FAQs on Platy Disease Diagnosis
FAQs on Platy Disease:
Platy Disease 1,
Platy Disease 2,
Platy Disease 3,
Platy Disease 4,
Platy Disease 5,
Platy Health 6,
Platy Health 7,
Platy Health 8,
Platy Health 9,
Platy Health 10,
Platy Health 11, Platy Health ,
FAQs on Platy Disease by Category:
Nutritional (e.g. HLLE),
Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal),
Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...),
Fishes, Livebearing Freshwater
2, Platy Identification,
The vast majority of fish problems come
down to environment rather than disease. Specifically, check the tank
isn't too warm (Platies prefer 23-25 degrees C), that the water is hard
and alkaline (10+ degrees dH, 5+ degrees KH), and that the water has a
basic pH (7.5-8). Also check water quality; ammonia and nitrite should
both be zero. Consider whether there are any possible toxins that could
be poisoning the fish; paint fumes for example. Diet is another
Platies are herbivores and need a diet rich in greens. Herbivore flake
is a good start. Don't use standard fish food more than a couple of
times per week, or constipation is a likely result. Finally, consider
behaviour; male Platies are aggressive towards one another, and in
tanks 20 gallons or smaller in size, they won't tolerate one
another. Bullying will occur, and eventually the weaker male will
become stressed, and from there, it's a short step to disease and
Thin Platy 11/7/17
I suspect that I may have a problem with one of my Coral/Sunset Platies.
He is very small compared to my other varieties of Platy and he does not
seem to put any weight on regardless of his healthy appetite.
His behaviour is nothing out of the ordinary; he is active, feeds well
and doesn't hide away. He does however like to stay close to the
surface, a little more than the others but not so much as to cause
His appearance is where my concern comes from. As mentioned he is small
and slender (as is the other Coral/Sunset) but he doesn't have the
rounded belly that a normal, healthy Platy would. His fins are not
clamped, he has no scales missing, sores or anything of that nature. His
faeces is not stringy or clear and he has no protrusions from his anus.
My thoughts were that this is likely some kind of internal parasite but
after doing some research, I am very worried that this may be a
Now, I don't want to jump to any conclusions (some forums seem to think
every ailment is TB these days) but because of his flat belly, this
alters his shape somewhat. I do not believe that his spine is bent
Environment and tank history:
The tank is 180 litres with an external filter.
It was cycled without fish for 2 months almost a year ago, with 4 fish
being added every 2 to 3 weeks thereafter.
Weekly 30% water changes (once a month 50 %)
8 Platies of various strains.
6 Dwarf Chain Loaches.
The tank is moderately planted and is maintained at 24 degrees
Nitrate approx 10ppm.
I live in a hard water area but I have no means of testing the hardness.
History of illness:
Stringy, long, white faeces in most fish.
This was successfully treated with Octozin about 4 months ago and has
not returned. After investigating I realised this was due to feeding
frozen brine shrimp. It has not returned since I stopped feeding this.
Now I feed Spirulina flake and various premium flakes and occasional
Fungal infection of small wound on the side of Mickey Mouse Platy, the
wound was from aggression. The fish was removed, put in a hospital tank
with aquarium salt added. Fish given Methylene blue bath weekly until
healed. The treatment was successful and the fish was returned to main
aquarium after being clear of symptoms for a month.
The tank did have a pair of Dwarf Gouramis who died without explanation
within 2 months of purchase. I think these were very weak fish with the
problems that most DGs seem to have now.
Another Platy died with similar symptoms to those described above
approximately 2 months ago.
Initially I dosed Myxazin in case it was bacterial but this had no
I then tried to worm the tank with medication added to the water in
accordance with the instructions (2 weeks after the Myxazin) I have
since read on your site wormers should be added to the food so maybe
that is why I was unsuccessful.
He had the symptoms for approximately 4 weeks before he died, in my
opinion he didn't appear to be suffering so I decided against
Finally to my questions!
I do not want to have a knee jerk reaction and dump in anti bacterial
medication, followed by anti parasite medication and so on and so on.
Does this sound like parasites or bacterial infection to you? Could he
just be a genetically weak fish?
What course of action would you recommend and what medication, if any,
would you suggest? I am based in the UK.
In the event of a suspected case of fish TB, what actions would you
I have read conflicting information on Mycobacterium. Some say it is
present in most tanks but only raises its head when the fish are in a
stressed state with a compromised immune system. Others say it has to be
introduced somehow, what are your thoughts on this?
If the fish are not showing symptoms and live in otherwise good
conditions, is it really necessary to euthanise and start again? (this
is the opinion of many forums) I have spoken to a vet who says I just
need to be aware that it is in the environment and make sure that there
is no cross contamination to other tanks. The fish can lead normal and
The latter is my intention.
If mycobacterium is as infectious as everyone seems to think and as
widespread, wouldn't it be safe to assume that it's in most tanks,
especially since it can often be present without symptoms?
At the moment I do not intend to stock any more fish unless I can get an
'all clear' somehow in the tank. In a few years when my last fish has
gone, what is the best way to disinfect as I understand mycobacterium is
resistant to heat and bleach. I have read alcohol is the way to go,
would you concur?
My apologies for how long winded this was. I have done extensive reading
which has given conflicting advice and left me with more questions than
I hope your fantastic team can clear this up for me.
I am a big fan of your site, thank you so much for sharing your
<Hello Colin, and thanks for the kind words. I fear this is a common
problem with Platies, especially the more inbred strains such as Sunset
and Coral Platies. May be genetic, the old "runt in the litter"
situation, but more than likely some type of Mycobacteria-like wasting
disease. Often seen in livebearers. Environment may be a factor: when I
maintain tanks of livebearers, but neglect maintenance for a few months,
I find more example of these runt-like fish within the group. High
nitrate, low oxygen, high temperatures, and monotonous diet are all
things I think about in this situation, and try to remedy. Sometimes the
fish recover, sometimes not. In any case, Mycobacteria isn't treatable,
certainly not without access to antibiotics. There is indeed some debate
about where this bacterial infection comes from and whether it's in all
tanks all the time -- but I think it probably is, and being highly
contagious, even if it isn't in your tank when you set it up, sooner or
later something brings it in. That said,
Mycobacteria-like infections are rare, and it's that combination of
their rarity and the fact they appear out of nowhere sometimes years
after you add new fish that is odd -- and why I personally believe the
are in most/all tanks, but some stress factor causes the fish to get
There's no real point trying to eliminate it from the aquarium given
that healthy fish shrug it off without any problems, and even if you
sterilise your tank, the filter and your fish may carry the bacteria
line, while you can certainly try to use an internal bacterial
medication to deal with the Mycobacteria, isolating the sick fish, even
in a floating breeding trap, is probably easier and cheaper. The
bacteria will probably have got to the other fish by now, so unless you
treat the whole tank, hospitalising the one sick fish isn't going to
change anything. Besides, healthy fish aren't going to succumb to
Mycobacteria, all else being equal.
As I say, there does seem to be a stress (and perhaps genetics) factor
at work here, with Mycobacteria not being a major threat to most fish
most of the time. The one alternative that might bear thinking about is
parasite that infects the gut (preventing proper absorption of the food,
among other things) and its most distinctive symptom is indeed white,
stringy faeces. Metronidazole is the classic medication here, but in the
UK and EU, you'll find it easier to get hold of something called eSHa
HEXAMITA that is cheaper and available at pet shops. Good luck, Neale.>
Re Thin Platy 11/8/17
Thank you very much indeed for your response.
It would make sense for mycobacterium to be in most tanks; I buy all of
my fish from a reputable source who's husbandry is first class but I
suppose all it would take is one infected fish (or even a net) and
before you know
it, the entire system has the bacteria.
I am very happy I asked the questions now because, like I mentioned
before, most forums would have you reaching for the clove oil at the
first sign of trouble!
<Which isn't a bad approach in terms of humanely destroying sick fish --
something the hobby hasn't always been good at. Plus, identifying and
destroying sick fish does, at the very least, reduce the chances of
other fish becoming infected. So in a sense, that's what happens in the
wild where the "old and sick" would be picked off by predators.>
I will ensure that I keep up the maintenance and look to give them an
Whether or not I put more fish in this tank or not remains to be seen, I
think I will let it run down naturally, get rid of all hardscape, plants
and filter and convert it to a FOWLR tank in a few years time.
<Understandable. Freshwater fishkeeping can be harder than marine
fishkeeping in some ways -- the fact fish are bred to be as cheap as
possible does mean that diseases are more of a risk. If you compare a $2
guppy with a $50 Butterflyfish, the whole economics is going to be
different, with the retailer making much more effort to ensure his stock
is healthy so that doesn't lose money when the fish is in his tanks.
Flip side though is that marine tanks are more expensive to set up and
maintain, and every bit as prone to problems, whether health issues,
algae, or whatever. There's something to be said for brackish water in
this issue, in that you can set up the basics as marine (limestone rock,
coral sand, a skimmer) and keep a few interesting fish just for fun,
like Puffers or Scats, and then, when the time comes, transition these
to a FOWLR system by adding your live rock and whatever marine fish you
I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to me, I can stop
stressing and just get back to enjoying my fish.
<And thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>
Thin Platy 11/8/17
Hello again Neale,
I forgot to say, thank you for recommending the medication, I will
purchase that straight away.
<No problem. I'm just aware that not all the medications recommended by
Americans are available in other parts of the world.>
<Good luck! Neale.>
Re: Thin Platy 11/9/17
Keeping brackish species is something I have always wanted to try,
especially Bumblebee Gobies or some kind of Puffer.
<Figure 8s and BBGs get along well. Neither is suitable for marine, but
a lot of the hardware itself can be used for a future marine tank; the
salt, hydrometer, limestone rocks, etc. There are a lot more species out
there, maybe not traded widely, but available if you know where to ask,
including some that can/should go marine at some point, such as
Chelonodon patoca, one of the prettiest of all the puffers.>
This is definitely something to consider!
Something not quite right with Platies
I'm writing in regards to my 150 liter Juwel aquarium. It's been up and
running for around three months now, and the tank is fully cycled. It's
Temperate: 25 degree Celsius
<This all sounds good.>
The surface of the water ripples from filtration, so I assume aeration is
<Should be. These are well-designed tanks, and provided you don't overstock
them, the built-in filter mixes air and water very well, ensuring good water
It's moderately planted with Java Moss, Java Ferns and Anubias, (plenty of
hiding spaces) and has two filters running; the inbuilt one and a secondary
Eheim. The fish seem to have no issue with the water movement; I added the
Eheim as the focal piece of the tank is a large piece of store bought
driftwood and its shape was causing dead spots.
The stock list is
5 Kuhli loaches (one of which has giraffe-like print? Is this common?)
<Not uncommon. There are several species of Pangio, easily confused, and
frequently jumbled up in the trade. So you could easily have a true Kuhli
(Pangio kuhlii) alongside Pangio semicincta, Pangio myersi or one of the
other Pangio species in the trade.>
2 Albino Corydoras
1 Whiptail Catfish
1 Male Platy
1 Male Swordtail
4 Female Platies (2 of which are orange High-Fins)
I have no plans on adding anymore fish, I'm already concerned that it's
veering on the side of overstocked.
<In 150 litres you're fine. Indeed, I'd add a few more Corydoras so you get
a decent school of 5-6 specimens, and if it were me, a couple more Whiptails
too, as they're fun to watch in groups. The males hold tiny territories and
do their best to flirt with nearby females.>
Every day they receive either spectrum community fish pellets or flakes (I
like to change it up) and also an algae tab, which vanishes over the course
of 5-6 hours. I also supplement their diet with freeze-dried blood-worms
once a week (The platies/swordtail seem largely disinterested in these, but
the Corydoras and whiptail cat make short work of them).
My first attempt of purchasing Platies was a nightmare; of the original
five, only one remains; the female Hi-Fin in the picture, which I assume was
not related to the lot that died. The ones that passed away stopped eating,
sat themselves above the filter out-take, grew mossy and white and passed
away within one or two days. No other fish were affected. I purchased a
female Oreo platy a week later from another store, no problems.
All fish are drip-acclimatized.
