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FAQs on Platy Diseases/Health Page 1

Related Articles: Platies, Poeciliid Fishes, Livebearing Freshwater Fishes

Related FAQs: Platy Disease 2, Platy Disease 3, Platy Disease 4, Platy Disease 5, Platy Health 6, Platy Health 7, Platy Health 8, Platy Health 9, Platy Health 10, Platy Health 11, & Platies 1, Platies 2, Platy Identification, Platy Behavior, Platy Compatibility, Platy Selection, Platy Systems, Platy Feeding, Platy Reproduction, Livebearers, Guppies, Swordtails, Mollies

Healthy livebearer tank except for my platies  9/3/05 Hello fish folks- <Hello healthy livebearer... or is that your fishes?> I did as much digging as my toddler would let me through your archives and didn't find quite the same situation that I have. Here's the deal.  I have a 100G tank that contains an 8-member brilliant rasbora school, and the rest of the fish are livebearers: 3 blue-spot platies, 2 red wag platies, an untold number of red tuxedo platies descended from 3 original adults (all now deceased), 1 silver molly and some babies, 3 gold dust mollies and some babies, and 4 gold and red velvet swordtails and their babies (very few swordtail babies compared to the other species, tho).  I guesstimate that there are about 50-60 fish in there.  They have adequate filtration (AquaClear 110: 500gph), a bit of algae growing on some very healthy java fern to eat, and many, many places to hide amongst the plants, rocks, and wood decorations (all bought from fish stores so I know they're safe, I hope).  I have tried to maintain a salt level of one tablespoon to 5 gallons of water, and I always use AmQuel.  Generally the tank is busy and healthy. So what's my problem?  My platies are dying.  They develop large white patches that do not resemble any fungus that I've experienced (been keeping fish for about 7 years now) nor are they from ich.  The red tuxedos were the first to go, tho they showed no sign of disease other than staying in corners with their fins clamped.  However, the 3 adults produced at least 20 babies before they died: perhaps they were near the end of their lives.  That doesn't explain some of the juveniles showing white patches and dying, tho: some juvies die without showing the patches.  The red wag platies show the white patches the most.  The blue spot platies aren't showing any physical symptoms of disease, but they don't look happy: one is on the bottom under a rock with its fins clamped.  If she's a female, she could be birthing, but I can't tell from my angle. Every other fish in the tank is fine, although I did have my adult speckled silver molly spontaneously die yesterday.  I did read an article at The Krib (or at least, my printed archive of it) that said that tuxedo platies are prone to tumors.  Could this be the problem?  A species-specific malady? <Much more likely conditions (environmental) that favor the other life, disfavor the platies... the salt for instance is of use to the mollies, not harmful at this concentration to the rasboras or Java Fern, but disliked by the swords, platies> Any help you could offer would be most welcome.  Thanks in advance. Antares, worried fishkeeper <Am concerned enough to mention the possibility of "Columnaris Disease"... please search this on the Net, and consider the addition of the antibiotic Neomycin sulfate to the fishes' foods, along with vitamin supplementation. Bob Fenner>

Platies, not ich, medicating...  8/27/05 I have 1 male Mickey mouse Platy and 3 females. This week, the male has white spot on his tail. <Just on the tail? Not likely ich> I gave him the Icy medications. The white spot has gone but he is still very sick. Sink at the bottom of the tank and his body is very slim and flat. Please advise what I can do for him. Thank you so much! Regards, Jade Lam <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdis3setsfactors.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Is my platy bloated or pregnant?  08/08/2005 Hi, I recently (about 1 month ago) got 2 platies. I thought that I had gotten 2 males, only (I think) I got one female and one male. <Easy enough to sex...> I'm not sure if my (female?) platy is pregnant, or just bloated. It is pretty big, and it has a blackish spot near its anal fin, only the scales on its back are sticking up a bit. This is my first fish tank, and I've only had it for about 1 month and a half. I have 2 platys, 1 guppy (female), 2 catfish, and 1 molly. I had 3 guppies (2 females and 1 male) but I gave one male and one female away because my tank was too small for them. My one guppy was pregnant before, but seeing as it was my first fish that was pregnant, I didn't know what to do and left it there. When I looked at it about a week later, it was back to being skinny, and I'm assuming all the little fish had been eaten. I would like as many fish as possible to survive this time. Pretending it's not pregnant, what would I do to cure it? And how can I even tell if it IS bloated or not? Thanks (in advance) for your help! Emily Smythe <Please read here re platies: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Is my platy pregnant or bloated? - more information  08/08/2005 Sorry to e-mail you again! <No worries> I just went up and looked at my platy and I'm pretty sure it's not pregnant.... There isn't any black on it (there was, but there aren't any baby platys in the tank, and it hasn't gotten smaller) and its scales are sticking up. Also, it's back fin (sorry, I don't know what it's called) is drooping down. I think it's bloated, but it's acting fine and it's eating well. I only feed it flake food though, and I'm not sure if that's part of the problem. I'm sure you've answered this somewhere before, but.... **sorry** I couldn't really find anything. <Again, not a problem. See the linked files from your previous post> So, sorry if you HAVE answered this, but if it is bloated, how can I make it better? One last question (sorry, I've been asking a lot of questions): If I treat it like it's bloated, but really it's pregnant, will it hurt the babies? Thanks a lot! (and sorry for not getting this all the first time!) Emily Smythe <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Platy non-illness 8/11/05 Hi there! <Hello!> Thank you so much for the help that you gave me last e-mail! I'm currently medicating my platy, and I do hope that she'll get better soon! <Me too> In the last e-mail I sent to you, I didn't know whether my platy (Tam'ra) was bloated, had dropsy, or was pregnant, but as of yesterday, I found out. It would appear that I moved a pregnant platy into a hospital tank... Only that platy ALSO had dropsy!! Yesterday she gave birth to at least 5 little babies (I couldn't see any more than 5, but I could've easily been wrong) <Ah, yes... why I shy on the side of caution in suggesting the use of "medicines" here... very, very often, these treatments cause harm> Now, though, I'm in a bit of a predicament.... The babies aren't being eaten my Momma (which is good, I guess, though it's bad that she doesn't feel well enough to be up to it) so I still have all of them from the birth. My problem is that I don't want the baby fish getting dropsy! They're too little and invisible to see, much less move, and if I move the mum, then the babies will still be in the contaminated tank! I'd have to clean it out with the babies in it, which leads me to another problem... <Not likely the fry will develop dropsical condition/s> My hospital tank is only 2.5G (very small, I know) and it's JUST big enough to get the vacuum started, with just the mom in there, who I can see and is big enough to move out of the way. I don't know how to clean the tank though, without hurting the babies. Any help on this would be great!! Thanks, Emily Smythe <I would remove the parent... let the young grow up to a larger size> P.S. It would seem that Tam'ra is getting better... Without the medication, she wasn't eating, but she's gotten her appetite back and is swimming around a bit and not just lying on the floor of the tank! Thanks for the help with that! <Real good. Bob Fenner> Not reading WWM, Instructions on writing us, FW Ich 8/6/05 Hello. I've found this website a week ago and I find the info very helpful. I have a 20 gallon tank and I do 50% water changes once a week. My Platies keep getting Ick. When I see them with the spots, I move them to a 5 gallon hospital tank to treat them. They eat well. I feed them brine shrimp and flakes. This is the second time they've got Ick. What should I do? Any info would be helpful. Thanks a bunch. -Dung <Read, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files at top. Bob Fenner> Red Platy A Loner? 7/22/05 Greetings. I have read your site with interest, and find it a tremendous resource. <Thanks, I've been reading it 5+ years, and the amount of info here never ceases to amaze me.  I'm just glad to add a bit to the pool, if I can> After reading over the advice given previously to others about Platy aggression, I returned one of my two males to the LFS, as I was unable to add any females of the species to the tank for fear of overcrowding. While this is not a pressing query, I would like your opinion about whether the remaining Platy is happy: After I removed the aggressor, the Platy came out from hiding, swims about the tank most of the day, mingles with the White Clouds, is eating heartily, and seems to enjoy swimming past a small plastic "imitation Platy" I placed in the tank. Could a single Platy actually be content, or am I reading contentment into his actions? Perhaps all the swimming and eating is actually unhappy behavior. I've asked him if he's happy, but so far, no reply. *winks* <While it would probably prefer some more platys, especially female platys *wink back at ya* it should live a long and happy life without company of the same species.  And yes, I do hate how platys give their owners "the silent treatment"; biting the hand that feeds it seems to me!> Thank you. <My pleasure> <M. Maddox>  

Cricket my platy has Popeye 7/22/05 Hey crew, <Jennifer> I have a red female platy named Cricket who has developed Popeye.   I am not sure why? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/popeyefaqs.htm> I test my water 2x a weeks and all is in the norm. I think she may have ran into something while I was trying to get my red male out of the tank. <Possibly> (he is small about 1 inch but very aggressive and picks relentlessly on my blue sail fin undetermined sex platy) Anyways deep tank, lots of hornwort and short net stick working against me in the battle to capture him <A good idea to have, use two nets...> and put him in his new 5 gallon tank.  After he was out I noticed she was sitting under the bog wood where she stayed barely coming out for 3 days.  I noticed while feeding her on the second day that her eyes where looking a bit strange. On the third day I took her out and put her in a 10g naked hospital tank, I started treating with Maracyn two since both eyes were swollen then on the third day I realized that the meds said expire 7-05! <Mmm, don't let this throw you>   So I changed 80% of the water and started the meds all over.  She is now on  her third day of the new Maracyn two treatments with no improvement it actually looks worse in one eye now.   I don't know what to do?  After I finish the Maracyn treatments should I try Epsom salt? <I would, yes> Someone told me that they used JungleLabs fizz tabs for fungus and Popeye with success, should I try that? <I would just use the Epsom> She has still been eating but has not been active since the night I moved the male. I really don't know what to do since I don't know what the cause is.  I have two other adult platies in the main tank along with several (maybe 25) ranging in size from 1 and a half cm.s to a little over a half cm.  All seem healthy including my three deformed fry. Please help me! I hate having to euthanize my fish. Also after reading your FAQ section I see that Popeye can last for a very long time?  Why is that? <Latent damage to the eye/s... trapped gas at times> Is it painful for the fish?   <Mmm, I don't know. Doesn't appear to be> If it was because of a bacteria wouldn't she be getting better from the antibiotics and not worse? <Not particularly... just as with human health, there are bacteria that are susceptible to some antibiotics, but not to all> Please help, I get very frantic when my fish get ill, I am starting to be afraid to look at her for fear of seeing her eye burst or something, I really do not want her to suffer and will not let it get that far, so I am just trying to help her out as much as I can now. BTW,  today her water tested: Nitrate- about 10 Nitrite - 0 pH     - 7.5 Thanks in advance, I really hope she makes it! <Me too. Bob Fenner>
Sorry I forgot to add the picture.  It was taken with a camera phone so the quality is not great but it is fairly clear.  This picture is from yesterday 8 days after the male was removed, today one eye looks a little worse. <Welcome. BobF>

Question re cycling (& tragic platy death) 7/16/05 My 9 year old daughter has set up a 55 gallon freshwater tank after reading an adult book on tropical fish (proud mom here - she read it, reread parts, talked about it in great detail, made a compelling case for why a 20 gallon aquarium was not a good beginner tank, relinquished her allowance for the foreseeable future to pay for the new tank, and carefully researched what kind of stocking scheme she wanted - end of proud mom).  To jumpstart cycling, she took a BioWheel and filter cartridge from my long-established, cycled tank (goldfish, not tropical, but the water tests on the goldfish tank were always perfect - no ammonia or nitrites, low nitrates, stable pH).  We let my daughter's tank run for 2 days, during which time the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates were at 0 and the pH was at 7.4. <Two days... not long enough... not cycled>   The temperature was a stable 78F.  We then got 6 sunburst platies from a large chain store.  These were recommended by an aquarist (not at the unnamed chain store) as good fish for cycling a tank, <Uh, no> as they are supposed to be less sensitive to tank nitrogen.  We very carefully acclimated the fish to the new tank by putting it in a gallon aquarium with their existing water and adding 1/2 cup of aquarium water ever 5-10 minutes until the fish were in water that was 75% aquarium water, then netted them quickly into the aquarium and tossed the old water out. <Actually... if these are/were the only/new fish, adding the shipping water would have been better/recommended> She tested the water a few hours after the fish were put in, chemistry stable.  Same thing after 18 hours, except that one fish had died.  We returned the fish to the chain store, got a new one, came home to discover that 3 more fish had died.  She retested the water and found ammonia at .25 ppm, nitrites, nitrates, pH and temperature unchanged.   We then did a more than 50% water change, making sure that the temperature of the new water exactly matched the temperature of the tank.   <Too much change... forestalling establishment of cycling> We did not treat the water, since we have lovely non-chlorinated water from an artesian well.  One of the 2 surviving original fish has a large white fuzzy patch on his body just in front of his tail, and I am not optimistic about his chances, although his swimming and activity level seem fine). My daughter is upset, and I am annoyed at myself for getting fish at a chain store, since there seems to be no reason that I can discern for the fish to die except for stress related to possible poor conditions in the shipping and in-store care. <You are likely right here... the biggest/bigger part of the problem here is likely the initial (lack of) quality of the platies> I'd appreciated any ideas... Antonia <At this point I'd just leave the remaining fish in the 55, feed sparingly and hope for the best. No need, use for "medicines", or water changes lest the ammonia or nitrite exceed 1.0 ppm... and then no more than 25% in any given day/period. Please read here re cycling: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. I encourage you, your daughter to quarantine all new livestock... this is discussed on WWM as well. Bob Fenner> Re: Question re cycling (and tragic platy death) - additional info 7/16/05 For what it's worth, I wanted to add that we have a Penguin 350 BioWheel filter, no real plants, and rinsed the aquarium thoroughly and drained it before refilling. Antonia <Mmm, okay... you might benefit from the addition of some simple, floating plant material at this juncture. Bob Fenner> Re: Question re cycling (and tragic platy death) - additional info #2 7/16/05 Oh, and we haven't been feeding the fish, having read that fish do fine without food for a couple of days and that feeding should be extremely cautious until one is certain the tank is cycled properly.  Great site. Antonia <Ah, good. BobF>

