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FAQs on Platy Diseases/Health 8

FAQs on Platy Disease: Platy Disease 1, Platy Disease 2, Platy Disease 3, Platy Disease 4, Platy Disease 5, Platy Health 6, Platy Health 7, Platy Health 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

Platy Shimmy?   12/27/11
Dear Crew:
I have a single female platy that started displaying increased respiration / gill movement a couple of weeks ago. Over the last three days, it has stopped eating and is now "shimmying".  It displays no other outward symptoms (flashing, etc). It's in a moderately planted 40 gallon (breeder) tank along with 2 additional female platies without symptoms, 5 x Pristella Tetra, 1 x Bolivian Ram, and 1 x BN Pleco (purchased as Ancistrus L144A).
Fish are fed primarily TetraMin flake, with frozen bloodworms
<Do cut these back, even out... troubles recently associated w/ these insect larvae as foods>

and frozen brine shrimp offered twice weekly. I also include some "veggie flake" specifically for the platies on a regular basis.
Water parameters: NH3/NH4: 0; NO2 0; NO3 20 ppm;
<Don't allow nitrate to be/get any higher than this here>
GH 7; KH 7; pH 7.8; temp
76 deg. F. These have all been stable since the tank was established three months ago and are identical to the other two tanks I have running.
All current inhabitants except the Ancistrus were transferred from a 20 gallon that had been running for over a year. All three platies were acquired over a year ago.
<Well, the one may "just be getting old">
 It receives monthly 30-40% water changes (dechlorinated with Seachem Prime) with the most recent change being 10 days ago. Fertilization is minimal, and consists of a weekly 1/2 dose of Flourish comprehensive and the addition of some KH2PO4 and K2S04 weekly (modified PPS approach). There seem to be enough nitrates present from the fish load.
I'm only about 16 months into the hobby and this is my first problem with a fish that I've had for any length of time. The few other deaths I've experienced were new acquisitions, one of which you were kind enough to assist me with a few months ago.
<I see>
Everything I've read about "the shimmies" indicates a water quality or environmental problem.
<Usually yes; though this is a common symptom for many livebearers for a wide range of issues>
 With stable chemistry and no other fish exhibiting problems, though, I'm stumped. Is there anything to be done here beyond stepping up the water changes and adopting a wait and see approach?
<I would do these. No treatment/medication advised>
Thanks for any advice you can offer, and I sincerely appreciate your contribution to the hobby. Your site has been an invaluable resource to me as I've started learning some of the finer points of fishkeeping.
<Thank you for your kind words. Cheers, Bob Fenner, WWM progenitor>
Re: Platy Shimmy?  -- 12/28/11

Thank you for the prompt response, Mr. Fenner.
<Welcome John>
No improvement in the Platy since I last wrote. My only other thought was, perhaps, gill flukes. I must admit, though, that I don't understand why the others wouldn't be affected by said monogenetic Trematode.
<Me neither...>
 Perhaps her age and or something in the environment weakened her enough to allow the flukes to become problematic?
<Not likely, no. I've dissected many fishes over the years... in seawater fishes there can be quite a degree of species, even size, occasionally sex- restricted distribution, but freshwater... no. IF one Poecilia is infested, they all would be, and debilitated in turn>
 I've done one 20% water change since I wrote originally and will continue every few days until the problem resolves.... one way or the other.
Now, to go completely off topic, can you elaborate on the "troubles recently associated" with frozen bloodworms as food? I've Googled (and searched WWM) but can't come up with any specifics.
Thanks again.
<Loss of health... cryptic; associated w/ their feeding. I don't know of specifics as to root/real cause here. A shame, as these larval chironomids are extremely palatable to many fishes. BobF>

White spot on platy fin not eating, not swimming 12/2/11
<Hi there>
Please help me diagnose problems with my platy. I have a 10 gallon tank with a HOB filter , air stone and heater. The occupants are two platies, both female. No live plants, some plastic ones and gravel. My water parameters are as follows. I do a 10% water change every week. The tank is cycled and running for three months.
Ammonia : 0 ppm
nitrites : 0 ppm
nitrates : < 20 ppm
ph : 6.8-7.2
kH : 80
gH : 150.
Temperature : 76 F
<These should be fine for platies>
Ok now here's the problem. One of the female platies is behaving oddly for the past two days. She has a white lump, semi transparent and about 2mm in diameter, on her tail (sorry I tried to get a picture but the lump is semi transparent as I said and doesn't show up very well). It is not fuzzy or cotton-y it looks like some of the scales in her (transparent)fin bulged out. By semi transparent I'd say it was milky. That's the ONLY visible problem with her body. She has stopped eating. She is breathing through her mouth, I can see it open and close. I have never seen her open her mouth for breathing before. This IS new. She is much less active than before and she seems to hang motionless in the water at one spot for a long time before moving to another place. I don't think she is pregnant because its been three months since i got her and there are no males in the tank. Her poop, when she was eating looked fine, grayish brown. I feed both platies with algae flakes.
<I'd expand this diet>

Another thing is both platies now prefer to stay in the hidden areas of the tank (behind the artificial plant, Very close to the heater). Before, both used to swim around in the tank.
Ok, some more information that I think is worth mentioning. Before, the tank used to be at 78 F (summer) now in winter it is at 76 F with the heater.
<This is fine as well>
 The temperature gradient from the heater end of the tank to the other end is about a degree, not more. I can set the heater to bring the tank temperature up to 78 F (or more) if you suggest so. Besides the recent change in temperature, there are no other changes such as water chemistry, new fish etc.
Please advise and help.
<Well, for sure this is not Ich... for size, lack of spread. The one spot may be "nothing" other than expression of some internal or external injury... I would hold off on any medication addition. In the meanwhile, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/PlatyDis8.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Platy Concern   12/1/11
I have a female orange platy who over night lost a lot of weight and is very lethargic. She's roughly a fourth of a centimeter smaller than her top fin, except her head which is about half of the size it's supposed to be.
The male platy is doing perfectly fine and he seems to be leaving her alone (as have the other fish). As are my 2 female mollies and my female Betta. I quickly checked the nitrates (20 ppm), nitrites (0), ammonia (0 ppm), temp (76 F), and pH (7.5). I put a tablespoon of salt for every 10 gallons of water when I do my water changes (weekly because it's a 10 gallon tank).
The water is clean and doesn't stink. Is she going to be ok? What can I do to help her???
<Hello Mindy. I'd like to be optimistic here, but I'm afraid I can't offer any quick, easy fixes. Platies -- like a lot of the "fancy" livebearers -- are bred to a price rather than a quality. In other words, to make them as cheap as possible, care on the fish farms is minimised. Bacterial infections are extremely common, particularly Wasting Disease, typically caused by Mycobacteria infections. Infected fish should be isolated in their own aquarium because these bacteria are very contagious. Treatment with antibiotics can help, but often doesn't. Euthanasia may well be the best solution.
Do note that your tank is too small for the fish you list, especially Mollies, and Platies do better in cooler water than you're offering, 22-25 C/72-77 F being the optimal range. So even if your fish was healthy enough to begin with, conditions in the tank may have tipped her health over the edge into the downward spiral you're seeing, as her immune system became unable to fend off the bacteria. Cheers, Neale.>

Possible Ich?    11/29/11
I woke up this morning and noticed one of my platies has a white spot on her forehead and I'm not exactly sure what it is... I was looking online and it looks like Ich but there is only one spot and it is much bigger than the pictures I've seen... I don't have an extra tank to turn into a and wont have the money to buy one until Friday... She shares the tank with Mollies/Balloon Mollies, an albino Pleco, more platies, a neon tetra, zebra Danios, snails and (the thing I'm most worried about) around 20-30 baby mollies and platies in a breeder net... So here's my question, will that treatment be okay for all my fish (minus my snails I'm going to put them in their own bowl for a while to make sure) and if not what can i do? And i just moved some of my bigger babies into my "Baby Tank" a little over a week ago so should i be worried about them getting infected too? And would the salt/heat treatment be safe for them too? I know it might not work but its the only option i have at the moment...
Thank you,
<I would not treat this system... Not likely this is Ich... and more harm to be potentially done w/ the medicine application. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Sick Platy and Mysterious Fry. Need data   11/21/11
<Hello Belle!>
About three days ago I noticed that my only platy, a red female, had started alternating between resting at the bottom of the tank and floating near the top, seemingly weak and/or sick. All other fish seemed perfectly fine, and her tank mates were 2 female mollies, 2 catfish, and a little school of neon tetra.
<Mmm... the mollies and Neons need quite different water... temperature et al. wise. All posted on WWM for your review>
I checked the water parameters and all seemed fine
<Need values, actual measures to help you>
except that the pH was slightly low.

Yesterday, I went and bought two young female Platies, two male swordtails,
<... how large is this system? Swords can be rather rambunctious; and get much larger than many people realize. Please see WWM re these as well>
and one male molly to add to my tank.
I've had my female fish for about 3 months and the platy has always been the smallest of the group and never appeared pregnant. The two new females are also definitely not pregnant.
Today I noticed for the first time a tiny fry hiding in a plant and I have no idea where it came from. Could the platy have given birth even though it has always been thin?
It continues to seem sick and resting towards the bottom of the tank.
<I would not be adding more life to a system w/ an apparently ill fish...
Please search/read on WWM (the search tool is on every page at the bottom)
and write us back w/ the requested information. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Platy and Mysterious Fry    11/23/11
Thanks for your advice!
Luckily my female platy is now doing much, much better and swimming around like normal. I'm starting to really think it was her that gave birth, though she never got bigger and still doesn't seem smaller. The PH in my tank is around 6.6 so, but it used to be around 6.4, so I'm not sure if that's super low or if its okay.
<Much too low.
Platies must be kept in moderately hard to hard water, and the pH must be above 7. Read here for more on water chemistry:
A simple approach is to use about one-half the Rift Valley salt mix. This mix is extremely cheap and works very well. So per 5 gallons of water, add half a teaspoon of baking soda, half a tablespoon Epsom salt, and half a teaspoon of marine salt mix. That should deliver around 10 degrees dH general hardness and a pH around 7.5. Do this gradually. Mix up the three mineral salts in a jug, enough for your 15 gallon tank, top the jug up with water, stir well, and add only about a quarter per day, adding another quarter the next day, and so on. This should ensure the fish have time to adapt.>
My tank is 15 gallons and houses 9 fish and a school of 4 tetra. I read not to use the PH balance chemicals for aquariums with plants in them, is that true?
<No; it's rubbish. But don't add pH-up or pH-down liquids like those sold in aquarium shops. You don't have anything like the experience to use these safely, and will simply waste money and/or kill your fish. Do what I've said above, and it'll cost pennies a month and work very safely.>
I didn't realize mollies and tetra weren't suited for living together because of temperature... I also have another separate 10 gallon tank with 2 small goldfish where the water is kept colder, around 73-75 degrees, if you think that would be a better home to add my tetra to, as my main tank with my mollies/swordtails is around 80 degrees. Thanks for the help!
<The Platies, Mollies, and Tetras can/should get along at 25 C/77 F in medium-hard water if you keep the water spotlessly clean through regular water changes and excellent filtration. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy fry red spots? Slimy snails? Moldy filters?    10/5/11
Hi, I'm Jenny. I am a proud-ish owner of a.... rather crappy-looking ten gallon aquarium...
Nonetheless, most of the fish and snails are doing fine.
Well, this rather overstocked aquarium has a 1"5 fantail,
<Goldfish I take it>
1"5 angelfish,
<Umm, not compatible, nor will either live long or well in such a small volume>

1" gold panda platy, who is the happy mother of two beautiful broods, and a rams horn snail, with seven "snaillings."
I need my bedroom ceiling to be redone (it caved in because of a collapsed air duct) so as soon as I get the furniture moved back in, I'm buying a twenty gallon for the platy, angelfish, etc, and a pond set next summer so I can put the fantail in it.
<Ah good>
Yesterday I had just put the first platy brood in the tank- three bright, happy, energetic platy. They seemed fine to me, as they were swimming around and nipping the algae off of everything, chasing the bigger fish and eating more algae. Then, this morning, I noticed the smallest of the three (they're all almost 3/4 of an inch) was missing. I look around to find him/her lying on the gravel, jus sitting there. I didn't have time to examine it, though. So I got home from school this afternoon to take a closer look. He has light, reddish splotches on his sides, right around the middle of the space between his anal fin and pectoral fin.
Water conditions:
Nitrate: 40 (trying to lower it)

<I'd keep at half this maximum>
Nitrite: surprisingly at zero
<Why surprising? How did you cycle this system?>
Ammonia: around .25 ppm
<Any is dangerous, toxic>
pH: 6.8 ppm

I'm still concerned, but since he still comes up to eat, I'm not sure of what will happen to him next... If he'll stop eating? He dies and the other fish eat his corpse?
........ If he dies, I shock him with a 2 volt battery and he comes back to life?
<Ah, no>
(I watch way too many science videos, but that would be pretty cool...)
All he does is sit a the bottom, nestled in between rocks or hiding behind a plant in the back. He doesn't just hover over the bottom, either- he literally sits ON the bottom. First thought was he was having buoyancy problems, but the red splotches threw me off.
It worries me so much...
<Stop worrying and read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
and: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/NH3TrbFixF.htm
and the linked files above>
I have to clean the gravel because it got very dirty, so all of the decor was taken out except for a rock to hold down cucumber slices that I give them, all of the live plants, and a breeding net for the second brood of 6.
Two more questions:
If there are too many snails in an aquarium, will they produce too much slime?
<Mmm, have never seen this happen>
I have several in a breeding net, only about 2mm in diameter, and there's a bunch of spots floating in the top, like oils on the surface of water. Is this normal or is it bad?
<Can be bad... from household aerosol/s, cooking... best to "wick off"... or dip a pitcher in the tank at an angle to remove>
Also, there's a bunch of different algae and slimes growing in my filter.
Some are red that grow under the water, some are greenish brown that get stuck in the nooks and crannies, and some are white and fluffy/slimy that grow on or right underneath the surface. It's kinda gross and makes cleaning the filter a HUGE hassle, taking me two days to clean it all with the spare time have. There's also molds, just green, brown, or white, growing on the filter lid or on the cartridges. I had to take my biofilter out (the one with a bunch of white, tangled stuff inside a cartridge) that comes with the filter set. None of this will stop coming back. Are there any suggestions you have for getting rid of the crap growing in my filter?
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgcontrol.htm
and the linked files...>
Anything you can tell me will be much appreciated. I hope you can help me figure out what's wrong with my platy fry.
<Water quality... uncycled system>
Thank you for your time,
<Please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Re: Platy fry red spots? Slimy snails? Moldy filters? 10/3/11-- 10/05/11

