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FAQs on the Platies 2

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

Related FAQs: Platies 1, 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,

Question about Mickey Mouse Platy; no data       6/24/14
I've only had the female Mickey Mouse Platy for 4 days. She is fat, with a hearty appetite, but is always pooping most of the time.
<No worries>
I once saw a long, white cottony string with a red, flat end come out of her. I don't know what that was.
<Likely partly digested food... review what is written on Platies on WWM; and what you feed>
I am very concerned about her, and I don't want to keep worrying that something is wrong. Last time I had a fish tank was 30 years ago, and I don't remember anything. Please help. Thanks.
<Need data... Bob Fenner>

Transportation    4/17/12
Hi Guys
<BJ>
Hope you had a great Easter and loads of chocolate eggs.
I have a number 3 month old platies  and need to give/sell some - a few of my friends have wanted some but live about 45 min.s drive - will they survive the journey.
<Should... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movelvstkfaqs.htm
Many thanks in advance
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Mickey Mouse Platy    5/29/11
Hello I have a few questions to ask
First of all I have a 10 gallon tank with gravel,
<Too small for these fish. Do read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestk.htm
>
a rock-cave like a hideout an, algae plant and a sculpture from three angelfish. I have 10 fishes two Mickey Mouse platy, two Buenos Aires Fish,
<Subtropical fish, and also occasional fin-nippers.>
Two tiger Barbs
<Fin-nippers, especially when kept in groups of less than six.>
and 4 reddish fishes that are Tetras too but they are a little hyper like the Buenos Aires but they also swim but stay stationary.
<Serpae Tetras by any chance? Nasty fin-nippers, but hardy and easy to keep if maintained in groups of 6 or more.>
So my platys have been hanging out together (*all my fishes were bought two weeks ago*)
<How did you cycle this aquarium? Read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwset-up.htm
Without a source of ammonia, the tank won't cycle. Adding all these fish into a 10 gallon tank without cycling it is VERY LIKELY going to cause problems.>
and I noticed today she was a little fatter than usual. And now she's a little calmed, mild, stays on the floor the most of the time and hides out in the rock-cave.
<Female Platies do of course get a bit plumper when pregnant. But Dropsy and other sorts of diseases can also cause the same thing.>
What should I do? Tell me everything I need to do please from the tank to her fry. Should I move her from the tank with the male platy?
Thanks for the help :)
<All this information is here. Do read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/platyreprofaqs.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/poeciliids.htm
Cheers, Neale.>
re: Mickey Mouse Platy   5/29/11

Thanks a lot
<Happy to help.>
and yes it was a Serpae Tetra I just forgot the name
<I see. Well, as I say, these fish usually cause trouble.>
And I don't know if this could answer your question.. I cycled my tank with two bacterias( stress Zyme+ and stress coat+)
<These don't really cycle the aquarium. Mostly, they're a waste of money.>
y used Clorkill that I think it equals the levels from chlorine in the water
<Water conditioner that removes Chlorine is essential; add to each bucket of new tap water.>
and I also used crystal clear to clear murky water.
<A waste of money in most situations.>
And what do I do in respect to the two Platys?
<Do read where you were sent. Without specific information on water chemistry and water quality I cannot tell you whether these fish are healthy or likely to be stressed. Read, understand, and keep an open mind. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Mickey Mouse Platy

Ok I understand but sorry to bother you asking, what things I need to cycle my aquarium?
<If you have fish in the tank, it's a bit late to cycle the aquarium! So instead, concentrate on making sure the fish survive. If the fish have been in the tank for two weeks, you probably only have 2-4 weeks of "dangerous" times ahead. Reduce feeding to once every second day. Do 20% water changes every 2-3 days. Try to buy a nitrite (not a nitrate) test kit, and use it at least twice per week. At the end of 4 weeks, you should be safe. You can then feed the fish once per day, and do 20-25% water changes once per
week.>
I read the links you send me but I still don't understand sorry :S
I'm 14 years old
<Never too young to start learning! That's about how old I was when I started keeping fish, and I made precisely the same mistakes you did. Read, ask your parents for help, or use a dictionary if words seem complicated. Better still, buy or borrow a book about tropical fish aimed at beginners -- there are lots of them. Libraries will have some, and if new books are too expensive, then be sure to visit places like Half Price Books or your local thrift stores to find bargains. We can help with specific questions, but for general help and if you want to chat things over, you'd probably
enjoy the WWM forum, here: http://wetwebmediaforum.com/
Cheers, Neale.>
re: Mickey Mouse Platy

Ok thank you very much for everything. Now I feel sure for what to do now so I'll go buy a nitrite kit as soon as possible and feed my fish every two days, (right?)
<Right. Each fish needs a flake about twice the size of its eye per meal. So not a lot of food!>
Make water changes and they should be safe and maybe have a little platy crew
<Yes. Adding floating plants like Indian Fern will also help dramatically, removing ammonia and nitrite from the water directly, and also providing food and shelter for your Platies and their fry.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plantedtkssubwebindex/ceratopteris.htm
>
Thanks a lot for everything you rock!!
Good bless you :)
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Mickey Mouse Platy   5/29/11

Oh I forgot what about the aquarium light? How should I control the time the light stays on?
<12 hours on, 12 hours off is good.>
I mean the time the light stays on how that affects my fishes?
<Fish don't really mind too much!>
Thanks and sorry
<Cheers, Neale>
re: Mickey Mouse Platy   6/9/11

Got pretty sad news :(
Just came home to see that the pregnant platy was stuck to the filter dead.
<Sorry to hear this.>
Im so sad because she was pregnant and died for no apparent reason. She had white spot but I started the medication three days ago..
Any thoughts on what might had happened?
<Very hard to say. Sometimes best to simply step back, do only routine maintenance for the next 6-8 weeks, and DON'T add any more fish to the tank. See what happens. If things settle down, write off this fatality as "one of those things".>
Thanks for your attention
<Cheers, Neale.>

