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FAQs on Platy Reproduction, Breeding 4

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

Related FAQs: Platy Reproduction 1 Platy Reproduction 2, Platy Reproduction 3, Platy Reproduction 5,
Platies 1, Platies 2, Platy Identification, Platy Behavior, Platy Compatibility, Platy Selection, Platy Systems, Platy Feeding, Platy Disease, Livebearers, Guppies, Swordtails, Mollies,

Baby Red Mickey Mouse Platy       12/1/16
I have a week old baby platy, I am currently feeding it just the same fish flakes we feed the parents at the pet store. Is there anything else I could be doing to ensure its health? I am concerned since he is a tropical fish and he is currently only in a bowl with no heater. should I run out and grab a bowl heater?
<Probably. Standard issue Platies (like your Mickey Mouse Platy) should be kept around 22-25C/72-77F. If you live somewhere warm, or have the central heating cranked up into the 20s Celsius/70s Fahrenheit, room temperature may be fine. But for most people in places cooler than the subtropics or with their homes heated to more normal temperatures, yes, a heater is a requirement. Variatus Platies (a distinct, and less common species of Platy) can handle cooler temperatures.>
Any additional information about this specific fish would be great!
<Platies are not hard to care for. A newborn will be fine in a tank upwards of 4-5 gallons, but adults will need more space, certainly 15+ gallons for a small group. They need good water quality, and the fancy varieties (like yours) are less hardy than the wild fish, so keep a close eye on filtration and weekly water changes. Zero ammonia and nitrite, as usual. But water chemistry is important too; the water needs to be hard, the harder the better in fact. Aim for 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.2 to 8.5. Platies are fish from ponds and pools rather than rivers or mountain streams, so gentle water currents are preferred. A simple air-powered sponge is absolutely ideal. So far as feeding goes, aim for plant-based foods; Spirulina flake is an excellent staple. Newborns also enjoy hard boiled egg yolk in tiny quantities (literally, a few crumbs). They'll nibble on algae in the tank too.>
Thanks so much!
<Welcome. Neale.>

Have I been sold a female Platy?    6/5/16
<Yes>

Platy Birthing I think I messed up T_T      1/8/16
Ok so hello there first of and thank you for reading this!! Ok so a little back story, I have 3 sunburst and on bleeding heart (the male) no I had giving up on them breeding seeing as they have been in the same tank for over a year now with nothing. Well I came home yesterday to 3 fry in the tank. I immediately took the father out of the 10 gallon and moved him to the large 25 gallon tank I have with my tetras. I moved the females to their own breeding boxes but now its been 12 hours from the last fry and I'm worried I stressed the females to <too> much. They are back in the tank now and are doing the *hide in corners/caves* and still are not eating. I even tempted them with some bloodworms (which they usually eat so fast that I have to put them in one at a time or they over eat) and they didn’t even blink. I'm really getting worried now that I may have stressed them into aborting the babies.
-Many Thanks
First Time Platy Momma
<Mmm; well; it may be that there were only three babies to be born; or that moving the females caused parturition to cease, pause. I would leave all as is for right now; and stay observant. Bob Fenner>
Platy Birthing I think I messed up T_T      Neale's Take    1/10/16

Ok so hello there first of and thank you for reading this!! Ok so a little back story, I have 3 sunburst and on bleeding heart (the male) no I had giving up on them breeding seeing as they have been in the same tank for over a year now with nothing. Well I came home yesterday to 3 fry in the tank. I immediately took the father out of the 10 gallon and moved him to the large 25 gallon tank I have with my tetras. I moved the females to their own breeding boxes but now its been 12 hours from the last fry and I'm worried I stressed the females to much. They are back in the tank now and are doing the *hide in corners/caves* and still are not eating. I even tempted them with some bloodworms (which they usually eat so fast that I have to put them in one at a time or they over eat) and they didn’t even blink. I'm really getting worried now that I may have stressed them into aborting the babies.
-Many Thanks
<Hi Taylor. Do not use breeding traps for adult fish. NEVER. These are mis-sold to inexperienced aquarists. They stress the females and lead to miscarriages. Instead, use the traps to corral fry after they're born, and keep the fry in the traps for 2-3 weeks, after which point the adults usually ignore them. Do stock the tank with floating plants; Indian Fern is the best, easily purchased, and provides excellent cover for newborn fry as well as stressed females. Look among the plants each morning, and transfer any fry to the traps. Do also try stocking the tank with at least twice as many females as males. Finally, do understand Platies come from ponds and other still water habitats. They dislike strong water currents (just look at their dumpy shape!) and will do a lot better in tanks with gentle filtration. An undergravel or even a sponge filter can be used with great success. They are largely herbivores, so a good algae-based flake together with occasional fresh green foods (such as cucumber or softened courgette) works well for them. Platies should not be kept in tanks smaller than 15 US gallons; anything smaller, and yes, they will feel cramped and unable to behave normally. Cheers, Neale.>

Mickey mouse platy maybe preggo?        10/6/15
<Eight Megs...>
We are new communal fish tank owners (thanks to our 3 yr old son!! :-D). I LOVE watching them, they are very interesting :-) We have had the fish for about a month and my female Mickey mouse platy has gotten somewhat fat/wide and looks like she may be pregnant. The only 'dark spot' that I can see is behind the female parts on the fin, not very dark. (wrong terminology?!? Sorry!)
<I understand you>
The wide part looks somewhat dark when she is in the right light.
<Oh! Tis not the fin itself that changes color, but the vent area (communal opening for sex and excretory products) immediately above and behind the anal fin... clearish itself, w/ the babies eyes appearing as dark, small dots near parturition>
We have these 2 male guppies (who are BFF's) and they just started showing interest in her within the last 2-3 weeks. They aren't mean to her at all, just follow her around. Anywho, I attached 3 pics, they aren't very clear-sorry the fish are quick and didn't want to use flash and blind/confuse them! Sometimes she will hang out on the bottom of the tank- not for too long- and she is very active, usually all over the place and seems very happy. I am trying to give as much info as possible! If she is
pregnant, how long till she will have babies? Is she pregnant?
<Just looks fat to me; but female livebearers are often permanently pregnant...>
I just don't know if I should get a breeding tank?? Any info would help!!
Thanks for you time!!!
<You could acquire a bit of live or faux floating plant.... See WWM re Myriophyllum, Egeria, Ceratophyllum.
Bob Fenner> 

Mickey mouse platy maybe preggo?     /Neale     10/7/15
We are new communal fish tank owners (thanks to our 3 yr old son!! :-D). I LOVE watching them, they are very interesting :-) We have had the fish for about a month and my female Mickey mouse platy has gotten somewhat fat/wide and looks like she may be pregnant.
<If there's ever been a male alongside her in the last, say, six months... then yes, chances of being pregnant is very high. These fish are more or less continually pregnant when kept with males.>
The only 'dark spot' that I can see is behind the female parts on the fin, not very dark. (wrong terminology?!? Sorry!)
<No problems. The famous "gravid spot" only really holds true for Guppies and other small livebearers. It's not a patch of colour, but the expanded dark sac around the embryos being pushed against the thin muscle wall around the vent. On small fish, this dark sac is visible. But on bigger fish like Platies and Mollies, it's often not visible.>
The wide part looks somewhat dark when she is in the right light. We have these 2 male guppies (who are BFF's) and they just started showing interest in her within the last 2-3 weeks. They aren't mean to her at all, just follow her around.
<Indeed. Closely related, and will surely try and mate with her. No chance of fertilising her though.>
Anywho, I attached 3 pics, they aren't very clear-sorry the fish are quick and didn't want to use flash and blind/confuse them! Sometimes she will hang out on the bottom of the tank- not for too long- and she is very active, usually all over the place and seems very happy. I am trying to give as much info as possible! If she is pregnant, how long till she will have babies? Is she pregnant?
<See above. But also be aware of constipation and dropsy. The former is quite common when herbivores, like Platies, aren't given plant-based foods (Spirulina flake for example) and fresh greens (slices of cucumber to graze on are good). Can be treated with Epsom salt and more green foods. Dropsy looks similar, but the scales rise up so the fish has a pine cone
appearance viewed from above. It's a serious issue. Fluid retained inside the body, abdominal swelling, often related to bacterial infection. Both constipation and dropsy are covered elsewhere on WWM.>
I just don't know if I should get a breeding tank??
<Not for the female, no. Very stressful for them. But by all means corral fry into a trap for 2-3 weeks until they're big enough to swim with adults.
Some tetras (such as Black Widows) and most cichlids (including Angels) are very predatory towards fry. May need to keep the fry in the trap or ideally another aquarium for longer.>
Any info would help!! Thanks for you time!!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

 