A week later, (and now about a week ago) I purchased three more platys from
a different shipment to the same store where I purchased the original ones
(I suspected the store was at fault, now I'm suspecting the supplier). Two
of the platies, (female), have settled in with no problem, but the Male
platy (pictured) has begun clamping and flashing. He is strongly swimming,
attempting to mate with everything and has a full appetite, but I'm
concerned about a repeat event. Are there any preventative measures I can
Additionally, my pregnant looking Hi-Fin has isolated herself from the rest
of the pack since the new fishes introduction. I assumed she was just going
to give birth, and I have spotted a handful of grey fry in the tank, but
I'm concerned about the fact that despite all her other fins are looking
good, her pelvic fins are glued to her body and she looks to be in slight
distress. Her anus also looks swollen, but could this just be from her
Why would her fins be clamped up beneath her?
Thank you in advance, regards, Lena
<As you've experienced, the quality of Platies is middling to poor, at least
in the UK. This is a problem with livebearers across the board really. All
the farmed livebearers have been inbred to the Nth degree, and on top of
that, because they're "easy" to breed, and sold as cheap fish, fish farms
don't put a whole lot of effort into producing good quality livestock.
Bacterial infections as well as things like Camallanus worms seem to be
endemic. Your best approach is to buy specimens from a local breeder, as
those should be much healthier, or alternatively, skip the farmed
livebearers in favour of the less inbred wild-type livebearers such as Limia
nigrofasciata. In any case, I'd tend to adopt a 'wait and see' approach
here. I'd also be minded to use eSHa HEXAMITA, a product sold in Europe, or
alternatively in the US, Metronidazole, to treat against Hexamita
infections. At low level these and similar parasites cause wasting in a
variety of fish, including livebearers. They're otherwise difficult to treat
using the standard medications. Do also note that Platies prefer cool, hard,
alkaline water and will never do well in warm, soft or acidic water. While
middling temperatures (24-25 C) and hardness (around 10 degrees dH) should
suit Platies and other community fish, anything warmer or softer than that
isn't going to work. Cheers, Neale.>
"Big", the Platy...
Hi, Neale - our sunset wag Platy, Big, is starting to live up to his
name and we're getting worried. He's the reason we have this huge tank,
but he's gotten listless, hanging out in the back corner under the
plants. His belly has gotten bigger, and the yellow part of his abdomen
is looking more pale.
<That is indeed what your photo suggests, and this isn't a good sign
with livebearers. Usually associated with stress, sometimes Slime
Disease (also called Costia), sometimes a bacterial infection causing
Dropsy, other times a 'wasting disease' such as Mycobacteriosis. I've
not seen many such specimens recover once they start turning pale. You
could medicate as per Slime Disease and/or internal bacterial
infections, but isolating the fish is a good idea. If the fish doesn't
show any sign of recovery, in all honesty I tend to destroy humanely any
such fish to prevent infecting other specimens. Generally this isn't
"catchy" as such, though exposing a group of fish to stress can of
course trigger a succession of fish becoming sick.>
He comes out into the mid-east, but not to the surface to eat. No
I'll attach a pic, such as I have. He doesn't even chase the gold dust
mollies, hardly, and he was really big on that at the beginning. Ideas?
Thanks, as ever. Hope you are doing well.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
re: "Big", the Platy 9/24/16
He's been swimming more and pooped, we think, and is acting more normal, but
still spends a lot of time down in his corner. We were just talking about how
much time he used to spend up around the pump or by the heater, until we put all
the plants in and gave him a spot he liked better. I'm not sure the time spent
in the corner is more than the time spent hiding up by the filter. But his belly
looks swollen and lopsided, bigger on his right side. He's been through so
damned much that I hate the idea of putting him down. If this could spread,
though, that's a problem. We could put him in
the 10 gallon tank, but the pH on that is around 8 (dunno why)
<It's unlikely that the problem he's got is 'catchy'. The bacteria that cause
this type of problem are ambient in all tanks; it's stress of one sort or
another that makes the fish vulnerable. So while you might isolate
the fish in a breeding trap to stop him being badgered by other fish or
struggling against the current, there's no pressing need to remove him from the
tank. On the other hand, there are some fish diseases, like Neon Tetra Disease,
that are genuinely catchy.>
You talked about humanely putting him down, but how is that done?
<Various methods, but the cheapest and most humane is probably Clove Oil.
Put 30 drops in a litre of aquarium water, then lower the fish into this using a
net. It'll become sedated very quickly, and after half an hour will be dead as a
doornail. Older methods, such as putting a fish in a freezer, aren't considered
humane by vets and not recommended. Clove Oil is widely sold in drugstores for
various uses including treating toothache. A small bottle will cost $5 or so,
and will last you for years (assuming you're not killing fish every day!). It
also happens to smell lovely!!!>
re: "Big"... sigh. Never mind. 9/24/16
Big died suddenly. He had been swimming around normally, then we didn't see him
for a while and I found him current jammed in the plants, dead
<Oh dear. Well, that solves that problem. To some degree, fishkeeping is like
gardening. For whatever reason, some plants do great in your garden, while
others never seem to thrive. Same here: you buy a bunch of different fish that
sound like they should be happy in your tank, but you'll very quickly establish
your tank works well for just a subset of those fish. If you stick with the fish
you've had good experiences with, particular when starting out, you'll find the
hobby quite simple and easy. Don't imagine for a moment I'm saying this lightly;
I care deeply that all pet animals should be cared for well. But at the end of
the day virtually all "good" fishkeepers starting out making mistakes and losing
fish. Good luck, Neale.>
Platy fish loss /RMF 5/3/16
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedules to answer
<We're here to help others enjoy, be successful>
I looked over everything on your page
but could not find a solution to my exact problem. I have an established
community tropical tank and within the past month or so I have lost two
of my platy fish that I have one for a year and another for about 7
months. The first that died started loosing a lot of weight and
began getting weird things on his scales that looked liked dry skin
flaking off and he started sitting on the bottom of the tank and
<Mmm; sounds/reads like possibly Trichodina, or Costia... look up both
these genera... or...>
But then he would zoom around the tank all of a sudden and I thought he
was okay, and he was going up to feed
during most of this time. The second platy also started to sit on the
bottom but he declined much more rapidly than the first, and would nudge
himself into the corner on the tank and lay on his side and just breathe
heavily. He too lost weight and would either hide away, lay on his side
on the bottom of the tank, or swim at the top of the water listlessly as
if gasping for air at the water's surface. His gill's became so
stretched away and open they looked like two gaping slits on the side of
his face. I have introduced other fish since these and I am wondering if
this is some sort of internal parasite?
It is very hard to figure out what might have caused their death since
so many of the symptoms sound alike, and I am deathly afraid of
medicating for the wrong disease as I have over-medicated in the past
and lost so many of my beloved fish.
<Ah, you are wise here. MANY more organisms are lost to mis-medicating
than pathogenic disease. MOST problems are environmental in cause,
source, and most effective treatments involve correcting environment,
I also have Cory cats and a Bristlenose Pleco in the tank,
<Do watch at "lights out" time to see if this catfish is "riding" your
other fishes... They can be the source of mortalities like those you
which I know are sensitive to medications.
<Mmm; Loricariids are not so much different than most fish groups>
Any advice you have would be so helpful I am concerned for my other
fish, especially for one pregnant guppy who is beginning to display some
of the same symptoms as the others did, very red swollen gills, rapid
breathy, hiding and laying on bottom, overall darkening of color on body
and eyes. I am so afraid my whole tank may be infected with what ever
this is, and have been doing daily water changes to try to keep
everything extra clean. Thank you so much again for any insight you may
<Please send along water quality test information, your set up,
maintenance procedures (water change schedule et al.), foods,
feeding.... Your platies may "just be getting old"...
Poeciliids don't live long; but there may be some useful clues and
responses you/we can provide. Bob Fenner>
Platy fish loss /Neale
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedules to answer
my question. I looked over everything on your page but could not find a
solution to my exact problem. I have an established community tropical
tank and within the past month or so I have lost two of my platy fish
that I have one for a year and another for about 7 months. The first
that died started loosing a lot of weight and began getting weird things
on his scales that looked liked dry skin flaking off and he started
sitting on the bottom of the tank and breathing rapidly.
<As Bob has suggested, Costia (also known as Slime Disease) is one
possibility here, though I'd be surprised if a Bristlenose was sucking
on the infected fish -- Ancistrus are normally extremely well behaved.
Costia is difficult to treat, but I've had good success with a
combination of eSHa EXIT and seawater dips.>
But then he would zoom around the tank all of a sudden and I thought he
was okay, and he was going up to feed during most of this time.
<Understood; and unfortunately, recognised.>
The second platy also started to sit on the bottom but he declined much
more rapidly than the first, and would nudge himself into the corner on
the tank and lay on his side and just breathe heavily. He too lost
weight and would either hide away, lay on his side on the bottom of the
tank, or swim at the top of the water listlessly as if gasping for air
at the water's surface. His gill's became so stretched away and open
they looked like two gaping slits on the side of his face. I have
introduced other fish since these and I am wondering if this is some
sort of internal parasite?
<Possibly, but seems to be a problem with farmed livebearers across the
board. Alongside Costia, you might consider a Mycobacteria infection,
sometimes called Wasting Disease, which is very commonly seen among
Guppies and other livebearers. These infections are untreatable, and
appear to be latent among many types of fish, and triggered by some type
of environmental stress perhaps, or diet, or even bad luck.>
It is very hard to figure out what might have caused their death since
so many of the symptoms sound alike, and I am deathly afraid of
medicating for the wrong disease as I have over-medicated in the past
and lost so many of my beloved fish.
I also have Cory cats and a Bristlenose Pleco in the tank, which I know
are sensitive to medications. Any advice you have would be so helpful I
am concerned for my other fish, especially for one pregnant guppy who is
beginning to display some of the same symptoms as the others did, very
red swollen gills, rapid and heavy breathy, hiding and laying on bottom,
overall darkening of color on body and eyes. I am so afraid my whole
tank may be infected with what ever this is, and have been doing daily
water changes to try to keep everything extra clean. Thank you so much
again for any insight you may have.
<The good news, I suppose, is that Wasting Disease among livebearers
doesn't seem to jump to dissimilar types of fish, so your catfish,
tetras or barbs should all be fine. If the same thing is happening each
time, isolating and humanely destroying infected fish may be helpful in
slowing down the spread of the disease. Antibiotics are an option, but
their success rate with Mycobacteria infections is very low, and
probably not cost effective with small fish like Platies. The other tack
is to understand that Mycobacteria infections come in with farmed fish
triggered by environmental conditions. Platies, for example, are low-end
tropical fish from slow-moving streams and ponds. So the right
conditions for them would be cool (22-24 C/72-75 F) and with gentle
Hardness and pH would be high. Nitrate should be as low as practical. As
herbivores, their diet should be based around algae and softened greens;
vitamin deficiency can certainly make fish less able to fight off some
infections. Nothing completely certain here, sadly, but some ideas at
Trying to save my platy 4/25/15
I have been having problems with one of my 4 platys. Currently my 50 gallon tank
has 4 platys, 5 danios, and 7 tetras. I got the first two platys back in August
from the LFS. They were both small at the time but Clark, the sick fish,
never seemed to grow but never acted sick either. He was always a bit
more reserved and somewhat scared of the other platy. I was worried he was
constantly being picked on so I got two more platys. These two also grew much
bigger, but Clarke still did not. He stopped being so scared and was eating like
he should. I always thought it was weird that he never got bigger but just wrote
it off as he was just a smaller guy. About a month ago I saw him start to have
white poop. I immediately thought it was an internal parasite because of his
size. I talked with the LFS and they recommended API General Cure and Melafix.
<Neither terribly useful. Think of it this way: if a doctor recommended a
medicine that cured everything, would you trust him? No, neither would I.
Identify the problem, and treat it with a medication specific to that problem.>
I treated the whole tank as directed but nothing seemed to improve for Clark,
however nothing got worse either. When I saw him still pooping white and did
some research and found New Life Spectrum's Hex Shield food. I gave him that for
three days and he seemed to get better.
<Good. Did the environment improve any? The two things usually (almost always)
go together. Let's recap: Platies must have hard, alkaline water; they do not
appreciate high temperatures (aim for 22-25 C/72-77 F) preferably towards the
low end. Finally, they're less hardy than they once were, and non-zero ammonia
and nitrite will cause problems.>
Recently though, he took a turn for the worse. He started pooping white
again but now he lays at the bottom in the house or under a plant.
<White faeces imply irritation of the gut and resulting mucous in the faeces.
