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FAQs on Platy Diseases/Health 2

FAQs on Platy Disease: Platy Disease 1, 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, Platy Health ,
FAQs on Platy Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Genetic, Treatments,

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

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


Platies, Fast-Acting Mystery Disease - 05/13/2006 Hi, I've had my 20 gallon tank set up for about 2 weeks. I started with 4 platies and a striped Raphael catfish. One of the 4 platies died within 3 days of purchase and had no external symptoms except possible white, stringy poop.  I noticed she was swimming very close to the surface, and toward the end, very close to the bottom.  I've been testing the water and doing water changes. Currently the nitrites are spiking (2.0). <Bad news there.  Do water changes, urgently, to keep ammonia and nitrite at zero, even (especially) during the cycle.  Also, please do read on WWM regarding cycling, fishless cycling....> Last night I noticed another platy acting strangely. It was apparently hiding in a castle decoration and when I lifted it so he could swim out, he was swimming very jerkily and had that same stringy white poop. <This *can* be a symptom of internal parasites....  but too little to go off to know for sure.  Any other fish exhibiting this?> I was convinced he was sick but since it was midnight, I couldn't really do anything about it.  This morning at about 10:30 I found him swimming upside down and kind of spiraling when he swam. <Wait - spiraling listlessly, like he was just kind of unable to guide himself, or spiraling like he was actually swimming in spirals?> He was also crashing into the bottom of the tank and then holding still for a while. Obviously not long for this world, I debated with my boyfriend about what to do.  I noticed he may have had two tiny white bumps on his skin, but my boyfriend couldn't see them.   <Do please look VERY closely at your other livestock.  Look for white dots, and with the Raphael, look for him to be doing a sort of a "swimmer" motion with his pectoral fins, kind of rotating, and alternating left and right, like a person swimming "freestyle".  This is an indicator of parasites on the gills, and is important to look for, as Ich will rarely manifest on the skin of a plecostomus or Raphael.> About 20 minutes later we decided to move him to a bucket with some tank water in it. By the time we got the water into the bucket and the fish into the net, he was dead. We checked his body but nothing seemed unusual except that he  was dead! <That's unusual enough for me, yikes.> From the visible behavioral symptoms until the death was about 11 hours....  What kind of disease/condition moves this swiftly?   <A hearty handful, actually, especially in smaller fish.> And are the rest of the fish in danger? <Quite possibly.  Are any of the remaining fish clamping their fins?  Swimming in circles?  Shaking their heads side-to-side?  Shine a flashlight at each fish.  Do you see a milky quality to the animal?  Grainy?> I'm not sure how to treat and worried about what it could be.  Please  help me out, any advice would be appreciated, thanks! <More info to go off here would be of help....  Though I am very much leaning toward this maybe being a parasitic complaint, I'm very deeply concerned about the spiraling you mentioned and the possibility of Myxobolus/whirling disease, as I've seen this in other Poeciliids (mostly just mollies).> Meg <Hoping for only the best,  -Sabrina>
Platies, Fast-Acting Mystery Disease - II - 05/15/2006
Thanks for your quick response! I just got home from work and I'm noticing my other calico platy is hiding and sticking near the bottom of the tank. He'll probably be the next to go :( He wasn't acting strangely until after the other fish died.  I'm going to buy another 5 gallon bucket tomorrow so I can do 50% water changes instead of just 25%.   <Good.  It *is* possible that all you are seeing is strictly environmental.> When the fish was spiraling he was trying to swim straight (it seemed) but he was unable to control himself and would spiral instead. Like a football when you throw it. He kept ending up upside down and then crashing into the gravel.  He would move in spurts and then hold still.   <This is VERY disconcerting, and does sound perhaps like Myxobolus/whirling disease.  If you see these symptoms in any other fish, get the fish with symptoms out of the tank PRONTO.> My boyfriend saw the catfish swimming earlier and said he wasn't making that motion like a swimmer. He said he was using his tail to swim mostly. <The "swimmer" motion would only be seen when the fish is at rest.> I haven't seen him swim lately cause he only comes out in the dark.  The red platy has one white dot right on its anus. This is probably  bad, Hm?   <Mm, maaaaaaybe....  And maybe not, too.  Could just be "normal", especially if the animal is female and pregnant.> Ugh. I'm going to try to go to the pet store tomorrow. If this is a parasite, how should I treat the tank?   <The stringy white poo still concerns me.  I would feed an antiparasitic medicated food, and not consider treating the water.> I'm also worried that it will be too late for the calico platy because he's hiding like the first one did. I'm hoping maybe he's sleeping, I will try feeding them and see if he picks up. Okay... with the food in the tank he started zooming around. I don't think he actually ate any of the food though.  But I got to look at him since he came out of hiding.  He looks thinner than the red one, granted the red one just ate most, if not all of the food. His gills look a little red but he doesn't have any white spots. I don't think he looks milky or grainy but its hard to tell. The red one looks wonderful except for that white dot which comes and goes?  Neither of them are shaking their heads or clamping their fins or swimming in circles... not yet anyway.   <That, at least, is quite good.> Thanks for your help. Meg <Watch for that spiraling swimming behaviour, try to find an antiparasitic medicated food (Jungle makes one you can get at PetSmart, a better one can be found at the store of http://www.flguppiesplus.com ), maintain perfect water quality, and watch the fish very, very closely....  Hopefully all will be well with time as the tank finishes cycling.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Platies, Fast-Acting Mystery Disease - III - 05/16/2006