> <Please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM. Bob Fenner>
<You obviously have not done as I previously requested... a shame, and waste of y/our time. B>
Thanks for the reply.
Boy am I even more worried than before... my platy from the second brood was acting funny. I've heard of it before, but I can't remember. The platy was turned sideways (nose pointed all the way down) and it started spinning like a drill spins.
I'll probably look it up after I send this message and try to identify the illness. Sadly, it died...
Well, the nitrates I'm trying to get down, nitrites were surprisingly, and in a good way, at zero. Usually when my nitrates are high, my nitrites are, too, that's why it was surprising.
<... these two are almost never positively correlated>
Also, we don't use aerosols or anything near the fish tank, and it's only inside the breeder net where the snails are staying. I'm wondering if the snails are diseased or something... I'm not planning on keeping them, anyway- they kill my plants! I'd stick with the Plecos, but they either get too big or die because they won't eat the cucumbers or algae wafers I give them.
<Search WWM re smaller Loricariids>
Oh, and it doesn't get any better: the fry that stays to the bottom won't budge. I put him in my fishnet and placed it at the top of the water. He won't come near the surface to eat. I don't know whether to add salt or turn up the heat, treat with Fungus Clear or just euthanize him. And I kind of had to work hard to keep them healthy, so all of them dying is a big waste of my time.
Not to sound cruel, but it's probably just easier for me to euthanize them all. It saves me the trouble of finding homes for them and paying for shipping and all of that good crap. But with all of the money and time I put into the tank, I want to earn a bit of it back with these fish I can sell.
Also, the water is definitely cycled. I'm guessing it's just the water quality. No other fish are showing signs of illness so far. The roofing guy hasn't called back yet to fix my ceiling, I can't get the bigger tank until it IS fixed, and I'll still have to cycle the thing for a month at least!
And even when I'm doing water changes every day or other day, nothing has budged. I don't know what to do. Are there any other things
<READ: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
and the linked files above>
I can do besides water changes, which will, if I do any bigger than 20%, shock my snail to death? I've tried some nitrate and nitrite removing chemicals, but they didn't do anything either.
If any more of these fish die, I'd probably just tear the whole thing down and start from scratch.
If there's any other suggestions, tips, or anything, it would be much appreciated.
<See the above>

Signs of parasites in my Platies?     9/27/11
<Hi there>
Thank you all at WWM for creating this fantastic resource for amateur and pro fish enthusiasts.
I have some observations about my Platies that I hope you can help me understand.
First off, I have a 10 US gal tank with artificial plants and ornaments, HOB filter, heater and airstone. I cycled it three weeks back (fishless cycling with ammonia and tetra SafeStart). At the end of the cycle I had zero ammonia, zero nitrites and about 40 ppm nitrates.
<Mmm, should comment. This is about twice the NO3 you want to allow>
I then did a 80% water change and introduced 4 white cloud mountain minnows. Since they were fine for a week during which I fed them flake food and water condition was still zero ammonia zero nitrites and 20 ppm nitrates, I decide to introduce the Platies at the end of the week. I got one red wag tail platy and one red Mickey mouse platy, both male. I didn't feed them the first day. I had read elsewhere on WWM that Platies would do better with algae flakes, but my lfs only had API algae eater biscuits, so I crushed half of it and fed it to the Platies and the minnows. Now I must mention that the minnows are completely fine, I don't see any abnormalities. The Platies may be fine too but I am seeing some stuff which is nagging me.
Red wag tail platy: is quite active, spends a lot of time going up and down the wall of the aquarium, I presume it is confused by its reflection, am I right here?
<Likely so>
Sometimes the minnows do that too. Is it a matter of concern?
Now the thing that bothers me more is that for the last two days since I got him he's been pooping white. The poop isn't very long and milky, but it is still about a centimetre long and whitish.
<Happens; not necessarily indicative of problem/s>
He doesn't show clamped fins, any kind of patches or laziness ,listlessness. Swimming is fine, no awkward behaviour there. Eats well, moreover digs around in the gravel for leftovers. All fish in my tank do that. The other thing I am concerned about is that, while his body is orange, his mouth is darker, almost blackish brown. I did see some pictures of this species of platy with similar marking on the mouth.
<Also not likely a worry>
Mickey mouse platy: is somewhat subdued than the wagtail but active nevertheless, very curious about the minnows but doesn't chase or attack them. All other characteristics same as the wagtail with again the thing concerning me being the white poop. Also the first-time I fed him, his stomach looked a bit swollen but then then he pooped and was fine the next day. Again no other abnormalities like clamped fins gasping etc.
Is it possible that my Platies are plain constipated ?
<Not likely, no>
Or is white poop two days in a row a matter of concern?
<Again, not especially>
When I got them they were from separate tanks with at least 15 Platies in each,( PetSmart tanks I think they are 10 gal.) Should I feed them some anti parasite food? If so could you give me a quick recommendation? I don't have the means to quarantine them.
<I would not feed, introduce such material>
As of this writing the tank parameters are zero ammonia , zero nitrite, zero chlorine. ( I have used API StressCoat when adding water). I have 0-20 ppm nitrates, 6.8-7.2 ph, 80 kH, about 150 gH. I did a 10% water change before introducing the Platies a week ago. The temperature is nearly 78 f (but the minnows really do seem happy, they even do the Antonio Banderas - Catherine Zeta Jones dance from Zorro, they flare their fins at each other whole moving up and down.)
<Good names>
Thank you so much for the help.
<It reads as if you're doing fine here. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Parasites in my Platies and WCMM's    10/2/11
Hello Crew,
I wrote a few days ago about possible parasite problems with my Platies. I have a 10 US gallon tank with 2 male Platies and 5 white cloud mountain minnows. I have a 10 gallon HOB filter, heater and artificial plants. The water conditions are unchanged from last week, at the time of writing the water conditions are,
Ammonia : 0 ppm
nitrites : 0 ppm
nitrates : < 20 ppm
ph : 6.8-7.2
kH : 80
gH : 150.
Temperature : 78 F
<All okay thus far>
Also, I must mention that the tank is correctly (fishless) cycled tank and the above water conditions remain rock steady with only the nitrates varying up to 10 -20 ppm. I feed the fish flake food once a day and do a 15 % water change weekly with stress coat.
Okay, so the problems are as follows,
Platy 1 (Male red wagtail platy): Is active, eats well (very well in fact, is the glut of the tank). 2 days ago I saw one (only one) of his scales flapping around, and a wound where the scale dislodged from.
<I see this>
The wound appears to be on the top surface, not too deep, I think the pinkish white surface in the wound is the skin underneath the scales. (Please do take a look at the attached photos, those are the best I could get.). I think the other platy caused this, both Platies engage regularly in barging into each other's sides. (Not a good idea to keep two males together I know, but have a small tank, no room for fry and no way to upgrade :(). The other problem as I wrote before, is that he poops white and stringy. NO flashing or
clamped fins though.
Platy 2 : The more aggressive of the two Platies ( He possibly wounded the other platy without having a scar on himself). Eats well, incessantly keeps scooping at the bottom for food. no clamped fins but poops white and stringy. Sometimes the poop is 1 and a half times the platy length, not milky but white with blackish brown spots in between. Today I saw a 5mm to 1 cm long red cylindrical thing hanging out of his anus (which I'm certain was not his gonopodium), which convinced me he has internal parasite(s).
<Likely Camallanus... Please see here re:
He carried it around for a while and when I looked an hour back, it was gone, but the fish pooped as described above. He DOES flash the decorations and the plants, the flashing started, or I first saw him flash yesterday.
WCMM : I've never had a chance to see them poop, they're 1/2 - 3/4 inches.
But I'm pretty certain I saw a much smaller version of the red parasite hang out of one of the WCMM's anus. This WCMM has been hanging out by itself sometimes but not always. All of them are active and eat well.
Now the spectacle of the parasite hanging out of my fish intestines is very disturbing, and so I searched for medications on WWM and found that a medication called Praziquantel is recommended above others.
So I have purchased a medication called Tetra parasite guard which contains 1.
Praziquantel 2. Diflubenzuron 3.Metronidazole 4. Acriflavine. It does not mention the proportion. The guy at the local PetSmart cautioned me that the medication was quite powerful and to be used in extreme situations. He was also of the opinion that Platies are a hardy fish and quite capable of dealing with the symptoms I've described by themselves.
<Mmm, are hardy, but I disagree w/ the last statement>
The medication is in the form of a tablet that dissolves in the water to be used up to two times with no carbon in the filter; with 48 hours in between and a weekly water change.
<Best to provide Anthelminthics through foods in dealing w/ freshwater fishes... they barely ingest/drink their environment. Please read here re:
Based on my observations, what do you recommend I do ?
<I'd crush up the tablet, shake the powder onto foods...>
What would be good feeding plan? Does my case qualify for the medication ?
<I do think it does... additional to what you've mentioned I see what looks like white spot/Ich on your damaged platy... I'd treat this tank w/ elevated temperature... Can you stand more reading?:
Will the medication adversely affect the platy with the external bruise ?
<Not likely; no>
If I shouldn't use the medication now, how long should I wait or what symptoms should the fish show
to justify using the medication ?
<T'were it me/mine, I'd treat now... or after reading>
I must also add, that the Platies and the WCMM in question were added a week ago to the tank. Please do help.
Thank you so much for the excellent work that you guys do.
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>


Where do you purchase antibiotics for Sunburst Platy   9/15/11
<What country are you in? In the United States, you can buy a few antibiotics, like Maracyn, at your pet store. In most other parts of the world antibiotics are only available through your vet.>
(was pregnant lost babies--and what is the name of the barrier to buy at PetSmart?)
<You can put newborn fry in "floating breeding traps". Do NOT place pregnant females in breeding traps! This stresses them, and stress leads to miscarriages.>
now sick on its side--not exactly sure if the Cremecicle Lyretail Molly has been intimidating her--is this a semi-aggressive fish?
<Mollies can be aggressive.>
or do they get along?
<Mollies and Platies need rather different conditions, so are best not kept together.>
She has lost a lot of weight after losing her babies because I didn't know I had to separate her (barrier name--is it called breeding barrier?) Her gills looked like they have been chewed on and her eyes seem popeyed. She hasn't been eating. I want to save her life. What antibiotic do you suggest for these symptoms?
<I don't. I need to know more about the aquarium. These symptoms imply poor care and the wrong environment.>
Should I put another Sunburst Platy in there and what sex to cheer her up.
<No. Don't add ANY new fish until you have established why the fish you have is sick. Should a fish get sick and diet, wait AT LEAST six weeks before adding more fish.>
Is the Cremecicle Lyretail Molly ok with her and a black molly as well.
Any suggestions? Water tested fine today.
<What's "fine" in your thinking? I need numbers from the test kit, not your interpretation. Meantime, read:
Cheers, Neale.>

Is my platy pregnant or swim bladder?     9/14/11
I've had a look through your site and others online but can not find an answer to my question....
My black female platy has ballooned over the past couple of weeks, which I put down to being pregnant as I also have an orange male platy. Today I noticed that the female's scales have become spiky.
<Mmm, trouble>
When searching this online I was told that this could be due to swim bladder problems.
<... no; but just as nebulous, a dropsical condition>
However she is swimming normally and not staying on the bottom as I have been told to expect with swim bladder.
I have put her in a floating birthing tank and she seems fine, swimming around as normal. My water quality is good as I have been checking it on a regular basis and doing water changes.
Any advice you could offer would be gratefully received!
Thanks Emily
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dropsyfaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>

10 gal., FW, Platy w/ spot...   9/1/11
Hi there, my name is Matt and I have a few questions but I'm not clear as to how I should go about this. I'm using my cell phone, so sorry in advance for my poor message quality. I recently purchased a ten gallon aquarium and it has been running with a filter rated for 35-50 gallon tank. It also has a heater that maintains a constant temperature of 78°. It has only one live plant that does well, for saying I don't have a hood for a light. My room is also fairly dark. Some natural light gets to my tank but its not enough for algae. I also have many fake plants for fish to hide. I have only one fish which is a pregnant Platy. She is completely orange, very typical but near the tail fin she has a black spot. Its part of her natural colour but its literally an 'I' shape, just as you see it on this page! I would love to know what strain she is from because I'm hoping for some colourful offspring. And yes, I turned down the filter. When she drops the fry I will turn off the filter and use an airstone so I'm not losing fry to the filter. I should also mention that my Platy's tail fin is yellow fading to clear. Her dorsal fin is orange fading to clear. And by fading to clear I mean that the color is vibrant but stops about half way through the fin. She was put in the tank a couple days ago and she is alone. When she drops her fry I will let 'nature' take its course so I don't have any weak offspring. Now an issue is that she isn't eating much. She has excess fecal matter but she eats very little. Now I'm pretty concerned that she wont make it because she also isn't moving much, mostly hiding behind the heater because its near the surface and provides cover. I put a plant up there to help her hide and she took to it well. I've raised Bettas but a livebearer is a completely different concept. Oh and I forgot to mention that the water parameters are perfect with no fluctuations. I have an excellent system set up. But any advise to help would be greatly appreciated! - Matt R
<Hello Matt. There isn't anything obvious here that makes it clear why this fish is sick. Your tank is too warm for Platies, but that's adding stress rather than a cause of death (Platies should be kept between 22-25 C/72-77 F). You don't say anything about water chemistry, so rather than telling me the tank is perfect, tell me some numbers! As a reminder, Platies need hard, alkaline conditions -- 10+ degreed dH, pH 7.5 upwards. You tank is smaller than I'd recommend for Platies, but 10 gallons shouldn't be so small it's killing her, though I can't be sure about that without information on water quality. Again, let's state the values here: 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. How did you mature the filter? It sounds like the tank is new, and if you placed the Platy in a tank less than 6 weeks old, you likely exposed it to non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels as the filter matured. If you're sure she's dying, then euthanasia is an option; for small fish like Platies, put 1 litre of aquarium water in a container, stir in 30 drops of clove oil (also called Eugenol, widely sold online and in health food shops and drug stores), then immerse the Platy for at least 10-15 minutes. She'll quickly become sedated and die shortly thereafter. Cheers, Neale.>

