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FAQs on Platy Compatibility

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 Selection, Platy Systems, Platy Feeding, Platy Disease, Platy Reproduction, Livebearers, Guppies, Swordtails, Mollies

Sunset platy problem       1/6/15
I was wondering if you could help me with a problem I have observed in my new tank.
I have 2 sunset platys, 1 Mickey Mouse platy and 3 male Guppies in a 45L tank.
<45 litres is 12 US gallons; a bit small for these fish.>
The largest sunset (and largest in the tank) is chasing the other Platys l, seemingly scaring them - he is also nipping at their fins and faces.
<Aggression; what they do. If you're a male livebearer, your lifespan is limited (bright colours, small size compared to females) so you need to drive off rival males and mate with any females you can. Evolution ALWAYS trumps being nice!>
The other Platys are hiding from him and whenever he approaches swim away rapidly, occasionally to be followed by him, the others swim away fast and he slowly makes his way back to where he was.
<Indeed. Adding additional fish (2-3 females per male, at least 3 males per species) can help settle livebearers, but you need space for that, perhaps 100+ litres/25+ US gallons for largish groups of Guppies and Platies in the same aquarium. Not viable here.>
I'm concerned about this as I don't want my other fish to be threatened and have an unhappy time just because of him
<Removing the bully often means the next biggest male becomes dominant.
Keeping JUST females can be easier in small tanks.>
- also, I am going to be adding some African Dwarf Frogs in about 2 weeks and this poses even more of a concern as of course they are much more defenceless - All of the other fish are lovely and are happy to interact and be in close proximity with one another.
<Indeed, would not recommend keeping Frogs until you're quite sure you have a peaceful aquarium. The frogs are finicky feeders, easily damaged, and quickly starve in the wrong tank.>
What on earth do I do in this instance? Thanks so much in advance!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Platies and Betta fish
Will adult platies bully Betta fish?       12/12/14
<Not normally, but many/most community fish have been reported to peck at Betta's fins at some time or another.>
Will Betta fish kill adult platy fish?
<Unlikely. But Platies like cool water, which Bettas don't, so why would you mix them?>
Thank you.
<Most welcome. Neale.>
re: Platies and Betta fish       12/12/14

Thank you Neale! :) In answer to your question. Well, I had some baby platies born. It was inevitable with so man platies in my other tank. I cannot rehome the babies and I know little about shipping the babies. It would take weeks to develop the babies enough to adopt them out. I have one empty 6 gallon tank, but more than 6 platy fry. And more are sure to come.
I have no one interested in taking them off my hands in my area either presently.
So I tried to place some of the babies in the Betta's tank in hopes Jack, my Betta male, would eat them, as a form of population control. He ate one I gave to him that had accidentally been killed while I was moving it. It got stuck on my hand and I could not see it until it was too late. Jack ate this one. The other 6-7 babies he tried to eat, but they were too fast and
got away. There are also 7 ghost shrimp in Jack's tank. They too tried to catch the babies with no success. Today is day 2 that they are still alive in the tank. I feed the babies micro pellets so they will not starve. But if the babies wind up surviving in the tank, I was just wondering if the 2 species of Betta and platy would get along. You answered that question
<Good to know. In the situation, if these are surplus fry used as much for live food as anything else, then you have nothing to lose. But be aware of the potential risks.>
Other forms of population control I have used with my goldfish in my pond involves using the fry as plant food. Plants evidently love nutrients from dead fish. This is my backup plan for my too numerous to keep platy fry.
<Perhaps rehome the adult males ASAP, and after a while, the females will stop releasing fry.>
These methods seem cruel, but they are the only methods I have available right now to control the platy population.
Also, in my larger tank I got in 4 Otocinclus today to keep my other Otocinclus company. Which brings their number up to 5. I put some parboiled zucchini with the outer skin removed in the tank for them. I also added 2 pieces of Malayan driftwood in the tank for the Otocinclus today. The wood has been cured and does not float. And I rinsed it off before adding it to
the tank. The Otocinclus seem happy, actively swimming about from time to time. Even the Otocinclus I have had for 1 and a half weeks seems more active now.
Anyway, there are all the updates I have to talk about. Thank you again!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Mean blue platy    12/3/14
I started with two blue platies and latter learned they were both males.
One is mean to the other and relentlessly chases him around even though there are other variety platies that are female in the tank.
<Is what they do. Strong males try to monopolise access to females so only *their* genes are passed on, not those of demonstrably weaker males they can bully. Evolution at work!>
I latter bought three female blue platies thinking that may help but no such luck. There are a total of 16 fish in a 56 gallon aquarium plus three babies. When I try to net it to put it into isolation it sees the net before it's in the water and hides in the decorations and fake coral. The other fish seem to ignore the net. Makes me laugh as they act like they all know I am after the bully for being mean. This repeats every time I try to capture the bully. He will hide till I move away from the tank. Any suggestions?
<Adding more males makes it harder for the bully to chase just the one fish, so trying adding more until you have some larger odd-number of male Platies: 3, 5, etc. (for some reason odd numbers work better). Else remove the hapless male to another tank. Be sure to outnumber males with females, at least two females per male works best.>
I thought platies were friendly fish.
<Up to a point, yes. Very friendly to other species. But males are programmed to be antagonistic towards one another.>
All the other platies are but this one.
<Females are more sociable but you do find the odd grumpy female too.
Cheers, Neale.>

Helpful Information on keeping goldfish and platies together    12/1/14
Hi. I was reading through some information on platies and goldfish. I thought i should tell you keeping them together is a bad idea. I tried that once. Everything was fine for a while. But then the platies started to eat my goldfish fins!
<Does depend on the Goldfish. Not a good idea keeping Platies with fancy Goldfish, for sure. But with regular forms, Comets and the like, if given space, they should work out okay. Fancy Goldfish shouldn't be mixed even with standard Goldfish, and I'd strongly recommend only mixing broadly similar strains of fancy Goldfish at that, otherwise stronger ones (like Moors) tend to bully weaker ones (like Celestials).>
I actually saw one of them attacking one of my poor goldfish. I had to put the platies in a separate tank. Not only that, but platies require higher protein than fancy gold fish, and they have to be taken indoors from ponds in winter when temperatures reach below 70°F.
<Indeed. My experience with mixing them is indoors in the UK, and specifically Variatus Platies, not ordinary Platies. Both Platies and Goldfish are herbivores in the wild; Platies feed primarily on algae, and don't need (and shouldn't be fed) large amounts of high protein foods, though occasional treats of bloodworms and the like are fine.>
Due to fin eating alone, you should not keep platies with goldfish. Just thought I should share this information. Thank you.
<Thank you for sharing. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy and Molly community tank issues     11/21/14
I have a 10 gallon community tank with 2 platy females, 1 platy male, 2 molly females, and 1 molly male. (learned the hard way about having too many males together).
<Indeed! A good tip: with non-sailfin Mollies and Platies, just keep females. They look the same as the males, but aggression will be minimal.>
My issue is that my male platy who is a Mickey Mouse platy doesn't seem to eat much.
<Do review "Wasting Disease" in livebearers. Typically caused by a bacterial infection, such as Mycobacteria. Fairly common, and the affected fish stops eating, becomes lethargic, gets thinner, and eventually dies.
Adding a little salt to livebearer tanks is cheap and easy way to perk them up; try 1-2 teaspoons per US gallon. This won't cure bacterial infections but may help a slightly infected fish feel better and maybe heal itself under its own steam. Otherwise, antibiotics may help in some situations, though Mycobacteria infections are essentially impossible to cure.>
He is very active but during feeding time he hangs out at the bottom.
<Is he being bullied at feeding time?>
Same thing with my Balloon molly female. My male molly normally eats anything and everything I put into the tank. I'm worried about my Mickey and balloon not getting enough food and then my Dalmatian molly getting over fed. Is there a way to balance out how much they each get and to make sure they eat?
<Yes. Two approaches. One is get floating feeding rings (or make your own from plastic of some sort). Put flake inside the feeding rings. These trap flake in certain areas. With luck, you'll find the bullying fish occupied at one ring, leaving the quieter fish to use another. Second approach is to use sinking algae wafers. Break these into halves or quarters, offering 1-2 wafers per feeding session, once per day for a 10 gallon tank. As the wafers soften the Platies and Mollies will peck at them, and because they take hours to fall apart, there's lots of time for all fish to have something to eat.>
Also one of my female platies who is a bumblebee like to follow my Dalmatian molly around (basically never leaves him alone, no nipping but always at his side). Is that normal?
<Yes. Female livebearers are sociable in the wild, not quite schooling fish but certainly appreciating company. Since none of the livebearers we keep are pure species (i.e., they're all hybrids of one sort or another) it's
probable their idea of what "they are" is pretty mixed up, too. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Platy and Molly community tank issues      11/21/14