Re: Question re cycling (& tragic platy death) 7/18/05 I asked earlier about cycling and my daughter's new platy tank.  Just wanted to let you know that the water chemistry is stable, with ammonia etc. at 0 and no more water changes, the platys are swimming happily, and the one with the white stuff appears to be healing. <Ah, good>   Thanks for your useful advice and for reassuring my daughter that the biggest problem was probably the condition of the fish from the chain store.  She was very upset that she might have done something to kill the fish, which, given the stable water chemistry, seemed relatively unlikely to me. Antonia <Thank you for this follow-up. Bob Fenner>

Platy in stress? 7/12/05 I have a female platy (sunset variety) who has been healthy and has given birth to 3 fry. Over the last 2 weeks she has lost her round belly, even though she eats at all feedings, and it seems she has to continually swim to remain her equilibrium. When she stops, she drops to the bottom. I have a 20 gallon heated (78-80F) and filtered tank and I change approx 20% of the water (I filter it first) every month. <I'd step up your water changing routine to once weekly> Other (healthy) tank citizens include 1 Chinese algae eater, 2 Cory cats, the platys' mate and the 3 fry. All, save the fry, have been in the tank for almost a year. Thanks for your help. Captain Lee Zdanowicz <Mmm, it may be that your female platy is "just old" (am feeling like this more and more, yikes)... But I would try bolstering its health with the addition of meaty foods (if you're doing so already)... Live or frozen/defrosted, or dried, freeze-dried crustaceans, worms, insect larvae of smaller than mouth size. Bob Fenner> Re: platy in stress? Thanks for the reply. You may be right about her being old. I've had her almost a year and no telling how old she was when I got her. Thanks again. Lee Z. <Always hard to tell... but the common livebearers sold in the hobby (platies, guppies, mollies, swords...) do only live a few years... Bob Fenner>

Platy Disease? 7/11/05 G'day. <And to you> I've been using your site for quite a while, and while it's usually the solution, I can't seem to solve my latest problem.   My problem tank is 72 gallons, and has about 20 platies, a guppy, 4 clown loaches, some Corys and 4 dwarf gouramis.  All the water parameters are normal and the temperature is set at 26 degrees Centigrade (about 79 degrees Fahrenheit).  There is a low salt concentration.  The fish are fed flakes, skinless boiled peas and irradiated frozen bloodworms regularly. Here's the problem: There are some white patches appearing on the body and tail of some of the platies.  They began the size of a scale, but have grown - one is about the size of a hole in a binder book.  At first I used a multi cure, thinking it was the early stages of a fungus, but that didn't work.  The patches didn't seem to bother anyone so I left it alone.  In about a month, the patches appeared on some other platies, so I asked a LFS and they prescribed a fungal cure (all of these cures have been malachite green and formalin solutions). <Good clue> This had no effect, so I took an infected fish to another LFS, who is nearing retirement after 30 years in the same store.  He said he'd never come across the problem in all his years, and that otherwise the fish seemed fine.  About 6 weeks after the first signs, a large platy with the biggest patch on the flesh of her tail has become very sluggish, avoiding swimming where possible.   <Another revealing item> So far, there have been no casualties, though I would love to get rid of the patches incase it does prove fatal.  The marks are like a spot of white paint, though they look like a loss of pigmentation when examined very closely or on a fish out of water.   Any help would be greatly appreciated, Jimmy. <Without microscopic examination a determinate evaluation is difficult, but this does sound like a case/scenario of "Columnaris"... I would treat your fishes with Neomycin Sulfate... if you could through their foods... Please read here re making your own antibiotic laced foods: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm My next best guess is that your platies have a fluke problem... trematodes... Do you have access to a microscope? Something in the few hundred power will be necessary for the bacteria... Bob Fenner>

Re: Platy Disease?   Part 3   8/19/05 G'day again.   I'm still having trouble with my 72 gallon tank. I ended up using a microscope (not research grade) to have a rough look at the white spots.  I made up a slide with some material from a live fish (he was real impressed...) and stained it with iodine.  The structure of the spots appears to be ruptured skin cells but there also seems to be a fungi growing randomly. <Could be secondary...> I assumed it was a fungal strain resistant to the chemicals I was using, so I put a heap of salt in the treatment tank 'cause good old salt cures everything.  The salt did the job and the white gave way on one of my best looking platies (before the disease), revealing a bad wound.  The wound she has is so deep in her side, her spine is visible.  I'm amazed he hasn't died yet.  Despite all the salt in her tank (9 gallon, no substrate, whisper filter, no cartridge - they contain carbon, sponge over intake) the white spread back over his wound and the surrounding area. The worst part of this disease is how fast it propagates.  I went away last weekend and one of my infected platies had a new white patch, about 1.5cm tall and 1cm across.  I don't like to think what's happening under the white.  In the majority of cases it goes for the face above the eyes, just on the top of the fish's head. <Frightening> When one of the fish get one of these patches on them the scales remain, though they ripple and look soft.  The scales also stop reflecting light.  I hope you can help with this problem as it's taken quite a few fish already, if you need anymore information let me know.   <... time to march out the big guns... I would try a mix of antibiotic and anti-fungal... these are discussed on WWM> One last thing, do clown loaches often eat other fish? <Very rarely> I have 4 x 2inch long loaches that I've raised since they were about 1cm.  Recently a large Cory and a large dwarf gourami, who were perfectly healthy and the biggest fish in the tank, went missing.  I saw a loach carrying the remains of the gourami like a dog with a bone a couple of days later. <Very unlikely that the loach actually killed this fish> I give them lots of hiding places, but I don't want to start a black market down there.  I've kept them for years and been suspicious, but everyone says they're so peaceful.   Thanks for your time again. Cheers, Jimmy. <They are my friend. Bob Fenner>

Platy has mystery illness 7/10/05 Hi, <Hello> I've checked all over your site, the WWW and with my LFS, but haven't been able to determine what's wrong with my Platy and what to do about it. When I first got her about 4 months ago she immediately developed an infection (white, stringy feces) which I treated and cured.   <With? How?> She has been fine since then (though possibly somewhat lethargic, and oddly skittish when I approach the tank). <Possibly re the "treatment"> Then, 3 days ago, she developed a really strange symptom.  She has fine strings that look like corn silk hanging from her "chin" (they are probably coming from her gills, but its really hard to tell).  Some strands are as long as 1".  I've quarantined her and started using Fungus Clear for lack of a better idea, but would appreciate any thoughts you have on what I should do to help her. Thanks! <Is bizarre... if you had a simple microscope I'd take a closer look... Am tempted to suggest either an anthelminthic (like Praziquantel) or more general invertebrate-cide like DTHP, lest this be an actual crustacean parasite. Please put these medications names in the Google search tool on WWM and read on. Bob Fenner> Sick Platy 6/31/05 Hello, <Hey, Mike G here> I have a platy mom who has white string like fecal matter coming out of her. <That could be exactly what it is. Constipation often exhibits the symptoms you describe. It could also be an internal parasitic infection, but I doubt it.> I purchased her at a pet store along with two other very fat mommy platy's (Educational summer project for grandson.) What can I do to help her?   She is not doing very well.  All of her fry have died.    <Hmm... I would suggest feeding her boiled peas with the skin removed. (Just the pea mush, in other words). This should help loosen her bowels and, if she is suffering from constipation, should help her a lot. If, in 1 week, she is still exhibiting the same white stringy feces, I would suggest feeding an antiparasitic medicated food. I recommend New Life Spectrum's Thera A.> The other two Moms are doing well.  Will they get sick too? <If it is constipation, doubtful. If it is internal parasites, they could likely already be infected.> It would seem that Granny is going to be the one getting the education. <Hehe... isn't that how it always seems to work out? Best of luck! Mike G>

Vanishing tail fin, illiteracy, WWM I have a male Mickey Mouse platy in a 5 gallon tank with a female neon tetra and a male white cloud. I got the Mickey Mouse two weeks ago and I started noticing about a week ago that his tail was disappearing. it is only along the bottom and it looks like the others are biting him. it's jagged. I've been putting Mela-fix in for the past six days but it isn't helping. the water temp seems fine and the water was just checked and it was also fine. the tank has been running for about two years. what should I do to heal his tail or make the other fish stop biting him? <Is likely an infectious disease. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platydisfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Sick, pregnant Platy? Hello,      I wanted to know if Platies act ill when giving birth?  I have a 10 gallon tank with 4 Platies and 4 neon tetras.  One of the platies is folded in the middle and keeps swimming into the ground then back up to the surface, all the while it's on it's side.  Sometimes it just floats there at the top of the tank on it's side bent in the middle.  What's wrong with it?  I just found 2 fry but I'm not sure which fish it belongs too. Thank you so much, Deborah <This platy is definitely sick, not just pregnant, though they will become more still, reclusive near parturition. Yours is bent from age, nutritional deficiency, water quality issues... possibly genetics and/or infectious disease... Bob Fenner>

Platy with Bent Spine I have 2 platys with bent spines & they swim sideways. i had 1 about a year ago that had this& it died now a year later 3 platys had it they were all bred in the tank. 1 died last week. they seem to want to eat but tire very quickly. now looking tonight i have a baby molly that seems to of developed a bent spine. i checked my water the other day & all was fine. i do a 20% water change once a fortnight & leave the water standing for 24 hours. what am i doing wrong please help >> It is normal for some livebearers to get bent spines. At least a small percentage of them will. Once it has happened there is not much you can do. Most breeders will cull deformed fish like this. Check to see how soft your water is, perhaps your water is very soft, which is sometimes blamed for bent spines, if this is the case you could add some crushed coral to your filter to harden the water. But likely it is in your genetic make up of one of your fish to produce some bent spined babies. Good Luck, Oliver

Humpback Platies Help!  One of my female red wag platies looks like she's getting a hump back.  Her shape has changed. Her body is starting to look like the letter S.  I don't know if she may have been hit by another fish or if it's something to do with the water's condition. She is still eating just fine, but lately she is hiding a little more.   I have an established 10 gallon tank.  I have four red wag platies ( 3 females and 1 male) and two black skirt tetras ( 1 female and 1 male).  The ammonia and nitrate levels are at 0ppm. We have well water, so the GH and KH are quite high. The GH is around 350ppm and the KH is around 250ppm. The pH is also very high at 8.4.  I just used a Neutral Regulator to get the pH down and now my water is cloudy.  All of my other fish are doing fine.  I've never had problems with disease in the tank.  I had separated both males from the females for awhile because they were chasing them. I took away the separation gate and the male platy does not seem aggressive anymore, however the male black tetra will sometimes still chase the female.  I have another 2 gallon tank with a lone male platy and I don't know if I should put the female in there and send him to the 10 gallon tank or not.  Let me know what you think could be causing her malformation and what I should do. Thanks!  Heidi < The deformation could be hereditary or caused by internal parasites. The genes you can't do anything about. The parasites you could treat with Pepso food. Put the deformed fish in the little tank during treatment.-Chuck>

Re: My poor platies Alright guys. Now I have a problem. My platies and tank were doing great, everyone seemed happy and healthy, my ammonia was almost gone and my nitrites were down to .3, <Still dangerously high> I was so happy until now. Just to update from the last e mail. I added BioSpira 2x and moved the fish to a ten gallon and got 2 more female platies because my male was crazy harassing the females. Anyways all was well until yesterday. I realized that my tank was coming down with a mild (for now) case of Ick. To make matters worse someone went ahead and decided to have fry!  So now I have a tank not completely cycled with Ick and fry! I have decided to treat with salt and high temps. Over the next three days I am going to add the salt and bump the temp up to 85 degrees. I have measured 15 tsp of salt and mixed it with water so it will melt and have slowly been adding that to the water and the temp is right now 80 degrees. By morning it will be 82 were it will stay until tomorrow night when I will bump it up 2 more degrees. I know my fry will likely not survive but I figured that the salt and heat would be better for the water than meds would. <Yes, correct> I think my fish will be more likely to survive the salt and the tank will be better in the long run.....What do you think? Have any of you treated ick with salt and raised temps?  <Many times> If so what was the outcome and would you recommend it? <Sometimes works, other times... and do recommend this> Anywho I am sure my salt treatment will be well under way when I get my response. (Not because you are slow to answer because you are not, but because by tomorrow it will be well under way.. Lol) Wish me luck, would you like to know the out come? <I do wish you luck, life. Bob Fenner> 

