon tank.  The mom seems fine with them, she is constantly at the net with them.  We were told at the pet store to only feed the platy every other day.  I have read some on your website saying 2 times a day.  What is right? <It sounds like you have had some ammonia problems so a reduced feeding strategy sounds like a good recommendation. But now that you have fry, you need to feed at least once a day enough food that she will only eat for a few minutes.> The mom was fed yesterday but did not eat.  How many days after birth till she starts to eat again? < If everything is ok then she should be eating all the time. She may already be full from eating other fry. I think you have other issues here besides the fry. You need to get your tank stabilized first and things should take care of themselves. -Chuck.>  Thanks Lisa

Platy Fry slow Hello, Rachel here. I don't know who will answer this, but thanks, Gwen, for all of your previous help! Now I have another problem. I have a platy fry that is EIGHT weeks old, she has been in a plastic breeder since the beginning of tank set up, one of the female platys popped her out a week after I put her in there. She grew fairly fast and then has been the same size for five months. It is probably the same size as a short pinkie nail. I have gold dust molly fry that are two weeks old and are almost bigger than she is, some a little bigger! I am feeding her powdered flakes, a little of bigger crumbled flakes and a little bloodworm once or twice a week. What is wrong and how can I fix it? The water quality is O.K- nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia are 0, and Ph is 7.4. Another question is, the fry (gold dust) are big enough to see the anal fin. So far, they all have normal female fins, can they develop the rod like male anal fin later? THANKS so much for all of your help! <<Hey Rachel, sorry for the response time, I've been under the weather lately. Speeding up fry growth consists of three things: regular water changes (every other day is good, if not more often), high quality foods, and adequate space for exercise. It sounds like you are doing everything right, though, so my best wishes to you, and by all means, keep us updated as to Baby Platy's progress! -Gwen>>

Sick Platy Hi,  I read through lots of your articles and FAQs trying to find an answer to this but with no luck. I have a 55 gal freshwater tank that has been set up and running well (cycled etc) for approximately 4 or 5 months. I do regular (every other week) 30% water changes. I currently have 6 Danios (original occupants) 4 older platys (added about 2 weeks later) 3 Oto dwarfs (3 died quite soon after being put in), 3 newer platys and 4 black skirted tetras (the new platys and tetras were just added last week). Of my original platys one had been harassed by the other 3 and did a lot of hiding for the first few weeks (but has been fine for the  last month or so) which is one of the reasons I bought additional platys - trying to outnumber the females to males. She has always swam a little "funny" - with her butt pointing down but seemed to be a happy fish. However in the last day or so, she has been hugging the bottom of the tank and seems to be having trouble breathing and swimming. Today she couldn't even make it to the top of the tank to eat, only about half way up and then she kind of sank back down. Her side fins are fluttering very quickly, her back fin is not moving much. I see no signs of ich or any other external parasite. What can I do? I was up half the night checking in on her last night. I hate to see her suffer. Any suggestions would be so greatly appreciated.  < Unfortunately many aquarists don't take precautions when adding new fish by putting them all in a quarantine tank for a couple of weeks before they put the new fish in the main tank. I understand the enthusiasm of bringing a new fish home and seeing it get along with the other fish in the new tank but this should really be avoided. While the new fish may seem fine they may be carriers of disease and infect the other fish while seeming fine themselves. While you see no external symptoms I suspect you fish may be attracted by some external bacteria. Your fish is very weak and may not survive the treatment. If no other fish are showing any symptoms then I would remove the sick fish and place it in a hospital tank of at least one gallon. A five gallon tank would be better with a heater. Take five gallons of the tank water and put it in the 5 gallon tank. Heat it up to 80 degrees. Add one tablespoon of rock salt. The salt will help the fish generate a slim which will help fight off the bacteria on the skin and gills. Add and airstone for aeration. I would try a Nitrofurazone based drug to start and follow the directions on the package. If you decide to treat the larger main tank then you run a risk of killing off the good bacteria and will upset you nitrification of the waste from the fish. keep a log of all the events in your aquarium. If this treatment does not work and this fish dies another fish in the tank may come down with the same disease and we may have to try a few different things until we find one that works.-Chuck>

Sick Platy II Hi Chuck,  Thanks for your suggestions. I tried putting her in a hospital tank etc, but unfortunately, either I was too late or she was too sick - she hung on for a day or so and then died. She seemed calmer in the hospital tank and less stressed so hopefully she didn't suffer too much. I will keep a close on the tank and will be in touch if another fish gets sick so that you can suggest a full tank treatment if necessary. Would you suggest turning up the heat on the main tank and adding more aquarium salt as a safety measure to try to help the other fish build up their ability to fight bacteria?  <I like to keep my fish around 78 to 80 degrees. I try not to add any medications including salt unless I think it is needed. Just try and stay up on servicing your filter and try and keep the nitrates under 25 ppm with water changes and that should take care of most of your potential problems.-Chuck>  Currently the temp is around 77 degrees?  Thanks again for your help.

Platy sex change Hello,     We have a ten gallon freshwater tank with over 30 fish, ranging in age of 5 months - 5 days, black mollies and sunset platys, and only one of our fish is store bought, due to reproduction and dying out. I noticed something very strange with one of our 2-month old female platys.  She was the biggest, most beautiful female platy in the tank, and she has a very pretty light golden orange coloring.  Something very very strange happened: over the past week, I've noticed that she has acquired the anal fin, gonopodium, that is characteristic of MALES!!  How strange is that?!  What is going on?  And I do know that before, she did not have the male sex organ.  She always a female until recently.  Also, her coloring is more similar to that of the other 2-month old females than the coloring of the males.  The males have yellow heads and they become orange, then red further down to the tail.  This fish has nothing of the sort.  Have you any idea of what is going on?  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks. ~Confused aquarium keeper <<Dear Confused; Hello. Chances are that you bought this platy at a young age, and she has finally matured sexually. In other words, she didn't change, she was probably a "he" from the beginning. It's hard to say without seeing the fish beforehand. It could be you didn't notice the gonopodium. At any rate, I have heard tales of people's swordtails and platies changing their sex, I would again put that down to juvenile fish becoming sexually mature. Keep in mind most platies sold in stores are just a few months old. Also, I would like to address the fact that you have 30 fish in a 10 gallon tank. This amount is excessively high. I would highly recommend you buy a nitrate test kit, and start keeping track of your nitrate levels. Nitrates should be kept around the 20-60ppm range. Higher nitrates mean you need to do more frequent partial water changes. You should not have any fish "dying out". Healthy platies can live for 5 years or more. Please do your water changes twice a week, approx. 25-50%, until you can give some of your fish away, or buy them a bigger tank. Otherwise you will find that you are continuing to lose fish, and eventually everything in this tank will sicken and die off. Sorry to be a party pooper, but the long-range forecast for such an overstocked tank is not good at all. -Gwen>> New platies My roommate and I recently bought two red wagtail platies and we know next to nothing about fish. They seem to have gotten increasingly "twitchy" over the past few days. We are worried that there might be something in the environment we established that is bothering them. We feed them a pinch of tropical fish food a day, have a new filter running, and the water is at room temperature roughly 70 degrees). We have grown very attached to our new fish: please help >>Dear Jennifer; what size is the tank they are in? You are right, there IS something in the environment that is bothering them...their own waste. I recommend you take a sample of your tank water to your local fish store, and have them test it for ammonia. You should get into the habit of testing your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. Buy some test kits, or hopefully the fish store is close by :P If you cannot get your water tested right away, then do a small partial water change...remove 20% of the water, and re-add some new water at the same temperature, that you have dechlorinated. I assume you have some Dechlor, if not, buy some at the LFS when go to get your water tested. You might want to add a heater, also. I also recommend you read this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm Good luck! -Gwen<< Thanks so much for your help. It is a five gallon tank and I actually went ahead and replaced some of the water today. I am planning on going out tomorrow and getting it tested and buying the test kits. I am wondering though if the waste could have built up that much in such a short amount of time? We have had them only a week. Thank you again, Jennifer >>Hello :) To answer your question, yes, the waste could have built up that fast! This is why we recommend to begin testing the water once fish are added to any new set-up. Depending on tank size and amount of fish added, the waste can build to lethal levels very fast, because there are no beneficial bacteria yet. Partial water changes are required to reduce, and therefore control, the waste levels until the tank "cycles", which means until there are enough nitrifying bacteria to support the amount of fish in the tank. Basically, "cycling the tank" means growing bacteria in your filter, the "good" bacteria that colonize there will break down ammonia and reduce it to nitrite, then finally to nitrate. Which means that we can go longer periods between water changes than if we had no bacteria, because nitrate is less toxic than ammonia and nitrite. So once your tank is fully cycled your levels of those two things should be zero, while the nitrate levels should be kept as low as possible with water changes, say below 50ppm or so. There are no bacteria that remove nitrates, we have to do that ourselves :) -Gwen<<

Platy Problem Revisited You asked me some questions, so I have put in the answers where you asked them. Thank you again for helping me and my Molly. "> Hi Crew, I have a female platy in a 12-gallon tank with two mollies, plus one male Betta and a butterfly loach. The platy used to have a mate but he fought with the male molly and lost, so now the poor thing is alone, not good. The platy is in a bad way, having slowly worsened for two weeks now.  In the beginning, I noticed that she had a "fat lip" and first suspected cotton mouth, but she has no visible fungus. I soon realized she was actually just jutting her lower mouth out and holding her mouth open. This became more and more pronounced until now she's holding her mouth all the way open and breathing heavily, hanging around next to the bubbler. >>>This sounds like a parasitic problem to me, gill flukes. Use Quick Cure to treat it.<<< >The first thing I did was fiddle with the water, testing ammonia, pH, etc. and finding them negative.  >>>What are your nitrite AND nitrate levels? How often do you do partial water changes?<<<" They are both at the lowest color bar on the chart (reads at zero). I change 20 percent a week.  "> Then I increased the aeration. Then I treated the whole tank with tetracycline according to the instructions, in case she had bacterial gill disease. Finally I placed her in a hospital tank with Clout because I thought she might have gill flukes. While in the Clout I also increased the salt content (usually 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons, now 1.5) and temperature (it's usually 80, now it's 82) for added support. Nothing has helped and I have run out of ideas. Today I put her back in the main tank because the medicine wasn't helping and the hospital tank was obviously stressing her. >>>Medications can be VERY hard on fish. You treated her twice without even knowing what she has, this is generally a bad idea. I understand your impatience, but stressing her with meds won't help. How long did you treat with tetracycline?<<<" Tetracycline for 4 days, according to the instructions on the package.   ">>>How long did you treat with Clout?<<<" Clout for 24 hours. The package said that was all I should do. ">>>Clout is a very strong anti-parasitic, and should be used with caution.<<< > Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for her!  >>>More frequent water changes, and keep her away from the mollies. They are probably harassing her, causing stress, which causes disease. Platies CAN be kept with mollies in larger tanks. A twelve gallon is too small, and she has no where to escape them.<<< > PS. I wrote to you two weeks ago about a Betta with Dropsy. I thought you might like to know that he is almost fully recovered (color still a tad pale, but otherwise fine--active, sleek, eats like a pig). What seemed to work for him was a double dose of tetracycline plus a strong salt bath and warm water.  I'm glad I didn't euthanize him! >>>Happy to hear. But keep in mind all species of fish respond differently to stress and to medication. -Gwen<<<" I know, my Betta seemed to like the hospital tank, but the molly hated it.  >>>>How is your platy doing now? Clout is generally used for up to one week, I can't recall offhand. Parasites have life cycles, and I don't know of any that can be eradicated in one day. Perhaps the salt you have added will do the trick. Good luck -Gwen<<<<