Molly Issues. I just looked at my tank and I noticed that my balloon molly female (white in color) has a dark black line spot
<A line or a spot?>
near her tail and the other side has the same thing but a bit lighter. What could that be?
<Honestly, no idea at all. Your description doesn't really provide any clues. Any chance of a photo? In the meantime, review aquarium conditions, look for signs of damage and/or subsequent infection, and act accordingly.
Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies Harassing Platy 11-1-12
<Hi Karen>
So sorry to bother you guys again
<No problem>
but I just introduced 2 Platies to my 26 gallon tank containing 4 sunset guppies and two of the guppies are all over one of the platys hard!!!
<26 gallons should be plenty of space for these fishes to share. What else is in the tank? Is there any cover? Anywhere for the platy to take refuge?>
The guppies are males and I thought the platys were too, but if I'm wrong and if I am do I need to go back and get some female guppies?
<You tell male platies the same way you tell guppies, by whether they have a gonopodium. That's the modified anal fin that is tube-like on the male.
Getting female guppies will certainly take the attention away from the platy, but keep in mind that your tank will be swarming with guppies in six months or less.>
A real newbie here and stressed out because the sites on platys said they do great with guppies!!!
<They should, but those boys got to sow their wild oats, and if there are no female guppies, they will pick whatever to them is next best thing.>
Don't want them to hurt or stress the platy to the point of killing it!!!!
<Can and does happen. Also be sure the platy can't jump out of the tank trying to escape.>
What do I do now? Thanks for your patience with me because I really do want to learn!
<Depends on a lot of variables. Again, what is in the tank besides these fishes? Plants? If not, consider getting some plants so the platy has somewhere to hide. - Rick>

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.>

Swordtails, comp. w/ Platies    8/8/11
I have a 46 gallon bowfront. I was wondering would it be ok to keep a few female swordtails in there if they were sharing the tank with two male platies, or are swordtails just too aggressive?? Thank you!!!
<These livebearers will likely mix (and interbreed) fine here, given the size and shape of this volume. Start w/ "not-too-large" swords. Bob Fenner>
Re: Swordtails; stkg./sel.: size and comp.     8/8/11

Are there actually smaller species of swordtails?
<Mmm, not really... there are ones that have been stunted, and others that have had fab care, frequent feeding and water changes... that can be HUGE though. There are other Swordtail spp., but these are rarely sold/seen in the trade>
I was in a LFS the other day and I saw some female swordtails that were HUGE. If they were hollow, you could fit eight platies inside them, they were that big.
<Yes; have seen six inch plus specimens>
I am assuming that males would be too aggressive to keep with two male platies in a 46 gallon? I heard they are terrors. Thank you!!
<Domesticated Swords aren't that mean. BobF>

Platies and Dwarf Neon Rainbows, comp., stkg.     5/17/11
<Hey Jude/y>
I was wondering if Platies and Dwarf Neon Rainbows are compatible?
<Mmm, yes>
I have two male platies in a 29 gallon. Is this tank two small for the two and a couple of rainbows? Thank You!!!
<It is not... but I would get more than a couple of each... 3, 5... Bob Fenner>

Platies and Danios... comp.   3/11/11
I was wondering if you mix platies and Danios would the platies eat the flakes for the Danios instead of the algae based food that would be also go in the tank causing constipation in the platies?? Also would the Danios grab most of the food from platies??
<This can be a problem. So, try this: on alternate days feed either regular flake food or algae-flake food. Danios can eat algae-flake safely, and Platies can eat plain flake food safely, even though algae-flake is better.
You should find this works just fine. Once a week you can also offer a single algae wafer, of the sort used to feed Plecs. The Platies will nibble on this all day, while the Danios will be stuck at the top of the tank unable to eat it at all.>
The platies I have are slow and non-aggressive, but Danios are so fast at feeding. Is it generally bad to mix fish that need different types of food??
<In some cases, yes. The classic example is Tropheus spp. cichlids, which need mostly greens, and if they eat even a little bit too much meaty food, appear to become prone to bloating and other problems.>
Thank You!!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Tiger barb /platy compatibility  1/26/11
have read and heard tiger barbs can be "nippy" with other fish. We have a strange anomaly in our tank! We run a 10 gallon with two angels, five sunburst platies, two algae eaters.
<Need much more room>
A couple days ago we added four tiger barbs. the anomaly is, the barbs left the other fish alone but the platies harassed and nipped the barbs to death! is this species role reversal?
<Mmm, no... more a matter of established territoriality. These fishes need much more room. Do search, read on WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Red Wag Platys   11/22/10
Can anybody tell me what kind of fish I can house with my Red Wags? I'm especially interested in some thing that can help keep the bottom cleaner.
I have a small 5 gallon tank with 2 Red Wags. They appear to be quite happy and healthy. I do regular water changes, add aquarium salt and the Ph and everything else is fine. I would appreciate any tips you can give me.
Thanks, Bill
<Hello Bill. Five gallons is way too small for Platies. They may be fine now, but won't be for long. Trust me on this. Platies realistically need about 15 gallons. The males are fairly aggressive, for one thing, and in
any case they need more room simply to enjoy good water quality. Five gallons is very much like keeping a dog locked in the basement. Might survive, but hardly humane. Do please read here:
As for "bottom cleaners", no fish cleans a tank; all fish make the water more polluted. There are some snails and shrimps that will remove algae and pick up any small scraps of food, but that's not cleaning anything, and even these animals make living conditions worse. So if you're thinking along the lines of animals cleaning up aquaria, you need to spend a little more time reading over basic aquarium maintenance before you spend any money!
Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Red Platy/Tiger Barb... incomp.  -- 3/30/10
I had 3 Buenos Aires Tetras
<Quite aggressive at the best of times, and should be kept in a school of at least 6 specimens. Otherwise a hardy, subtropical (not tropical) fish for the semi-boisterous community aquarium.>
and 3 Red Platys leaving peacefully in a 16 gallon tank.
<Too small for most tetras, and borderline, at best for Platies. Not a good choice of fish to keep with Buenos Aires Tetras. Who recommended this combination? A salesman?>
One Platy died yesterday. Had the water sampled and it came back in proper ranges.
<Don't give me your opinions; tell me what the numbers are. Platies need relatively cool water, between 23-25 degrees C, and the water must be hard and basic, i.e., 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5-8. The water quality has to be good: 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. If you don't have the values listed here, that's why your fish likely died. Pet shops will often say any old thing; a cynic might observe because selling fish is what makes them money, but a more charitable person will accept that not all staff in a store will be equally well trained or experienced.>
Have been looking at adding a couple more fish to the tank but, because I have an 8 year old that takes each fish death badly, I want durable fish.
<"Durable" depends upon choosing the right fish for your system. Start here:
For your tank, you're nearer the 10 gallon than 20 gallon end of things in terms of what fish will do well, so choose species suited to a 10 gallon tank, that want the water chemistry you have, and are suited to the temperature you're running the tank at.>
The aquarium clerk suggested Tiger Barbs
<Stupid idea. Tiger Barbs need much more space than 20 gallons, and are far too nippy to keep reliably in a small tank with Platies. Tiger Barbs get to a good 5 cm/2 inches long, maybe more, and really need to be kept in a 30 gallon tank to be even halfway happy. This fish are very, very boisterous.>
as more durable than getting more Platys. I read online that the Barbs typically 'should' do well with Platys but not long-finned fish like Bettas, etc.
<Sort of. All Barbs are hierarchical, and the common mistake is to keep too few. Do that, and even the best of them will be psychologically screwed up, and all bets are off with regard to tankmates. It's like buying a German Shepherd and keeping it in the basement all day. Might be a great dog, but it won't be long before the thing goes postal. Same here. Read about the needs of the fish you're interested in, understand the limits of your aquarium, and then make your purchase.>
I bought two which I now see is too few for an adequate school.
<I'll say.>
The tigers are chasing the 2 remaining Platys and I am concerned they will ultimately stress them.
Should I return the Barbs
or will the Red Platys ultimately cope ok with the constant chasing?
<Read more, spend less. Cheers, Neale.>