Flashing Platies Hello again! I have four platies (two males and two females) that are among 18 fish in a 44 gallon, well planted, community tank. I started the tank a month ago, used Turbostart 700 to cycle it, and I monitor the water parameters regularly. My ammonia and nitrites have been at zero since the first week, and nitrates have held at about 20ppm. My pH has stayed within 7.5-7.7 and my total hardness is 170ppm CaCO3. I bought the two male platies first and quickly noticed that they both were flashing against my plants (and occasionally my rocks) quite often. <Good info.> I was concerned and I thought it was either gill flukes or Ich and I have watched them very closely since I noticed the behavior. They have remained extremely healthy looking in all other aspects of their behavior. No white spots, no flukes, no clamped fins, voracious appetite, etc... It really bothers me that they keep doing it. I must stress that none of my other fish EVER flash and my plants are thriving even in only 30 watts of fluorescent light. Here is the kicker. I added the females two days ago because I figured that maybe the males needed some company and I noticed them flashing as well! Again no other signs of illness. What could this be? <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...> Do platies just like to scratch?  <Some, but not much... more than "one scratch a minute" or so is too much> Should I quarantine them just to be safe? It is really confounding. As always, any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Walt  <I share your concern... but would not likely quarantine these fish, unless/till they show worse symptoms... like clamped fins, sitting on the bottom... and then would maybe treat them with a Jungle Brands product called a "Shimmy Block" (or in the old days just a copper scrubby...). Let's hope your fish's spontaneously cure in your otherwise good care. Bob Fenner> My daughter's Mickey mouse tail platies Hello, My daughter has a Mickey mouse tailed platy that has just within the last day or two developed a white spot on his side. Can this be ICK? If not, then what could it be and how do we treat it? thanks, Kelly St. Clair <Could be ich... but not necessarily. I would not panic unless/till other fish show symptoms. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the Related FAQs linked above. Bob Fenner> 

Sick Platy Hi, <Hello...Jorie here.> I had a red platy with black fins in a small tank by himself until he died last night. <Sorry to hear that.> The temperature in the tank was fairly stable around 73 degrees, which I know is a little cool, but it's not a tank that I can add a heater to. <You are correct - that is indeed a bit cool for a tropical fish. How small was this tank? I've been able to add a 25 watt heater successfully to both of my 3 gal. Betta tanks, so I'm guessing this tank was pretty small?> I did water changes regularly as well, in addition to adding aquarium salt, which the tropical fish store recommended. <Great job on the water changes. I'm curious as to how often you did these changes, and how much water you were changing at one time? If you were using tap water (which I'm going to guess you were), did you remember to either add some type of dechlorinator, or age the water for a day or so, in order to remove the chlorine? Also, did you ever test the water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrates, just to be sure you were in fact doing enough water changes? With regards to the salt, how much did you add? Since salt doesn't evaporate, were you sure to only add the necessary amount of salt to the *new* water when you did water changes, and not to "re-salt" the entire tank?> For several weeks after I brought him home, he was doing fine. He was responsive, ate well, and moved around the tank actively. Then, suddenly, he stopped eating and became very lethargic, hanging out at the top of his tank. When he would move, his movement was very erratic and often backwards. He continued to deteriorate for a week or so, refusing to eat and staying very still. Finally, it got to the point where I could see his little ribs and he was more or less "hanging" in the water, his spine bent and laying on his side. He could still swim, but when he did, it looked as though he was having a seizure or something (very jerky movement). <Two things come to mind: when you talk about a bent spine, it is possible this fish had some sort of genetic deformity, and he just wasn't a health guy. Secondly, though, when you talk about swimming problems, I'm inclined to think of swim-bladder disorder, which can be caused by either viral or bacterial causes. It's hard to tell after the fact for sure (and many times it is hard to tell exactly even when the situation is presently occurring). Ideally, though, whenever a health problem presents itself, the best place to start checking is with environmental causes (e.g., poor water quality - test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, as mentioned above), rule those out, then narrow things down to specific diseases, etc. Many times, environmental issues are the culprits, but of course, not always.> Also, I'm inclined to think that he had a fever or something, because for the past two or three days, when I'd look in on him, I could see heat waves radiating out from his body into the water (you know that wavy look that water and air get when it's hotter than the surrounding liquid??). <I can picture what you are talking about, though I've never seen it present itself on a fish. Perhaps the water was really cold for the little guy? That certainly could have had an adverse effect on his immune system, lowered his resistance, and caused him to become sick. Definitely look into the 25watt heater, if at all possible...I think you could get away with putting it into a 2 gal. tank, even. If your tank is smaller than that, I'd strongly recommend upgrading, as you want to be able to provide a comfortable and healthy environment for your fish, which includes keeping the water temperature stable at the appropriate level.> Do you have any idea what could have happened to my platy? I say he died last night, but I euthanized him because I couldn't stand to see him suffer anymore. <I hope I've given you some ideas and potential causes. Don't be afraid to try again - it's a learning experience, and you've definitely come to the right place to get good answers! Hope I've helped, and again, sorry you lost your little friend.> Thanks, Alicia <Jorie>

Stressed Platies and Aquarium Size I should say up front I am a complete novice and so looking for some guidance. <Okay, then I'll admit that I need more coffee and time to be fully awake... yawnnnn!> A week and a half ago I got two Platies (1 make/1female) that are about an inch in size and they are in a 6 gallon Eclipse system. I have noticed that the male has started to poke or ram the side of the female over and over until the female reacts to fend off the male.  As I'm new at this I'm not really sure if this is a mating thing or if they are both just stressed. <This is indeed mating behavior... and even though your tank is small, all would be better if you had one more female... for your one male> I know this is after the fact but I'm concerned that my 6 gallon tank might be too small for them as I have read on some net articles that 10 gallon is a minimum for these types of fish. <Bigger is better here> I was hoping to get more Platies but now I'm hesitating. Would maybe getting another female reduce the stress level as I have read on your FAQ site? <Oh! Yes> Another question, I think the female is pregnant and I'm not equipped or intending to breed, if and when the female releases the fry is it OK to just let the fry swim with the other two or will it cause problems for the overall condition of the aquarium? <Do place a bit of live or faux "grass" in this system... and not worry> Thanks for your help. Andy <Welcome to our wonderful, instructive hobby. Bob Fenner>

Re: Stressed Platies and Aquarium Size Bob: <Andy> Your time and advise is much appreciated - thanks! <Welcome> I did go out this weekend and got another female (lucky fella!) and some low lying foliage for future bambinos (they had no breeding grass). <Ahh, there are artificial "grasses" (plastic plants) that do a good deal of good as well> Looking forward to some happy fishes!  Andy <Hope so. Bob Fenner>

Platies on the bottom Hello.  I have three platys in a 2.5 gallon tank with a whisper carbon filter.  I am new at this.  My two and three year old wanted fish for Christmas.  Anyway, they were doing fine for the first four days.  I dechlorinated with AquaSafe and let the tank sit for a day before adding them.  One of them has fin rot now, so I am treating him MelaFix.  I also added a fourth a tsp of fish salt and some stuff called CYCLE, essential bacteria.  I notice that they are all staying at the bottom a lot.  They come up to eat and swim around a little.  But most of the time they just rest on their bottom fins at the bottom of the tank or in the grass.  Could the water be too cold or are they just resting?  Any advice would be much appreciated.  Thanks, LittleTank in Louisiana < For setting up a new tank I would recommend that you go to Marineland.com and look at header called Dr. Tim's library and search for an article titles the first 30 days . This will give you an idea on what is going on in your tank. The tank should be around 80 degrees. If it is much below 75 your fish will not thrive. The resting behavior is not normal.-Chuck>

Fin Decay in New Tank Hello. One of my new platy fish has fin rot, which I am currently treating with MelaFix. I was told to remove the carbon filter while treating (one week) and replace the filter with carbonless polyester fiber. I have done that, but am wondering if I can put the same carbon filter back in once treatment is completed or do I have to buy a new one?  The tank is currently cycling (two weeks old).  Thanks in advance for your help, LittleTank in Louisiana <Hi LT in L, Don here. Nope, you'll need fresh carbon. Activated carbon "fills up" and becomes inactive carbon very quickly. Within a day or two. I'm just wondering if you have a bacterial fin rot or poor water conditions since the tank is so new. I would discontinue the Melafix and just do large daily water changes. Ammonia can build up in a new tank causing the fins to "burn". Testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate would reveal the answer. If you do not have a test kit, I strongly suggest you pick one up. Your LFS could also do a test for you>  

Overactive Male Platy We have one male platy in our 30 gallon tank with 4 females, along with 4 female barbs and 1 male barb. The male barb became very aggressive towards the females last week so we removed him for a couple of days, then returned him to the tank and he's pretty cool now. <Good> The male platy has now become very aggressive towards the other platies, and now all the other female fish. Should we remove him for a while or is he just being amorous? <I would try the periodic "time out" again... for a few days> We removed him for a bit but he seems more aggressive then ever. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Nel <All sounds like you're doing things right... Your system is large enough, you have good sex ratios for your fish species... Likely you're right... they're just overly frisky. Bob Fenner>

Re: Overactive Male Platy, Quick Cure, I returned my male to the tank and he was ok for all of 10 minutes then started again. He's chasing the girls around non-stop with the only respite being when they hide for a moment until he finds them. Will there be an end to this or will I have to move him permanently to another tank? <Could go either way> I also have a sick female red wag who just hangs around with the tail moving, not moving around much with her upper and lower fins folded in to her body. I moved her into quarantine with Quick Cure she looks a bit better but at times seems to be breathing rapidly and looks as though she has a whitish cast to her. She's been in quarantine since yesterday. Do I need to remove the filter pack during treatment (I've read different opinions)? <Quick Cure is a blend of formalin and Malachite Green... very dangerous... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/malachitegreen.htm and see the link above to the Formalin article? I do hope you're testing for ammonia, nitrite... and have removed the carbon from your filter...> Should I add a little salt also? She's in a 10 gallon. <I would> All advice gratefully accepted. Nel <Study my friend. Bob Fenner>  

Fat "he" platy Hello, I've got a 10 gallon tank with 5 platy residents. Two are male and three are female. I noticed yesterday that one of the male platy's belly is getting swollen. The other fish all appear to be healthy and normal. His color, appetite, and behavior haven't changed. In fact, he appears to be healthy and normal as well, with the exception of the gut he's got. Could this be the onset of something bad, or is he just eating more than the other fish? Thank you, -Concerned <I am concerned as well... I do hope your diet for your platies consists of some fresh greenery and meaty foods (not just all dried/prepared)... If the swelling continues or shows on your other fish, I would encourage you to add a level teaspoon of Epsom Salt to the tank. Bob Fenner> 

FUNNY PLATIES - FUNNY "HAHA", OR FUNNY.. "EWW.."? Hi, I have a question that I can't find the answer to. I have a tank that started with 2 Platies, I was told they were both boys until November when I had a baby fish. I have since figured out which is which. The baby is 6 months old and a boy I believe. I clean the tank every 3 weeks to put replacement water in etc. About 1 1/2 about the mother fish went nuts and was very stressed and sick for days. Part of the problem was that the other 2 fish were male and constantly going after her. Once she was doing better I added 2 more female fish. She is doing great now. The "baby" fish every since the other 2 new ones have been added now hides a lot, he is actually back to the place he was born, wedged underneath a castle and rocks. He comes out just to eat.  The father fish is now acting funny, he is usually very active and has been just at the bottom of the tank or he swims and then lets himself fall vertically to the bottom, then swims to the top and repeats. They all eat and get along fine, no signs of infection or illness. I just have the baby fish (6 months old and over a inch long) hiding and the father acting funny. There is plenty of places to hide so there's no reason he's wedging himself between the rocks and under the castle.. What's going on in my tank? Also, my ammonia is fine, nitrites is fine, nitrates a little high but consistent, ph is acidic but always has been. I use Epsom salt when I do a water change.. Please help. Kristin < The male platy with the swimming problem probably has or had an internal bacterial infection that has affected his swim bladder. You might try treating him with Metronidazole but it might be too late for him to recover. Move the ornaments and rocks around so the fish can set up new territories. This might be all that is needed to get the little guy out and about.-Chuck>

Platies - sick or pregnant? We have 3 platys - a catfish, 2 Neons, 2 mollies, 2 danios and a 29 gallon aquarium that is just over a month old. So we are extremely new at this. We started with 2 platys and 4 Neons. We lost 2 Neons almost immediately. We found out later they are not very hardy for a new tank. <Yes> We added 2 additional platys. They were fine. We then added the mollies and danios. Everything was fine for a couple of weeks then 1 of the platys just died. We did not notice any change in behavior. Now all 3 remaining platys behavior have changed. A few days ago we noticed that the first platy had a swollen belly, the following day she had a swollen anus with a red string like material hanging (approx 1"). The red string is gone, but the belly remains swollen - whitish in color and the anus remains swollen. All 3 of the platys now hide in low ground cover, separately. The other 2 do not show any other physical signs.  They do eat but they are not as active as they once where when they controlled the tank. I moved the swollen one to the quarantine tank last night and treated for an hour with an antibiotic. It was easy to catch, but once in the quarantine tank it swam around fighting the bubbles from the air stone. I then tried to remove the other 2 but they were impossible to catch. This morning the swollen platy was with the mollies at the top of the tank, near the heater and the other 2 were in the ground cover. We have vacuumed and made water changes every week since starting the aquarium. We feed the fish twice a day. Water quality is good. Water temperature is 78. Please advise.  <Regarding? I would elevate the temperature (to the low 80's F), and wonder what sort of antibiotic you're using... and why? You do not list any aspect of water quality... do you have test kits? Bob Fenner> 