Platy problem Hello again, First, I must apologize for my last letter. I was so freaked out at the time I didn't give you enough information. I have become really attached to this fish.  <It's understandable, I have done the same thing when worrying about a loved pet.>  So, I will try to fill in the gaps- I use Mardel 5 in 1 test strips, as well as Red Sea Fresh Care multi test. My levels have been consistently (on the smaller tank she was in) -  pH- 7.6  NO3- 0-10  NO2- 0  NH3/NH4- 0  total hardness- 120ppm  total alk./ buffering capacity- 180ppm  Second- I only observed the "fast" swimming & face rubbing once, and even though my tests had never indicated a problem, I didn't want to take a chance. I thought - What if the test was wrong?  <The problem is that the tests won't test for parasites in the water. The Rubbing on a surface is typically a sign of parasites. Either in the gills or on their body. Using medicine from Mardel like Maracide will work well at getting rid of problems like that.>  Third- The babies seem to be doing fine. I believe there are at least 4 of them. I have seen consistent growth, and they are swimming above the marbles more each day.  <That is a good sign, and most likely things are going to turn out okay.>  I had thought the guppy might be getting "friendly", but I realize she can't stay in that kind of situation. I can put her back in with the babies, but if this an infection, would it spread to the fry?  <Yes, parasites can spread in a tank and will host on other fish especially young fish that haven't developed a strong immune system yet.>  Are there any particular signs I should look out for?  <Cloudy eyes, intense rubbing on surfaces, discoloration in the fins (white spots, red streaks) and/or bluish film appearing on the body. These are all signs of problems/illness with your fish. Just keep an eye out and treat if something like this should happen.>  Can or should I put some salt in the smaller tank?  <Though Platies live in brackish (saltier) water in nature it's not a distinct necessity to add salt to their tank. I suggest you read some of our FAQs and other material on Platies on our website www.wetwebmedia.com. You are sure to find info you need on these fish and how to care for them properly.>  Thanks again for all your help! Your site is fantastic, and has been of tremendous help to me!! Elizabeth  <I'm glad we could be of assistance. We are happy to help the hobbyist that is willing to do their research and ask questions if they need help. Good luck. -Magnus>

Platy problem Hi Crew, I have a female platy in a 12-gallon tank with two mollies, plus one male Betta and a butterfly loach. The platy used to have a mate but he fought with the male molly and lost, so now the poor thing is alone, not good. The platy is in a bad way, having slowly worsened for two weeks now.  In the beginning, I noticed that she had a "fat lip" and first suspected cotton mouth, but she has no visible fungus. I soon realized she was actually just jutting her lower mouth out and holding her mouth open. This became more and more pronounced until now she's holding her mouth all the way open and breathing heavily, hanging around next to the bubbler. >>This sounds like a parasitic problem to me, gill flukes. Use Quick Cure to treat it.<< The first thing I did was fiddle with the water, testing ammonia, pH, etc. and finding them negative. >>What are your nitrite AND nitrate levels? How often do you do partial water changes?<< Then I increased the aeration. Then I treated the whole tank with tetracycline according to the instructions, in case she had bacterial gill disease. Finally I placed her in a hospital tank with Clout because I thought she might have gill flukes. While in the Clout I also increased the salt content (usually 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons, now 1.5) and temperature (it's usually 80, now it's 82) for added support. Nothing has helped and I have run out of ideas. Today I put her back in the main tank because the medicine wasn't helping and the hospital tank was obviously stressing her. >>Medications can be VERY hard on fish. You treated her twice without even knowing what she has, this is generally a bad idea. I understand your impatience, but stressing her with meds won't help. How long did you treat with tetracycline? How long did you treat with Clout? Clout is a very strong anti-parasitic, and should be used with caution.<< Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for her! >>More frequent water changes, and keep her away from the mollies. They are probably harassing her, causing stress, which causes disease. Platies CAN be kept with mollies in larger tanks. A twelve gallon is too small, and she has no where to escape them.<< PS. I wrote to you two weeks ago about a Betta with Dropsy. I thought you might like to know that he is almost fully recovered (color still a tad pale, but otherwise fine--active, sleek, eats like a pig). What seemed to work for him was a double dose of tetracycline plus a strong salt bath and warm water.  I'm glad I didn't euthanize him! >>Happy to hear. But keep in mind all species of fish respond differently to stress and to medication. -Gwen<<

Platy Platitudes >Hi, >>Hello. >I really need your help!! I purchased a Blue Platy from the local pet store about 2wks ago & put him in my established 20 gal. tank with 5 neon tetras, 1 black skirt tetra, and 3 male guppies. Well, it turned out "he" was a "she", so I set up my old 5 gal. tank for her. She gave birth 3 days ago, and I thought mother & babies were doing fine until today. Mom started swimming fast & rubbed her face on a couple of the live plants. I check ALL the levels pH, nitrites, nitrates, hardness, and total alk.) every day (sometimes twice a day), and they have always been ideal. >>Hhm... honestly, that's not much for me to go by. You've left out what test kit, and what the readings were. Why not test for ammonia? That's more important than hardness and total alkalinity, to be honest. However, what she demonstrates may be more indicative of a parasitic infection or other disease than water quality. How are the babies? >I have changed 10% of the water in the smaller tank every other day. The fry seem fine, and mom looks healthy, so today I moved mom back to the 20 gal. tank, and after a little while, one of the male guppies started "nipping" at her. >>Then she likely won't do well in this tank, he may harass her to death. >When he does this the platy turns on her side and looks like she is having trouble swimming. >>She's trying to escape, and he is either showing aggression or is feeling rather amorous towards her. >I got worried and found an old fish bowl and put gravel & water from the bigger tank in it with some plants & an air stone. Then I moved the platy into that & wrote you. I don't know what to do, please help!! >>Sometimes this happens with livebearers, and it may very well be that this pretty platy may need a tank sans male guppies or other livebearers. What she needs are peaceful tankmates. >Thanks, Elizabeth >>You're welcome. Marina 

Baby Platies (1/23/04) <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have a 10-gallon community tank, which had dwindled down over the months to a population of only one female Platy. She had babies and I put them in an isolation net. They have been in there for about one month, and a few of the tiniest ones have died. I feed them crushed flake food 2-3 times per day. There are 8 babies left. If all of them survive, will the tank be large enough to support them all? <Not on a permanent basis, unfortunately.> They are still pretty tiny. How long will I need to keep them in isolation? (It seems easier to feed them in the net because the uneaten flakes collect at the bottom of the net, so they can pick at it later). <I would get some fake wheat grass or something similar for the tank to give them something to hide in. Then you can let them into the tank. Keeping the fry in the isolation net for a long time is not healthy for them. If you feed them directly over the stuff they hide in, they can pick at what falls to the gravel.> Thank you, ~Cynthia <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Platy Problems Hi, I am fairly new to the aquarium/fishkeeping scene. <Welcome to it, then!> Unfortunately I have just learned the importance of quarantining new fish before introducing them to your tank. <Ahh, a hard, but good, lesson learned....> I have 3 Platies, 4 rasboras, and 4 tetras in a 30 gallon tank, which has been set up since December. (I had these fish for about a year previously in a different aquarium.) I recently bought 2 more Platies and put them in the same tank. Unfortunately they came with what I think was ich (which didn't show up until about a week after I bought them). <What a nasty little present to bring home!  Sorry to hear it.> So I treated the tank with some medication from my pet store containing Formalin and malachite green after the other fish started acting sluggish and developed the little white spots as well. They seem to be over the ich at this point but have pretty much all developed a white ring around each eye--the Platies and the tetras are all affected by this, though the rasboras seem ok at this point. The Platies also have an orangey film over their eyes. Their eyes do not seem swollen or inflamed and they seem to be able to see fine, but the white ring is very clear. I have been testing the water levels every day--everything is normal and stable, <May I ask, what are your parameters for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH?> and I have done 2 partial water changes in the last week. <Good move, for sure.> What do you think this is and what can I do to treat it? <Assuming that parameters are appropriate (ammonia and nitrite both *zero*, nitrate less than 20ppm or so), I would guess this is a bacterial infection; perhaps Columnaris.  It may have been brought on from the small wounds left behind from the ich cysts.  Does this whitish ring around the eyes seem "tufty" or "cottony" at all?  I would recommend treating with Kanamycin (available as "Kanacyn" from Aquatronics) or if that is unavailable, then another broad-spectrum antibiotic.  Please remember to remove carbon from your filter(s) while medicating, as that will remove the medication(s).> Thanks so much,  Emily <Glad to be of service!  -Sabrina>

Platy looking thin Hey there people! <Hello there.> Okay here's the deal. I have a sunset platy who is looking and acting very strange, but I cant pinpoint the problem in order to fix it. Firstly I have no idea what sex it is. <You can tell Platy's gender by their anal fin.  The males have a pointed looking fin which they use to deposit their sperm.  The females have a fin that looks smaller and not that different from it's other fins.> Second, the scales on the top (from the eyes to the dorsal) are kinda standing up like it has a Mohawk. Also the whole body looks dull. They don't have that "wet look". <When the scales of a fish protrudes that way, it typically is an indication that your fish is suffering from Dropsy.  I suggest you look over some of the FAQ sections here on WetWebMedia.com.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm If not then the basic info you need to know about dropsy is symptoms would be a swollen abdomen and scales   sticking out. This is most commonly seen in gold fish. Actually, Dropsy is not really a disease, but a disorder caused by internal bacterial infections. It manifests itself in three forms: (a) Acute Dropsy (internal bacterial infection) (b) Chronic Dropsy (cancer) - The internal organs swell up in this type of Dropsy.   Try and isolate the fish at an early stage of the disease (c) Chronic Dropsy (parasites) - In this type of dropsy the abdomen swells up due to the parasites. Again, remember to isolate the fish to prevent infecting the entire tank.  I have lost one of my large fantails to this, and it was incredibly hard to get rid of.  I have read that hobbyists have used Maracyn-Two (made by the Mardel company) and it was said to cure some forms of dropsy.  But, even with medicines most fish with dropsy never survive it.> The fish eats a lot, but it still looks scrawny. <That is a bit unusual, typically when the scales stick up like that it's because of the body swelling due to infection.  I believe that you should separate this fish immediately so it doesn't spread the problem to other tankmates.> I went from feeding it twice a day to three times a day and it's still not gaining any weight. Are Platies just scrawny fish? <No, a platy can get quite large if fed well.  All of mine shown quite the little belly since I tend to spoil my fish.> I had a Betta and some swordtail Platies before I got this one and they were all a little pudgy I think skinny fish look sickly). Is there a way to fatten it up? <Try feeding it richer foods, like live bloodworms.  You might want to try feeding it medicated flakes so that the fish will be getting medicine directly into it's system.  You can find these medicated foods in most pet stores.> Also sometimes it looks like it's having a seizure or something. The side fins move really fast and the body shakes but the fish stays in the same spot. <Most likely the fish is reacting to some sort of external parasite.  It's bother the skin and fins and the fish is trying to "shake it off" which it really can't.  Often times the fish will be seen rubbing on rocks and other decoration trying to get it off.  This can be treated with medicine as well.> Finally, there is the little white string with a ball on the end of it coming from it's chin. I'm scared to bother it because it might be a make fish handling some male business, or it could be a parasite. <Not quite sure what it is, possibly a fungus, or a parasite.  Separate this fish from the others ASAP, put it in a separate tank and get some medicine like Maracyn to treat this fish.  Be sure to remove any carbon from the filter before treating the fish because this will remove the medication from the water.> Please let me know what is going on. thanks in advance! Lynnette <Hope that helps.  Good luck with the fish. -Magnus>

