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FAQs on Platy Diseases/Health 7

FAQs on Platy Disease: Platy Disease 1, Platy Disease 2, Platy Disease 3, Platy Disease 4, Platy Disease 5, Platy Health 6, Platy Health 8, Platy Health 9, Platy Health 10, Platy Health 11, Platy Health ,
FAQs on Platy Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Genetic, Treatments,

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

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

Sick Platy 11/17/10
I am reading for days all over the internet to figure out what is going on with my fish. Few background information: first time fish tank that my son wanted to have and now I am stuck with :(. 10 gal tank, no life plants, was cycled over a month ago, tem 78 F, ph unknown, nitrate and nitrite 0 but ammonia picked up this week to 0.25-0.50 (changed 40% of the water after this). The tank started with two platies, they were happy, always swimming around and looking for food when I came near the tank. Before the tank was cycled one of them gave birth, the fry died short after. After the tank was cycled one of the platies stared to hid in the treasure chest, I assume maybe pregnant again. The other platy stayed active and ready to eat but it seemed to be losing weight and after a while died. The other play still hiding, no new fry, but eating and getting bigger. I did not have time to buy another platy for a while so I assumed that the remaining platy is just scared of being alone. Two weeks ago I bought two new platies, one died 2 days later, the other one seemed to be active and happy until few days ago when it started to hid as well. They both come out to eat but other wise are hiding on the bottom of the tank and if they are out, as soon as I come near they react very scared and swim crazy around trying to hid again.
I know they are sick but it is kind of hard for me to see what it is if they are hiding like this. If I see them I still am not able to tell what it could be after going over all those symptoms listed here. I do not see any white spots but the colour of the first platy looks subdued. Not sure how the breathing should look like, not sure of anything anymore :(.
Was not really my idea of a hobby but I hate to see any living organism sick and unhappy.
Thanks in advance for any help, info or advice that you could give me
<Hello Katharine. One problem is that 10 gallons is really too small for Platies; I'd recommend at least 15 gallons. The difference might not sound very much, but in fishkeeping, the amount of water makes all the
difference! Read here to learn more about stocking small tanks:
Next up, temperature! Platies come from relatively cool, lowland habitats.
They will not do well kept warm. Aim for 22-24 C/72-75 F. Thirdly, Platies need hard, basic water conditions. In other words, if you have soft water, they will get sick and probably die. Aim for 10-25 degrees dH, pH 7.5-8.0. Read here to learn more about water chemistry:
Sometimes adding small amounts of marine aquarium salt mix has a tonic effect on Platies (and livebearers generally). You don't need much, 2-4 grammes/litre, so this is a very economical way to keep these fish healthy.
Marine salt mix is MUCH better than "tonic salt" or "aquarium salt" so don't make a false economy here! Marine salt mix contains salt but also other minerals that harden the water and stabilise the pH, so the overall effect is strongly positive. Fourthly, review feeding. If you have non-zero levels of ammonia and nitrite there's a good chance you're overfeeding. A small pinch per day is adequate, and Platies are primarily herbivorous so use algae-based flake food not plain flake food. The fact your fish are hiding suggests they're stressed, not "sick", and my guess would be you're providing poor environmental conditions. Check water quality, water chemistry, and water temperature. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Platy
Hello Neale,
thanks for the fast response :). I will get over the points that you suggested.
The tem and the size will be a problem. We live in FL and during the summer I keep the house at 81 F, winter will be no problem but AC in Summer is money eating monster :(. The size is the only one that we can fit in the house as of now. I am now angry at the store that sold us the platies, I trusted that they will know the best fit for us.
Thanks again for your help.
<Hello Katherine. Keep the aquarium out of direct sunlight, and it shouldn't get too hot. Platies can handle a few months of warmth during the summer. They do come from Mexico after all! But if kept very warm all year long, they will not do well. Aquarium size is a problem. Few fish do well in 10 gallons. Platies really do need more space. The females get quite large, and the males can be aggressive, and in both cases the result is stress. When fish are stressed, their immune system stops working. And then they get sick. Hope this helps. Tscheuss! Neale.>

What is wrong with my Platys? Am I doing everything correctly? -- 11/9/10
Dear WWM staff,
<Not staff, merely volunteers, but hello back at you!>
I am a new aquarist. I purchased a 20g tank on October 3, 2010; I set it up and introduced the fish a week later.
<Do understand that filling a tank with water doesn't do anything. You have to provide a source of ammonia for a filter to start the maturing process. Since you haven't done that, it's almost certain your fish were exposed to non-zero levels of ammonia and nitrite.>
I started with 4 male platys (two grey and 2 red wagtails), 6 neon tetras, and 6 X-ray tetras, some decoration and 2 live plants (one of them is a fern).
<Do also understand that many plants sold aren't aquatic and will die, and in dying they rot and remove oxygen from the water. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/keepoutfw.htm
Selaginella willdenowii and Trichomanes javanicum are two NON-AQUATIC ferns commonly sold to inexperienced aquarists.>
On the third week, I introduced an Anacharis plant, and the water started to get cloudy. I could see very small particles floating towards the surface. I did a 30% water change, and after two days I lost 1 neon tetra and the Anacharis rotted (I had left the led weight on!). I bought another Anacharis and 2 small moss balls.
<Moss Balls are coldwater plants and will not do well in a tropical aquarium above 22 degrees C.>
After another week or so, I tested the waters and the ammonia was 4.0.

On week 5 or so, we added 4 female platys. Also, the tank suddenly cleared up, and the ammonia levels are 0. I think it has cycled, or it is at the end of the process. I am feeding everyone the same flakes (for Homnivores), and they all seem to get along well, and are active. Now, did I do everything correctly?
<No; read here please:
Your fish are sick, dying because the aquarium filter is not mature.>
I am asking because in the last two days, all my platys (4 boys and 4 girls) are sitting at the bottom of the tank, on the gravel, behind the fern, the Anacharis and a natural rock; they do not look or act sick, and if I approach the tank they will come out. They will just stay there unless they see me and I feed them, while before they used to swim around the tank at all hours of the day. They are still responsive to food and one or two will swim around.
<DO NOT FEED until the ammonia is below 0.5 mg/l; do 20% water changes per day for the next couple of weeks. Do not add any more fish! Check the filter is working, and make sure you understand how it works and how to maintain it. Clean filter media gently, squeezing in a bucket of aquarium water.>
Of the first four (the males), one of the grey wagtail will chase the other grey male, but would leave the red males alone. That is when I decided to bring in the girls. I might have overcrowded. Please give advice. BTW, I am buying some veggie flakes, would that help them?
<Yes, vegetarian flakes are a good staple for Platies. But that isn't the problem here.>
Thank you in advance for your input. Francesca B.
<Glad to help. Do read, learn; any questions, write back. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: What is wrong with my Platys? Am I doing everything correctly? 11/9/10