Terme... Platy... repro. and fungal dis.       7/21/15
Hello Neale,
Terme, the first platy, the first fish I acquired just over a year ago is not well. She has given, in this past year, 4 healthy babes. I've just done a water change and cleaning. I've isolated her in a clear container hooked on the lip of the tank. She can see her mates.
<Nonetheless, do be aware these breeding traps are in themselves stressful.>
Her anal fin is virtually gone, caudal fin is tattered a bit, dorsal fin is flatter, 1 pectoral fin has fuzz on it as of this a.m. Indeed, the prognosis is not good. She eats but half heartedly and her motion is, naturally, wobbly. I don't know what to do for her.
<The fact she's eating is actually a good sign. Treat, promptly, for Finrot and Fungus. In the UK there's a useful medication called eSHa 2000 that treats both simultaneously. In the US you may be able to find similar products such as Kanaplex. The addition of salt to the water can be helpful for all livebearers that are ailing, but this does depend on other tankmates. Assuming your tank is all livebearers, then up to 5g/litre is worthwhile. It won't treat in itself, but salt reduces osmotic stress and often perks livebearers up remarkably quickly. The important thing though is to avoid Melafix, Pimafix and other "all in one" medications that generally do very little once a fish is genuinely sick (they might have some use as a preventative when fish are damaged but not actually sick).>
I had noticed the wobble perhaps 2 weeks ago. All else looked fine. The fin damages seem like a rapid onset. This is my first death of a fish. What do you do with the remains?
<Assuming you're not near a natural waterway, then simply burying the corpse in the garden is effective.>
All else is basically well and good. I certainly hope to find you well and in good spirits.
<Thank you.>
The Best,
Grace
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Terme...
      7/21/15
Thank you so much Neale, I will take your notes with me to 'the guy' today.
<Glad to help.>
this a.m. while changing the water in her container, the 'bracelet of fuzz' drifted off and I was able to, at least, pull that out of the container.
<Good.>
If at liberty to anthropomorphize, I would say that while it seems indeed somewhat stressful to be reduced to a smaller space in her container, she also seems a bit relieved to not have to directly interact and can rest, while still being a part of...
<A fair analysis.>
In any event, thank you again. I will report.
Best,
Grace
<Cheers, Neale.>
On further observation. Re Platy dis.       7/22/15

and some research at the novice level, my best guess is the virus Lymphocystis, at worst Saprolegnia...I believe the former of those two.
<Is this for the Platy? Never seen Lymphocystis in any of the Poeciliidae.
Tends to be overwhelmingly associated with "advanced" fishes -- cichlids and spiny eels in freshwater tanks, and pretty much any Perciform fish in brackish/marine tanks. Viral infections are typically untreatable, but triggered by some type of external stress. In any event, Lymphocystis is fairly distinctive, with cream to cafe-au-lait coloured growths, often but
not always textured rather like cauliflower.>
Sapro calls for imidazoldinone, malachite green (apparently banned in the U.S.) or Methylene blue.
<Saprolegnia is name widely used, probably without good cause, for certain types of fungal infection. To be clear: without examination under a microscope, identifying a fungus is hard. Fortunately, caught early on, fungal infections are relatively easy to treat.>
I don't see good instruction for delivery of Formalin to a single fish in a confined space.
<Do not use formalin! Toxic. Nasty.>
Concerns seem to be more for me (gloves, inhalation etc. cancerous toxin) than the fish.
<Indeed!>
Also, I wonder about the singular stress introducing that her. I will check with 'my guy' at our best local shop tomorrow. For now, I figure to simply give her water changes in her isolation container and continue to feed, as she is eating.
<Viral infections are untreatable for all practical purposes, but a good external fungus/bacterial treatment such as Kanaplex or ParaGuard should do the trick without the need to ID the exact pathogen.>
Just wanting to know of your thoughts, Neale.
Best as usual,
Grace
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: on further observation      7/22/15

Yes, this is my eldest Platy girl (7 in all)...not giving up...
Thanks again for excellent info. I'm so grateful I've gotten your email moments before heading out to 'the guy'...full report to follow...
Best,
Grace
<Glad to help. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: on further observation.     7/23/15

Dear Neale,
<Grace,>
Happily, 'the guy' was in complete agreement with you, thus bolstering my confidences on both sides of the ocean.
<Cool.>
I purchased the Kanaplex and gave an initial dose yesterday afternoon. The Kanaplex instructions read as if I were to place the med inside some food source and deliver. This is an ill platy. I took some tank water and dissolved the portion of powder in it and poured into her container. I repeated that process this a.m. after changing her container water. So, 'fresh' water and 'fresh' med daily.
<It's not a product I've used, but provided you follow the instructions carefully, should work well. Be sure to remove carbon from the filter, if used.>
He wanted me to purchase a 2 gallon hospital tank, heater and filter etc. along with the meds, but I needed to decline for sake of finances. She is in her container with water from the tank that is heated and filtered, the container hung from the lip of the tank inside the tank. I figure OK, perhaps not ideal....He recommended at least 4-5 days of meds to see if a good turn around effect takes place. This suggests she could be returned to the tank after that. He suggested only vegetable matter to be given for a week after cessation of the meds...We were in agreement that the tank itself should not be arbitrarily dosed.
<Fair enough.>
What do I need to see from her before placing her back in the tank or is it a matter of how many days she's been on the meds and likely to be clear of infection?
<You'll want to see some noticeable improvement. One Finrot and Fungus are in decline, the fish usually heals quickly provided ambient water quality, etc., are good. Perhaps complete a full course as recommended by the manufacturer; isolate in breeding trap inside main aquarium for a few days so she can benefit from good water quality and social interactions; if all
continues to look good, release into the main aquarium. When she's back in the tank, consider isolating any males for a few days to prevent her being pestered.>
Your excellent thoughts please!
The Best,
Grace
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: on further observation.     7/23/15

Neale,
While the Kanaplex calls for 'every other day 'up to 3 doses', I dosed her in the non-filtered container in the late afternoon yesterday, and again this a.m.
<Any particular reason?>
So, I will count this a.m. as #1. My guy suggested that one cannot really overdose this stuff. (As we were figuring the 1/4 amounts of the tiny, tiny spoon supplied. I figure all of us can overdose on all sorts of stuff and therefore, maintain a strict quantity application. I've never used this stuff either.)
<It's Kanamycin, an antibiotic, so unlikely to cause the fish harm if used in reasonable amounts. But overdosing may affect the filter bacteria, which is a much bigger deal...>
She does seem perkier. Hopefully not an illusion from my rose coloured glasses. There are no males in the tank. Pestered, indeed. She ate her flake food and salad this a.m.
Next purchase will be the breeding trap so that I may release her, in quarantine, into the main tank. Thanks for that. But, not to get ahead of ourselves. A day at a time!
Should I be seeing the pectoral fins actually growing in more fully?
<Dead tissue/off-white edges should vanish quite quickly, even overnight; regrowth may take a bit longer, but by no means imperceptibly across a few days, a week.>
Best,
Grace
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: on further observation.     7/23/15

Well. It was the guy's notion to begin dosing immediately after getting home. He encouraged the daily container water changes with 'fresh' med supplied daily.
<Seems reasonable. Supposedly, most aquarium medications are usually neutralised within a day, by the biological filter if nothing else.>
After fully determining the exact, tiny spoonful amount yesterday, it was only after this a.m.'s dosing that I returned to read the duration of dosing, the round, as we say. That's when I read their 'every 2 days for maximum of 3 doses.'
This conflicts with the guy's notion of daily dosing and can't overdose....so, I decided to begin the every other day today, and call yesterday's dose a measure for The Good.
<It's an antibiotic, Kanaplex, so I wouldn't be overly worried about getting the dosing rate off by a day or two.>
And, since not dosing the tank itself, the filter is in no danger...
<Quite.>
Best Regards As Usual,
Grace
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: on further observation. Neale, please    7/25/15

Ahh, with your good and gentle guidance and some re-orientation of my thoughts, it strikes me that if her water is changed out daily, because it is a small container lacking specific filtration and aeration, then the med must be renewed daily as well.
<Yes, provided you really are changing all the water in the container. Is this like a plastic Tupperware or something? I'm guessing so. Remove the fish with a net, empty all the water out down the drain, refill with aquarium water, add medication pro rata. Make sense?>
If it degrades fairly quickly anyway, then I feel good about dosing daily for about 6 days...then, if all looks better, returning her to the tank with the breeding trap in place for a week or so...
<Cool.>
Thank you so much Neale,
Best,
Grace
<Happy to help, Neale.>
Re: on further observation

Yes. Really and truly. Changing all the water! The container was purchased at an aquarium shop and is a clear, solid plastic (I assume). All is occurring as you say...
<Cool.>
Will forward a happy (one hopes) update soon...(sooo glad you are out there)
Best,
Grace
<Glad to be of use. Neale.>
Re: on further observation

Yes. Really and truly. Changing all the water! The container was purchased at an aquarium shop and is a clear, solid plastic (I assume). All is occurring as you say...
<Cool.>
Will forward a happy (one hopes) update soon...(sooo glad you are out there)
Best,
Grace
<Glad to be of use. Neale.>