White Spots on Her Platys (1/8/2004) My daughter has her first aquarium. A 5 gallon with the standard whisper pump and bio bag. <Will need careful maintenance of this small tank with frequent water changes.> She started with 4 platys <don't buy any more fish for a tank this small.>, then we spotted a baby in the bag from the store too... <nice bonus> 2 weeks later she has another tiny fry <how fun> and now 2 of the mated fish have little white spots on them. What us it ... and what do we do? <Uh Oh. Sounds like ich to me. Read here to be sure and to learn how to treat: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm> Moline Schrader <Hope this helps. Steve Allen>

Thank you again. <No prob, that is what we are here for> I though I can stop asking you questions, but now I have another problem.  I just noticed my pointed tail female platy has a barely noticeable white round ring growth on the body.  Is it ick? <Ich is typically small white specks on the fish, I have never seen it in a round ring shape.  But it doesn't mean that it's not.  It could be the start of a fungus, the shape is what throws me.  But keep an eye on it, also look at the fins.  If they have white specks on them then it could possibly be ich.> It doesn't look like the ick my goldfish had before.  Fungus or bacterial, you think? <It might possibly be Ich (Ichthyophthirius), keep an eye on it, and start thinking of medications for the fish.  You might want to think about adding Maracide to help fight the parasites.  Hope you fish gets better.  -Magnus>

Aggressive male Platies. Please help! In my 10 gal tank, I have 4 male Platies, 2 female Platies, 2 male guppies, 1 blue Gouramis, 1 glass catfish.  I don't want to get a bigger tank and I can't take the male Platies back to the store any more. <they won't even take donated fish?  Most love free fish, though some don't take peoples fish cause they are afraid of poor health conditions.> But my 4 male Platies are Very aggressive towards each other and everyone else!   <they are aggressive due to the small space, and the fact that there are less females than males.  it's better to have more females then males in a tank.  At least 2 females per male is how it should be.> Can I take out 2 Platies to go in my gold fish tank which can go to 60 degrees at night?  will he live. <Check the water parameters, so the fish will not go into some sort of pH shock from going to a warm tropical tank to a coldwater tank with typically higher waste output fish like goldfish.  You will have to adjust the fish slowly to cooler tank if you do decide to move them.   I would suggest placing them in bags and slowly drip the new goldfish tank water into the bag allowing them to adjust to the tank.  Give it like 20-30 minutes of dripping the water in to the bag before releasing them.  Now remember these fish aren't found in these conditions in nature, so this mix really shouldn't be... But, these fish will survive  in this tank.  I suggest that you start looking around for new homes for these fish.  Either give them to other fish people, or set up another tank down the road.  It's really not best to have fish in conditions that is not specifically designed for them.> I also have a 5 inch shubunkin in the goldfish tank.  My male Platies are about 1.5 inches including the tails. <They shouldn't bother each other.  Just make sure that you keep up on water changes, and the filtration is going okay.  Good luck. -Magnus>

Aggressive male Platies. Cleaner crew. Thank you so much for your help.  It's great to have someone so knowledgeable answer my questions in such detail and so quickly! I don't know how I could have missed this web site for the last 1year! Thanks again <No Problem, I'm glad we can be of assistance.> By the way, I was going to get a Pleco to help clean up the waste of the tank and buildup of the yuckies, but seeing that I have overcrowding already, will my glass catfish eat from the bottom?  I haven't seen him do it though. <Your glass catfish really won't clean like a Pleco would.  I would think about adding a few large snails... They really clean the glass and substrate quite well, and don't have that much of an effect on the bioload of the tank.  Think of them as the janitors of the tank. I have seen my guppies pick up food from the bottom however. <If you want to add a fish that is like a Pleco but without the size and mess, then I say you should look at Otocinclus.  It's a cute little fish, they stay small and do a great job on cleaning.  Often called "Otos", they are the little sucker fish that ever seems to over look.  They do great in tropical tanks, and don't get large.  Not to mention, they are pretty cute little fish.   here is a website devoted to them. http://www.otocinclus.com/ Hope that helps. -Magnus> Health Problems in Platies Hi <Hello, Sabrina here, tonight> Platy health trouble! <Uh-oh> Any help would be appreciated.  If you know of platy- or livebearer-specific health sites please let me know! <None off the top of my head, but you can start here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm  and here:   http://www.fishdoc.co.uk/index.htm .> I've got a cute *little* 6 gallon aquarium set up (the eclipse system six, with the BioWheel, fine carbon in the filter (I add extra) and a fluorescent light). <I like these tanks, to be quite honest; great for beginners to learn on, and easy/attractive for most anyone.> I've got 6 platies (2 males 4 females) in there and a Betta;  the Betta is in his own floating miniaquarium because he's aggressive.  pH is around neutral and ammonia is low or nil; I've not been able to get the tank established yet.   <Definitely something to work on!> I use bottled spring water (NOT distilled water) with Start Right and Molly Bright, and the alkalinity should be all right since the pH doesn't bounce;   <Might want to check out your tapwater, see how it is - bottled water can be kind of a water roulette; usually good, but once in a while, awful.  If your tapwater isn't awful, it might be a safer constant - with a good dechlorinator.> I think the hardness is OK but I do not have tests for alkalinity and hardness.   <If your pH is stable, these are probably okay.  Might want to get tests for 'em some time down the road.> I'm having problems with disease that I cannot seem to cure.  The red male is very thin and he used to clamp his fins to his body a lot, and his feces is stringy and mucusy.  Sounds like internal parasites, right?   <Perhaps, yes, or internal bacterial infection.> There has also been some scratching and flashing going on, especially with the blue female (she's more sensitive since she's got silvery scales and is a bit less hardy genetically) and the red male.  THAT sounds like external parasites.  The red male also showed signs of what I think was ick:  salt-like white grains speckled on his fins and body.   <That and the scratching are sure-fire signs of ich.> The Betta has never shown any signs of any illness. <Might be a good idea to get him outta there, then.  Even a small container as a temporary home for a few weeks would be okay, with water changes often.> So, I've treated them with diligent water changes and Jungle medications for ick, internal parasites, external parasites, and fungus/bacteria issues <Better to know what specific medicine/active ingredient you need, to treat specific illnesses, and go from there to find what meds would be effective.  My own personal experience with Jungle medications has not been good (but it *was* ages ago), though I've heard both pros and cons for them.  I used to use their "Ammonia Chloramine Eliminator" and "Start Right" all the time, and was very satisfied with them.> (obviously not all at the same time, but sometimes 2 meds at a time) over the last *2 months* but as soon as I do the last water change and slap the carbon back in the filter, at least one fish shows signs of something or other.   <Sounds to me like 'something or other' is primarily ich right now, yes?  Only one fish with stringy poo, right?  The other symptoms you mentioned were characteristic of ich alone.  More on ich here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm .> Right now, there is still stringy feces in the red male and in a few of the others, although he no longer clamps his fins as much and he seems to be gaining some weight.   <Okay, so more than one are affected.  Gotcha.  I would first try treating with medicated food for this - Piperazine or Levamisole in food will purge them of internal nasties like worms and such.  One product available is "Discomed", from Aquatronics.  This contains Piperazine and is added to food, live, frozen or flake, then fed to the fish.  Just follow the directions.  Other products are available, but not as easy to find - again, Levamisole or Piperazine, in food.  If this fails, it might be an internal bacterial issue.  I've had good luck with food medicated with tetracycline for such problems.  I've also used Kanamycin externally (in the water) with good results.  Aquatronics produces Kanamycin under the name "Kanacyn".  There are lots of other good antibiotics as well; if you're not sure precisely what they've got, go with something broad-spectrum (treats both gram-positive and -negative bacteria).> The others look great except the largest yellow female has a white spot on her tail that looks less like ick and more like fungus;  bigger than a salt grain and a bit puffy.   <Puffy.... maybe "fuzzy"?  Or fluffy?  Like cotton?  Might be a fungal or bacterial issue, but it could still possibly be a sign of ich - the cysts are not exactly the same size, and sometimes will clump together a bit.> This spot faded and disappeared during treatments but comes back whenever I try to get the tank med-free. <Seems to me it's been a medical fish soup, heh> I don't want to keep medicating them;  it's costing me a fortune and I want to avoid kidney damage, etc.  But I don't want to let these diseases recur.   <Agreed, on both accounts.> Should I treat the tank again for internal parasites and fungus?   <The game plan I would use here is first, get the Betta out of there, if he's healthy, he doesn't need to be medicated.  Raise the temp in the tank to at least 82F, preferably even up to 86F; be sure to do so slowly.  Next, since it's just the platies, they can tolerate quite a bit of salt in the water, can even be kept permanently in low-brackish conditions.  Get yourself a hydrometer (used for saltwater tanks - the "SeaTest" hydrometer is one of the very few that will read very low specific gravity (salinity, kinda-sorta).  See here:   http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=4952&D=hydrometer&R= 9351&Ntt=hydrometer&Ntk=All&Dx=mode+matchallany&Ntx=mode+matchallany&Np=1&N=2004&Nty=1 .  Next, slowly (like 0.001 or less a day) bring the salinity up to about 1.003 (regular freshwater is 1.000) with marine salt - but watch your pH as you do this, too.  The salt should kill off the ich at this level, and the platies should be fine with it.  Keep it there for a couple weeks, then bring it down again, slowly.  During this time, I would feed with a medicated food as above to try to nail the internal nasties.> How often can I treat them without causing damage?   <It is preferable to get things nailed on the first try - but this requires a proper diagnosis, and a med that will eliminate the illness.  In both of these is the trouble - most fishkeepers don't know how to diagnose what they're looking at in their fish, and so can't be certain to use the right medicine for it.  Prolonged exposure to medicines will cause problems, as you mentioned above - and some fish are more sensitive than others.  Platies, fortunately, are very durable fish, and will hopefully pull through this okay.  It is important to be certain to treat the illness until it's totally gone, which can be hard to do in some cases, like ich, where the protozoa are invisible to the naked eye for much of the lifecycle.  There are a couple of books I'll recommend - "Manual of Fish Health" by Andrews, Excell, and Carrington has *excellent* pictures of illnesses, can really help with figuring out what's wrong, but really seems lacking in descriptions of treatments and medicines.  "Tropical Fishlopaedia" by Bailey and Burgess is phenomenal in descriptions of illnesses, treatments, meds, etc., but *very* lacking in photos; it is also not the greatest book for beginners, more of an intermediate book - but the questions you're asking makes me think this would be a good one for you.  Lots of good info in it.> Anybody ever come across this before?   <Once one illness sets in, it leaves the door open for others; this much is very common.  It's the not knowing "for sure" and treating for too short a time with too many different meds that seems to be the issue here.> I've had fish for years but I've never dealt with anything this tenacious. <Gah!  You've just brought something else to mind.  "Velvet" disease.  This can look somewhat like ich, but usually looks more like a "dust", but the 'puffy' clump on the tail makes me think of this too, now - in heavy infestations, this might explain that appearance.  Fortunately, I can give you a link instead of typing another mile:   http://www.aquarium.net/0597/0597_4.shtml .> thanks! <Whew!  You're welcome!  I do hope this has been useful for you, and if you're very interested in learning about this sort of stuff, start with those two books I mentioned.  I do hope you can properly nail these problems, once and for all!  Good luck to you,  -Sabrina>