Mickey Mouse Fish Worry - 7/27/10
Hello WWM.
<Hi! Melinda here today.>
My question is, that I have 2 male guppies, and 2 Mickey mouse fish, but I can not tell the Mickey Mouse Fishes' gender.
<You'll want to check out the platy's anal fin (the non-paired fin on the underside of the fish, near the tail). The females' will look triangular, but the male has a more crooked and more cylindrically-shaped anal fin (called a gonopodium). If you just got these fish from a fish store, you may have to wait until they develop more, as fish stores typically sell younger individuals that aren't yet mature.>
Please help me with this.
<I did a cursory search on google images with "male and female platy" and found some great photos of the fins in question. If you do the same, it would help you get an idea of what I'm talking about so you can compare your own fish to the photos.>
Also, One of the Mickey mouse fish had a long piece of string on it's tail, with a weird black thing on the end.(I'm not talking about the picture of Mickey Mouse on its tail.) My mother insists that they're eggs, but I say they're poop. Which on of us is correct?
<I would first recommend that you read here, as well as the linked files above: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/platyreprofaqs.htm.
Platys don't lay eggs, but are, in fact, livebearers, so it sounds like you may need to do a little more reading on the fishes you're keeping. Here's a link to our information on guppies:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppyfaqs.htm
Having information "stored away" on the species you keep helps you avoid issues with their health, because you can provide the right environment, food, etc., for them. Then, if something does go wrong, you're not scrambling to learn the basics, and can rule out various issues which are caused by environment.
To begin with, you'll want the temperature around 80 to 82 degrees, and 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, and Nitrate of less than 20. Please see my note below on keeping sufficient numbers of both guppies and platys to lessen stress on the females, keeping in mind that a tank which is at least 20 gallons is really best for keeping these fish in proper numbers. Now, on to what's going on with your fish: you describe the string as being on the tail, but then mention both eggs and poop, which certainly wouldn't be on the tail, but rather, the underside of the fish, so I'm unclear on where the problem is. If all you're feeding is dry fish food, your fish could be suffering from constipation or other issues, and it's always a good idea to feed wet-frozen foods along with dry foods, anyway, to provide more variety and promote digestive health. If the string is no longer hanging, and the fish is pooping normally, then it was likely nothing to worry about, but do research the fish you're keeping and ensure you're providing the necessary space, water conditions, temperature, etc. to keep them healthy.>
P.S. We feed them all tropical fish flakes when we all wake up, and also before we go to bed. Is this OK?
<Again, this isn't the best diet for them. Please read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/platyfdgfaqs.htm.
This will give you a good idea of what to feed to avoid issues with constipation and ensure your fishes' health. Lastly, it is really best to keep livebearers in groups larger than two, and to keep two females, at least, to every male. Otherwise, the females are just harassed and miserable. So, if you have the space, it would be a good idea to go ahead and add enough females to reach that ratio for both the guppies and the platys. If you have any questions after reading, please don't hesitate to write back.
--Melinda> 

"Messy Platies"    7/1/10
Hello:
Just a quick question: Are Platies a messy fish for their size?? I read on fish sites that they were.
<Yes, like all herbivores they produce lots of faeces if properly fed. If you just give them flake food they won't make so much faeces, but of course they'll also be getting sick more easily, as well as constipated, so it's hardly a good idea...>
Are Danios a "cleaner" fish, producing less waste?
<They're carnivores, so yes, they produce less solid waste. But both fish produce about as much ammonia, so in terms of water quality -- as opposed to water clarity -- there's not much in it. Both species require about the
same amount of aquarium space and about the same amount of filtration per fish. Platies at least 15 gallons of water, Danios at least 20 gallons of water. If you're new at this hobby, don't for a moment think "clean" means
anything when it comes to stocking tanks.>
Thank you!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Platy help   5/23/10
Hi Rob
<Do you mean Bob, Bob Fenner? Anyway, hello Patrick,>
Thank heavens for your website! You should (if you haven't already) write a book!
<He has, in fact several.>
So, I set up a new 25 gallon aquarium with all the correct substrata, gravel and sand for new plants. It finished its 18 day cycle so I got four beautiful Panda Platies and a red shrimp. I followed all the instructions I had gathered from massive research but sadly, two of the females suffered from nipped tails and I lost them both over the first 48 hours (all water tests were fine) so the shop put it down to bad luck or overly aggressive male and perhaps that the Platies might have been a bit too young (oh joy!)
- So I now have 1 male and 4 female Platies who appear quite happy so far.
<OK. Assuming the aquarium is cycled properly, you should be able to keep quite a few Platies in here, maybe 8-12, or fewer if you decide to keep something else. Peppered Corydoras by the way make perfect companions,
since they like quite cool water too.>
However, I noticed that my tank temperature appears to be climbing slowly over the past few days (from 25c to 29c) - the highest was a few hours ago so I turned off the heater.
<Make sure the heater isn't [a] broken and [b] isn't insanely large for the tank. Assuming the room is centrally heated, something around 75-100 watts should be ample.>
The heater is set to 24c so I am slightly baffled as to why the temperature rose so high.
<The dial on the heater is only approximate. Inside the heater is a plain vanilla bimetallic strip, and it's not particularly accurate. Turn the dial down to its lowest setting and see what happens. If after 24 hours the tank
is below the temperature you want, turn it up one degree on the dial.
Repeat until you get the right temperature.>
First, is the correct temperature for these 15-25c?
<Depends on the Platy. The more common Platies are Xiphophorus maculatus, and these are best kept around 22-24 C. Less common, but still widely sold, are what the hobby calls Variatus Platies, Xiphophorus variatus. These are happier a little cooler, 18-22 C. During the summer, Platies can usually be kept in unheated tanks without harm, even as far north as England.>
Secondly, can thermometers and indeed heaters have incorrect readings/settings?
<Yep.>
What's the remedy doc?
<See above.>
Thank you so much!
<No problems.>
(pictures are of first tank set up hence low water level and no fish, second is of the dominant male who is now relatively calmer with 4 ladies!)
<Nothing came through.>
Patrick
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Platy help - 5/23/10