Possibly undeveloped male Platy? 7.15.15
Neale,
Hello, how are you?
<All's well, thank you!>
I'm having some confusion over the sex of my Platy I'm hoping you can shed some light on. I have a 10 gallon tank, ammonia and nitrite zero, nitrate 5 ppm, two sponge filters. A year ago I set up this tank and purchased a female Platy who then gave birth to 20 babies. The tank spiked in ammonia and I struggled for some time trying to get the ammonia under control and
still feed the babies at least four times a day. The adult Platy died after about six months, and I gave most of the babies to the pet store except for three. The babies were raised on flake food. One out of the three showed to be a male and in March of this year I donated him to a fish club. In the meantime, the remaining females have been pregnant and having babies, one baby at a time it seems, here and there.
<Young adult female Platies may have smaller than expected, but oftentimes we're talking about predation on the brood, so you only see one or two surviving the first night. Adding floating plants such as Indian Fern can help.>
Now being July, babies are still coming, although I know the females can hold the sperm for 6 months or so (The babies are being raised in a separate tank this time around).
<Evidence for Platies producing six months' worth of youngsters is lacking.
That often-quoted stat refers to a specific fish, the Dwarf Mosquitofish if I recall. For the common farmed livebearers, two or three broods per insemination is probably the rule.>
At one year old, both my Platies are petite in size compared to a normal adult Platy- they are an inch long and their overall body mass is much smaller than a full grown Platy.
<Genes, or environmental shortcomings while they were young, can play a part in explaining this.>
One Platy is obviously female because it's super pregnant right now, and the other one may not be pregnant, however, it's anal fin looks like a fan- I do not see a gonopodium.
<Sometimes males take a while to manifest the expected fin shape. While rare, it's far from unknown. These "effeminate" juvenile males may explain the supposed female-to-male transitions occasionally described for some livebearers but never observed in the wild or under lab conditions. It's telling that all the reports of sex changes in Swordtails (for example) are
people quoting the story, and I've yet to meet anyone who has actually seen it themselves!>
This one is smaller than the other obvious female, but it's fan shaped anal fin doesn't even look pointy. In addition, back in March when the third Platy was present, who was definitely male (had obvious gonopodium), that male only chased the one female that is now pregnant, but I thought this was due to the fact that she's bigger in size compared to the other female.
Now my dilemma- last night while observing them, I think my two "females" were mating!
<See above. Just because it looks like a female, an "effeminate" male would still think and behave like a male.>
The one in question kept backing its tail up to the pregnant one, then would twitch its tail. I don't see any intense chasing going on though, but when the pregnant one is near the other one, "she" backs up "her" tail (they're facing opposing directions) and its tail gets all twitchy! That's mating, right?
<Yes indeed.>
So I'm wondering, since I definitely do not see a gonopodium, could this Platy be an underdeveloped male?
<Correct.>
And can an underdeveloped male mate and have babies?
<Depends on whether sperm get injected into the female. If they do, despite the limitations of the existing anal fin, then sure, he could fertilise her. But if he can't get sperm physically inside her, then no.>
I'm so confused because it literally looks like two females mating. So far I have nine babies since April, with more on the way. Thank you! -Lorie
Lorie
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Possibly undeveloped male Platy? 7.15.15

Your help is very insightful Neale, thank you. As far as predation of the brood; I've seen the babies swim around the adults and they do not seem interested in them at all.
<Often aren't, but do be aware that Poeciliid livebearers don't really have an instinct about what their fry look like. So while herbivorous, any small wriggling thing at the surface of the water can be viewed as potential food, such as a mosquito larva. In the wild the fry hide among plants and in very shallow (literally, an inch deep) water where the adults can't go.
So evolution assumes the fry and the adults won't meet, but in the aquarium, of course, that isn't the case. As stated: floating plants help.>
When I find babies in the tank, the adult female is still pregnant (gravid spot, fat). I believed because of her small size; she's still pregnant when babies are found; and no interest in the babies; that she literally was having a few babies at a time, although I don't really understand why she doesn't have them all at once, if I am correct in my assessment.
<Hard to say. Dwarf Mosquitofish are, I believe, unique in producing a succession of fry, one or two a day, across a period of weeks. Other livebearers (in the hobby, at least) produce batches of fry released all at once. Perhaps discuss with the folks at the American Livebearer Association, for example; they have a forum.>
I found two more babies last night; the female now looks slimmer but still obviously pregnant.
<Do bear in mind bloating/constipation is pretty common among livebearers and produces swelling regardless of pregnancy.>
She has had babies at least 5-6 times since March, all the while still looking pregnant afterwards.
<See above.>
Also, if I understand correctly, the male that was present in March could not be responsible still for the babies she's having today?
<Unknown. The record for producing fry after a mating is six months, and that's applied to the Dwarf Mosquitofish. Whether other Poeciliidae are comparable is unknown to me, but it's usually assumed Guppies, Platies and so on can produce two, perhaps three batches after a single mating. More than that is not something I've seen in the hobby literature, but again, a specialist might be able to offer more detailed advice. Also review superfetation in the Poeciliidae via Google Scholar, etc., for an overview of the subject.>
If that's the case then my "effeminate" male must be fertilizing her eggs (I kept two females because I did not want any more babies, haha!).
<Would seem plausible. Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Possibly undeveloped male Platy? 7.15.15
I'll look into your suggestions. Thanks again! -Lorie
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Platy with possible dropsy and platy pregnant?       2/13/15
Hello!
Currently we have 2 adult platy fish and 3 young ones about 1 months old.
The zebra platy has a area (highlighted in pictures) where the scales seem to be fluffy/pineconing/furry looking/sticking out? Sorry about the picture quality as these guys do not hold still to pose. I was wondering if by looking at the zebra platy you can tell what this is and if it's dropsy?
<Dropsy is usually around the abdomen, rather than above the muscle blocks of the "tail" part of the body. So my guess here is this isn't typical Dropsy, but some sort of fluid build up inside the muscles. Hard to be specific what's happened here. Could be a tumour I suppose (not uncommon among farmed livebearers) but could just as easily be the result of physical damage, a bit like swelling around a broken ankle. If the fish is otherwise fine, then the old Epsom Salt treatment might work well; the
recommended dosage is 1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres, for as long as it takes. Carry on with water changes as normal, and don't forget to add the appropriate amount of Epsom Salt to each bucket of water, so if it's a 3-gallon bucket, you're adding 0.6-1.8 teaspoons of Epsom Salt.>
The orange platy either super bloated with sickness or pregnant? What is you opinion on her?
<Again, it's a bit unclear what's going on here, but the Epsom Salt approach could help.>
The 3 babies the mother died right after giving birth and my husband said her carcass virtually exploded when he dropped her in the toilet. :(
<Which says more about how quickly small bits of fish meat decay in warm water than anything else...>
We did not know she was pregnant but she kinda looked like the orange fish does. A few days after her death I noticed these itsy bitsy baby fish virtually impossible to see and now they are growing each day.
<These problems are fairly common amount farmed (inbred, low quality) livebearers. Ensuring good water quality and appropriate water chemistry will help, and don't forget Platies are low-end tropicals, so keep them as 22-25 C/72-77 F, ideally towards the lower end of that range, and certainly no warmer. Heat stress can cause all sorts of problems.>
I appreciate your help! If there is some treatment I would like to get it started to save the little ones and especially if the red one is going to have babies.
Linda
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Ammonia/Baby Platies 7/10/14
Hello Neale, how are you?
<All good.>
I have a 10 gallon tank, HOB filter (Marineland Bio-filter 100 GPH), heater, which I had set up for 4 weeks with a little bit of food added to it. After 4 weeks I tested the water- 0 ammonia and nitrite, 5 ppm nitrate. At this time I added a female Swordtail (I thought she was a Platy). A week later I added a female Platy (did not retest water at this time). Within hours of adding the Platy, she had babies. I now have 20 babies in a breeders cup.
<What's this? Do you mean a breeding trap that goes in the aquarium?>
The babies are 12 days old. I am feeding them Hikari powered food for fry and occasionally frozen brine shrimp. I feed them twice a day, although over the weekend I fed them three times a day.
<More, smaller meals best; 4-6 is recommended for newborn fish. Their digestive tracts are very short and store little food, and starvation is a very real problem for baby fish that would eat continually (algae,
detritus, aufwuchs, plankton) in the wild.>
I feed the two adults twice a day, but only a flake "the size of their eye" each. I have been doing 10% water changes every 3 days, for fear of overloading the filter. Wednesday I tested the water and ammonia is .5 ppm! Since setting up the aquarium, I have not changed the filter cartridge. Tuesday I did a 10% water change, and after testing the water Wednesday, I did a 20% water change. I wanted to do a 50% water change but was afraid this would be too drastic for the babies. Do you think I can go ahead with a 50% water change?
<Yes.>
My plan is to do water changes every day until ammonia is at zero, 50% today if that is okay, then probably 20% each day after. Or, just 20% every day until ammonia is at zero. What do you think?
<Some combination of these will be fine; change as much as you can provided water chemistry, temperature are kept constant; if you can't be sure about these, then more frequent but smaller changes better.>
I also added some floss to the filter box to increase the surface area for bacteria to grow. I fed the babies crushed flakes this morning (I only feed what they can eat in 3 minutes). I was thinking of stopping the
powered food, since it's so fine and dense, considering the ammonia problem.
<Quite so; it's easy to overfeed these foods. Do allow your baby Platies something to graze on, e.g., a flat rock under a bright light (for green algae) or an air-powered sponge filter (for organic detritus and algae).
This latter is actually an ideal way to run a livebearer aquarium generally, whether adults or juveniles.>
I did not feed the adults this morning. I don't have another tank to move the babies to, but was considering setting up a 5 gallon, with sharing the filter media from the main tank and maybe using one of those bacteria additives to speed cycling (your thoughts on these products?),
<Redundant if you can "clone" a mature filter by removing some if its live biological media and putting into the new filter. Mature filters can donate as much as 50% of their media without problems, though it will take at least 6-8 weeks for the mature filter to recover fully with regard to maturing any replacement media you put in there.>
if that would be a good idea to help the babies. Although I've read from others that moving the babies to another tank resulted in deaths.
<Only if water chemistry, temperature are dramatically different.>
I plan on giving the babies to the pet store when/if they make it to where they are old enough to be donated. The adults so far seem ok, but one of the babies looks like he is dying. I'm mainly concerned because of the babies; I'm afraid too many water changes/interventions could kill them, so I'm not sure how to handle this problem. Any guidance, advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, Lorie
<Would direct you to this accumulated FAQ, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/livebrrreprofaqs.htm
No real magic to breeding livebearers such as Platies, provided they get enough food. Do bear in mind the basic needs of Platies, which include lowish temperatures (22-25 C/72-77 F) and hard, alkaline chemistry.
Predominantly algae eaters; rich food can cause health problems including obesity. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ammonia/Baby Platies 7/10/14