Thank you for replying.
<My pleasure.>
I forgot to mention that I purchased a Marineland Set, with heater, light, BioWheel three stage filter with carbon in it, and that I used Stress-Zyme and StressCoat as directed at set-up, and the following three weeks.
<Okay, well, the carbon is pretty pointless in a tank like this, but Marineland will happily sell you that because the profit margin is colossal. As for Stress-this an Stress-that, they're fine enough so far as they go, but they don't replace the need to cycle the tank. You need a source of ammonia, and that's traditionally a couple of hardy fish, e.g., feeder as opposed to fancy guppies, but more recently people have favoured fishless methods, i.e., small daily "feedings" of flake for the first few weeks before adding fish, or the daily use of ammonia to create a concentration of about 2-5 mg/l ammonia. If you haven't done one of these three things, you haven't cycled your tank. The ammonia feeds the bacteria, and the bacteria multiply. Just running the tank without any ammonia source -- whether fish, food, or ammonia solution -- does nothing more than get the filter wet. It won't mature that way, period. There are some potions said to jump-start the filter so you can add fish that day, but frankly, they're pretty unreliable. I wouldn't recommend a beginner use them.>
I followed the instructions carefully during set up, and waited a week before introducing the fish. I do understand that the 4 male Platies, 6 Neon and 6 Pristella Tetras helped me 'cycle' the tank.
<That's the problem. Cycling is extremely stressful for the fish. Ammonia levels above 0.5 mg/l cause serious stress, and above 1.0 mg/l will be sickening or lethal.>
Currently, I change the carbon filter every two weeks,
<Get rid of this, and add more biological media, e.g., sponges or ceramic noodles. Do read what the different types of media do. Carbon has very, VERY specific applications and in most community tanks does nothing useful. Indeed, it can even do harm by absorbing medications.>
and do a 10% water change every week, but I do not touch the Bio wheel.
<You need to be changing 25% water change every week or two, once the filter is mature, and that takes about 6 weeks from the time the filter was exposed to an ammonia source (whether fish, flake, or ammonia solution). Prior to the filter being mature, and any time ammonia and nitrite levels are above zero, you need to do more water changes than this. 20% every day or two would be the minimum.>
Last night, when I got home from work, I found out that all the eight Platies have Ich, but the Tetras are free from it. I suddenly realized that Ich came with one of the females introduced lately.
<Perhaps, and stress will certainly allow Ick to emerge from the background into a serious problem. As noted, carbon will remove Ick medication, so remove the carbon before using such.>
I did a 10% water change, raised the temperature to 80 from 76F, cleaned the gravel lightly and partially (I also found some tiny snails) and today I have read all the FAQs on treatment (salt and heat) and will treat as soon as I get home (I am at work).
<Salt/heat would be ideal in this situation.>
Can I use CopperSafe (Mardel), or Rid-Ick+, or Super Ich Cure together with salt/heat?
Can I use Pima-fix to prevent other skin injuries and generally give them a booster?
<Would not do this.>
Also, the tetras show no sign of Ich for now. How are the elevated water temperature and the meds treatment going to affect them? How far can I raise the temperature before harming them?
<Raising the temperature to 30 C/86 F is necessary here; while Neons and Platies prefer cooler conditions -- ideally 22-24 C/72-75 F -- they will tolerate warmer water for a couple of weeks just fine.>
I started the hobby (on the wrong foot I know) to help my 5 years-old daughter cope with moving up to a new school - her old provider is successfully running two saltwater tanks (29G and 125G), and she was missing them.
<I see. A fine sentiment, and I'm happy to help. But please do visit your local library or bookstore and pick something up accessible and relevant. Manufacturers and retailers are of variable usefulness as sources of information -- much as they are when buying houses, cars, or anything else. Spend a little time understanding the cycling process, what ammonia and nitrite do to fish, and how to minimise problems through the cycling process. I'm not wild about Neons because the quality of farmed specimens is pretty low, and Platies vary in quality from good to bad, but X-ray Tetras are a superb species for beginners, one of the best in fact. In any case, to keep these together aim for moderately hard water that is slightly basic, i.e., 10-15 degrees dH, pH 7-7.5. Softer water will kill Platies quickly, and harder water will dramatically shorten the lives of your Neons. X-ray Tetras are very adaptable, and do well in both hard and soft water, one reason I like them. As for temperature, as stated above, 22-24 C/72-75 F should be fine.>
Now I am genuinely 'attached' to all my fish, and hate to see them die.
Again, thank you for your time.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: What is wrong with my Platys? Am I doing everything correctly? 11/11/10

Hello again.
I have lost 3 fish: 1 female Platy (the first one I noticed with Ich), and 2 Neons (I suspect for the 86F temperature raise). I also noticed that one Pristella is affected by Fin Rot. Can I treat him/her with antibiotic as Maracyn products from Mardel?
<Yes; little choice in fact -- untreated Finrot quickly turns into Septicaemia, and that kills within days.>
Or do you have any suggestions? I am trying to 'do damage control/salvage as many as I can'. The other Platies Pristella and Neons only show signs of Ich.
<Do the salt/heat thing, but do understand it *doesn't* stop the white spots, it kills the free-living stage, so you do have to wait a few days to see results.>
I read all your suggested readings, and I am looking for a good informative book on aquaria in use in the US. When I read the WWM article on Tank Set-up, I performed everything it says, EXCEPT the most vital steps like performing quarantine on fish and plants, and letting a local LFS sell me too many fish to start the cycle.
<Ah, I see'¦>
If I end up losing all of them, I will let the tank run fallow, and start again.
<By all means do so, but keep adding small pinches of fish flake every day otherwise without ammonia in the system (ordinarily from the fish) the filter bacteria will die. If left fallow for a week, Whitespot should be exterminated, especially if kept warm as stated, because the free-living stage needs a host within a day or two otherwise it dies. At 30C/86F, the white spots should mature and burst into the free-living stages within a day or so.>
I have a question: for a beginner, what is best, a 20G or a 55G?
<A bigger tank is always safer and easier, but above a certain size maintenance becomes more difficult. For what it's worth, anything between 30-55 gallons is a "sweet spot" in terms of healthy fish and easy maintenance. That said, a 20 gallon tank isn't impossible to set up; if you begin with half a dozen X-ray Tetras, which are an excellent species, and keep them in the tank for a month before adding, say, half a dozen Peppered or Bronze Corydoras, you should find things very simple. With them all settled down, after another month you might add a personality fish, perhaps one Angelfish or a male/female pair of Banded Gouramis, these latter being very easy to keep (unlike Dwarf Gouramis or Three-spot Gouramis!).>
Thank you for your time again.
Francesca B.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

female platys dying (RMF?)<<Zip>> 10/18/10
Hi, I have had a problem lately with my platys dying. They are the only fish in my tank that are dying. These 6 platys were raised by us in our tank and are about 9 months old. I don't know what kind they are, they are red. I had a snail die this summer and following that we had one female platy die. The water quality was not good at that time, the ammonia was high. After water changes everything settled back to normal. However, since then we have lost 3 of the female platys and the father of the fish.
The females have all looked pregnant, but none had a black spot. They just looked big. I have had the water checked at our fish store each time and they have said everything looks fine. We have not noticed any unusual behavior, like clamped fins, or spots, or injuries etc. They seem fine then they are dead. One female did have fry last week, we caught 3 and are raising them, they are fine. Is there some kind of problem with platys and pregnancy? Could there be a problem with them mating with their siblings?
Or could something else be going on? We are at a loss, and we don't want to keep losing these beautiful fish! Our tank is a 20 gallon tank, we have 2 male red platys, 1 female red platy, 1 blue Mickey mouse platy, 2 balloon mollies, 1 Gourami, 4 Danios, 2 neon tetra, an apple snail (with 10 baby snails), a Plecostomus, and trumpet snails everywhere. We do have hard water and a high ph 7.8-8.0. I am not sure of the exact number. We keep the temperature at 78-80F. I appreciate all your great info, and look
forward to your response!
Thank you
<Hello Jenny. My best guess would be some sort of Mycobacteria infection, what livebearer keepers sometimes call "Wasting Disease". Typically infected fish lose condition rapidly -- hence "wasting" -- but in a busy aquarium you may not notice this. One problem with livebearers is chronic inbreeding has lowered their overall fitness. In producing Blue Platies, Sunset Platies and so on fish breeders have inbred closely related fish, and compared to wild-type or even cross-breed Platies, the health of most farmed Platies is not good. This isn't to say that they die because of inbreeding, but environmental stress is more likely to weaken them, and this in turn makes bacterial infections such as Mycobacteria more likely.
Although your water has the right water chemistry for Platies, your aquarium is much too warm for them, 22-24 C/72-75 F being optimal. So unlike Gouramis and Mollies, but like Danios and Neons, they do need to be kept relatively cool. Plus, while a 20-gallon tank isn't a bad choice for Platies or Neons, and potentially smaller Gourami species, it's far too small for true Plecostomus catfish (Pterygoplichthys spp.), and I worry that water quality in your tank isn't as good as you think. The fact you have a lot of Trumpet Snails suggests overfeeding and/or under-filtering, and that in turn means ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate may not be as low as you think they are. In short, the Platies may simply be the "weak link" in a stressed system, so I'd go back and look at the environment before running to the pet store for medications (which won't cure Mycobacteria infections anyway). Cheers, Neale.>