Re: platies - sick or pregnant? Bob, First we want to thank you for responding. We are novice at this but try not to leave anything to chance. We use 3 different tests. Jungle Labs 5 in 1 test strip, Mardel 5 in 1 test strip and Freshwater Deluxe pH tests. The pH levels are between 6.8 and 7.3; Alkalinity is moderate and Hardness is soft. <Okay so far> Nitrate is 0; and Nitrite is 0. I do not have the strips or chart on me, so the later 2 tests I am unsure of the exact wording for the levels, except that they are at the lowest levels they can be. <There should be no, and in zip detectable ammonia, nitrite> After removing the female (I am now absolutely sure she is a she-the local pet store educated me) the other 2 (a male and female) have become more active. She is also looking well except for the swollen belly and anus. She ate well this morning. The antibiotic we used was Maracyn Two by Mardel Labs. We were unsure at first whether it was dropsy or pregnancy. <Much more likely the latter> We are pretty convinced now that she is pregnant. Because we are new at this would it be best (less stress on her - we do not know when she'll give birth) to put her back into the community tank with a lot of low and floating cover for the fry?  Or should we keep her in a floating breeding tank or in the 2.5 gallon quarantine tank with cover for the fry?  <I would move the fish back to the main tank. Bob Fenner> 

Sick Platy in new aquarium... actually platies in a poisonous non-cycled system I have, well had, a red wag Platy that showed definite signs that something was wrong. He was fine in the morning before I went to work, seemed to eat well, and was almost dead when I got home about 12 hrs later. He couldn't seem to tell which direction was up, and seemed to be tossed around in the tank by the currents from the power filter and the bubbles from the lift tubes from the undergravel filter.  He also seemed to have a white powdery substance around his head and his eyes were glazed over. There are 2 females in the tank also, plus 1 week old baby in a breeder net. All are platies. I know the tank is still cycling, it is a 10 gal, and the ammonia is running a bit high, about 1.5 ppm... <Yikes... dangerously high> ...nitrites at about .3 ppm, nitrates at about 20 ppm, pH running about 7.4-7.6. Tank temp is at 80 deg. There is charcoal in the power filter, and the lift tubes. I have added a " C-100 Aquarium Water Purifier" pillow a week or so ago hoping to help keep the ammonia down while the tank cycles. I did a 10% water change last Saturday, then added some Stress-Zyme and some Stress-Coat per the instructions on the bottles. The fish were fed twice daily a mixture of flake food, and sometimes some crushed baby shrimp, and some bloodworms, all commercially packed foods. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong? Thanks, Steve Wickham Wytheville Va <Really? Putting fish in/through a non-cycled system... The one/male platy might have had some serious problem before you got it... but, please, no more livestock, and no feeding period unless the ammonia is under 1.0 ppm. Bob Fenner> 

Platy concerns I have a problem. I have a 30 litre tank (BiOrb) and started off with 4 white cloud minnows, which lived very happily. I then decided to invest in a couple of platies and the people at the pet centre said I should get a pair so I got one male Mickey-mouse platy and one female sunshine platy. About a week and a half after introducing them to my tank, I noticed that the female had given birth to lots of fry. I know that in the end I will need to remove some of them because my tank is nowhere near big enough for all of the fish to live happily. The thing is, my adult platies are now not looking too good. The male is definitely the livelier of the two and moves around a little under the amount I would expect them to. The female barely moves at all, she floats at the top, her mouth almost reaching the surface, sloping at about 45 degrees to the surface. I know she is still alive because she moves quite a lot sometimes but I noticed that one of my biggest fry keeps going over to her (this may be completely normal but it is the only fry that does it) and trying to touch just in front of her anal fin. Does this mean the baby is just being affectionate or is he/she trying to eat my platy? I also don't know how to catch fish with a net. Thank you very much if you can help me. <There are a few things you might try here... checking, modifying water quality, perhaps adding a modicum of salt. Please read over our Related FAQs re Platies here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm  Scroll down to... Bob Fenner>  

Platy Question Hi. I have looked around your website and the other fish related sites for an answer to what I am seeing in my pets, however I have not seen anyone with similar conditions. I have about 15 platies that have been healthy and well taken care of for the pass year. Recently I had one die which looked like it was due to natural causes. No sign of visible disease. All levels are normal in the tank and nothing has really changed with the tank over this period. I follow normal tank cleaning and water changes. Feed them once a day as directed by the pet store. However about the same time as this fish died two other fish started to show what appeared to be getting pregnant. Their belly increased in size and I was not really to worried. But now they appear to be "blowing up" pass anything I have seen before. They are getting so big that their scales are sticking out. They looked sick but remained near the bottom as if they were getting ready to give birth. One of the two died today. I am now worried that whatever killed the first will kill the second and may in fact wipe out my tank. The second one is showing the same signs. Do you know what this is? If you do is there anything I can do the save the second fish and the rest of my fish? Thank you for your time, Don <Hey Don, sorry to hear about your losses. It sounds like your fish may have dropsy. This is not an easy one to fix, but it is possible. Check out the link below for more information, and please let us know if you have any further questions. Good luck, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm>

Sick Platies, Salt Use Dear Crew, <Howdy> You haven't yet had a chance to respond to the email I sent 10 hours ago about my swollen platy. Since that time I have done some reading and I now believe he has dropsy. <Me too> I have read the information on your site and will follow the advice although I know there is very little success in treating this disorder.  One suggestion (in addition to antibiotics and medicated food) at another website was to add salt to the water.  They suggested 2 teaspoons per gallon. <Yes, but not all at once... over a period of days> My hospital tank is a 10 gallon tank.  I was a little more conservative and added 15 teaspoons of salt. The water in now cloudy and although I put in a powerhead to circulate the water to help dissolve the salt, I still see some on the bottom.  It appears to me that the tank is saturated, if not supersaturated with salt.  Was this the intention?  Is this too much salt?  How could it be too much if I used even less than what was recommended? <Mmm, too much, too soon, yes> Another upsetting observation I made in a different platy in the same 30 gallon tank is that the feces of that fish is a long white stringy thing.  I have a sense that the white color is not a good thing.  Should I put this fish in the hospital tank with the fish with dropsy?  Treat with antibiotics? <Best to move it. Treat with antibiotic laden flake foods. You may be able to find a supply of TetraMin... Please use the search tool on our BB re: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/> What is happening here?  Has my aquarium become a tank of death?  The temperature is a steady 79F, the ammonia and nitrates are 0, nitrates rose from 0 to 10 in the last week. <Not a tank of death... but it does appear you've happened upon, purchased some impugned livebearers. What does your dealer say about these fish? Bob Fenner> I await your response and thanks for the help. Judy

Red Mickey mouse platy I have had my fish for a week, this morning he was fine and swimming around, but this afternoon he was dead. <<Ack! I'm sorry!>> I noticed that the top of the air tube in the tank is a yellowish color.  I also noticed when I was draining the tank and drying the stone that it left some red and green marks on the paper towel.  What could this be from?  My stone is black.  Could that have anything to do with his death. <<I'm not positive but it could possibly be that you got a bad batch of rock and it has leached dye into your water. Once in a while a batch of rock doesn't get sealed properly (this seems to happen more in the winter) and as the dyes leach into the water it can rapidly kill your fish. To test this, place a handful of the rock in a white container and cover it with warm water. Stir it occasionally for at least a couple of hours and see if the water changes color. If it does, then that is your problem. If not then it was caused by something else but without more info (water quality, etc) I couldn't guess what. If you do determine that it was your rocks, take the rocks back to where you bought them  and let them know of the problem and the date you bought them. This way they can figure out what other rock came in that shipment and hopefully eliminate others from having this same problem.>> How do I clean my aquarium, so I can prepare it for another fish? <<If you determine that it was not your rocks that caused the problem, boil your rocks and decorations and clean your tank out with vinegar before rinsing it *thoroughly* with hot water.>> Thanks Rena <<You're welcome and good luck. Ronni>>

Do my platies have velvet? Hi there!  Let me start by saying that I absolutely love your website.  I am a novice and have spent many hours reading all your information. <<Thank you! I still spend hours reading the site myself. Every time I think I've read it all I find more pages that I haven't read!>> This is my first aquarium and it has been up and running one month.  I wrote to you about 3 weeks ago concerning an overly aggressive red Mickey Mouse platy.  I followed your advice and removed one of the males and bought another 2 females.  Things were going quite smoothly.  My PH is 7.4, ammonia level is 0, and temperature is 75 degrees. <<Very good>> Yesterday I noticed that one of my females has a swollen belly and seems to be either resting on the bottom of the tank, or hiding inside a skull.  I thought she may be pregnant.   <<Oops, not so good. This definitely isn't a typical symptom of pregnancy>> Today I noticed that my other platies (including the male) were sitting on the bottom of the tank or sitting in my plastic plants up against the side of the aquarium.  The male has a whitish fuzzy coating on his tail and sides.  The females don't look as bad but appear to be starting to go in the same direction as the male.  I've searched your website and think it may be velvet.  I don't think it's ich because it doesn't appear to be pin sized spots.  Does this sound like velvet?   <<Yes, it does sound like velvet>> When it's feeding time, they all seem to come to life and are very eager to eat.  I also have 1 glass fish that still appears to be healthy.  If this is velvet, how should I treat it?   I only have the one aquarium available.  Is it safe to put Rid Ich Treatment (made by Kordon) into the tank? <<I would recommend against treating the entire tank but since you don't have another one available you will probably have to. I wouldn't use the Rid Ich though, there are treatments on the market made especially for velvet. Mardel makes one of my favorites but I can't remember the name. Your LFS should have them though and the boxes all say what they treat. Fungus Eliminator (or Fungus Guard) is another one I've been very successful with. It is made by Jungle.>> If my glass fish isn't sick, will this medication make it sick?  Is it a matter of time until he becomes infected with whatever is ailing the platies?   <<Possibly. I've seen fish live in the same tank and not get it. This is where the QT tank would come in handy, that way you could leave the glass fish in the main tank and treat just the ones with the disease. The glass fish can always be treated later if he does develop symptoms.>> If the worst thing happens and all my fish die, how should I rid my aquarium of this problem?  Is letting it run empty for a month with the filter running the best solution or should I bleach everything?  PLEASE HELP!!!!!! <<If you treat with one of the above mentioned products you shouldn't lose all of your fish.>> Signed Desperate First Timer <<Cheer up, we've all had bouts with velvet, ich, and many others and the best thing to do is not panic and treat to the best of your abilities. :o) Ronni>>

Floating Platy Hope you can help... <Sabrina here, to try to do so....> I have a female Platy that has been giving birth this past summer like a fiend. <I'm trying to envision 'fiendish' birthing, right now.... ;) > After this last batch she developed a fungus which I treated with "Jungle Fungus Clear". I've had the water tested - Everything good with the exception of a slightly low ph. I changed out water and have a good reading now. <Okay> All the white cottony splotches are gone but she's still not looking good. Her nose seems to be cocked to one side and she isn't swimming properly. It's like she has a life-preserver in her tail and can't keep herself level in the water. <Ah.  This sounds very much like a dysfunction of the swim bladder, either injury or infection of the swim bladder.  The bad news is that there's not a whole lot you can do about it.  The good news is that if the condition is not really impeding her, and especially since she's floating instead of sinking (so she's at the top, where food is), she may do alright if she's still eating.  Though, it'd be in her best interest not to have any males in with her trying to breed.  If she is having a difficult time, it may be best to euthanize her.  Give it a couple days, and see how she's doing, go from there.> Fry, male Platy, 3 Neons and snails all doing great.  What do you think? Appreciate your time. Kim Marsh <I'm sorry I don't have a better answer for you; I do wish you and your platy well.  -Sabrina>