Mickey Mouse spots Hi Crew! You rule! <Wow!  Thank you.> I have a red female Mickey Mouse molly who is about 8 months old. <Umm, do you perhaps mean a Mickey mouse platy?  I don't think mollies come with that particular pattern.> The Mickey mouse shaped spot on her tail has been getting blurrier as she grows. When she was young, the spot was much clearer. Is this normal? <Yes, quite.  Many fish gain or change color as they age, it is nothing at all to worry about.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina.>

Tasty Tail Thank you very much for being so helpful with my last question! <You bet!> Unfortunately I now  have a new one.  Last night I discovered one of my platies had had about a third of his tail bitten off. He is my most aggressive fish so I think he probably was harassing my Betta; normally the Betta is very peaceful but there's only so much he can take. Anyway, I'm worried about my poor fish and I wonder what I can do to help him heal? I have already added stress coat and I always keep aquarium salt in the water, although I could probably add more. <Maintain excellent water quality and watch closely for any signs of bacterial infection setting in.  If the fish is in good health and the water is healthy, he'll probably be fine.  Keep an eye on the Betta, as well, and consider separating him from the other fish if he's too aggressive for them.> I usually feed TetraMin flakes and freeze-dried blood worms.  Thanks again for all your help! <Hope your platy has a quick recovery!  -Sabrina>

Platys & Goldfish 11/03/03 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I'm so glad to have found your site and hope that you will help me make a decision.  For the past six years I've maintained a 340 gallon agricultural water tank on my patio, with a population of eleven goldfish.  One fish is about eight inches long (not including his gorgeous fan tail!) and the others are "new" additions (comets) about a year ago and average three to four inches.   Prior, I kept two koi with the goldfish, but within a week, both made jumping exits from the tank.  Sigh...   <Sorry to hear that.  There's no way to cover the tank?> The tank has a large filter and an immense Louisiana iris as a biological filter.   There are calm, "protected" areas around the plant and a vigorous flow from the filter on one side.  I live in south Florida, so I've never used heaters. The tank is set for optimum water conditions/chemistry for the goldfish.  My question is: may I add eight platys to the tank?  I've kept the platys in a tank in a house for eight months and they are healthy.  A family member is moving in, so I can't keep the platy tank in our former guest room. <Most fish are predatory & will eat another fish that will fit into its mouth.  Although goldfish do prefer a great deal of plant food, I think it is up to you, how much the platys really mean to your chancing them being goldfish food.  Larger fish (especially much larger) tend to pick on little ones.> Thank you in advance for your expert advice on whether I should risk the platys with the goldfish.  Best regards, Celestine <Your tank sounds wonderful.  I hoped I helped with your decision--Pufferpunk>

Platy problem? I have just brought 4 platys for my new fish tank consisting of 2 males and 2 females, but what's really puzzling me is that they keep swimming along the top of the surface.  They occasionally swim near to the bottom and then go back up to the surface again. What am I doing wrong?  Please help me! <You mentioned that it's a new tank - has it cycled yet?  How big is the tank?  Have you tested for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?  If you don't have test kits, your local fish store should be willing to test a sample of your water for you.  Did you use a dechlorinator for the water?  Please read the following article, hopefully you'll learn a lot of things to help you:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwtips4beginners.htm Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Re: Sick Platy (RIP) (10/18/03) <Hi Heather, Ananda back at it again...> Just thought I'd let you all know the Platy died tonight.   <Blast it! But dropsy may have been a late-occurring symptom in the progression of the infection....> I did start the Spectrogram today, so I guess I will put my carbon filter back in and do a partial water change tomorrow to get the meds out.   <Actually, I'd wait and let the meds run their course. In that way, you can hopefully "catch" any other existing infections in the tank, just in case the infection had a contagious stage. I just pinged Sabrina and she concurs.> This really sucks! <Yep, it does, and big time. But hang in there!> Thanks for all of your help. Heather <You're more than welcome! Anytime you have questions, holler -- erm, email or post on the boards! --Ananda>

Sick Platy 10/17/03 Thanks Ananda, <Pufferpunk here> One problem with the medicated food, he still is not eating.   <Most animals won't eat when they're sick.> Will the spectrogram kill of my bacteria bed?   <According to Ananda, no.  She's much better at prescribing meds than me.  Keep up w/the water changes> This is so sad to watch.  This is not what I got in to this hobby for.  I hate to see any living thing suffer. <Me either.  I have a feeling those fish are in the best care possible.  I suggest you find a different store to buy your fish from.> Thanks for your help and sympathies. <Good luck!--PP> Heather

Sick Platy? Okay, today my tests showed nitrites at .5ppm and nitrates at 5.0ppm (same as yesterday before the 10%wc).  I will do a 20% wc and add some salt to the new water.  My Platy is still not eating and now he looks kind of bloated. Could he have a secondary intestinal bacterial infection from dead worms he wasn't able to poop out after the Levamisole treatment?  If yes, should I set up a hospital tank and treat him with antibiotics?   <Start feeding your fish veggies.  Spirulina flakes, or better yet, thawed frozen peas.  Just squirt them out of the shell.  No fish food for a while.> On the water change question, I had been doing 20% changes about once a week. Thanks for your help. <You're Welcome--PP> Heather

Sick Platy? Hi Pufferpunk, Yes, this is my first tank (I'll take the "expert" comment as a compliment). <Well deserved!> I did a ton of internet research when my guppies got the fungus, then again with the nematodes.  I forgot to mention that I did add a little salt when the Platy first showed signs of distress (two days ago), about 1tbsp worth. <Good> I did a 10%wc after I tested my water today.   <What were the results of your testing?> The only other odd thing is that the Molly just races around like crazy when I open the lid. <Probably thinks you're going to feed it.> Did I traumatize these guys when I did the 90% wc?   <Depends on how well you have kept up w/weekly water changes.  I change 50% of my water every 7-10 days, so an extra 90% water change wouldn't make much of a difference in water parameters.  On a tank that has been without regular water changes (which is probably not your case) the pH levels in the tank would have been very low.  A 90% water change on a tank like that, would have been a shock to the inhabitants.  In your situation, I probably would have done a 50% water change & ran fresh carbon to remove meds.> I moved them to a well rinsed Rubbermaid container and kept the lid on so it was dark.  They had all the tank decorations in with them.   <I wouldn't have bothered to move the fish.> The guppies seem better than ever. <Good.  Is the platy eating now?  Try some live foods.> Thanks, Heather
Re: Sick Platy? (10/16/03)
<Hi Heather, Ananda here taking this one, since Pufferpunk's probably out for the night...She and I talked about your platy earlier today.> The platy's scales are starting to stick out.  I think he has dropsy... <Yeah, that's dropsy, which is a symptom rather than a disease in and of itself. I think you just might be right about the secondary internal infection. I would treat that with medicated food, if you can find it -- Pepso food contains Nitrofurazone, which could help. You might try Spectrogram for the tank. Do a water change before you start the Spectrogram. I do hope it recovers! --Ananda>
Re: Sick Platy?
Thanks Ananda, <Sure thing...figured that since I'm on the late shift, I'd throw in my two pence so you could get stuff first thing in the morning if you wanted to.> One problem with the medicated food, he still is not eating.   <Crud. Maybe try bouncing some live brine shrimp off his nose?> Will the spectrogram kill of my bacteria bed?   <According to the box, no: "Spectrogram used as directed is safe in the community tank and will not affect biological filter beds." -- from the back of the box.> This is so sad to watch.  This is not what I got in to this hobby for. <Sadly, many of us go through something like this. Know that you are doing all that you can, and more than many relative newbies would...and persevere.> I hate to see any living thing suffer. <Me, too...which is part of why I started helping with emails.> Thanks for your help and sympathies. Heather <You're welcome, good luck, and hang in there! --Ananda>

Sick Platy 10-15-03 Hi, <Hello, Pufferpunk here> I have a 20 gallon tank that has been set up for 5 weeks now.  I started it with 1 black Molly, 1 orange Platy and 2 guppies (all males as far as I can tell). A week and a half ago, in the midst of cycling, my guppies came down with Saprolegnia fungus (white cottony growths all over one and a little on the other).  I treated it by adding aquarium salt, three doses of 1 tsp per gallon 12 hours a part.  As I was treating the guppies I noticed the Molly had it in on spot also.  After two days all the fungus was gone and I did a 20% water change to start to remove the salt (I have a few live plants). Then I noticed tiny red fibers protruding from the anus of the Guppies. After much research I suspected they had nematodes and treated with Levamisole Hydrochloride (crushed pill form diluted in tank water and poured in the tank).  After 24 hours I did a 90% water change to get rid of any nematode cysts in the gravel and to clean up the yellow mess the pills made in my tank.  My tank looks good again and the nematodes are either gone or in remission but now my Platy, who seemed fine and unaffected by the fungus and nematodes, is now not eating and not very active.  He has not eaten in about a day and a half.   <I just have to ask... is this your 1st tank?  I ask that, because most newbies start out with a smallish (20g) tank & platies, mollies or guppies.  If it is, you have certainly done some major research.  You are treating your fish like an expert.> Ammonia has not shown up at all since the wc, nitrites today are at .5 ppm and nitrates are at 5.0ppm (there highest since the wc). <Although the nitrites are low, 0 is preferred & could be the cause of your problem.> Do you have any ideas what could be wrong with my Platy? <I would add salt back to your tank.  Livebearers like some salt.  1 tbsp/5gal should be good.  It shouldn't harm the plants. Are you sure you don't notice anything else off about the fish?> Thanks for any help you can give, Heather <HTH, Pufferpunk>