Thank you for your advice and quick response! I can keep water chemistry/temp constant, so I will do a 50% water change tonight and continue water changes/testing until ammonia is at zero. Yes, by breeders
cup I meant breeding trap; I have 19-20 babies in the trap.
<Cool.>
The adult Platy and Swordtail still seem very interested in the babies even though 12 days have passed. I would like to let the babies out of the trap; I will be acquiring floating plants soon. Do you think at 12 days they can be released?
<Depends on their size; 3 weeks is about right but it really depends on how predatory your Platies are. In short, try it out, and if not completely successful, you can be more careful with the next batch of fry.>
They still look to be about the size of the Adult Platy's mouth (she's big, Neon Blue Platy), and of course I don't want them to be eaten.
<Indeed.>
Also, do you think I should work towards setting up the 5 gallon and separating the babies from the main tank (because of the ammonia problem/other possible benefits of separating)?
<Unless you want to rear large numbers of offspring, a small (e.g., 5 gallon) rearing tank isn't particularly cost effective or even worthwhile. Put another way, if you trap some of the fry for a couple weeks, and let them take their chances with their parents thereafter, you'll always have at least a few survivors per brood. Multiply that by a monthly deposit of 20-30 fry per adult female, and over a year you'll still get more fry than you can possibly keep. However, if your plan is to rear as many fry per batch, and take those batches to a fish shop, club or fishkeeping friend, then a rearing tank will be invaluable. Easier to feed the fry, easier to keep the tank clean, and altogether a safer, better environment. Mortality will be much lower. A 5-gallon tank isn't economical in this situation though as it'll be too crowded even before the fry are big enough to rehome. But a 10-15 gallon tank could work.>
The filter media in the main tank is one of those carbon cartridges, so I'd have to take a knife and cut half the filter pad off; I don't know if that's really sufficient for sharing with another filter though (which is why I was considering the bacteria additive).
<I see. Not a huge fan of carbon (absorbs medications for example) so some "butchery" might be worthwhile. You can often jam useful amounts of filter floss into filters, even when designed for proprietary (read: expensive) filter cartridges.>
I have rocks in the main tank but there's really no algae to graze on. I do own a sponge filter- should I set that up along with the HOB?
<Alongside the hang-on-the-back filter likely a useful addition. Depending on its size, perhaps a replacement even, but allow the two to run for a couple months together so the sponge charges up with filter bacteria.>
Since you mentioned the babies should be fed 4-6 times a day, I will increase their feedings (small meals) but probably decrease the adults' feedings until the ammonia is back to zero.
<Exactly.>
Are goldfish flakes more appropriate than tropical flakes for Platies, since I believe goldfish flakes have more greens in them?
<Likely so, but I've no experience. I prefer to use Spirulina flake food, but your idea is worth a flutter. Maybe alternate them for a few weeks, the tropical and the goldfish food, and see how the fish do.>
Thank you Neale! -Lorie
<Most welcome.>
Re: Ammonia/Baby Platies 7/10/14

Alright, well I have a plan of action here. Thanks again for your input and guidance!! It's most appreciated! :) -Lorie
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Platy fry tummy not bulgin    7/5/14
Thanks so much for your website. We have found it very helpful in raising our platys.
<Glad to hear it!>
Quick question: We have a panda platy fry who's stomach is no longer bulging like the other fry in the tank. The fry is 5 months old and eating well and had bulging abdomen before. Should we be worried?
<Nope.>
Below is the panda fry and a pic of its sibling below with bulging tummy for comparison. We have total of 6 fry and this one is the only one not bulging.
<Do bear in mind it's rare for all fry in a single batch to reach maturity.
That would never happen in the wild, and even in the more secure and better resourced environment of an aquarium, there are all sorts of reasons why fry don't survive. Some fry are simply weaker because of genetics, others because of developmental problems. So the best approach is to watch and see what happens with fry, euthanising any that are clearly going to fail (such as ones unable to swim) and those with deformities you wouldn't want to pass on to the next generation (such as kinked spines). Sometimes
separating smaller fry from bigger fry can be helpful if the smaller ones are having problems getting enough to eat, but otherwise focus on the big picture, trying your best to keep as many fry healthy by regular water changes and frequent (4-6) small meals per day.>
Thanks!
Carol
<Welcome, Neale.>

fry feeding; platy     4/28/14
Just found your website and learned a lot! My question is I have five 3 month old fry in a 5g tank. All are healthy and happy.
<Cool.>
We just have a fry born 3 days ago and I place it in the fry tank as well.
Except the older fry are hogging the food.
<Yes, will happen.>
Should I worry that the newborn is not getting enough food?
<Yes, potentially. What often happens even within a single batch of fry is the faster growing fish (often the males) outgrow the slower growing fish (often the females) resulting in skewed sex ratios.>
I try to drop food right on top of the newborn to ensure feeding.
<Indeed. Or try to ensure all fish can graze on algae (assuming we're talking about livebearers here, such as Guppies or Mollies). An extremely good ploy is to use a sponge filter inside the tank that the fry will peck
on all day, especially if there's a bright light over it to stimulate a bit of algae growth. A couple hours sunshine works just as well. Another good trick with livebearers is to add some floating plants, even Duckweed if all
else fails, as their roots catch particles of food as well as algae, providing alternate grazing spots. This won't prevent hogging at feeding time, but will mean the smaller fish don't starve to death, which can happen.>
The second question is about the schedule of feeding for the 3 month old.
I've been feeding them twice a day. When do I taper the schedule to once a day? The adult platy I feed once every 2-3 days (the ones in the 10g tanks)
<With fry a good rule of thumb is the more, the better, but keeping portions small. So with newborns up to, say, 6 weeks old, 4-6 meals per day is good. After that, up to about 3 months, then 3-4 meals if possible. If the fry can graze (as described above) then deliberate feedings of powdered flake or brine shrimps needn't be so frequent. In the wild livebearer fry will almost entirely feed on algae and "aufwuchs" so in theory you can even
rear them in mature tanks with plenty of algae! So long as their little tummies are nice and rounded, while water quality is good, you're doing fine.>
Thanks a bunch!
Carol
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Pregnant Platy   10/21/13
Hello all, I am really impressed by your informative responses to most fishy questions.
<Ahh!>
I set up a tank about a month ago 1 male platy to 1 female platy. She was pregnant and could see the frys eyes. However, I had to go to work, checked on her in the morning she was fine, checked on her when I came in was fine checked on her before I went to bed and she was dead. She looked like she had given birth as no eyes or gravid visible, but unable to find any fry.
I'm assuming they have been eaten as also housed them with White Cloud Mountain minnows.
<Mmm, usually Tanichthys will leave livebearer fry alone... Unless the White Clouds are very large, and hungry>
My tank has plastic plants. So I'm not sure if it was stress of labour or the male platy who never left her alone. I have read up on platys and now realise he's a randy little devil and I have since set up a second tank did the cycle etc and put him in there with new 3 female platys. (He's over the moon). Now I have a pregnant platy...again and want to try and avoid another death. I would like to raise some fry and again she has a gravid spot and I can see frys eyes these have appeared over the last few days.
Roughly how far on would this indicate she is?
<Typically parturition within a week or two>
She is silver in colour and has a pink/reddish tail. I am trying to find out when to separate her I have one of those hatching things so the fry can sink to the bottom compartment, does she need some separation?
<Sooner is better than later... I would move her now>
as my male platy keeps bothering her and I don't want her stressing out.
Thanks for your advise, Ann Marie
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Pregnancy separator    7/30/13
Hi there. I've been doing as much research as possible because my Pineapple Platy is pregnant! She's in a ten gallon tank with four neon tetras and one other female pineapple platy. We got her three weeks ago and was pregnant when we bought her. According to the fish store clerk she was in a tan with males two weeks before we bought her. She is very large compared to the other platy and has a dark red spot with small black spots inside (fry's eyes I assumed) so we got a pregnancy separator so when she drops her fry they won't be harmed by the other fish or the filter. We think she will
drop sometime this week so I put her in the separator but she freaked out and I was afraid she'd hurt herself and/or the babies. I'm not sure what to do. I don't want to take her out because she's very attached to the other platy (the were also in the same tank when we got them) but I'm afraid shell hurt herself in the separator. Should I put her in and hope for the best? Thanks so much.
<I'd leave the female where she is... and be looking for another and/or larger aquarium. You'll be needing more space if you're going to raise young. Bob Fenner>