Are Platies and angelfish generally compatible?   3/18/10
Dear Crew,
I have done my research on a fish and all, but I cannot find one thing (many websites are telling me they are and aren't). Are Platies and angelfish generally compatible?
<Somewhat, but they're not ideal companions. Platies need hard, basic water that isn't too warm; 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5-8, 22-25 Celsius. Angelfish prefer soft water and high water temperature; 5-15 degrees dH, pH 6-8,
25-30 Celsius. While there's a bit of overlap there, Platies don't do well in soft water, so unless you're keeping your Angels in moderately hard water, Platies aren't going to work. If you keep the tank warmed to much above 25 C, the Platies will be stressed. In short, there are much better companion species to look at than Platies. Skip livebearers, and instead concentrate on things like characins and especially Rainbowfish. A school of Melanotaenia boesemani for example would work great.>
If you have a good Wet Webpage on them or another web site for angelfish
care and maintenance to that would be great!
<Much here, and follow the links for more:
Sincerely, The Fish Keeper
<Cheers, Neale.>

Platy aggression   01/18/09
I have a 28 g tank with 4 red wag platies and 3 sunburst platies. I also have 3 Cory cats. I added 7 Tiger Barbs to the mix 3 days ago. I've lost all but 2 of them. I wasn't sure what the cause was until this afternoon while I was observing the tank closely. The platies are attacking the Tiger Barbs, leaving the cats alone. Is this normal behavior?
I have 4 fake plants and some structures that they can use to hide but they don't do it. I know I should remove the remaining Tiger Barbs but have nowhere to put them yet. Any other advice?
<Platies and Tiger Barbs are a poor combination. I'd separate these fish.
Usually, it's the Tiger Barbs that nip at slow moving fish like Platies, but I guess tables can sometimes be turned! In any event, since the combination clearly isn't working, I'd return the Tiger Barbs you have.>
<Sorry I can't offer any magic solution here. Cheers, Neale.>