Platy problem? Hi, <'ello!> I have a 20 gallon tank that has been set up for 5 weeks now.  I started it with 1 black Molly, 1 orange Platy and 2 guppies (all males as far as I can tell). A week and a half ago, in the midst of cycling, my guppies came down with Saprolegnia fungus (white cottony growths all over one and a little on the other).  I treated it by adding aquarium salt, three doses of 1 tsp per gallon 12 hours a part.  As I was treating the guppies I noticed the Molly had it in on spot also.  After two days all the fungus was gone and I did a 20% water change to start to remove the salt (I have a few live plants). <Yes....  That much salt (quite a lot!) is certainly very harmful to the plants - but your molly, guppies, and platy will adore it.  Look into plants such as java moss, java fern, Anubias sp., Vallisneria sp., and Sagittaria sp., which are salt-tolerant, and you can jump into the world of low-brackish aquaria!  More on brackish plants here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/bracplants.htm > Then I noticed tiny red fibers protruding from the anus of the Guppies. After much research I suspected they had nematodes <Camallanus sp. - these nasties can sometimes be traced back to certain live foods....> and treated with Levamisole Hydrochloride (crushed pill form diluted in tank water and poured in the tank).   <Using this med (or Piperazine) in food is more effective....  I'd recommend Aquatronics' Discomed or, if you can find it, Aquatronics' Dewormex - you may see these worms again; I don't think one dose in the water would nail it.  Keep your eyes open.> After 24 hours I did a 90% water change to get rid of any nematode cysts in the gravel and to clean up the yellow mess the pills made in my tank.  My tank looks good again and the nematodes are either gone or in remission but now my Platy, who seemed fine and unaffected by the fungus and nematodes, is now not eating and not very active.  He has not eaten in about a day and a half.  Ammonia has not shown up at all since the wc, nitrites today are at .5 ppm and nitrates are at 5.0ppm (there highest since the wc). Do you have any ideas what could be wrong with my Platy? <Get those nitrites to zero!  Beyond that, I'd guess the major change in salinity from the 90% water change is probably hitting him pretty hard.  Also, did you match temperature and pH when you did this massive water change?  At this point, don't change anything (er, except do water changes to get the 'trites down).  Let the platy (and your other fish) settle in with how the water is now, and be sure that any changes that you make are very gradual.  Keep an eye out for the wormies, if they show again, hit 'em with medicated food (this will prevent medicating the tank and killing your bacteria off).  Mostly, this sounds like a 'wait-n-see' sort of thing, until you can know for certain if there's a problem that you can fix.> Thanks for any help you can give, Heather <You bet!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Pregnant platy Hi Crew, <Hi, Melanie, Sabrina here today> I have an Eclipse System 12 tank with two mollies, two platies, and one male Betta. They all get along fine and the Betta even "schools" with the other fish. My problem is this: my female platy seemed very fat about three weeks ago, but without a gravid spot that I could see. Then she gradually became less fat but without my seeing any fry. (This was before I got the Betta, or I would have suspected him of eating them.) <Well, especially if the tank is well planted, it could very well be that there *are* fry that you're just not seeing yet.  If there're spots to hide....  Also, most adult livebearers will eat their young, so it's also possible that everyone chowed down on 'em before you got a chance to see 'em.> Now she is even fatter than before, rather suddenly, but I still can't see any gravid spot. Is this just some sort of normal cycle for platys, or do you think she was pregnant but aborted the pregnancy and is pregnant AGAIN now, or what?   <Could be that she's pregnant.  Platies are quite prolific, that way.  But there's also the possibility of constipation, though I'd think it likelier that she' pregnant.  Keep an eye on her, see how she's doing.> Also, if my platy is indeed pregnant, do I need to do anything special for her? Would it be better to take the Betta out and let the platy birth her babies in the main tank, <The Betta's no more of an issue than the adult livebearers, really; fry will be consumed no matter how it works out, if they're in the main tank.> or to take the platy out and let her birth in a smaller tank by herself, or put the platy in a breeding net? <Either of these are do-able.  Do keep in mind that the mother fish will eat the young, as well.  Also, start figuring out what you want to *do* with all those babies.  It might be best to leave the mother fish to have them in the main tank, and those that survive, well, lucky them, and maybe you'd have room to keep 'em.> The main tank is heavily planted, <Definitely improves their chances of surviving to an un-eatable size.> I change about 20% of the water each week, the temperature stays at 80 degrees, and I feed crushed flakes and bloodworms.  Thanks very much, --Melanie <All sounds great, and even leaving her in the main tank, I bet you have a few survivors.  Hope all goes well,  -Sabrina>

Pregnant platy... <Hi! Ananda here tonight> This past weekend I purchased a female platy I thought was pregnant.  Last night her stomach no longer looked as big and the black gravid spot was barely noticeable.   <Sounds like she dropped the fry....> I have not seen any fry and I have added places for them to hide.   <When did you add the hiding places? Is it possible that they're hiding so well that you can't see them?> Could it be that she aborted the pregnancy due to stress from changing environments?   <Possibly.> How does this happen and what happens to the fry inside her?   <At that point in the pregnancy, if that's what happened, they were born before they were viable. They would have become fish food.> She seems to be acting normal in every other way.  FYI - I have had my 20 gallon tank for almost two years and regularly change the water and check for any changes in it.  Everything seems to be fine.   <Keep an eye on the tank... the fry may yet appear. On the other hand, the female will be pregnant again.> I have three bottom feeding Corys, six neon tetras and three female platies and one male platy. <A 20 gallon tank is too small to keep that many fish *and* the many fry the female platies will give you... do you have a plan for dealing with all those fry?> Thanks for any help you can provide. Jeff Hilzinger <You're welcome! --Ananda>
Re: Pregnant platy (10/10/03)
Thanks again. <No problem!> The pH has been very steady never moving out of the 7.0-7.2 range.  Should I reconsider what I keep in the tank with the Platies?  Is there another bottom feeding fish that likes a higher pH?  Jeff <That pH is at the low end of what the platies prefer, at the high end for the Corys...both should be fine in that pH. I'd stick with what you have. --Ananda>
Re: Pregnant platy
Thanks Ananda, I appreciate your comments.   <You're welcome!> I have been floating breeding grass at the top of the tank and there are also several plants at the bottom. <Sounds good> I had a platy drop some fry last December and they seemed to enjoy hiding out in the breeding grass so that's why I am using it. I have looked very close and I doubt they are hiding so well I cannot see them. <Probably predation, then, by the other fish.> I agree the tank is too small if I have lots of fry. Since I have been keeping platies for almost two years now and only had fry appear once, I had honestly not given it a lot of thought, my mistake. <No worries if you are willing to learn...> Is there something else I should be checking on the water quality since I have not had much luck with my Platies reproducing? <What pH are you running at? Platies and other livebearers tend to prefer a higher/alkaline pH, while the tetras and Corys prefer a lower/acidic pH.> Thanks Jeff <good luck with those livebearers... --Ananda>

Hiding Platy Hi there, <Hi! Ananda here today...> I have three platies. I'm not sure exactly what they're called, but they're gold with red fins and black edges on the upper and lower parts of the tail (comets?). <I've heard that color morph called a "gold wag" platy... not that I can fathom how they come up with "wag" as a descriptor!!> Two are male and one is female. <Um. You want to reverse that ratio... pair o' females per male is the usual.> The female has been hiding for about three days. I know she's alive, but she rarely comes out even to eat. I don't think she's pregnant or sick. Her belly is not "bloated" and she doesn't appear to have velvet or ich...From researching other questions posted on your website, it appears she may be stressed from being chased. <Yup, that's the most likely possibility... most fish have about three thoughts in their head when it comes to other fish: "Can it eat me?", "Can I eat it?", and "Can I mate with it?" But when it comes to male livebearers, I think the order is reversed!> Is there anything I can do for her? Should I buy one or two more females? <A pair of females, IF you have the tank space... how big is the tank, and what else is in the tank?> I am a novice at this hobby, so I appreciate any advice you can give me. Thank you! <You're quite welcome, and do check out the freshwater forums on the WetWeb chat forums: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk ... Ananda>

Hiding Platy Hi Ananda, <The insomniac is back...> Thank you very much! I bought four more platies yesterday (3 female, 1 male). I now have 4 females and 2 males. The hiding female came out within minutes after her new friends were added to the tank. Nobody appears to be stressed now! <Glad to hear it. Next time you get fish, though, do please consider quarantining the new arrivals for at least two or three weeks first, to make sure they won't bring any nasties to your tank....I shall cross my fingers that your new platies are healthy.> Thank you so much for your help. <You're quite welcome. --Ananda>
Re: Hiding Platy
Hi again! <Hi! Ananda back at it again...> Like I said, I am a novice! <As we all have been, and sometimes still are!> I've been told to do the following to prepare them for my tank...Let me know if I shouldn't do this. So, far we've had pretty good luck. Out of 32 fish, 4 have passed. At that time, the PH was very low, temperature was only about 72, and the ammonia was high. That was about a month ago...The conditions have improved since then. Now, the PH is about 6.9, temperature is 80 and ammonia is undetectable... <That pH is a little lower than I'd like for livebearers, but they should be okay... just make sure it stays steady.> Anyway, this is what we were told - -Put the plastic bag in our tank for about 15 minutes to allow the temperature to adjust -Then, put the fish in a bowl and add 1/4 cup of water from our tank every 15 minutes for an hour <So far so good... I tend to add more water a little more frequently if I know the store's water parameters are a close match to my own.> -Then, add the fish to our tank <I would prefer "Then, add the fish to the quarantine tank"!> We're not able to quarantine them for 2 or 3 weeks right now, because we don't have another tank. We will consider getting one though. Especially because we just had an ICK incident with one of our Sailfin mollies. She's okay now. But it would have been better to put her in a hospital tank. Lesson learned! <A quarantine tank doesn't need to be a tank, per se...many people have successfully used Rubbermaid or Sterilite containers.> Thanks again...I'll stop bothering you now! <Come bother us on the freshwater forums of the WetWeb chat forums! http://wetwebfotos.com/talk > You've been very helpful!! <Thanks, and you're welcome! --Ananda>

Platies I recently bought a few platies and I was wondering how you tell the difference between the male and females. <normally the males are more colorful and have larger more attractive fins. the females are more drab in their coloration and have short fins. IanB> thanks <<Mmm, and as livebearing toothed carps with internal fertilization, the males have modified anal fins (the one underneath their bodies, behind the "belly"). On males these are tube-shaped and on females they're fan-shaped in profile. RMF>>