Urgent platy help, Neale's go      8/30/11
I think my platy is in labour I'm not entirely sure ,
<No, not labour. Sounds much more like distress. Check water quality (ammonia and nitrite should be zero); water chemistry (should be hard and alkaline, 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5-8); and temperature (neither too cold nor too warm, 22-25 C). Platies can be aggressive, and male Platies, as well as male livebearers generally, can be very hard on the females.>
but she's at the surface of the water clamping her fins and opening them quite a lot, she's also taking breaths very close to the surface of the water and then blowing bubbles. What should I do?
<Need information on your aquarium.>
Is there anything I can do to help her?
<Probably. But all depends on your aquarium, water quality, water chemistry, tankmates.
Cheers, Neale.>
Urgent platy help, RMF's feebler, typical try
I think my platy is in labour I'm not entirely sure , but she's at the surface of the water clamping her fins and opening them quite a lot , she's also taking breaths very close to the surface of the water and then blowing
bubbles. What should I do? Is there anything I can do to help her?
<... what re the make-up of this system, water quality tests, other livestock and their behavior. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Urgent platy help     8/30/11
My levels are all very low ,
<Values please, not reflections>

the water is clean , the temperature is 32 degrees Celsius. Her tank mates are a rainbow shark (doesn't go near her)
<Unusual... can be quite mean>
and quite small platy babies that are too big to be eaten. Yesterday I saw her anal swell up and there was a white pimple like thing there and a whitish tube like thing came out . This is the second day she's been behaving like this
<Can't tell anything from your description. Do send along a well resolved image if you can. In the meanwhile, keep reading where you've been referred. BobF>

Platy and Guppy problems   8/22/11
Dear WWM Crew,
<Ni hao, Jiahao!>
First of all, I'm Jiahao (I know, hard to pronounce). Second, I have several questions pertaining to my platies and guppies.
<Go for it!>
Third, I love your website and I have learned a great deal from it. I pretty much use your website like it's Google, but better because I know it's reliable, fast, and will always relate to fish.
<Thanks for the kind words.>

I have had a 10g fish tank for almost a year and a half now and it was doing fine until I added some new fish.
<Ten gallons is not a lot of space. I'd always recommend at least 15 gallons. The extra space makes a huge difference with Platies and Guppies.>
Up to just last week, all my fish were doing fine (ammonia-0, nitrite-0, and nitrate-30). I thought platies were supposed to be peaceful, but I noticed one of them started to nip the others fins.
<Males of both species can be aggressive. Sometimes the fight each other, and sometimes they harass females who don't want to mate with them. It's best to keep at least two females per male. With Platies, that's not a problem because females are just as pretty as the males. Indeed, keeping just females would be a sensible way forward. With Guppies it's less easy to sell this idea because females tend to be rather plain, though some females of the more modern varieties are much more colourful than wild-type females.>
Right now I have 3 platies and a guppy. The guppy and the biggest platy (I think male) are doing fine. It is the other two that worry me. First, I cannot tell their gender because they both have very long, flowy, and round fins near their pectoral fins.
<Do look at the anal fin; females should be obviously different to the males.>
They have two fins near their gills and two more which I think are the pectoral fins near their anus. Gender might be the problem, but I am not sure. One of the platies' fins are ripped, almost like scissors cut them, but there are also signs of fin rot on him. Please help and tell me what I can do to fix this problem.
<Well, part of the problem is you've bought long-fin Platies, and frankly, these rarely look good, especially in small tanks. You have a species where the males are semi-aggressive, and giving them long fins is asking for trouble! It's in their nature to fight.>
If it is gender issues, what should I do and it it's fin rot is there any help or recommend any medication.
<If you've got just Platies and Guppies, you could try to minimise the risk of Finrot or Fungus by adding a small amount of salt to the water, perhaps 2-3 grammes per litre. That won't cure Finrot or Fungus, but if the fins are basically clean and healing, salt will have a useful tonic effect on livebearers such as Platies and Guppies.>
Also, will my platies/guppies eat store-bought cabbage/lettuce that's been cleaned and softened, but uncooked?
<Worth a shot, but my guess is not. Cooked lettuce, sliced cucumber, Sushi Nori, and cooked peas are more likely foods. Vegetarian flake food is sold for livebearers, and worth using.>
Sorry for the long email but I hope you can help me. Thanks in advance.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy with injured fin   7/8/11
Dear Crew
I trust you are all well!
<Thank you; yes>
My tanks have generally been fine for a number of months now due to a new water changing regime due to the Nitrite problem in London water. However, I noticed today that my male panda platy has a damaged fin (it looks frayed on the edge like fin rot and it has a black streak at its base that I have not noticed before). Furthermore, he tends to hold it in to his side when he swims. He is eating fine and hangs around his beloved partner who is currently pregnant. He is about 6 months old.
My tank stats/info are as follows:
Ammonia - 0ppm (the reading was obtained by using the Indophenol method - however, using the Nessler method gives a slight reading for all my tanks and has on every test)
<May be artifactual>
Nitrite - 0ppm
Nitrate - less than 5ppm
Tank size - 95 litres
Community tank with 1 male dwarf Gourami, 1 female panda platy, 4 adult female guppies, 2 cherry shrimps and about 20 guppy fry of various ages (6 weeks - 3 months old).
My main concern is that our local London water is always between 0.2 and 0.5 ppm Nitrites.
<I would treat/store this water ahead of introducing it w/ my livestock... Till there is 0.0 NO2>
The local water board say that it is well within legal limits. As a result, I've found that doing very small and regular water changes (say 5-10%) every few days or so works best so that I do not put too much of the nitrites into the tanks before the bacteria get a chance to turn it into Nitrates. I've read that when a fish looks injured, do more water changes but I am worried that I may just be introducing Nitrites at the time when the injured platy needs absolutely no nitrites.
What would your advice be in this situation?
<As above re the new water... perhaps using a small sponge filter, or inside power one... seeded w/ bacteria from your main display... fed w/ a bit of dried food once a week... Re the platy, I would not "treat" it w/ any medicine here>
with many thanks as ever to you excellent team!
<And you, Bob Fenner>

platy problem. Mis-mixed lvstk.    7/4/11
I have a nine and a half gallon tank. In it I have one Balloon Molly, one Glass Tetra, two Tiger Barbs, one Sunset Platy, one Guppy, and one small Algae Eater that I don't know the name of.
<Mmm, these fishes aren't compatible... the molly needs hard, alkaline water, perhaps w/ some salt... the Tetra is salt intolerant... the Barbs too nippy and the Algae Eater likely a CAE, a tremendous bully; read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/CAEsComp.htm
The mess/mix of fishes you have here is untenable... won't work>
Recently, the carbon insert in my filter (Elite Hush 10) had not been changed when it was supposed to. So the filter was running without a clean new carbon insert for a few weeks. A few days ago, it was changed so now everything is running fine. I do regular weekly twenty percent water changes and remove the debris/food/stuff from under the rocks when I do the water changes.
I do a forty percent water change every month. I'm using Nutrafin Cycle, Nutrafin Waste Control, and Nutrafin Aqua Plus after the water changes. I also use Jungle Correct pH every couple of weeks. My fish are fed regular staple Nutrafin Tropical Fish Flakes in the morning at nine AM. At night (nine PM), they are fed Nutrafin Tropical Fish Pellets.
<Mmm, I'd feed earlier... to assure all gets eaten before "lights out">
I also give my fish a Nutrafin Staple Food Tablet (in case my algae eater isn't getting enough algae) and Nutrafin Brine Shrimp Flakes (for a treat) and Sally's Frozen Freshwater Frenzy (for a treat). In my tank, I tend to add a small amount of aquarium salt every once in a while because I hear it keeps the fishs' immune systems up. I try to keep the tank temperature at around twenty-five to twenty-six degrees Celsius but since it's summer, it's been getting to twenty-six to twenty-seven and sometimes twenty-eight.
When the temperature gets higher, I turn on my air pump so the fish get more oxygen. I started my tank last October. I cycled for one week and I have had four fish in total die.
<Best to cycle w/o livestock present... see WWM re>
One Molly died from fungus that he had from the store I bought him from, one Corydoras died from suspected bullying but I was out of town when it happened (but we did have someone watching and feeding our fish), one Tiger Barb died from unknown causes, and one Chinese Algae Eater died from unknown causes but possibly from not enough algae (which is why I'm keeping a close eye on it with my newer algae eater). The last fish died in April, which was the Algae Eater. My fish all seem pretty healthy except for my Platy. My Molly had fungus a few months ago but has fully recovered from it. Lately (past week or so), my Platy was staying in the back bottom corner of the tank behind the heater and fake wood/plant. So I did a water change and got the filter set up properly (with new carbon) and she seemed fine until today. Today, I notice that her anus is swollen and looks like something white stuck in it.
<This is just part of her anatomy, the "colon">
I can't see any worms of any type. Also, I've had her since I started my tank so I don't think it's possible for her to be pregnant. I have attached two photos. I'm sorry that they aren't very good but my platy is afraid of my camera for some reason. I didn't use flash or anything and my other fish are fine with it so sorry. She seems to be swimming fine but I noticed once when she twitched a little bit. Should I try giving her some peas or adding aquarium salt?
<Mmm, not the last... as stated, not good for the Tetra>
I looked on Google and couldn't find anything like this problem that had a solution or a cause.
<Really the best advice (what I would do) is to have you make a list of all the species you have here, and search in books, on the Net for their requirements... in terms of water quality, size of system, number of individuals that should be placed together (i.e. whether the species is social), and any other pertinent notes. Then, figure out what you really want to and can keep... in this 9.5 gal. system, any other that you intend to set-up.
Again, long term, what you have here won't work. Bob Fenner>


Re: platy problem.   7/5/11
<"Again, long term, what you have here won't work. Bob Fenner>"
I don't have a problem with my tank. I know what my fishs' requirements are. I'm maintaining a community tank just fine. I only gave you my tank information because your three-step question-asking process asked for it. My problem is with my Platy! I'm pretty sure that my Platy's "colon" sticking out of her body is not part of her anatomy. I take care of my fish and I love them and I noticed that one didn't look the same as the day before. Also, I've noticed that she isn't eating much and I haven't seen her poo since she's been like this. We think it might be some sort of "rectal prolapse". Do you know anything about THAT at least??
<... Yes; please use the search tool with the term and species. B>
I've tried feeding her peas but she hasn't eaten anything other than some of the Sally's Frozen Freshwater Frenzy (which is like all my fishs' favourite thing to eat that I have given them).

Platy parasites?    6/27/11
I should first say that I'm a novice when it comes to keeping fish.
<Then please do read! Lots of stuff here, as well as any number of excellent aquarium books for beginners.>
Currently I'm having problems with my male platy. When I first got him a month and a half ago (from a commercial pet store) he seemed relatively healthy but pretty stressed. He ate regularly as long as there was a bit of a current in the water. However, a few weeks later I noticed a small worm-like parasite hanging off his anal fin (about the size of a bloodworm). Not knowing much about fish, I removed the parasite easily and decided to observe. The parasite returned again and I began treating with Tetra Parasite Guard.
<A general purpose medication that contains Praziquantel, Diflubenzuron, Metronidazole and Acriflavine. Has the potential to shift quite a range of parasites, but alas, dosing for good effect is much harder than the bottle might suggest, so there are no 100% guarantees. Vets will tell you that effective doses depending on the mass (weight) of the fish and various other factors aquarists never consider and over-the-counter medications cannot take into consideration.>
I have the platy by himself in 1.5 gallons of freshwater, as I lack the space for a more ample quarantine tank. Along with the Tetra Parasite Guard I have been adding aquarium salt and Stress Coat +. The water has a PH of 7, is slightly hard, and is maintained at a steady temperature.
<Fine. Do recall Platies prefer the cooler end of the temperature range, 22-24 C/72-75 F. Hard water is essential, and if all you're keeping is Platies and perhaps other livebearers, and you have water less than 10 degrees dH hardness, dosing with marine aquarium salt (as opposed to generic aquarium salt) at about 2 grammes/litre will make a huge difference in long-term success.>
I finished the treatment according to the instructions but the fish still seems to be infected... I gave him a week-long "break" and began to treat again. Although I clean the tank and change 25-50% of the water each day, every morning I find between five and 20 dead white "worms" on the bottom of this tank.
<What you would expect to see, if treating for Camallanus.>
If it is any improvement, there seem to be fewer recently. Still, the platy is skittish, swims erratically (up and down very quickly, almost never straying from the side of the tank), gasps at the surface, and moves his gills rapidly.
<Likely stressed; small tank, poor water quality, insufficient oxygen -- all these will be factors.>
He mostly hides in the corner. When he comes to the surface he will stay there for a long time and circle the tank slowly, never leaving the sides of the tank. In the last week or so he has begun eating occasionally (when he does, he seems eager about it; otherwise, he will watch food float past and do nothing). I also haven't seen any parasites attached to his body.
<Don't bother feeding if the fish doesn't eat. Wait a day, try again. If he doesn't eat then, try another day later. Always remove uneaten food. A turkey baster is a great tool for this job!>
I am most concerned about the gasping at the surface and wonder if I should stop medicating him or try a different medication. This platy is of sentimental value and I would really like to save him if I could.
<Lifespan of Platies is about 3-5 years.>
Thank you so much for the help!
- Ivvie
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Platy parasites?    6/29/11