Red wag platy - Sick?  Pregnant?  What? I think my red wag platy might be dying. <Yikes.> I have had the red wag platy for about two months.  She has always been a "hider".   <That much right there suggests problems.  Platies are usually quite active fish, not usually shy or hiding, when in good health.> She was in a 10 galloon tank with 6 Baby female guppies.  I thought if I got her another platy she would come out more.  I got a sunrise (? ? ?) platy for her.  They got along great for a day or two.  Then the sunrise started picking on - chasing her, nipping her tail, chasing her away from the food.  The sunrise started chasing my guppies away.  So, after having the sunrise 6 days I took him to a pet store and got another platy - Mickey mouse.  Yes, I said him. I thought the sunrise was a her when I got him.  However, the pet store said it was a him.  I brought the  Mickey mouse home.  The new one is smaller than my platy.  The new one is "For Sure" a female.  IMMEDIATELY, my red wag platy starts this weird backwards tail swooshing thing that pushes all the other fishes away.  I thought she just might of been stressed from dealing with the male for 5 days.  So, I put her in my 1 1/2 gallon tank.  She calmed down and was happily swimming.  I left her there for a day.  Then I tried to reintroduce her to the ten gallon tank.  After another day, she was still doing that backwards butt swooshing thing anytime something came near her.   <Although I've not kept platies in a long time, I don't recall this tail-swooshing/aggression thing.  I can certainly understand her chasing other fish away, though, after being harassed by the male.  Can you give us any more details?  Fins clamped?  Labored breathing?  Discoloration or paleness?> I thought she might of been hormonal and pregnant.  So, she has been back in the 1 1/2 gallon tank for three - four days.  Last night, I notice that she is not swimming.  She is just hanging out on the rocks.  I have tested my water.  The PH is 7.0 - 7.2.   <Stable at somewhere in that range, or fluctuating between 7.0 and 7.2?> There is zero ammonia and nitrites.  There is no fungus on her - no ick, no cotton mouth, etc.  I don't know what to do.  Please help, she is the very first fish that we got when we set the tanks up two months ago. <Well, it is possible that she's sick.  Do you treat your tapwater with a dechlorinator?  Is the temperature the same in both tanks, and if not, did you properly acclimate her?  Is the pH in the 10g different than the pH in the 1.5g?  Again, do you see clamped fins or anything else whatsoever out of the ordinary?  Another possibility is that perhaps she is, in fact, pregnant; livebearers will often hang out near the gravel when giving birth.  Is her belly very, very rounded?  I'm doubting that she's pregnant, as it seems to me that it's only been what, a week, since she was first introduced to the male?  That's not long enough for her to be heavily pregnant right now.  Let's assume there's something wrong at this point.  If she's the only fish in the 1.5g, add some aquarium salt to her tank (the kind geared for freshwater tanks; can be found at chain-type pet stores even).  Add one teaspoon of the salt to a cup of water from her tank, then slowly pour the cup of salty water back into her tank.  You may wish to add another teaspoon the next day, as well.  Please remember with salt that when the water evaporates, the salt stays in the tank, so if you only top off the tank (just adding water, not changing), do not add salt.  If you *change* water, only add enough salt to compensate for the water that you removed/replaced.  Hopefully the salt will help her a bit. Lisa S. <Please do let us know if you see any other symptoms.  Keep us updated, and good luck, Lisa.  -Sabrina> Sick platy - part 2 When the red wag platy was in the 10 gallon tank doing the tail-swooshing thing she would keep her fins clamped.  When I put her in the 1 1/2 gallon tank, she would swim beautifully, with all fins spread open.  She does not look pale or discolored.  Her breathing does not look labored.   <Okay> The water has been stable at a pH between 7.0 and 7.2. <Great> I use bottled Spring water.  I do not use a dechlorinator. <Hmm.... this could be a problem; do you add anything back to the water?  The purification processes to make drinking water (reverse osmosis, deionization) leave you with pretty much just water, and none of the minerals etc. that the fish do need.  I would recommend either using treated tapwater instead, or to use a supplement for reverse osmosis water use in fish tanks that will replace minerals and such.  I believe Kent makes a product for this purpose for use in freshwater tanks.> The tanks have the same temperature. <Again, good.> The Ph is the 10g is 7.0 whereas the ph in the 1.5 g is 7.1.  They are real close. <Yeah, not a problem.> The male had nipped her back fins.  It's missing even more of the back tail fin.   <Could be that she's having issues with the injury/injuries....  if the fin(s) aren't healing well, I'd recommend using Kanamycin Sulfate (proprietary name "Kanacyn" to help her heal her damaged fins and prevent any secondary bacterial or fungal infection from setting in.> It has been two weeks since introducing the male.  But she is not large and the black tell all circle has appeared yet. <Okay, so I'm assuming that pregnancy's out.  Do add some salt to her tank if you haven't already, and if it were me, I'd try the Kanacyn.  -Sabrina>

Sick platy - part 4 I am on well water (not city water).  Which do you recommend - treating my tapwater or the supplement and keep using the bottled spring water? <Ah.  Well, some well water is absolutely the most wonderful stuff for fish tanks, and doesn't need to be dechlorinated - but some well water is the worst stuff in the world, and would wipe out the tank.  Some well water would leave you looking at an algae tank with fish in it.  Some well water is seasonal; could be great in the summer, awful in the winter.  Probably best to stick with the bottled water and use a supplement designed for use with Reverse Osmosis water.> Four days ago, I added the salt and treated the water with Fungus clear.  I did a water change this morning and treated again with the fungus clear.   She is still hanging in there... . .  She is not eating.  I don't know how much longer she will be able to make it, if she doesn't start eating. <Try stimulating her appetite with live brine shrimp, or try soaking her food in garlic extract; it may entice her to eat.> I will find the Kanamycin, today.  Lisa S. <I wish you the best of luck, and have my fingers crossed for her.  -Sabrina>

Platy problem? Hi, <'ello!> I have a 20 gallon tank that has been set up for 5 weeks now.  I started it with 1 black Molly, 1 orange Platy and 2 guppies (all males as far as I can tell). A week and a half ago, in the midst of cycling, my guppies came down with Saprolegnia fungus (white cottony growths all over one and a little on the other).  I treated it by adding aquarium salt, three doses of 1 tsp per gallon 12 hours a part.  As I was treating the guppies I noticed the Molly had it in on spot also.  After two days all the fungus was gone and I did a 20% water change to start to remove the salt (I have a few live plants). <Yes....  That much salt (quite a lot!) is certainly very harmful to the plants - but your molly, guppies, and platy will adore it.  Look into plants such as java moss, java fern, Anubias sp., Vallisneria sp., and Sagittaria sp., which are salt-tolerant, and you can jump into the world of low-brackish aquaria!  More on brackish plants here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/bracplants.htm > Then I noticed tiny red fibers protruding from the anus of the Guppies. After much research I suspected they had nematodes <Camallanus sp. - these nasties can sometimes be traced back to certain live foods....> and treated with Levamisole Hydrochloride (crushed pill form diluted in tank water and poured in the tank).   <Using this med (or Piperazine) in food is more effective....  I'd recommend Aquatronics' Discomed or, if you can find it, Aquatronics' Dewormex - you may see these worms again; I don't think one dose in the water would nail it.  Keep your eyes open.> After 24 hours I did a 90% water change to get rid of any nematode cysts in the gravel and to clean up the yellow mess the pills made in my tank.  My tank looks good again and the nematodes are either gone or in remission but now my Platy, who seemed fine and unaffected by the fungus and nematodes, is now not eating and not very active.  He has not eaten in about a day and a half.  Ammonia has not shown up at all since the wc, nitrites today are at .5 ppm and nitrates are at 5.0ppm (there highest since the wc). Do you have any ideas what could be wrong with my Platy? <Get those nitrites to zero!  Beyond that, I'd guess the major change in salinity from the 90% water change is probably hitting him pretty hard.  Also, did you match temperature and pH when you did this massive water change?  At this point, don't change anything (er, except do water changes to get the 'trites down).  Let the platy (and your other fish) settle in with how the water is now, and be sure that any changes that you make are very gradual.  Keep an eye out for the wormies, if they show again, hit 'em with medicated food (this will prevent medicating the tank and killing your bacteria off).  Mostly, this sounds like a 'wait-n-see' sort of thing, until you can know for certain if there's a problem that you can fix.> Thanks for any help you can give, Heather <You bet!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Re: Sick Platy (RIP) (10/18/03) <Hi Heather, Ananda back at it again...> Just thought I'd let you all know the Platy died tonight.   <Blast it! But dropsy may have been a late-occurring symptom in the progression of the infection....> I did start the Spectrogram today, so I guess I will put my carbon filter back in and do a partial water change tomorrow to get the meds out.   <Actually, I'd wait and let the meds run their course. In that way, you can hopefully "catch" any other existing infections in the tank, just in case the infection had a contagious stage. I just pinged Sabrina and she concurs.> This really sucks! <Yep, it does, and big time. But hang in there!> Thanks for all of your help. Heather <You're more than welcome! Anytime you have questions, holler -- erm, email or post on the boards! --Ananda>

Sick Platy 10-15-03 Hi, <Hello, Pufferpunk here> I have a 20 gallon tank that has been set up for 5 weeks now.  I started it with 1 black Molly, 1 orange Platy and 2 guppies (all males as far as I can tell). A week and a half ago, in the midst of cycling, my guppies came down with Saprolegnia fungus (white cottony growths all over one and a little on the other).  I treated it by adding aquarium salt, three doses of 1 tsp per gallon 12 hours a part.  As I was treating the guppies I noticed the Molly had it in on spot also.  After two days all the fungus was gone and I did a 20% water change to start to remove the salt (I have a few live plants). Then I noticed tiny red fibers protruding from the anus of the Guppies. After much research I suspected they had nematodes and treated with Levamisole Hydrochloride (crushed pill form diluted in tank water and poured in the tank).  After 24 hours I did a 90% water change to get rid of any nematode cysts in the gravel and to clean up the yellow mess the pills made in my tank.  My tank looks good again and the nematodes are either gone or in remission but now my Platy, who seemed fine and unaffected by the fungus and nematodes, is now not eating and not very active.  He has not eaten in about a day and a half.   <I just have to ask... is this your 1st tank?  I ask that, because most newbies start out with a smallish (20g) tank & platies, mollies or guppies.  If it is, you have certainly done some major research.  You are treating your fish like an expert.> Ammonia has not shown up at all since the wc, nitrites today are at .5 ppm and nitrates are at 5.0ppm (there highest since the wc). <Although the nitrites are low, 0 is preferred & could be the cause of your problem.> Do you have any ideas what could be wrong with my Platy? <I would add salt back to your tank.  Livebearers like some salt.  1 tbsp/5gal should be good.  It shouldn't harm the plants. Are you sure you don't notice anything else off about the fish?> Thanks for any help you can give, Heather <HTH, Pufferpunk>

Sick Platy 10/17/03 Thanks Ananda, <Pufferpunk here> One problem with the medicated food, he still is not eating.   <Most animals won't eat when they're sick.> Will the spectrogram kill of my bacteria bed?   <According to Ananda, no.  She's much better at prescribing meds than me.  Keep up w/the water changes> This is so sad to watch.  This is not what I got in to this hobby for.  I hate to see any living thing suffer. <Me either.  I have a feeling those fish are in the best care possible.  I suggest you find a different store to buy your fish from.> Thanks for your help and sympathies. <Good luck!--PP> Heather

Sick Platy? Okay, today my tests showed nitrites at .5ppm and nitrates at 5.0ppm (same as yesterday before the 10%wc).  I will do a 20% wc and add some salt to the new water.  My Platy is still not eating and now he looks kind of bloated. Could he have a secondary intestinal bacterial infection from dead worms he wasn't able to poop out after the Levamisole treatment?  If yes, should I set up a hospital tank and treat him with antibiotics?   <Start feeding your fish veggies.  Spirulina flakes, or better yet, thawed frozen peas.  Just squirt them out of the shell.  No fish food for a while.> On the water change question, I had been doing 20% changes about once a week. Thanks for your help. <You're Welcome--PP> Heather

Sick Platy? Hi Pufferpunk, Yes, this is my first tank (I'll take the "expert" comment as a compliment). <Well deserved!> I did a ton of internet research when my guppies got the fungus, then again with the nematodes.  I forgot to mention that I did add a little salt when the Platy first showed signs of distress (two days ago), about 1tbsp worth. <Good> I did a 10%wc after I tested my water today.   <What were the results of your testing?> The only other odd thing is that the Molly just races around like crazy when I open the lid. <Probably thinks you're going to feed it.> Did I traumatize these guys when I did the 90% wc?   <Depends on how well you have kept up w/weekly water changes.  I change 50% of my water every 7-10 days, so an extra 90% water change wouldn't make much of a difference in water parameters.  On a tank that has been without regular water changes (which is probably not your case) the pH levels in the tank would have been very low.  A 90% water change on a tank like that, would have been a shock to the inhabitants.  In your situation, I probably would have done a 50% water change & ran fresh carbon to remove meds.> I moved them to a well rinsed Rubbermaid container and kept the lid on so it was dark.  They had all the tank decorations in with them.   <I wouldn't have bothered to move the fish.> The guppies seem better than ever. <Good.  Is the platy eating now?  Try some live foods.> Thanks, Heather

RE: Sick Platy? (10/16/03) <Hi Heather, Ananda here taking this one, since Pufferpunk's probably out for the night...She and I talked about your platy earlier today.> The platy's scales are starting to stick out.  I think he has dropsy... <Yeah, that's dropsy, which is a symptom rather than a disease in and of itself. I think you just might be right about the secondary internal infection. I would treat that with medicated food, if you can find it -- Pepso food contains Nitrofurazone, which could help. You might try Spectrogram for the tank. Do a water change before you start the Spectrogram. I do hope it recovers! --Ananda>