Emergency. Platy is sick, not swimming or eating. 09/29/10
Please help.
<Will certainly try.>
I don't want to euthanize my platy prematurely but she is suffering and I don't know what's wrong.
She is sitting at the bottom and gasping for air. She is no longer eating , I tried to feed her crushed peas, bakto tabs, even a blood worm...she wont eat anything. I am worried she is in pain.
What could be wrong?? What should I do??
Fish Symptoms:
Not swimming.
Gasping for air.
Mouth isn't closing.
Not eating.
Looking gaunt- lost weight.
Sitting on the bottom the tank.
<This is all very unusual for Platies.>
Her tail is starting to curl in.
Her color has not changed, no marks or abnormalities. Her gills look strained and her mouth isn't closing when she breaths. She has lost weight. She was eating up until a few days ago. Now she is just sitting on the bottom of the tank, she hasn't left the bottom in 3 days now.
Tank size: 25gallon
pH: 7.4
tank temp: 78
ammonia: 0
nitrite: 0
nitrate: 0
I do about 50% water change weekly adding aquarium salt, Nutrafin cycle and aqua +plus, sera kH/ph plus (<-because our tap water is acidic)
<Hmm'¦ Platies do need hard water. I'd tend not to use "potions" and instead would add Rift Valley cichlid salt mix at 25-50% the dose recommended here:
The salt mix is very cheap to make. Increase or decrease the amount of Epsom salt to raise or lower general hardness; increase or decrease the amount of sodium bicarbonate to raise or lower the carbonate hardness and therefore the pH. For a mixed community tank, the idea would be about 10-15 degrees dH and a pH around 7.5.>
Tank inhabitants:
1 guppies (m)
3 platys (f)
6 fry platy (sex unknown),
5 tetras
2 apple snails
2 dwarf frogs
1 shrimp
1 algae eater.
No new exposure to chemicals.
I was thinking the male guppy could had attacked her, he was acting like a jerk so I got him 2 female guppies but the sick fish hasn't been in contact with them yet, she is in hospital tank.
Perhaps it's swimmers bladder? Or just old age? I can't stand to see her suffer like this, it's been 3 days. I will have to euthanize via clove oil if I don't get closer to a solution.
thank you for your help!
Here are two video links, sorry, terrible footage, it's upside down and
sideways... sorry.
link 1
link 2
<It's very difficult to say. How old is this Platy? They don't usually live for more than 4-5 years. But in any case, my feeling here is that this is something bacterial. In the US your best approach would be a combination of Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2, but outside the US antibiotics for fish need to be obtained from a vet. Unfortunately my suspicion here is that you're dealing with what is sometimes called Wasting Disease, and the bacteria responsible, such as Mycobacteria and Nocardia, are essentially impossible to treat. Note that these diseases may come with your fish when you buy them, but most often they only become a problem when a fish is stressed, which is why water quality and water chemistry are so important. Platies also dislike warm water, so you're aiming for 22-24 C/72-75 F. What's the water chemistry in the hospital tank? I'm a bit concerned that you are altering water chemistry using a product like Sera KH Plus without actually knowing what it does. In the wrong hands these potions can be lethal! Whatever else you do, I'd wean yourself off the Sera product unless you're absolutely sure it is providing you with water chemistry in the safe zone for Platies: 10-20 degrees dH, 5-15 degrees KH, and pH 7.5-8.5. Depending on how soft your tap water is, the Rift Valley salt mix at 25-50% the recommended dose should provide these conditions. Don't change the water chemistry all at once! But over a month or so, with each 20-25% water change you do at the weekend, replace old water with new water that has the Epsom salt, sodium bicarbonate, and marine aquarium salt mix added. Only tiny amounts are needed, and the packages of each should last years, so this is very economical. Let's say you change 5 gallons, then one-quarter to one-half tablespoon of Epsom salt would be added, one-quarter to one-half teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate, and one-quarter to one-half teaspoon of marine aquarium salt. Stir them in, let the water stand for 20 minutes. For the first couple of times you do this, use your water chemistry kit to check the water chemistry; at the very least, do a pH test, and if it's about 7.5, you're probably fine. Then add to the aquarium. Easy! I hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Emergency. Platy is sick, not swimming or eating. 01/10/10

Thanks Neale. I was too late to save Silver, she was too far gone and I couldn't let her suffering continue. I will wean of Sera and use salt instead. Great advice. Thanks.
<Sorry to hear the bad news. Good luck with your remaining fish. Do be careful when adjusting water chemistry. Cheers, Neale.>

Odd platy illness 9/3/10
Dear Crew
<Hello again Patrick,>
I have emailed your team once before about a female platy that became weak with what I suspected initially to be a swim bladder problem but had a hunch it may have been some kind of parasite or wasting disease.
<Indeed; the latter, some type of Mycobacteria infection, is quite common in farmed livebearers.>
She did, unfortunately pass away. A couple of weeks later and another female platy has shown some signs of illness which are not too dissimilar (hiding, slowness, wasting away, not eating, pale colour but not any
swimming problems).
<Oh dear. Mycobacteria is incurable, but it may be triggered by diet or environmental issues.
Not much you can do about it once it appears.>
I have separated her into a hospital tank and have treated her with the Interpet internal bacteria treatment (and have removed the carbon filter as usual) - currently three days into the treatment.
<Would be staggered if this medication helped. I've yet to see Interpet Internal Bacteria cure anything.>
All tanks are 3 months mature (Ammonia zero, Nitrite zero-0.1ppm and nitrates usually around 5-10ppm). Her symptoms began a few days after I had placed her (and another female) with a male platy for breeding purposes (about an hour) and then put her back into the female only tank. A few
days after, she began to hide and would not eat. Currently, she is much thinner and paler, attempts to nibble occasionally but nothing seems to go in and she is passing white stringy waste which I assume is a sure sign of an internal parasite.
<Yes and no. Like all herbivores, Platies consume a lot of food and produce a lot of waste. Constipation is common if fed primarily flake. Quite minor dietary changes can result in odd quantities of faeces. Unless the faeces are unusually clear -- i.e., mostly mucous -- I wouldn't be too alarmed.>
Today, I noticed that she was turning sideways to rub her body against the gravel. Any ideas what she is suffering from? She is looking much thinner. What should I do to aid treatment further?
Kindest regards, Patrick
<If this is Wasting Disease, i.e., a Mycobacteriosis or nocardiosis, there isn't much you can do. Do read WWM re: euthanasia. Take care not cross-infect any other aquaria you have, e.g., by sharing nets or buckets without sterilising them first. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Odd platy illness 9/3/10
Many thanks Neale - your team are the best!
I'll watch her for a few days and then if she fails to show any signs of recovery, I'll do the clover oil and vodka session ;-(
kindest regards
<Glad to help. Good luck, Neale.>

Brackish water and Guppies? 9/1/10
Yesterday, my favorite very unique Platy showed the very beginning signs of sickness that leads to rapid death.
<I see. One problem with farmed livebearers is a certain tendency towards Mycobacteria infections, typically associated with red sores on the bodies, wasting, and then death. Not much you can do about that. But otherwise livebearers tend to be quite tough, if given the right conditions. In the case of Platies, cool, moderately hard, basic water is what you want; 22-24 C, 10+ degrees dH, pH 7-8.>
I have had many fish that have died and know the signs. But loosing this platy would of sent me over the edge so I took a bold step and added 2 gallons of Spring water that I put 1 tablespoon of aquarium salt in each.
<Okay. Now, do understand that while salt can help, it's not a miracle.
Among other misconceptions, recall that salt doesn't do anything to raise hardness. So if you have soft water, salt isn't what you want, at least, not on its own. Marine aquarium salt mix is somewhat different because it includes other minerals that do raise hardness and pH, and 5-6 grammes/litre would be easily tolerated by Platies and indeed all other livebearers too.>
Unfortunately this was my first time using salt so I was unaware to make sure it was completely dissolved and melted.
<It's not a big deal, so don't panic about this. A few grains of undissolved salt won't kill your fish.>
I than added an air stone to help circulate more oxygen into the tank.
<Good. In summer especially Platies can easily be overheated 25 C/77 F is really at the top end of their comfort zone, and they're far healthier kept cooler than that.>
This is a 10 gal tank that has been cycled along time ago.
<A bit on the small side for Platies, to be honest. Stress between fighting males, or males harassing pregnant females, can lead to "unexplained" deaths.>
All I have in the tank are 2 platy's and 1 guppy. Let me back up and say that I lost an additional platy that was in this tank, only a few days ago.
I did not have any nitrate/ammonia test strips at home so I had to make a quick guess.
<You should have these two test kits: pH and nitrite (nitrite with an "i", not nitrate with an "a"). If you give me these two pieces of information, I can be A LOT more helpful.>
Well the moment I added the salt & air stone the platy I love came out of hiding and looking sick, and started to soar all over the tank, and is doing just fine. I was so excited as this is the first time I have been able to reverse a death. However the guppy after only one night in the brackish tank, has taken fatally ill. The last time I saw him this morning he was shaking under a rock, and now I have come home 6 hours later and he is nowhere to be found.
<The amount of salt you added, 1 tablespoon/3 teaspoons per US gallon is not that much. I actually prefer weights because not everyone's spoons are the same sizes! One level teaspoon of salt should be about 6 grammes, which is very easy to remember. A tablespoon will be three times that, i.e., 18 grammes. Normal seawater contains about 35 grammes of marine salt mix per litre, or about 6 teaspoons. One US gallon is 3.8 litres, so that's 133 grammes per US gallon. The reason I'm telling you all this is to point out that your roughly 18 grammes of salt per gallon, or 4.7 grammes per litre, is about one-seventh (14%) the salinity of normal seawater. That's well within the tolerances of Guppies and Platies. So there's no reason at all to imagine the salt killed either fish.>
I have not removed everything yet to find him. As the tank was just cleaned and set back up and the air stone is just perfect.
<Okay. But you really do need to test the pH (to see if the water chemistry is right for livebearers) and the nitrite (to make sure water quality is good). You want a pH around 7.5, and a nitrite level of zero.>
Questions: Is the salt compatible with guppies (brackish water)?
<Yes. In fact Guppies are arguably happier and healthier in slightly brackish water. Certainly they do better in such conditions than they will do in soft water.>
And how long can I leave the guppy "lost" or dead before I have to find him?
<If he's alive, you should see him within the next day or two. Check he hasn't jumped out, swum into the filter, got stuck behind objects inside the tank, etc.>
Will disease travel throughout the tank if not removed promptly?
<Depends on the disease. Many are opportunistic, and they exists in most aquaria all the time. They only cause problems when we, the aquarists, stress our fish and weaken their immune systems.>
If I find him, alive but sick, is there anything I can do for the poor guy.
<Depends on what's wrong with him. You haven't really supplied me with any useful information on water chemistry or water quality. Without lists of symptoms, or a photo (no bigger than about 500 KB!) I can't say anything at all about disease.>
If I take him out of the brackish water the tank I put him in will not have cycled water in it?
<And that would be bad.>
I appreciate your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Update: Brackish water and Guppies?
In response to some of your questions below; first let me state none of my fish are female livebearers.
All 3 fish are MALE 2 small Platies and 1 guppy, so I thought a 10 gal was more than adequate.
<Not the case, unfortunately. Males will squabble in tanks this small.>
I was able to test the water today and it appears the Nitrate is in caution (20ppm) the nitrite is perfect! (0) The hardness is ideal (300ppm). The alkalinity is high (300ppm) and the PH is between 8-8.5 Please tell me what I should do to correct any of this?
<Nothing. That's all fine for livebearers.>
The guppy (which I found) is real lethargic sitting behind the filter canister, the platy that seemed to come back from the dead yesterday has been hiding under a rock ledge, and my other platy who has not showed any sign of distress is now inside the tunnel hole.
<Could be stress from fighting. But my gut feeling is Mycobacteriosis, sometimes called Wasting Disease. This is very common among livebearers.
For some reason juveniles don't often show the symptoms, but as the fish mature they start to waste away, getting thinner and often exhibiting poor colouration and sores on their flanks. It's essentially incurable and very contagious, so it's important to euthanise infected fish and isolate the affected tank from any others in your house, e.g., by not sharing nets or buckets.
Water quality seems fine, and water chemistry shouldn't be a problem either.>
Help! What do I need to do? Can I save them??
<Sorry I can't offer any better advice. A photo of the ailing fish would really help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Update and photos 9/3/10
I appreciate all your advice, but still you keep making reference to livebearers, which I thought were only females?
<Nope. "Livebearers" is the word given to species that produce fully-formed young rather than eggs. Both male and female Guppies and Platies are livebearers. Just the same way both men and women are placental mammals, even though it's only women who get pregnant.>
and my fish are male. They never fight. Because their is nothing to fight over.
<If you say so.>
No females ever in the house/tank. I have attached some pics however I am afraid they are not clear enough very hard to do.
<Indeed. With respect, blurry photos don't help me at all. I can't really tell anything about the fish from that photo. Do use the "macro" setting on your camera, and you'll find close-up shots easier to take.>
The yellow one is the guppy that is very sick, sits by back of filter, but will come out and swim all around and eat. The orange platy appears to be fine. The white spotted Platies (very rare gorgeous fish) is the one I love the most.
His color is very brilliant white not faded at all. but his gills are red and look a little swollen but seem to have always been like that. These 3 fish have been in this tank for at least 6 months if not longer. Other fish have passed on but it never affected them.
<Do understand that Guppies and Platies should live 3-4 years. If they only live for a year, then something may be amiss with the aquarium or the way you are keeping them. Review the needs of livebearing fish:
Also review the basics of fishkeeping:
Be under no illusion about this: 99% of premature deaths in aquaria are caused by the fishkeeper doing something wrong. In the right conditions, fish are much less likely to get sick than most other pet animals.>
This gut feeling you have about Mycobacteriosis does it affect males?
and will they still be so eager to eat, as mine are?
<Generally no. So that's a good sign. If Mycobacteriosis isn't the issue, review Finrot, which affects the fins and skin and looks like red or white patches. Finrot is almost always caused by either physical damage or poor environmental conditions. It's easy enough to cure if caught early, but you do need to provide the right living conditions for them to recover.
They come running out of hiding and scarf the food down. Very strange. I also thought maybe the airstone bubbles/noise could be spooking them or is stressful, hence making them hide.
<Possibly; Guppies dislike strong water currents, but at the same time, one small airstone shouldn't be a big deal.>
Won't more salt be helpful to stop the infection from spreading so quickly?
<No, salt doesn't have any effect on Finrot or bacterial infections. Marine fish can get Finrot, and they're kept in seawater! Anyone who tells you salt helps cure bacterial diseases is an idiot.>
Or other bacteria kill stuff?
<If by "bacteria kill stuff" you mean an antibiotic medication like Maracyn, or an antimicrobial product like eSHa 2000, then yes, that can help.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Pix too poor to be of use