Are Common Fantail (American type) Goldfish and Red Neon Moon fish (a platy relative) Compatible?  8/13/2009
I have a 50 gal. acrylic tank (complete with 4 stage power filter, uv sterilizer, sintered air stone, large, smooth, mostly round gravel, and half planted with fake plants, and half open for fish to swim). I currently have 4 common fantail goldfish living in the tank. They are a fancy variety of goldfish. According to what information I have been able to get, this setup should be fine for them (as fancy goldfish only need a minimum of 10 gal. each).
<Hmm... not quite. You need about 30 gallons for the first two, and then another 10-15 gallons for each additional Goldfish. Remember, these fish get very big, easily 20 cm/8 inches in length, and they are incredibly messy as well.>
However, I do have a concern regarding two new fish I just recently purchased. I was on your very helpful and well informed site and read the Variatus Platy is compatible with goldfish.
<Xiphophorus variatus, yes, a subtropical species of livebearer that does well around 18-20 C, which is fine for Goldfish.>
I tried looking them up. I found they seem to be a sort of moon fish. Moon fish seem to be a cross between the Variatus (pardon if this name is incorrect) and platies. I am unsure if I got confused someplace or not. I am concerned perhaps I did get confused.
<Unless otherwise sold as a particular species, all the Platies (what you call Moon Fish) are HYBRIDS of various Xiphophorus species. These need to be kept in a tropical aquarium, around 24-25 degrees C.>
Anyway, long story short, I wound up getting two red neon moon fish. Now I did some research and have found red Neons do need tropical flakes rather than goldfish flakes.
<Actually, both Goldfish and Xiphophorus would do best on a plant-based diet, such as Spirulina flake, alongside cooked peas, cooked spinach, sliced cumbers, etc. Add some wet-frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms once or twice a week, and you'd be giving them an excellent diet.>
But if you monitor the red Neons while feeding (to make sure the red Neons get their tropical flakes) goldfish and platy species (which the red Neons are a member of) can be fed their proper foods at feeding time, and can even eat each others foods, without suffering any ill effects.
And the red Neons have small mouths. So they can only eat flakes and other small foods. That is fine enough because goldfish like flake foods. And I found in my research platies and goldfish both like freeze-dried bloodworms, freeze-dried brine shrimp, Spirulina (pardon if I spelled that wrong) flakes, blanched lettuce, and blanched spinach. So they can share each others food with these items.
<Don't use freeze-dried bloodworms and shrimps more than once a week; they cause constipation.>
I also found they can both tolerate a compatible temperature range of 75 to 78 degrees F (little warm for goldfish on the upper end, but I usually keep the temperature at about 77 F and try to keep a fan blowing on their tank to help cool it. The fan is the only other solution I have available other than the air-conditioned, which gets expensive to run at lower temperatures (unfortunately). But that is why I check to be certain they can survive fairly well at the temperatures I have to work with.
<It's a bit warm for Goldfish, but provided there is a strong filter to ensure lots of oxygen, you should be okay. Get a filter rated at 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour; for a 50 gallon tank, that'd be 6 x 50 = 300 gallons/hour.>
And according to what I understand and have learned, these two species should be fine at the temperatures I previously mentioned. So food and water temperature should be okay. And both species like to be at all levels of the tank and prefer plants in the tank with open areas for swimming.
Goldfish will eat smaller fish I know. But I hear platies are quick.
<But the tank is small... if your Goldfish are big enough to swallow any fish kept with them, then those little fish will, eventually, get eaten.
Gazelles can outrun lions, but stick them in the same cage, and the lion would soon kill the gazelle.>
And my goldfish are the smallest variety and the red Neons get to be 2 to 3 in.
<No such thing as a "small" variety Goldfish; all of them get to 20-30 cm/8-12 inches in length. If your pet store said they were "dwarf" Goldfish or some rubbish like that, they were taking advantage of you.>
I figured the red Neons size and speed would help keep them from being eaten.
<Doubt it. To be fair, adult Platies are fine with adult Goldfish, all else being equal. But juvenile Platies may be eaten.>
And both species are said to be peaceful around other fish species. So they should get along alright.
<Assuming water quality and water chemistry is acceptable. Both species need 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, pH 7 to 8, and a "high" hardness of 10 degrees dH or upwards.>
If I am wrong, I do have a spare 12 gal. tank I can keep the two red Neons in. Yet I am also aware that platies are prolific breeders and they can change their sex.
<The sex change thing is a myth.>
And the red Neons are related to platies.
<Both are hybrids.>
If the 50 gal. setup I have in mind works, I can keep the babies in the 12 gal. tank. However, if the 50 gal. setup does not work I can keep the adults in the 12 gal. tank and "temporarily" keep some of the babies in another spare 3 gal. tank I have (at least until I can get them a better tank, or find new homes for them, or both). I was not notified platies could be prolific breeders on the site I bought the red Neons from BEFORE I bought the fish. Fortunately I had some spare tanks or the babies may have all perished from being eaten. At least I can try to spare some of them from being food with the aid of the two spare tanks I have.
Anyway, my question is this . . . Is there enough room in my 50 gal. tank to keep my 4 goldfish and the 2 red Neons I ordered?
<If water quality is good, i.e., 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, then the Platies will hardly effect things at all. The Goldfish are potentially much bigger and certainly far messier.>
And are goldfish and red neon moons truly compatible (at least in regards to the system I have in mind)? I am worried I may have done something that might harm the smaller Neons, or greatly upset my little goldfish friends.
I love my little goldfish and wish no harm to the red Neons. Just let me know if the Neons will be okay with the goldfish, or if they need separate tanks. Also let me know if I need a larger tank for the red Neons should they need a separate tank. Thank you for your time, knowledge, and above all patience.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Are Common Fantail (American type) Goldfish and Red Neon Moon fish (a platy relative) Compatible?-- 08/14/09
Your prompt reply did help. Thank you.
<You are most welcome.>
You have eased most of the anxiety I was experiencing over worrying about the welfare of my fish. I have kept tropical tetras and gouramis in the past and had a goldfish as a child as well. So I do have a little
experience with fish.
<Very good.>
However, I am still a mostly inexperienced novice when it comes to fish keeping. Your advice has helped greatly to ease most of my fears that my inexperience may have harmed the fish. I will be watching the goldfish and red neon moons closely in the 50 gal. tank (monitoring water quality, making sure no one is being too aggressive, that they get their proper foods, and that no one is trying to eat each other).
I will move the red Neons if it proves too stressful or dangerous in the 50 gal. tank for them. Oh, I also forgot to mention I also have one gold mystery snail in my 50 gal. tank. It eats the leftover food the goldfish
miss. I do not think the snail will harm the fish.
<On the contrary; watch that the Platies/Moon Fish don't "nip" the Apple snail. They often do. This stresses and damages the snails, eventually leading to stress, sickness, even death.>
I just wanted to let you know about it too. Also, in regards to the frozen brine shrimp you mentioned. There are no worries there. I have another 2 gal. tank going with a small number of live brine shrimp in it. I am
planning to try and raise my own shrimp. I hatched them from cysts I bought online. I watch their water quality and make water changes when their water is too dirty. And I make sure they have food that is appropriate for brine shrimp. If the red Neons need fresh brine shrimp, they will be getting the freshest possible source. Doesn't get much fresher than live.
And since I am raising them, they should be free from most diseases.
The red Neons and goldfish could not ask for a better source of brine shrimp in my household. So no worries about the shrimp. And I only feed my goldfish brine shrimp (or other suitable freeze-dried meaty items such as bloodworms) twice a week at each of the two feeding a day they receive. The goldfish are only fed what they eat in 2 or 3 minutes at each feeding. The snail gets what they miss, or the goldfish pick it out from the gravel themselves. And whatever the goldfish and snails miss I vacuum out with a gravel vacuum once a week. I do my best to keep the water quality at its best. And as far as hardness goes . . . Well, I live in the Arizona deserts in the U.S. The water is always hard here and full of minerals.
I add a little PH Down (water softener) to the water for my goldfish, to make it more tolerable.
<Probably redundant. Goldfish like very hard water, and the pH down product won't really be helping any.>
They seem much happier, more active, and do not go up to the surface of the water for air when I add the PH Down.
<Dubious. I'd have thought it's simply the act of changing the water -- maybe adding cooler water -- that makes them perky.>
The tropical fish I have kept in the past also seemed to do better with water softener in our hard desert water. Also I like to keep the ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels at absolute 0. And I try to keep the PH levels at levels at around 7. I dislike PH levels at 8.
<You might dislike pH 8, but it's perfect for Platies as well as Goldfish.
By contrast, pH 7 is the very bottom end of the tolerance range for Platies and to some degree Goldfish.>
That is too rough on fish in my mind (unless otherwise specified by the requirements of a fish species, such as cichlids and saltwater fish.
Cichlids and saltwater fish seem to need PH at 8 or higher to thrive.
<Honestly, you're wrong here. This is "in your mind" and not in actual reality. Platies like hard, basic water. The ideal would be pH 7.5, 15 degrees dH.>
Otherwise though, PH at 8 makes me worry and feel bad for the poor fish.
<It's fine. Don't believe me? Grab any aquarium book you like, and review the needs of Xiphophorus species. Or see, for example, at Fishbase, a scientific catalogue of fish biology:
So I do not keep it at that level if I can help it.). So no worries about water quality. Thank you again for your wonderful advice. I feel much better about the wellbeing of my fish. Thank you so much.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Are Common Fantail (American type) Goldfish and Red Neon Moon fish (a platy relative) Compatible?-- 08/14/09
Thank you for correcting me on my previous error on PH levels. I will be watching the levels to be sure they do not go above 8 then.
<That's fine.>
And I am not knowledgeable enough for specialized care fish such as cichlids and saltwater fish anyway. So no worries about my errors harming them. But thank you for correcting my misconceptions and confusion there as well.
<Happy to help. But please do read around the WWM site for more.>
If I ever change my mind about these species, the information will surely be most helpful. And I will be keeping an eye on my little snail around the neon redtail moons too. The red Neons are really a beautiful fish.
<Yes, Platies are lovely fish.>
Go to petsolutions.com online in the live fish section. They have a picture of one there, if you want to see a picture of one.
<I see them. Here in England, they're called Sunset Platies, I guess because the orange merging to red is reminiscent of a sunset.>
Thank you so much for your very helpful advice.
<My pleasure. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: I have a new tank! (FW; selection)   11/18/08
Hi Neale,
I have another question!
I set up my Rio180 with one of the sponges from my 60 ltr tank, let it run for a week, but decided not to transfer my platies in as there were new teeny fry in the tank (I have 4 babies now), instead I went off to Maidenhead aquatics in St. Albans and bought 12 little (about 1 inch long)
5 banded barbs and added them to my new tank (oh, I tested the water first, which was all good - zero everything)
<Puntius pentazona; an excellent community species, though not hardy and a bit on the shy side.>
Day 3 after I added the fish I had a nitrite spike (0.3) so I did a 30% water change.
Day 4 - I noticed a few tiny little white spots on their fins, which by the end of the day had increased in number (at most maybe 6 on one fish, one or two on some of the others). I sat next to the tank with laptop in hand and decided it was definitely ich - so I went to the very nice man in Amersham pet shop and he agreed that it sounded like it from my description, and I treated the 180 with eSHA Exit for 3 days.
<Good diagnosis and an excellent treatment, in my experience, though remember to remove carbon from the filter, if used. I believe the Juwel filters have a carbon sponge installed.>
Not a single little white spot remains (and I have been sat there watching the little things as they dart about - they hide from me mostly so a lot of watching has been done). (Interestingly I have two friends who also recently bought at MA in St. Albans and they have had ich brought home with the new fish as well - which is why I was on the lookout for it)
<Whitespot/Ick is pretty well ubiquitous in the retail side of the hobby.
It's incredibly difficult to stop it moving between tanks unless you employ strict quarantine and isolation procedures on everything from the fish and plants through to nets, hose pipes and buckets. Because whitespot isn't deadly if treated promptly, it's not a major problem.>
My question is - How long should I leave it now before I can add the platies and Ancistrus from my 60 ltr tank? I have tested water daily and no further nitrite / ammonia spikes have been detected.
<I'd wait 1-2 weeks after the last sign of Whitespot.>
I am keen to shift at least one platy as he is being bullied - there are two males in the tank and one is very aggressive towards the other - if he comes out of his hiding place to eat the other chases him until he hides again (he's managing to eat OK though, I check).
<Feel free to move the "persecuted" male at once. Lesser of two evils...>
When the aggressive male isn't chasing him he either hides or tries to chase the females - but as soon as the other one sees him, he chases him back to his hiding spot. Do platies usually show such aggressive behavior towards other males? He chases one of the females (the largest) a lot also.
<Completely normal behaviour, I'm afraid. I'd recommend keeping Platies in big groups, with females outnumbering males by at least 2 to 1. Otherwise, a single male with 2-3 females works well. The thing with livebearers is that in the wild males "fight" to keep access to harems of female. Their instinct is to drive off any male that comes too close. In big groups, say, a dozen, it's difficult for any one male to become dominant. But in smaller groups, what you describe is very common, perhaps standard behaviour.>
Once the platies are moved and settled I can look at getting some more little fishy friends.. but not from St. Albans I think!
<Ah, wouldn't be too hard on St A's. It's a great shop with some good staff. Whitespot isn't something I'd use to make-or-break my patronage to a store. I'd be much more concerned about Finrot (signs of aggression/poor water quality), dead fish in the tanks, and things like obviously underweight herbivorous catfish or specialist predators.>
Thanks once again for your help...
Sarah (still watching fish instead of working!)
<Some of us get to do both! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: I have a new tank! (FW; selection)  11/19/08
Thanks so much Neale - I've moved him into the bigger tank, and just a few hours later he is already looking happier than he has been in weeks - he's swimming about, rather than hiding in a cave.. Now Billy the bully (the children's name for the other male platy) has 5 females to himself...
Thanks for the advice...
<Sarah, sounds like you have everything in hand. Good luck with your new aquarium! Neale.>