While usually linked to Hexamita, other gut parasites, including intestinal
worms, can cause this. Among livebearers sold in the US, Camallanus worms seem
quite common for some reason. No idea why. But medicating with Prazi Pro or
similar can be helpful.>
What's weird though is he will always know when I am feeding the tank and he
comes right up to the top to eat. After he eats he lays back down. I tried to
feed him the medicated food again but nothing is changing. No better, no worse.
We have been doing this for a week and every morning I'm thinking he is going to
be dead, he swims right up to the top of the tank
for food. His little front fins do seem to be working hard for the speed he is
going but other that there are no other obvious signs of disease. The poop now
is white and red and spirals when it comes out, odd.
<If the faeces are moving, then Camallanus (or some other worm species) is
almost certainly the problem.>
All of the other fish poop red because of the flakes. I found a place that sells
flakes medicated with Fenbendazole. Do you think this will work?
Do you think its camallus worms? Its so hard to tell if its a worm on not.
<Fenbendazole can work against Camallanus, but dosing is difficult. A vet is the
best bet, but failing that, follow the instructions, but be prepared to run more
than one course of medication.>
Once it fell to the gravel it did nothing but lay there. Could it be something
<Hard to say.>
Ps. I test the water each week when I do 25% water changes and the water is
<Meaning what? "Good" water chemistry for Platies is "Bad" for most South
Thanks so much!!
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Platy wasting away
Hey guys, running into another issue with the tank, hoping you can help.
I have a 200L community tank with Platy's, Neon Tetras, Cherry Barbs,
Cory's and Rasboras. A little while ago I discovered that I was
essentially asphyxiating my fish without proper aeration, after a number
of Rasboras died I had the a-ha moment and fixed this issue.
Unfortunately at that point I think a number of the fish had become
weakened enough to catch various problems. I've had two neons die from
what looked like Neon Tetra disease (the red tail fading to white
eventually they turned blackish before I pulled them out of the tank). I
now have my longest living platy who has been getting thinner and
thinner and thinner over the past few weeks to where it just cant be
good. He's still eating, and trails long poops (as do many of my fish
now?) I thought it was constipation so fed some mushy peas but it hasn't
seemed to help. Some of the fish poop is clear and transparent, others
just the color of the food Im feeding. Other then the poor guy getting
thinner and thinner I don't see any surface marks or issues with the
fish. After much searching It feels like it could be a parasite? Im in
the UK so haven't been able to find any medicines that
are generally referred to treat. Do you guys have any suggestions, or
could this be something else?
<Hello Charles. I'm not convinced there's much to be done here. Systemic
bacterial infections in farmed livebearers are, sadly, quite common.
Guppies are the worst, but Platies are pretty commonly found to suffer
from this problem as well. Usually what happens is you buy a group, most
do well, but one simply fails to thrive. It gets thinner as the others
wax fat, and eventually you simply find it dead in a corner of the tank.
Worm infections such as Camallanus might be implicated, but these
usually manifest themselves differently, a combination of wasting, worms
from the vent, and swelling of the abdomen. More likely is a protozoan
infection such as Hexamita, which often leads to clear, stringy faeces,
or a systemic bacterial infection such as Mycobacteria spp., which is
often the cause of wasting. In any event, your range of options is
limited. eSHa HEXAMITA is probably your best bet; see here:
It's inexpensive and widely sold, and eSHa products tend to be a
cut-above the other (non-prescription) medications sold in the UK. It
should shift Hexamita and some bacterial infections if not too serious.
I certainly choose to use them as/when needed. It treats a wide range of
possible problems, though not all (Mycobacteria are all but
untreatable). Worth a shot, definitely, but not a 100% guarantee.
Re: Platy wasting away
He's actually the oldest platy I have and he's been quite robust till
Thanks for the pointer for the treatments, will give it a go!
<Ah; well, good luck. Neale.>
Dead Rasboras/White spots (doesn't look like ich?) on tail of
Hey guys, a bit of drama in ye ole fish tank this past week. I have a
200L community tank with Platy's (male/female/babies!) a few guppies, a
Betta, a handful of neon tetra's, and some Rasboras along with live
plants. A few weeks ago I noticed very large quantities of fuzzy algae
in the tank which was very heavily planted. I went in and removed a
bunch of the heavy
coated leaves/plants trimming things back, and that's when things went
<Sometimes happens when you prune plants; some species dislike this
immensely, notably Vallisneria, which goes into total shock if you pull
off more than one or two leaves. The plants will recover, but in the
meantime, your tank has lost some balance, healthy plants often becoming
a crucial part of the ecosystem in older, often somewhat neglected tanks
were doing good work pulling in ammonia and nitrate, and giving out
Leaves and algae also provide homes for filter bacteria, and if you
remove them, there's a bit less biological filtration. If your filter
isn't working at its best, then losing these good bacteria can be enough
to tip things in the aquarium towards the bad end of the water quality
Giving the filter a quick clean, doing a water change or two, and
letting the plants alone for a few weeks should have everything back to
I've only been into fish keeping since this past summer, and I made a
huge mistake with my 200L tank when I upgraded to a canister filter. I
didn't add any aeration other then the spray bar with the filter. As it
turns out, it was just barely adequate with the plants generating
oxygen, when I removed them, within a few days my Rasboras started to
<Ah yes, see above. Canister filters are outstanding machines when it
comes to removing waste, but they use up oxygen like nothing else!
Unlike hang-on-the-back filters and any air-powered filter, they don't
mix air with water, so the oxygen the bacteria use comes from the tank.
You must, must, must compensate for this by using a spray bar, venturi,
or some other
mechanism for ensuring a good mix of air and water at the filter outlet.
Simply lowering the water level 1-2 cm below the filter outlet may be
all you need. What you want is ruffled water, even a bit of splashing,
though rarely enough noise to be distracting. As the filter gets clogged
up though, you'll see the water flow decline, and the splashing at the
outlet gets less. This is problematic, and can lead to oxygen shortfalls
I've had a nagging feeling about oxygenation for awhile so on a hunch I
bought an Eheim 200 and popped it in at night. By the next morning the
entire tank was alive with activity like I haven't seen in an age. Boy
did I feel like a bad parent. The Rasboras which had started developing
strange sores on their heads appear to have recovered, but in the
meantime I started to see a cloudy whitish band on my yellow platy which
has typically been crystal clear and amazing to look at. I had a bottle
of Rid-Ich on hand as my only weapon so I started to use it (before I
realized it would only cover four days of treatment, and I can't buy
more anytime soon in the UK unfortunately!) as it claimed to attack
other sorts of fungus.
<Ick/Whitespot medications tend to be quite distinct from Finrot/Fungus
medications, and I'd be very dubious about any that promised to cure
Now I've found that a number of the other Platy's have started to
develop spots of some sort. I've always thought of ich as little grains
of sand, and these white spots are much bigger, so not sure what they
are? I also am worrying the fish also have pop-eye as they look like
they're sticking out a bit more than normal, but I don't know for sure.
Any help identifying the
disease(s) would be greatly appreciated!
<I don't see any specific disease going on here, more overall stress and
perhaps a bit of overfeeding/constipation. So apart from cutting back on
the food a bit, I'd be optimising water quality as described above, and
perhaps using a general purpose anti-Finrot, anti-Fungal medication (in
the UK, I recommend eSHa 2000 as the one I've had most luck with).>
The yellow guy has a 'cloudy' tail, it used to be super transparent and
beautiful, now there is a cloudy/white line running top to bottom, and
the red guy you can see the white regions in the images. The red/black
platy (we call him roasted pepper also has some strangeness in the
orange part of his tail that I didn't notice before, but I could be
looking just too close.
The water parameters are 0/0/25-30 for ammonia/nitrite/nitrate, 200L
tank, Eheim 300 filter, Eheim 200L air pump, and TMC v2 Vecton 600
(which I was hoping would be a good sterilizer for the lower flow Eheim
300 and small tank size).
<It's a fine unit, but isn't needed most of the time. Since the UV tube
has a definite lifespan (6-12 months, I believe) I'd tend to run the
thing only for maybe 2-4 weeks immediately after adding new livestock.
Beyond that it won't really be doing anything since it really only
affects (a) mobile parasites such as Whitespot and (b) planktonic algae
such as "green water"
and diatom blooms, which they fix amazingly well. But UV doesn't have
any benefits against Finrot, Fungus, or any of the stress-related
diseases that crop up over the lifetime of your fish. Do also remember
you'll need to clean the glass inside this unit periodically or the UV
will be blocked from the water. For what it's worth, there's almost no
reason for most
freshwater aquarists to buy these devices.>
Any thoughts really gratefully appreciated!
re: Dead Rasboras/White spots (doesn't look like ich?) on tail of
Thanks Neale, so the white spots on the tail are a fungus?
<Possibly. Or Finrot. Or simply damaged tissue. Hard to say. Optimising
living conditions and using an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial medication is
consequently the safest first move.>
I'll order up the eSHa 2000 and give it a go!
<eSHa 2000. Available in the UK and Europe. Elsewhere you'll want a
different product. In the US, products like KanaPlex (primarily
Kanamycin) and ParaGuard (various aldehydes and malachite green) fulfill
a similar function.>
Old Platy has raised scales on caudal peduncle
Hi. I have a 3-4 year old platy that has recently developed an area of
raised "pineconey" scales mostly on the lower half of the caudal
<I see this in your photo>
In addition he displayed some erratic behavior (slight hyperactivity,
rarely hanging at the surface, some sudden jerky movements,
caudal fin clamped). He eats normally. For
about 6 months or so he had a few
individual scales that were raised (1. where caudal fin meets peduncle,
and 2. one on his side, right in the middle).
<Good observation; relating >
These never seemed to correct themselves but
did not seem to be progressing. However about a week or
two ago, I noticed the large area of raised
I am unsure if this is a straight infection, age related degeneration,
or a combination of age-related degeneration +
<Perhaps along with some issues from too much inbreeding... likely>
I have moved him into a quarantine tank with approx 5g/l marine salt ( I
ran out of regular aquarium salt) and added 2 measures of SeaChem
Kanaplex in 10 gallons of water. I also mixed
some Kanaplex with food and fed it to him.
He has been in the bath for 48 hrs. His condition does not seem to have
improved, but it has not gotten worse either.
Here is a photo attached
Thank you for any insight you might have.
<Well.... there could be an infectious agent at play here as you
hint/surmise... but my guess is principally on the heritable
characteristics element here. Too many livebearers are casually
incestuously produced (as opposed to line breeding that originally was
employed to produce varieties and fix them. IF it were mine, and the
only fish involved I would humanitarily euthanize this one specimen.
Please read Neale's piece here re:
Re: Old Platy has raised scales on caudal peduncle
I've had this platy since 2011 and he has always had some slightly rough
scales. Perhaps it is bad genetics ( I had a few platies that developed
hereditary melanoma, so I've experienced some of that before).
It has only
recently become worse enough to become an issue. I'm keeping euthanasia as
an option for if/when it gets worse. If there is an infectious component,
any guidelines for trying to treat it?
<There are a few "general approaches"... the better dealing with a mix/variety
of antibiotics/antimicrobials, BUT given that you've had the fish this very
long, I would not employ any... the issue/etiology is apparently not pathogenic>
Male platy not active 3/12/13
Please help me diagnose problems with my platy. I have a 10 gallon tank
with a HOB filter , air stone and heater. The occupants are 2 adult
female sunburst platies, 1 male swordtail, and a male sunburst platy.
These were about a year old when I got them and they have been with me
for a year and a half. There's also another young female (8 month old)
platy that was born
in the tank. I have a water Anubias plant, some decorations and gravel.
My water parameters are as follows. I do a 10% water change every week.
The tank is cycled and running since August 2011 with no problems.
Ammonia : 0 ppm
nitrites : 0 ppm
nitrates : < 20 ppm
ph : 6.8-7.2
kH : 80
gH : 150.
Temperature : 78 F
<All appears fine here. I do wish this tank were a bit larger though...
easier to maintain, a bit more swimming room>
The problem is with the male platy. All other fish are healthy, eat well
and are active, no problems at all. I feed them with Tetra algae flakes.
once a day. About 4 weeks ago, I noticed that the male platy was getting
very thin. I thought he was perhaps getting bullied, so I started
putting food closer to him to make sure he ate well. Then, 3 weeks ago,
he started lying down on the gravel. He swims sometimes, but it looks
like he has to put in a lot of effort to swim. He does display a
swimming habit that I could describe as "darting wildly" when he goes to
eat food floating on the water. So I got a breeder net and put that in
the tank and put him in it to make sure he ate well. Nowadays the only
time he does swim is when I go near the tank and when I put in food. He
is eating but its lesser than what the other platies eat. His poop is
white, stringy and very little, consistent with the amount that he eats.