Hi Sabrina, <Hello again.> The pesticide man came today and that compounded my fishy issues. <ARGH!> Hehe. We had to saran wrap all the tanks cause he was doing major spraying and my boyfriend forgot to wrap my poor Betta's bowl. <Oh dear - this could go very bad....> His tank water actually had a  film of yuck on it (it was old water too). 100% water change and now he looks  much happier.   <Good.  Watch him VERY closely.  Do another water change if ANYTHING seems amiss.> Back to the platies. I haven't had a chance for the water change. <Please hurry with it; water quality is life or death.> And I'm a tiny bit leery about it because I know this is probably the peak of the nitrate cycle and I want to have it be over because if it IS environmental, the stress of a cycling tank will be gone. <Meanwhile that stress/damage from cycling can kill or irreparably damage the fish.  DO the water change, and urgently.  It will prolong the cycle, and you'll need to KEEP doing water changes, but the alternative is perhaps killing ALL of your livestock or having them have permanently damaged gills, etc.  A little work on your part, patience and lots of water changes during this critical time is all the preventative you need.  If you are not willing to do the water changes, then return the livestock until the tank has cycled.> The white platy is still hiding and the catfish is too. I haven't seen him swim when he's resting except he sometimes tries to bury himself face first into the wall of his cave to escape the light when I go prodding in there ;)  The red platy still looks okay. She's swimming around and she's very  healthy looking... meaning, colorful and fat, not like the white one that looks like its getting smaller. <Disconcerting....> The red platy's poop is starting to turn white. <Even more disconcerting....> Right now it's got brown and white alternating in the same strand of poop. You know, talking about fish poop is very odd.   <Yeah, but it can be very telling, too.> The white fish hides 24 hours a day in the little castle in the complete darkness. I pick up the castle and rustle him out about twice a day to make sure he's alive still. <Use caution, here; disturbing him is pushing him closer to death's door.  If you can see him without disturbing him, that would be best.> He has white stringy poop and when he comes out of the castle he holds very still and rests against something (a plant, the substrate, the castle) only his front fins move but he doesn't go anywhere until he moves his tail. Then he goes right back into the castle.   <I do feel that the environment is partly if not entirely the problem, but I am also not convinced that there is not a parasitic complaint at play here.  Fix the environment (urgently!) and observe.> Nitrites are high in the tank. <Deadly.> I'm hoping this is the major factor.   <Likely, but again, not certain.> I really don't want to have to wash the whole tank out and basically re-cycle the damn thing because the platy's had a parasite. <There are VERY rare instances where this would be necessary.  Yours is not one of them.  Do water changes, like NOW, as soon as you're done reading this, and be sure to match the temperature and pH of the new water to that of the tank, use a dechlorinator, etc....  You will not halt the establishment of the nitrogen cycle, just prolong it.  Keep doing water changes, daily if necessary, to keep your livestock safe.> The poop looks a lot like the white stuff that was growing on all the decorations about a week ago.  Ugh. <White stuff growing on the decor?  Maybe a diatom algae?  I don't recall discussing this in previous correspondence with you....  In any case, do please try to get hold of one of the anti-parasite foods I suggested, "just in case", and start in with those water changes.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Platies, Velvet?  - 05/13/2006 Hi guys, <Hi, Heather!> First off, I'd just like to say that I love your website - very informative!   <Glad to hear it, thanks!> I searched through a lot of the articles but unfortunately can't seem to find the answer to my problem.  We have a fully cycled 20 gallon tank with 3 adult platies, 3 2 week-old fry, and 2 African dwarf frogs.  The platies were rubbing their abdomens on rocks, with clamped fins, occasionally gasping for air, with shiny areas on their abdomens.  It seemed like this was a textbook case of parasites.   <Entirely possible.  Or could be an irritant in the water....  Ammonia or nitrite above zero, nitrate above 20ppm....> We got Maracide and have given 2 doses so far.  Right after the first dose the female platy that had looked really bad seemed quite a bit better, but the male went from just having clamped fins to displaying all of the other symptoms I listed.  He barely moves off of the bottom at all, but will still eat.  The female that was originally sick now swims around a bit but she hasn't eaten in days. <Very disconcerting for these tiny, usually voracious, fish....> All of the fry seem ok.  Our water test readings are: Ammonia - 0, Nitrites - 0, Nitrates - 15, PH - 7.2 (normal for our tanks), KH - moderate.   <Okay, that all sounds good.> Do you think that they're showing symptoms of a secondary infection?   <Nothing you've stated leads me to believe so.> The Maracide bottle says that it's ok to add Maracyn 1 or 2 while dosing with Maracide, but I know that it's not recommended to just dose with everything in the medicine cupboard.   <Right.  I would not add Maracyn I or II at this time.  Any chance at an antiparasitic food?  Jungle makes one now that's available at PetSmart, I think; I had some real success with this when I had guppies with velvet/Oodinium.> Any help would be greatly appreciated!  My fiancĂ©© and I are terrified that they're going to die. <I would finish the round of Maracide, and perhaps even consider getting a hydrometer or refractometer and use salt marketed for freshwater aquaria to raise the salinity in the tank to 1.002 or 1.003; this will be tolerated by the platies, but not the frogs.  The frogs should NOT be present while medicating in any case.  Were it me/my fish, I'd give the frogs their own, very clean space for now, and treat the tank with salt.> Thanks,  -Heather <wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Platies, Velvet? - II - 05/13/2006 Thank you very much for all of your help, Sabrina.   <Glad to be of service!> I'm heading out right now to get a hydrometer <Oh - a caution here - when you add salt and raise the salinity, DO IT SLOWLY.  Baby fish are less tolerant of such changes than adult fish.> and we'll be moving the frogs into their own space this afternoon.   <Great!> You guys are great! <Thank you very much for these kind words, Heather.  All the best to you,  -Sabrina>