Floating Platy Hope you can help... <Sabrina here, to try to do so....> I have a female Platy that has been giving birth this past summer like a fiend. <I'm trying to envision 'fiendish' birthing, right now.... ;) > After this last batch she developed a fungus which I treated with "Jungle Fungus Clear". I've had the water tested - Everything good with the exception of a slightly low ph. I changed out water and have a good reading now. <Okay> All the white cottony splotches are gone but she's still not looking good. Her nose seems to be cocked to one side and she isn't swimming properly. It's like she has a life-preserver in her tail and can't keep herself level in the water. <Ah.  This sounds very much like a dysfunction of the swim bladder, either injury or infection of the swim bladder.  The bad news is that there's not a whole lot you can do about it.  The good news is that if the condition is not really impeding her, and especially since she's floating instead of sinking (so she's at the top, where food is), she may do alright if she's still eating.  Though, it'd be in her best interest not to have any males in with her trying to breed.  If she is having a difficult time, it may be best to euthanize her.  Give it a couple days, and see how she's doing, go from there.> Fry, male Platy, 3 Neons and snails all doing great.  What do you think? Appreciate your time. Kim Marsh <I'm sorry I don't have a better answer for you; I do wish you and your platy well.  -Sabrina> S
ick platy - part 2
When the red wag platy was in the 10 gallon tank doing the tail-swooshing thing she would keep her fins clamped.  When I put her in the 1 1/2 gallon tank, she would swim beautifully, with all fins spread open.  She does not look pale or discolored.  Her breathing does not look labored.   <Okay> The water has been stable at a pH between 7.0 and 7.2. <Great> I use bottled Spring water.  I do not use a dechlorinator. <Hmm.... this could be a problem; do you add anything back to the water?  The purification processes to make drinking water (reverse osmosis, deionization) leave you with pretty much just water, and none of the minerals etc. that the fish do need.  I would recommend either using treated tapwater instead, or to use a supplement for reverse osmosis water use in fish tanks that will replace minerals and such.  I believe Kent makes a product for this purpose for use in freshwater tanks.> The tanks have the same temperature. <Again, good.> The Ph is the 10g is 7.0 whereas the ph in the 1.5 g is 7.1.  They are real close. <Yeah, not a problem.> The male had nipped her back fins.  It's missing even more of the back tail fin.   <Could be that she's having issues with the injury/injuries....  if the fin(s) aren't healing well, I'd recommend using Kanamycin Sulfate (proprietary name "Kanacyn" to help her heal her damaged fins and prevent any secondary bacterial or fungal infection from setting in.> It has been two weeks since introducing the male.  But she is not large and the black tell all circle has appeared yet. <Okay, so I'm assuming that pregnancy's out.  Do add some salt to her tank if you haven't already, and if it were me, I'd try the Kanacyn.  -Sabrina>

Sick platy - part 4 I am on well water (not city water).  Which do you recommend - treating my tapwater or the supplement and keep using the bottled spring water? <Ah.  Well, some well water is absolutely the most wonderful stuff for fish tanks, and doesn't need to be dechlorinated - but some well water is the worst stuff in the world, and would wipe out the tank.  Some well water would leave you looking at an algae tank with fish in it.  Some well water is seasonal; could be great in the summer, awful in the winter.  Probably best to stick with the bottled water and use a supplement designed for use with Reverse Osmosis water.> Four days ago, I added the salt and treated the water with Fungus clear.  I did a water change this morning and treated again with the fungus clear.   She is still hanging in there... . .  She is not eating.  I don't know how much longer she will be able to make it, if she doesn't start eating. <Try stimulating her appetite with live brine shrimp, or try soaking her food in garlic extract; it may entice her to eat.> I will find the Kanamycin, today.  Lisa S. <I wish you the best of luck, and have my fingers crossed for her.  -Sabrina>

Red wag platy - Sick?  Pregnant?  What? I think my red wag platy might be dying. <Yikes.> I have had the red wag platy for about two months.  She has always been a "hider".   <That much right there suggests problems.  Platies are usually quite active fish, not usually shy or hiding, when in good health.> She was in a 10 galloon tank with 6 Baby female guppies.  I thought if I got her another platy she would come out more.  I got a sunrise (? ? ?) platy for her.  They got along great for a day or two.  Then the sunrise started picking on - chasing her, nipping her tail, chasing her away from the food.  The sunrise started chasing my guppies away.  So, after having the sunrise 6 days I took him to a pet store and got another platy - Mickey mouse.  Yes, I said him. I thought the sunrise was a her when I got him.  However, the pet store said it was a him.  I brought the  Mickey mouse home.  The new one is smaller than my platy.  The new one is "For Sure" a female.  IMMEDIATELY, my red wag platy starts this weird backwards tail swooshing thing that pushes all the other fishes away.  I thought she just might of been stressed from dealing with the male for 5 days.  So, I put her in my 1 1/2 gallon tank.  She calmed down and was happily swimming.  I left her there for a day.  Then I tried to reintroduce her to the ten gallon tank.  After another day, she was still doing that backwards butt swooshing thing anytime something came near her.   <Although I've not kept platies in a long time, I don't recall this tail-swooshing/aggression thing.  I can certainly understand her chasing other fish away, though, after being harassed by the male.  Can you give us any more details?  Fins clamped?  Labored breathing?  Discoloration or paleness?> I thought she might of been hormonal and pregnant.  So, she has been back in the 1 1/2 gallon tank for three - four days.  Last night, I notice that she is not swimming.  She is just hanging out on the rocks.  I have tested my water.  The PH is 7.0 - 7.2.   <Stable at somewhere in that range, or fluctuating between 7.0 and 7.2?> There is zero ammonia and nitrites.  There is no fungus on her - no ick, no cotton mouth, etc.  I don't know what to do.  Please help, she is the very first fish that we got when we set the tanks up two months ago. <Well, it is possible that she's sick.  Do you treat your tapwater with a dechlorinator?  Is the temperature the same in both tanks, and if not, did you properly acclimate her?  Is the pH in the 10g different than the pH in the 1.5g?  Again, do you see clamped fins or anything else whatsoever out of the ordinary?  Another possibility is that perhaps she is, in fact, pregnant; livebearers will often hang out near the gravel when giving birth.  Is her belly very, very rounded?  I'm doubting that she's pregnant, as it seems to me that it's only been what, a week, since she was first introduced to the male?  That's not long enough for her to be heavily pregnant right now.  Let's assume there's something wrong at this point.  If she's the only fish in the 1.5g, add some aquarium salt to her tank (the kind geared for freshwater tanks; can be found at chain-type pet stores even).  Add one teaspoon of the salt to a cup of water from her tank, then slowly pour the cup of salty water back into her tank.  You may wish to add another teaspoon the next day, as well.  Please remember with salt that when the water evaporates, the salt stays in the tank, so if you only top off the tank (just adding water, not changing), do not add salt.  If you *change* water, only add enough salt to compensate for the water that you removed/replaced.  Hopefully the salt will help her a bit. Lisa S. <Please do let us know if you see any other symptoms.  Keep us updated, and good luck, Lisa.  -Sabrina>

Pregnant Platy Questions (08/18/03) Hi! <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have a 37G aquarium with 8 female and 2 male platys (small), 1 neon  tetra, 1 male beta, and 1 keyhole cichlid. I know that a couple of my platys were pregnant, since I see the gravid spot. Yesterday, I cleaned the tank AND did a good gravel-vac since we have impending births.  Last night, I saw a baby, then it disappeared. <Your cichlid probably enjoyed a "snack". Don't blame him -- with that many female platies, you may come to appreciate his "snacking"....> Trouble is, the platys that I know are pregnant, are still pregnant. <And can be, even six months after having no males around...> Questions abound: 1. If platy "A" starts having babies, when does she stop? How long does it typically take from start to finish? <That depends partly on the age of the platy: the older the fish, the more fry it will tend to have in a batch. But probably no longer than a day or two.> (Since I saw the baby, the fattest platy has been moved into a 20G tank for rest and relaxation while we wait) <Definitely less stressful for her, though better if you can move her a day before she has fry. And let her rest there for a couple of days after she's done having fry.> 2. I read where people say that they can see the babies eyes, inside their platys bellies.. is this JUST the gravid spot, or are they actually seeing eyes?? <In a way, yes to both. The gravid spot is dark because it's the eyes of the fry all concentrated in one area.> (My fattest platy is a dawn platy, very light colored, and though I can clearly see a VERY large gravid spot, I sure don't see any eyes.) <You won't see the eyes individually until after the fry are born.> thanks a ton!  Whoo <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Platy love My sister and I currently have two gold Mickey mouse platys in our 20 gallon tank (been cycling for almost a week) . <Have you been testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate during the cycle?  Sounds great so far> We've had them for about a week now and so far they've been doing fine. Recently however, the male has been constantly chasing the female around the tank and nipping her tail. <Ahh.  He's in love!> Why does he keep on doing this and what can be done to prevent it? <Well, he's doing this because, well, she's a girl and he's a guy - male livebearers almost constantly harass the females, trying to mate.  Chances are, you'll have a pregnant female platy soon!  Please do consider getting another female or two for him to chase around, so no one female is getting harassed too much.> Also, we've been thinking about getting more fish, Danios, some Kuhli loaches, and Hatchetfish. <If you get Danios, stay away from 'giant Danios' because they grow too large for a 20g.  I find the long finned zebra Danios very beautiful.  A trio is the minimum on these fish, as they like to school.  Also, keep an eye on them in case they decide to nip the fins of your other fish.  Kuhli loaches are one of my favorite fish - so much fun!  Again, they like to school.  They also are escape artists, so make sure you have a cover on your tank.  As for the Hatchetfish (another schooler), well, they can be pretty sensitive, so you may want to wait on them for a few months to let your tank mature.  They're another gorgeous, interesting fish.> We've read that adding salt is good for the fish, is this is true for all fish, and if it is how much do we use? <This is true of many fish, but not all.  All of the fish you've mentioned will benefit from it to some degree.  I use one tablespoon of aquarium salt per ten gallons of water.  Some people like to use one tablespoon per five gallons.> Thanks so much for your time! <Sure thing! -Sabrina>

Aggressive Red Mickey Mouse Platy Dear Crew, <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I am new to the aquarium hobby and have purchased a 20 gallon tank start up kit from the local pet store. I have an assortment of platies in this tank that include a neon orange Mickey mouse platy, a sunset wag platy, a blue Mickey mouse platy ( all platies listed before hand are females) and a male red Mickey mouse platy. I have had all these platies for about two months now and have had two sets of fry, from the neon Mickey mouse and the sunset wag, and am working on the next set. They all got along together in the beginning and now, after the sunset wag dropped her fry, the male red Mickey mouse platy will chase her all around the tank nipping at her tail. <"Flirting", tough-fish style, possibly. Male livebearers have two things on their little fishy minds: food and making more livebearers.> She hides in the plants that I have in the tank and clamps her fins close to her body all the time. She has also lost a lot of weight and almost looks sick. <Stress from being chased.> The male platy will leave all the other platies alone. Is there something about having a wag platy in with a male Mickey mouse platy that is wrong? I thought that platies were supposed to get along with each other. <Generally, yes. It sounds like this fish has more of a one-track mind than most.> Please help!!!   Jim Hooper <The next time one of your females drops a bunch of fry, you might isolate her for a few days so she can recover her strength away from the Mickey Monster Mouse platy. Then when she goes back into the main tank, isolate the male in question and rearrange the tank so he won't feel quite so territorial about everything. --Ananda>

Platy Poop <Morning! Ryan with you> I have a group of about 15 baby Platies in a separate tank. Although I have heard that it is best not to overfeed your fish, I still think that I feed them considerably well. However, I have noticed that several of them often have neon green turds, which is the color of my aquarium rocks. Can you tell me why they are eating the paint off of the gravel in addition to their food, and is it harmful? They seem perfectly fine to me, but somehow it doesn't seem right. <I don't think they're intentionally eating the paint, they're probably nibbling algae from the rocks, and getting it inadvertently.  This can't be healthy, and could cause some serious internal problems with your Platies.  Or, they could be fine- But I would play it safe- get a substrate that's more natural.  Gravel or small stones will be aesthetically pleasing and provide a natural setting for your fish.  Good luck! Ryan> Thanks, Natasha