RE: Sick Platy? Thanks Ananda, <Sure thing...figured that since I'm on the late shift, I'd throw in my two pence so you could get stuff first thing in the morning if you wanted to.> One problem with the medicated food, he still is not eating.   <Crud. Maybe try bouncing some live brine shrimp off his nose?> Will the spectrogram kill of my bacteria bed?   <According to the box, no: "Spectrogram used as directed is safe in the community tank and will not affect biological filter beds." -- from the back of the box.> This is so sad to watch.  This is not what I got in to this hobby for. <Sadly, many of us go through something like this. Know that you are doing all that you can, and more than many relative newbies would...and persevere.> I hate to see any living thing suffer. <Me, too...which is part of why I started helping with emails.> Thanks for your help and sympathies. Heather <You're welcome, good luck, and hang in there! --Ananda>

Health Problems in Platies Hi <Hello, Sabrina here, tonight> Platy health trouble! <Uh-oh> Any help would be appreciated.  If you know of platy- or livebearer-specific health sites please let me know! <None off the top of my head, but you can start here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm  and here:   http://www.fishdoc.co.uk/index.htm .> I've got a cute *little* 6 gallon aquarium set up (the eclipse system six, with the BioWheel, fine carbon in the filter (I add extra) and a fluorescent light). <I like these tanks, to be quite honest; great for beginners to learn on, and easy/attractive for most anyone.> I've got 6 platies (2 males 4 females) in there and a Betta;  the Betta is in his own floating miniaquarium because he's aggressive.  pH is around neutral and ammonia is low or nil; I've not been able to get the tank established yet.   <Definitely something to work on!> I use bottled spring water (NOT distilled water) with Start Right and Molly Bright, and the alkalinity should be all right since the pH doesn't bounce;   <Might want to check out your tapwater, see how it is - bottled water can be kind of a water roulette; usually good, but once in a while, awful.  If your tapwater isn't awful, it might be a safer constant - with a good dechlorinator.> I think the hardness is OK but I do not have tests for alkalinity and hardness.   <If your pH is stable, these are probably okay.  Might want to get tests for 'em some time down the road.> I'm having problems with disease that I cannot seem to cure.  The red male is very thin and he used to clamp his fins to his body a lot, and his feces is stringy and mucusy.  Sounds like internal parasites, right?   <Perhaps, yes, or internal bacterial infection.> There has also been some scratching and flashing going on, especially with the blue female (she's more sensitive since she's got silvery scales and is a bit less hardy genetically) and the red male.  THAT sounds like external parasites.  The red male also showed signs of what I think was ick:  salt-like white grains speckled on his fins and body.   <That and the scratching are sure-fire signs of ich.> The Betta has never shown any signs of any illness. <Might be a good idea to get him outta there, then.  Even a small container as a temporary home for a few weeks would be okay, with water changes often.> So, I've treated them with diligent water changes and Jungle medications for ick, internal parasites, external parasites, and fungus/bacteria issues <Better to know what specific medicine/active ingredient you need, to treat specific illnesses, and go from there to find what meds would be effective.  My own personal experience with Jungle medications has not been good (but it *was* ages ago), though I've heard both pros and cons for them.  I used to use their "Ammonia Chloramine Eliminator" and "Start Right" all the time, and was very satisfied with them.> (obviously not all at the same time, but sometimes 2 meds at a time) over the last *2 months* but as soon as I do the last water change and slap the carbon back in the filter, at least one fish shows signs of something or other.   <Sounds to me like 'something or other' is primarily ich right now, yes?  Only one fish with stringy poo, right?  The other symptoms you mentioned were characteristic of ich alone.  More on ich here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm .> Right now, there is still stringy feces in the red male and in a few of the others, although he no longer clamps his fins as much and he seems to be gaining some weight.   <Okay, so more than one are affected.  Gotcha.  I would first try treating with medicated food for this - Piperazine or Levamisole in food will purge them of internal nasties like worms and such.  One product available is "Discomed", from Aquatronics.  This contains Piperazine and is added to food, live, frozen or flake, then fed to the fish.  Just follow the directions.  Other products are available, but not as easy to find - again, Levamisole or Piperazine, in food.  If this fails, it might be an internal bacterial issue.  I've had good luck with food medicated with tetracycline for such problems.  I've also used Kanamycin externally (in the water) with good results.  Aquatronics produces Kanamycin under the name "Kanacyn".  There are lots of other good antibiotics as well; if you're not sure precisely what they've got, go with something broad-spectrum (treats both gram-positive and -negative bacteria).> The others look great except the largest yellow female has a white spot on her tail that looks less like ick and more like fungus;  bigger than a salt grain and a bit puffy.   <Puffy.... maybe "fuzzy"?  Or fluffy?  Like cotton?  Might be a fungal or bacterial issue, but it could still possibly be a sign of ich - the cysts are not exactly the same size, and sometimes will clump together a bit.> This spot faded and disappeared during treatments but comes back whenever I try to get the tank med-free. <Seems to me it's been a medical fish soup, heh> I don't want to keep medicating them;  it's costing me a fortune and I want to avoid kidney damage, etc.  But I don't want to let these diseases recur.   <Agreed, on both accounts.> Should I treat the tank again for internal parasites and fungus?   <The game plan I would use here is first, get the Betta out of there, if he's healthy, he doesn't need to be medicated.  Raise the temp in the tank to at least 82F, preferably even up to 86F; be sure to do so slowly.  Next, since it's just the platies, they can tolerate quite a bit of salt in the water, can even be kept permanently in low-brackish conditions.  Get yourself a hydrometer (used for saltwater tanks - the "SeaTest" hydrometer is one of the very few that will read very low specific gravity (salinity, kinda-sorta).  See here:   http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=4952&D=hydrometer&R= 9351&Ntt=hydrometer&Ntk=All&Dx=mode+matchallany&Ntx=mode+matchallany&Np=1&N=2004&Nty=1 .  Next, slowly (like 0.001 or less a day) bring the salinity up to about 1.003 (regular freshwater is 1.000) with marine salt - but watch your pH as you do this, too.  The salt should kill off the ich at this level, and the platies should be fine with it.  Keep it there for a couple weeks, then bring it down again, slowly.  During this time, I would feed with a medicated food as above to try to nail the internal nasties.> How often can I treat them without causing damage?   <It is preferable to get things nailed on the first try - but this requires a proper diagnosis, and a med that will eliminate the illness.  In both of these is the trouble - most fishkeepers don't know how to diagnose what they're looking at in their fish, and so can't be certain to use the right medicine for it.  Prolonged exposure to medicines will cause problems, as you mentioned above - and some fish are more sensitive than others.  Platies, fortunately, are very durable fish, and will hopefully pull through this okay.  It is important to be certain to treat the illness until it's totally gone, which can be hard to do in some cases, like ich, where the protozoa are invisible to the naked eye for much of the lifecycle.  There are a couple of books I'll recommend - "Manual of Fish Health" by Andrews, Excell, and Carrington has *excellent* pictures of illnesses, can really help with figuring out what's wrong, but really seems lacking in descriptions of treatments and medicines.  "Tropical Fishlopaedia" by Bailey and Burgess is phenomenal in descriptions of illnesses, treatments, meds, etc., but *very* lacking in photos; it is also not the greatest book for beginners, more of an intermediate book - but the questions you're asking makes me think this would be a good one for you.  Lots of good info in it.> Anybody ever come across this before?   <Once one illness sets in, it leaves the door open for others; this much is very common.  It's the not knowing "for sure" and treating for too short a time with too many different meds that seems to be the issue here.> I've had fish for years but I've never dealt with anything this tenacious. <Gah!  You've just brought something else to mind.  "Velvet" disease.  This can look somewhat like ich, but usually looks more like a "dust", but the 'puffy' clump on the tail makes me think of this too, now - in heavy infestations, this might explain that appearance.  Fortunately, I can give you a link instead of typing another mile:   http://www.aquarium.net/0597/0597_4.shtml .> thanks! <Whew!  You're welcome!  I do hope this has been useful for you, and if you're very interested in learning about this sort of stuff, start with those two books I mentioned.  I do hope you can properly nail these problems, once and for all!  Good luck to you,  -Sabrina>

White Spots on Her Platys (1/8/2004) My daughter has her first aquarium. A 5 gallon with the standard whisper pump and bio bag. <Will need careful maintenance of this small tank with frequent water changes.> She started with 4 platys <don't buy any more fish for a tank this small.>, then we spotted a baby in the bag from the store too... <nice bonus> 2 weeks later she has another tiny fry <how fun> and now 2 of the mated fish have little white spots on them. What us it ... and what do we do? <Uh Oh. Sounds like ich to me. Read here to be sure and to learn how to treat: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm> Moline Schrader <Hope this helps. Steve Allen>

Thank you again. <No prob, that is what we are here for> I though I can stop asking you questions, but now I have another problem.  I just noticed my pointed tail female platy has a barely noticeable white round ring growth on the body.  Is it ick? <Ich is typically small white specks on the fish, I have never seen it in a round ring shape.  But it doesn't mean that it's not.  It could be the start of a fungus, the shape is what throws me.  But keep an eye on it, also look at the fins.  If they have white specks on them then it could possibly be ich.> It doesn't look like the ick my goldfish had before.  Fungus or bacterial, you think? <It might possibly be Ich (Ichthyophthirius), keep an eye on it, and start thinking of medications for the fish.  You might want to think about adding Maracide to help fight the parasites.  Hope you fish gets better.  -Magnus>

Platy looking thin Hey there people! <Hello there.> Okay here's the deal. I have a sunset platy who is looking and acting very strange, but I cant pinpoint the problem in order to fix it. Firstly I have no idea what sex it is. <You can tell Platy's gender by their anal fin.  The males have a pointed looking fin which they use to deposit their sperm.  The females have a fin that looks smaller and not that different from it's other fins.> Second, the scales on the top (from the eyes to the dorsal) are kinda standing up like it has a Mohawk. Also the whole body looks dull. They don't have that "wet look". <When the scales of a fish protrudes that way, it typically is an indication that your fish is suffering from Dropsy.  I suggest you look over some of the FAQ sections here on WetWebMedia.com.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm If not then the basic info you need to know about dropsy is symptoms would be a swollen abdomen and scales   sticking out. This is most commonly seen in gold fish. Actually, Dropsy is not really a disease, but a disorder caused by internal bacterial infections. It manifests itself in three forms: (a) Acute Dropsy (internal bacterial infection) (b) Chronic Dropsy (cancer) - The internal organs swell up in this type of Dropsy.   Try and isolate the fish at an early stage of the disease (c) Chronic Dropsy (parasites) - In this type of dropsy the abdomen swells up due to the parasites. Again, remember to isolate the fish to prevent infecting the entire tank.  I have lost one of my large fantails to this, and it was incredibly hard to get rid of.  I have read that hobbyists have used Maracyn-Two (made by the Mardel company) and it was said to cure some forms of dropsy.  But, even with medicines most fish with dropsy never survive it.> The fish eats a lot, but it still looks scrawny. <That is a bit unusual, typically when the scales stick up like that it's because of the body swelling due to infection.  I believe that you should separate this fish immediately so it doesn't spread the problem to other tankmates.> I went from feeding it twice a day to three times a day and it's still not gaining any weight. Are Platies just scrawny fish? <No, a platy can get quite large if fed well.  All of mine shown quite the little belly since I tend to spoil my fish.> I had a Betta and some swordtail Platies before I got this one and they were all a little pudgy I think skinny fish look sickly). Is there a way to fatten it up? <Try feeding it richer foods, like live bloodworms.  You might want to try feeding it medicated flakes so that the fish will be getting medicine directly into it's system.  You can find these medicated foods in most pet stores.> Also sometimes it looks like it's having a seizure or something. The side fins move really fast and the body shakes but the fish stays in the same spot. <Most likely the fish is reacting to some sort of external parasite.  It's bother the skin and fins and the fish is trying to "shake it off" which it really can't.  Often times the fish will be seen rubbing on rocks and other decoration trying to get it off.  This can be treated with medicine as well.> Finally, there is the little white string with a ball on the end of it coming from it's chin. I'm scared to bother it because it might be a make fish handling some male business, or it could be a parasite. <Not quite sure what it is, possibly a fungus, or a parasite.  Separate this fish from the others ASAP, put it in a separate tank and get some medicine like Maracyn to treat this fish.  Be sure to remove any carbon from the filter before treating the fish because this will remove the medication from the water.> Please let me know what is going on. thanks in advance! Lynnette <Hope that helps.  Good luck with the fish. -Magnus>

Platy Problems Hi, I am fairly new to the aquarium/fishkeeping scene. <Welcome to it, then!> Unfortunately I have just learned the importance of quarantining new fish before introducing them to your tank. <Ahh, a hard, but good, lesson learned....> I have 3 Platies, 4 rasboras, and 4 tetras in a 30 gallon tank, which has been set up since December. (I had these fish for about a year previously in a different aquarium.) I recently bought 2 more Platies and put them in the same tank. Unfortunately they came with what I think was ich (which didn't show up until about a week after I bought them). <What a nasty little present to bring home!  Sorry to hear it.> So I treated the tank with some medication from my pet store containing Formalin and malachite green after the other fish started acting sluggish and developed the little white spots as well. They seem to be over the ich at this point but have pretty much all developed a white ring around each eye--the Platies and the tetras are all affected by this, though the rasboras seem ok at this point. The Platies also have an orangey film over their eyes. Their eyes do not seem swollen or inflamed and they seem to be able to see fine, but the white ring is very clear. I have been testing the water levels every day--everything is normal and stable, <May I ask, what are your parameters for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH?> and I have done 2 partial water changes in the last week. <Good move, for sure.> What do you think this is and what can I do to treat it? <Assuming that parameters are appropriate (ammonia and nitrite both *zero*, nitrate less than 20ppm or so), I would guess this is a bacterial infection; perhaps Columnaris.  It may have been brought on from the small wounds left behind from the ich cysts.  Does this whitish ring around the eyes seem "tufty" or "cottony" at all?  I would recommend treating with Kanamycin (available as "Kanacyn" from Aquatronics) or if that is unavailable, then another broad-spectrum antibiotic.  Please remember to remove carbon from your filter(s) while medicating, as that will remove the medication(s).> Thanks so much,  Emily <Glad to be of service!  -Sabrina>