The lying down, being thin, and white stringy poop made me think he had
so I dosed the tank with Tetra Parasite Guard medication. So far I have
put in 1 tablet a week with a 20% water change on the weekend. The
medication contains Praziquantel, Diflubenzuron, Metronidazole and
Acriflavine. I tried powdering some of the tablet mixing it with his
food but he just won't eat it then. I tried soaking freeze dried
bloodworms in the medication dissolved tank water but he wont eat the
bloodworms. Freeze dried brine shrimp are too large for his tiny mouth.
Besides the symptoms I have described, he doesn't seem to have any other
problems, his skin looks fine no spots or bulging eyes or anything
Please let me know your thoughts on this. I truly appreciate your help.
<Thank you for writing so well, thoroughly. I do wish I had something
definitive to offer you here. This one male platy may "just be getting
old" (yes, at the few months, years you mention)... It may have some
sort of internal parasitic issue, but I doubt it... as your other
livebearers would likely be similarly infested. I would do as you've
tried, but don't anticipate that this one specimen will rally. The one
action I would take is to set your heater thermostat to lower...
allowing the temperature to register in the lower 70's F. when ambient
conditions allow. Drifting higher in warmer weather is/will be fine. Bob
Platies clamped, not eating. Host of errors, need to
After reading your site for weeks, I'm still not sure about my
problem with my platies! Here's my stats: 14 gallon, nitrites 0,
nitrates 10-15, temp 77, few live plants, Aqueon charcoal filter
external, heater, high pH 8.6+,
<Yikes. I'd mix in some RO, other water of lower pH... have this
soft water, highest alkalinity on the chart.
<Surprising to have soft water given such a high pH and alkalinity.
Do see the Net re, and check your test kit/s>
Started the tank as a new aquarist this new year 2011. We had problems
(5), with one dying, all were aggressive to the platies and each other
so we sold them back to a LFS. And replaced them with 3 young
<... females of what? Of platies I take it>
after the tank was cycled. Now we have: 3 females, 5 males,
<Not a good sex ratio.... See WWM re>
1 red fin shark.
<The last can be/come very aggressive; particularly in small systems
No problems much for the first 2 months, but now we have a few! I do
25% water changes weekly with vacuuming gravel.
First, our alpha female (the only oldest enough to have fry) has been
pregnant 2x that we know of, one survivor we named
hid in the plants and thrived for over a month, grew to 1cm, then hid
for a few days and died. No physical symptoms on any fish. Then 2 of
the young females we acquired last became slow, lethargic, clamped
fins, uninterested in food, then hovered in the corner, then laid
motionless on the bottom for a few days, and one finally died. No other
symptoms on her- no physical problems except clamped fins, but the day
she died, her bright color faded grayish (maybe loss of color, maybe
gray film?). Meanwhile, I searched online tirelessly for answers. I
measured no changes in our water parameters during the last few months.
They eat tropical fish flakes (yes, I've seen your articles and now
know they need more veggies!). The 2nd sick platy had same lethargy,
clamped fins, no physical symptoms but stopped eating much.
So I tried the saltwater bath for 10 minutes (~2Tbs/ gallon) and she
perked right up and started eating again. Now she's back to her
lethargy, floating sadly at the top corners of the tank or hiding at
the bottom. So I though I'd try meds, because she will very
occasionally flash on decor. One other fish did too, only a few times
I've seen (maybe the soft water??). So clamped fins and lack of
appetite are the only real symptoms here, with rare flashing. The other
platies, large males especially, are thriving with energy and normal
breeding behavior. I have noticed some feces is clear/white, very thin
and stringy. I've thought about parasites,
<Mmm, no. Doubtful the issue here is anything other than
so I bought parasite away fizz tabs and medicated 2 times (once, waited
48 hours, 25% water change, then another medicated tab). I don't
see any improvement,
I hope I'm just impatient and it takes time?? Yesterday was that
second fizz tab application, so today I thought, why not try the Quick
<Mmm, no; not this. Too toxic. Will kill off your bio-filter, too
likely your livestock along with it (formalin esp.)>
too since my charcoal and bio filters are out in a separate bucket of
fish water already, safely away from the meds. So I put the 1 drop/
gallon in this morning. (Filter and heater still plugged in, of
course). No improvement yet with young "Goldy", the sick
little female. Sometimes I will see the white feces on a few fish, and
later that same day it will be dark brown healthy looking, then the
next time it's back to thin and white! I hope that means it's
nutritional and not parasitic? The platy "Goldy" who's
not eating has no feces for me to observe, but I try to keep a close
eye on her.
Another maybe separate issue, our huge female has a fuzzy white growth
on her black tail (both sides of tail, like it goes right through it,
at the base). She seems fine, the growth appeared weeks ago, and grew
over a few days, now it's just there still. She was the only female
(I learned the ratio of 1 male/ 2 female after I purchased our first
group of fish, that's why we traded the Danios for 3 more young
females), so she is picked on by the 3 big males often. Maybe a battle
wound? What else should I do here, and when can I replace the charcoal
and bio filters?
<Fix the water quality>
One more ringer to complicate things though, we're leaving on an 8
day vacation in a few days!!! I am trying my best to quickly cure this
You recommend not feeding, instead of using the 14 day vacation feeder
block I have??
<I'd place some useful live plant/s (see WWM re) and leave out
the feeder block. These are almost worthless nutritionally>
Should I use Quick Cure for 2 more consecutive days, as recommended on
the bottle (do I change the water before each application, esp. since
my filter is out)?
<... I would not>
Also, I started this tank and for the first few months used water from
our tap that was from our water softener.
Maybe that bothers them? So now I go to the garage to get fresh well
water, and add a touch of boiling water to get it to 77 degrees, but my
test strips still say that it's "very soft"???
<Don't trust "strips"... See WWM re these, other test
Help please! and Thank YOU.
<And read re Platies period:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Sick Platy - Please Advise 3/10/11
one of our platies has been unwell lately and I was wondering if you
could help us diagnose the problem.
First, the setup: 10 gallon Aqueon tank half-moon tank.
<Not big enough for Platies.>
Heater with single (preset) temperature, runs about 76F.
<Too warm for Platies in the long term; use/set heater to 22-24
Tetra biofilter. LED lights, we keep them on about 11 hours a day. The
tank was set up in October 2010 with two male platies. One had a swim
bladder problem so it was exchanged right away (for another male). The
two have been in there alone since then. We have been doing ~25-50%
water changes every 7-10 days and changing the carbon packs in the
filter every month.
<Carbon largely pointless in most freshwater aquaria.>
Water quality was tested about 1-2 times a week, most recent numbers
pH - 7.2 ammonia - 0 nitrite - 0 nitrate - 0
<pH doesn't really tell me anything useful here. Platies MUST
have hard water. If you have soft water, adding 2-3 gram/litre marine
salt mix will help dramatically, but not all community fish will
tolerate this, so review tankmates beforehand.>
For food, we have been using the Tetra Color tropical flakes, twice a
day, about the equivalent of two large flakes each time. Once in a
while we give them about three-four Tetra Min tropical granules. The
platy who is currently ill does not seem to like them though (the other
<Platies need a plant-based diet: algae flake, cooked peas, cooked
About three weeks ago we noticed a small white growth above the eye of
one of the platies.
We also noticed that he was swimming a little erratically, and was a
little lethargic. We did a salt bath that evening - he seemed okay
during the salt bath, but very skittish afterwards for about a day.
<Salt baths don't do anything miraculous.>
We also added aquarium salt in the tank. Adding the salt seemed to make
him a little more energetic. At the advice of the local pet store, and
after examining the white area more carefully, we thought it might be a
fungal growth, since the area looked a little fuzzy, and was not
<Do read here for what salt does, doesn't do:
We did not see small white dots anywhere else on the body so we thought
it was probably not Ich. At the advice of the pet store clerk, we
bought some Pimafix
<Not a reliable treatment, but can help very mild infections.>to
treat the tank with. The treatment (5mL/day as indicated on the label)
seemed to respond well at first, the white area decreased slightly
after a couple of days, but then remained constant. After the 7th day,
as indicated by the Pimafix instructions, we did a 25% water change and
continued the treatment. This has seemed to work fairly well - that
white fuzzy growth area appears to be almost gone now, 11 days after
the treatment started.
However, the erratic movement continued, and this is what worries me.
At first, we thought that it could be a sign of flashing - however,
most of the time, the movements are not against anything - he just
suddenly lurches forward or sideways a little. Sometimes it's in a
sequence of a few rapid movements, 2-3 lurches, then continues
swimming. It appears to come and go, at about a 5-day cycle of building
up then slowing again. The last time we noticed a lot of this behavior
was about 3 days ago. After that point, we noticed that he had a very
thin, white stringy poo that day - one long strand, and then a few
hours later another shorter strand. After that point he seemed to be
fine for a couple of days. His poo yesterday seemed normal, more
brown-ish and thicker, cylindrical like the other platy (and as it had
before.) However, tonight he started the lurching movement again. The
other platy has not been affected at all throughout this period.
Any suggestions for what might be wrong with him? I thought it might be
an intestinal parasite of some sort, but we are not sure how to
diagnose it or get the correct treatment. Any advice or suggestions you
may offer will be greatly required.
Thank you very much for your help,
<Alex, do read here:
Platies have quite specific requirements, and the fancy, inbred forms
in particular are sensitive fish. Ensure they have swimming space, cool
water, lots of oxygen, and plenty of "green" foods. You
can't do much about the low quality of farmed Platies, but you can
at least ensure you provide them with the right conditions. Cheers,
Platy Tank Needs Help! - 8/1/10
I have had my 20g long tank for 2 years. I currently have 3 neon and 9
Platies of different varieties (Mickey Mouse, Red Tail, Bumble bee...)
3 of those Platies are still small. They were born in our tank several
ago. The tank has a carbon filter, about 1" of gravel, plenty of
areas to hide, an aeration tube (?) along the back wall, and plastic
and live plants. Temperature is 81 degrees,
<Insanely warm for Platies! Honestly, 22-24 C/72-75 F is the ideal
ammonia is 0, ph is 7.5. The tank is salted with aquarium salt.
<No particular need for salt unless you live in a soft water
The problem is this. A few weeks ago, one of my Platies developed a
flat underside. She got very thin and her belly actually went concave.
I moved her to my sick tank. When I checked on line, I read that it
could be TB or
parasites. She was suffering, so I euthanized her. Last week, I saw
another platy looking the same. I moved her to my sick tank, and by
morning, she had died. 2 days ago, I found my algae eater dead too.
<What sort of algae eater?>
I also saw that my one male platy has stringy white poop. I read that
that could be parasites or poor diet. Since I was feeding tropical
flakes alternated with vegetarian crisps, I didn't think that was
the problem. But I did decide to vary the diet (hoping it was a diet
problem, NOT the parasites). I saw that I could feed my Platies cooked
peas. I shelled the peas, fed it to them and they loved them! A week
ago, I also added a new live plant. It is a large one that has a large
<What sort of plant? I ask because a lot of beginners who don't
know the names of their plants buy non-aquatic plants. It's
terrible, but MANY aquarium shops sell such plants: Dracaena, Lucky
Bamboo, etc. And yes, these die underwater, and yes, as they do so they
rot and ruin water quality.>
Now I have 3 female Platies (1 obviously pregnant one and 1 fry) with
clamped fins. They are also hanging out at the top of the tank, mouths
by the water. I am not sure what is wrong. I took the new plant out,
wondering if it was somehow causing the stress. I have done 2 - 30%
water changes this week. Also, I have added more salt to the water to
help with their stress.
<Go easy with the salt. For Platies, a good therapeutic dose would
be around 1-2 grammes per litre.>
I am afraid that all of my fish are going to die if I do not do
something quick. I appreciate any advice you can give me!
<Do check you have moderately hard to hard water; without this,
Platies won't thrive. Intestinal worms such as Camallanus worms are
quite common among livebearers, and this will need to be treated with a
antihelminthic. "Fish TB" isn't common, and most people
who mention this disease have no real idea what it actually is. On the
other hand, similar Mycobacterium infections are quite common,
especially in poor environmental conditions. Do review here:
Sunshine Platy: New FW system. Platy Health.