Pounds of platys First time to write y'all. <And the first time we'll answer! Ryan today> We inherited a few platys from a friend of ours three months ago to help stock our new 28-gal. tank and have been gradually adding other fish to fill out the tank.  Last month we had a rash of baby platy fry (around 8) suddenly appear and everyone's pretty happy right now. <Sounds like you've done a good job thus far.>  However, I'm beginning to become concerned about overcrowding in the tank as it is relatively small and we are not going to upgrade any time soon. <Very smart.  Thinking ahead will certainly have benefits.>  I'm afraid that if we have more fry appear and grow to maturity our tank will soon be overwhelmed with platy. I'm curious if there are ways to keep population down without having to "give away" or kill the young fish, or separate the male and female adult platys. <What else have you added to the tank?  There are thousands of fishes that would eat this fry.> Alternatively, are there predator fish that may be able to limit the number of fry that reach adulthood to set up a balanced ecosystem without fear of overcrowding? <Limit? Not likely.  Skip the predators, and put your platy in a breeding trap when it's ready to bear young. This way, you can limit how many enter your display tank.  Then take the remaining platies to your local LFS for some hard earned store credit!> Thanks, Leroy <You're welcome-Ryan>

Pregnant Platy I have a Mickey Mouse Platy, a Sunset Fire Platy and two Tequila Sunrise Guppies in a 10 gallon tank, and also I have a mini crab.  I started with the Mickey Mouse Platy and two other platies. One of the platies died, I got two glass fish which one of the platies kept biting at, so I got rid of that platy, the two glass fish died because they were painted, so I got the Sunset Fire Platy and the Guppies about a week ago.  The guppies seem to be trying to mate with the Mickey Mouse platy, who I am told is the only female in the tank.  The other platy doesn't seem to take much interest in her when I'm looking, at least.  I noticed this morning that she seems to be pregnant, her belly is very large and hangs down.  Is it possible that she has been impregnated by the guppies?   <Nope, she was probably already pregnant when you got her and you just couldn't tell it yet.> Also, when I noticed that she may be pregnant, I moved her into a medium sized cricket-keeper with a little bit of rock and I put an artificial plant in there with her.  Is this a good place for her to be right now?   <Not unless there's a filter in there.> Should I just buy some real plants and put it in the 10 gallon tank?  Would the fry be safe with the crab if I put more live plants in the tank?  Thanks. <You'll lose some fry to other fish and the crab but the mommy and the babies will still be much better off with lots of plants in the main tank. Ronni>

Pregnant Platy <Hello! Ryan here with you> Hi.. I've got a question regarding my recently purchased female platy of some sort, could be a Mickey mouse platy. <Not familiar with that common name- I assume this is Xiphophorus maculatus, or Southern Platyfish> She just gave birth to 2 babies about 2 days ago. But she has stop delivering, and I could still see the black spot (gravid spot?) on her. Is this normal? <To an extent> Is there anything I could do to encourage her to release the babies? I have placed her, a few days prior to her giving birth, in a breeding trap (DIY) <Very good.  Breeding trap highly recommended for platys> with lots of plants in it, placed in the same aquarium she was in before. And feeding her with a mix of live blood worms and dried Tubifex worms. <Just give it time-it's all instincts at this point.  You've done all you can.  Make sure you keep that water temperature constant!  Your fish is in a vulnerable stage.  Lots of great info on breeding these guys all over the WWW.>  Thank you in advance.. Cheers, Syl <Cheers! Ryan>

Red Wag Platy Fry I recently bought a fish nursery and placed it in the 55 gallon tank.  I then took the fattest female red wag platy and within 2 hours she let loose about 30 fry.  The nursery was designed with a vent that allowed the fry to drop to the bottom and be transported to another container thru the use of a venturi.  I now have 30 fry in the small container. <Congrats!> I guess my question is should I transfer the fry to a larger square net pen that I have or let then hang out in the smaller plastic for a while?  I have already fed then some finely crushed fry food that I have. <Whichever you prefer here. There are really no advantages to either one.> Also, some are more active than others.  Right now, they all seem to be resting on the bottom of the plastic enclosure.  The larger fish are hanging around the enclosure because some of the fry food is leaving the enclosure thru the circulating vents. <This is normal with fry. My guppy fry do this all the time.> I presently have the return from the wet/dry filter and a powerhead which together move a lot of water thru the 55 gallon tank.  Is this a benefit or detriment to the new fry?  They are protected in the plastic enclosure from the large water movement but make be jostled more in the larger fish net pen.  Any helpful hints? <It could be a detriment as they'll wear themselves out if they're constantly fighting the current.> I also have a 10 gallon tank in which I have 6 new black mollies and 3 Bala sharks.  They were purchased over the 3 weeks.  Should I move them to the larger tank and move the fry to the 10 gallon to mature? The 10 gallon tank has only been set up since the last week in February.  Is it capable of supporting fry?   It has a Whisper 30 filter, heater (set at 78) and air stone.  There are a few plastic plants in there also. <This would be the best option. Especially since the 10g is currently overcrowded. Make sure all of the water parameters are the same (0 ammonia/nitrites, same temp, etc) and then move the Mollies and Balas into the 55 and the fry into the 10. Everyone will be much happier and the fry will be safer.> Any suggestions to help the fry survive would be much appreciated. Kevin, NY <Hope this helps. Ronni>

Platy Gestation Period Hi Bob, <Ronni here today.> I think that one of my Platies is pregnant.   <They always are.> How long is the gestation period?   <About 4 weeks> Do I have to separate the female from all of the other fish, until she has them?   <This depends on how much cover there is for the fry to hide in and also how many of the fry you want to live. Platies breed constantly so they will rapidly overcrowd a tank if there is lots of cover for the fry to hide in until they're big enough not to get eaten.> I have a 14 gallon tank, 3 platies, 6 neon tetras, and 3 red velvet swordfish.  I also have some artificial plants in the tank. <You probably don't want too many of them to make it because you're already at the maximum load for this tank.> I have only had my tank set up for 5 weeks. I am rather new at owning fish, and would welcome a little guidance. Do some research at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm for lots of info about Platies.> Thanks, Alice <You're welcome! Ronni>

Baby Platy Hi, I have a tropical tank with 6 platys, 3 zebra Danios and some panda Corys. Recently I spotted a baby fish (almost definitely a platy) <I agree> and so I rescued it and put it in a breeding trap, where it's been for a couple of days. I have been feeding it 3 times a day on crushed flake (same as parents) and Liquifry. Is this OK? <This is very good. Do keep an eye on your water quality as the Liquifry does tend to foul rapidly but it's an excellent food.> There have been no other signs of babies in the tank. When can I move my little fish to the main tank???? <When it is big enough to not fit into the mouths of any of the other fish. Try to provide it with some plants to hide in when you do release it. This will give it a place to escape the other fish who will most likely still chase it some.> Also, will I be able to keep Glowlight Tetras with my tank? <They shouldn't be a problem as long as your tank is big enough to handle the fish load. Ronni>

Red Mickey mouse platy I have had my fish for a week, this morning he was fine and swimming around, but this afternoon he was dead. <<Ack! I'm sorry!>> I noticed that the top of the air tube in the tank is a yellowish color.  I also noticed when I was draining the tank and drying the stone that it left some red and green marks on the paper towel.  What could this be from?  My stone is black.  Could that have anything to do with his death. <<I'm not positive but it could possibly be that you got a bad batch of rock and it has leached dye into your water. Once in a while a batch of rock doesn't get sealed properly (this seems to happen more in the winter) and as the dyes leach into the water it can rapidly kill your fish. To test this, place a handful of the rock in a white container and cover it with warm water. Stir it occasionally for at least a couple of hours and see if the water changes color. If it does, then that is your problem. If not then it was caused by something else but without more info (water quality, etc) I couldn't guess what. If you do determine that it was your rocks, take the rocks back to where you bought them  and let them know of the problem and the date you bought them. This way they can figure out what other rock came in that shipment and hopefully eliminate others from having this same problem.>> How do I clean my aquarium, so I can prepare it for another fish? <<If you determine that it was not your rocks that caused the problem, boil your rocks and decorations and clean your tank out with vinegar before rinsing it *thoroughly* with hot water.>> Thanks Rena <<You're welcome and good luck. Ronni>>

Do my platies have velvet? Hi there!  Let me start by saying that I absolutely love your website.  I am a novice and have spent many hours reading all your information. <<Thank you! I still spend hours reading the site myself. Every time I think I've read it all I find more pages that I haven't read!>> This is my first aquarium and it has been up and running one month.  I wrote to you about 3 weeks ago concerning an overly aggressive red Mickey Mouse platy.  I followed your advice and removed one of the males and bought another 2 females.  Things were going quite smoothly.  My PH is 7.4, ammonia level is 0, and temperature is 75 degrees. <<Very good>> Yesterday I noticed that one of my females has a swollen belly and seems to be either resting on the bottom of the tank, or hiding inside a skull.  I thought she may be pregnant.   <<Oops, not so good. This definitely isn't a typical symptom of pregnancy>> Today I noticed that my other platies (including the male) were sitting on the bottom of the tank or sitting in my plastic plants up against the side of the aquarium.  The male has a whitish fuzzy coating on his tail and sides.  The females don't look as bad but appear to be starting to go in the same direction as the male.  I've searched your website and think it may be velvet.  I don't think it's ich because it doesn't appear to be pin sized spots.  Does this sound like velvet?   <<Yes, it does sound like velvet>> When it's feeding time, they all seem to come to life and are very eager to eat.  I also have 1 glass fish that still appears to be healthy.  If this is velvet, how should I treat it?   I only have the one aquarium available.  Is it safe to put Rid Ich Treatment (made by Kordon) into the tank? <<I would recommend against treating the entire tank but since you don't have another one available you will probably have to. I wouldn't use the Rid Ich though, there are treatments on the market made especially for velvet. Mardel makes one of my favorites but I can't remember the name. Your LFS should have them though and the boxes all say what they treat. Fungus Eliminator (or Fungus Guard) is another one I've been very successful with. It is made by Jungle.>> If my glass fish isn't sick, will this medication make it sick?  Is it a matter of time until he becomes infected with whatever is ailing the platies?   <<Possibly. I've seen fish live in the same tank and not get it. This is where the QT tank would come in handy, that way you could leave the glass fish in the main tank and treat just the ones with the disease. The glass fish can always be treated later if he does develop symptoms.>> If the worst thing happens and all my fish die, how should I rid my aquarium of this problem?  Is letting it run empty for a month with the filter running the best solution or should I bleach everything?  PLEASE HELP!!!!!! <<If you treat with one of the above mentioned products you shouldn't lose all of your fish.>> Signed Desperate First Timer <<Cheer up, we've all had bouts with velvet, ich, and many others and the best thing to do is not panic and treat to the best of your abilities. :o) Ronni>>