'Wasting' platies   4/21/06 Greetings, I have 5 baby platies in a 15L tank, 2 sunset platies who are 3-4 months, and 3 others who are about 2 months old. Over the last two weeks, the two sunsets have appeared to lose interest in food (crushed flake, twice daily) and are hanging around the bottom of the tank. They seem to be getting worse and although try to get to the top for food, they appear to have suddenly developed curved spines. <... environmental, and/or nutritional...> The other 3 younger platies are thriving and getting fat. Is there anything I can do about this? <Need to know much more re your water quality, history of this set-up. For one, I would broaden the diet here... to include some meaty foods, live plant material... Please do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaq2.htm and the linked files above... in the hope that something will "pop up" of use here. Bob Fenner>

Platy Problem - 03/13/2006 Bob, <Actually, Sabrina with you today.> We have a male pineapple platy that has developed a small red spot on his body. He has flashed a few times; otherwise he is eating and poohing normal. <This could be most anything - from a minor scrape or bite to the beginning of a parasitic or bacterial disease.  I would just wait and see for now, if it doesn't look serious.> It is a 30 gallon tank with platys, some mollies, glow light tetras, Pristella tetras, and cherry barbs. The water is testing O for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates; <Somewhat unusual that an established tank would test zero for nitrate.> the PH and Hardness are fine. We have two air stones in the tank for aeration. Do you have any idea what this could be? <Too many possibilities, too little information to have an idea at this time.> Ellen and Michael Gordon <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Mickey Mouse Platy   03/9/06 Hello, thank you very much in advance for your expertise.   My 3 1/2 year old daughter is obsessed with fish (thank you, Nemo) and she has 4 tanks. <It's good to see that that movie has had SOME good effect in fishkeeping... I just shudder at the number of Clowns kept in bowls because if it, though.> Her latest and greatest is a 16 gallon tank that we started for Christmas.  It has 4 male guppies, 1 red platy, 1 silver platy, 1 baby black molly (given to her by the fish store,) 1 plecostomus, and 3 Mickey mouse platys. <Pretty good, the Pleco will get far too big for her current tank... They can grow to be a foot or longer!> One of the Mickey mouse platys gave birth to 2 (that we can find) fry today but the "Mama" who we just got a few days ago is bent. She was fine when we got her, she almost looks like a "z." <Bent spine?  Could have hurt herself birthing, could be a genetic defect -- genetic defects are very common in livebearers.  She may not make it, put her in a cycled quarantine tank with very clean water; daily water changes.  There is little else you can do.  If she seems to be suffering, you should consider euthanizing her.> Why is this?  The babies are in the tank and the "Mama" is in the breeding net.  The tank has many hiding places and I have been unable to catch the babies who were born today. <Baby livebearers are likely to become lunch if you do not separate them.  Having an empty tank handy for raising baby livebearers is a good idea if you want them to survive.  It is a fun hobby, and comparatively easier than raising egg laying fish.  If you do not want to keep the fry, it is humane to allow them to be eaten by the parents; a large percentage of fry are eaten in the wild.> I am a novice wondering how I let myself get talked into this size tank!!  Help, please.  Thank you.  My daughter, Katee, is very concerned for "Sunshine."  Sincerely, Debby <If you end up having to put your Molly to sleep, I suggest using clove oil.  It can be purchased at your drug store, several drops in 1/2 gallon of water, mix it thoroughly.  Clove oil is a natural anesthetic, your fish will fall asleep and suffer respiratory failure, very peaceful and not painful. Best of luck. Jason N.>  