Hi again,
Thank you for the advice earlier.
<Glad to help.>
Although I have been medicating the platy regularly and have seen no parasites emerging from him, I am still concerned about the number of dead parasites on the bottom of the tank each day. I remove them with a turkey baster but he seems to expel more overnight. Where are these coming from?
<Presumably inside the Platy, though other fish in the tank with him well have those parasites too. Do also be aware that some harmless, free-living worms can live in aquaria anyway, and often get in via bags of live daphnia, plants, etc.>
I do regular water changes (again, 25-50 percent a day), and yesterday did a 100 percent water change, so I'm not sure there are free-floating eggs.
Also, even if I stop seeing these parasites, how long should I wait before adding the platy to my community tank?
<Would leave him isolated for at least two weeks, ideally a month. Don't add any new fish to the community until at least a month after you've put this fish back in that tank.>
<You're welcome, Neale.>

red gills on "healthy" platy 6/6/2011
I purchased a blue platy at an LFS yesterday. I did not notice anything wrong with the fish in the store. but when I got home and put her in the tank I noticed that the fish has red gills.
<Mmm, healthy gills of fishes are red in colour>
The fish has no other symptoms, and is swimming around like any other healthy fish. The fish is in a 20 gallon with one other female. This platy was kept with tetras in warm water and I am thinking that the ammonia levels were high at the LFS. My water chemistry is fine and I did a big water change yesterday after I put her in.
I put some marine salt for hardness for my platies due to having a water softener, plus I put in a tablespoon of Epsom salts and a little baking soda.
Do some fish naturally have red gills and if this is ammonia how long does it take for the gills to heal?
<Yes; and a few days to weeks if challenged>
Or should I just cull the fish just in case. Thank you!!!
<I'd leave this fish where it is; have faith. Bob Fenner>

New platy hardly moving   5/22/11
<Hi there>
I got two new Platies yesterday. One is chasing the others and acting normal, the other is at the bottom or hanging at the top. Could this platy be on his way out already? The sitting at the bottom is a concern
<I do agree. Healthy livebearers don't "sit" at the bottom>
At the store they keep the Platies in a warm tropical tank and keep a Betta with them. IT is to warm for them. What does it usually mean when a platy is at the bottom?
<It's not feeling well>
I remember I got a couple of Platies months back at a different store. They swam around like crazy after being put in the tank and both were dead the next morning. That was odd. Thank you!!!
<Mmm, well, this is also disturbing. Is this system cycled? Do you have/use water tests for aspects of ammonia, nitrite...? Please read here:
Umm, can't log on here (am out of the country). See WWM re Platies...
Systems, Disease. Bob Fenner>
Forgot to mention   5/22/11

I forgot to mention that the water chemistry is great, temp is 70 with a little marine salt for hardness. I did I water change yesterday, and one every week.
<Mmm, no need for the salt... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
New platy now normal and water hardness question    5/23/11

The platy that I purchased recently is acting normal now. I removed all four males (I have males only) for five minutes, putting them in a one gallon. After I put them back in the 29 gallon and moved the decorations around, the new platy was "normal" swimming around. I think he was being bullied and I reset the pecking order, I think.
Anyway we have a water softener here and our water is very soft. A few tablespoons of marine salt and the testing strip reads for hard water which Platies like. My question is would it be better to add Epsom salt or baking soda or both instead of the marine salt, if so how much for a 29 gallon??
Or just keep using the marine salt for water hardness?? Thank you!
<Please read Neale Monks' excellent input re here:

New Aquarium w/ Neon Moon Fish    5/16/11
Details: 6.5 Gal Eclipse Tank,

<Mmm, very hard to keep such small volumes of water stable, optimized>
2 new Neon Sunshine Moon Fish (Platies) (1 pregnant female & 1 male), 1 novice aquarium owner & an 8 year old daughter that does not want to see anymore of her beloved fish die!!...Help!!
<Will try>
History: I have had some ongoing issues with this small tank, related to low PH, after our last group of fish died (I had 6 Glo Danios), I decided to start over, by cleaning out everything (rinsing with hot water only), placing a new filter and letting the aquarium run for weeks with no fish.
Since this was a "new" tank, the fish store recommended Platies, since they can withstand the cycling of a new tank.
<Mmm, might "stand" better than other livestock, but this process is very hard on all. Best to not use livestock... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
and the linked files above>
I really want to do everything right, to minimize any stress to the fish. This is day one, so far all is well from a water quality standpoint, but the PH is probably lower than Platies like. I am about 6.5,
<Yes... simple to add/mix a bit of baking soda/Sodium Bicarbonate to raise this... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/pHAlkAdjF.htm
and the related files linked above if you have gaps in your knowledge re>
but this is also where the fish store water was, so I thought the transition would be ok.
<Are you familiar w/ the measure of Alkalinity? Alkaline reserve AKA...? If there is sufficient, you may be okay at this lower pH, but I would still use the baking soda in make-up water>
Also, from the fish perspective, they seem happy with each other; often swimming together.(are Platies a schooling fish?)
<Yes; casually, but they constantly interact in groups and as individuals>
Main Question: What is the best way to cycle a new tank with Platies, to minimize stress and keep up the PH level?
<You will see this from the above reading>
It may be helpful to mention that the water coming from the tap has a much better PH (over 7), it just drops when it is in the tank for some reason??
<A natural occurrence... aquariums are "reductive events"... W/ too much life, food additions, alkaline reserve is "eaten up", pH trends downward>
Secondary Question: I have seen many contradictory answers related to Platy fry... assuming that I want to keep all the fry, do I use a Breeding Trap, Fish Nursery or let them fed for themselves?
<Up to you, but the two former will result in more young...>
I am trying to balance stress of the mother with survival of the fry.
<Ah, good>
I do have some Hornwort, as well as fake plants, a cave and a clam shaped bubbler in the tank for protection.
I really want to make this aquarium, the best it can be; it should not be this hard to set up a small aquarium with 2 fish! When I was young, I had a 36 gal. salt-water aquarium, that was not this much trouble! LOL
Thanks for any help that you are able to provide!!
Margi M Baker
<Certainly welcome. Do please write back after you've read a bit re any questions or concerns. Bob Fenner>

Thin Platy, food, hlth.  5/3/2011
Thanks for running such a great site!
<Glad to help.>
Nowhere in any book I've read so far (and certainly not on the label) does it reveal that a jar of veggie flake food will go stale after a few weeks.
That explains a lot.
<Indeed. It's best simply to treat dried animal food no different to dried human food. Would you expect an open box of cereal to be crispy and nutritious after a couple of months? No, you'd expect it to go stale. No different here, except that whereas stale cereal would be just part of a human's diet, a fish will be getting all its nutrition from that one pot of flake food. So being cautious makes sense. If you want to keep flake healthy for as long as possible, keep it somewhere dry and cool, rather than next to the aquarium. If you buy a big tub to save money, try dividing it out, storing most in the freezer, and keeping just a portion in a tub handy for use at the aquarium.>
Main Tank: 14gal Aqueon filter and heater, cycled for about a month, between 78 and 80 degrees, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate <20, PH about 7, KH about 40, GH about 80 (test strip).
<These hardness values are towards the low end of the range, and likely why your Mollies and/or Platies aren't doing as well as you'd hope. If all you have is livebearers such as Mollies, Platies, Guppies and Swordtails, it's well worth adding some marine aquarium salt mix to the aquarium. You don't need much 2-3 grammes per litre should be ample. This is cheap and easy to do at each water change.>
2 adult female mollies, 1 adult female platy, 16 bold platy and molly fry of varying ages, no live plants except algae, most of the fry to be donated and the tank to be upgraded to 29gal within a few months. HT: 3gal Marineland (I know, I know), heater fixed at 78, PH 7, KH 40, GH 150, Nitrite 3, Nitrate <20, Ammonia almost 0 if I keep changing the water. Thin female Mickey mouse platy. I've been feeding everyone alternating regular and veggie flake food, and algae wafers. They all refused lettuce and peas.
Everyone in the CT seems to get along except when the mollies shove each other around. I overfeed on account of the fry and change the water in the main tank by a bucketful (maybe 10-20%) several times a week.
<Mollies are aggressive, and don't be surprised if male Mollies cause some serious problems as they mature.>
I moved the platy to the HT a few days ago for observation after I watched her swimming and saw a picture in a book of a 'sick platy showing clear signs of weight loss' and thought it looked exactly like her. She came from the pet store a couple of months ago, was in a QT for a week with the other platy (same as the HT), released into the community tank, seemed to be doing well, had fry within a few weeks (I think). Has always been a hider, loves her cave. Then last week I saw she was swimming to the surface of the CT almost vertically but not strongly, hovering there at an angle, returning to the bottom. I wasn't seeing her eat. Moved her a few days ago.
In the QT I mostly see her on the bottom where the water comes into the filter. She occasionally does a loop around the tank. At times she seems lively enough. Her fins are not always clamped. They are intact. She doesn't always look stressed except for where she stays. I've cleaned poop out of the now-bare floor of the tank so I know that's happening, and I saw a whitish looking one in progress, but still I only see her pushing food around. I tried fry food and of it was difficult to tell if she was eating that. Photos attached. (The last picture has nothing to do with the platy, it is a balloon molly coming to see what all the fuss was about. Any fish would be thin by comparison)
<Quite so.>
I know I can't keep the platy in the small tank. Her current behavior could be explained by that alone, maybe? But she didn't seem quite right. I've been over the troubleshooting tips and it's not obviously one thing or another, so this is where I ask the audience. Parasite? Swim bladder issue related to diet? I'm a worrywart and she's a gourmand?
<There could be any one of a number of issues at work here. Firstly, farmed livebearers are plagued with certain health problems including systemic bacterial infections (Mycobacteria spp.) that can't be cured, as well as some, such as Camallanus worms, that can be cured. Secondly, your water is a bit soft. Do read here:
Your general hardness level is at the fairly soft end of the range. If you just have livebearers, marine aquarium salt can fix things as mentioned above, but if you have other fish, as well as delicate plant species, you may prefer to use the Rift Valley salt mix at 25-50% the dosage described therein. When livebearers are kept in soft water they manifest a variety of health problems including Dropsy and Dropsy-like syndromes.>
Thanks for any insight -
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Thin Platy   5/4/11
Oh, I know a young human that would eat stale cereal all day. If I told him he couldn't.
Thanks for the quick response!
<No problems.>
I do have Instant Ocean ... I was using 'aquarium salt' and then I read on your site about the difference.
<Good; there is a difference, and the point to using Instant Ocean is that it hardens the water (which livebearers like) while also raising the salinity (which livebearers don't care about).>
There's no livebearer dosing instruction on the package so my routine is to add a few drops of water conditioner and a small pile of IO in my palm of into a bucket - so half a tbsp into 2 gallons of water, give or take - for a water change. It's not exact - I don't know the weight of the salt.
<One level teaspoon is about 6 grammes.>
(I worked with a Graeme once, does that count?) Then recently I read about the Epsom salt and baking soda and I have used that formula once. But otherwise the water is what it is - there's a tufa rock in the CT - and the marine salt as I do water changes - anything else I might try? There are only livebearers and no fragile plants.
<Then your Instant Ocean should work fine. Tufa rock should harden water, but only up to a point, and when covered with bacteria and algae it reacts very slowly with soft water. If you aren't registering water that is hard and alkaline with your test kits, then it's clear the tufa rock isn't reacting much.>
The platy is in her cave in the HT. I stopped by the pet store to view her former tank mates and saw some thin males but she still has a different physical profile. The bottom of her is concave if you look at her from the side. Any suggestions other than to keep feeding and watching?
<Pretty much.>
Ok to risk putting her back in the CT (I guess the risk being that she dies before I can get her back out)?
<You could put her in the main community tank if there are lots of floating plants for her to hide among (plants at the middle and lower levels are useless for livebearers, which are surface fish by choice.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Thin Platy   5/5/11
Thanks. That makes complete sense about the tufa rock. There I was with my new white rock wondering why all the fuss about algae, when suddenly (it seemed) the algae settled in, and that corresponds to when the water hardness may have slipped.
<I would never rely on tufa rock for pH regulation. Much better to get some crushed coral, a cup say, put in a media bag (the "foot" from an old pair of pantyhose works just as well) and place inside a canister filter or similar. This can be washed under a hot tap ever few weeks, and that way kept sparkly clean. If needs be, you can replace cheaply, or add/remove crushed coral if the pH isn't quite right, add if the pH stays low, remove if it goes too high. Still, I prefer adding stuff to the water directly.
Marine aquarium salt is a good, easy substance for this if you're keeping salt-tolerant fish such as Livebearers and Rainbowfish.>
I was watching the other end of the test strip, the nitrates. The whitest thing in the tank is now the rather plump molly - she is not yet as big as the rock though -
I have so much to learn.
Thanks for the info on the grammes.
The bit about the boy was supposed to be a little funny (also true, but I guess this isn't a forum about reverse psychology).
<Oh, I see! Sorry, missed that.>
Cheers. I will watch the platy. No sign of any worms, but no change either.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Thin Platy    5/17/11

She lasted until this morning ... Found her struggling on the floor of the tank; by the time I got around to preparing some seltzer water she was dead. I had moved her back into the HT a few days ago, and even then, as thin as she was, she was very hard to catch.
<Oh dear.>
You mentioned Mycobacteria - I read a little about that and it is sort of scary.
<Is, very.>
I never saw lesions on her, just the slow wasting and she sometimes was bent when she was resting, plus the odd way she swam to the surface. But should I be concerned for the other fish or the humans that care for them - and are there any measures I should take with the tanks?
<Not really. Would recommend you add no more fish for at least a month, ideally two. Let the tank settle down. See how the other fish hold up. With luck, this'll be a one-off. That's usually the case with Mycobacteria. Technically, it's "catchy", but realistically it's something that appears mostly on fish that are either weak right out the box (inbred, intensively farmed varieties of fish) or else severely stressed.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Thin Platy   5/18/11

Thanks. I will be finding a home for some platy fry (which is harder than I expected)
<Can be'¦ does depend on the quality of your Platies; keep a single variety, and the offspring are more sellable.>
so the population of the tank will decrease and I will watch the others. No need to add new fish now.
The good news is that all the other platys seem healthy - I'm trying to keep an eye on the young ones so I can isolate the boys as soon as I can tell which they are - and by using marine salt I've got the water hardness where it should be. And all other stats are good. I am watching the black molly who has just a little whiteness around the gills and in a v shape around the vent (and nowhere else). It isn't changing over time and doesn't seem to bother her. The interesting thing about her is that there has been one (known) fry on two occasions about a month apart, but she doesn't change shape - she just looks pregnant all the time.
<Mollies are fairly hefty anyway, so yes, it can be hard to tell.>
The two young black mollies are doing well.
Thanks, as always, for the info and advice.
<Glad all going well, and happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