Injured platy fry    4/3/13
Hello there ! I have previously sent you an email about a "pregnant guppy female" in a very tiny tank , it turned out that the guppy was a male and after me buying a larger tank he seemed to get better :) after having this tank for a while I got 2 female and 1 male red wag tail platy (yay !!) . I arrived home on April fools to find 5 platy fry in my filter (it has water in it) and 2 in the main tank , 4 of the ones in the filter were alive and I fished them out an put them in my older tank , I managed to rescue one out of the main tank but when I was trying to catch it in my net I accidentally pushed it against the wall of the tank. It seemed fine at first by upon further investigation I could see that the ends of its tail I shredded and from the base of its Tail it swollen and slightly bent downwards and has turned a milky greyish color. It seems to be swimming around with the other fry but when it doest swim and sits there it sometimes (like 1 out of 10) it starts floating tail first towards the top , is there anything I can do to help it or should I put it out of its misery ,
<If it were me, mine, I'd just wait/see. Often enough, these physical injuries fix themselves>
I feel awful because it survived its parents and now I could be the cause of its death (its my first batch of fry).(I apologize for the quality of the picture but you can see where it starts becoming lighter)  Thank you . Kind regards Amber
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Xiphophorus hybridization   11/15/12
hi i have a few questions, i want to hybridize platys with swordtails.
<Farmed Platies and Swordtails are hybrids already…>
i know there already hybrids to begin with but i want to breed these together anyways to make my own unique hybrids.
<I see.>
i read that a male X. variatus will inseminate x helleri females but a male helleri wont typically inseminate x variatus females.
<Not sure that's true. Indeed, I'm fairly sure it's false.>
now, i have male black Redtail variatus platies and 2 female Redwag swordtails. now what setup would you recommend?
<Both are low-end tropicals that need hard, alkaline water; 22-25 degrees C, 10+ degrees dH. Otherwise, the key difference is Platies prefer slow water current while Swordtails do best with a moderate current. Both are of course algae-eaters more than anything else.>
(1male variatus to 1 female swordtail) or 2 male variatus to 1 or 2 female swordtails?
<More males than females.>
and what size tank should i use to get them to breed together?
<Platies 20+ gallons, Swordtails 30+ gallons. This reflects their different sizes and the fact Swordtails are much faster swimmers and more active. Plus, male Swordtails tend to be substantially more aggressive than male Platies.>
i want to create my own variety of Mickey mouse swordtails by using Mickey mouse x. maculatus to female swordtails. but i read everywhere that swordtails and platies hybridize "freely" yet every time I've tried to mate x. maculatus to x. helleri they never mate they just swim up n down the glass ignoring each other :(
<Curious.>
should i use a male Mickey mouse maculatus to a female swordtail or 2 or 3 or use a male swordtail to female Mickey mouse maculatus???
<They do cross-breed freely, but whether the offspring are worth keeping is a whole other thing. Furthermore, Swordtails do tend to be more predatory towards their fry than Platies.>
what setup would work the best??
<Lots and lots of floating plants will be key -- somewhere for fry to remain safe while you collect them every day.>
thank you.
<Do obtain virgin females of the species you want, keep with the male you want for a couple weeks, then remove Hope this helps, Neale.>

Platy sick...but from what?? & repro. f'     10/20/12
Hello,
<Tracy>
I have 3 Platies in a 10 gallon tank, all the chemistry is fine.
<Based on what?>
I just did a 20% water change yesterday. For 2 days the Mickey Mouse Platy has been sitting at the bottom but will come up for food and will go for it and beat the other Platies to it.  The other Platies didn't really eat it but the MM did.  The MM is the pig of the three, she eats the most. I think maybe she is stressed and constipated. I gave her Epsom salt  twice in tank
and fed her a green pea or two....she is still acting all stressed, dorsal fin down, and stressing out way to easily, which is not normally like her.
<Did anything pass after you used the Epsom and fed pea?>
She was the one who was the happy go lucky and like to nip and chase and play. She looks okay on the outside, and i am thinking maybe she has a bacterial or viral infection internally.
<What led you to this conclusion?>
No reason to think parasites, at all.
<Why not?>
Just fed them TetraColor and TetraMin flakes only, but I do admit I overfed, to make sure that one of them got enough to eat, cuz she always ate less, smaller bites....and this one and the 3rd one ate a lot.
<They won't starve if they are eating at all.>
..the MM ate the most. She looked bloated at first to me, but now I realize she just doesn't feel well, she always had a lot of food in her belly. No way can she be pregnant cuz she was less than 4 months old when i got her..
<How do you know the age and how long have they been in your tank? Did you get her from the breeder or from a store?  Also, do you have a male in that tank?  Livebearers can breed at a surprisingly young age.>
.still growing. I was told to only feed them peas for a few days and see how she is doing then...but I am scared she is going to get worse if she has an internal bacterial or viral infection.
<If the condition worsens, be ready to use antibiotics.>
 She doesn't look like she has dropsy yet, as her fins are NOT pointed out.
I am scared that whatever is wrong she is going to get worse. But she does want to eat, so that is good unless she doesn't ever poop. I was told the peas act as a laxative.
<Again, have you seen any results from the peas?  My first inclination is that the fish is indeed gravid, preparing to drop her fry.>
Please advise.
<Monitor and note any changes for better or worse. Look for additional symptoms, especially red markings on the skin. - Rick>
Re: re: Platy sick...but from what??  /RMF  10/20/12

I took my water in, and everything was normal, they checked everything..
<Mmm, not everything is check-able>
  I do my small water changes once a week, religiously!
I change my filters when needed. I keep their water clean!
If the MM is pregnant, then she got pregnant at Dallas North Aquarium before I bought her.
<Happens>
 She did look big in pics I took on Oct. 6th.
I had read that they could not get pregnant until 4 months old which it said that is when they are full grown to their 2 to 2 1/2 inches.
<Mmm, I disagree... can/do "become pregnant" at smaller size, younger age>
She was way shorter/smaller than that when I bought her on Sept. 26, she was listed as between small an medium size...less than full grown for sure, very obvious. The bumble bee and her were much smaller than the Red Wagtail. I fed them too much apparently and no veggie based food or frozen veggies and both the bumble bee and the MM got bigger and big stomachs. I can see through how full they are. Since I got the MM, the Red Wagtail started eating less and does not have a big stomach anymore, normal sized.
The sick MM was/is the Pig of the tank!
I was overfeeding the MM because she ate most of the food...I had to put out extra so the Red Wagtail could get some food.
No, unfortunately, I have not noticed any poop from the sick MM. If she does not get better (or give birth)
Question:  What kind of antibiotics should I give her, considering I have no idea what kind of internal bacterial or viral infection she has?
<See WWM re... am not a fan of such use w/o real demonstrable possible benefit>
The others Platies are pooping fine and feel great, but one pooped white, but wasn't all long and stringy. I also saw short strings of red poop on the gravel. The one that pooped white feels great. 
The reason why I do not believe they have parasites is because another expert who has proven himself to me time and time again told me this:
"White stringy feces can be a sign of a bacterial digestive infection, a viral digestive infection, or possibly some kinds of parasite.  It can also be an indication of an overly rich diet, consumption of vegetable matter that did not agree with them, consumption of meaty foods that were starting to decompose, consumption of fungus-based foods (or moldy food), liver failure, or any of a number of other things... It is unlikely that domestic raised fish would have any parasite (your platies are DEFINITELY domestic raised)."
<Mmm, while I do agree w/ most of the above stmt., it may well be that these domestically raised fish are infested... many to most are... coming either from Florida or imported from the far east... ONLY livestock that is captive produced (in aquariums) locally is likely to be parasite-free>
The sick MM has had her dorsal fin up sometimes now and is swimming normally but kind of fast, cuz she does not want to be messed with.
Then she goes back to her place.
I did buy Veggie Spirulina flake food by Aqueon at PetSmart. Only brand there that had it for Tropical fish.
I will alternate it with the TetraColor and TetraMin when the fish are all better.
Question: Can I feed the Veggie Spirulina flakes to the Platies after tomorrow? It will have been 3 days without flaked food, and the two that aren't sick did not eat it yesterday, I think they nibbled a little on it today. If not, how soon?
<Can, and only time will tell>
Question:  I think it could be Constipation and Stress, but then again she IS wanting to eat.????
<Can't say from here... >
Please, please, please advise. I really need your help. Thank you,
<Please review what we have archived re this species... Start here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platies.htm
the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Sincerely,
Tracy
Re: re: Platy sick...but from what??    10/20/12