Question about a growth?   2/22/06 I have a small 10 gallon freshwater tank with 2 platys and 3 mollies.   I've had them for about 3 months.  Today I noticed that my female had an  abnormal growth on her belly between her pelvic fins.  It's bubbly and the  same orange color as she is.  As first I though it was some kind of fungus,  but throughout the day it's grown to three times the size.  I have no clue  what it is, or if there is anything I can do for her.  Please help  me.  I hope the attached picture helps in identifying what it going  on.  Thank you in advance.   Erin <Does appear to be some sort of tumorous growth. Such things are largely untreatable, and hopefully spontaneously remit. Not catching... maintain good water quality and nutrition and hopefully this platy will self-cure. Bob Fenner>

Mother Platies dies  - 2/4/2006 My fish is a platy. She recently had her first fry.  she stay close to the breeder net because that is were i put her babies.  Now tabo has died. When tabo was born her mother also died.  Is it common for platys to die after giving birth?  Sylvia <Mmm, no... unless very old... Perhaps coincidence here, but please read on WWM re platy systems, health... Bob Fenner>

Platy problems... actually normal behavior  - 01/12/2006 Hi, my name is Andy. I am new to the aquarium thing, and I have purchased three platy's, two female, and one male. the male tends to  follow the females around but not bite at them. <Normal...> but they run from him , he keeps following and it seems the females are afraid of him. What should I do? <Mmm, nothing> or is he just trying to mate? <Yep> Please give all the info you have to give. thanks dearly     Andy <No worries Andy. Bob Fenner>