Dear Neale
<Patrick,>
Thanks so much for your response and indeed your advice. The five Panda Platies appear to be absolutely fine (eating, swimming around). Here is a link to the type I have
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y109/prissmonster/aquaria/48e46018.jpg
<Is indeed a Platy.>
I've had the heater turned off now for two days and the temperature hit 30c on the thermometer (the outside temperature was about 25c midday - we are in England) so I'm going to look at getting another thermometer that would be more accurate but I am worried that if it is correct, these little things are going to fry! I assume digital ones work better?
<The sticky-on liquid crystal ones? No, not much better than anything else.
If the aquarium is too warm, the fish will be gasping at the surface. If they're fine, don't worry about the temperature.>
I have a fan in the room currently and try and turn off the lighting as much as possible but the plants obviously need their 8 hours from the lamps, right?
<Right.>
Is there anything else that would likely raise the temperature?
<Assuming it isn't getting direct sunlight, then heat from the lights is the only thing.>
Live plants perhaps?
<Nope.>
Is this too hot for these Panda Platies?
<Platies prefer 22-24 C. They'll tolerate warmer water for a while, so if they're not distressed, don't worry about them. Keeping them hot all year around though will shorten their lifespan.>
If so, how do I cool the tank?
<One approach is to float a block if ice. A one-litre block in a 100 litre tank will be fine. Leave the ice inside a Tupperware or ice cream carton, and float the plastic container in the water, with its lid on. Remove and refreeze as required.>
Many thanks again! Patrick
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Platy help
Thanks Neale!
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

blue platy fry's  10/1/08
Hi
I purchased a blue platy female about a week ago now she's got fat but I have her in a tank with mollies no platies. My question is should she be pregnant how long from the time she got pregnant until she has her fries? thanks Irene
<... read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaqs.htm
and the linked files... BobF>

What to do with one platy? 6/25/08 This year I set up a 10 gallon aquarium in my classroom with a few red wag platys.? <?> This was my first experience with an aquarium and definitely a learning experience.? For most of the year I had three (what appeared to be) healthy platys, but something changed a couple weeks before school let out.? The platys started hiding and I noticed the big female had a large white spot on her side and was getting skinny.? <Something amiss here environmentally, nutritionally> She died and? then the male died about a week or so? later.? The last platy looks ok but is still hiding.? She doesn't even come out when I put food in the aquarium, although I think she may eat something when I'm not there because she's not skinny.? I had planned to give my platys to another teacher at the end of the school year who has an aquarium at her house; however, I did not want to give her a sick platy so I still have the lone platy at school.? I'm not sure what to do with her.? I'm moving to another school for next year so I had to tear down the 10 gallon aquarium (it is the property of the current school and the room has to be cleared out for summer cleaning).? I had a 3 gallon Eclipse tank running at school (that I used to raise this platy from a fry) so I moved? her to that tank today.? It's a pretty bare tank? - only two small plastic plants and a small crate ornament inside which the platy can hide.? So I have one platy that I'm not sure is sick or not or if she is just scared and? lonely.? What should I do?? <Learn what is going on with the ??? and omit it?> I cannot get into my new school until July 28 so, assuming she lives, it is going to be quite a while before she can get into a bigger tank and have some new friends.? I cannot set up a larger tank at my house because I have well water that is really bad (sulfur, etc.).? I can keep her at my current school for the time being in the 3 gallon Eclipse tank and come in a couple times a week to feed her and check on her.? However, I know platys like to be in groups so I don't know if I'm just inducing more stress by keeping her by herself for so long.? Should I go get one more platy to keep her company??? I'm not sure what is best to do here.? Some people are telling me to just put her down the toilet drain, but I can't? make myself do that.? ? Thanks for your help! Carolyn <Take the fish and the 3 gal. sys. home, return it in the Fall. Oh, and read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platysysfaqs.htm and the linked files above.> Bob Fenner?>

FW Platy Diagnosis needed 05/14/08 Hi ? I have a 20-gallon tall fresh water tank that is established (Ammonia 0; Nitrite 0; Nitrate ~30ppm before today's water change). We've had the tank for about 10 months now, and aside from a couple of fish losses at the beginning, everybody has been good and healthy. Current fish characters are: one molly, one male dwarf ghorami, one dwarf African frog, four glass fish, one bristle nose dwarf pleco and one platy. The tank includes a couple of hiding caves and six artificial plants of varying sizes. I've doubled up on filters due to bio load, which include one Penguin BioWheel 100 and one Topfin 20, as weekly water changes are difficult for me to keep. Typical water changes occur on a bi-weekly basis and tend to be about 50% changes using a dechlorinator that also treats ammonia and nitrate toxicity in the municipal water source. I have gone from time to time up to 3 ½ wks between water changes, the last of which was just recently (Nitrate ~80ppm before water change ? OUCH!). So water quality in the tank is not always constant. Diet includes flake and bloodworms. Here's my question: My platy has developed a condition and I looked through WM and Disease troubleshooting and can't really find a diagnosis. It's a white spot on her tailfin that is located at the same place on both sides of her fin and she's had it now for about five days. Prior to that, she's gone from a very port fish to a relatively thin fish in about two months time, but her weight is now holding its own. Her appetite is still light, though. I was originally thinking the growth was ick and was waiting for it to spread to the others before treating the tank. But it has not spread and all other inhabitants remain their normal selves. Plus, the white spot had more fuzziness and volume to it than the ick spots I've seen in the tank before. Just within the last day, the white spot has been getting smaller, but now the webbing between the two fin spines where the spot was located is now eaten away. Can you take a look see at her pics and let me know what you think? I do not have a QT, but can set one up if needed since I can easily transfer the established biowheel to a QT tank for the platy. I don't want to go to that expense if I don't need to, but certainly don't want to lose my entire stock, either. <It doesn't look like ick to me. It looks like the fish was perhaps injured/nipped (possibly while being chased)... possibly by the Gourami. It's hard to say for sure. If it doesn't get worse, I wouldn't worry too much about it.> Your thoughts? Thanks! Sara M.>
RE: Diagnosis needed -05/14/08 Sara, Thanks. Things are already getting better, <Good to hear :-) > so I'll assume it is an injury via nipping (probable caused by the Molly...(s)he's the king of the tank). Kristi <Best, Sara M.>