My poor platy... Gymnocorymbus, Tiger et al. Barb, incomp.,     7/26/08 I have been searching all over to find some quick help for my poor fish. <Oh?> Recently I got all new fish for my tank, since my murderous black tetra ate the others I had ( a few goldfish, one or two other tetra like himself.) <Not "murderous", merely obeying its instinct. When stuff like this happens, it's *our* fault, not the fish's, because we're the ones who didn't do the research before combining species.> I would come home one day and a fish would just be gone. I fed them regularly, I thought, no more than they can eat in three minutes, right? <Hmm... bit too much really. I prefer 2-3 meals of sufficient food it's gone within 30-60 seconds. This way any loading on the filter is spaced out across the day. One Platy for example only needs about 2-3 flakes per day to do well. Fish pass out anything they don't need, and will eat much more than they actually require. Provided your fish have gently convex bellies, they're eating enough.> But that's not my problem...anymore. No, I didn't flush him, I gave him to my nieces and nephews to be their pet. <Cool.> I went out and purchased three tiger barbs, a green barb, one bright orange platy and a yellow one. Frankie. <Oh dear. Barbs are social, VERY social. Kept in too-small a group, Barbs become aggressive or shy, depending on the species. Tiger Barbs and Green Barbs are both potentially aggressive species, and you'd need at least 6 of each to stand any chance of having them school peacefully. I'd argue Barbs are only suitable for largish tanks where they can be kept in decent groups with ample swimming space for them to burn off their remarkable amounts of energy. Best combined with other fast fish, such as Danios of equivalent size.> At first, all was well. The barbs chase each other, nobody nipped, and Frankie just chilled, swimming around casually. <Hmm...> Now, he only moves to eat, will swim for a few minutes, but then goes and lays down on the rocks- his belly touching them, not the sides. He will go into the tightest, most hidden spots available, and sit there, his gills opening and shutting rapidly. Or her gills. The others don't nip at him or bother him, except the dark spotted sucker fish (forgot the technical name), he will sometimes go eat where Frankie likes to hide. I am afraid he will get stuck or simply die. The others are fine, but he has me worried. I looked at his tail to see if he had any spots for pregnancy, but so far I don't notice any. He seems just as fat as any of the others, but I don't know how to help him :( He hides in the corners of the tank, under as much as possible, covered as much as possible. <Almost certainly is being bullied by the Barbs. Long term future is poor: he is stressed, and that means his immune system is being compromised.> I love this fish. As for what kind of environment he has- I have a ten gallon tank, a moss ball, five fake plants, one of which is a flat plastic 'grass' they called breeding grass, but I don't know these things..., a 'house' they can hide in, large gravel, and a filter which specs I don't know, but it keeps the tank very clean. All the fish are approximately the size of my thumbprint, or smaller. So I know they should have plenty of room. <Are you keeping these fish in a 10-gallon tank? None of them are suitable for such a miniscule tank. If you have no choice but to keep a 10-gallon tank, then you MUST choose species suitable for such a system. These are NOT among them. There is no way this tank will remain "fun" in the long term.> I'm at a loss. Is he dying? Or is he by nature a hermit? <He's being attacked and bullied by hyperactive, aggressive, socially frustrated fish that aren't able to do what they really want to do which is swim in big groups in a spacious (90 cm/3 foot long) tank.> Oh please tell me what to do to help this guy. <Done my best. Your move! Good luck, Neale.>

Re: my poor platy    7/27/08 Thank you for the response, when I was purchasing the tank and fish, all I knew was that there was supposed to be generally one-inch water per fish, but now knowing they like to speed around, I will reconsider mixing them. <Ah, the "inch per gallon" rule has to be used carefully. It makes sense with very small fish barely an inch long, like Neons or Guppies. But as fish get bigger you have to make allowances, and you also need to consider the activity levels of the fish. Danios and Neons may be the same size, but Danios are hyperactive mountain stream fish that want to swim about constantly. Neons are fine lurking under a shady plant. So it's horses for courses. Good aquarium books will recommend a "minimum tank size" alongside the species description.> I was told the green barb would be fine with the tigers, but he seems to be getting bullied too. <Tiger Barbs are boisterous. What makes them fun in big tanks when kept in big groups can easily become a liability in the wrong tank. It's like dogs: a Border Collie is a great dog for someone who works in fields, walking miles every day. But keep one trapped inside the house and it will become aggressive and destructive. It's in the genes. Same with your Tiger Barbs.> We will find a larger tank for the barbs (20 gallon for six be Allright? if not we will get a larger one) , <Look to your budget, and by the LONGEST tank you can afford/house. Your Tiger Barbs will want (ideally) a tank at least 90 cm/3' long, and certainly a tank with plenty of water current. It may well be that you'd be better off returning the barbs and getting something less demanding in terms of swimming space. Perhaps some more Platies?> and let my platy guys relax in the ten gallon. <This species is a bit big for 10-gallons, but certainly it'll be happier in that than sharing with nippy barbs!> Now that I know, its all in finding a spot to put the new tank! <The perennial problem.> Thank you again :) <Most welcome, Neale.>

"M'buna compatibility" or "Sentencing platies to death" Finding Platies A New Home 4/13/08 Hello! I've got somewhat of a moral dilemma. I've got a 300 liter tank (150x40x50 cm) that I've been preparing for m'bunas. Everything seems to be in order: some 50 kg of rocks with caves a-plenty, extra filtration (2 x Eheim 2217 canister filters; one as a bio filter, the other mechanical), a couple of Anubias and a Java firm tied (and now mostly rooted) to a piece of ultra-boiled drift wood. It's been cycling for two months now and the water parameters are stable for the past 3 weeks at: ph=8.0, dKH=8, dGH=20, NO2=0, NO3=10... So far, so good I think. On Tuesday, I'll be receiving my fish from an M'buna breeder. All are juveniles measuring no more than 4 cm. The species are as follows: 10 x Pseudotropheus elongatus "usisya" 10 x Labidochromis sp. "hongi" 6 x Labidochromis caeruleus 2 x Pseudotropheus sp. "acei" 1 x Maylandia zebra 1 x Cynotilapia afra (This may seem like a lot of fish, but it fits what I understand to be a proper "1 fish per 10 liters" ratio...) So what's my problem, you may be wondering... Well, for the second month of the cycling process, I "borrowed" 8 of my sons' platies (they say I stole them... it's a matter of semantics, really): 4 orange + 4 silver-blue "Mickey mouse" (one of the orange died almost immediately, the others are quite healthy, with 3 pregnant females). They're all about 4 or 5 cm right now. So why don't I just return the platies to my sons? Because they shattered their aquarium last night! (long story). I've tried, unsuccessfully, to find a new home for the platies, so I have to make a decision: keep them in my tank even once the m'bunas arrive, or send them down the toilet of death. Which option is less cruel? Will they be tortured to death by the cichlids? Can I really bring myself to flush 7 perfectly healthy platies? Any other options that you might suggest? Thanks in advance, David < Keep the platies in the cichlid tank until suitable homes can be found. As the cichlids grow you will have time to either set up a new tank or find a new home for the platies. Over time the cichlids will take their toll on the platies but you have a few months.-Chuck>

Re: "M'buna compatibility" or "Sentencing platies to death" Finding Platies a New Home II 4/13/08 Great! Thanks for the tip! I thought my margin for action would be days or even hours after the cichlids arrived, not months. Gives me plenty of time to set up a new tank for the platies. <Most Mbuna don't start to get too territorial until they get around 5+cm. At that size they are starting to mature and stake out some turf. If you add some floating plants they will hide out and you could probably keep them in there even longer.-Chuck.>

Platy companions, filter maintenance  -- 1/18/08 hi there, I've written to you before and got good advice, <Good oh.> what I am wondering is, when I'm changing the filter sponges, which ones can I just rinse through and which ones do I have to replace completely? <Ideally rinse them ALL in buckets of aquarium water, and never replace more than 50% of the filter media in any one go. Typically the mechanical media (the coarse sponges in your system) will need to be cleaned more thoroughly, and perhaps replaced more frequently, than the biological media (the finer sponges). Juwel filters also have little white cotton pads you stick at the very top of the system to trap big bits of waste, like dead leaves. These can be replaced as often as you want. I find it cheaper to rinse them off every week or two rather than replace them every month or so. But it doesn't matter much.> I have a Juwel Rekord 70. also which fish would be good tank companions with platy? I was going for Neons next, my tank is up and running about 7 weeks. <Platies are hard water fish, and for that reason your best bet is to mix them with other hard water fish. That way you can tweak water chemistry, or use salt as a therapy, without worrying. Other livebearers are ideal, but so are rainbowfish and halfbeaks. If your water quality is good, then certain dwarf Tanganyikan shell-dwelling cichlids can work well at the bottom of the tank. They work surprisingly well with livebearers.> thanks again!! David. Davy-D- <David, please please please use the Shift key next time to put capital letters where they belong! The idea behind this site is that the questions we answer are available for others to read, not just you, and letters without capital letters are difficult to read. This is especially true for those who don't read English as their native language. Thanks! Neale.>

Beat up platy? Betta incomp.   10/12/07 Hello to whoever is answering: <And to you> I have a Betta in with four platys. The Betta was somewhat aggressive when I first got them ( a bit over three months ago) but then calmed down. Two of the platys are very dark orange and almost triangular in shape. The other two are grayish white and orange with a couple of black spots. One of these two kept disappearing except to be fed. The last two days he did not come out at feeding time so I removed a couple decorations and finally found him. I netted him and put him in a smaller tank. His fins are shredded and he looks to my novice eyes like he is malnourished. He swims but mostly hides and with his head down. I had developed a technique of feeding where I got the Betta in on corner and all the platys in another as the Betta lunges at his food. His eyes look normal, no growths, no white fuzz. I have the feeling that the Betta started on him again right after he had a growth spurt. Anything else I can do for the poor fish? Thank you for your help. <I would isolate or remove the Betta here... It is likely the culprit. Bob Fenner>