Washed Out Mickey Mouse Platy - 12/01/2005 I really hope you can help me with this situation.  <We shall try.> I have a 55 gal tank that has fully cycled over the past 3 months. At 2 weeks I started with 2 yellow Mickey mouse platies (male and female), 1 red m.m. platy and 3 diamond tetras as my starter fish. About 2 months into cycling I had to treat the platies for a white dot fungus and was told to use a medication which changed the water to a green tint and removed my carbon filter cartridge and replaced it after 2 full treatments (4 days).  <"White dot fungus".... I'm guessing, here, but I think you might mean "Ich"/"White Spot Disease"?> The 2 females showed the most signs but thought it best to treat the entire tank.  <If Ich, yes, almost imperative that all fish be treated.> They definitely got better but the red platy has since started to lose most of her color (as you can see in the attachment) to where now she looks semi transparent as if she were losing her scales or something (she used to be bright orange red color).  <Wow. That's quite a significant change.> I still find her rubbing her side on some of the decor and sometimes hides a lot behind some plants close to the gravel bottom but don't see any sign of the same fungus problem and comes out to eat.  <Eating is a very good sign, at least, but I don't like that she's hiding so much.> I have done 25% water changes weekly and monitor my water chemistry closely. My ammonia and nitrites read 0 ppm and nitrate levels read almost 0 ppm but never reach the next color on the scale of my test kit which is for 5 ppm.  <Excellent.> I have searched your site for my answer and have asked my local pet store for help but told to isolate her and monitor her behavior but will that really help?.  <Isolating her in a tank of her own, with lots of plants for cover, will help. At the very least, it will ensure that she won't be "picked on" by other fish, which may be very, very important right now.> I would really like to cure what ails her but I don't know what it can be.  <There's really only one thing coming to mind as to what's "going on" here.... I think (not sure, mind you) that somehow this fish has suffered some sort of nerve damage and can no longer control the chromatophores in its skin (those are basically what makes the color show up). The few times that I've seen something like this, though, the fish had portions that had turned black, not colorless, so I'm not at all certain that this is the case. It is possible that this is a result of the medication that you used, though without knowing the ingredients, I couldn't even begin to know if it was something that can be harmful to fish. I really would quarantine the fish, give her lots of plants (fake or real) to hide in, feed her if she's eating, and see if a couple weeks of your good care will help her out. Be sure to keep monitoring your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, and we'll be hoping for the best for her.> <<I've seen this very often in fish that have been recently shipped and/or chilled - seems to be associated with bacterial infection.  The fishes' swimming motion can also take on an odd "wagging" motion that gets it nowhere.  I might suggest a combination of salt and Spectrogram here.  Marina>> Please help!! <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Let Them Eat Rocks?  Platy, Dropsy.... 11/29/2005 I have a 10 gallon fish tank in my classroom with three fish in it: one silvery Mickey Mouse platy, a 10 month old orange MM platy, and a small algae eater (don't remember the species name). The silver platy is the oldest...I think I've had her for about a year and a half. She's definitely been the hardiest -- I'm quite an amateur at keeping fish, and she's seen many newbies come and go in her time. Anyway, I fed the fish some flakes and some algae disks (both part of their regular diet) before Thanksgiving Break (Wednesday) and today (Monday) when I came in Miss Molly was a swollen as a blowfish. She's evenly swollen all the way around, not just her abdomen, and her scales are poking out (yeck). <Yikes. A very bad sign.> Her stomach area looks dark, but I can't remember if it always looks like that or not. The other fish look normal. After internet research, I figured she has dropsy <Mm, "dropsy" is a collection of symptoms.... not a disease in and of itself. In this case, the symptoms are likely from an internal bacterial infection.... perhaps something she's had since "day 1", or perhaps from one of the fish she's seen come and go (might want to consider quarantining new fish before adding them to your tank). It may have been entirely unavoidable.> and called my local fish store to get their opinion on what to do. My local fish store thinks the fish has swallowed some gravel and will die since she can't pass it. <Uhh, no. HIGHLY unlikely. Though it IS possible that a fish can get a gut blockage from swallowing a piece of gravel, I have never, ever seen nor heard of a platy doing so.... Furthermore, the scales sticking out (pinecone fashion?) are a sure sign of fluid buildup in the fish - typically a result of bacterial infection.> I can't imagine why she would suddenly pick up a rock-swallowing habit unless she just got really hungry (in which case I feel awful that I didn't put it one of those time release tabs). <No - actually - it's best not to use those time-release feeding blocks, as they can alter your pH.... Most fish can go many days without food. You didn't cause this by not feeding, no worries.> Long story short, should I try the Epsom salt, the antibiotic flakes, or anything else? <If you can locate the antibiotic flakes (preferably medicated with Oxytetracycline, in my experience), I would try both Epsom and the flakes, yes.> Will any of the above hurt my other fish? Should I try to set up a "hospital tank"? <I would definitely try to get her into a hospital tank - though the Epsom and antibiotic flakes won't hurt your other fish, she may be contagious. It's safest for the others to remove her. I will also tell you that her prognosis isn't great. It really is very rare for a fish to "come back" from such an advanced state.... I do hate to bring bad news, but needed to let you know this. When/if she dies, the other fish are likely to "pick" at her. This could be bad indeed, if they were to "catch" what she has/had. Please do separate her if you can.> Thanks, -Janice <All the best to you, -Sabrina>
Sabrina, Let Them Eat Rocks? Platy, Dropsy.... - II - 12/06/2005
<Hi, Janice.> Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate the advice! <Glad to be of service.> I am glad that I was not totally nuts to think my fish was an unlikely rock-eater. Unfortunately, your prognosis was correct, and she only lasted two days after your email. I treated for a bacterial infection, but as you said, it was a bit late for her advanced stage. <I am so sorry to hear this....> Is there anything I should do for the other two remaining fish, or are we past the point of preventative measures? <Just maintain optimal water quality - zero ammonia and nitrite, 20ppm or less of nitrate, steady, stable pH....> I am curious as to the cause of the infection. I know that you said that it could be from exposure to her other former tank mates, and that's certainly a possibility. I'm wondering though if a drop in temperature could stimulate an infection. <Can.... but I have to admit to you, the heater in my upstairs tank failed last weekend - a 20 degree (or more) drop in temperature did in everything but the platies, which are still all going strong. Go figure. Platies are pretty tough when it comes to temperature changes.> I have a feeling that our A/C system went on standby over the Thanksgiving break, letting the temperature drop lower than normal. I haven't yet bought a heater for the tank, since the room usually stays at a fairly constant temperature...or so I thought. Now that the weather has cooled, that will be a priority. <Good plan.> That brings me to my next question, if you have time for another. <Time? Whassat? No worries; this is why we're here!> Every Christmas break, I am left in a quandary of what to do with my fish. I am typically gone for almost 3 weeks, and in the past, I have brought my fish home with me and put them into a smaller tank. Unfortunately, this is very time-consuming, <And hazardous/stressful for the fish, no doubt!> and I always have a problem finding a good place to put the tank. Would it be feasible to leave them in their tank at school with a heater, provided that I go in periodically to feed them? <Oh, certainly. Aim for twice a week at a minimum, if you can; or, you could even get a battery operated feeder - a device with a "hopper" type bin, or compartments that you fill that will release food for them periodically. Don't use the "tablet"-style time-release feeders that you put right into the tank - these can cause more harm than good.> Are there any other preparations and/or supplies that they would need for this? <Just as above - they'll probably be just fine with your good care.> Thanks again, -Janice <All the best for you and your fish on the holidays, -Sabrina>