Mickey mouse fish sick!!!!, 3/22/08 I have two Mickey mouse fish. One just had babies. I never owned fish before and the babies were born just days after I bought them. I have no idea which one gave birth but four survived and I moved them into a breeder separator. All fish seemed to be doing well and about a week and a half has passed. Today I decided to switch the adults to a bigger tank and let the babies have the 1.5 gallon tank to grow faster and moved the adults to a ten gallon. While doing so I noticed my white adult now has a reddish mouth (before it had just a pinkish white hue) and reddish gills and it seems the face is bloated. She (or he) is now barely swimming at the bottom of the tank. I just noticed this change today. It seemed fine yesterday! I don't see it eating but I usually don't anyway. <Mmm, such reddening can be evidence of microbial infection... Search here: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm "Platy, infection, reddening"... the cached views. Bob Fenner>

Is my fishy pregnant? Platies  -- 09/29/07 I've only had my tank a few months and I've just added 3 little sunset coral platies to my lil fishy family. Two of them look similar, darker orange at the face and the tail and a lighter orange in the middle and their dorsal fins are further up on their bodies that the third one. The third is light orange with yellow in the middle. The lighter one is getting very plump and I've just recently noticed a few lil black spots in its belly near its back fins. Is it pregnant or is it something else? Thank you Meg <Likely is pregnant... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

There's something wrong with my platy... No data    7/17/07 My platy has something coming out of it, I don't think its a baby fish but I don't know. the thing coming out of it is puffy and white with an orange (the same color as the platy) center. What is it? <Not enough information, nor photo... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Platies, repro., mind-reading  -- 03/15/07 Hey Rob, <?>      I suspect that my female sunburst platys are pregnant, but I'm not sure I do not see the black spots between the fins and not quite sure when to separate them.  Need Help. <With what? See WWM re Platy Reproduction. BobF>

My Platy, no data  - 03/26/2006 Hello, I bought my red wag platy in early December.(1 male and 2 females) Sadly one female has died. My other female was doing fine until she became really bloated and fat. It also seems that her fins seemed to fad. Then she got a white circle mark on her head and is hanging out under the rocks at the bottom of her tank. Fearing for her I put her in my plastic breeder contraption, and she just went nuts. She cannot stop swimming. I have done everything that I have found, raise the temperature, put a little aquarium salt in, and even mixed her diet a little bit. How long should she stay in the breeder, is she pregnant and what is the white mark on her head. <Likely some sort of infection, secondary... from? Poor water quality, inadequate nutrition... you haven't provided useful data re these. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Platy question   2/9/06   I recently bought a 5 gallon aquarium (I've had aquariums most of my life, but I had to move and had to leave my old one behind.) I have 2 platies to start with, and as it turns out they are both males.  One is a Mickey mouse platy and the other is red tail sunset platy.  The red tail sunset has taken to picking on the Mickey mouse platy.  The Mickey mouse platy doesn't seem to care, he just swims off, and he gets plenty of food.  I'd like to stop the red tail sunset from chasing him, so I'm going to buy more platies...however, I don't want babies.     If I buy a few more males, will that disperse the territorial behavior that I think I'm witnessing? <Quite possibly, yes> Will they all decided to just live peacefully or will they all pick on one another? <At some point in crowding, the tension should be diffuse> I'm willing to buy a few females, but I really don't want a bunch of fry to deal with.  I know that the platies are cannibalistic and will eat their fry, so I guess I could just let "nature take its course," but obviously that seems rough.  What would you recommend, that I buy more males or some females? <Up to you>   Also, should I be using an air pump for a 5 gallon tank?  They seem to be doing okay without one, but I do have one I could use. Thank you so much, Lindsey <Well, do need aeration, circulation from some source... Bob Fenner>

Mother Platies dies  - 2/4/2006 My fish is a platy. She recently had her first fry.  she stay close to the breeder net because that is were I put her babies.  Now tabo has died. When tabo was born her mother also died.  Is it common for platys to die after giving birth?  Sylvia <Mmm, no... unless very old... Perhaps coincidence here, but please read on WWM re platy systems, health... Bob Fenner>

Can platies have swords on their  tails?    10/2/05  <Yes. Please... go to the library... BobF> Animal  lover/nerd

Mickey Mouse Platy Hi there <Hello> I've been reading lots of stuff on Mickey Mouse Platys but I still don't think I know what is wrong with my fish, only that its sick.  It is hiding in one of the plants at the bottom of the tank and hasn't been eating since yesterday.  It has been swimming around but at times almost seems like it cannot move forward and moves backward.  I've been watching it today and its developing a white "stain" around its gills, its not raised and it doesn't look like Ick either.   <Could just be "bummed out"> We have a 55 gallon tank which has been running around a week.  We have 2 blue dwarf Gouramis, 2 red fire Gouramis, 2 Mickey Mouse platys, 2 phantom tetras and a 7 inch Pleco.  They all came from two separate 10 gallon tanks which we have been running for about 2 months.  We transferred all the ornaments, some gravel and have one of the filters running in the new tank because I thought that the bio filter might help the tank cycle quicker. <Good thinking> We have a large filter running that also came with the tank.  The water temp is 80 degrees. Any suggestions will be helpful. Thanks. Alison <I would still use your test kits to check water quality... Bob Fenner>