Several possible causes. 5/16/2010
HI All At WWM
<Hi Jack and Wendy.>
We are new to fishkeeping.
<Welcome to the hobby!>
We have set up a tropical tank with advice from the local recommended
we set up for 1 week without fish, added 5 plants, temp stable, a
fishkeeping friend and the shop stated it was time to add the fish.
We bought 4 Platies.
<Good for you on waiting a bit before adding fish. However, it
usually tanks a bit longer than that to establish some sort of
biological filtration. Please do read here:
24 hours later all going well so far, we are taking a water sample in
to the shop next week.
<Do invest in a basic water test kit - it makes diagnosing problems
in the tank much easier. For a basic freshwater tank, pH, ammonia,
nitrIte, and nitrAte are all that is required. Do note however, that
the 'test strips' frequently sold are notoriously
However, we have a behaviour question, the Platies are mixed except one
a sunshine platy and it sits on the bottom, near the heater, does not
all with the others, or participate in feeding time behaviour.
Do you think this is bullying or do you think this is a fish that
hasn't handled the home transition and new environment as well?
<Your question begs a few questions of its own. How big is the tank
and how is the water filtered? The causes could be environmental -
ammonia buildup in the water, bullying by the other fish, or the fish
was just in poor health to begin with.(Not an uncommon event)>
Should we segregate the fish?
We have a spare tank we were going to use for marine when we build
skills and experience.
<At this time, I would not. Do change 20% of the water in your tank
and see if the fish improves.>
<Here are some articles on Platies that you should find helpful.
Regards Jack and Wendy Manchester UK
<My pleasure, Mike V, Melbourne, Florida>
Platy Question, hlth., troubleshooting
Hi, I'm sure you can answer this question.
<Have you looked to see if it has been already?>
I had a Platy in a 55 gallon tank with a kissing fish,
<Better to have in pairs>
2 female guppies, 2 male guppies and a sucker fish.
<What species? Please see WWM re Gyrinocheilus>
Today I got up to feed my fish and everything was fine. But I looked
into the tank a couple of hours later, I realized that my platy had
died. Not only that but his intestines seemed to be coming out from his
gills or a hole just below them. It seemed as if his gills had been
sliced open and his guts came out. (By guts I mean a clear string with
red staining) Just a few hours earlier he seemed to be just fine,
eating, no problems.
I called a fish store out of town and he said that it sounds like Gill
I went and bought the treatment for this, but now two of my guppies
have died, but with out any signs or spots that I can see. I did all
the tests and the water chemistry is all with in range, the tank is
warmed to 80-82f and consistent. We do a 20% change every Sunday, and
check the water chemistry every other day, just to make sure.
The water we use is stored in a 10 gallon tank, which is treated with
water conditioner and ran through a filter for two days with no fish in
the this tank,
<Better to store for a week ahead, but okay>
water chemistry is also checked before replacing the tank water. Both
filters in the tanks get changed weekly and the 'floss' filter
is washed in the old tank water.
When I treated the fish tank, I took out the finer filter for several
hours because it had activated charcoal and I read that it may filter
out the medication.
<I see, good>
Please tell me what I'm doing wrong and why my fish seem to be
dropping like flies?
<Can't discern from the data presented. Need to know water
chemistry, history of introduction of the fishes, perhaps images of
I also had a team of neon tetra just disappear. One was caught in the
filter, but the other four just disappeared. I don't want to go get
other fish until this problem is fixed. Could it be a problem at the
pet shop where I bought the fish?
Also, how long can a fish survive in the bag from a pet shop to
<Depends... using oxygen instead of ambient air, several hours.
Should be able to "make it" w/o for at least an hour or
I would rather go to another city to buy my fish, but it's nearly
an hour and forty five minuet drive until we would get home. Can fish
survive this trip and the time needed to adjust the fish to the tank,
or is there another way to transport them beyond the plastic baggy we
<Best to leave in the bags... in an insulated cooler if it's
cold outside... Ask for pure oxygen if you're going to be out more
than a couple of hours... And do read here:
and the linked files above for input, ideas on the types of information
we need, possibilities of trouble here. Bob Fenner>
Platy Swollen Anus Region/Lethargic (Resending with
I'm so sorry about the previous message with huge photos.
I'm trying again.
<Err... from one extreme to the other... This photo is tiny!
Can't speak for Windows, but on a Mac running OS X 10.5,
simply open your image in Preview, start by outlining the
important part of the image using the
Select tool from the menu bar. Command-K will crop the image
down. Then choose Adjust Size under the Tools menu, and then
select something sensible in terms of image size, e.g., 72 dpi,
around 400-600 pixels up and across.
I presume Windows and other operating systems have similar tools
Hi. I have a Platy that has a red swollen anus with what appears
to be something stuck in the opening that seems to be keeping the
<Could be a variety of things, but Camallanus worms are most
likely. These look like red threads that poke out of the anus.
Unlike most other worm infections that cannot become established
under aquarium conditions, Camallanus can, by using the
ubiquitous near-microscopic crustacean hosts present in the
She is not swimming (staying at top or bottom of tank) for the
past couple of days. I'm trying to figure out if this is
constipation or some type of bacterial infection and how to
<If Camallanus, that's a nematode worm infection, and
you'll need a specific medication, Levamisole hydrochloride.
Ask your retailer specifically for this, and use as indicated on
the packaging. The common
worm medication Praziquantel, e.g., PraziPro, DOES NOT work on
Camallanus worms, so don't buy this; you specifically need
I've made some changes to my feeding the tank recently. I
realized I had been feeding the Platies improperly (no greens,
regular flake food). I had noticed they had whitish color faeces,
some normal brown and some that are brown and white. So five days
ago, I switched them to Spirulina flake as a staple. About four
days ago I gave the tank 1/2 cube of frozen brine shrimp and
three days ago I made the mistake of dropping in two algae wafers
for the catfish and did not remove till I got home from work.
<Nothing here sounds dangerous.>
By that time, all my Platies had gorged themselves on the wafers.
So I stopped feeding the tank, except for a few peas a couple of
Yesterday I did try feeding the lethargic Platy a mushed pea from
She took a bite, spit it out and swam off. One of my other
Platies gobbled what I dropped and that Platy seems to have
bloated right back up.
<If the worms are the problem here, the food is not really a
factor, though as ever, a sensible diet and good water quality
improve the chances of recovery.>
12 Corydoras (added 6 of these in past week with no
6 Platies (1 is two months old) (added 2 of these in past week
with no quarantine)
Temp 78 degrees (recently adjusted this from 75, but I may have
just been confused that this can help if they are
<Slightly on the warm side for Platies and indeed Corydoras;
both species prefer slightly cool conditions, around 24 C/75 F
The particular Platy that is swollen in her anus region is the
one Platy that my one male Platy obsesses over. I put him in a
breeder net yesterday for a few hours to give her a break as she
obviously is not feeling well and he has since backed off. My
concern is my Platies have some type of infection or parasite and
she, being weakened by the constant male attention, is getting
sicker at a faster rate and my others will soon follow. She is
not passing any faeces that I can discern. This morning she
started to shake back and forth from time to time.
The other Platies are active but their faeces is still off and on
<Wouldn't worry overmuch about this, but mucous-rich
faeces are whitish in colour and can indicate parasitic
infections causing irritation to the intestines.>
Can you advise from the information I've given and the
pictures of her what you think is going on and how I should
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Platy Swollen Anus Region (for Neale, bigger pics)
I'm so sorry Neale, I know this is annoying. I'm annoyed
with myself. I recently uploaded Picasa and don't know what
I'm doing with it, I can't look at any photos except
through it. Anywho, here is a bigger pics at 480 pixels.
<Pictures are a fine size... but the Platy itself is a bit
small within those photos to see much. I'd recommend you
Google "Camallanus" and have a look at what you find.
Compare with the Platy swimming about. Camallanus worms are quite
common among livebearers for one reason or another.
Presumably the way they're raised on farms?>
If they don't give you a different idea than the worms,
I'm off to find the specific meds.
<If Camallanus seems likely, do medicate as mentioned last
Thank you so much.
Re: Platy Has Swollen Anus Region/Lethargic
Hi Neale. Third time is a charm. I learned how to crop. I
included one picture with several Platies so you have the
pleasure of seeing their poo.
Looking on the internet, I don't think she looks like the
pictures of "Camallanus" I found. I don't see any
red stringy worms at all. It almost seems to me to be an injury?
I feed the tank some flakes and she tried to eat some.
<Now, this is helpful. This looks like a prolapsed anus. Does
occasionally occur in fish. Essentially a reaction caused by some
type of bacterial or protozoan infection of the gut.
Metronidazole (for Protozoans) and Nitrofurazone (for bacteria)
seem to be the drugs of choice here, used together. This direct
treatment of the pathogens in the gut should clear up the
problem, allowing the anus to recover. Epsom salts at 1 to 3
teaspoons per 5 gallons is a useful supplement, acting as am
The LFS I went to did not have Levamisole and I was given some
Paracide D (from their reserves, they didn't charge me). I
looked it up though and it says it is toxic to fry (I have
several 2 day old fry right now) and more of a last resort. I did
find a Jungle medicated food that has Metronidazole and
Levamisole but it was empty when I opened at home. Maybe a good
thing since I really don't know what is going on.
Trying to remain calm,
<Hope this helps. For what it's worth, this syndrome tends
to heal quite
well, at least among large fish such as cichlids. Good luck,
|Re: Platy Has Swollen Anus
Hi Neale, Thank you so much.
Should I treat all the fish for the bacteria and Protozoans or just
<Treat the whole tank. Won't cost any more, and will save
you having to set up a hospital tank.>
If one fish has these things, do all the fish?
<Certainly possible, though the degree of "catchiness"
I'm sure varies between different bacteria and protozoan
All the other fish are still having funky poo, in my not expert
<Ah, may well be the beginnings of what's happened to this
particular Platy fish.>
And if I treat the main tank, will the Epsom salts be okay for the
<Won't cause any problems at all. Epsom salt is widely used
as a therapy, and in the short term at least, seems to be tolerated
very well by most fish. Corydoras are hardy fish anyway, and
provided they're not too warm, they seem to put up with almost
Sick Platy 3/20/09
One of my orange platy fish is sick and I was wondering if you could
help me diagnose the problem. He is about one and a half years old and
he was one of my older platy's babies. I began to notice that he
was not acting as he usually does early last week; he was hiding a
<Do, as always, review environmental conditions. The vast majority
of fish problems come down to environment rather than disease.
Specifically, check the tank isn't too warm (Platies prefer 23-25
degrees C), that the water is hard and alkaline (10+ degrees dH, 5+
degrees KH), and that the water has a
basic pH (7.5-8). Also check water quality; ammonia and nitrite should
both be zero. Consider whether there are any possible toxins that could
be poisoning the fish; paint fumes for example. Diet is another
Platies are herbivores and need a diet rich in greens. Herbivore flake
is a good start. Don't use standard fish food more than a couple of
times per week, or constipation is a likely result. Finally, consider
behaviour; male Platies are aggressive towards one another, and in
tanks 20 gallons or smaller in size, they won't tolerate one
another. Bullying will occur, and eventually the weaker male will
become stressed, and from there, it's a short step to disease and
After a couple of days of he seemed to get better; he began swimming
around more and hiding less. Yesterday, however he became much worse.
He began lying on the bottom of the tank on his side and gasping for
But when I fed them that night he got off the floor and began to eat.
He seemed to struggle while he was swimming, sort of like he
couldn't keep his balance or was tired, but it was at the normal
<All very nebulous. Could be anything. Review what I have stated
above, and then get back to me.>
Today I fed them and again he got off of the bottom of the floor and
tried to eat but he didn't seem to get any food. It was like he was
trying to find food but couldn't or when he did find food he would
try to eat it and not be able to get it into his mouth. After a couple
minutes he gave up and went back to lying on the floor of the tank.
Today, just recently, I put him into a breeding net so I could get a
closer look and to make sure the other fish didn't bother
<Breeding traps tend to increase stress, and I've rarely seen a
sick adult fish come out of one better than it went in!>
I tried to find as many observations that could help I could and
I'll try to describe him as much as I can.