New platy shakes and hides   5/1/11
Dear Crew
My tanks have all being doing great for a few months now. I decided to add some colour to my mainly female community tank. I was after a group of panda platies but the shop only had one female and one male this week. I took them home anyway along with six pigmy Cory (I'll add more platies later). After a slow acclimatisation process of about an hour, the fish were taken out with a net and put into the tank. All the Corys and the small female panda platy swam around fine after the 30mins of darkness before I turned on the lights. However, the male panda platy just hides.
He came out twice to swim around but shakes and jerks suddenly and then returns to a hiding place. Should I be concerned?
Anything else I can do? He seemed fine in the LFS.
Tank is as follows:
100 ltr fully cycled 6 month old and planted (ammonia 0ppm, nitrates 0ppm, nitrates 5ppm);
Ph 8
Water hard (London), no added salt in tank.
Has 6 female guppies, one male dwarf honey Gourami, 2 female and 1 male split-fin rainbow fish (about to join the other 7 in the larger tank), 1 cherry shrimp and a nursery net with 13 x 2 week old guppy fry.
I acclimatised them over an hour, bag in water and slowly added/replaced the bag water with the tank water checking Ph levels all the time (bag had ph7.4 roughly RO and my tank is ph 8) - was this too fast?
Thanks, Patrick
<Platies, and livebearers generally, do this "Shimmying" thing when stressed. It's apparently neurological and goes away when things improve.
Sometimes the fish itself is suffering from a virus or something else you can't really identify, but more often than not it's an environmental thing -- water hardness and/or pH typically being too low. Social stress, i.e., bullying, can be an issue too. Review, and act accordingly. Raising the temperature by a couple of degrees and, if you tankmates allow, add a small amount of salt, say, 2 grammes/litre (this shouldn't harm Corydoras unduly as a short-term thing). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New platy shakes and hides   5/1/11
Hi Neale
Thanks so much for coming back to me on a Sunday!
<No problem.>
Poor little fella was hiding behind some bog wood for ages with one eye surveying the front of the tank. I popped a bit of brine shrimp in and he eventually took a few nibbles at the bits floating past him (obviously a good thing!) and soon after, ventured out and had a little swim around before returning to the seclusion of the bottom of the tank amongst some plants, one eye watching the surrounding tank. He didn't appear to be shimmying this time, so perhaps he has calmed. I reckon it might be shock that caused it. I'm going to hold back from the adding of any salt due to the dwarf honey Gourami in the tank. I may just raise the temperature a little, currently 24 degrees. I understand 25 degrees is a little better for them. I'll watch him carefully and report back any problems.
<All sounds good.>
Thanks once again! And enjoy the bank holiday tomorrow,
<Plan to do so!>
best, Patrick
<Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Red Platy fish; no reading, data   4/6/11
I have a couple of red male platy fish that are about one year old.
They were born in my aquarium and were very happy and playful and always playing around. one of them seems to be depressed. he has lost some weight and hides himself or sit on the gravel or stay on the surface for long. I have seen him rubbing his stomach against gravel.
What could be wrong with him?
<Perhaps "just" "old age"... Maybe some aspect of the environment, nutrition... You offer no data re>
Thanks for your response in advance!
<Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/PlatyDis7.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Platies clamped, not eating. Host of errors, need to read    4/5/11
After reading your site for weeks, I'm still not sure about my problem with my platies! Here's my stats: 14 gallon, nitrites 0, nitrates 10-15, temp 77, few live plants, Aqueon charcoal filter external, heater, high pH 8.6+,
<Yikes. I'd mix in some RO, other water of lower pH... have this below 8.0>
soft water, highest alkalinity on the chart.
<Surprising to have soft water given such a high pH and alkalinity. Do see the Net re, and check your test kit/s>

Started the tank as a new aquarist this new year 2011. We had problems with Danios
<Which species?>
(5), with one dying, all were aggressive to the platies and each other so we sold them back to a LFS. And replaced them with 3 young females
<... females of what? Of platies I take it>
after the tank was cycled. Now we have: 3 females, 5 males,
<Not a good sex ratio.... See WWM re>
1 red fin shark.
<The last can be/come very aggressive; particularly in small systems as yours>
No problems much for the first 2 months, but now we have a few! I do 25% water changes weekly with vacuuming gravel.
First, our alpha female (the only oldest enough to have fry) has been pregnant 2x that we know of, one survivor we named "Lucky"
<Good name>
hid in the plants and thrived for over a month, grew to 1cm, then hid for a few days and died. No physical symptoms on any fish. Then 2 of the young females we acquired last became slow, lethargic, clamped fins, uninterested in food, then hovered in the corner, then laid motionless on the bottom for a few days, and one finally died. No other symptoms on her- no physical problems except clamped fins, but the day she died, her bright color faded grayish (maybe loss of color, maybe gray film?). Meanwhile, I searched online tirelessly for answers. I measured no changes in our water parameters during the last few months. They eat tropical fish flakes (yes, I've seen your articles and now know they need more veggies!). The 2nd sick platy had same lethargy, clamped fins, no physical symptoms but stopped eating much.
So I tried the saltwater bath for 10 minutes (~2Tbs/ gallon) and she perked right up and started eating again. Now she's back to her lethargy, floating sadly at the top corners of the tank or hiding at the bottom. So I though I'd try meds, because she will very occasionally flash on decor. One other fish did too, only a few times I've seen (maybe the soft water??). So clamped fins and lack of appetite are the only real symptoms here, with rare flashing. The other platies, large males especially, are thriving with energy and normal breeding behavior. I have noticed some feces is clear/white, very thin and stringy. I've thought about parasites,
<Mmm, no. Doubtful the issue here is anything other than environmental>
so I bought parasite away fizz tabs and medicated 2 times (once, waited 48 hours, 25% water change, then another medicated tab). I don't see any improvement,
I hope I'm just impatient and it takes time?? Yesterday was that second fizz tab application, so today I thought, why not try the Quick Cure
<Mmm, no; not this. Too toxic. Will kill off your bio-filter, too likely your livestock along with it (formalin esp.)>
too since my charcoal and bio filters are out in a separate bucket of fish water already, safely away from the meds. So I put the 1 drop/ gallon in this morning. (Filter and heater still plugged in, of course). No improvement yet with young "Goldy", the sick little female. Sometimes I will see the white feces on a few fish, and later that same day it will be dark brown healthy looking, then the next time it's back to thin and white! I hope that means it's nutritional and not parasitic? The platy "Goldy" who's not eating has no feces for me to observe, but I try to keep a close eye on her.
Another maybe separate issue, our huge female has a fuzzy white growth on her black tail (both sides of tail, like it goes right through it, at the base). She seems fine, the growth appeared weeks ago, and grew over a few days, now it's just there still. She was the only female (I learned the ratio of 1 male/ 2 female after I purchased our first group of fish, that's why we traded the Danios for 3 more young females), so she is picked on by the 3 big males often. Maybe a battle wound? What else should I do here, and when can I replace the charcoal and bio filters?
<Fix the water quality>
One more ringer to complicate things though, we're leaving on an 8 day vacation in a few days!!! I am trying my best to quickly cure this tank!
You recommend not feeding, instead of using the 14 day vacation feeder block I have??
<I'd place some useful live plant/s (see WWM re) and leave out the feeder block. These are almost worthless nutritionally>
Should I use Quick Cure for 2 more consecutive days, as recommended on the bottle (do I change the water before each application, esp. since my filter is out)?
<... I would not>
Also, I started this tank and for the first few months used water from our tap that was from our water softener.
Maybe that bothers them? So now I go to the garage to get fresh well water, and add a touch of boiling water to get it to 77 degrees, but my test strips still say that it's "very soft"???
<Don't trust "strips"... See WWM re these, other test moda>
Help please! and Thank YOU.
<And read re Platies period:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sick Platy - Please Advise   3/10/11
one of our platies has been unwell lately and I was wondering if you could help us diagnose the problem.
<Will try.>
First, the setup: 10 gallon Aqueon tank half-moon tank.
<Not big enough for Platies.>
Heater with single (preset) temperature, runs about 76F.
<Too warm for Platies in the long term; use/set heater to 22-24 C/72-75 F.>
Tetra biofilter. LED lights, we keep them on about 11 hours a day. The tank was set up in October 2010 with two male platies. One had a swim bladder problem so it was exchanged right away (for another male). The two have been in there alone since then. We have been doing ~25-50% water changes every 7-10 days and changing the carbon packs in the filter every month.
<Carbon largely pointless in most freshwater aquaria.>
Water quality was tested about 1-2 times a week, most recent numbers are:
pH - 7.2 ammonia - 0 nitrite - 0 nitrate - 0
<pH doesn't really tell me anything useful here. Platies MUST have hard water. If you have soft water, adding 2-3 gram/litre marine salt mix will help dramatically, but not all community fish will tolerate this, so review tankmates beforehand.>
For food, we have been using the Tetra Color tropical flakes, twice a day, about the equivalent of two large flakes each time. Once in a while we give them about three-four Tetra Min tropical granules. The platy who is currently ill does not seem to like them though (the other platy does.)
<Platies need a plant-based diet: algae flake, cooked peas, cooked spinach, etc.>
About three weeks ago we noticed a small white growth above the eye of one of the platies.
We also noticed that he was swimming a little erratically, and was a little lethargic. We did a salt bath that evening - he seemed okay during the salt bath, but very skittish afterwards for about a day.
<Salt baths don't do anything miraculous.>
We also added aquarium salt in the tank. Adding the salt seemed to make him a little more energetic. At the advice of the local pet store, and after examining the white area more carefully, we thought it might be a fungal growth, since the area looked a little fuzzy, and was not spreading.
<Do read here for what salt does, doesn't do:
We did not see small white dots anywhere else on the body so we thought it was probably not Ich. At the advice of the pet store clerk, we bought some Pimafix
<Not a reliable treatment, but can help very mild infections.>to treat the tank with. The treatment (5mL/day as indicated on the label) seemed to respond well at first, the white area decreased slightly after a couple of days, but then remained constant. After the 7th day, as indicated by the Pimafix instructions, we did a 25% water change and continued the treatment. This has seemed to work fairly well - that white fuzzy growth area appears to be almost gone now, 11 days after the treatment started.
However, the erratic movement continued, and this is what worries me. At first, we thought that it could be a sign of flashing - however, most of the time, the movements are not against anything - he just suddenly lurches forward or sideways a little. Sometimes it's in a sequence of a few rapid movements, 2-3 lurches, then continues swimming. It appears to come and go, at about a 5-day cycle of building up then slowing again. The last time we noticed a lot of this behavior was about 3 days ago. After that point, we noticed that he had a very thin, white stringy poo that day - one long strand, and then a few hours later another shorter strand. After that point he seemed to be fine for a couple of days. His poo yesterday seemed normal, more brown-ish and thicker, cylindrical like the other platy (and as it had before.) However, tonight he started the lurching movement again. The other platy has not been affected at all throughout this period.
Any suggestions for what might be wrong with him? I thought it might be an intestinal parasite of some sort, but we are not sure how to diagnose it or get the correct treatment. Any advice or suggestions you may offer will be greatly required.
Thank you very much for your help,
<Alex, do read here:
Platies have quite specific requirements, and the fancy, inbred forms in particular are sensitive fish. Ensure they have swimming space, cool water, lots of oxygen, and plenty of "green" foods. You can't do much about the low quality of farmed Platies, but you can at least ensure you provide them with the right conditions. Cheers, Neale.>

MB and Panda Platy   2/21/11
Dear Crew
I've emailed your fantastic team over this sick fish in the past. Although I've successfully halted most problems my female Panda Platy over the past few weeks, it appears that the fish TB (Mycobacterium) is taking hold now.
<?... what evidence?>
She developed fin rot and has stopped eating. I put her into a hospital tank where I do a twice daily water change and put it some liquid vitamins.
I treated the fin rot with some salt and JBL Ektol Fluid for two days and the rot appears to have stopped. I gave her two days free from meds and she appeared to be swimming fine albeit with a wobble now. She hasn't eaten for a week and is now looking painfully thin. Is it now time to put her out of her misery with some clove oil?
<I would not give up...>
She appears to be happily swimming about so I don't want to deny her a few last days if you think she is not in pain. However, if you think that this is unkind, please tell me and I will perform the euthanasia as soon as.
Finally, will I need to strip down all my tanks?
<I would not do this either>
She has been in all of them for one reason or another. The other fish all appear fine and I have read that there could be up to 25% of all fish sold commercially with TB. Any advice?
<To stay the course... cleaning these tanks and just replacing the supposedly infected fishes won't cure or stop Mycobacteriosis>
Thanks so much once again,
<Mmm, have you read here:
and the linked files (Related...) above? Bob Fenner>
Re: MB and Panda Platy   2/21/11
Dear Bob
Thank you so much for responding.
<Certainly welcome>
The evidence for the fish MB is as follows for me. I've had my tanks now for nearly a year. The shop that sold me my first batch of Panda Platy's finally admitted they had something wrong with the fish/tanks when I complained after they kept dying. They all wasted away pretty fast.
<There are quite a few possible etiologies/causes for this>
The only one to survive was one Panda Platy despite having a curved spine.
About seven months down the road, she started to show a lump and strange flaking on her tail (almost like dropsy). After communications with Neale (he wasn't sure from the pictures I sent), I decided to try a 30mins bath in JBL Furanol 2 antibiotic and it appeared to help. She did well in the main tank again for a few weeks but then became shy and stopped keeping food in. I also noticed she had developed fin rot and was looking painfully thin. This is when I moved her to a hospital tank and treated her with JBL Ektol Fluid. The fin rot appears to have stopped but she just now wobbles at the bottom of the tank and appears very very thin and weak.
I have indeed read the page you suggested to me, thank you. I understand that the JBL Furanol 2 does not treat MB. Is there anything else I can do?
The param.s in the other tanks are ok and detailed below:
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 10ppm
PH - 8.2 (tap water is 7.6 but I cannot get the PH down in the tanks despite bog wood added)
Phosphates 2mg/L (I know this is high, but the tap water is the same)
Water Hardness (hard - 16 degrees?)
<Is okay>
The water in the hospital tank is being changed almost twice a day although due to her lack of eating, the ammonia and nitrate levels are pretty much zero.
What should I do?
<If it were me, mine; nothing treatment wise>
Thanks so much!
Dr Patrick Nunn
<Do you have a sufficiently high-powered microscope, or access to one/folks who know how to use? Mycobacteria are easily discerned... gram neg., non-motile rods... BobF>
Re: MB and Panda Platy   2/21/11
Dear Bob
<Hi Pat>
Once again, many thanks.
<As many welcomes>
I'm not sure whether I will be able to get it checked out via microscope, I'll have a think on that one (I am a doctor of music, not medicine unfortunately in this case).
Should I be able to tell from a water sample?
Or do I actually have to get a scraping from the fish (can't imagine how on earth I would manage that!)
<Is actually easily done... but need proper light microscopy... And not really worthwhile in view (as you've stated) of the commonplace occurrence of Mycobacteria... Better (in this life period) to "shoot for" good initial health livestock, optimized environment, nutrition... and boosted resistance>
If I find anything, I'll come back to you.
<And you, BobF>
Re: MB and Panda Platy    2/21/11