Wasting in a platy... A child?  11/14/05 Please have someone review your email before sending for proper grammar. Hello. I have a 260 litre tropical tank. a outside Fluval filter. I have 15 platys and 4 high fin mollies 1 black lyre tail molly. water is ph 7.6 nitrate and nitrite are zero ammonia is 0.4 but I will water change tomorrow to bring this to zero. Several of the platies are second and third generation fish that have bred naturally in a larger tank.  Over the last several months one by one platys have been dying very slowly of a strange "wasting away".  They show classic signs of stress clamped fins and hanging at the top of the tank. <Good description> I think they still are eating but the females slowly lose weight until they one day are dead.  It seems only ones that I have bred in the tank are affected and none of the mollies have ever suffered. This only happens to one fish at a time and the process seems to take several weeks. I have noticed that only female platys seem to have been affected by this. Currently I have one fish showing this symptom though it is not at a advanced stage yet. I have not been able to find anything concrete on what is causing this. Although I have tried anti bacterial and anti fungal treatments in the past this has had no noticeable effect .  Do you have any ideas?  Thank you very much Gareth .Essex England. P.S  The sick one is the Mickie mouse platy in the middle of the picture. <Could be an internal complaint... most likely. Able to be treated with one administration of Metronidazole/Flagyl (covered on WWM)... As the males are not afflicted, nor other fishes, perhaps these anomalous losses are tied in with some aspect of water quality (insufficient calcium, magnesium)... or nutritionally supplied biominerals. I would test your water for pH, alkalinity and bolster if needed. Bob Fenner> 

Platy Illnesses - 10/26/2005 I have a 10 gallon tank with 6 platies and one seemed to have dropsy <Note, please, that dropsy is a collection of symptoms, not an actual illness. A number of things can cause these symptoms.> on Saturday and died on Sunday night. It was very quick. Today another one of the platies is dying on the bottom of the tank and not showing any signs of dropsy or anything else. <This symptom alone is not enough to go off.... Please try to observe this fish very closely.... is he swimming oddly? Color wrong? Cloudy or torn fins? Spots, lumps, lesions, or other abnormalities on the body?> Up until this afternoon, he was swimming and eating as normal. The ammonia is 0, nitrites are 0 and the nitrates around 10ppm. Temperature is around 76-78, PH is 7.4.  <When was the most recent addition to the tank?> Should I be treating all of the fish in the tank for some sort of parasite or is it possible that these two platies just were susceptible to something?  <Mm, tough to impossible to say at this point. I would not advise medicating until you know what you're treating - for now, I would immediately remove the ill fish to a quarantine tank, both to observe the fish and also to protect your other livestock.>  I have had the tank running since June, and added the six platies over time between the beginning of August until the end of September.  <Ah, so it's been a few weeks then, since the latest addition, yes?> I am afraid that the rest of platies are going to get sick as well seeing as the previous 2 got sick and died so suddenly. So far, the remaining 4 are acting normally and have good appetites.  <Please be looking at them very, very closely for anything at all out of the ordinary.> I do weekly water changes of about 30%. <All sounds good, but obviously something is amiss for the two to have fallen ill. I do suspect something pathogenic, but without more symptoms described, I can't even begin to guess. I'd like you to take a look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollydisfaqs.htm and the other linked disease FAQ file at the top of that page, and also here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm under Disease. Perhaps you'll find something that will help. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