I read online that Platies cannot possibly get pregnant at such a young age of 2 months or so,
<Mmm, can do so shortly after this time in my experience>
Today she is feeling better, and actually had her dorsal fin up when I fed the peas, but she is still stressed, I know why now, being bullied by one of the other Platies, and they both like to be with third Platy, so I think I should get one more Platy soon...I heard they do better in pairs.
<Trios... more females than males>
Her gills were pinkish/red when I got her, they did get a little redder, and I will keep an eye on that. But, she is feeling better today, still haven't seen any string of poop from her, but maybe she will poop today since she ate another pea.
The reason why I wrote no reason for parasites is because another expert told me this, when I asked him about short white poop:
"This is another case of non-veterinarian giving out not entirely accurate or necessarily clear information.
White stringy feces can be a sign of a bacterial digestive infection, a viral digestive infection, or possibly some kinds of parasite. It can also be an indication of an overly rich diet, consumption of vegetable matter that did not agree with them, consumption of meaty foods that were starting to decompose, consumption of fungus-based foods (or moldy food), liver failure, or any of a number of other things... It is unlikely that domestic raised fish would have any parasite (your platies are DEFINITELY domestic raised)."
Please respond with your comments on what i just wrote, or recommendation for me to do next.
<Read where you've been referred... especially re "Platy System FAQs"... am wondering if you have suitable water quality... temp., hardness, pH...
BobF>
Re: re: Platy sick...but from what??   /Neale    10/20/12

I took my water in, and everything was normal, they checked everything..  I do my small water changes once a week, religiously! I change my filters when needed. I keep their water clean! If the MM is pregnant, then she got pregnant at Dallas North Aquarium before I bought her.
<Easily possible. Female livebearers can have anything up to 6 broods following mating, with each brood around a month apart, so for  if they're ever kept with males, it's almost certain they'll be pregnant.>
She did look big in pics I took on Oct. 6th. I had read that they could not get pregnant until 4 months old which it said that is when they are full grown to their 2 to 2 1/2 inches.
<Size doesn't matter for fish any more than humans. It's age that matters. Female livebearers are capable of breeding at around 3 months of age, males are fertile and able to father offspring at about 2 months of age.>
She was way shorter/smaller than that when I bought her on Sept. 26, she was listed as between small an medium size...less than full grown for sure, very obvious. The bumble bee and her were much smaller than the Red Wagtail. I fed them too much apparently and no veggie based food or frozen veggies and both the bumble bee and the MM got bigger and big stomachs. I can see through how full they are. Since I got the MM, the Red Wagtail started eating less and does not have a big stomach anymore, normal sized.
The sick MM was/is the Pig of the tank! I was overfeeding the MM because she ate most of the food...I had to put out extra so the Red Wagtail could get some food.
No, unfortunately, I have not noticed any poop from the sick MM. If she does not get better (or give birth) Question:  What kind of antibiotics should I give her, considering I have no idea what kind of internal bacterial or viral infection she has?
<Use a combination against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria; in the US, the use of Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 is frequently recommended in such situations.>
The others Platies are pooping fine and feel great, but one pooped white, but wasn't all long and stringy. I also saw short strings of red poop on the gravel. The one that pooped white feels great. The reason why I do not believe they have parasites is because another expert who has proven himself to me time and time again told me this: "White stringy feces can be a sign of a bacterial digestive infection, a viral digestive infection, or possibly some kinds of parasite. It can also be an indication of an overly rich diet, consumption of vegetable matter that did not agree with them, consumption of meaty foods that were starting to decompose, consumption of fungus-based foods (or moldy food), liver failure, or any of a number of other things... It is unlikely that domestic raised fish would have any parasite (your platies are DEFINITELY domestic raised)."
<Actually, it's extremely common for farmed fish to have gut parasites.
Most tropical fish come from farms in the Far East where medications rather than hygiene are used to minimise losses. In practical terms this means they factor in a certain number of fatalities, and price their livestock accordingly. This ensures mostly healthy fish at a low price, but does mean intensive farming is commonplace, and that in turn means cross-infection of parasites is very common. With this said, though parasites may be common, even ubiquitous in some cases, most of the tropical fish we buy are healthy enough that any low level infections don't cause problems. It's only when fish are stressed that the parasites multiply sufficiently quickly to cause real harm.>
The sick MM has had her dorsal fin up sometimes now and is swimming normally but kind of fast, cuz she does not want to be messed with. Then she goes back to her place. I did buy Veggie Spirulina flake food by Aqueon at PetSmart. Only brand there that had it for Tropical fish. I will alternate it with the TetraColor and TetraMin when the fish are all better.
Question: Can I feed the Veggie Spirulina flakes to the Platies after tomorrow? It will have been 3 days without flaked food, and the two that aren't sick did not eat it yesterday, I think they nibbled a little on it today. If not, how soon?
<Spirulina flakes are a recommended staple for livebearers, but should not be used while treating fish for constipation because they'd have the opposite effect. Plain algae (such as Sushi Nori) would be okay though.
Otherwise, stick with the cooked/canned peas, spinach, etc. Feel free to stick an algae-covered rock in the tank for the Platies to graze upon;
algae is something like 90% of what they'd eat in the wild, and the perfect food.>
Question:  I think it could be Constipation and Stress, but then again she IS wanting to eat.????
<For sure. Cooked peas and spinach will provide good nutrition for herbivorous fish like Platies. But it does take weeks for fish to starve, and if constipated, the focus has to be clearing out the gut before returning to dried foods.>
Please, please, please advise. I really need your help. Thank you,
Sincerely,
Tracy
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Re: re: Platy sick...but from what??  - 10/22/2012

Oh, I did read everything on your Platy site, and am just more confused.
Sucks
<Your water quality test measures? BobF>
Re: Re: re: Platy sick...but from what??

<Hi Tracy>
The water is fine, we do have hard water here. PH is fine, they checked all that. I take very good care of the water...regular water changes, change filters, clean filter media, I am very good about taking care of my tank water and fish. But something is wrong with her.
<The water sounds like it is not related to the problem.>
I did see her rub the side of her face against the submersible heater, although her gills are normally reddish anyway.
<One time may be nothing. If she rubs again (called flashing) it may indicate problems.>
I will feed her a pea again today and look for poop string.
<Look specifically for a segmented string, like sausages. That indicates parasites. Otherwise, it should be pretty solid.>
It has been too long for her to have a big stomach like that and not already dropped the fry. I do not even believe she is pregnant. Actually her color is better and dorsal fin is up sometimes, but it is not even like her to not want to play. I think it has to be constipation. Maybe it will take another day. But I read on your site that the rubbing on her face could be a gill bacterial infection. I also read that it is bad to treat them for parasites or infections or anything they do not have.
<Right, treating for something that isn't a problem is not suggested.
That's how humans helped to create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.>
I am very frustrated...and do not know what to do. There are NO fish Vets anywhere. So i guess i am screwed until what?
I don't know.
<A fish vet would probably be pretty expensive anyway.  Would it be possible to get a photo of this fish so we can see the shape of the belly? 
Gravid livebearers often have a distinctive shape.  Otherwise, I'd just continue feeding with pea and keep a close eye on her. - Rick>
Re: Re: re: Platy sick...but from what?? - Sabrina's Go, Part A