Dear Bob
<Mr. Pat>
That's great. Thanks. I'll try and make Platy's life as comfortable as possible as there appears to be not much more I can do.
A quick question on tank maintenance if I may take one further minute of your Sunday. My tanks are pretty heavily planted and I have a JBL Manando substrata with some white sand that has since become rather dirt coloured.
I try as much as I can to clean out fish waste with a battery vacuum
<Better by far to just siphon the water and waste out and put it on your plants, replace w/ new water>
but there always appears to be so much waste left behind (when I change water it stirs up in the tank for a good hour). I've searched the net for ages and found nothing much more than others advising not to bother, the waste will act as a fertiliser for the plants.
<Mmm, most systems are too crowded, overfed for this...>
Is this correct or should I continue to get as much as I can out (along with the snail shells etc.)
Dr Patrick Nunn
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2ochgs.htm
and the linked FAQs file above. BobF>

Platy with white raised caudal fin scales   1/22/11
Dear Crew
Over the past six weeks, my panda platy has developed on one side some rather strange raised scales at the point at which her caudal fin meets her body. The scales are grey/white. It doesn't look like mould/fungus (I think we would have noticed if she was developing the usual fungal infections as they would have consumed her by now, right?). Today, she started to swim mainly near the bottom of the tank and hide somewhat under the bog wood although swims out to eat and say hello. Her swimming has become a little more 'wobbly' from side to side but only slightly. She only clamps her fins when the male Gourami comes too near although that is getting less. She has always had a curved body too (her previous play mates all died from what I assumed was fish TB despite the shop admitting to this). She has survived about 4 months longer than those that did die so I assumed she was ok. Any ideas? Should we be concerned? If so, any treatment advise? We have plenty of meds here (broad spectrum antibiotics etc.)
Tank is 95 litres, lightly planted, 11 young guppies, 1 male cherry Gourami and this female panda platy. Param.s are: Ammonia/Nitrite = 0, Nitrate = 10, PH = 8.
I've added pictures in the hope that it might help. Fingers crossed as she is just adorable!
Many thanks
BJ Haria
<Hard to know what the explanation is here. Platies are prone to bacterial infections of various types, primarily when they're kept too warm (22-24 C is optimal), in soft water (at least 10 degrees dH required), or when given a poor diet (they're herbivores, so greens are important). As with all "fancy" livebearers there's inbreeding to contend with too, and the overall quality is often poor, and the fact they're seen as cheap fish means their maintenance isn't always as good as it should be. Dropsy is distinctive and usually appears around the abdomen first, so you may be able to discount this. Instead, focus on the things mentioned already, and do also remember that female Platies should outnumber males by at least two to one. Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: Platy with white raised caudal fin scales   1/22/11
Dear Neale
Thank you so very much for you wonderful and speedy advice as always.
<Glad to help.>
The water temperature is just over 25 so perhaps I could reduce that (I have guppies and a male cherry Gourami in with her). Unfortunately London water is notoriously hard so I'm not sure I can do much there.
<London water is in fact perfect for Platies and all the other kinds of Central American livebearer. Nitrate levels can be a bit high, but other than that, there's nothing to worry about.>
There are no other platies in with her (I refuse to buy anymore from the shop where she came from as I have found since that their care is rather poor and in fact, many of their platies have died since).
<Indeed. The quality of livebearers is extremely variable, and there are really only a handful of stores in the London area I'd trust to get good quality livestock from -- and none of them generic pet shops. Among the better stores for freshwater fish are Wildwoods in Enfield, Wholesale Tropicals in the East End, and Abacus Aquatics in Southeast London.>
I managed to take two further pictures which may help further - one from the good side but showing the swelling and one from the side in question - shall I treat her with some JBL Furanol 2 in a hospital tank for a few days?
<I wouldn't bother. I don't see anything "obvious" and medicating for the sake of medicating won't achieve much. A wait-and-see approach might be best. If she's feeding normally, then she's likely okay, and time and a good diet should help. I don't see Dropsy here, so an antibiotic probably isn't relevant. Physical damage is a possibility, but again, unless there's a sign of Finrot, medicating won't do anything particularly useful.>
I don't want to stress her out more.
Many thanks
BJ Haria
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Platy with white raised caudal fin scales  1/24/11

Dear Crew
I emailed you yesterday about my platy (please see conversation below) who had a raised area on her caudal fin.
She has spent the past 24 hours hiding and now she swims without energy when I put food in but actually doesn't eat.
<Not good.>
I think it may be time to transfer her to the hospital tank now wouldn't you say?
<Only if the hospital tank offers conditions *at least* as good as the aquarium she's in now. There's no point moving her to a tiny tank without a mature filter.>
What should I treat her with? Meds? Salt? Do you think it might be bacterial? TB related?
<This is certainly possible. Platies are somewhat plagued with TB-like diseases, perhaps because of their mass production and overall inbreeding.>
A parasite?
I've never seen this before on a fish so am stumped how to help her.
Please help, she is our favourite!
<Not much I can say of help here. From what you're describing, this does sound like a systemic bacterial infection of the sort common with livebearers. Check you're offering good water chemistry, i.e., hard, alkaline water. The addition of 4-5 grammes of salt per litre can help, but won't turn around a hopeless case. In the UK at least antibiotics are only available from vets, and this will probably be cost prohibitive. I would encourage you to think about euthanasia as the right thing to do when a cherished pet gets sick. In this case, a litre of aquarium water into which 30 drops of clove oil is stirred will create a bath that will quickly sedate and then kill small fish.>
many thanks
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Platy with white raised caudal fin scales  1/24/11
Dear Neale/Crew
Thank you so much once again. We decided that if she wasn't eating, we would at least give her a chance with medication. Instead of using the hospital tank, we gave her a 30 minute bath in one tablet of JBL Furanol 2 (as recommended on their website) in 1 litre of old tank water with an air filter added for good measure. She seems quite happy. We then made sure she was transferred safely back to the original tank without any of the antibiotic present (we use a well rehearsed trick whereby we lift her out with a nursery cage, the water drains and just before she is left high and dry, we then put her into more old tank water at the same temperature in a big bucket just to dilute any remaining medication left. Once again, the nursery cage is lifted safely into the big tank at the same temperature and she never gets stressed out). Oddly, the white stuff on her tail looks less! And she appears to be swimming around a little more although not taking food just yet. I'll keep an eye on her and if she appears to be going down hill fast, I have the 100% clover oil ready. Thanks for all your help once again - your team are amazing!
<Glad to help, and keep me posted. Good luck, Neale.>

platy problem? affecting Danios too?   1/22/11
Hi Crew, thanks for your all your efforts in making this great site available to everyone. I thought that you might be able to help diagnose a problem with platy poop.
<Consider Camallanus with livebearers, as well as a general lack of fresh greens causing constipation -- these fish are herbivores!>
For several weeks my platys have all have long, white stringy trails extending from near their anal fins, which I think are non-detached feces of some sort (they don't look like worms). Some of the platys seems to be bloated, but its hard for me to be sure, since they've looked like that all along. They seem otherwise to be fine, i.e. feeding and swimming and behaving normally, but I'm worried they might have an internal parasite, which I've been trying to treat -- unsuccessfully, so far, which is why I'm writing.
<I see.>
There are two adult female platys, with 11 baby platys (about 2 months old of surprisingly varied sizes, smaller than 1cm to more than 2cm long) in a 30gal tank maintained at 74-76C (24C). The tank was my first, started about a year ago and now stable at pH 7.4-7.6, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5-10ppm nitrate with 20% weekly water changes. I haven't been measuring the GH and KH all along, but according to the little test strips these now are at ~75 and 80 ppm (is this 4.5 dH, i.e. too soft?). The tank has some Java fern and Anubias on driftwood, with a ~20 watt fluorescent lamp on for 14 hrs per day, and an Emperor 280 HOB pump. The platys' tankmates are 2-6 Danios, 5 Glowlight tetras, 4 pygmy Corydoras, and one albino Bristlenose catfish. Originally there were three female adult platys that I purchased about two months ago. I had originally put them in a separate 14 gal tank (same parameters) in which I was trying to breed some red cherry shrimp (unsuccessfully then and still) as a sort of quarantine. Within a few days one of the platys released ~13 fry, at which point I moved the grownups to the 30gal tank with the other fish, to keep the fry away from the adults. One of the three adults died almost immediately. At the time I had thought that this might have been the pregnant one and that perhaps I shouldn't have stressed her by moving her to a new tank so soon after the babies released. However, now that the fry have grown up some I can see that their color exactly matches one of the other adult platys and not the one that died. Anyway, about a month ago the two remaining adult platys started showing the stringy poops, and shortly thereafter the fry in the small tank did too. The strings look very worrisome particularly on the babies, since they can be up to six inches long, and stay attached for up to a day, sometimes even getting caught in the pump before they detach. I had been feeding the fish Omega tropical fish flake with occasional frozen "freshwater frenzy" (frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, watercress, daphnia, Spirulina,) with a piece of sinking algae tablet for the Ancistrus. After reading on the platy feeding FAQ that they might be better off with more vegetables, I switched from the regular tropical fish flake to a Spirulina-based flake. No change in stringy poops or bloating after a couple of weeks, so I resorted to drugs. I had wanted to try Metronidazole, after reading the platy disease FAQ. My LFS didn't have that straight up, but they did have Jungle Labs Parasite Clear, which is Praziquantel plus Metronidazole plus Acriflavine. The mix was listed as bad for invertebrates, so I moved the fry to the main tank and dosed them there with the other fish (at this point they were about a month old and seemed big enough to move anyway, bigger than anybody's mouth except for the Ancistrus). The actual dose was not listed, so I just followed the directions, two treatments of three tabs, 48hrs apart, with 20% water changes between, and then removed the rest with charcoal in the filter. This did not seem to help, but I thought that they might need it in their food instead of the water. I was able to find some pure Metronidazole from the web, and I added it to the frozen food, at 100mg/10ml, which I gave them for a week, followed by another round of systemic treatment in the water (this time with metro only instead of the tabs, at 400 mg in 30 gal). It seems to me that the stringy poops mostly but not completely disappeared during the treatment, but now they are back again.
I had read (on fishypharmacy.com, where I got the Metronidazole) that Doxycycline was another treatment for intestinal parasites, but I wanted to check with you folks first before I dosed again. Would you advise doxycline? Is so, at what dose? Or should I be instead looking for some underlying problem that might be stressing the fish, and not just treating the symptoms? What's causing the stringy poops, anyway, and should I be worried about them?
<Intestinal parasites such as Hexamita tend to irritate the gut wall, and in response the gut secretes extra mucous. The result is long, pale, stringy faeces. These are quite obviously different to the dark stringy faeces you see on fish that are constipated (Goldfish often display this symptom because they don't get enough fibre in their diet). So the colour of the faeces tells you a lot of about the options.>
One more thing if you don't mind -- I wonder if the Danios might also be affected. I can't keep any of them alive for longer than a few months. Typically I've been keeping them at around 6 fish by buying new ones whenever one dies. At the start, I thought that this was just my inexperience, but now I see that the other fish are all fine. I wonder if these should be living longer, and that there might be an underlying problem here too that I could fix. Is the water too soft or too basic or too hot (My current 200W heater is set at the lowest setting, but I could buy a smaller one to keep a lower temperature)? I thought that the parameters were all OK but just borderline, and maybe the combination is stressful.
<Generally, worms don't cross between fish, the exception being Camallanus, but the red colour of the worms protruding from the anus should be a giveaway. Constipation can sometimes seem to "outbreak" in a tank -- but that's more because fish sharing the same diet than anything being passed between them. Hexamita infections can be spread between fish, but they're likely ubiquitous anyway, so again, it's more about shared diet and environmental conditions than anything else.>
Thanks for any help that you might be able to provide. Sorry for the brutally long post, but I know that you like all of the facts.
<Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: platy problem? affecting Danios too?   1/22/11
Thanks so much for your help and the quick response. So if it is a Hexamita infection and Metronidazole didn't seem to work, would you recommend trying a different treatment?
<Nope. Instead, consider alternative explanations.>
(Doxycycline?) Or I should I just try a new diet with fresh vegetables?
<Certainly important. Spirulina-based flake should be the staple, with things like cooked peas and spinach offered regularly. By all means skip feeding for a week, and offer only some spinach or Sushi Nori attached to the glass with a lettuce clip. Letting your Platies graze on this will do them much good.>
(Oddly I'm having the same conversation with my doctor about my cholesterol levels).
I've tried in the past to give them blanched zucchini, but they didn't take to it.
<Hunger makes the best sauce. I've got some livebearers -- Ameca splendens -- that will go for weeks at a time eating nothing other than floating Indian Fern and the roots of Amazon Frogbit. It's extremely good for them.
In the wild these livebearers are mostly grazing algae. We feed them far too much protein and not enough fibre. The end results are much like what happens when humans choose steak over salad -- poor disease resistance, obesity, reduced fertility, lethargy and constipation. Cheers, Neale.>