Sick Platy in new aquarium... actually platies in a poisonous non-cycled system I have, well had, a red wag Platy that showed definite signs that something was wrong. He was fine in the morning before I went to work, seemed to eat well, and was almost dead when I got home about 12 hrs later. He couldn't seem to tell which direction was up, and seemed to be tossed around in the tank by the currents from the power filter and the bubbles from the lift tubes from the undergravel filter.  He also seemed to have a white powdery substance around his head and his eyes were glazed over. There are 2 females in the tank also, plus 1 week old baby in a breeder net. All are platies. I know the tank is still cycling, it is a 10 gal, and the ammonia is running a bit high, about 1.5 ppm... <Yikes... dangerously high> ...nitrites at about .3 ppm, nitrates at about 20 ppm, pH running about 7.4-7.6. Tank temp is at 80 deg. There is charcoal in the power filter, and the lift tubes. I have added a " C-100 Aquarium Water Purifier" pillow a week or so ago hoping to help keep the ammonia down while the tank cycles. I did a 10% water change last Saturday, then added some Stress-Zyme and some Stress-Coat per the instructions on the bottles. The fish were fed twice daily a mixture of flake food, and sometimes some crushed baby shrimp, and some bloodworms, all commercially packed foods. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong? Thanks, Steve Wickham Wytheville Va <Really? Putting fish in/through a non-cycled system... The one/male platy might have had some serious problem before you got it... but, please, no more livestock, and no feeding period unless the ammonia is under 1.0 ppm. Bob Fenner> 

Platy concerns I have a problem. I have a 30 litre tank (BiOrb) and started off with 4 white cloud minnows, which lived very happily. I then decided to invest in a couple of platies and the people at the pet centre said I should get a pair so I got one male Mickey-mouse platy and one female sunshine platy. About a week and a half after introducing them to my tank, I noticed that the female had given birth to lots of fry. I know that in the end I will need to remove some of them because my tank is nowhere near big enough for all of the fish to live happily. The thing is, my adult platies are now not looking too good. The male is definitely the livelier of the two and moves around a little under the amount I would expect them to. The female barely moves at all, she floats at the top, her mouth almost reaching the surface, sloping at about 45 degrees to the surface. I know she is still alive because she moves quite a lot sometimes but I noticed that one of my biggest fry keeps going over to her (this may be completely normal but it is the only fry that does it) and trying to touch just in front of her anal fin. Does this mean the baby is just being affectionate or is he/she trying to eat my platy? I also don't know how to catch fish with a net. Thank you very much if you can help me. <There are a few things you might try here... checking, modifying water quality, perhaps adding a modicum of salt. Please read over our Related FAQs re Platies here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm  Scroll down to... Bob Fenner>  

Platy fry not eating Hello everyone, I had some platy fry born yesterday and followed the advise to crush up the food into a fine powder and put a tiny bit in tank but I have yet to see any of them take any interest in the food. They are in their own 5 gallon tank and I have a square of artificial breeding grass at the top that they pretty much stay in all the time. Should I worry about them not eating or give it some time? <Do keep trying the finely divided food... I would invest in some pre-made for this purpose as well... frequent (a few times daily) offerings per day is best> Also, I can't go out and buy anything to cover the filter tube so they don't get sucked up in it so I was wondering if I could use a piece of stocking/pantyhose to cover it or if that would prevent it from filtering properly. Thank you for your time, Crystal <The screening is a good idea... just keep your eye on this so that it doesn't get too clogged. Bob Fenner> 

SICK PLATIES? Since I sent this I now have the 2 original Platies and the little one all just lying at the bottom of the tank. They all eat and look fine, should I be worried? < "Lying on the bottom" does not sound good. If he is struggling to swim then there is a problem. If he is just hiding but can swim fine when he has to, then there shouldn't be a problem.-Chuck>

Platy Breeding Hello, I have a deep 44 gallon with an angelfish, 3 tetras, 3 platys, 1 Redtail shark, and a guppy. Two of my platies are pregnant and I do not want any of the fry to be eaten. I moved the two together to a 10 gallon tank. Was it ok to move them and is it ok to have them together in the tank? I have breeding grass floating at the top of the tank for the fry to hide in and will move the mothers back into the big tank after birth. Getting them out of the big tank was very stressful as I had to chase them around quite a bit to do it. As I am writing this, they are swimming around happily but for the most part, since last night when I put them in there, have been hiding in the breeding grass. Should I provide more plants at the bottom of the tank as well? Thank you very much. Crystal <Better to have each female alone, but better this way than in the big tank. The angels would surely have taken the fry. They may still take each others fry. But if you add plenty of plants they should be fine. Remove each female after she gives birth. Feed the fry crushed flake food. You could also hatch some baby brine shrimp for them. Don>

Pregnant Platies follow-up Thanks Don. I have them in the 10 gallon and one of them gave birth today to about 12 fry but both mothers still look very fat. One is staying at the top of the tank and in one place so I am assuming she is the one that gave birth but my questions is (and I searched on the site for the answer) How long can the actual birth process take? It has been many hours and I can not notice any decrease in stomach size. Thanks in advance and have a great night.  Crystal <Sorry about the delay getting back. The entire brood may take an hour or it may take a day or more. One of those things you just have to ride out. Don> 

FUNNY PLATIES - FUNNY "HAHA", OR FUNNY.. "EWW.."? Hi, I have a question that I can't find the answer to. I have a tank that started with 2 Platies, I was told they were both boys until November when I had a baby fish. I have since figured out which is which. The baby is 6 months old and a boy I believe. I clean the tank every 3 weeks to put replacement water in etc. About 1 1/2 about the mother fish went nuts and was very stressed and sick for days. Part of the problem was that the other 2 fish were male and constantly going after her. Once she was doing better I added 2 more female fish. She is doing great now. The "baby" fish every since the other 2 new ones have been added now hides a lot, he is actually back to the place he was born, wedged underneath a castle and rocks. He comes out just to eat.  The father fish is now acting funny, he is usually very active and has been just at the bottom of the tank or he swims and then lets himself fall vertically to the bottom, then swims to the top and repeats. They all eat and get along fine, no signs of infection or illness. I just have the baby fish (6 months old and over a inch long) hiding and the father acting funny. There is plenty of places to hide so there's no reason he's wedging himself between the rocks and under the castle.. What's going on in my tank? Also, my ammonia is fine, nitrites is fine, nitrates a little high but consistent, ph is acidic but always has been. I use Epsom salt when I do a water change.. Please help. Kristin < The male platy with the swimming problem probably has or had an internal bacterial infection that has affected his swim bladder. You might try treating him with Metronidazole but it might be too late for him to recover. Move the ornaments and rocks around so the fish can set up new territories. This might be all that is needed to get the little guy out and about.-Chuck>