Platy problem Hi Crew, I have a female platy in a 12-gallon tank with two mollies, plus one male Betta and a butterfly loach. The platy used to have a mate but he fought with the male molly and lost, so now the poor thing is alone, not good. The platy is in a bad way, having slowly worsened for two weeks now.  In the beginning, I noticed that she had a "fat lip" and first suspected cotton mouth, but she has no visible fungus. I soon realized she was actually just jutting her lower mouth out and holding her mouth open. This became more and more pronounced until now she's holding her mouth all the way open and breathing heavily, hanging around next to the bubbler. >>This sounds like a parasitic problem to me, gill flukes. Use Quick Cure to treat it.<< The first thing I did was fiddle with the water, testing ammonia, pH, etc. and finding them negative. >>What are your nitrite AND nitrate levels? How often do you do partial water changes?<< Then I increased the aeration. Then I treated the whole tank with tetracycline according to the instructions, in case she had bacterial gill disease. Finally I placed her in a hospital tank with Clout because I thought she might have gill flukes. While in the Clout I also increased the salt content (usually 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons, now 1.5) and temperature (it's usually 80, now it's 82) for added support. Nothing has helped and I have run out of ideas. Today I put her back in the main tank because the medicine wasn't helping and the hospital tank was obviously stressing her. >>Medications can be VERY hard on fish. You treated her twice without even knowing what she has, this is generally a bad idea. I understand your impatience, but stressing her with meds won't help. How long did you treat with tetracycline? How long did you treat with Clout? Clout is a very strong anti-parasitic, and should be used with caution.<< Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for her! >>More frequent water changes, and keep her away from the mollies. They are probably harassing her, causing stress, which causes disease. Platies CAN be kept with mollies in larger tanks. A twelve gallon is too small, and she has no where to escape them.<< PS. I wrote to you two weeks ago about a Betta with Dropsy. I thought you might like to know that he is almost fully recovered (color still a tad pale, but otherwise fine--active, sleek, eats like a pig). What seemed to work for him was a double dose of tetracycline plus a strong salt bath and warm water.  I'm glad I didn't euthanize him! >>Happy to hear. But keep in mind all species of fish respond differently to stress and to medication. -Gwen<<

Platy problem Hello again, First, I must apologize for my last letter. I was so freaked out at the time I didn't give you enough information. I have become really attached to this fish.  <It's understandable, I have done the same thing when worrying about a loved pet.>  So, I will try to fill in the gaps- I use Mardel 5 in 1 test strips, as well as Red Sea Fresh Care multi test. My levels have been consistently (on the smaller tank she was in) -  pH- 7.6  NO3- 0-10  NO2- 0  NH3/NH4- 0  total hardness- 120ppm  total alk./ buffering capacity- 180ppm  Second- I only observed the "fast" swimming & face rubbing once, and even though my tests had never indicated a problem, I didn't want to take a chance. I thought - What if the test was wrong?  <The problem is that the tests won't test for parasites in the water. The Rubbing on a surface is typically a sign of parasites. Either in the gills or on their body. Using medicine from Mardel like Maracide will work well at getting rid of problems like that.>  Third- The babies seem to be doing fine. I believe there are at least 4 of them. I have seen consistent growth, and they are swimming above the marbles more each day.  <That is a good sign, and most likely things are going to turn out okay.>  I had thought the guppy might be getting "friendly", but I realize she can't stay in that kind of situation. I can put her back in with the babies, but if this an infection, would it spread to the fry?  <Yes, parasites can spread in a tank and will host on other fish especially young fish that haven't developed a strong immune system yet.>  Are there any particular signs I should look out for?  <Cloudy eyes, intense rubbing on surfaces, discoloration in the fins (white spots, red streaks) and/or bluish film appearing on the body. These are all signs of problems/illness with your fish. Just keep an eye out and treat if something like this should happen.>  Can or should I put some salt in the smaller tank?  <Though Platies live in brackish (saltier) water in nature it's not a distinct necessity to add salt to their tank. I suggest you read some of our FAQs and other material on Platies on our website www.wetwebmedia.com. You are sure to find info you need on these fish and how to care for them properly.>  Thanks again for all your help! Your site is fantastic, and has been of tremendous help to me!! Elizabeth  <I'm glad we could be of assistance. We are happy to help the hobbyist that is willing to do their research and ask questions if they need help. Good luck. -Magnus>

Sick Platy Hi,  I read through lots of your articles and FAQs trying to find an answer to this but with no luck. I have a 55 gal freshwater tank that has been set up and running well (cycled etc) for approximately 4 or 5 months. I do regular (every other week) 30% water changes. I currently have 6 Danios (original occupants) 4 older platys (added about 2 weeks later) 3 Oto dwarfs (3 died quite soon after being put in), 3 newer platys and 4 black skirted tetras (the new platys and tetras were just added last week). Of my original platys one had been harassed by the other 3 and did a lot of hiding for the first few weeks (but has been fine for the  last month or so) which is one of the reasons I bought additional platys - trying to outnumber the females to males. She has always swam a little "funny" - with her butt pointing down but seemed to be a happy fish. However in the last day or so, she has been hugging the bottom of the tank and seems to be having trouble breathing and swimming. Today she couldn't even make it to the top of the tank to eat, only about half way up and then she kind of sank back down. Her side fins are fluttering very quickly, her back fin is not moving much. I see no signs of ich or any other external parasite. What can I do? I was up half the night checking in on her last night. I hate to see her suffer. Any suggestions would be so greatly appreciated.  < Unfortunately many aquarists don't take precautions when adding new fish by putting them all in a quarantine tank for a couple of weeks before they put the new fish in the main tank. I understand the enthusiasm of bringing a new fish home and seeing it get along with the other fish in the new tank but this should really be avoided. While the new fish may seem fine they may be carriers of disease and infect the other fish while seeming fine themselves. While you see no external symptoms I suspect you fish may be attracted by some external bacteria. Your fish is very weak and may not survive the treatment. If no other fish are showing any symptoms then I would remove the sick fish and place it in a hospital tank of at least one gallon. A five gallon tank would be better with a heater. Take five gallons of the tank water and put it in the 5 gallon tank. Heat it up to 80 degrees. Add one tablespoon of rock salt. The salt will help the fish generate a slim which will help fight off the bacteria on the skin and gills. Add and airstone for aeration. I would try a Nitrofurazone based drug to start and follow the directions on the package. If you decide to treat the larger main tank then you run a risk of killing off the good bacteria and will upset you nitrification of the waste from the fish. keep a log of all the events in your aquarium. If this treatment does not work and this fish dies another fish in the tank may come down with the same disease and we may have to try a few different things until we find one that works.-Chuck>

Sick Platy II Hi Chuck,  Thanks for your suggestions. I tried putting her in a hospital tank etc, but unfortunately, either I was too late or she was too sick - she hung on for a day or so and then died. She seemed calmer in the hospital tank and less stressed so hopefully she didn't suffer too much. I will keep a close on the tank and will be in touch if another fish gets sick so that you can suggest a full tank treatment if necessary. Would you suggest turning up the heat on the main tank and adding more aquarium salt as a safety measure to try to help the other fish build up their ability to fight bacteria?  <I like to keep my fish around 78 to 80 degrees. I try not to add any medications including salt unless I think it is needed. Just try and stay up on servicing your filter and try and keep the nitrates under 25 ppm with water changes and that should take care of most of your potential problems.-Chuck>  Currently the temp is around 77 degrees?  Thanks again for your help.

Platy Parasite Problem Hi, Sorry to bother you, but I have been searching for hours & can't find an answer! I have a 20gal. tank w/ 3 male guppies, 3 neon tetras, 1 black skirt tetra, & 2 blue platies. The platies are the problem- I kept 1 of the fry from the last batch & he seems to be doing fine- active & growing well, but I noticed that moms dorsal fin started getting red and sometimes her fins are clamped, but not all the time. I check the water daily, temp 80, ph 7.2-7.4, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 40. I have been doing daily or every other day water changes and the nitrates are down to 20. All the other fish are doing fine. The mom would hide a lot, but that didn't worry me, I thought it was time for more fry. I just put her in my 5 gal. that I used when she had the babies. Her fins perked right up, and she seems to be more active, though the dorsal still looks discolored to me. The lighting in this tank isn't as bright as my other one, and I may be worried over nothing, but it looks to me as if the skin at her head is looking "reddish". My husband says I worry too much, & everything is fine, but I just don't feel right about this. Sorry this is so long, but like I said I can't find any info that totally fits this situation. You guys have been so great in the past, I'm hoping you can help me now! Thanks, Elizabeth <<Dear Elizabeth; It sounds like a simple case of parasites to me :) Not a big deal, but the weakest fish will be the most susceptible. Your pregnant platy sounds like she is having a hard time dealing, so I would recommend a better diet.. A variety is best: get your fish a container of high-quality Spirulina flake food, a small container of Tetra ColorBits, and some frozen foods like bloodworms three times a week. And definitely some more "rest time" in her 5 gallon. The problem with livebearers is that they are becoming more and more inbred. Therefore they are much less resistant than they used to be, some more so than others. Also the fact that the males constantly harass the females, giving them no time to rest which can be quite hard on the poor girls. What I recommend is that you gradually add some aquarium salt to BOTH tanks, about three to five teaspoons per gallon, and also some Melafix to the 5 gallon. Good luck! -Gwen>>

Platy Problem Revisited You asked me some questions, so I have put in the answers where you asked them. Thank you again for helping me and my Molly. "> Hi Crew, I have a female platy in a 12-gallon tank with two mollies, plus one male Betta and a butterfly loach. The platy used to have a mate but he fought with the male molly and lost, so now the poor thing is alone, not good. The platy is in a bad way, having slowly worsened for two weeks now.  In the beginning, I noticed that she had a "fat lip" and first suspected cotton mouth, but she has no visible fungus. I soon realized she was actually just jutting her lower mouth out and holding her mouth open. This became more and more pronounced until now she's holding her mouth all the way open and breathing heavily, hanging around next to the bubbler. >>>This sounds like a parasitic problem to me, gill flukes. Use Quick Cure to treat it.<<< >The first thing I did was fiddle with the water, testing ammonia, pH, etc. and finding them negative.  >>>What are your nitrite AND nitrate levels? How often do you do partial water changes?<<<" They are both at the lowest color bar on the chart (reads at zero). I change 20 percent a week.  "> Then I increased the aeration. Then I treated the whole tank with tetracycline according to the instructions, in case she had bacterial gill disease. Finally I placed her in a hospital tank with Clout because I thought she might have gill flukes. While in the Clout I also increased the salt content (usually 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons, now 1.5) and temperature (it's usually 80, now it's 82) for added support. Nothing has helped and I have run out of ideas. Today I put her back in the main tank because the medicine wasn't helping and the hospital tank was obviously stressing her. >>>Medications can be VERY hard on fish. You treated her twice without even knowing what she has, this is generally a bad idea. I understand your impatience, but stressing her with meds won't help. How long did you treat with tetracycline?<<<" Tetracycline for 4 days, according to the instructions on the package.   ">>>How long did you treat with Clout?<<<" Clout for 24 hours. The package said that was all I should do. ">>>Clout is a very strong anti-parasitic, and should be used with caution.<<< > Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for her!  >>>More frequent water changes, and keep her away from the mollies. They are probably harassing her, causing stress, which causes disease. Platies CAN be kept with mollies in larger tanks. A twelve gallon is too small, and she has no where to escape them.<<< > PS. I wrote to you two weeks ago about a Betta with Dropsy. I thought you might like to know that he is almost fully recovered (color still a tad pale, but otherwise fine--active, sleek, eats like a pig). What seemed to work for him was a double dose of tetracycline plus a strong salt bath and warm water.  I'm glad I didn't euthanize him! >>>Happy to hear. But keep in mind all species of fish respond differently to stress and to medication. -Gwen<<<" I know, my Betta seemed to like the hospital tank, but the molly hated it.  >>>>How is your platy doing now? Clout is generally used for up to one week, I can't recall offhand. Parasites have life cycles, and I don't know of any that can be eradicated in one day. Perhaps the salt you have added will do the trick. Good luck -Gwen<<<<