Goldfish Capability, actually comp. with Platies  9/5/07 Hi there, <Sweet Melissa> I've had two plain goldfish for the last three years. They've always been very healthy (no diseases ever). Recently though, we had an earthquake and a log (fake) moved and pinned one of the fish. Sadly, it died before we found it. So we now have one plain "feeder" goldfish in a 12 gallon Eclipse tank. The tank's temperature is usually between 75 to 78 degrees and the pH is usually 7.2. She's been doing fine on her own so far, but I'd like to add another fish or two. <Will need more room...> I don't really like fancy goldfish, and the "feeder" goldfish I find in stores always seem to be in grotesque conditions and unhealthy. <Yes... too often the case> I have considered getting one and just keeping it under a longer quarantine, but I also wonder what other options I have. I've found conflicting research about fish compatibility. What do you think about adding two female platies? <Mmm, a possibility... these livebearers do "like" similar water conditions... In fact, many folks use platies in warmish outdoor ponds to nip at string algae...> I know these are tropical fish, but they seem like they could be compatible with a goldfish. My current fish is about 2 in. and is pretty docile (she's been with some guppies before and did fine). Basically, I want to add some variety to my tank, but I don't want to jeopardize my current fish's health. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Melissa <I do think the platies might be just the ticket here... And a good introduction to more "tropical" systems... Bob Fenner>

Fighting Platys   6/13/07 Hey guys! <Hail and well met.> I recently set up a 20 L tank with 3 platys (male) and 1 female molly. The pet shop didn't mention anything about ratios! <But that shouldn't matter, because you read a book before buying the fish first, right? What, you didn't? Oh dear. This is where it all goes wrong... Besides, a 20 litre tank is FAR FAR FAR too small for these fishes. That's about, what, 6 gallons? That's a large bucket, not an aquarium. Absolutely out of the question as a home for platies, let alone mollies.> My concern is for the smaller platy. He is quite a lot smaller than the other fish and they seem to be hassling him. He hangs around in the corner at the top of the tank generally and seems to be chased around at feeding time so he misses out. Also, it looks as though he has suffered a few nips. <Yeah, well, the fish are overstocked and the males are fighting because there's no room for them to have "personal space". Anyway, treat for finrot/fungus unless you want to have to deal with sick/dead fish as well as miserable ones.> I'm worried about him. <Good.> Can you help at all? <I can't personally, but you can help lots. You need a tank around 60 litres or more for these fishes to be comfy. Take back some of the males if you can and swap for some females. They aren't difficult to sex.> I was wondering if maybe there were too many fish in the tank (but I don't really think I can take any back!). <Yes, waaaaayyyy too many fish.> Thanks heaps! Shannon <You're welcome. Neale>

Catfish Selection  2/28/07 Hello WWM, <<Hello, Joe. Tom here.>> We currently have a 20 gallon aquarium with a Tetra Whisper Power Filter 20, 4 inch bubble wand, and heater. The system has been going for about 8 weeks and currently the pH reads 6.8, hardness 120 ppm, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, and nitrates at 0 to 10 ppm after a 20% water change (done weekly), with temperature at 78 degrees. <<I like the sounds of it, Joe.>> There is currently some rusty/brownish algae growing on the plants which I am guessing is caused by the use of the fluorescent light for about 5-6 hours per day. <<Diatoms ("brown algae"). Very common in new tanks and will dissipate/disappear on its own. Nothing to worry about but rather unsightly.>> We currently have 1 female Red Wag Platy, 1 female HiFin Platy, 2 Female Sunburst Mickey Mouse Platies, and 1 male Calico Platy and a varying population of babies (currently about 5) and all seem healthy and happy. The water is treated with dechlorinator and 1 Tbs/5 gallons of conditioning salt is added to the water. No salt is added when replacing evaporated water. <<A Platy fan, eh? Good for you. Very colorful and nice fish.>> My question is this. My kids would like to add some more fish. I have told them we have room for 5 more perhaps 7 fish. I figured this would be a good population for this system. We would like to add 2 more platies (we figure the more platies the better) and perhaps 3 catfish. What type of catfish would you recommend? Reading your site it seems Cory catfish and Otos are out because of the salt or is this salt level tolerable? <<Joe, you can reduce the salt level just a bit and the Corys would be fine. One Tbsp./five gallons of water is tolerable for just about any fish but cutting back just a bit wouldn't hurt. Maybe about 3/4 Tbsp./five gallons.>> Plecos sound like they would get too large for this tank size and I know the Chinese Algae Eater has no place in this tank. <<Common Plecos would, indeed, get too large for this tank as would most varieties. There are some very nice Plecos that remain smaller but I think the Corys would be a better "fit" here, Joe.>> So any advice on "bottom dwellers" would be appreciated. Thank you, Joe <<Keep up the good work, Joe, and I hope you all enjoy your new additions. Tom>>

Platy, Gourami compatibility  2/12/07 Hi, <Hello there> I'm new to tropical fish keeping and so far ( fingers crossed), everything is going fine. I've had a mid sized silver dollar, pleco, Bala shark, sucking loach and 3 gouramis for a month or 2 now. yesterday i <I> added 5 tiger barbs and 3 swordtail/platies. <Mmm... some of the other fishes may go after this last...> Yesterday all was fine but this evening one of the what now seems to be a platy rather than a swordtail ( i think from looking at net pics), is non stop nipping at the gouramis. It seems to be biting or kissing it for want of a better term. Is this normal or will it cause the gouramis problems. <Might be trouble if persistent> i'm <I'm> confused as from what research i've <...> done on the net, platies are supposed to be peaceful easy to keep fish, but this little bugger is causing me dramas. <Perhaps a "rogue" individual... Happens... Can often be cured of this habit by isolation (in a large net, floating colander...) for a few days... or the addition of more members of the opposite sex> I'm not 100% what type of gourami i have. Looking at the pics on the net and your site, the look pretty much like dwarf Gourami. <There are several "sports" of Colisa lalia...> Would this make a difference to their compatibility? <Could...> Thanks for your time on this Lee <Bob Fenner>