Platies - sick or pregnant? We have 3 platys - a catfish, 2 Neons, 2 mollies, 2 danios and a 29 gallon aquarium that is just over a month old. So we are extremely new at this. We started with 2 platys and 4 Neons. We lost 2 Neons almost immediately. We found out later they are not very hardy for a new tank. <Yes> We added 2 additional platys. They were fine. We then added the mollies and danios. Everything was fine for a couple of weeks then 1 of the platys just died. We did not notice any change in behavior. Now all 3 remaining platys behavior have changed. A few days ago we noticed that the first platy had a swollen belly, the following day she had a swollen anus with a red string like material hanging (approx 1"). The red string is gone, but the belly remains swollen - whitish in color and the anus remains swollen. All 3 of the platys now hide in low ground cover, separately. The other 2 do not show any other physical signs.  They do eat but they are not as active as they once where when they controlled the tank. I moved the swollen one to the quarantine tank last night and treated for an hour with an antibiotic. It was easy to catch, but once in the quarantine tank it swam around fighting the bubbles from the air stone. I then tried to remove the other 2 but they were impossible to catch. This morning the swollen platy was with the mollies at the top of the tank, near the heater and the other 2 were in the ground cover. We have vacuumed and made water changes every week since starting the aquarium. We feed the fish twice a day. Water quality is good. Water temperature is 78. Please advise.  <Regarding? I would elevate the temperature (to the low 80's F), and wonder what sort of antibiotic you're using... and why? You do not list any aspect of water quality... do you have test kits? Bob Fenner> 
Re: platies - sick or pregnant?
Bob, First we want to thank you for responding. We are novice at this but try not to leave anything to chance. We use 3 different tests. Jungle Labs 5 in 1 test strip, Mardel 5 in 1 test strip and Freshwater Deluxe pH tests. The pH levels are between 6.8 and 7.3; Alkalinity is moderate and Hardness is soft. <Okay so far> Nitrate is 0; and Nitrite is 0. I do not have the strips or chart on me, so the later 2 tests I am unsure of the exact wording for the levels, except that they are at the lowest levels they can be. <There should be no, and in zip detectable ammonia, nitrite> After removing the female (I am now absolutely sure she is a she-the local pet store educated me) the other 2 (a male and female) have become more active. She is also looking well except for the swollen belly and anus. She ate well this morning. The antibiotic we used was Maracyn Two by Mardel Labs. We were unsure at first whether it was dropsy or pregnancy. <Much more likely the latter> We are pretty convinced now that she is pregnant. Because we are new at this would it be best (less stress on her - we do not know when she'll give birth) to put her back into the community tank with a lot of low and floating cover for the fry?  Or should we keep her in a floating breeding tank or in the 2.5 gallon quarantine tank with cover for the fry?  <I would move the fish back to the main tank. Bob Fenner> 

Meaty Foods for Platys - A Follow-up? Crew, Thank you for your suggestions. The morning after I sent the email, he was back to normal size. I think he was just over-fed. My platies' diet consists mostly of fresh greens (algae and live plants in the tank) and flake food. What would you suggest as a meaty food that isn't dried? <Hello...Jorie here this time. I like to alternate between frozen (then thawed in a cup of tank water) bloodworms and Mysid shrimp...my platys love both (as do all of my other fish!) Stay away from brine shrimp, as there is basically no nutritional value there.>

Fat "he" platy Hello, I've got a 10 gallon tank with 5 platy residents. Two are male and three are female. I noticed yesterday that one of the male platy's belly is getting swollen. The other fish all appear to be healthy and normal. His color, appetite, and behavior haven't changed. In fact, he appears to be healthy and normal as well, with the exception of the gut he's got. Could this be the onset of something bad, or is he just eating more than the other fish? Thank you, -Concerned <I am concerned as well... I do hope your diet for your platies consists of some fresh greenery and meaty foods (not just all dried/prepared)... If the swelling continues or shows on your other fish, I would encourage you to add a level teaspoon of Epsom Salt to the tank. Bob Fenner> 

Overactive Male Platy We have one male platy in our 30 gallon tank with 4 females, along with 4 female barbs and 1 male barb. The male barb became very aggressive towards the females last week so we removed him for a couple of days, then returned him to the tank and he's pretty cool now. <Good> The male platy has now become very aggressive towards the other platies, and now all the other female fish. Should we remove him for a while or is he just being amorous? <I would try the periodic "time out" again... for a few days> We removed him for a bit but he seems more aggressive then ever. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Nel <All sounds like you're doing things right... Your system is large enough, you have good sex ratios for your fish species... Likely you're right... they're just overly frisky. Bob Fenner>

Re: Overactive Male Platy, Quick Cure, I returned my male to the tank and he was ok for all of 10 minutes then started again. He's chasing the girls around non-stop with the only respite being when they hide for a moment until he finds them. Will there be an end to this or will I have to move him permanently to another tank? <Could go either way> I also have a sick female red wag who just hangs around with the tail moving, not moving around much with her upper and lower fins folded in to her body. I moved her into quarantine with Quick Cure she looks a bit better but at times seems to be breathing rapidly and looks as though she has a whitish cast to her. She's been in quarantine since yesterday. Do I need to remove the filter pack during treatment (I've read different opinions)? <Quick Cure is a blend of formalin and Malachite Green... very dangerous... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/malachitegreen.htm and see the link above to the Formalin article? I do hope you're testing for ammonia, nitrite... and have removed the carbon from your filter...> Should I add a little salt also? She's in a 10 gallon. <I would> All advice gratefully accepted. Nel <Study my friend. Bob Fenner>  