Re: macro pics 9/4/10
I am going to try one more time. I have attached 3 pix of Butter Cup the yellow guppy. I know it still may be hard to see the coat of his body.
<Still impossible to see anything. If the image isn't sharp, it's useless. Try, try, and try again, I'm afraid! Don't point the camera directly at the glass because then it acts like a mirror; angle the camera so you're pointing slightly below or above the fish. The flash won't bounce off the glass so badly.>
His fins look good to me no rot, however his gills are severely deformed and I think you can notice that a bit in the photo's, can you see it?
<Not really. But anyway, if the deformity to the gill covers have always been there, then the chances are they're not the cause of sickness. If the gills have suddenly become deformed, then that's another issue, and most likely an issue connected to water quality.>
Other than a slight bent posture which he always had that I thought was odd, the gills are the only thing looking really wrong. In the first pix as luck has it, there is a pretty good shot of Paprika the spotted platy with the orange tail. She looks okay to me, except as you can see the pix her gills are very red. Is this normal?
<Not normal. You shouldn't normally see the red gill filaments at all. In some cases inbreeding means that the gill covers are deformed and the gill filaments are more obvious. While such fish might be marginally more delicate, there's no particular reason deformed gill covers should cause sickness. But as stated before, if the gills have suddenly become deformed or more obviously red, then that's a problem.>
One more issue I do have a lot of direct sunlight from a sky light just above the tank, sometimes during peak time I will shade the tank with a towel. However I do have a lot of algae. I try and clean it off often. However I am wondering if algae can cause sickness?
<No, but overheating if temperature goes up dramatically can stress fish.>
What is the best way to control Algae?
<Read here:
Usually the addition of fast-growing plants under bright lighting is required. The addition of algae-eating Nerite snails may help, but every time you add an animal to an aquarium you make water conditions worse. Shops will sell you algae-eating fish, but mostly these are more trouble than they're worth, especially the cheap "Chinese Algae Eaters" and common Plecs.>
Lastly, if your advice is still euthanasia. Which is the most humane way? I heard to drop the fish in ice cold water, I also heard let it freeze slowly to death in the freezer.
<Not quite.>
the Internet says to smash its head with a hammer. I am afraid I could not do that one. If we are sure. I don't want to see the little guy suffer, so please let me know your preferred method.
<Do read here:
Once again Thank you very much, I appreciate all the advice you are giving me.
<Always glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy with swim bladder disorder? 08/06/2010
Hey crew
My female platy was found stuck to the tank filter a few days ago. After turning it off, I noticed she wasn't able to swim so well and had a slight lump where she had been stuck. An hour later, same thing happened. I moved her to a hospital tank as she was unable to swim well (slow movement with sudden small jerk plus wobbles from side to side) - ammonia and nitrite zero, nitrate at normal London levels. I treated the tank with Interpet's Swim Bladder medication and added aquatic salts as stated on the packet. I tried her on a crushed frozen pea (cooked first obviously) but she didn't eat it. After several days, there appears no improvement although she is desperately trying to eat some small fish flakes on the surface and has passed some fish pooh - I am assuming this is a good sign.
I've put in a small filter although she gets blown about even by the smallest of water jets. Should I continue the medication for the full 12 days? Could it be something else?
<Hmm... could maybe be constipation or something digestive. I might try feeding some greens (chopped up romaine lettuce, spinach, peas, etc.)>
Many thanks
Dr Patrick Nunn
<De nada,
Sara M/L>

very skinny platy 8/2/10
I'm really baffled about one of my fish. About 4 weeks ago I noticed my orange platy laying at the bottom of the tank and she appeared to be pregnant, so I moved her to a 2.5 gal tank along with a pregnant guppy.
<As a rule, moving fish from proper-sized tanks to silly-small ones like this doesn't usually do any good. It'd be kind of like having a hospital in a cramped, damp basement. Wherever you move sick fish to, conditions have
to be *at least as good* as where the fish is coming from. Since Platies need 15+ gallons for regular maintenance, I'd not consider anything below 8-10 gallons useful in terms if a hospital tank.>
This tank is a little warmer and has more hiding places so they can have their babies in peace and comfort.
<Platies don't like warmth; optimal temperature range for the standard sort is 22-24 C/72-75 F, and a couple of degrees cooler for Variatus Platies.>
About two days later she was back to her normal size and swimming at the top of the tank. I assumed she had her babies though I didn't see any. I put her back in the regular tank and checked for the babies. I removed all
plants, stored the gravel and even checked the filter...no fry.
<Cannibalism is not uncommon, and miscarriages frequently follow on from stress, e.g., by confining Platies in too-small aquarium or breeding traps.>
Then a few days later I saw her laying at the bottom of the tank until I got closer, then she swam to the top for food. I noticed she was REALLY skinny.
I assumed she'd die soon but 3 weeks later she's still alive, eager to eat but still lays at the bottom of the tank until I come by to feed them. She doesn't gain any weight no matter how much I feed her.
<I'd try deworming before anything else.>
There are 3 other platys in the tank and several guppies. They show no signs of sickness. Just this one. I'm a fairly seasoned fish owner. About 2 yrs now. Started with goldfish, moved to African Cichlids and since I needed to do something with my 10 gal tank I decided to get some guppies and platys.
<10 gallons is really not big enough for either species. I'm sure you've noticed aggression between males and from males towards females. Plus, in a tank this small females can't find much shelter, so they're prone to miscarriages.>
I've made a lot of mistakes and learned from them all and now have very healthy tanks. But this one fish has me stumped. What could possibly be wrong with her and what should I do? Thanks for your help.
<I'd go with worms. In any case, check water chemistry and water temperature are in the zone for Platies, i.e., pH 7-8, 10-20 degrees dH, and temperature as stated above. Guppies tend to prefer warmer water, so the two species aren't really compatible.>
P.S. I love your site. It's been really helpful these past few years : )
<Thanks for your kind words. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: very skinny platy 8/3/10