My Paraplegic Platy 10/22/05 Hi there,  <Hi Catherine here!> I have a 10 gallon tank that contains 1 huge blue Gourami, 4 zebra Danios, and now 2 platys. I started out with 4, three of which really looked pregnant, but I guess are not. 1 I found dead and the other just disappeared. I want to blame my Gourami, but am trying not to. Anyway, there are now 2 platys. 1 seems to be doing very well.  The other one as of late, who used to look pregnant, is now awfully thin. I try to feed it alone even, but it barely eats. As of today I have noticed it in the oddest of places in my tank, and realize that it is balancing on leaves, caves, etc. because it is looking paralyzed. I am so sad about it. I separated it tonight into a bowl and fed it alone again but I don't know what to do.  Thin and paralyzed, this is my problem. Now if it dies, do I buy a couple more as the 1 will be all alone? Or do I buy Danios, which seem happy and healthy. My Gourami is about 4 inches long and pretty thick. It is not very aggressive either, and the little guys seem to do well with it. So it is the platy I worry about. What should I do? Thanks for your time. Tracey <You have a teeny tiny tank for soooo many fish. Both the Gourami and the Danios would really prefer to be in a 30 gallon. Remember, fish poop. This makes waste which is toxic to the fish. You don't provide ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. However, I suspect that if you test your water these will be high. This is probably stressing your fish and the platys are most susceptible.  The solution: big water changes frequently until you get a larger tanks. About 1 tablespoon of either Epsom or Marine salt per gallon of water may also help your platy perk up. As far as the isolated platy, I'd keep it isolated until it is looking better in case it really has a bacterial infection. I assume this "bowl" is heated and filtered. If not, your fish probably won't do very well in it. Look around WWM for more info on your fish. Catherine> 
My Platy Follow-up 10/25/05
Hi Catherine,/Crew Do you really think my tank is too small? I have 1 blue Gourami, 4 danios,1 (sigh) platy and 2 of those Otocinclus (I think) algae eaters. They don't look cramped at all, but do you think they are? If I want a larger tank, my husband says I have to give the fish away. That I don't want to do, especially because I like the danios a lot. I could get a tank of 10 danios and be quite happy with just those.  So do you really think the fish are crowded? <Three things can make fish crowded, in my opinion.  1) There are so many fish in the aquarium, that you cannot keep ammonia at 0, nitrites at 0 and nitrate under 20. Violation of any of those conditions is stressful/toxic for the fish.  2) The fish don't really have enough room to swim around. A 4 inch fish in a 10 gallon tank is a fairly tight fit, especially a fat fish.  3) The fish like to swim fast and don't have enough room. This may be the least important consideration. However, the danios like to school and dart around the tank. They'd probably prefer 30 gallons, but they'll be okay in 10, assuming the water quality is excellent. Look at www.liveaquaria.com for good suggestions for tank sizes.> Thanks, Tracey <Anytime, Catherine>  

An amazingly accurate "artistic representation" of bacterial infection of platies.

Platy Problems - Bacterial Illness - 10/10/2005 Hello and thank you for any help you are willing to render. <Good morning.... Sabrina here, glad to be of service.> Recently some of my platys began to develop white, mucusy-moldy looking patches on their bodies, (mostly on their fins, but some also up along their back). Reading through your "FAQs on Platy Diseases/Health", and searching through the internet I think that they either have "Columnaris Disease", or a fungus of sorts. From what I have read however the two are difficult to tell apart, and require separate treatments. <Correct on both counts.> I have sent a picture with this email showing what the fish look like (I couldn't get a good picture of the infected fish so I Photoshopped a picture of a healthy one, but it is a reasonable likeness, sorry if it is pathetic.) <Not pathetic at all - and please do understand, with only this and your description to go off, I would lean more toward the guess that this is bacterial in nature....> Hoping for your learned opinion. The infection has seemed to spread quickly and is killing the fish. <Another good indicator that this is not fungal, in my opinion.> It also seems to have spread to a Danio. Thank you for any help. J Dunlap  <My response would be to treat with Kanamycin sulfate, or perhaps Oxytetracycline in food.... And of course, maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, and nitrate below 20ppm, with water changes.... Wishing you the best, -Sabrina>