-He seems very thin, but he has always been pretty thin to begin
-When he lies on his side his head is elevated and the rest of him is
lying flat on the ground, crooked looking.
-He seems to have trouble breathing.
-His dorsal fin is no longer up but instead it is flopped over when he
lying down/ down when he is swimming. All other fins are normal.
-He has a pine-coned appearance where his scales are lifted on the top
of his body but not on the sides/bottom. I know this is a sign of
Dropsy but he is not bloated which I read caused the lifting of the
-All of the other fish seem to be acting normally.
Thank you so much for your time.
<Nothing much I can suggest without you first giving me data on the
environmental issues discussed above: tank size, water
quality/chemistry, social behaviour, temperature. Tell me these things,
and I can try and help
some more. Cheers, Neale.>
Sick platy 9/1/08
I just bought some
fish yesterday, and came home to find out one was sick. I should've
noticed it before, but it's too late now. The fish has no appetite,
it swims around aimlessly, sometimes staying at the bottom and other
times at the top. Scales on one side of the fish look like they are
about to come off; they are angled in a funny way. It seems to be
breathing rather heavily, and bumps into things. Could you please help
me out on what this is and what to do about it? Thank you so much!
<Hello Savannah. The fish is clearly very ill, and the symptom you
describe where the scales pop up from the body is known as Dropsy (or
more technically, oedema). It isn't a disease but a symptom, and
implies organ failure. When small fish get to this point, a cure is
very difficult to recommend. Use of an antibiotic such as Maracyn may
help if there's a secondary infection, and Epsom Salt (dissolved in
a jug warm water, and then added to the tank, at a concentration of 1
tablespoon per gallon of water in the aquarium) reduces the osmotic
gradient between the fish and the water around it, and this can reduce
But fundamentally you need to figure out why the fish got sick. Organ
failure is obviously serious, and tends to be caused by chronic
environmental issues rather than a sudden outbreak of disease. So
review water chemistry and water quality. Platies need a biggish tank
(certainly not less than 20 gallons) and there must be zero ammonia and
zero nitrite at all times. They must have hard, basic water: pH
7.5-8.2, hardness 10-20 degrees dH. In soft water areas the addition of
a certain amount of marine salt mix (as opposed to that silly
"aquarium salt" and "tonic salt" people sell) will
both raise the hardness and the salinity, usually sufficiently to keep
livebearers happy; in this case, about 3-6 grammes per litre will do
the trick (5-8 oz per gal). Dropsy isn't catchy as such, but the
causes can obviously affect more than one fish, so you need to find out
what's going on quickly. A photo, plus information re: tank size,
water chemistry, water quality would help us confirm/explore the
underlying problem(s). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick platy 9/1/08
Neale. I just bought the fish yesterday from the store, and I won't
<Ah, I see. Visiting all the pet stores in your area is always worth
doing before spending any money. While standard "bread and
butter" tropicals likely all come from the same wholesalers, there
are differences in how these fish are maintained.>
After returning yesterday to talk to the sellers, I saw several dead
fish in the tanks. I will not be buying there again.
<Do see here for my thoughts on how to spot good retailers:
Unfortunately, the fish died. I still have some other fish, but they
seem to be doing fine. Thank you again for the help!
<Good luck with them!>
<Happy to help, Neale.>
Platy Fry Dying 2/8/07 Fish Guru's,
<Hello> Please help, we are losing our beloved babies...
<Uh-oh> We have had a well-established 30 gallon freshwater tank
with several livebearer fish (Platy/ Swordtails) for over 6 months now.
In this time the platy's have had two brood, the first producing
over twenty fry, and the 2nd producing 16. Each time we have moved the
fry to a well-established separate 3-gallon tank (with a undergravel
heater and undergravel filter with a carbon head - no filter media).
<Cycled?> And much to our disappointment the fry have slowly died
off, with only two or three remaining from each brood. <Not unheard
of, especially with some Platies that are bred for specific traits like
color or body type. Weak fry are often produced.> We perform
frequent water changes (30% approx. every 10 days) and the water
quality is good (PH 7.6, Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0). <Good> The water
stays at a constant 79 degrees (we have an acrylic tank, so we have to
use an undergravel heater which has no temperature settings). What
could be killing them? <Genetics, improper food, low O2 are some
guesses.> They never look ill, we just notice there are a few dead
every week or so? <Have experienced this with some fry batches, some
are just weak and don't survive.> Is the PH too high? <Should
be fine.> The local shop has said ignore the ph (for the most part).
<As long as it is stable is fine at its current level.> Is there
something else I should be testing for? <Not really.> I thought
that the under gravel filter was enough air flow for them, but maybe I
need an air stone? <Would not hurt for sure.> Thank you in
advance for your help oh wise ones. Mike <Unfortunately animals that
breed as often as livebearer fish often do not produce the strongest
offspring, and I think that may be what is going on here. Add some
circulation and see if the situation improves. Higher water temp means
less O2 so that may help.> <Chris>
Platy fish problem
9/28/07 Hello Wet Web Media, Thank you for your great web site. I
have a six gallon Eclipse aquarium set up for about three months now. I
just tested the water and have ph at 7.6, ammonia at 0, nitrites at 0,
nitrates at 40. I do about a 20% water change each week. I have 7
platys, 5 dwarf platys and 2 regular size. There are five females and
two males. Here is my problem. The smaller of the two males has just
stopped eating and is either hiding in a small castle or stays in the
upper or lower part of the aquarium. His exterior looks fine. Nothing
noticeable like ick. No clamped fins. I just started treating the water
with Aquari-sol but his condition is getting worse since he is getting
skinny from not eating. Do you have any suggestions? He was very active
chasing the girls until now. He was chased occasionally by the older
male but that was only when they were close to each other. Thanks for
your help. Glen <Glen, when a fish "goes off its food" the
causes can be varied, so it's difficult to say what precisely is
happening. Your water sounds fine, though you don't mention water
hardness. Platies like hard water -- the harder the better! Aim for at
least 10 degrees dH, and ideally more. You could also stand to increase
your water changes, to at least 50% weekly. Your tank is so small that
the fish are not going to be healthy otherwise. I should perhaps
mention that these fishes need something around 20 gallons to be
comfortable. A 6 gallon tank just isn't adequate. It's no
bigger than a bucket. Given the small size of the tank, my money would
be on the smaller male being simply harassed by the larger, and
stressed as a result. Upshot: it won't come out and feed. This is
quite common. Social behaviour varies, so simply because they used to
tolerate one another doesn't mean they still do. Another thing
people get wrong with platies is diet: they are herbivores. Make sure
you are providing a primarily plant-based diet. Standard aquarium flake
is NOT acceptable! You can use things like livebearer flake or
Spirulina flake as a staple, and augment with meaty foods like daphnia
and bloodworms a couple times per week. Insufficient plant material
causes digestive problems, one of which is a simply lack of vigour.
Hope this helps, Neale>
Re: Platy fish problem --
09/29/07 Hi, thank you for your feedback. I put the larger male in
another six gallon aquarium that I have. That aquarium has a breeder
container with 25+ fry about two weeks old. I hope to get a larger
aquarium soon. I just bought some Nutrafin Max Spirulina Algae flake
food. I looked at the Omega Veggie flakes but the beginning ingredients
have fish in them (salmon, etc.). Did not sound very veggie so I did
not get it. <Good call. Feeding meaty flake food to vegetarian fish
is comparable to giving steak to a sheep. You just know it isn't
going to work out! Better still, the more veggies livebearers get, the
brighter their colours and the healthier their broods of babies.>
Could you please tell me what works best for platy's that
flick/scratch themselves. <Possibly Whitespot (ick). Look for small
white grains to the body and fins. Sometimes you won't see the
parasites because they're on the gills. While it is normal for fish
to "have a scratch" everyone once in a while, just like any
other animal, if they're doing this regularly, treat for Whitespot
just in case. Be sure and remove any carbon from the filter before
doing so.> I currently use API Stress Coat and add salt for each
water change. <Platies don't need salt. It won't harm them,
but they don't need it. If you feel the burning desire to add
*something* to the water, try getting a box of Malawi salts instead.
These will raise the pH and hardness -- two things platies appreciate
MUCH MORE than salinity.> The water temperature is minimum 76
degrees. <That's fine.> Thanks for your insight. <No
problems. Cheers, Neale>
Re: Platy fish problem -- 9/29/07
Dear Neale, <Glen,> Thank you again. If I may ask one more
question. I fed the platies for the first time bloodworms a week ago.
This has seemed to bring out a high level of aggression. <I guess
they liked them!> The larger platy is aggressively nosing the others
away during and after feeding time. <Normal behaviour. Platies are
not schooling fish. In the wild they congregate in groups to feed, and
each male attempts to dominate the group, driving away rival males. In
the aquarium females tend to coexist happily enough, but males are
always aggressive to some degree. This is complicated by the fact that
all commercially farmed platies are in fact platy/swordtail hybrids.
Swordtails are a step up the aggression scale, so any platy with more
than the usual amount of swordtail DNA is likely to be bigger and more
waspish in temperament that his tankmates.> Even a day or two later.
The more passive smaller platy are now picking on other tank mates. Am
I right not to feed them bloodworms anymore? <Provided the fishes
aren't actually harming one another, for example by damaging each
other's fins, then I wouldn't worry about it too much. It is
true that live food sometimes brings out "the worst" in fish.
Perhaps this is connected with the fact that an abundance of insect
larvae is often a spawning trigger in the wild, indicating the wet
season and a time to fatten up and make babies! With many fish,
switching from flake to live food "conditions" them for
spawning. Anyway, perhaps this works by getting the males more "in
the mood" than would otherwise be the case (hard to imagine with
platies, since they seem to be in the mood 24/7, but what the heck). In
other words, I have no idea why this happened, but I wouldn't worry
about it either. Stick to giving live food once a week, and see if they
settle down between those meals.> Thanks again, Glen <Hope this
Blue Platy... hlth. --
05/05/07 Hi Crew! <Greetings!> I have a
question. I had bought a male blue platy from PetSmart how
ever many weeks ago. I looked in my tank tonight and saw
that he looked deformed and his left eye is glazed over and poofy.
<Sounds like an opportunistic bacterial infection such as
Flexibacter columnaris. Very common in tanks with poor water
quality/wrong water chemistry.> He struggles to swim to the top but
gives up and floats down to the bottom. <Not good at all.> its
really sad to watch because he's working so hard to live as long as
he can. His tail fin is clamped together as well.
<fin-clamping is another very bad sign.> What should I do?
<First: water chemistry and water quality tests. For platies, the
tank needs to be at least 20 gallons in size, properly filtered, and
with a pH of 7.5 and a hardness of "medium hard" to
"hard" on whatever scale your test kits use. Temperature
should be around 25C. Second: go buy some 'anti-mouth fungus &
anti-Finrot' medication. This will help with the disease. Follow
the instructions carefully, making sure you remove carbon from the
filter. Take the carbon outside, dig a hole about six feet deep, drop
the carbon in there, and then pour liquid cement on top. Now, give over
the empty space in the filter formerly occupied by the carbon to some
more biological filter media, such as filter wool or ceramic hoops,
whatever suits your budget and filter type.> I want him to live.
<A good attitude.> I know that there is probably not anyway I can
help with his deformity but is there anyway that I can help him to live
longer? <Same as with any fish: optimise water quality and water
chemistry. READ aquarium books! Vary his diet -- platies are omnivores,
and do best on vegetarian ("livebearer") flake rather than
generic tropical fish flake. Also try offering some real algae from
time to time, either taken from a clean garden pond or by using small
strips of Sushi Nori and the like.> Please help.... Em <Cheers,
Platy Doing Poorly
3/2/07 Hi Folks! <Hello to you!> I have
happened upon your wonderful website and hope you can help me.
<I'll sure try - thanks for the kind words...> I have had a
Redtail Dalmatian platy (Dotty, although I do not know her sex for
sure) for 4 months now, in a 29-gal. tank with 3 other platys, 8 neons,
and 4 lyretail guppies. <It's fairly easy to sex livebearers,
once you get the hang of it. The male has what's called
a "gonopodium", and essentially it's a modified anal fin.