Thank you so much for your help. It really explains a lot. Looks like I'm still learning : )
<Happy to help. Good luck, Neale.>

Platy Tank Needs Help! - 8/1/10
Hi there,
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 months
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 range.>
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 area.>
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 root system.
<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 suitable
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:
<Cheers, Neale.>

Platies and Stubborn Aquarium 7/27/10
Hey guys!
Once again, I find myself in need of your infinite aquatic wisdom...
Before I go into details, here are my readings (taken today using the API Freshwater Master Test Kit):
pH = 8.2 (is this too high???)
<Not for Platies, no.>
Ammonia = 0 ppm
Nitrite = 0 ppm
Nitrate = 30 ppm (is this okay???)
Tank Set-Up:
55 gallon freshwater (with added aquarium salt one tablespoon to every 5 gallons)
Aqua-Tech 30/60 filter (330 gph - is this enough?)
Top Fin AIR-4000 Air Pump for bubble wall
Pebble Gravel
Fake plants/decorations
6 Adult Platies (4 females, 2 males) and 2 Junior Platies (4 months old)
*has been set-up and running with fish for approximately 1 month
A bit of history - A few weeks back I treated my fairly new tank with an anti-parasitic medication (containing Metronidazole). The medication instructed me to do a partial water change upon completion of administration. After doing the two 48 hour treatments, I did a 25% water change. In this email, I have included pictures of my problem fish/other problems for your viewing pleasure (and/or assistance in diagnosis)'¦
About a week ago (7/20), I noticed my Mickey Platy had a strange red spot on her and was taking large, rapid breaths **see pic**. Her demeanor and appetite had not changed at all. On this same day I saw that one of my other female Platies' fin was torn. Her top (dorsal?) fin was split, but had no discoloration or necrotic appearance. I had noticed prior to this that she had not been pregnant in a while (which is quite unusual for them). She appeared a bit skinny, but her appetite and demeanor were fine. With these developments I thought it wise to get my water tested. I took it up to the pet store and my usual helper tested it and said that everything was "fine" except for the ammonia level which was extremely high.
<Ah, yes, like the French aristocrat who said he felt fine apart from having just had his head cut off. Seriously, ammonia throws any ideas of "fine" out of the window, and your fish were very likely sick because of this. Once the cycling is done, you shouldn't ever detect ammonia, though do test your tap water as well, because some test kits will detect chloramine as ammonia, confusing things greatly. Assuming you have a water conditioner that treats tap water ammonia and chloramine, you shouldn't have to worry about this either, provided any 'false' readings of ammonia you detect in the tap water are identical to readings you detect in your aquarium.>
He assured me that this was probably just the new tank cycling and that it should straighten out on its own. As soon as I got home I began my research on high ammonia levels and found my fish's symptoms fit ammonia poisoning. Many places said to limit feeding, so I fed nothing for one day, a few flakes the next day, and nothing the following day. I have since been keeping up with the light feeding, because I suspect I was probably feeding too much (the little beggars are hard to resist).
<Indeed. A piece of lettuce or cucumber will give them something to eat without adding ammonia to the system. Platies are herbivores, and the more fresh greens, the better.>
Hoping my water had improved so that I could get 2 more adult female Platies, I took my water up to be tested again on 7/24. My usual helper said that my ammonia was normal but now my nitrites were high.
<There is no normal ammonia level above zero.>
He said this was a typical reaction to the high ammonia, but encouraged me to use a product called Prime, which according to the label "may be added to aquarium directly, but is better if added to new water first".
<Prime is an excellent water conditioner. BUT, it is not an additive to add to an aquarium! It won't make ammonia go away if the ammonia is being constantly produced by the fish! Prime is a one-shot deal for the ammonia that comes with tap water. After that, it does nothing. It's like assuming that by vacuuming your carpet you'll stop it getting dirty again.>
I purchased the product and treated the tank as directed as soon as I got home. By this time the Platy with the fin rot (suspect) had developed the red spots as well. She has one on her lip and one on her side near her gill. She has also been swimming around with clamped fins for a few days **see pic**. Her appetite is still fine, and she swims around plenty but is not hanging out with the rest of the crowd very much. I am wondering if the red spots (they look kind of vessel-like, similar to a varicose vein on a person's leg only much smaller) are ammonia burns or internal bleeding or something else entirely.
<Likely a bacterial infection.>
Also, will they ever get better or go away?
<Yes and yes given the right environment and suitable medication, in this case for internal bacterial infections, e.g., Maracyn.>
Neither fish seems to be any better although my water has somewhat stabilized. The Mickey Platy is very pregnant, and I am concerned that all of this may cause her to abort the pregnancy, and if it does, will she be okay?
Along with all of the fishy problems, I have also acquired a growth of what appears to be algae **see pic**. I have never had this problem before and my other tank is just fine. They are out of direct sunlight, but I do leave their light on for 10-12 hours per day (but this has never caused any issues in my other tanks). For the past two days I have been keeping the light off and only turn it on for about 30 minutes for feeding in hopes to stop the growth. The algae was never a bright green, just kind of army greenish brown.
<Diatoms, probably. Quite normal in new tanks. Often goes away by itself.>
It has been developing for about a week - or so I think. My questions are how do I get rid of it do I have to go scrub everything down or could I just get a snail or small Plecostomus to do the job?
<Would not get a catfish just yet, and definitely not a Plec, your tank is far too small. Nerite snails would be the best choices, one per 5 gallons, but wait 6-8 weeks before adding them. Less effective would be a Bristlenose Plec, Ancistrus sp., but at least this catfish stays small. Otocinclus are NOT an option here -- your water quality and water chemistry are all wrong. In the meantime, ignore the algae.>
And if I go the Plecostomus route, will it eat my future fry?
<A Bristlenose Plec will not eat livebearer fry, no. Nor will Nerite snails.>
One final issue to address is my water clarity. It is not really lucky (yes, that is my scientific term), but just isn't crystal clear. There is a slight cloudiness - Why?
<Diatom bloom; common in new/unstable tanks. Goes away in time.>
Thank you so much for your help! I am admittedly a novice aquarist, but I do enjoy my little colorful friends (initially bought for feline viewing entertainment). I have gotten way more absorbed with this hobby than I ever intended to, but my cats love their fish and I find them fascinating as well!
<Glad you're having fun. Cheers, Neale.>