Pregnant platy with Popeye/RMF   1/19/11
Hello my name is Coby I have 2 pregnant wagtail Platies one has Popeye. I have her in a 5gallon hospital tank with 1Tsp of Epsom salt as I have read that that will maybe take the swelling down is there anything else I can do for her?
<Mmm, just be patient, keep an eye on water quality really>
I would also like a bit of clarity as when to do a water change and how much? I am new to fish and I really don't want to loose this lady.
<Or lose her. Bob Fenner>
Pregnant platy with Popeye/Neale    1/19/11
Hello my name is Coby I have 2 pregnant wagtail Platies one has Popeye.
<Hello Coby. With livebearers, Pop-eye is caused by one of two things. One is physical damage: males fight, and sometimes the males harass the females, to the degree the females bump into things. Check the tank is big enough (at least 15 gallons for Platies) and that you have at least 2 females per male in the tank so that the males can't be bullies. Adding floating plants also helps; floating Indian Fern is ideal! The other cause is poor water quality. Check the aquarium has good filtration (zero ammonia and zero nitrite) and that you do regular water changes (20% every week or two). Platies need hard, basic water, so check the water chemistry -- should be at least 10 degrees dH hardness and at least pH 7.5. Although not strictly essential, adding 1-2 grammes marine aquarium salt mix per litre of water can be very helpful if you're having problems with your livebearers.>
I have her in a 5gallon hospital tank with 1Tsp of Epsom salt as I have read that that will maybe take the swelling down is there anything else I can do for her?
<Yes: antibiotics such as Maracyn will help reduce the swelling. If only one eye is "popped", then physical damage is likely the problem, so also look to see how/why she hurt herself.>
I would also like a bit of clarity as when to do a water change and how much?
<A good plan is to change 20-25% of the water every week or two. Unless the tank is overstocked, this should be ample for good water quality. Don't worry if you miss a week or two while you're on holiday -- provided the tank isn't overstocked or overfed, no harm will be done!>
I am new to fish and I really don't want to loose this lady.
<Hope this helps, and welcome to the hobby! Cheers, Neale.>

Platy flashing 1/13/11
Hello Bob,
I'm not sure if you remember me, but I emailed not too long ago before concerning an Otocinclus with a goiter issue.
<I do recall>
I have been meaning to thank you for informing me about my Oto's condition, but I have not yet replied to that email since I have been working to cure his goiter problem. I've found a case online involving a Sting Ray that was cured of its goiter problem overtime through strict attention to diet.
Others have reported to have fish goiter problems that never went away although their fish lived a healthy
and normal life span. In my case, however, my Oto's goiter seems to have stayed the same size despite my iodine supplements.
<Does happen, as you state/report>
I have also tried adding Nori to the tank, and although my other fish enjoy it, the Oto's don't seem to
touch it nor the cucumber or squash slices I put in. Aside from that, my Otos and all the fish I quarantined upon bringing home (with the exception of one tiny Danio) have survived the quarantine process and have been moved to my Main tank that is 55g. The Otos now happily search the tank for algae, and I will continually add iodine supplements until my Oto is cured.
I apologize for not getting straight to the point, but I felt a little unsettled about not having thanked you,
<You have just done so>
so I seized the opportunity since I am now emailing again regarding another issue.
So here goes. I have a Sunset Wag Hi-fin Platy that has been acting strange lately. She has been spending most of her time at the surface of the tank, hiding behind the heater. Every now and then she will dart around as if swimming laps and flash against the same two java fern leaves. Her actions seem like a routine of hers now since I've been watching her for a few days and she seems to repeat almost the same actions in almost the same exact locations as usual.
<You are observant; a good quality>
She seems to have clamped fins when she stops swimming, but she seems perfectly normal when she swims, other than the fact that she darts around and flashes. She has also showed some mild aggression toward another platy I like to call her "sister" since I got them at the same time and they used to enjoy each other's company... Every now and then she would chase her "sister" (a Red Wag Hi-fin platy) away if nearby. At the same time, I have a Male Sunset Wag Swordtail that occasionally chases my flashing platy, in which she then retreats to her usual hiding spot behind the heater.
<Mmm, yes; these fishes, species can interbreed>
She has a healthy appetite, and isn't shy during feeding time.
She also has no problem swimming to the bottom of the tank to search for food, and looks physically healthy. But most of the time, she seems to isolate herself and hide and resume to her flashing tendencies. I searched around, and found a similar issue regarding a flashing platy in which you suggested:
"<Tough to say... sounds like your system is stable (biological filtration established), the hardness, pH okay... might be that the fish are just "settling in"... becoming acclimated to your captive conditions (many
livebearers are imported from soft, acidic... filthy water from Asian fish farms...), but they may well be harboring some sort of "platy specific" biological disease...>"
Other information I may add: Tank size 55 gallon, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrate 0, PH: 7.1, Planted tank, Filtered with Penguin Bio-wheel 350 and Tetra Whisper EX 20.
The 55g has been running for Five months and was set up through fishless cycling.
I also must add, that I have been away on vacation for 3 weeks, and my boyfriend has also been away so we resolved in using 7-day feeding blocks.
<Mmm, yes. These are improved over previous years/decades, but still of  dubious value... and sources of pollution>
Since my boyfriend was vacationing within distance, he returned every week and a half to do a water change and put a new block of food in for the fish.
The first time he returned, he noticed that there was excessive algae growth and the fattest platies I had at the time (a breeding pair of Mickey Mouse platies) had lost their dominance, lost weight and were no longer as plump as they used to be. He reported that at that time he noticed some clamping in the flashing platy I am emailing about. The following week, he returned to find the female Mickey Mouse platy and another Hi-Fin Mickey to have passed. He reported that the flashing platy seemed fine. It was when I returned that I noticed her strange behavior, whereas her "sister" remained perfectly normal. I've had cases where numerous fish in that tank were flashing due to what I attribute to high DOC levels or changes in water chemistry. But in this case, no other fish have flashed at all, except this one...
I apologize for the very long email, but I wanted to be thorough. I have started to theorize and think about fish psychology due to this case, and now wonder if it's quite possible that fish may harbor mental instability or illnesses like humans do...
<I do think you're onto something here>
Anyhow, thank you so much for you previous and future help!
<I might move some of the decor about in this 55; perhaps add some other plant material. My fave genus in general: Ceratopteris; though Anacharis/Egeria/Elodea will do. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Help with treatment plan for Platies/Corydoras   1/12/11
About a month ago Neale and Bob were able to provide me with some help regarding my 40 gallon freshwater tank that houses Platies and Corydoras and set me on a sane path after I panicked and made matters worse.
Originally, I was having issues with my KH rapidly dropping. Attached below is a portion of that correspondence in case it helps with history; however I believe I have sorted that out with switching to RO water and using crushed coral. I have been able to raise the carbonate hardness slowly and currently it is holding at 4
<Degrees KH, presumably, and good for a wide range of tropical fish.>
and my pH at 7.6.
<Also suitable for a very wide range of tropical fish.>
I also was able to get my ammonia and nitrites to zero (they had been spiking).
<Likely as water chemistry stabilised, water quality improved as well, the bacteria being sensitive to water chemistry changes, particularly pH drops.>
If you remember, I had done massive water changes and subjected my fish who had been living in a chronic acidosis state to acute alkalosis then acute acidosis (rapidly dropping pH) and back again. On 12/14 I stopped the massive changes and began the smaller 15-20% daily changes with R/O water buffered to raise the pH slowly. All of my fish had developed fin rot and mouth fungus at this point. I medicated with Tetracycline for 4 days and although I initially lost all my Platy fry under about 1 month old and my remaining Peppered Corydoras, my adult platies, fry over about 1 month old and Albino Corydoras survived and they rot cleared up and they started to heal.
Fast forward to 3 days ago (also current readings):
40 gallon tank
Live plants (multiple all true aquatics)
DH 10
KH 4
pH 7.6
AM 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 10
<All sounds fine.>
My Albino Corydoras spawned for the first time in a year or so and the Platies were very active and then I started noticing a problem - one Platy was hiding in a corner. At closer look, she seemed to have some gill damage and damage on top of her head and I attributed this to maybe not being able to recover from previous ammonia damage and the infection that followed the acute shifts in water chemistry. She died yesterday and 2 more adult Platies started hiding in a corner and another is not hiding yet but is not as active. One of the ones hiding has very red gills but the other two have no visible (to me) signs such as damage, gasping, red gills or spots. I thought maybe I hadn't treated them long enough and they still had some type of bacterial infection so yesterday I started Maracyn treatment because it treats for similar infections as the Tetracycline but doesn't turn the water that red color (and is not photosensitive).
<I would agree with you that a stress-related bacterial infection such as Mycobacterium could be responsible. These will create sores and cause infected fish to become lethargic, to breathe heavily, to hide away, and eventually to die. Dead patches of skin commonly appear as white flakes, much like sunburned skin on humans.>
Upon further observation, one other Platy that is very active has white spots flaked on its body. I looked at pictures today and it appears to be Ich. When the original issues with water changes and the fin rot were going on, about 4 of my adult Platies had this similar appearance but it seemed to clear with the antibiotic and I attributed it to being fin rot (this is my first time dealing with either condition).
<Finrot is generally very distinctive, beginning with cloudy patches in the fin tissue and pinkish blobs on the fins, the cloudy patches being dying cells and the pinkish blobs blood vessels congested with bacteria. After a few days the fins erode from the edges inwards, making the fin look ragged, often with the bony rays persisting for longer, the end result being a bit like a cobweb.>
Now through reading, it seems that ICH is only visible for one week and it's possible that they were suffering from both infections and ICH. I'm just not sure. I haven't introduced any new live stock to this tank in well over a year, but as with the bacterial infections, I now somewhat understand ICH is latent in tanks and ready to attack the weak.
<Ich/Whitespot can certainly trigger bacterial infections because the open wounds caused by the bursting white spots as they mature allow "bad" bacteria to get into the fish. On the other hand, stress can allow Whitespot and bacterial infections to become established independently of one another. So figuring out which came first is hard. By the way, there's very little scientific evidence that Whitespot can lie "latent" in tanks because the free-living stages need to find a host within a day or two, at least at tropical temperatures. What *may* happen is that low level infections persist unnoticed for months, and only when something goes wrong do the fish show high enough numbers of cysts to be obvious. Either way, treating proactively will break the cycle. Since the salt/heat method is harmless to fish, shrimps, filter bacteria and plants, this is a no-brainer for me -- treat with salt/heat, if only to cross Whitespot off the list of possibilities.>
These fish have been through HELL over the last month and I'm not exactly sure what I'm dealing with as so much has happened and I'm scared to continue the Maracyn or treat for ICH especially with the Corydoras in the tank. Can you advise the best way forward?
<Mycobacterium infections are essentially incurable, but Finrot and Whitespot should both respond well to prompt treatment. Do read up on these three, and act accordingly.
Thank you,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Help with treatment plan for Platies/Corydoras   1/15/11

Hi Neale. I hope your weekend is treating you well. Thank you for all your assistance.
<Glad to help.>
I've read through the articles and I agree that ruling out Ich is a good idea; however '¦
I increased the temperature to 84 degrees over a day and a half and added the brine mixture (2 teaspoons of aquarium salt per gallon mixed in warm water put in the filtration flow path). I know you state the salinity is trivial for Platies but after adding about half the mixture, my Platies began to show sensitivity (hiding at the bottom and top of the aquarium).
<I doubt the salinity is the issue here. Platies can, do live in brackish water much more salty than this.>
Since they've been subjected to fluctuations in pH and ammonia and nitrite, unstable conditions, recovering from fin rot, could they just be less able to handle any change at this point?
<Seems unlikely. It's important to remember the difference between correlation and causation. Just because one thing follows another, it doesn't mean the first thing caused the second thing. If the Platies were sick or stressed already, then they might have gotten worse whether you added salt or not. Just make sure you're adding the right amount of salt, and that you're doing it in the right way. I'd turn the heat down a bit -- Platies come from quite cool habitats, and I'd not warm them above 28 C/82 F.>
The dilemma I face is that although they don't seem to like the salt, the one Platy who was hiding originally, came out today to swim for the first time in days today which is encouraging. While the other Platy with white spots has lost several of the bigger spots but is more lethargic which is encouraging and not so encouraging. My ammonia and nitrites are rising yet again (it seems the good bacteria doesn't like the changes either). The last dose of Maracyn was last night so I can up the water changes to reduce these levels more. I'm hoping without the strain of medicine and better control of ammonia and nitrites levels, the Platies will handle the current salinity better. I just want to make sure that my decision to not reduce the salinity is a good idea considering the Platies are showing sensitivity to it. I feel like we're (the fish and I) are damned if I do and damned if I don't at this point. I don't know which is the lesser of two evils.
<Would use the salt/heat method regardless.>
All but two fish are showing interest in food, the original sick one and another that I believe is severely constipated. I know I shouldn't be feeding them per the ammonia and nitrite, but I was trying to get the constipated one to eat a pea.
Also, in my reading of Ich, I've learned it can transmit on anything wet but I couldn't find instructions on how to handle transferring new plants into a tank per this possibility?
<Treat plants as potential sources of Whitespot. Quarantine any plants taken from tanks with fish in it, or for that matter from tanks likely to be on the same water circulation system in the pet store. Plants bought online from aquarium plant growers should be safe though.>
<Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: Help with treatment plan for Platies/Corydoras   1/15/11
Okay, great. I've turned the heater down to 82 F. I didn't think the plant quarantine all the way through. I was thinking that you would never be able to tell if the plant had Ich on it but if quarantined, there wouldn't be a fish host to continue the cycle.
Once again - thank you.
<Yes, if the free-living parasites are unable to find a host within a period of time, they die. At tropical temperatures, that's about 24-48 hours. At room temperature, it may be several days longer. But I'd isolate plants for 7 days, at least, to be fairly sure they weren't carrying Whitespot parasites.
Cheers, Neale.>