Two male platies together   1/16/07 Hello: <Hi there> I have a 29 gallon tank with perfectly clean water that is changed every week. <Mmm, not all of it I trust/hope> I used to have six male platies, thinking that if no females were around they would not be aggressive, but they killed my two male guppies. Four platies died quickly, and I think it was aggression. Two are left and since the four died I got 18 neon tetras plus I always had about six Corydoras catfish. The two platies that are left hide most of the time now and seem overwhelmed. <By?> I have an empty 5 gallon tank and I am thinking of putting the two platies in there alone together with plants and a little cave, but my spouse says that with less room things would get bad between them. I am wondering if the smaller tank would be better for them or should I just find a way to get rid of them?? Thank You!!! <I think they'll be fine here with the plants as you state. Bob Fenner> Platy Aggression Help: Not covered. Goldfish incomp.   7/29/06 Hello! I have a question that I couldn't find answered on this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platybehfaqs.htm --and if it's else where, I feel out of luck, I haven't been able to find anything at all about this (Maybe I'm using the wrong search words? *laughs*) I would greatly appreciate some input. (In other words, I would really, really, really love help) Forgive me if I over explain below, I figured more info might help obtain a better answer... <Hotay> I have 2 female platies, and 2 males. They don't fight with each other- luckily; 1 male sticks with 1 female. This is my first time having platies, I realize now the ratio is messed up, (thanks for that go to the store that sold them to me) but that's not the problem. The 4 of them really are fine with each other, hardly any chasing, the males just always tag along with their chosen girl, and in a month I had already seen fry- The problem is that the females, and the females alone, have recently started aggressively harassing my very fat bellied, round, fancy goldfish. <... these fishes shouldn't be mixed together> I'm, sadly, unsure of the type but, they're very slow moving and I have 2 in the tank. I doubt it matters much, but one of them is fully white and the other one is orange and white- these goldfish are about 3 times the size of the platies (and growing) and don't bother any of the other fish (I've always had great luck keeping gold fish with other community tropicals. <Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshcompfaqs.htm> They always just seem like the silly stupid dogs of the group, happily looking for food in the gravel) The only problem I've ever had with fish, besides the occasional human error accident, is that I've never had much luck keeping guppies alive for more than a few months, I think my water has always been too soft or something. I digress: Why on earth are my female platies being "evil"? <Hard to say, state... want the goldfish to move out of the way? It's too tasty to resist?> They're really plowing into my goldfish- even from the other side of the tank. They don't let up, even when my goldfish are on their fastest slow little run. This isn't just a, "Move out of my way! I want that algae tablet," kind of thing. (Because the girls do that too, but I don't blame 'em there.) I know most people don't keep goldfish with other fish- so this might be a hard one for me to find good advice on. The tank I have now is a 20 gallon long, it has a UVB florescent reptile light that the plants love, <Neat> moderately filled with leafy and fluffy live plants, it has these plastic mangrove roots that offer large hiding areas under them, pea sized gravel, some larger rocks, massive amounts of circulation/filtration (under gravel filter, a very small bubble screen, a Fluval 1, and a out of tank turtle filter that uses several levels of carbon and other filtration- the fish and plants seem to love it all) The ammonia is always at 0ppm, the Ph is normally around 6.4 (it fluxed some in the beginning, but always between 6.4 and 7.2), no nitrites or nitrates. I just added some coral and sea salt today that took the ph up to 7 (where I think I wanted it.) It's soft water and the temp in the house is 78 (hot here) with no heating in the tank (don't know the tank temp. is, hoping you have some magical mathematical way of figuring this out if it might matter.) But it feels sort of cool, nice, to the touch. It has the 2 goldfish, 3 ghost catfish (glass fish? also new to me), 1 Cory cat, 2 danio's, 5 neon's, 4 platies, and 1 guppy that's been 1/2 dead for a month- (the others got tail rot, or something, from the store I think -which is lovely- but this one survived it.) This is a newer tank, I've only had it set up for 2-3 months, but everything has been peachy -Until- I went out of town for a week, my boyfriend fed the fish a lot more than I do (but the ammonia stayed at 0 is seems) and I can't figure out anything else that would have changed. They get flake food, about 2 pinches a day, and algae tablets here and there (for the Cory, the others just get to it before him usually)- I make sure I see everyone eat but I don't believe they are over or under fed. The more gravid one is much more aggressive than the less gravid one, but they both still bite and chase often. This did not happen when one was very gravid before. Everything was fine, it had babies, then got pregnant again. (and yes, I'm 100% on which are girls and which are boys ;) The platies are now in a temp. cage. I don't want to put them back in with the others yet, I want to try to understand what's going on before I decide on doing anything else. I've always had tanks with goldfish, danios, neon tetras, angelfish (weirdly enough, they got along) Cory cats, and even sometimes guppies in them -all together, & in tanks some might consider crowded- (I had that whole list in just a 10 gallon when I was growing up- they all live forever too -the two angel fish even bred. It had those 2 angels, 5 Neons, 2 goldfish, 2 danios, 5 guppies, and 1 Cory- *laughs*) I don't consider this new tank crowded by my previous standards. They seem to have plenty of room and even their own areas if they've wanted to claim one. They're just the kind of fish I like and it's seem to have worked well enough for me before. But, like I said- this is my first time with platies, and my first community problem. -Just wanted to give an idea of my background with fish. Very few of mine, except guppies, and even ones bought sickly, ever die on me- even after years and years. (it's always their new caretakers when I have to move, *chuckles*) Thanks again, especially for your time. ~Monica <The goldfish really has to be moved into other quarters... Platies like about the same water chemistry, but can tolerate much warmer water longer... goldfish are "dirty" to a large degree... Not compatible with tropicals. Bob Fenner> Platy Fry versus other fish!  7/23/06 Greetings <<Hello to you, Steve. Tom here.>> I'm a relative newcomer to the fishy world, and as I couldn't find an answer on your site that suited my circumstances, just had to email you. <<Does happen, Steve. Glad you wrote.>> I have a established 54 litre planted and graveled tank with ammonia, nitrites and nitrates seemingly under control - and it appears that my Platys agree as two of my three females have given birth.   <<Congratulations...I hope. :)>> To make matters a little more interesting, my Platys have a few larger tank mates, namely Flymo (a six inch Synodontis Eupterus) and Finsbury who is a slightly aggressive Angel Fish. <<Oh, yeah. This does, indeed, make things "interesting". Two fairly large, territorial species in a 54L tank, alone, would make things interesting enough.>> I've now got 60 Platy fry lurking in a breeding trap net who are beginning to look a little overcrowded, so I need to know how old/how big they should be before I can release them into the main tank (unfortunately limited space in a shared house means I cannot have a second tank to rear the babies so they have to stay in the net in the main tank). <<The only help I can give you here, Steve, is to recommend that you find a new home for the little ones. No way in the world can your 54L tank support this many fish. Even if they don't become "lunch" and, they don't drive your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels through the roof, at about three months of age, or so, they're going to want to start doing some breeding of their own. I'd predict that you'd lose the entire lot, the Syno and Angelfish probably included. Now, it's not unheard of that your local fish store(s) may very well be interested in a supply of healthy, juvenile Platys. Provided that you don't come off as being extremely desperate to "unload" your fish, you might be able to strike up some type of business arrangement that will beneficial for all concerned. In any case, you've got to lower your livestock levels soon.>> Please help! Regards Steve Couchman <<Best of luck, Steve. Tom>>

Re: Platy Fry versus other fish!   7/24/06 Greetings (and thanks to Tom for a quick reply) <<Hello again, Steve.>> I've attached the original email (and your response) for your reference. <<<From us "editors", THANK YOU for doing so.  -Sabrina>>> Firstly, yes, I will be getting rid of most - if not all - the babies to my local fish store. <<Excellent!>> However, my problem (which I may not have made clear) is that my little breeding net is going to be getting fairly cramped for the baby platys and I want to get some of the older ones out of the net and into the main tank until they are big enough to be sold on. 36 of the fry are just over a month old, the others a few days; how old/how big should they be before I put them in the tank to avoid losing them all to the Syno and Angel? <<Even the "monthlings" are still too young to deal with your larger fish but you could try inserting a tank divider that would give the larger fry more room without placing them in harm's way. This would have the added benefit of letting you observe any overt "predatory" behavior from the Angelfish, especially, without creating problems for the maturing fry. Depending on how mature your Angelfish and Syno are, they might be fairly uninterested from the beginning but absent some "direct experimentation", I see the divider as a good, interim move.>> As of my last check, ammonia levels were very low (with 36 fry in the tank) and has never been up to .25. <<This is one area that you're going to have to stay on top of, Steve. Fry, of any type, need the highest water quality you can provide. Anything less than "pristine" - in the truest sense of the word - is going to make them susceptible. Even when kept in a separate breeding tank, small water changes every couple of days might be necessary.>> I look forward to hearing from you soon. Regards Steve <<I hope all continues to go well, Steve. Tom>>

Platy vs. Betta   3/25/06 Hi, I have a male Betta in a 10 gallon tank and I just bought 2 platys 2 weeks ago, a male (he's yellow) and a female (a Mickey mouse). The guy who sold me the fish didn't tell me they could have so many babies, now my female platy looks pregnant but the thing is, I don't really want the babies because I don't have time to take care of them. Also, I've read that Bettas will eat the babies plays, is that true? <Yes... all he can catch...> My second problem is that my Betta is being very aggressive with my male platy and the male platy is being very aggressive with my female platy. What should I do? Mel <Mmm, maybe try adding some decor items... live and faux plants, a castle perhaps... Things to visually break up the environment... If no obvious damage is being done, I would not be overly concerned otherwise. Bob Fenner>