Re: Platies and Stubborn Aquarium 7/28/10
Hey guys,
Thank you for responding so quickly to my previous email Neale.
I have a few questions about your responses and would greatly appreciate your opinion:
1. When treating with Maracyn for the bacterial infection mentioned in my previous email, should I set up a hospital tank for the two fish showing signs/symptoms or should I just treat the whole tank?
<Either. If you have a hospital tank with good water quality and a cycled filter then sure, you can treat fish in there. But there's no point moving them to a tank without a cycled filter.>
2. Also, will Maracyn kill small fry (the Mickey Platy that I mentioned earlier had her fry yesterday)?
<Won't harm them.>
3. Is it best to use the Maracyn/Maracyn 2 powders or the Maracyn Plus liquid?
<I haven't used any of them -- they aren't sold in the UK -- but anything with erythromycin, Minocycline or tetracycline should work.>
4. When getting Nerite snails, is it okay to get fewer than 1 per 5 gallons, or is this the recommended amount?
<Certainly don't use more than that, otherwise they're likely to starve.
The thing with Nerites is they only eat diatoms and green algae, and if they are overstocked then there won't be enough in the algae in the tank for them. One per 5 gallons seems to work well.>
5. Are they messy and difficult to maintain?
<Far from it.>
6. Do I need to provide a source of food for them?
<Not really. They mostly eat algae, though they'll certainly eat a little leftover fish food.>
7. Do they reproduce extensively like other snails?
<They don't breed at all in freshwater aquaria. Most seem to need brackish or marine conditions to complete their life cycle.>
8. Why is it important that I wait 6-8 weeks before getting them?
<Nerite snails come from clear, clean streams. They are very intolerant of ammonia and nitrite. So they should only be put in a mature aquarium. They also eat almost entirely diatoms and green algae and nothing else, and if
put in a brand new tank would likely starve.>
Thank you,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Platy Parasites 7/3/10
Hi guys!
<Hello Krystle,>
I come to you today with what I believe is a parasite problem (though I am no expert - hence why I turn to you). Approximately a week and a half ago, I noticed that my two juvenile Mickey Mouse Platies (3.5 months old) were
having strange poo. It looks like a very thin, clearish white string with small, clearish white sacks or balls every centimeter or so. The string stays intact for quite awhile, not disconnecting until after approx. 2.5 centimeters in length.
<May be parasitic to be sure, but also review diet. Platies are herbivores in the wild, and need a good quota of plant-based food to do well.
Spirulina flake makes a good basic foodstuff, plus things like cooked peas, cooked spinach, Sushi Nori, and slivers of cucumber and blanched lettuce leaves. Restrict meaty foods -- including regular flake food -- to the minority portion of their diet, say 2-3 times a week. Bear in mind that regular fish often do perfectly well on Spirulina flake, so in and of itself this "vegetarian" diet doesn't cause serious problems in most aquaria. Avoid things like freeze-dried bloodworms and the like because these high-protein, low-moisture foods tend to cause constipation in herbivorous fish. Again, you can use them occasionally, maybe once a week, but that's it.>
I have tried to take picture, but my camera is slow and not able to catch the picture before the fish moves. I have drawn an example and attached it to this email. Anyway, I waited to see if they still had it the next day after I fed them. I found that they had their normal poo shortly after eating, but also had the stringy stuff later in the day. A few days after noticing my juveniles with the stringy poo, my adult Platies seem to be showing the same problem.
<I see.>
The juveniles have become anorexic and lethargic, not swimming around much.
<A bad sign.>
Their color has faded slightly and they do not greet me at the surface for food, which is very unusual. The adults seem fine personality wise, but have not been exhibiting symptoms as long as the juveniles, so I am sure they will get lethargic and anorexic eventually. I forgot to mention that I feed frozen bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp, and flakes (I rotate to provide variety). I feed once daily. The only fish that I have are Platies - 6 adults (2 male, 4 female), 2 juvenile, and around 20 ranging in age from 3 weeks to 2 months. I frequently take my water up to the store to get tested and they always tell me it's perfect, but they don't give me specific numbers.
<I really do need the numbers here to say anything sensible. Retailers may or may not be telling you the whole story here. Just to recap, for Platies you need the following: Hard, basic water (10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5-8); 0 ammonia and nitrite; and a low to middling temperature, 22-24 C/72-75 F. Soft water, acidic water, warm water, and poor water quality will make Platies sick.>
While this was all going on, I was in the process of setting up my new 55 gallon and planning to move my adult and older juvenile Platies once it had been set up. A week ago I went to my local pet store and talked to the guy in the aquarium section and described my situation. He said that they probably had hookworms and told me to use API Pro Series General Cure Anti-Parasitic Fish Medication. He said that it would probably kill my fry that is less than a couple months old (of which I have like 20). I decided to wait until I got my new tank set up, transfer the bigger fish that needed treating, and then treat them in there.
<Generally, medications that work on adults to little/no harm to fry. Even if they do, it's a price worth paying. So treating fish is the priority here. If you have healthy Platies, you'll soon have LOTS of fry!>
I have had my 6 adult Platies and 2 juveniles in the new tank for a few days, and am ready to treat now. I wanted to wait a few days so that it wasn't a whole bunch of stress all at once. I am uneasy of treating because I have to remove the charcoal filter and put the powder in the entire tank once, wait 48 hrs, and then do it again. Before I took this major step, I wanted to check with ya'll - the experts! Is this the right medication? What kind of parasite is it most likely? Can I get the parasite?
<Could be worms, though this is difficult to say without a photograph.
Camallanus is the most common worm parasite among livebearers, and though it doesn't seem common here in the UK -- I've never seen it -- it does seem to be quite prevalent in the US. Treatment is possible. Levamisole, Piperazine and Praziquantel are often recommended, but don't work as reliably as either Fenbendazole or
Flubendazole. Your options may be limited by what's available to you via your retailer (in the US) or your vet (the rest of the world).>
The tank that they are currently living in is a 55g with a Tetra Whisper 60 filter system. I keep it at a constant 80 degrees. I put aquarium salt in the tank (as I do with my other tank as well) - 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons of water. I hope this helps! Thanks
Thanks for your help!
<Do read here:
With all this said, I'm not 100% sure worms are the issue here, and some protozoan parasites can cause copious production of faeces together with wasting; Hexamita is the classic example, though this is primarily an issue
with cichlids and other perch-like fish rather than livebearers, though it certainly can affect livebearers. Hexamita typically causes problems when fish are stressed, often for dietary reasons or poor water quality. Do read:
The medication used is Metronidazole, again from your retailer or vet depending on where you live. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy, Molly and Frog in 1.5 gallons; ooh, surprise, they're dying! 6/1/10
Hello :)
<Hello Kacie,>
I'm really quite new to this owning frogs and fish business.
<Indeed. Do read.
Do a degree, most problems come with keeping the wrong fish in the wrong-sized aquarium in the wrong set of environmental conditions.>
I have two African Dwarf Frogs, a Sunburst Wag Platy, and a Dalmatian Lyretail Molly.
<Mollies are not really compatible with these other animals. While Dwarf Frogs and Platies should get along fine provided the water isn't too warm, Mollies need much warmer water and typically need slightly saline conditions.
If you have hard water and keep the aquarium water very clean -- by which I mean 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and less than 20 mg/l nitrate -- the Molly may be okay. But it's difficult to predict.>
I've only had them for a couple weeks but the very next day after I clean the tank (1.5 gallon)
<Far too small; these animals WILL die in there. The frogs may be viable in 5 gallons, the Platies need at least 15 gallons, and the Mollies 20 gallons+. It's not just about swimming space, though that's important; it's also about social behaviour and their sensitivity to changes in water quality and water chemistry. Very small containers of water expose livestock to constant changes in conditions, and inevitably this leads to death. Me telling you anything else is a total waste of time unless you upgrade this aquarium to at least 20 gallons.>
it gets cloudy and this white, cloudy, cotton like weird stuff forms at the bottom of my tank.
<Fungus and bacteria consuming organic waste, essentially doing the same thing as mould on bad cheese.>
I have no idea what this is and it spreads really fast.
<Because the aquarium is too small, overstocked, and under-filtered.>
Within two days the water in my tank is so bad I can't see through to the other side and I think the nastiness of this mystery substance killed my other Sunburst Wag Platy, though I'm not too sure.
<You are wrong. Rather, the death of the Platy and the appearance of the white mould in the aquarium are both symptoms of the same problem: this 'aquarium' is far too small.>
I change the filter often.
<Meaning? Do you understand that filter media needs to be cleaned, not replaced, and that it takes 6 weeks for cycling to take place before the filter can effectively remove ammonia? Furthermore, in a tank this small, no amount of filtration will save the fish.>
I've tried using a product called Clear Fast by Nutrafin which says it is supposed to make a difference in the water within 3 hours. I've never seen a change for the better.
<Indeed not; you've replace lack of knowledge with blind faith in marketing. The Capitalist Way perhaps, but not particularly useful.>
Also upon reading the question/answers I've seen some people say they only feed their fish every other day.
<Depends on the fish. Frogs need not be fed every singly day, but Platies certainly should receive a small meal of algae-based flake food once or twice per day. Problem is, in a tank much smaller than 15 gallons, any amount of feeding Platies properly will overload the filtration system.>
Am I not supposed to feed mine every day? I feed my frogs little foggy bites from HBH (though they don't often eat that, they do eat the fish flakes). Is that bad?
<Least of your problems.>
Thanks for your time,
<You need to do some serious reading. You ARE killing these animals through ignorance of their basic requirements. Hope this helps. Neale.>

Sunshine Platy: New FW system. Platy Health. Several possible causes. 5/16/2010
<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 shop.
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:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwestcycling.htm >
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 inaccurate.>
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 eat at 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.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/platydisfaqs.htm >
Regards Jack and Wendy Manchester UK
<My pleasure, Mike V, Melbourne, Florida>

Mickey Mouse Platy's and Orange Platys Question. Intestinal Nematodes 3/3/10
We just bought 5 platy's, 2 Mickey mouse and 2 yellow "sunset" platy's I believe they are called. We have a 10 gallon tank and they are only accompanied by 2 neon tetra's.
<Mmm, these two species of fishes "like" quite different water quality>

We feed them Tetra tropical flakes, as advised by our aquarium store. All of our water tests have been coming
back at a normal quality, and overall everything is going well. My question is that today we noticed that our two yellow platy's have orange string like things protruding from their abdomen. My husband thought it was feces but
it hasn't fallen off of them, it is just hang from their bodies. Is that normal, or could their be something wrong with them? Thank you for your help.
Katie Nugent
<Unfortunately, this sounds/reads as a case of Camallanus... parasitic Nematodes. Can be treated. Please read here re:
Bob Fenner>