<Firstly, Hi Tracy, I'm Sabrina.  I thought I might try to clarify some
things from your previous correspondences with Rick and Bob and offer my own views as well.>
Today she came out but seemed stressed but did swim around while I was feeding the fish peas.
<This does sound like an improvement, yes?>
Although I believe she was hungry earlier, when I fed the peas, she did not eat any.  However, her dorsal fin is up more than ever.
<Great!>
I wish you could just tell me what is wrong with her and what and how to medicate with.
<You know, Tracy, I wish so, too.  That would make life so much easier!  Unfortunately, like many/most things in life, fish disease is not something with a miracle fix, or even a certain diagnosis, in this and many cases. 
The symptoms you've described....  big stomach, clamped fins, transparent string from the vent, etc., are all symptoms, and just like how in humans fever, upset tummy, and chills can be symptoms of cold, flu, food poisoning, food allergy, internal infection, and more, the symptoms you've described really can be attributed to many different causes, from simple constipation to parasites to bacterial infection to organ failure.  There just isn't an immediate answer.  Even improper environmental conditions could contribute, which is why the actual readings for Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH and hardness are so very important.  Hearing that someone tested "everything" and it was all okay really gives us zero information about the environment the fish is in, which is why we kept asking for that.>
Is it contagious, do I need to treat the whole tank and the other fish.
<It could be contagious, especially if it's a parasite.  Or it could be entirely not contagious, if it's simple constipation, or (worse) organ failure causing the fish to retain fluids.  Some of the possibilities have fixes, and others (like organ failure) just don't.>
I swear, none of you experts agree on anything.
<It's not so much that no one can agree, but that there are just so many possibilities that, even if we saw the fish with our own two eyes in our own tanks, we might still not be 100% sure what the cause may be, or how or even if it could be fixed.>
And since there are no Fish Vets, I amXXXed!
<There are some fish vets, actually, but they're very few and far between.  The very few I've met would probably be saying something similar to what any one of us has said, and if you asked three different vets, you might even get three different answers, because the symptoms are so common to such different complaints.>
Sorry, but tomorrow is my birthday, and I have to go to the god XXXX dentist, my beloved Stepmother of 30 years died unexpectedly 2 weeks ago, and she was my best friend too.
<This is most unfortunate....  Tracy, I am so very sorry for your loss.>
FTW (XXXX the World...a tattoo that Tommy Lee has)
<When crap comes, it comes in waves, doesn't it?>
If it wasn't for the Silver Surfer, my dog, I wish I would have been the one to die.
<Hon, it seems to me you're in a pretty bad spot right now.  I've been in bad spots myself, and I know what it's like for life to suck.  I won't say I know what you're going through; I don't, only you do.  But I've had my share - more than my share - of hurt, and I know I've wished the same at times.  The way your words indicate that you're feeling is frightening, Tracy.  Life can seriously suck, and it can be really, really hard to work through it.  But I do absolutely promise you that everything always does work out, one way or another.  Try to remember that, and try to hold on to the things that are important to you in your life - Silver Surfer, your Stepmother's memory, anything you hold dear.  And bear in mind that, as much as life can suck at times, the awesome parts are just so, so awesome....>
I am going to get drunk, wake up with a XXXX hangover, and then have to get my teeth drilled on. Do I deserve it. XXXX no.
<Hey, at least getting your teeth drilled is a very temporary thing.  There's totally an end in sight to that, right?  You'll live through it, and then you'll have better teeth.  It's worth it.  And hangovers.... 
Well, drink an equal amount of water for every alcoholic beverage you have, and maybe that'll help some, it does me.  Or maybe you'll just pee a lot.>
Sorry, but I had to vent...do not have my Stepmother to talk to anymore.
<I do hope very much that you'll find someone to talk to.  You DO deserve the support that you so clearly need right now.  Losing your Stepmother is an awful thing, and even though I totally don't know you, I'm pretty sure your Stepmother wouldn't have wanted you to have no support through this tragic time.  Honor her memory by taking care of yourself, and giving yourself the support that you deserve.  Perhaps you have a friend that would let you lean on them a bit, or if not, it might be really helpful to talk to someone professional, like a counselor or a pastor or anything like that.  Even just joining a club - like a fish club! - where there are folks that share a common interest will help. Life DOES get hard, and you DO deserve to have help when you need it.  No one gets through life without needing help during rough times, and you're not alone in the world.  You've got people around you to help - you may just have to reach out to them.>
Tracy
<Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Re: Re: re: Platy sick...but from what??  Sabrina's Go, Part B

I have some new information:
Right now, the sick MM has a very long, about an inch and a half or so, of white and clear string coming out her back end.  Will you please tell me what that means?
<This is a symptom that, like many of the other symptoms you've described throughout the correspondences with the Crew, can indicate many different things....  With all luck, it's that she's starting to pass any gut blockage.  It could mean much more dire things, too, and without looking at some of the "poo" under a microscope, it can be tough to say.... and may not be definitive even then.  I would say, at this point, it'd be best to cross your fingers and hope for the best.>
Thank you,  -Tracy
p.s.  Sorry I had a nervous breakdown while i was emailing you before.
<Happens....  Do please take good care of yourself.  You're the most important person in your whole world.  Best wishes always,  -Sabrina>
Re: Re: Re: re: Platy sick...but from what?? - Sabrina's Go, Part C

I do not understand how the Spirulina Veggie flakes can have the Opposite effect than veggies such as peas and spinach??
<Often, Spirulina flakes contain quite a bit of stuff like fish meal and shrimp meal, which are very high in protein.>
Opposite to veggies to me would be meaty food.
<Like fish meal and shrimp meal, right?>
Anyway, last night, the MM Platy had a long inch and a half string, mostly clear, but small part white. 
All the platies went to sleep.
Then, at about 11:00am the MM was all happy and back to normal and loving on me. Yay!
<Yay!  This is wonderful news!  Hopefully it was just simple constipation. 
I would still advise that, the next time you have your water tested (or even better, get kits and test it yourself), have the shop tell you the actual readings, and write them down, and then do a bit of poking around online to see how your water compares to water that platies like. 
Hopefully it really is great, but then at least you'll know.>
I think the Red Wagtail Platy does not like the peas or the Spirulina Veggie Flakes and is upset about that.!
<She'll give in eventually, I'll bet.>
But all okay now...thank you for your support and getting back with me. 
Very much appreciated.
<Once again, I'm glad the platy is doing better now, thank you for letting us know.
Tracy
<Do please take good care of yourself, Tracy.  I do wish you the best. 
-Sabrina>

Fry tank issues and medicating fry.    6/24/12
Hey crew! I've written before and you are all so awesome with your expertise! The hobby is very lucky to have you!
<Thanks for these kind words.>
I've been having issues with my platy fry tank.
In the past, I've never been able to keep fry alive for longer than a couple of months, but I had them in a plastic breeder trap back then.
<Ah, now, fry should be released from the trap once they're about 10 mm long, which is usually within 6-8 weeks. Water circulation within the traps isn't great, and that causes problems with water quality if nothing else once the fry get above a certain size.>
This time around I decided to keep them in their own tank because all my females decided to drop fry at the same time and I ended up with like 30 of them! My set up includes a 10gal tank with two sponge filters: one rated for 20 gals and the other for 10 gals. I've recently been losing fry. They just seem to drop dead.
<Shouldn't do. Platy fry are very tough and easy to rear (by fry standards, anyway) provided you're offering the right basic conditions.>
I'll check on them before bed and they are all swimming around and perky and I'll wake up the next morning and find 1 or 2 dead or close to death.
Now my first instinct would be water parameters, like ammonia or nitrite problems, but both are zero. Ph is 8.2, gH 14, kH 7, nitrate 10, and temp 80 deg (maybe that's too high?).
<Darn right! Platies are low-end tropicals (Variatus Platies are subtropical fish) and need to be kept relatively cool, around 22-24 C for standard Platies (and around 18-22 for Variatus Platies).>
Now, the tank has been up and running for approximately 4 months. I initially had problems with ammonia, (not getting over 0.25ppm) due to my inexperience with sponge filters and maintenance, but I learned a lot of lessons and now the tank has been ammonia free for over a month. I seem to be losing more fry now than when I had ammonia. Maybe from the stress? All fry seem to exhibit the same symptoms and the onset is sudden: lethargy, frayed fins, crashed on the bottom, and loss of appetite. I don't see any physical problems like spots or anything.
<All fry, including livebearer fry, benefit from a combination of small but frequent meals (ideally 4-6 meals/day) and regular water changes (10% daily is good, but the more the better, provided water chemistry stays more or less steady). Siphon out detritus from the bottom of the tank if you can, or use a turkey baster to pipette it out; either way, the less "gunk" in the tank, the healthier your fry will be. Don't be afraid to use a bare-bottomed tank -- a plain glass aquarium with just the sponge filter and some floating vegetation (Indian fern is ideal, but ordinary pondweed will do) for shade. You don't need (or want) gravel, rocks, etc in a fry-rearing aquarium. Anything that traps food, faeces or bacteria is BAD.>
Again, most times the onset occurs so quickly that they are already dead in a matter of hours. I attempt to remove the sick ones to a small 2 gal tank and treat with salt and Methylene blue, but they never recover. I've been adding salt to the tank along with stress coat additives to try and reduce stress so they do not get sick, but it seems to be in vain. At this point, I'm not sure what else to do to prevent more fry from dying besides keeping great water parameters by cleaning and doing water changes more often, adding salt, and adding stress coat products. Do I dare medicate the water in case I have some kind of epidemic? Is it safe to medicate fry and which meds are safest?
<Both Methylene Blue and salt are safe for Platy fry. But there's no need to use either routinely; only use them if you need to. I would use a little salt, 2-3 grammes/litre, if the water was soft, and remind you that livebearers need hard, alkaline water and no tropical fish should be kept in tanks with water from a domestic water softener.>
I know to expect some fry loss, but I've lost maybe half of them. That seems like a lot. I've started to feed them antibiotic medicated food just in case (Minocycline). Maybe I just have to roll with the losses at this point due to the earlier problems, I don't know. Any advice would be most excellent! Thanks. ~Hannah~
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

How early can one sex Mickey Mouse platy fry?    6/17/12
Hello again. I'm back with a new question. This time its regarding my Mickey Mouse platy fry. They are now a little over two months old now, (and yes, have been moved into the tank with their mother, Cheung Po, my platy male, Calico Jack, and my loaches. Captain Kidd and Teach had to be moved to the smaller tank because they were harassing the fry.). Anyhow, I am preparing to send three of these platy fry off to their new mama, and I wanted to send off three females. Now, is it too early to try and sex the fry?
<It is not... look carefully at their anal fins... should be rounded, fan-shaped... as opposed to tubular, male gonopodia.
Bob Fenner>
Re: How early can one sex Mickey Mouse platy fry?