Gourami - Platy mix  - 1/30/2006     Hi crew!   If this question has already been answered, I'm really sorry! I am a newbie fish keeper, with a 10 gallon tank. I have a Rena Filstar i1 filter, a light and a heater. (Both Aquarian/Rena.) I have 3 Fish: Minnie , Mickey and Pluto, <Good names!> all Mickey Mouse Platies, (1 male, 2 female) which I added after two weeks of cycling. <Hope this was long enough> There are a few live plants, although I'm not really sure what type they are; I was advised by my local aquatics store. I also have a piece of bogwood, washed carefully before use. I have now had the tank running for about four weeks, and the Platies have settled in nicely. I did a lot of research before purchasing the tank etc. My first question is about my water. I have done a water change a week after buying the Platies, one yesterday (both about 25% - 30% ; should I be doing more?) <Mmm, no... or not likely. Please see WWM... and learn to use the indices, search tool: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2ochgs.htm> and am about to do one today. I do not have a test kit, as the store said they would test the water for me when I go back on Saturday. Is this bad? <It's not as good as having your own kits... some parameters (e.g. ammonia) are transient... change quickly... while the water sample is being transported...> Should I buy/have bought a test kit? <Oh! Yes> My water looked a little yellow before I changed it yesterday - could this be the bogwood? <Definitely, yes> I washed it before I put it in: letting it soak for 24 hours then scrubbing it. Is this going to affect my fish? <Can, yes... the decomposition can lead to drift in pH (downward)... for instance... too much, too fast can be trouble... Only time, experience can/will tell though... regular maintenance, sufficient alkalinity in your source water... may keep in sufficient check> I have looked at them carefully, and they seem to be OK, swimming around, eating well etc. The do not seem to have Popeye, gasping at the surface etc. Should I be doing a water change more regularly? What should I do? <Perhaps some activated carbon in your filter flow path...> I've only had the little guys for about 2 weeks, but am already very attached to them, and I don't want to make them ill.   My second question is about mixing Platies with other fish. I would really like to have a pair of Dwarf Gouramis in there. Would that be OK? <Should be, yes>   Thanks for your very useful website! It has been of endless use to me in starting my new hobby. (which I love!) I have bought two books on keeping fish and got some from the library, but none of them have as much information as this site, and although some of them go into complex water chemistry, none of them answer all of the simple questions that I need the answer to! This is the Holy Grail of the fish keeping world! From a newbie fishkeeper.   P.S sorry I did not send this from your site; I could not get it to work! <No worries. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Platy Getting Beat Up   1/7/06 Hello, My name is Heather and I have a red wagtail platy in my tank.  She is being attacked by another one of my fish (I don't know which one) on her tail.  I don't want to leave her in the tank another day to be beaten on, but the only other tank I have doesn't have an air supply.  Will she be okay in the airless tank, or should I buy her a new one? Help! Thanks, Heather < Get a breeder net used to house female livebearers away from the rest of the tank to give birth to their babies. They are inexpensive and can be placed in your existing tank. Check with the local fish store I am sure they will have one.-Chuck>

Platy baby help  9/27/05 First off, your website is a lifesaver (fish saver?) to someone who did not have a clue what she was doing with her aquarium.  <Thanks!  We all start somewhere.>  I think I've read almost all your info on starting new aquariums with live bears.  <Wow!  Great!>  On to my question.   What I am pretty sure are three female platies have apparently dropped fry in my 30 gallon tank.  I know that they could have been pregnant when I bought them but that was five months ago! <They can store sperm for up to 6 months.  Now that your tank is in better shape, maybe one decided it was time to make more.>  Now I don't know how many they had because I have only found one.  Is it possible for them to just have one fry, or were there others that are now eaten/dead.  <Either is a possibility.>  I thought I was paying close attention to the tank and I think I would have seen lots of babies.  <You probably would have seen *lots*, but just a few can easily escape notice, especially if they are hiding.>  I don't really have much "cover", just three large leafy plastic plants and two caves.  I transplanted baby in a one gallon tank with bubbler but no filtration.  <That's okay if you do water changes daily.  I've had better luck in breeder nets or just letting the little fellow hide.  Feed him crushed flakes several times a day.  I'd also put some plant matter in for cover (like Elodea) and be sure the tank is heated.>  He/she is bright orange, not see-thru, and a little bigger then a grain of rice.  Is there any way to guess how old he/she is based on that info?  <My guess is a few days to a week.>  Okay, last question, if we get any more "surprises" how many babies can we keep in our tank when grown: 30 gallon with large carbon filter and air stone bar as long as the tank <Wow, lots of water movement.  Is the 30 gallon a 'waterfall' hang-off-the-back-type?> Water conditions within normal limits but needs monitored frequently due to quick deterioration.  <Normal should be 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and less than 20 nitrates.  You aren't overstocked, so unless you are overfeeding, your tank shouldn't get bad quickly.> 3 male mollies 3 female platies <Your mollies may pick on your platies quite a bit.  You have room for several more fish in your tank.  When you can't keep the nitrates under 20 without doing more than 10-20% water changes weekly, you are slightly overstocked.> Thank you for your patience with this newcomer!  <Thanks for your questions!>  None of my fish would have survived if it wasn't for you website.  I won't even subject you to the number of beginner's mistakes I made! <The important thing is you're asking questions now and are learning.> Thank you, Kara <Hope it helps, Catherine>

Aggressive Red Mickey Mouse Platy Hi there!  This is my first try with tropical fish.  I bought a Red Mickey Mouse Platy, a Marble Molly and a Glass fish.  After 3 days, the molly died (it didn't appear to be eating anything).  I went back to the pet store and was told both the mollies and platys need to school (why couldn't they have told me that when I bought them, after I told them I was a novice?).  So, I bought another 2 platys.  The two (I think they are the males) began chasing and victimizing the female. <Better to have just one male, and two or more females. The males have a gonopodium, a modified anal fin (up under the belly) that is pointed looking, serves as an intromittent organ. Trade one of the males in for another female> She started hiding to try to get away from them.  She died yesterday.  Today, one of the platys appears to be doing the same thing to the other one.  My question is, WHAT is going on?  I thought they were supposed to be a peaceful fish .  I don't know if I have an overly aggressive male.  I don't know what to do with them.  Should I take out the aggressive one? <I would trade it in for a female> Will he start attacking the Glass Fish?  What kinds of fish can I put in my 10 gallon aquarium that will survive my nasty Platy?  If you could give me any advice I would deeply appreciate it. Thank you.   Laura <Please read through the freshwater livestock coverage here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm I would try some of the smaller Danios, Rasboras, Barbs. Bob Fenner>

Tasty Tail Thank you very much for being so helpful with my last question! <You bet!> Unfortunately I now  have a new one.  Last night I discovered one of my platies had had about a third of his tail bitten off. He is my most aggressive fish so I think he probably was harassing my Betta; normally the Betta is very peaceful but there's only so much he can take. Anyway, I'm worried about my poor fish and I wonder what I can do to help him heal? I have already added stress coat and I always keep aquarium salt in the water, although I could probably add more. <Maintain excellent water quality and watch closely for any signs of bacterial infection setting in.  If the fish is in good health and the water is healthy, he'll probably be fine.  Keep an eye on the Betta, as well, and consider separating him from the other fish if he's too aggressive for them.> I usually feed TetraMin flakes and freeze-dried blood worms.  Thanks again for all your help! <Hope your platy has a quick recovery!  -Sabrina>

Platys & Goldfish 11/03/03 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I'm so glad to have found your site and hope that you will help me make a decision.  For the past six years I've maintained a 340 gallon agricultural water tank on my patio, with a population of eleven goldfish.  One fish is about eight inches long (not including his gorgeous fan tail!) and the others are "new" additions (comets) about a year ago and average three to four inches.   Prior, I kept two koi with the goldfish, but within a week, both made jumping exits from the tank.  Sigh...   <Sorry to hear that.  There's no way to cover the tank?> The tank has a large filter and an immense Louisiana iris as a biological filter.   There are calm, "protected" areas around the plant and a vigorous flow from the filter on one side.  I live in south Florida, so I've never used heaters. The tank is set for optimum water conditions/chemistry for the goldfish.  My question is: may I add eight platys to the tank?  I've kept the platys in a tank in a house for eight months and they are healthy.  A family member is moving in, so I can't keep the platy tank in our former guest room. <Most fish are predatory & will eat another fish that will fit into its mouth.  Although goldfish do prefer a great deal of plant food, I think it is up to you, how much the platys really mean to your chancing them being goldfish food.  Larger fish (especially much larger) tend to pick on little ones.> Thank you in advance for your expert advice on whether I should risk the platys with the goldfish.  Best regards, Celestine <Your tank sounds wonderful.  I hoped I helped with your decision--Pufferpunk>

Aggressive male Platies. Cleaner crew. Thank you so much for your help.  It's great to have someone so knowledgeable answer my questions in such detail and so quickly! I don't know how I could have missed this web site for the last 1year! Thanks again <No Problem, I'm glad we can be of assistance.> By the way, I was going to get a Pleco to help clean up the waste of the tank and buildup of the yuckies, but seeing that I have overcrowding already, will my glass catfish eat from the bottom?  I haven't seen him do it though. <Your glass catfish really won't clean like a Pleco would.  I would think about adding a few large snails... They really clean the glass and substrate quite well, and don't have that much of an effect on the bioload of the tank.  Think of them as the janitors of the tank. I have seen my guppies pick up food from the bottom however. <If you want to add a fish that is like a Pleco but without the size and mess, then I say you should look at Otocinclus.  It's a cute little fish, they stay small and do a great job on cleaning.  Often called "Otos", they are the little sucker fish that ever seems to over look.  They do great in tropical tanks, and don't get large.  Not to mention, they are pretty cute little fish.   here is a website devoted to them. http://www.otocinclus.com/  

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