Flashing Platies Hello again! I have four platies (two males and two females) that are among 18 fish in a 44 gallon, well planted, community tank. I started the tank a month ago, used Turbostart 700 to cycle it, and I monitor the water parameters regularly. My ammonia and nitrites have been at zero since the first week, and nitrates have held at about 20ppm. My pH has stayed within 7.5-7.7 and my total hardness is 170ppm CaCO3. I bought the two male platies first and quickly noticed that they both were flashing against my plants (and occasionally my rocks) quite often. <Good info.> I was concerned and I thought it was either gill flukes or Ich and I have watched them very closely since I noticed the behavior. They have remained extremely healthy looking in all other aspects of their behavior. No white spots, no flukes, no clamped fins, voracious appetite, etc... It really bothers me that they keep doing it. I must stress that none of my other fish EVER flash and my plants are thriving even in only 30 watts of fluorescent light. Here is the kicker. I added the females two days ago because I figured that maybe the males needed some company and I noticed them flashing as well! Again no other signs of illness. What could this be? <Tough to say... sounds like your system is stable (biological filtration established), the hardness, pH okay... might be that the fish are just "settling in"... becoming acclimated to your captive conditions (many livebearers are imported from soft, acidic... filthy water from Asian fish farms...), but they may well be harboring some sort of "platy specific" biological disease...> Do platies just like to scratch?  <Some, but not much... more than "one scratch a minute" or so is too much> Should I quarantine them just to be safe? It is really confounding. As always, any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Walt  <I share your concern... but would not likely quarantine these fish, unless/till they show worse symptoms... like clamped fins, sitting on the bottom... and then would maybe treat them with a Jungle Brands product called a "Shimmy Block" (or in the old days just a copper scrubby...). Let's hope your fish's spontaneously cure in your otherwise good care. Bob Fenner>

My daughter's Mickey mouse tail platies Hello, My daughter has a Mickey mouse tailed platy that has just within the last day or two developed a white spot on his side. Can this be ICK? If not, then what could it be and how do we treat it? thanks, Kelly St. Clair <Could be ich... but not necessarily. I would not panic unless/till other fish show symptoms. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the Related FAQs linked above. Bob Fenner> 

Sexing baby platies Hi just wondering if you have any idea how to sex baby platies? I have about 25 2-3 week old babies and they all look female. (none have a gonopodium sp?) They are all growing really well. Do platies "change sex when they get older or am I stuck with 25 female platies?  Thank you. <Does take a while to be able to see the development of their anal fins... There are some "all female" batches... ways to manipulate the sex ratios, but I suspect your fish are just young. Bob Fenner> 

Sick Platy Hi, <Hello...Jorie here.> I had a red platy with black fins in a small tank by himself until he died last night. <Sorry to hear that.> The temperature in the tank was fairly stable around 73 degrees, which I know is a little cool, but it's not a tank that I can add a heater to. <You are correct - that is indeed a bit cool for a tropical fish. How small was this tank? I've been able to add a 25 watt heater successfully to both of my 3 gal. Betta tanks, so I'm guessing this tank was pretty small?> I did water changes regularly as well, in addition to adding aquarium salt, which the tropical fish store recommended. <Great job on the water changes. I'm curious as to how often you did these changes, and how much water you were changing at one time? If you were using tap water (which I'm going to guess you were), did you remember to either add some type of dechlorinator, or age the water for a day or so, in order to remove the chlorine? Also, did you ever test the water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrates, just to be sure you were in fact doing enough water changes? With regards to the salt, how much did you add? Since salt doesn't evaporate, were you sure to only add the necessary amount of salt to the *new* water when you did water changes, and not to "re-salt" the entire tank?> For several weeks after I brought him home, he was doing fine. He was responsive, ate well, and moved around the tank actively. Then, suddenly, he stopped eating and became very lethargic, hanging out at the top of his tank. When he would move, his movement was very erratic and often backwards. He continued to deteriorate for a week or so, refusing to eat and staying very still. Finally, it got to the point where I could see his little ribs and he was more or less "hanging" in the water, his spine bent and laying on his side. He could still swim, but when he did, it looked as though he was having a seizure or something (very jerky movement). <Two things come to mind: when you talk about a bent spine, it is possible this fish had some sort of genetic deformity, and he just wasn't a health guy. Secondly, though, when you talk about swimming problems, I'm inclined to think of swim-bladder disorder, which can be caused by either viral or bacterial causes. It's hard to tell after the fact for sure (and many times it is hard to tell exactly even when the situation is presently occurring). Ideally, though, whenever a health problem presents itself, the best place to start checking is with environmental causes (e.g., poor water quality - test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, as mentioned above), rule those out, then narrow things down to specific diseases, etc. Many times, environmental issues are the culprits, but of course, not always.> Also, I'm inclined to think that he had a fever or something, because for the past two or three days, when I'd look in on him, I could see heat waves radiating out from his body into the water (you know that wavy look that water and air get when it's hotter than the surrounding liquid??). <I can picture what you are talking about, though I've never seen it present itself on a fish. Perhaps the water was really cold for the little guy? That certainly could have had an adverse effect on his immune system, lowered his resistance, and caused him to become sick. Definitely look into the 25watt heater, if at all possible...I think you could get away with putting it into a 2 gal. tank, even. If your tank is smaller than that, I'd strongly recommend upgrading, as you want to be able to provide a comfortable and healthy environment for your fish, which includes keeping the water temperature stable at the appropriate level.> Do you have any idea what could have happened to my platy? I say he died last night, but I euthanized him because I couldn't stand to see him suffer anymore. <I hope I've given you some ideas and potential causes. Don't be afraid to try again - it's a learning experience, and you've definitely come to the right place to get good answers! Hope I've helped, and again, sorry you lost your little friend.> Thanks, Alicia <Jorie>

Amount of gravel needed in platy tank Hi crew, I have a question for you. I haven't kept fish in years and when I did it was as a kid and Mom and Dad took care of them so I don't know if this is right or not any info is appreciated. I have about two to three inches of gravel in my 10 gal. with 3 adult platy's in it 2 females and 1 male. I also have 5 fry in it that are about 1 month old and growing fast. Is that amount of gravel alright or should I have less the entire tank has plastic plants in it as I can't seem to get real ones to stay alive. Thank you, Becky <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubstrates.htm  and the FAQs (linked, in blue, above). Bob Fenner> 