It's elongated and the male tends to flick it back and
forth. That's how he impregnates the
females. The females, on the other hand, have a triangular
shaped anal fin; if female livebearers are kept with males, they are
likely pregnant, so that's the really easy way to
tell:-) Other tip-offs are enlarged bellies, the protrusion
of a "gravid" spot, right by the anal fin, and, if the fish
is light enough in color, at her end-stage of pregnancy you can
sometimes see little dark spots through her skin, which are the eyes of
the wee fry inside her! Do a Google search for "livebearer"
and "male" and "female" and you'll find all
sorts of pictures, images, etc.> She has taken to hiding in the
large cave (decoration) in the tank and has not come out to eat or swim
in the past 2 weeks or more. <That's definitely not good.> I
know she is living because she drops out of the cave ledge when I do
water changes and clean the decoration. <Glad you are doing regular
water changes.> I have not seen any spots or enlarged belly on her.
She just lays on the rocks and her body seems to mold against the shape
of the rocks. She is still breathing and her side fins still move. My
nitrate and ammonia levels are zero and I do weekly water changes.
<What about nitrite? It sounds as though your tank is fully cycled,
but it couldn't hurt to check...> I add aquarium salt of 4
Tbsp./change, plus the suggested Stress-Zyme each week and Stress-Coat
each change. No one has been harassing her - in fact, they all ignore
her and swim right by. <I'd isolate her, first off, just in case
she's got a communicable disease. I'm wondering if any of the
other livebearers (platys or guppies) are harassing her? I, too, keep
guppies, platys and mollies, and I am amazed at how mean some of them
can be. Isolating her would give her a break from any
bullies, too; a chance to fatten her up. With regard to her not eating,
what are you offering her? If you haven't already tried, frozen,
thawed bloodworms are usually a big hit, as are Mysis
shrimp. If all else fails, Kent Garlic Xtreme (basically
concentrated garlic oil) can do wonders in stimulating appetites - just
a drop or two in whatever you're feeding should do the trick. The
other benefit of isolating Dotty is that you'll be able to see more
readily if she has any discoloration, wounds, parasites,
etc. Everything else you've done sounds fine, but this
is obviously not normal behavior. At first, I thought perhaps she could
be pregnant, but two weeks of acting like this is a long time to go on
like that.> What can I do to help her??? Thanks. Carol <Sorry I
can't give you a definite diagnosis. Hopefully I've
at least given you a starting point - do let me know if you see
anything else unusual, and we can hopefully figure out what's going
on! Best of luck, Jorie>
Sick platies/thread poop... Gen. lack
of knowledge re FW life-keeping 2/3/07
Hi. Your site is great but the more I read the longer I
stare at my fish to try and diagnose their problems and behaviors (the
more my head hurts). <Need to prioritize... less-reading, more
intelligent searching... leaving more time to enjoy your aquatic
charges, life...> 29gal FW tank with 3 tablespoons of aquarium salt
Whisper 30 filter heated to 80 degrees 1 male Platy 4 female Platies 1
Flame Gourami 1 Oto 1 gold Chinese algae eater 4 or 5 Ghost shrimp 2
pond snails some trumpet snails heavily planted (I have no clue about
plants) <Many of these don't "like" salt...> 30%
water change about a week ago. Petland tested my water and it's
good quality <Need to test yourself... changes with time, travel>
I do not have a quarantine tank although, if recommended, I could round
one up I just recently added 9 male feeder guppies (sad, but I wanted
to see if they caught these diseases before I invested in Blue Rams).
<... Such "feeders" almost always harbor/transmit
pathogenic, parasitic diseases...> My Platies have always flicked
themselves up against rocks and plants. Some more than
others. I just thought it was typical fish
behavior. Then I started reading your
site. Parasites, maybe? <Very likely> So I added the
CopperSafe and salt about 5 days ago. <... not to your main system?
A very poor idea> They are still flicking. They do not
have any spots. I have seen Ich so I know what that looks
like. I don't know about any other parasites, though.
<There are many> My white Mickey Mouse Platy got sick with fin
clamping and this weird motion where she looks as though the is
swimming in a current when there is none. She barely
eats. Now I noticed she doesn't poop so much as expels
two inch long, fine, clear threads. Internal parasites
maybe? <Likely> I switched to flake food with garlic
(they're called marine flakes.....is this ok?). <Of no use>
It's only been a couple days and she still has the fine threads
coming out and the weird swimming behavior. Now I see another Platy
laying on the ground with her fins kind of quivering. They all hide now
and then, it seems more than normal but I'm not sure.
They also rest in the plants and on the ground
occasionally. The feeder guppies that I added 24 hours ago are eating
well. But 2 have started this flicking against the rocks and
one has the thread poop. I am at a loss and I am not going to add
anymore fish until I resolve this. <This is good news (at least)>
The Petland kids are really smart but are reluctant to recommend
anything for the possible internal parasites except the garlic food.
<They are wise here> Help. I don't remember having
this many problems 20 years ago when I kept fish in a tiny,
overpopulated 10 gal tank. <"Things... have changed"... As
with so much of the "real world"... Much of the livestock
nowadays is produced outside the U.S.... imported with many problems...
And the hobby is dominated more and more by "big box
stores"... not "independents" (Mom and Pops)... who
know, care little for the health of the animals in their charge...
Many, much more disease issues... the hobby much more a
"frivolous" past time for folks, less of a serious
"caring for life" concern> Thank you and I hope you have
time to respond. Holly <I hope you have the strength of conviction,
dedication to pursue what you need to know here sufficiently to care
for this life... Please start reading here:
and the linked files above... A few "clues": You have
infested your system... You cannot effectively "treat" what
you have done in the main system... The chemicals applied are toxic to
invertebrates and plants at effective dosage... Bob Fenner>
Sick platies/thread poop... attempt at sarcasm... B+, A-
2/4/07 Thanks, Dr. Fenner. <No doctorate... Just "Bob"
please> I did not realize that fish keeping required so much
advanced scientific knowledge. It seems that even you are
stumped as to how I should start healing my fish, for you only
commented on what I did wrong without pointing me in any right
direction. I understand you want me to read your
complex scientific article, and I did. But me being a lowly
hobbyist (without a college education) and not so much the
"life-keeper", I could not understand it or find any useful
information in it. I'm sure it is a very good article,
though, with many praises and accolades from your peers.
<... the use of a dictionary?> If you were to rescue this tank
from my obviously abusive and infested hands, where would you start?
<... at a/the beginning... You are correct that this hobby is indeed
"complex"... more so than a video game let's say... But
it has requisite reward potential... The more you delve into it, the
more likely you are to enjoy... and become more self-aware,
knowledgeable re other aspects of life...> My plan is to let my
infected and infested tank kill off everything in it (as surely that
will be the final result of my gross mismanagement) and start
over. This will be, of course, after I have attained my
degree in Marine Biology. Thank you (I think). Holly <Apply yourself
my young friend... Not difficult. BobF>
Re: Sick platies/thread poop
2/4/07 Dear Bob, <Holly> The feeder guppies are doing great,
the thread poop platy is looking better, the flame gourami looks
horrible (some kind of mottling on him plus he had a 2 inch long thread
poop), 3 platies are still hiding, a bunch of grass is dying, the
shrimp look great, the snails are happy, the Oto is healthy, the
Chinese algae eater looks emaciated and French Fry (the 4 month old
female platy we've raised since birth) is the strongest of them
all. Seems my little 29 gallons of life could benefit from some help
but I don't think things are as desperate as I first thought, for
nothing has died.....yet. I'll just keep feeding the
garlic food, I'll do a water change to take out the copper in a few
weeks, I'll keep salt in the tank, take out the plants that
don't like the salt and see what happens. Trial and
error, I guess. Wish me luck, <I do. BobF> Holly
Sick Platy 11/17/06
Hi there! I have had a white Minnie Mouse platy for about 3-4 months
now. She has been living happily with one other Minnie Mouse (or so I
think?) platy and a pink tetra. I noticed she was bloated for a
significant amount of time and finally came to the realization that she
was pregnant. Unfortunately I was a little too late in reading up on
platy pregnancy and how to appropriately deal with the situation. A
week ago she hid herself in the tank (its a small tank of 3.5 Gallons)
and emerged much thinner (thus me realizing I was too late) and
unfortunately no babies to speak of. The issue is now that she is not
herself. I've been noticing that she sits on the bottom of the tank
with her side fins beating wildly, it also appears that she is having
some breathing problems. I've also noticed that the area around her
gills is very red and a small dot has appeared on her body. She is also
not eating the same amounts as she used to. Now in reading many of your
other postings in regards to platy illnesses, I gather that the dot is
related to ick, <Mmm, not likely... perhaps "just"
environmental/behavioral stress... the birthing, the small volume
system...> but my concern is also the redness of the gills and if
there is something else on top of the ick afflicting her? I haven't
had fish for many, many years <Mmm, don't live that long...>
and have sort of been "winging it" with this small tank. I
have been cycling the water every other week, <What do you mean by
this?> and the other fish seem to be doing fine and acting normally.
I also raised the temp in the tank to between 78-80 and she did seem to
perk up a bit but then went right back to her previous behavior. I have
since removed her from the tank and her breathing seems to be less
erratic. Is there anything else that I can do? Thanks, CLK <Mainly
just be patient, hope and be diligent re monitoring the fish's
water quality, feeding. It "reads" as if it is simply getting
"too old". Bob Fenner>
Mystery Disease - 05/13/2006 Hi, I've had my 20 gallon tank set
up for about 2 weeks. I started with 4 platies and a striped Raphael
catfish. One of the 4 platies died within 3 days of purchase and had no
external symptoms except possible white, stringy poop. I
noticed she was swimming very close to the surface, and toward the end,
very close to the bottom. I've been testing the water
and doing water changes. Currently the nitrites are spiking (2.0).
<Bad news there. Do water changes, urgently, to keep
ammonia and nitrite at zero, even (especially) during the
cycle. Also, please do read on WWM regarding cycling,
fishless cycling....> Last night I noticed another platy acting
strangely. It was apparently hiding in a castle decoration and when I
lifted it so he could swim out, he was swimming very jerkily and had
that same stringy white poop. <This *can* be a symptom of internal
parasites.... but too little to go off to know for
sure. Any other fish exhibiting this?> I was convinced he
was sick but since it was midnight, I couldn't really do anything
about it. This morning at about 10:30 I found him swimming
upside down and kind of spiraling when he swam. <Wait - spiraling
listlessly, like he was just kind of unable to guide himself, or
spiraling like he was actually swimming in spirals?> He was also
crashing into the bottom of the tank and then holding still for a
while. Obviously not long for this world, I debated with my boyfriend
about what to do. I noticed he may have had two tiny white
bumps on his skin, but my boyfriend couldn't see them.
<Do please look VERY closely at your other
livestock. Look for white dots, and with the Raphael, look
for him to be doing a sort of a "swimmer" motion with his
pectoral fins, kind of rotating, and alternating left and right, like a
person swimming "freestyle". This is an indicator
of parasites on the gills, and is important to look for, as Ich will
rarely manifest on the skin of a plecostomus or Raphael.> About 20
minutes later we decided to move him to a bucket with some tank water
in it. By the time we got the water into the bucket and the fish into
the net, he was dead. We checked his body but nothing seemed unusual
except that he was dead! <That's unusual enough for
me, yikes.> From the visible behavioral symptoms until the death was
about 11 hours.... What kind of disease/condition moves this
swiftly? <A hearty handful, actually, especially in
smaller fish.> And are the rest of the fish in danger? <Quite
possibly. Are any of the remaining fish clamping their
fins? Swimming in circles? Shaking their heads
side-to-side? Shine a flashlight at each fish. Do
you see a milky quality to the animal? Grainy?> I'm
not sure how to treat and worried about what it could
be. Please help me out, any advice would be
appreciated, thanks! <More info to go off here would be of
help.... Though I am very much leaning toward this maybe
being a parasitic complaint, I'm very deeply concerned about the
spiraling you mentioned and the possibility of Myxobolus/whirling
disease, as I've seen this in other Poeciliids (mostly just
mollies).> Meg <Hoping for only the best, -Sabrina>
Mystery Disease - II - 05/15/2006 Thanks for your quick response! I
just got home from work and I'm noticing my other calico platy is
hiding and sticking near the bottom of the tank. He'll probably be
the next to go :( He wasn't acting strangely until after the other
fish died. I'm going to buy another 5 gallon bucket
tomorrow so I can do 50% water changes instead of just 25%.