Deformed Platy  1/3/11
We have 35 gallon community tank with platys, mollies and one Pleco.
About 2 1/2-3 months ago one our platys became quite deformed. The spine is curved down and it has lost a substantial amount of weight. The fish seems to work hard to swim and frequently rests on the bottom of the tank, but eats well and doesn't have any problem going to the bathroom. I have not noticed any problems with its scales or any discoloration, other than it is slightly darker orange than the other platys.
<Good observations, reporting>
In the research I have done the symptoms seem similar to TB.
However, I would assume after this amount o f time some of the other fish would have been infected as well?
<You are correct for the most part>
All of the other fish in the tank are quite healthy, the mollies breed like crazy and some of the fry have survived with no problems. I know your site reports TB is often blamed for other diseases with curvature of the spines and wasting.
<Yes; this is so>
I have contemplated euthanasia, but it seems to be doing well. As long as the other fish are not in danger and my family is not in danger I would just assume let him live out his life.
Any suggestions?
<I would do as you have... I suspect that this one fish has a genetic anomaly/predisposition to the condition... a bit like Scoliosis in humans... And would leave it to live as long as it has a modicum of quality of life. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Skinny Platy  11/30/10
<Hello Jessica,>
I have a 20 gal fish tank. Currently I have 2 female Platies, 1 male Molly and 2 female Mollies. One of the female Platies is very skinny, she rests on the bottom, never swims around normally and when she does swim she goes straight to the top swims frantically for a minute blowing little bubbles and then sinks to the bottom again. She's been doing this for about a month.
<Difficult to be sure what's the deal here, but my guess would be some sort of wasting disease, Mycobacteria spp. These are not unfortunately uncommon with cheap fancy livebearers. Affected fish fail to put on weight, gradually looking weaker as time passes, and as death approaches exhibit things like bloody sores and abdominal bloating. There's no cure, and euthanasia is the best way to prevent infection of the other fish.
The other fish are all doing well. The tank is about 10 weeks old. I cycled the tank with the Platies. I'm also in the process of setting up a 50 gal tank. According to many other sites Angels are compatible with Mollies and Platies. I was thinking of getting just 1 for my new 50gal tank. And eventually switching over all my fish to the 50gal. But you say they aren't compatible. Why not?
<Platies and Angels have different water temperature and water chemistry requirements. Platies are best kept between 22-24 C, Angels between 25-28 C. So if you kept the tank at 25 C, that'd be just about acceptable to both, but neither species would be in its ideal temperature zone. Platies also need hard, alkaline water, 10+ degrees dH, and a pH around 7.5. Angels are happiest in soft water, 3-10 degrees dH, with a pH around 6.5 to 7.5. So again, you could just about find a happy medium, but neither would be in its ideal situation, and that means both would be more prone to stress and disease than otherwise. When we say fish are "happy" in certain conditions that isn't just about us being fussy, but a reflection of what's known about their requirements for LONG TERM success. You can keep Platies in softer or warmer water, and for months, maybe a couple of years they'll be fine. But you'll very likely find your fish getting mysterious ailments such as bloating and Finrot for no apparent reason, and over the long term
your fish will be much shorter lived than otherwise.>
And why do most other sites and compatibility charts say they are?
<In terms of size and personality, yes, Angels and Platies are compatible. But their requirements for long-term healthcare are different. A better choice would be one of the Acaras, perhaps the Blue Acara or Sheepshead Acara, both of which will tolerate hard water well, and both of which prefer similarly cool conditions. Both of these are phenomenal colour-changers, and you won't see them at their best in bright tanks with no plants and funky-coloured gravel. But in a peaceful aquarium with floating plants, caves, and a dark substrate, both these species can show the most wonderful colours and are great fun to keep.>
I'm also raising Platy fry and Molly fry in a holding tank in my 20 gal. I hate the holding tank. The water gets really warm from the light bulb and so half the time I have one light bulb unscrewed and the small space is too small for my pregnant fish. It stresses them out and if I put them in there just as they would give birth the stress would probably make them birth early from what I read.
<Can indeed be the case.>
But I don't want them to get eaten. So when I switch to the 50 gal I would like to keep my 20 set up as a holding tank for the fry. Any suggestions on how to do this?
<Angels will DEVOUR livebearer fry, and remember, they view Neon Tetras as live food! So they're not good additions to tanks with livebearers, if you want to keep some of those fry to maturity. On the other hand, a tank stuffed with floating Indian Fern is a good refuge, and done that way you'll find a goodly number of fry survive without any help from you.
That's how I breed Halfbeaks and Limia nigrofasciata. Oddly enough, adult Ameca splendens ignore their fry completely, so you quickly end up with hundreds!>
How should I keep the tank cycled and going for the them if there isn't fish in the 20 gal all the time.
<A pinch of flake every couple of days usually does the trick.
Alternatively, add a small fish that won't harm fry, like a Bristlenose Plec, or perhaps a dozen Cherry Shrimps.>
Will an uninhabited tank be unhealthy to put new fry in every few weeks?
<Not if kept cycled. Obviously if it goes without an ammonia source for a few days the filter bacteria will die back. Not completely, and if you're merely adding a couple dozen fry every month, you should find the filter ramps up to that demand without any problems at all. But still, I keep Cherry Shrimps in my fry-rearing tanks, and would recommend you find some way to keep filters happy while tanks are empty.>
Thanks for any suggestions and answers.
Sent from my iPod
<Cheers, Neale, sitting at his MacBook Pro.>
Re: Skinny Platy 12/2/10

Thanks for the suggestions and prompt reply!
Just few follow up questions:
So you think I should flush the skinny platy? She seems to be doing a little better lately but I am afraid of her infecting the other fish. I think she gave birth since I got her. Could this have something to do with it? Could I keep her in a bowl at room temperature to see if she gains any weight back?
I keep the 20gal tank anywhere between 78 and 81 degrees and the water is slightly brackish. I understand that's good for Mollies? What about Platies?
If not, does that mean Mollies and Platies aren't compatible because everywhere else says they are?
I like the idea of the Acaras. They are compatible with Mollies and Platies? I only want 1 is that ok for Acaras? And the water temp? Is that ok between 78 and 80 for all of these fish? (mollies, platies and Acaras)
Hmm I know I have more questions. Other then goldfish when I was a kid I have next to nothing when it comes to Aquarium experience. I'm learning as I go. Before I set up my 50 gal though I want to be sure of what I'm going to do. Any suggestions? I have a spot picked out with no natural sunlight. Good idea? Bad idea? I'm thinking about a small undergravel filter, a bio-wheel and a bubble wall. Too much? Bad combination? I also was wondering if I take the gravel and plants from my 20gal would that help the cycling process in the new tank? Or is it not worth disturbing the 20gal for that?
I'm also thinking of cycling my new tank with my mollies that I have now. Or do you think I should buy some cheap fish like Danios to do that. Would they effect my choice of getting a larger fish later on? You suggested the Acaras would they eat the Danios?
Ok. That's a lot of questions... Thanks again for the answers! This is great! I'm sure I'll be writing again'¦
<Hello Jessica. "Flushing" isn't an option. It's not only an inhumane way to kill a tropical fish, it's also a damn good way to allow nasty parasites into your local environment. Do read here:
No, you can't keep this fish in bowl at room temperature. By definition, a hospital tank has to be AT LEAST as good an environment as the main tank. Think what would happen if hospitals for people were dismal, cold, unsanitary environments. Do you think people would get better in such places? Of course not. Animals are no different. Platies will tolerate very slightly brackish water just fine, up to around 5 grammes of marine salt mix per litre. That's fine for Mollies. While the temperature is a bit high for Platies, and will make them more disease prone, 25 C/77 F should be adequate if not ideal for both, especially if you're using marine aquarium salt mix at 3-5 grammes per litre. If you're using plain aquarium salt, or a lower dosage, then my confidence in the combination will decrease, and really, you shouldn't use plain aquarium salt for ANYTHING other than medicating fish against Whitespot. While widely sold, you'll notice it isn't expert fishkeepers who buy aquarium salt, but beginners. Marine aquarium salt doesn't just raise salinity but also raises hardness and pH, and these two aspects are critical to success with livebearers. If you want to add salt to the aquarium, can I recommend either the Port Acara or the Blue Acara? Both of these will tolerate slightly brackish water very well. They should both thrive at 25 C/77 F, and they are both very hardy and easy to keep, the Port Acara especially being one of the hardiest cichlids in the hobby. Back in the Stone Age of Fishkeeping, it was widely kept precisely because it could sail through abuses that would kill Angelfish and other fancy cichlids. It may not be the most beautiful fish, but it's nicely marked, tough, friendly, and generally easy to keep. Keeping a singleton is just fine, and in fact very wise with cichlids. I wouldn't use an undergravel filter in this tank [a] because it'll stress your plants and [b] cichlids tend to ruin them by moving the gravel about. Get one or two decent canister or hang-on-the-back filters that together offer you a turnover rate six to eight times the volume of the tank per hour, i.e., for a 50 gallon tank, the filter or filters offer a total turnover of 300-400 gallons/hour. Anything less is likely to be murky and prone to poor water quality. With proper filtration bubble walls are pointless. Again, these are things beginners buy -- they don't help your fish nearly as much as you think, and they certainly don't improve water quality much. Waste of money, really. Yes, moving gravel from one tank to another will speed up cycling, but no, don't add "cheap" fish. For one thing, Danios don't tolerate salt and make poor companions for Mollies. Ideally, "clone" the mature filter by removing up to 50% of its live media and placing that media in the new filter on the new aquarium. Add small pinches of flake every second day, about as much as you'd give your tropical fish. Do this for about two weeks. You should find that if you test for Nitrite (with an "I", not Nitrate with an "a") it stays at zero. If it does, your tank is ready to accept your aquarium fish. No fuss, no fatalities. As/when you decide to get some tankmates, choose salt-tolerant species, for example Port Hoplo catfish, Horseface Loaches, Knight Gobies, Australian Rainbowfish, Glassfish and so on. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Skinny Platy  12/3/10

Hi Neale
Jessica again. Thanks for the tips.
<Most welcome.>
I didn't literally mean flushing ;) I read the links you sent me. Sorry bad joke I guess.
<Unfortunately humour is one those things that's easily lost in e-mails.
Plus, you'd be surprised how many of the people who write to us would certainly flush an ailing fish down the pan!>
What I mean is do you really think I should get rid of (put in a bowl of water and freeze) my skinny platy?
<Difficult to say. It's certainly worth de-worming the fish, and/or trying a general antibiotic such as Maracyn. But if the fish clearly weakening and in obvious distress, yes, I'd euthanise. A Platy is MUCH TOO BIG for the ice water to work safely. That's for things like Neons! For Platies use Clove Oil, about 30 drops into a litre of aquarium water. Clove Oil is very cheap, and it's useful stuff for all sorts of other situations too, so well worth having in your medicine cabinet.>
I also didn't think the bowl was an ideal healthy situation I just wondered if my last resort was quarantine would that be an option rather then euthanising her.
I agree with everything you said about the marine salt verses the aquarium salt. It's just different. Different product. Different purpose.
<Quite so. Again, many folks who come here for help aren't at this stage in their expertise yet, so the fact tonic salt doesn't raise pH or add hardness is news to them.>
Blue Acara sounds great. I already checked with my local pet store they said they'd order one in for me when I'm ready for it.
<Blue Acaras are lovely fish. Pairs can be a bit bolshie, especially when breeding, but if given space, say, 50 gallons, they're outstanding centerpiece cichlids for low to mid end temperatures. They do poorly if
kept warmer than 25 C/77 F for any length of time, like most Acaras in fact. Do review the differences between these and Green Devils, Aequidens rivulatus, a very similar-looking fish with a highly offensive
I also didn't think the bubble wall would be that beneficial I just kinda like the look of them.
<Then by all means use one. They do help circulate water from the bottom to the top, and the fish generally don't mind them too much (most fish dislike too many bubbles in the water, perhaps much the same way humans feel about rain!).>
Would the Acara dig that up too?
<Probably not. They aren't serious diggers. So long as the plants you have are reasonably robust -- Vallisneria, Amazon Swords, Java fern, etc -- Blue Acaras generally leave them alone.>
I read sand is good for Acaras. Is gravel ok?
<Yes, both are fine.>
Good to know about the flake food suggestion. I can't say I exactly relished the idea of the Danios. They aren't my favorite looking fish and defiantly not something I wanted originally.
<Danios are lovely fish! The problem is that the US market especially is flooded with Glow Fish and things like Albino Danios and Long-Finned Danios. If you want to see what's out there, check out Danio kyathit and Danio choprai. Tell me those aren't pretty fish!>
Thanks again.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Skinny Platy/Acaras/Plants  12/3/10
I think I'll try the deworming thing first and then see how it goes.
Although somehow I don't think she has worms... From what I've read. I watch my fish pretty closely. No worms in sight. Is it possible I'm just not seeing them?
<Can be. Camallanus worms, yes, do protrude from the anus. But other types of worms -- which most wild-caught fish probably carry -- may produce few if any symptoms. Sometimes tapeworms and nematodes switch from being harmless enough to causing real problems, but in those cases you tend to find the fish loses "condition" while its abdomen becomes increasingly bloated.>
It's only a 20 gal tank. You'd think I would. You were saying I could have a pair of Acaras in a 50gal?
<Not a pair, a singleton. A pair *might* work but Blue Acaras vary in temperament from basically harmless to quite aggressive, and a pair can cause real problems.>
That's what I'm upgrading to and I would like a pair just didn't know if that was reasonable.
<I would not keep a pair of non-dwarf cichlids in 50 US gallons.>
So the plants I am thinking about for the tank are java fern, java moss, moss balls and/or Taiwan moss. I hear all are fairly hardy and easy to keep if you keep up on the pruning.
<Moss Balls aren't easy to keep, and actually die slowly in most tropical tanks. They come from cool lakes in Japan and Europe, among other places, and shouldn't be kept above 22C/72F.>
(plus I can order them off eBay :D) What do you think of those? Some Danios are nice. I guess I was more thinking about the zebra Danios at my local pet store. It's so nice being able to get a second opinion on these things! (None of my friends have aquariums) Thanks Neale
<You're welcome.>
PS I think I basically know, but what does bolshie mean? lol
<British English idiom, I guess, from Bolshevik; means pushy,

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