Stressed Platies and Aquarium Size I should say up front I am a complete novice and so looking for some guidance. <Okay, then I'll admit that I need more coffee and time to be fully awake... yawnnnn!> A week and a half ago I got two Platies (1 make/1female) that are about an inch in size and they are in a 6 gallon Eclipse system. I have noticed that the male has started to poke or ram the side of the female over and over until the female reacts to fend off the male.  As I'm new at this I'm not really sure if this is a mating thing or if they are both just stressed. <This is indeed mating behavior... and even though your tank is small, all would be better if you had one more female... for your one male> I know this is after the fact but I'm concerned that my 6 gallon tank might be too small for them as I have read on some net articles that 10 gallon is a minimum for these types of fish. <Bigger is better here> I was hoping to get more Platies but now I'm hesitating. Would maybe getting another female reduce the stress level as I have read on your FAQ site? <Oh! Yes> Another question, I think the female is pregnant and I'm not equipped or intending to breed, if and when the female releases the fry is it OK to just let the fry swim with the other two or will it cause problems for the overall condition of the aquarium? <Do place a bit of live or faux "grass" in this system... and not worry> Thanks for your help. Andy <Welcome to our wonderful, instructive hobby. Bob Fenner>
Re: Stressed Platies and Aquarium Size
Bob: <Andy> Your time and advise is much appreciated - thanks! <Welcome> I did go out this weekend and got another female (lucky fella!) and some low lying foliage for future bambinos (they had no breeding grass). <Ahh, there are artificial "grasses" (plastic plants) that do a good deal of good as well> Looking forward to some happy fishes!  Andy <Hope so. Bob Fenner>

Platies on the bottom Hello.  I have three platys in a 2.5 gallon tank with a whisper carbon filter.  I am new at this.  My two and three year old wanted fish for Christmas.  Anyway, they were doing fine for the first four days.  I dechlorinated with AquaSafe and let the tank sit for a day before adding them.  One of them has fin rot now, so I am treating him MelaFix.  I also added a fourth a tsp of fish salt and some stuff called CYCLE, essential bacteria.  I notice that they are all staying at the bottom a lot.  They come up to eat and swim around a little.  But most of the time they just rest on their bottom fins at the bottom of the tank or in the grass.  Could the water be too cold or are they just resting?  Any advice would be much appreciated.  Thanks, LittleTank in Louisiana < For setting up a new tank I would recommend that you go to Marineland.com and look at header called Dr. Tim's library and search for an article titles the first 30 days . This will give you an idea on what is going on in your tank. The tank should be around 80 degrees. If it is much below 75 your fish will not thrive. The resting behavior is not normal.-Chuck>

Fin Decay in New Tank Hello. One of my new platy fish has fin rot, which I am currently treating with MelaFix. I was told to remove the carbon filter while treating (one week) and replace the filter with carbonless polyester fiber. I have done that, but am wondering if I can put the same carbon filter back in once treatment is completed or do I have to buy a new one?  The tank is currently cycling (two weeks old).  Thanks in advance for your help, LittleTank in Louisiana <Hi LT in L, Don here. Nope, you'll need fresh carbon. Activated carbon "fills up" and becomes inactive carbon very quickly. Within a day or two. I'm just wondering if you have a bacterial fin rot or poor water conditions since the tank is so new. I would discontinue the Melafix and just do large daily water changes. Ammonia can build up in a new tank causing the fins to "burn". Testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate would reveal the answer. If you do not have a test kit, I strongly suggest you pick one up. Your LFS could also do a test for you>  

Platy problems Thanks for the timely reply. I guess I should have given some more info when I emailed you the first time. After all the fish had died, here is what I did: 1. I emptied the tank and cleaned everything including the gravel at the bottom. 2. I bought a new filter system and removed the underwater filter I initially had. The current one is not an underwater filter. It's above water and circulates the water with activated carbon cartridge. 3. Then, I installed everything and have added water. I treated the water with PRIME (which is a dechlorinator and it also removes nitrites, nitrates etc.,). I also added some aquarium salt. The I added the pH reducer since my tap water had a pH of 7.7 Please note that I have a water softener in my home that uses Potassium pellets.  4.Finally it has been two days since I installed everything and my filter keeps on running. I tested the water everyday and here is my results from today: Nitrates - around 20 mg/L Nitrite - around 0.1 mg/L GH - between 25-75 ppm KH - between 180-300 ppm pH - between 7.8-8.4 I don't have any fish yet. We want to have some black and gold platies. But they keep dying in this environment. What should I do now? Your help is very much appreciated. You have given the only reasonable advice so far. Thanks again for your time in this regard. < Use water from the garden hose before it goes to the water softener. This water is probably closer to the water that is being used by your local fish store. Go to Marineland.com and go to Dr Tim's Library and look at the article called The First 30 days for properly starting a new aquarium.-Chuck>

"I", platies  09/13/2005 Guys, thanks for your help. sorry about time to respond. Though I bet you often don't get some replies at all. I contacted a reputable aquarist who took my remaining goldfish. My white clouds have all passed on. They seemed to get very thin and weak and eventually succumbed. I have now added a heater and 3 platies (2f 1m). Along with the 3 danios all is going well and has done so since July. I really love the platys (corals, though male has some white). They are so much like a goldfish but without the mess. I actually got some fry (3 that I saw) but I didn't have another space for them so they've been eaten. I have received a 24x12x12 tank and will try get it ready for the next time. I am a bit unsure how to filter this. I was thinking a Fluval 2 filter internal which you can turn down flow or a pump with maybe 2 sponge filters. what would you recommend. should I move a pregnant female in or move fry once born. what is the best way to pick up fry out of a tank. I've also dumped half my plastic plants and put in 6 bunches of water sprite, 4 in gravel and 2 floating. Best thing I ever did. The fish love it. They pick a little but not more than they grow. And the fry can hide in it later on. Thanks for all your help. <... what is it with the non-capitalized "i's"? Please see WWM re your platies. Bob Fenner>  

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