New Platy's... sys., hlth., beh.... reading -- 3/3/10
I am really new to fish. Went from a one gal with 2 guppies to a 10gal, after one guppy died in the 1 gal.
<Ok, to start with, 1 gallon isn't enough for fish. Period. As for a 10 gallon tank, that's risky with Guppies. The problem is that males are feisty, and in 10 gallon tanks tend to chase one another and harass the females. I'd say 15 gallons is the minimum for "easy" Guppy keeping. Do read here:
This will give you some ideas about stocking small tanks. A 10 gallon tank might look big, but it's really tiny, and a very difficult tank to start with.>
One original guppy is still around, did great through the cycling of my new 10 gal which is in it's 5th week. I was told ammonia is gone nitrates are gone but the better one nitrites ( I believe it is) are still there.
<"Better" isn't really the word; nitrites are less immediately poisonous than ammonia, but nitrite is *still* very poisonous.>
Guppy is doing fine. Then I added 3 platys 2 sunset with black tails, and one white with black spots and deep Burgundy tail. My guppy immediately relentlessly followed one sunset platy all around to the point, I wanted to pull my hair out.
<See above. As I said, Guppies in 10 gallon tanks don't often work.>
The platy appeared very stress. My original thought was to remove this guppy back to the one gal tank with underground filter and no heater.
<Death sentence. Do read here:
For more on Guppies.>
But as I thought more about it. I decided to isolate the extremely stressed platy and buy the crazy guppy a guppy friend to play with.
<No, not playing. Chasing, fighting, attempting to mate -- all these things are possibilities.>
Both guppies are calm friends now, and the white and other sunset platy are calm friends but they hide and sleep a lot, and only swim around during and after eating's which are normally 2x a day. One very important detail is
that all the 5 fish , 2 guppies, and 3 platys are males.
The one sunset platy that is in isolation has really calmed down. She seems to be okay with her hiding rock and small fake plant. But she is rather large and the tank is pretty small 1 gal, with little room for swimming.
A major concern for long time keep is no heater part.
<Will die. That's why she's "calm", she's frozen.>
I had done tons of internet reading and picked the local fish store owner's brain, and we were both thinking the only reason the guppy could of been all over her was perhaps she was a sick fish.
<Your pet shop person is an idiot. Fish don't chase one another because they're sick. Male Guppies will attempt to mate with females of virtually anything plausible. Platy females are similar enough in shape and size to female Guppies, so I bet that's what was going on. Keep at least 2, preferably 3 females of each species per male of that species. Otherwise, don't mix the sexes (though that won't stop the males chasing each other).>
This guppy has annoyed relentlessly the previous other 4 sick fish that have died during my earlier cycling weeks. Or perhaps these two were fighting for the Alpha male position in the tank.
<Sort of. Male livebearers are smaller and more brightly coloured than the females of their species. Their life spans are therefore short. So while they are alive, the males desperately try to mate with everything, and at the same time, try to drive away any males that might mate with the females in their bit of the pond. So, they're programmed to be [a] aggressive and
[b] violently promiscuous.>
The isolated platy shows no sign of being real sick. Other than being very large, perhaps a bloated tummy, but does occasionally have those long white strings coming out of her, that I am not sure whether it is poop or parasites. No real unusual behavior. Other than he hated being chased by the guppy. Question: Should I leave him in this small but cozy and very comforting 1 gal tank all alone?
<Cozy isn't the word. She's dying.>
She is eating well and appears ok other than not enough swimming room, with no heater. Do you think that after a while I should try and introduce her back into the 10 gal tank? and if so how should I do it?
<See above.>
One retailer told me I should of taken out the bully guppy for a while and when I added him back, he would of been the new fish in the tank, and perhaps would of behaved better. The only reason I chose the platy was
because I knew the guppy was not sick, and I thought perhaps something was wrong with the platy, as the guppy did not bother or chase the other two new platys, just this one smelling the belly area and the string. The 2
guppies are now fine, The sunset platy in 10 gal tank, has same white string from his production organ area, sometimes extremely long. Takes some time, it could take a day, and than falls off. He hides under fake plants
and looks so dead when he sleeps I find myself hitting him with the net in the middle of the night to make sure he is alive. My favorite platy the white one with some black specs and a great tail that looks like the color of paprika (hence his name) always, always hides, in the caves. But will always come out for food, swims around during and after feeding, very timid to all fish in tank, and runs and hides when I approach tank in any way.
Very hard to get a good look at him. He appears shorter than most platys with his body somewhat a triangular shape rather than long as the sunset platys are. I wish he would not hide. He is a gorgeous fish to look at. Is
this hiding a sign of a bigger problem?
These platys were all brought home only 4 days ago, and I am sure they are still getting actuated. They have seen their buddy leave the tank, for isolation, and have no idea where he went, and have been introduced to the new guppy just yesterday. It really is very peaceful with just the 2 guppies, who always stay at the top, and the 2 platys who are usually hiding all the time. I am wondering if I should be proactive and have any concerns, such as treatments?
<The problems here are your bad choices.>
Should I add salt to either tank as a preventive measure encase their are parasites or Ick? (occasionally the red platy will rub himself on a plant or rock in the 10 gal tank. I am wondering if the one I removed might have infected the 10 gal tank?
<Don't medicate unless you positively identify a sickness. Adding salt won't do any harm, but there's no real point either. See here:
should I treat him with anything, as no real signs other than white occasional strings on both red platys. The pet store owner said I can get preventive cooper drops one drop per gal that will not hurt healthy fish, regardless if their is bacteria, or parasites in tank or not.
<Again, stupid "advice" from your pet store. Why not read an aquarium book instead?
Some of these cost pennies bought used from Amazon.>
In all the reading I have done never have I heard anyone say they use a preventive med to ward of parasites before they begin? Any truth or helpfulness to this?
Or is the brackish tank the way to go? Not sure if I should use Epsom salt, or aquarium salt.
<Totally different things. Do you have soft water or hard water? If soft water, then using Rift Valley cichlid salt mix can be very useful (and home-made, very cheap). Brackish water using marine salt mix is a good option for Guppies and Mollies, but less so for Platies and Swordtails.
Plain vanilla aquarium salt (sometimes called tonic salt) is for use as a medication, and serves little/no purpose as a daily additive.
This is the first site I have been able to write on. I pray to God one of you will feel like this is worthy to answer.
<We're happy to help.>
I am extremely sensitive to pets. I am liking this hobby more than I thought I would. But the sadness of all the death really ruins the beauty of keeping fish. I am starting to appreciate the long life of my dogs, that I always felt was too short! lol
<Actually, for their size, fish live longer than cats or dogs. I have a catfish about the size of your hand who's 16, 17 years old, and she's not even half full size. Angelfish will easily get to 10-12 years. Well cared for Goldfish routinely reach 20-30 years, and there are lungfish in zoos well over 70 years old.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Please advise re: flicking Platy w/ clamped fins 3/1/10
I am a new fishkeeper (emphasis: new) in the process of stocking a 55-gallon tank. Along with the 55 gal I also have a 10 gal quarantine tank.
I recently (one week ago) added three Red Wag Platys (one male, 2 females) to the main tank and have just tonight noticed one of the females with clamped fins and flicking against leaves. Searching the internet has helped some with possible diagnoses, but I'm not entirely certain about how to go about treatment. I'll provide full details of my tanks below in; I apologize if this is too much information:
<There is none such>
Planted tank with:
* multiple Cryptocorum Undulatas
* 3 Anubias Nanas
* 4 Aponogeton Undulatus
* 3 Aponogeton bulbs (unknown variety - were a "gift" from the plant dealer)
* 3 patches of dwarf hairgrass
* one small, ratty clump of Anacharis (Egeria Najas) - picked on by Siamese Algae Eaters and Platys
all on a gravel base.
Yeast-generator CO2 injection
* 3 Siamese Algae Eaters
* 1 Bristlenose Pleco
* 3 Red Wag Platys
* 2 Red Cherry Shrimp
* 10 Ghost Shrimp
* 8+ Platy fry (more on these later)
Filtered with a Penguin bio-wheel 350
6" long bubble stone under gravel in center of aquarium Last water change was one day ago - 10% along with change of one filter cartridge (other cartridge is on 2 weeks)
Water change was done with tap water (hard), treated with TetraAqua AquaSafe and Seachem Acid Buffer (to reduce pH from natural ~8.4)
Chemicals: pH 7.0,
<I would "leave" the pH here at about 7.5; better for all purposes and livestock listed>
Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0
Gravel base, Planted with:
* 1 Aponogeton bulb (ran out of room in the main tank)
* 1 small patch of Anacharis (Egeria Najas)
No CO2 injection
* 1 small Bristlenose Pleco
* 14+ Platy Fry
* 2 Ghost Shrimp
Filtered with a Tetra PF10 hang-on filter
1 small bubble stone
Water has not been changed for over a week, to avoid sucking up any fry in removing water and to avoid shocking fry with sudden water chemistry changes.
Chemicals: pH 6.8-7.0,
<And the pH here as well>
Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0
The three adult Platys spent about 1 week in the quarantine tank before one female (the one of concern) began to have fry. To prevent the fry from being eaten, the adults were removed to the main tank. Although we don't have intentions of becoming fish breeders, my kids like to watch the fry.
To be brutally honest, we are stocking livebearers to provide a supply of fry "snacks" to future Angel Fish, but I digress. After being placed in the main tank, at least 8 more fry were "born". The Bristlenose was added to the 10-gal tank two days ago to help clean up brown algae.
Coming back to the issue, tonight I noticed one of the Platys - the female which had given birth - flicking against leaves in the main tank. I cannot see any other signs of parasites or other health issues. She eats well and swims to the front of the tank when she sees me in hopes of more food. As I watched her, however, I noticed that her fins were clamped. However, I also noticed that the male was really harassing her tonight and that her fins were particularly clamped around him - so this could be a stress reaction from his advances.
<To some degree, yes>
Incidentally - for example - I just checked the tank again and both females came swimming up looking happy as could be - no fin clamping.
My question, then, is multi-faceted:
1. Considering the flicking as an isolated symptom, with no other apparent signs of disease or parasite, should I pre-emptively treat this fish?
<Mmm, I would not. More likely to cause troubles than further a cure>
2. If I do provide treatment, with what should she be treated?
3. If treatment is provided, should she be removed back to the quarantine tank (and residents of the QT relocated to the main tank) or is there something that can (or should) be offered as treatment into the main tank?
<IF you don't mind risking the fry, I would move this female to the 10 gal.>
Thank you very much for your help. I appreciate your advice on WWM very much and have spent a great deal of time reading the posted articles and Q &
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Please advise re: flicking Platy w/ clamped fins 3/1/10