<Good. It *is* possible that all you are seeing is
strictly environmental.> When the fish was spiraling he was trying
to swim straight (it seemed) but he was unable to control himself and
would spiral instead. Like a football when you throw it. He kept ending
up upside down and then crashing into the gravel. He would
move in spurts and then hold still. <This is VERY
disconcerting, and does sound perhaps like Myxobolus/whirling
disease. If you see these symptoms in any other fish, get
the fish with symptoms out of the tank PRONTO.> My boyfriend saw the
catfish swimming earlier and said he wasn't making that motion like
a swimmer. He said he was using his tail to swim mostly. <The
"swimmer" motion would only be seen when the fish is at
rest.> I haven't seen him swim lately cause he only comes out in
the dark. The red platy has one white dot right on its anus.
This is probably bad, Hm? <Mm,
maaaaaaybe.... And maybe not, too. Could just be
"normal", especially if the animal is female and
pregnant.> Ugh. I'm going to try to go to the pet store
tomorrow. If this is a parasite, how should I treat the
tank? <The stringy white poo still concerns
me. I would feed an antiparasitic medicated food, and not
consider treating the water.> I'm also worried that it will be
too late for the calico platy because he's hiding like the first
one did. I'm hoping maybe he's sleeping, I will try feeding
them and see if he picks up. Okay... with the food in the tank he
started zooming around. I don't think he actually ate any of the
food though. But I got to look at him since he came out of
hiding. He looks thinner than the red one, granted the red
one just ate most, if not all of the food. His gills look a little red
but he doesn't have any white spots. I don't think he looks
milky or grainy but its hard to tell. The red one looks wonderful
except for that white dot which comes and goes? Neither of
them are shaking their heads or clamping their fins or swimming in
circles... not yet anyway. <That, at least, is quite
good.> Thanks for your help. Meg <Watch for that spiraling
swimming behaviour, try to find an antiparasitic medicated food (Jungle
makes one you can get at PetSmart, a better one can be found at the
store of http://www.flguppiesplus.com ),
maintain perfect water quality, and watch the fish very, very
closely.... Hopefully all will be well with time as the tank
finishes cycling. Wishing you
Fast-Acting Mystery Disease - III - 05/16/2006 Hi Sabrina,
<Hello again.> The pesticide man came today and that compounded
my fishy issues. <ARGH!> Hehe. We had to saran wrap all the tanks
cause he was doing major spraying and my boyfriend forgot to wrap my
poor Betta's bowl. <Oh dear - this could go very bad....> His
tank water actually had a film of yuck on it (it was old
water too). 100% water change and now he looks much
happier. <Good. Watch him VERY
closely. Do another water change if ANYTHING seems
amiss.> Back to the platies. I haven't had a chance for the
water change. <Please hurry with it; water quality is life or
death.> And I'm a tiny bit leery about it because I know this is
probably the peak of the nitrate cycle and I want to have it be over
because if it IS environmental, the stress of a cycling tank will be
gone. <Meanwhile that stress/damage from cycling can kill or
irreparably damage the fish. DO the water change, and
urgently. It will prolong the cycle, and you'll need to
KEEP doing water changes, but the alternative is perhaps killing ALL of
your livestock or having them have permanently damaged gills,
etc. A little work on your part, patience and lots of water
changes during this critical time is all the preventative you
need. If you are not willing to do the water changes, then
return the livestock until the tank has cycled.> The white platy is
still hiding and the catfish is too. I haven't seen him swim when
he's resting except he sometimes tries to bury himself face first
into the wall of his cave to escape the light when I go prodding in
there ;) The red platy still looks okay. She's swimming
around and she's very healthy looking... meaning,
colorful and fat, not like the white one that looks like its getting
smaller. <Disconcerting....> The red platy's poop is starting
to turn white. <Even more disconcerting....> Right now it's
got brown and white alternating in the same strand of poop. You know,
talking about fish poop is very odd. <Yeah, but it can
be very telling, too.> The white fish hides 24 hours a day in the
little castle in the complete darkness. I pick up the castle and rustle
him out about twice a day to make sure he's alive still. <Use
caution, here; disturbing him is pushing him closer to death's
door. If you can see him without disturbing him, that would
be best.> He has white stringy poop and when he comes out of the
castle he holds very still and rests against something (a plant, the
substrate, the castle) only his front fins move but he doesn't go
anywhere until he moves his tail. Then he goes right back into the
castle. <I do feel that the environment is partly if not
entirely the problem, but I am also not convinced that there is not a
parasitic complaint at play here. Fix the environment
(urgently!) and observe.> Nitrites are high in the tank.
<Deadly.> I'm hoping this is the major factor.
<Likely, but again, not certain.> I really don't want to have
to wash the whole tank out and basically re-cycle the damn thing
because the platy's had a parasite. <There are VERY rare
instances where this would be necessary. Yours is not one of
them. Do water changes, like NOW, as soon as you're done
reading this, and be sure to match the temperature and pH of the new
water to that of the tank, use a dechlorinator, etc.... You
will not halt the establishment of the nitrogen cycle, just prolong
it. Keep doing water changes, daily if necessary, to keep
your livestock safe.> The poop looks a lot like the white stuff that
was growing on all the decorations about a week ago. Ugh.
<White stuff growing on the decor? Maybe a diatom
algae? I don't recall discussing this in previous
correspondence with you.... In any case, do please try to
get hold of one of the anti-parasite foods I suggested, "just in
case", and start in with those water changes. Wishing
you well, -Sabrina> Platies, Velvet? -
05/13/2006 Hi guys, <Hi, Heather!> First off, I'd just
like to say that I love your website - very informative!
<Glad to hear it, thanks!> I searched through a lot of the
articles but unfortunately can't seem to find the answer to my
problem. We have a fully cycled 20 gallon tank with 3 adult
platies, 3 2 week-old fry, and 2 African dwarf frogs. The
platies were rubbing their abdomens on rocks, with clamped fins,
occasionally gasping for air, with shiny areas on their
abdomens. It seemed like this was a textbook case of
parasites. <Entirely possible. Or could be an
irritant in the water.... Ammonia or nitrite above zero,
nitrate above 20ppm....> We got Maracide and have given 2 doses so
far. Right after the first dose the female platy that had
looked really bad seemed quite a bit better, but the male went from
just having clamped fins to displaying all of the other symptoms I
listed. He barely moves off of the bottom at all, but will
still eat. The female that was originally sick now swims
around a bit but she hasn't eaten in days. <Very disconcerting
for these tiny, usually voracious, fish....> All of the fry seem
ok. Our water test readings are: Ammonia - 0, Nitrites - 0,
Nitrates - 15, PH - 7.2 (normal for our tanks), KH -
moderate. <Okay, that all sounds good.> Do you think
that they're showing symptoms of a secondary infection?
<Nothing you've stated leads me to believe so.> The Maracide
bottle says that it's ok to add Maracyn 1 or 2 while dosing with
Maracide, but I know that it's not recommended to just dose with
everything in the medicine cupboard.
<Right. I would not add Maracyn I or II at this
time. Any chance at an antiparasitic food? Jungle
makes one now that's available at PetSmart, I think; I had some
real success with this when I had guppies with velvet/Oodinium.> Any
help would be greatly appreciated! My fiancé© and
I are terrified that they're going to die. <I would finish the
round of Maracide, and perhaps even consider getting a hydrometer or
refractometer and use salt marketed for freshwater aquaria to raise the
salinity in the tank to 1.002 or 1.003; this will be tolerated by the
platies, but not the frogs. The frogs should NOT be present
while medicating in any case. Were it me/my fish, I'd
give the frogs their own, very clean space for now, and treat the tank
with salt.> Thanks, -Heather <wishing you
4/21/06 Greetings, I have 5 baby platies in a 15L tank, 2 sunset
platies who are 3-4 months, and 3 others who are about 2 months old.
Over the last two weeks, the two sunsets have appeared to lose interest
in food (crushed flake, twice daily) and are hanging around the bottom
of the tank. They seem to be getting worse and although try to get to
the top for food, they appear to have suddenly developed curved spines.
<... environmental, and/or nutritional...> The other 3 younger
platies are thriving and getting fat. Is there anything I can do about
this? <Need to know much more re your water quality, history of this
set-up. For one, I would broaden the diet here... to include some meaty
foods, live plant material... Please do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaq2.htm and
the linked files above... in the hope that something will "pop
up" of use here. Bob Fenner>
Platy Illnesses - 10/26/2005 I have a 10 gallon tank with 6
platies and one seemed to have dropsy <Note, please, that dropsy is
a collection of symptoms, not an actual illness. A number of things can
cause these symptoms.> on Saturday and died on Sunday night. It was
very quick. Today another one of the platies is dying on the bottom of
the tank and not showing any signs of dropsy or anything else. <This
symptom alone is not enough to go off.... Please try to observe this
fish very closely.... is he swimming oddly? Color wrong? Cloudy or torn
fins? Spots, lumps, lesions, or other abnormalities on the body?> Up
until this afternoon, he was swimming and eating as normal. The ammonia
is 0, nitrites are 0 and the nitrates around 10ppm. Temperature is
around 76-78, PH is 7.4. <When was the most recent addition to
the tank?> Should I be treating all of the fish in the tank for some
sort of parasite or is it possible that these two platies just were
susceptible to something? <Mm, tough to impossible to say at
this point. I would not advise medicating until you know what
you're treating - for now, I would immediately remove the ill fish
to a quarantine tank, both to observe the fish and also to protect your
other livestock.> I have had the tank running since June, and
added the six platies over time between the beginning of August until
the end of September. <Ah, so it's been a few weeks then,
since the latest addition, yes?> I am afraid that the rest of
platies are going to get sick as well seeing as the previous 2 got sick
and died so suddenly. So far, the remaining 4 are acting normally and
have good appetites. <Please be looking at them very, very
closely for anything at all out of the ordinary.> I do weekly water
changes of about 30%. <All sounds good, but obviously something is
amiss for the two to have fallen ill. I do suspect something
pathogenic, but without more symptoms described, I can't even begin
to guess. I'd like you to take a look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollydisfaqs.htm
and the other linked disease FAQ file at the top of that page, and also
under Disease. Perhaps you'll find something that will help.
Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Platies, not Ich, medicating... 8/27/05 I have 1 male
Mickey mouse Platy and 3 females. This week, the male has white spot on
his tail. <Just on the tail? Not likely Ich> I gave him the Icy
medications. The white spot has gone but he is still very sick. Sink at
the bottom of the tank and his body is very slim and flat. Please
advise what I can do for him. Thank you so much! Regards, Jade Lam
<Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Platy in stress? 7/12/05 I have a female platy
(sunset variety) who has been healthy and has given birth to 3 fry.
Over the last 2 weeks she has lost her round belly, even though she
eats at all feedings, and it seems she has to continually swim to
remain her equilibrium. When she stops, she drops to the bottom. I have
a 20 gallon heated (78-80F) and filtered tank and I change approx 20%
of the water (I filter it first) every month. <I'd step up your
water changing routine to once weekly> Other (healthy) tank citizens
include 1 Chinese algae eater, 2 Cory cats, the platys' mate and
the 3 fry. All, save the fry, have been in the tank for almost a year.
Thanks for your help. Captain Lee Zdanowicz <Mmm, it may be that
your female platy is "just old" (am feeling like this more
and more, yikes)... But I would try bolstering its health with the
addition of meaty foods (if you're doing so already)... Live or
frozen/defrosted, or dried, freeze-dried crustaceans, worms, insect
larvae of smaller than mouth size. Bob Fenner>
Re: platy in
stress? Thanks for the reply. You may be right about her being old.
I've had her almost a year and no telling how old she was when I
got her. Thanks again. Lee Z. <Always hard to tell... but the common
livebearers sold in the hobby (platies, guppies, mollies, swords...) do
only live a few years... Bob Fenner>
Sick, pregnant Platy? Hello, I
wanted to know if Platies act ill when giving birth? I have
a 10 gallon tank with 4 Platies and 4 neon tetras. One of
the platies is folded in the middle and keeps swimming into the ground
then back up to the surface, all the while it's on it's
side. Sometimes it just floats there at the top of the tank
on it's side bent in the middle. What's wrong with
it? I just found 2 fry but I'm not sure which fish it
belongs too. Thank you so much, Deborah <This platy is definitely
sick, not just pregnant, though they will become more still, reclusive
near parturition. Yours is bent from age, nutritional deficiency, water
quality issues... possibly genetics and/or infectious disease... Bob