Well the three I picked to send her are not only the biggest and best
colored, but also all have fan shaped anal fins. So I guess I'm good.
Thanks.
<Ah good. Welcome. BobF>

My Angel Fish .. and others ... :), Platy repro.      4/30/12
Evening all,
<Celeste>
My name is Celeste and I have fish! I am a beginner fish lover so please be nice, In my main tank .... I have a 50 litre tank
<Will/need more room>

it has some gravel stones along the bottom, Some granite type rocks, a piece of dark drift wood, 4 different types of living plants and a big barrel. I have a Hailer - HL-BT400 Internal Filter, and a tubular heater ( looks like a thermometer ) set at 28 degrees. I have a few fish in this tank, 4 Angels ( I don’t even know if they are male or female >.< ),
<Likely a mix... and when two pair... they will cause trouble for their tankmates>
11 Neon Tetra’s
( 2 of these are an orange breed .. Clear with a bold Orange stripe.), and three Bristlenose catfish, I think I have two male Bristlenoses and one female. One of the males has huge long “ Bristles” on his nose, the other male has just started growing his and the third who I think is a female is about the same size as the second male, she has no bristles ... however it may still be young? )
<Maybe>
... Anyway ...
The problem is my Angel fish ... I have two solid gold ones and two white ones with black stripes. I have had the gold ones for around 8 months and they have been friends since I brought them. I introduced two more about 4 months ago ... the white and black ones ... rooky move. They fought and laid down the dominance ... however to this day I don't think there has been a result. its more of a tolerance. Now they all live together and feed together fine, no where near as many fights as they are all around the same size ... but recently I noticed on one of my Gold Angels ( the less stronger of the two ) started to get a red edging to its outline ... I don't know how to explain it ... but .. think of when you use a ruler and a permanent marker, you end up with a stripe of colour on the edge of the ruler ...
<Good description>
its like that all the way around the body of the Angel, not on its fins ... just the body. I don’t know what's going on .... but I want to fix it ... not wait till it dies.... Help ?
<Likely either an environmental issue (e.g. too much nitrate) and/or behavioral manifestation from the four being in too-close confines. Again, you need a much larger system or to move the Angels out. Read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwangelsysfaqs.htm
Tank two is a 20 Litre tank .. with a smaller Halier filter, the same thermostat set at 28 degrees. It has a ground cover of gravel stones, a small barrel, a bit of drift wood and a plant. In this tank I have platy’s, One Female and Two Males. The larger Male is very mean to the smaller Male, but I'm sure that's because of the female. ... The Female had babies! I only noticed when I saw the two little babies come out from under the drift wood to find some food. I caught them and put them in a separator, one died and the other is very healthy and strong, I think its bout 3 weeks old? The female is pregnant again so I will put her in the separator soon. How long do I need to keep the baby out from the older males?
<Till it is large enough to fare for itself... likely a couple months or so>
I think the baby is a female as well just from the fins. .... I have another tank with a goldfish in it ( my sons one ) we had a death ... but I think its because the water was too warm and my son may have over fed ....
Thanks for reading and keep up with the good web site, it has really good advice!
Celeste.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Can Platies have babies 24 hours apart?   3/31/12
I have read over all the topics and am running out of time (literally, I need to get off this computer!) Yesterday my platy had babies (came home and she was 'flashing' against plants) so I was able to gently persuade her into the breeder box
<Did you read anything here at WWM? We DO NOT recommend or advise putting adult fish in breeder boxes… much better to keep the adults in the big aquarium (which for Platies, means at least 15 gallons) and add some floating plants, even generic pondweed. Collect the fry up as and when you see them, and put THOSE in the breeder box.>
and caught the 2 fry and placed them in my "baby tank" with 1 week old guppy fry.
<What's the "baby tank"? Do understand the fry need a decent sized aquarium… 5 gallons at least, and preferably 8+.>
I placed floating plants in and around her box and turned out the lights. She was there for about 8 hours, still saw babies in her belly (in the light, round things with black dots) and she had a white, open vent. Then, my other platy started showing signs of near delivery so I placed her in a 'homemade' breeder box in a dark area with plenty of plants. 4 hours later, no babies from either.
<Female Platies are essentially pregnant all the time if they've been with males in the last few months. So, just because a female Platy is behaving oddly, don't assume pregnancy is the reason. In fact, it's hardly ever the reason.>
Platy #1 I took out of box and sent her back to main tank hoping she would finish releasing her fry and put fry #2 in the breeder box in tank (she looked smaller, could only see 1 or 2 round things with black dots - no babies in breeder box).
<Miscarriages are common in breeder boxes; see comment above about not using them. Plus, adults can be predatory towards newborn fry, or for that matter, miscarried foetuses.>
So, here we are 24 hours later, neither have had any (more) babies. Released Platy #2 to tank (I didn't see anymore round things in her belly). But Platy # 1 still has what I think are babies in her belly, she is swimming strangely (backwards, straight up and down, hiding in plants, not eating anymore), and her white vent is still white and open. Is it possible she will release rest of babies 24 hours later?
<Perhaps.>
How long after they have birth until the vent closes (in my guppies it was only a few hours and their bodies went back to 'normal').
<There's no connection. Don't think of these as humans but as fish. There's no "labour" as such. In fact the fry are not connected to the mother at all. Some fish do have a placental connection between mother and foetus, but Platies don't. All the mother Platy does is hold the eggs inside her, and the fry use up their yolk sac just as if they were eggs laid on the ground. When they're ready to swim free, the "delivery" itself seems to be very quick. That said, pregnant livebearers can be stressed by poor environmental conditions, cohabiting with males and from being cooped up in breeding traps, and any of these can cause miscarriages or worse.>
Also, platy # 2 (just released 30 minutes ago from breeder) is now thrashing against rocks (she passes under light and looks like she still has round things in her belly again, were babies just turned before or too high in belly for me to see?) I am going to check her gills to see if they are red and inflamed.
<Would you know the difference? The gills are red by default, and without opening up the gill covers with a mounted needle and then examining under a microscope, I certainly couldn't tell healthy gills from damaged gills!>
We are due to for a water change today only because we just added more fish a few days ago and I am trying to establish a new feeding/cleaning routine with the addition of more fish in my tank.
<How big's the tank? What fish are you adding/have you added recently?>
Cannot tell you parameters (don't have my test strips yet, have been taking water samples to the store but haven't done this since last water change) other than the ph is about 7.6 and the water temp is about 76 degrees F. Thank you for your time and patience!
<Much more likely the problem is environmental or perhaps caused by introduction of new fish either directly (aggression) or through parasites being brought into the tank (e.g., Velvet, Whitespot). Review, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Can Platies have babies 24 hours apart?   4/2/12

Neale and WWM,
Thank you for your quick response! Sorry about the lack of info, lack of sleepy causes unclear communication. Just wanted to clarify: the "baby tank" is what we are calling our 10 gallon tank setup for the fish babies.
<Sounds good.>
We set it up (lots of hiding spots - java moss, etc) using water from our main tank (where the parents are). We do frequent water changes (20% almost every day due to cloudiness due to food and not being able to vacuum the gravel - found out too late gravel was not necessary)
<Quite so.>
We alternate using water from the main tank (good bacteria) and adding conditioned water, similar pH and same temp. This is just a temporary set up for all the fry (because we added a surprise group of Molly fry this morning) until we can get the fish sold (arrangements in place) or moved to permanent tanks (our own, friends, family, etc). How long is it ok to keep this big group of approx. 40 fry together in the 10 gallon tank (2 week platies, 1 week guppies, 1-2 day platies/mollies)?
<Several weeks, even 2-3 months. After about 3 weeks, most livebearer fry are safe to put with adults of their species, particularly if the adults are well fed and the tank contains floating plants.>
We have plenty of "parents" in our 30 gallon tank ( approx 21 inches worth of platies, mollies, and guppies -  which is 11 live bearers plus 1 glass shrimp and a lil darter we caught in the creek). We were doing bi-weekly 60-70% water changes (can't get hubby to measure out properly) and gravel cleaning with our original fish we started the tank with; but added 6 fish this past Wednesday and so I am working on establishing 50% weekly water changes. After doing a water change yesterday, they are swimming around much better today and the surprise birth is encouraging that we are on the right path (hopefully) to maintaining optimal water conditions and fish health.
<Sounds like it.>
The only reason I brought up about the gills is because I read a forum (not yours) and it said to check but you're right that is impossible. I have been Googling pics of fish with Ich and velvet and it doesn't look like any of them have this plus my hubby says they all look good (he swears he is the 'pro' in fish keeping - snicker).
<!>
Thank you for all your help and input!
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Can Platies have babies 24 hours apart?    4/3/12

Dear Neale and WWM,
I believe I spoke too soon about the health of my fish. Tonight, I was looking at the 30 gallon tank with the tank lights off and using a flashlight to check on them before I went to bed. To my horror I can see that all 11 of my live bearing fish have gold dust on them, I am assuming they have Velvet. I have increased the heater to a warmer temp, it is at 80 degrees now. What treatment and temp do you recommend for my platies, guppies, and mollies???
<If this is all you have -- Platies, Guppies and Mollies, then using aquarium salt will be the best approach. The minimum salinity is 2 grammes/litre, but I'd up that to 4-5 grammes/litre if you can (some plants may be stressed at 5 g/l). Velvet is somewhat tolerant of salt, and occasionally survives conditions that kills of Whitespot. In any event, run the tank with salt in it for 2 weeks, and all should be well. Cheers, Neale.>

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