Bob, thank you very much for your quick response. When I get home from work this evening I will remove the affected platy to the QT for observation. In your response, you did make a suggestion that piqued my curiosity and raised another question:
"I would "leave" the pH here at about 7.5; better for all purposes and livestock listed"
Right now my water change/treatment routine settles the pH easily at the neutral 7.0 level, and I thought I was doing good to do so. In fact, with plans to add Angel Fish to the tank, I was concerned that perhaps the water should be a bit more acidic but I also want to balance for the other fish. I can adjust my acid buffer dosing and aim for pH 7.5, but will that be acceptable for the Angel Fish?
<Yes; and not to worry. To be a bit more revealing here, I'd only do such pH adjustment outside the main tank, with/through new water change outs, where the new water has been mixed, stored for days if possible. Having some margin "ahead of neutral" for pH is fine for domesticated FW Angels/Pterophyllum, and this allows for some resistance (buffer) for reductive reactions (the downward drifting of pH) over time>
Within that same consideration: I was thinking that when I prepare to add the Angel Fish to the tank(s), I should raise the temperature to closer to 80F from the current temp of ~76F. Would this be advisable?
<Depends on what other life is present. the mid 70's F is fine for all domesticated angels (really only P. altum is likely excluded)>
Thanks again for your response. I appreciate your expertise, especially as I get my feet wet (no pun intended) as a newcomer to this hobby.
<Glad to assist your efforts, understanding... and concurrent enjoyment of the process Monty. BobF>

Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white. Env. 2/9/10
Dear WWM,
<Hello Diana,>
I have a 5 gallon planted tank with two ADFs (one male one female), three male Platies, and a gaggle of opportunistic snails that have taken up residency.
<Much too small for this many animals. Barely adequate for a Betta or a couple of African Dwarf Frogs. Platies need 15+ gallons.>
I feed the fish a diet of flaked food and the frogs get one cube of frozen blood worms every-every other day. The Platies sometimes snack on this as well and the snails do a great job of finishing up the leftovers. The tank is heated to 80 degrees, has an in tank filtration system and a sand bottom.
<Much warm for Platies, and really, too warm for Hymenochirus frogs too.>
Currently the ph is 7.0 and the nitrates and ammonia are 0 ppm. Everyone was getting along swimmingly and were the picture of health until about two weeks ago when I noticed empty snail shells. I checked the water and the ph had risen to 7.6 but the ammonia and nitrates were 0 ppm.
I got the ph back to normal range by dripping a combo of Discus Buffer and Neutral Regulator over a five day period.
<Why? How did you decide what was "normal"? Platies need hard, basic water -- pH 7.5, 10+ degrees dH. Hymenochirus are similar. Since you've only mentioned pH, and not hardness, I have to assume you haven't thought about this in any great depth. Hardness is FAR more important than pH, and without fail, you shouldn't change pH without messing about with hardness. This is how you end up with unstable water chemistry.>
The tank has been at 7.0 for about three days now.
<That's the buffer acting. Will not stay that way.>
About a week ago I noticed one platy was sticking close to the surface of the water and next to the heater I kept an eye on him but didn¹t notice anything else odd at the time and he seemed to be eating fine. A few days later I observed what looked like rough skin around his mouth and a small
white spot on his tail. I immediately treated the tank with five drops of Life Bearer.
Everyone else in the tank seemed fine. I crossed my fingers.
<Biology doesn't work that way.>

The next day my poor platy was in horrible shape, his mouth was all but gone in fact the whole front of his little face was a big open wound.
<Is not a "wound" but a secondary infection caused by your failure to keep this fish properly. Do read about the needs of Platies, and indeed all animals, before buying them. That you're keeping these things in 5 gallons suggests you listened to the retailer and did no research at all. Would you buy a car on the opinion of a car salesman? Or a house from a real estate agent just because they said it was a good house? Of course not. You always do research before buying something where ignorance causes problems.>
Additionally he now has a white bump on his side along with the white spot on his tail.
<More Finrot and/or Fungus and/or Columnaris.>
Just when I thought things couldn¹t get any worse one of the other Platies was now lying on his side at the bottom of the tank.
<Again, your failure to provide the conditions these fish need has lead to them getting sick.>
I scooped the lethargic platy up in a fish net and suspended him at the surface of the tank then rushed to my aquarium store to purchase some antibiotics. I was given Metronidazole and told to administer that at night and the Life Bearer in the morning along with some additional good bacteria
<Do you know what this actually means? Seriously, "good bacteria" and "bad bacteria" are all much the same thing, and whether they "behave themselves" depends on the conditions in the aquarium. Aeromonas spp. bacteria break down faeces in a healthy tank, but overcome the immune systems of weak fish in poor tanks.>
to try to support the eco system. I was instructed to treat the tank with the medications for a total of twelve days. Tonight will be the fourth day of the antibiotic and the sixth of the Life Bearer. I have also added three teaspoons of kosher salt over a four day period.
<Again, why did you think this would help?>
I released the lethargic platy from his net and he seems to be doing fine - swims to the surface to eat but then hides under the plants at the bottom with the third platy ­ at least he is upright. These two appear to have dodged the bullet for now and exhibit no sign of the mouth disease or spots on their bodies. The unfortunate mouth less fellow is swimming around, sticking mostly to the surface and attempts to eat but I don¹t think he can. Can this poor guy be saved or is he just going to slowly starve to death?
<To be honest, in this aquarium, he's probably doomed. Put him in a 15 gallon tank with good water quality (0 ammonia/nitrite) and a medium to high level of hardness (10+ degrees dH) he'd be fine, if treated for Finrot, Fungus and/or Columnaris.>
Now, onto the frogs. They have been hiding for days on end and eating very little. Especially the female. When the little male came out of hiding today I noticed that he is a much paler version of himself ­ pasty, almost white. And, they are still eating very little if at all. I am curious if the treatments for the fish are harming the frogs ­ or perhaps this is a harmless side effect of the treatments and they will return to their normal brown color when this is all over.
<Again, you're killing these frogs by inches. Your failure to provide appropriate conditions has rendered them vulnerable to opportunistic bacterial infections.>
A bit of additional background history ­ about two months before this all happened I was fighting a terrible case of black hair algae in the tank.
<Often a sign of sluggish water flow and an "unbalanced" aquarium. Review water quality, check water flow rate, and add fast-growing plants under bright lights.>
I got it under control with a new lighting regimen (on 8:00am-12:00pm off 1:00pm-3:00pm then back on 4:00pm-8:pm. I use a full spectrum compact fluorescent that has 5500K) and high doses of Flourish Excel.
<Dosing the water will only help if there are fast-growing plants to use up the nutrients. Otherwise you're just feeding the algae.>
I also suspended a piece of Styrofoam under the filter spout to reduce the surface turbulence. This ³system² has worked well and I have much less of the black algae but my plants have started to develop yellow spots.
<Likely iron deficiency, but could be other things.>
I am now supplementing with 12-15 drops of the Flourish Excel and another plant food with iron. Perhaps more light? And, could this have triggered the collapse of my happy little colony?
Thank you for your help,
<Time to do some reading:
Otherwise, they're all doomed. Cheers, Neale.>
FW: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white. 2/9/10
I should have mentioned that most, if not all, of the platy pictures are of the sad gentleman with the mouth disease and the body spots. You may see the other two peeking out from the plants at the bottom of the tank. The frog photo is of the male only. His lady friend hasn¹t some out of hiding since yesterday evening.
<Okay. Cheers, Neale.>

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