Platy Problems - 10/09/2005 Hi there! <Hello! Sabrina with you, today.> I have a problem with one of my female platies. For the last two days she's been sitting at the bottom of the tank behind one of the ornaments. She's there in the morning and when I come home in the afternoon she's still there and she also hasn't been eating. <Is she capable of swimming? Or seem like she's "sinking" if she swims? Could possibly be a swim bladder issue. Many, many pathogenic/disease possibilities as well.> All the other fish leave her alone and they all seem really happy and healthy. I've had my tank for about 2 months, it's cycled, ph is 7.4, temp is 80F. It's a ten gallon with 5 female platies, 2 males and one female guppy. <A little overstocked, in my opinion, but certainly not grievously so. I assume you've tested ammonia/nitrite/nitrate? Maintain ammonia, nitrite at ZERO, nitrate below 20ppm with water changes....> She's not very fat so I don't think she's about to give birth. I am so worried and I don't want to lose her, she's so pretty. Well I really hope you can help. <Unfortunately, just not enough information to go off, and too many possibilities.... Do please take a look at our diseases sections: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm .> Shelley <Wishing you and your platy well, -Sabrina>
Platy problem - II?
Sorry to email again, So, like I said my platy was sitting at the bottom of the tank, with her fins clamped to her body, no outward signs of disease, she could swim, but chose to just sit at the bottom of the tank. After two days of no eating and sitting in the same spot, she died. When I found her she was standing on her nose vertically at the bottom of the tank and the front of her abdomen, close to her head, was really swollen, to the point of her scales sticking out. My LFS never heard of this and didn't know what I should do. <The swollen portion of the abdomen with the scales sticking out imply an internal bacterial infection.... likely nothing you could have done at that point. With all due luck, it won't be something easily communicable.> My other fish are doing great, they are all happy and energetic, one of them even had some babies, which are hiding amongst the java ferns. The ph is 7.4, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites are zero, temp is 80F. I change 25% of the water weekly and also clean the gravel weekly and I'm planning on getting a bigger tank to accommodate the babies when they grow up. So now I have 4 female and 2 male platies, one female guppy and a few fry. When I get a bigger tank should I put the water from my current tank into it? <Probably not a problem.> I was also wondering if it is okay to feed them dried seaweed <Sure. Try to get it unroasted, with no salt or flavoring.> because they don't really pick at the algae and plants much. Thank you so much, Shelley. <All the best, -Sabrina>

Sick platy?  9/24/05 Hi guys, I have scoured your site for some clue to what might be ailing my platy but haven't had any luck.  I'm hoping you will help! <Will try> I have a red platy (Mr. Orange--sorry it's not very imaginative but my 2 year old thinks it's appropriate) who is just over a year old.  Just over the past two weeks it seems that he has developed a bit of a bump under his top fin.  He seems to be spending a bit more time at the bottom of the tank than usual and getting to the top seems to be a little hard for him--almost like he's top heavy.  I also noticed on one occasion that he had what looked like string rather than poop hanging! <Happens... may not be indicative of trouble> He is eating well, socializing with his tank mate (a black Molly--Mr.. Black), just a little less vigorously.  Otherwise, there are no physical symptoms I can see other than he just seems off.  I supplement his fish flake diet with occasional spinach and (skinless) peas. <Good> We have a new 10 gallon tank with a power filter and an airstone.  It has been cycling for the last 7 weeks so I have been doing at least 25% water changes a week, using dechlorinator and re-adding the aquarium salt, as necessary.  The water is stable at 0 nitrate and nitrite for the last 4 weeks.  The pH is a little high, about 7.8 but I understand that Mollies and Platys prefer harder water.  Today I changed out about 75% of the water. <pH not a problem... I'd stick with 25% water changes> He's a great fish--he and Mr. Black are a bit like the Odd Couple and I would be very sad to lose him. Thank you for any advice! Jennifer <Mmm, Platies do only live a few years... I suspect yours is "just getting old"... would enjoy him/her as long as you are both healthy. Bob Fenner>

Platy trouble, paucity of useful info.  9/8/05 Please help me!  I have 2 baby platies in a breeding net that are not doing well.  They are about 4 months old and the last 2 left out of the group. <... after four months, they should be in the main tank...> I have been treating the tank with penicillin for three days now.  They both are on their sides on the bottom of the net and seem to be struggling.  Is there anything else I can do to help them? <... What is the history here? For what reasons did you move these fish? What re their main system... filtration, water quality, feeding... Bob Fenner>  

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