Health Problem- Female Platy I hope you can pin down exactly what is going on with my female platy.  I've had her approximately 1.5 months in a 10 gal. tank which I cycled using Bio-Spira along with one male platy, a male Betta, and a panda Cory.  Approximately 2 weeks ago she developed a white spot resembling a pimple on her underside so I raised the temp on the tank to 82 degrees and used Jungle's Ich Guard II for two days (per instructions).  No other spots appears but neither did the one spot disappear.  Other then the spot she's behaving normally.  My daughter then over fed the tank and we had for a weeks a spike in the nitrItes of .25 ppm for a week which now has subsided after cleaning the tank and fasting fish for three days.  Two days ago a second white spot appeared on her tail fin. I removed her from the main tank and put her in a 3 gal tub, a 7.5 watt heater, a hiding pot, box filter (using a piece of floss from the main tank and no charcoal)  and treated the water with Novaqua and Amquel.  The actual meds I've used  are a 1/3 of a pill of Kanacyn and two drops of Aquari-sol going on the assumption that its possibly a "fungus" but I am not sure since she doesn't demonstrate any of the "classic" either Ich or a fungus since she's not flashing, hiding, lethargic, scratching nor do the spots appear "fluffy".  They cysts or pimples.  She's still swimming normally and vigorously eating.  Any information would be greatly appreciated. Lisa <<Dear Lisa, I have no idea. It doesn't sound like a fungus or a parasite. Fish DO get cysts and tumors. All I can say is, be careful you do not harm your biological filtration with all the meds you are using. PLEASE test your ammonia, your nitrite, and nitrate to make sure. Email me the results. Aside from that, hopefully just good clean water and a bit of aquarium salt will keep her from any further problems. -Gwen>>  

Re: Health Problem with female platy Dear Gwen, Thank you for your quick response.  I checked the water chemistry in the hospital tank as you requested and the baseline chemistry from the tap. From the tap as baseline using Aquarium Pharmaceutical test kits: Ammonia 0 ppm, NitrIte 0 ppm, NitrAte 40 ppm - I live in an agricultural area and the water table was low then we received a ton of rain so there is a lot of run off from the fields in the town water. From the 3 gal Hospital tank: Ammonia 0 ppm, NitrIte 0 ppm, NitrAte 40 ppm, pH 7.8 using Jungle Quick Dip test strip  I have no substrate in the hospital tank and am sucking up as much fish poo as I can using a baster I use only for the tanks.  Also I dosed the water with a bit of Amquel this morning to help with any ammonia build up.  I plan to do a partial water change tomorrow afternoon to help keep the ammonia levels from rising too fast. The readings for my 10 gal tank are the same as for the hospital tank since I just did a water change yesterday. I am thinking I should finish out the Kanacyn treatment just in case those white spots are areas of secondary infection.  Any other thoughts would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance. Lisa <<Lisa, you are welcome :) You seem to have things under control, the only thing I would add is to keep testing the water for the duration of the hospital tank treatment. If you DO start to have trouble with rising ammonia, you can usually find a decent ammonia-removing filter resin to help control that at your LFS. Keep up the good work! -Gwen>> Health problem with female platy I hope you can pin down exactly what is going on with my female platy.  I've had her approximately 1.5 months in a 10 gal. tank which I cycled using Bio-Spira along with one male platy, a male Betta, and a panda Cory.  Approximately 2 weeks ago she developed a white spot resembling a pimple on her underside so I raised the temp on the tank to 82 degrees and used Jungle's Ich Guard II for two days (per instructions).  No other spots appears but neither did the one spot disappear.  Other then the spot she's behaving normally.  My daughter then over fed the tank and we had for a weeks a spike in the nitrItes of .25 ppm for a week which now has subsided after cleaning the tank and fasting fish for three days.  Two days ago a second white spot appeared on her tail fin. I removed her from the main tank and put her in a 3 gal tub, a 7.5 watt heater, a hiding pot, box filter (using a piece of floss from the main tank and no charcoal)  and treated the water with Novaqua and Amquel.  The actual meds I've used  are a 1/3 of a pill of Kanacyn and two drops of Aquari-sol going on the assumption that its possibly a "fungus" but I am not sure since she doesn't demonstrate any of the "classic" either Ich or a fungus since she's not flashing, hiding, lethargic, scratching nor do the spots appear "fluffy".  They cysts or pimples.  She's still swimming normally and vigorously eating.  Any information would be greatly appreciated. Lisa <BR>><<Dear Lisa, I have no idea. It doesn't sound like a fungus or a parasite. Fish DO get cysts and tumors. All I can say is, be careful you do not harm your biological filtration with all the meds you are using. PLEASE test your ammonia, your nitrite, and nitrate to make sure. Email me the results. Aside from that, hopefully just good clean water and a bit of aquarium salt will keep her from any further problems. -Gwen>>  

Mysterious Platy Illness - Please Help Last night we discovered a white pimple-like growth on the chin area of our red platy (he was just added to the tank 2 days prior). Also, he had a very wispy white thread-like thing that appeared to be coming off his anal fin. We are new to the hobby, and do not have a hospital tank. Afraid he would quickly infect the other fish (also in the tank are 2 rosy barbs, 3 zebra danios, and 1 red wag platy), we made the difficult decision to euthanize him. Late this afternoon, we noticed 1 of the rosy barbs now has the same white pimple-like growth on his upper lip area. Neither of these fish are displaying any lethargy, scratching, or other symptoms. We do not know what disease we could be dealing with here, as it does not really adhere to any descriptions of common aquarium diseases. We are thinking it could be a Lymphocystis, but we really don't know. Ich is possible we suppose, but there is only 1 white growth. Any ideas or experience with this? < Sounds like a bacterial infection. Try treating with Furanace or Maracyn and follow the directions on the label. These medications will affect the good bacteria in your tank so you need to watch for ammonia spikes.-chuck.

Platy Parasite? Help needed for treatment. Hi again, I appreciate always getting good advice from you guys - I hope you can help me again. Here's the setup:  I have a 5g tank with a filter that has a carbon filter pad and a bio-wheel. There are 3 platies in the tank - 1 male that we've had since7/25, and 2 females since 8/14.  The females both gave birth about a week ago, 3 days apart, but the babies are in a separate tank (and doing just fine).  The tank has been set up about a month and I was pretty sure it was well cycled, all water levels were fine.  Our water is from a well, so very alkaline and very hard. Just after the females gave birth I noticed their feces were often white & stringy, sometimes clear.  I had I was advised not to treat simply on that "symptom" but I watched them carefully. They were still very active and eating well, and looked generally healthy and happy.  Early this week I noticed that one of my females was hiding a lot, and that both females had a single white spot near their mouth. I watched it over the course of a day and it was getting larger.  My male also seemed to be acting strangely - laying his fins down and just being much more calm than usual. Though most of the time they were all active and definitely were all eating well.  But based on the behavior and the spots,  I assumed it must be a parasite and treated with CopperSafe on the 24th (which I've had very good luck with in a previous tank when my male platy was new). Before treating I removed the bio-wheel and kept it in a plastic container with water from the tank.  The following day I got a spike in Nitrites, which I assumed to be from removing the bio-wheel.  I started doing 20% water changes daily starting 24 hours after treatment. I couldn't get the Nitrites to go down, so I put the bio-wheel back in yesterday (the 27th).  I haven't even gotten to testing the water yet today, but I woke up to see one of my females covered with white spots!  First I thought Ich, but they might be worms... I can't get a good look. One was kind of "hanging out", which is why I thought worms.  And the "spots" sometimes seem to protrude more than others.  All the fish are energetic (no more hiding out) and eat VERY well (though I reduced feeding because of the Nitrite levels).  They look great, except for the very obvious parasite on the one fish.  Could it be from the water changes? (reducing the amount of CopperSafe in the water) I thought I'd be better off reducing the amount before returning the bio-wheel.. but with Nitrites going crazy, I thought it worth the risk to put it back anyway.  I'm just confused and not sure what to do next.  I also though it possible that the meds may be forcing the internal parasite to the surface and maybe this isn't such a bad thing. But I've seen no change since this morning (it's been approx 6 hours). Any help with this would be much appreciated.   < There are a few things going on here. I think your fish had ich. Worm type parasites usually don't multiply like that overnight. Hopefully the CopperSafe has gotten rid of the ich by now. Next time you do a water change you should vacuum the gravel to remove the junk that has accumulated there. That will help reduce the nitrites. While your fish are sick they don't eat and the food then goes to ammonia and nitrites. Make sure that all the food is eaten in a couple of minutes each day. Once the water is stabilized you can see if they truly have any worm type parasites. If they do I would treat with clout.-Chuck> Jennifer

Re: Platy Parasite? next steps Thanks. I think it was Ich after all.  We lost one of the female platies 2 nights ago. The morning after I sent the email to you, the 2nd female ended up covered with spots.  Another day went by and the 1st female's spots started to disappear, and the 2nd had less, so I thought the treatment was working. I started adding additional CopperSafe with water changes to make sure I wasn't diluting it too much.  Unfortunately the next afternoon female #2 started to float vertically (tail up) and so I removed her to a new container immediately with fresh water (conditioned and ready for future water changes) hoping she would perk up.  Unfortunately she was gone in about 6 hours.  Do you think it's more likely the ich that killed her or nitrites? She had ich spots for maybe 24 hours and they were all gone by the time she died. < I think she was weakened by the ich and done in by the nitrites.> I finally went and bought Start-Zyme bacteria started and added it to the tank (since I'm sure I've killed off the bacteria with the copper).  I do 20% water changes twice a day now, trying to get Nitrites in check.  I also bought another 2g tank for treatments and quarantining new fish (since our other ended up full of babies).  I am setting it up today because I may have to move the male out of the main tank.  Now he's just got one female to chase, and I'm afraid he's running her a bit ragged. I certainly can't add new females till I get the water stabilized. Does this sound like I'm doing the right thing? < Separating a stressed fish from an over anxious male is a good idea.> I don't want to make things worse.  By the way, I always do my water changes with the gravel vac so that I can get as much waste from the bottom of the tank as I can... and also my fish are still eating very well and finish everything I give them. I've reduced feeding because of the Nitrite levels, and just give them a small amount once a day.  Once I get my tank cycled and am ready to add new fish, how long should I quarantine a new Platy before adding her to the tank? < At least a couple of weeks.> (I am hoping to get 2 more females).   Also, how long do you think it will be before the babies are big enough to swim with the adults in the main tank? < They should be at least 1/2 the size of the adults so they don't get eaten. The adult males will chase young females in an attempt to spawn.> And how many Platies do you think I can keep in the 5g tank without overloading it? I've got 11 babies, and we'd like to keep a few and we'll try to find good homes for the rest of them. < Depending on the size of the fish and how often you do water changes I think 10 or so would be ok for awhile. Continue to check the nitrates. If the nitrates get above 25 ppm in between water changes then you need to remove some fish of do water changes more often.-Chuck> Thanks again for your help! It seems like I'm asking questions of you guys all the time. Jennifer

Platy problem Hi, I have an on and off problem with my platy's. My Platy will begin to lose it's round shaped belly. The belly  begins to look flat and then it loses it's buoyancy... or it's ability to swim horizontally. It's swimming becomes erratic and with more of a vertical line to it. Eventually the fish dies after a number of days. What's up? could this be a swim bladder problem or whirling and wasting away. I just purchase Paragon II made by Aquatronics, but it looks as though I'm going to loose a large spotted platy anyway. Thanks in advance for the response. < Internal bacterial infections are usually caused by stress. Water too hot/too cold or wrong food/old food or something like that. To treat you should use a medication with Metronidazole in it. If you can treat in a separate hospital tank. If one is not available then watch out for ammonia spikes in the tank. Medications affect the good bacteria too that are used to break down fish waste into nitrates.-Chuck>

Re: platy problem Thanks, How come this seems to affect live bearers and not the other fish? < Platies have been domesticated since the early 1930's and the hundreds of generations may have developed some strains that are not as resistant to certain diseases as their wild ancestors.-Chuck> R

Platy illness Thank you for being such a great fish support...my female platy seems to have a case of dropsy.  She is huge and her scales are all puffed out.  She has a voracious appetite, gobbling up her food, and had lots of energy (until this morning) - she is darting all over the tank.  I have been treating the tank with Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone, and potassium dichromate (fungus clear), vacuuming the bottom of the tank, and changing the water (I am adding Epsom salt to the water), but nothing seems to be helping her.  She actually is starting to look worse, and this afternoon is spending more time in one spot in the tank.   Anything you can suggest for me to try?  Thank you!  Lissa < Try Metronidazole. It is the only thing I am aware of that treats the anaerobic bacteria that causes bloat.-Chuck.>

Platy Hickies Hi, I have had a female sunset platy for over a year, in my aquarium. Recently, I have noticed that it has very small round red marks on its lower side, and upon closer inspection, they look like chunks of flesh have been removed from it. How can I stop the other fish biting it (if this is the cause)? <Have you seen any aggression?> I have a breeding net; should I place her in that? <I would, just in case it is aggression> Please give me as much help as possible as this really is a desperate situation for me. Thank you very much, Eitan <Hi Eitan, Don here. What other fish are in the tank? What size tank? Any plants/hiding places? Have you added anything from a local stream like plants, gravel, rocks? Small round bite marks could be from a leech. Try to spy on them a few hours after lights out. Look for anything worm-like hanging from the fish or crawling around in the dark. Lastly does the fish show any other signs of illness such as loosing or gaining weight, curved spine, etc.? For now the breeding net sounds like a good place for her. If a white cotton-like growth appears treat with salt. A tbls for every 3 or 4 gallons of water should do it. Don>      

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