Red Mickey mouse platy I just purchased a red Mickey mouse platy, and I have a 3 gal. aquarium.  I was wondering how many platies can I have in my 3 gal. aquarium. <<Basic rule of thumb for freshwater is 1 inch of fish per 1-1.5 gallons of water. The 1 inch should be based on the adult size of the fish, not necessarily on the size it is when you buy it. This rule changes depending on the nature of your fish but will work as-is for Platies. Platies reach an adult size of approx 2 inches, so going with that, I would put no more than 2 in your 3g tank. You may want to also make sure that you get two of the same sex as Platies do tend to breed quite easily and while the parents will eat most of the babies it's still possible for your tank to get overrun. Ronni>>

Aggressive Red Mickey Mouse Platy Hi there!  This is my first try with tropical fish.  I bought a Red Mickey Mouse Platy, a Marble Molly and a Glass fish.  After 3 days, the molly died (it didn't appear to be eating anything).  I went back to the pet store and was told both the mollies and platys need to school (why couldn't they have told me that when I bought them, after I told them I was a novice?).  So, I bought another 2 platys.  The two (I think they are the males) began chasing and victimizing the female. <Better to have just one male, and two or more females. The males have a gonopodium, a modified anal fin (up under the belly) that is pointed looking, serves as an intromittent organ. Trade one of the males in for another female> She started hiding to try to get away from them.  She died yesterday.  Today, one of the platys appears to be doing the same thing to the other one.  My question is, WHAT is going on?  I thought they were supposed to be a peaceful fish .  I don't know if I have an overly aggressive male.  I don't know what to do with them.  Should I take out the aggressive one? <I would trade it in for a female> Will he start attacking the Glass Fish?  What kinds of fish can I put in my 10 gallon aquarium that will survive my nasty Platy?  If you could give me any advice I would deeply appreciate it. Thank you.   Laura <Please read through the freshwater livestock coverage here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm I would try some of the smaller Danios, Rasboras, Barbs. Bob Fenner>

Platy Problem? <Ananda here, answering the freshwater fish questions> I have two pregnant females, now... what I am wondering is, HOW long can I keep them in the trap for bearing the fry?  Are they going to get overly stressed out in there? <They might. I dislike the use of traps for pregnant livebearers. It's better if you move the expectant mom into a different tank that has a single layer of glass marbles for substrate and some floating grassy plant material (fake stuff is fine -- I've used plastic "wheat grass" with success). That way the fry can hide from the mother and the mother is much less stressed, since she has swimming space and is not subject to the always-amorous males.> I can see the little eyes of the fry in there tummies... how long does it take for them to actually HAVE the babies? <Depending on the age of the female -- older females have more fry -- from an hour to a day or more. This is true of most livebearers. For example, one of my smaller female mollies had 10 fry last week...and yesterday one of the bigger/older ones had 38!> Thanks.... Oh... and if this gets answered WHERE do I look to find the answers? LOL <In your email account's inbox, and on http://wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs.htm until it gets moved to the one of the site FAQ pages (probably here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyfaqs.htm).> Thx... <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Platy Problem? <Ananda here, answering the freshwater fish questions.> Thanks for the answers, It seems wherever I look on line, no one knows...lol I don't have another tank I can actually move these two pregnant platys into... that is what I bought the breeding trap. And I really don't want to leave them in there day and night, even their males they have paired off with were bugging them thru the plexi glass sides :-( I guess I want to know how long can I actually keep them in the breeding trap? I really don't want to over stress them, but I would like them to have babies... and it really isn't feasible to keep them swimming free in the tank... I have about 9 large Australian rainbows and two other male platys, and two Plecos... and if they were to have the babies out anywhere in the tank, any of these other fish will find them and eat them... So really the breed trap is my only other alternative :-(  if I actually want some of them to survive. <Where will you raise the fry? I tried a breeding trap once, when I was new to the hobby, and the fry got out through the small "ventilation" holes in the plastic. I've seen 4" Australian rainbows eat two-week-old mollies, so I do not think that you will be able to raise all the fry to a safe size with the breeding trap alone. It will very quickly become overcrowded. You will need another tank of some sort if you want to raise the fry. Note that this doesn't necessarily need to be a fish tank...a 5 gallon bucket or even a 3 gallon Rubbermaid container would do for a start. If even that is not possible, please consider allowing the rainbows to have a treat. Livebearers will produce many, many fry over their lifetimes, and, realistically, it is unlikely that you will be able to keep them all. By way of example... I have well over a hundred mollies in the house, and I am trying to decide what to do with the latest batch of 38 fry.... --Ananda>  

Sick Platies, Salt Use Dear Crew, <Howdy> You haven't yet had a chance to respond to the email I sent 10 hours ago about my swollen platy. Since that time I have done some reading and I now believe he has dropsy. <Me too> I have read the information on your site and will follow the advice although I know there is very little success in treating this disorder.  One suggestion (in addition to antibiotics and medicated food) at another website was to add salt to the water.  They suggested 2 teaspoons per gallon. <Yes, but not all at once... over a period of days> My hospital tank is a 10 gallon tank.  I was a little more conservative and added 15 teaspoons of salt. The water in now cloudy and although I put in a powerhead to circulate the water to help dissolve the salt, I still see some on the bottom.  It appears to me that the tank is saturated, if not supersaturated with salt.  Was this the intention?  Is this too much salt?  How could it be too much if I used even less than what was recommended? <Mmm, too much, too soon, yes> Another upsetting observation I made in a different platy in the same 30 gallon tank is that the feces of that fish is a long white stringy thing.  I have a sense that the white color is not a good thing.  Should I put this fish in the hospital tank with the fish with dropsy?  Treat with antibiotics? <Best to move it. Treat with antibiotic laden flake foods. You may be able to find a supply of TetraMin... Please use the search tool on our BB re: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/> What is happening here?  Has my aquarium become a tank of death?  The temperature is a steady 79F, the ammonia and nitrates are 0, nitrates rose from 0 to 10 in the last week. <Not a tank of death... but it does appear you've happened upon, purchased some impugned livebearers. What does your dealer say about these fish? Bob Fenner> I await your response and thanks for the help. Judy

Platy eating her babies I just purchased 3 platies  to start out my 29 gallon tank. I noticed we had 4 babies in the bag from the store. The next day they weren't anywhere. Then I saw one baby swimming frantically 2 days later and one of our platies ate it. How can I prevent this from happening? I also noticed a white string like feces coming out of one of my platys what is that and what can I do to make it go away? Thanks for your help .. EC <Hello, it is not uncommon for platies to eat their babies.  You could try separating the youngans, or providing hiding places for them.  Live or artificial plants work well.  The white feces could be an indication of an internal parasite.  I would watch them closely to see if this continues.  If it does you might consider a "de-worming" medication to kill the likely internal flagellates. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/poecillidfaqs.htm Best Regards, Gage >

Xiphophorus maculatus I was on the site looking for what kind of fish I had and I think this might be it Xiphophorus maculatus.  What is the non-scientific name of these fish? <It is a platy, many different varieties.  check out http://fishbase.org > I also believe that mine could be pregnant from the fish store. How can I be sure my fish is pregnant? What signs can I look for? <It is very possible that it is pregnant, a bulging belly is a good sign.  Careful though, if the scales are protruding from the body and it looks a little like a pine cone, it could be dropsy.  Check out the links below. -Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/poeciliids.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm

Mickey's Pregnant! I have a 12" x 12" x 18" tank. My Mickey Mouse Platy is pregnant for the 3rd time in 3 months. <They are quite prolific, aren't they!> First set of fry, 5 lived, the next set were eaten, this time we brought a breeder tank, to put her in. We moved her into it 5 days ago. She seemed ok. but this morning she gave birth to 38 dead fry. Does this sometimes happen or was it the stress of the breeder tank? <It is hard to point to a direct cause and effect, but it is possible. Perhaps for next time just load the tank up with some plants. Java Moss and/or Water Sprite are easy to care for and would work well. -Steven Pro>

Platy Question Hi. I have looked around your website and the other fish related sites for an answer to what I am seeing in my pets, however I have not seen anyone with similar conditions. I have about 15 platies that have been healthy and well taken care of for the pass year. Recently I had one die which looked like it was due to natural causes. No sign of visible disease. All levels are normal in the tank and nothing has really changed with the tank over this period. I follow normal tank cleaning and water changes. Feed them once a day as directed by the pet store. However about the same time as this fish died two other fish started to show what appeared to be getting pregnant. Their belly increased in size and I was not really to worried. But now they appear to be "blowing up" pass anything I have seen before. They are getting so big that their scales are sticking out. They looked sick but remained near the bottom as if they were getting ready to give birth. One of the two died today. I am now worried that whatever killed the first will kill the second and may in fact wipe out my tank. The second one is showing the same signs. Do you know what this is? If you do is there anything I can do the save the second fish and the rest of my fish? Thank you for your time, Don <Hey Don, sorry to hear about your losses. It sounds like your fish may have dropsy. This is not an easy one to fix, but it is possible. Check out the link below for more information, and please let us know if you have any further questions. Good luck, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm>

Baby fishes, Help!!! Gods of Fish, I need help.  <Bob is a God... I'm just an imp... a sprite.. a mischievous gremlin of aquaria> I have a 10 gallon freshwater with a Penguin Bio-wheel mini, UGF, Profile Powerhead 600 and 125 watt heater set to 77 degrees. I use plastic plants, a large lava rock, and sea pebbles, not gravel, for floor cover.  <I'm a Sagittarian... I like slow dancing... chick flicks... and rubbing my belly like a Buddha> I have a strange asst. of fish. six serpae tetras, two goldfish, three platies, and one kissing Gourami.  <goldfish with tropicals?!?!... you really need smacked :) > My fish have grown quite a bit since I bought them. When cleaning the gravel yesterday I noticed four baby fish in the tank.  <the products of nervous sex from this bizarre mix of fishes> I relocated them to a small 2 gallon aquarium I bought. What do I do to ensure these babies can grow?  <I'm thinking food... yes, feed them> I can't tell what type o fish they are yet, but I think they are serpae.  <nope... platies my friend. Always bet on the livebearers> What do I feed them?  <crush the same food that you feed the parents> Water temp? I've seen those little net boxes used to keep them in, but is a separate small aquarium with only an air stone and small UGF enough? <the separate aquarium is better for a few months until they are ready for a bigger tank. Maintain good water quality... do frequent water changes and feeding to grow them fast. Use a small heater if necessary to keep a stable temperature> JayS <best regards, Anthony>

Platies losing color Hi, just have a quick question for you. I have a 20 gallon aquarium with 3 red wag platies, 4 zebra danios, and 5 albino Corydoras. Lately I've been noticing one of my female platies, losing her color on the bottom of her belly, also she sometimes flicks herself against rocks as if she is trying to scratch herself. I've check for signs of the protozoan Ick, there are no signs of that in my tank. I change at least 50% of the water in the tank weekly. <Impressive!> The water changes seem to help, so I'm assuming it has to do with the water quality and the ammonia and nitrite levels. Is there anything else I could do to make her more, I guess comfortable? <Platies like alkaline water with some salt, at least one tablespoon per 5 gallons. Please see here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/poeciliids.htm, for additional information and follow onto the blue linked FAQ files.> Also will her color come back? <If the cause, whatever that is, is corrected.> Thank you for your time, Cara

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