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FAQs on Platy Diseases/Health 3

FAQs on Platy Disease: Platy Disease 1, Platy Disease 2, 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

Sick Platy - 04/17/07 <<Hi, Megan. Tom with you.>> Ok, I have read and read through a lot of Q and A and my problem seems to be unique??   <<Let's see if we can 'un-unique' your problem for our many other readers.>> I have a 10 gal, set up for about 6 months now, never had any problems at all until recently.  I do water changes 25% every two weeks with 1/2 RO water and 1/2 tap water.   <<Sounds good.>> I do home tests and take my water to the stores and my nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia are all at 0; pH 7.5.   <<Also good, Megan.>> Anyways, I recently added an APISTOGRAMMA to my tank and that's when the trouble started again (second round).  One day my Cory died.  Weird, he's been in the tank the whole time, always happy.  Then I noticed my female platy was stressed. I've had her since she was born.  I noticed the Apistogramma was picking on the platies, mostly on my one male so I took him back.   <<This can happen and you dealt with the situation appropriately. These Cichlids really prefer water that's much lower in pH than what you have. It's possible that those kept at the store were acclimated to levels more to their liking and, when introduced to your tank, it kind of went into a 'tailspin'. A neat fish but has some preferences that you'll want to look into if you get the urge to try again.>> I decided to get one more female platy for the tank in case that was an issue as well.   <<Wise'¦>> As soon as I added the new platy the male went crazy after her, chasing her everywhere around the tank.  The older platy is so stressed she barely has fins....really skinny too.  Then tonight I spied a little bit and it seems like this "peaceful" male platy is even picking on some of the other fish. <<I don't give fish enough mental credit to apply psychology here, Megan, but I might surmise that your male Platy had his 'domain' threatened by the Gramma (not to be confused with Grandma :) ). With the 'threat' removed, he might have taken to reclaiming his territory 'to the detriment of his other tank mates. What we need to do now is 'get his mind right'.>> Total in the tank right now is 3 platies, one male two female, 2 thread fin rainbow fish, 1 Oto and one honey Gourami. Arghh, that's all I can think of to say...I love this platy. I saw her come out of her momma...really want to save her. <<First, we need to get the male isolated without really 'isolating' him. If finances permit, visit your LFS and purchase a breeding net or box and put Mr. Attitude in it for a day or two. You can even do this with a plastic bag filled with aquarium water but this is really not the better option. Next, I'd consider the addition of some 'aquarium' salt to the tank to help relieve some of the stress on the other fish. I'd think that about one tablespoon of salt for the entire tank should suffice here. Can't say that a bit of luck and some 'Divine Intervention' won't come in handy with your female Platy but we've got to get the stress off of her quickly.>> Thanks a ton, Megan <<Hopefully, this will help, Megan. I wish you and your Platy the best. Tom>>
Re: sick platy ATTN: Tom
  4/19/07 <<Hello, Megan.>> Thank you very much for your reply, but it was too late.   <<Very sorry to hear it, Megan.>> She was basically dead this morning so I isolated her, and now she is gone. :*(  She was a really pretty fish.  I am planning on taking her into my LFS and see if there was anything else wrong with her besides stress.   <<They might be able to shed some light. Worth a try, certainly.>> Anyways, I think the male platy has lost his aggressiveness, but maybe I am just not seeing it.   Do you think that I should still isolate him? (I have a breeding box.)  Or should I just let things go?   <<I'd let it go for now, Megan. In fairness to your male, behaviors can get out of whack when there are sick/dying fish involved. I'm not an expert in this area but I suspect that because a weak fish can be an inviting target for predators, it places the 'school' at risk as well. In the wild, the fish would be driven away, if possible, or it may be killed outright by other members of the school to preserve the integrity/safety of the rest of the group. In any case, I wouldn't isolate him unless his 'bad' behavior resurfaces.>> Also I want to get a new female platy to even things out again and was wondering how long I should wait, or if I even need to.   <<Honestly, I wouldn't wait, Megan. The longer that fish have to establish territories in an aquarium -- including the whole aquarium! -- the more aggressive/protective they become. It makes it hard, if not impossible, to introduce new tank mates without problems erupting. You might even consider a couple of females to spread out the male's potential 'interest'.>> Thanks again for the advice, Megan <<I'm sorry the story didn't have a happy ending this time, Megan. Sometimes things just move too quickly to give us a chance to help. All we can do is to keep trying. My best to you. Tom>>
Re: sick platy ATTN: Tom
  5/10/07 Hi Tom, <<Hi, Megan.>> Help!  My fish keep dying and I can't figure out why.  Everybody I've ever talked to says I am doing everything perfectly and it just doesn't make sense.  So I have decided to tell you each and everything about my tank, it's water, and it's problems.  You might want to get a snack because I am desperate and this might take a while. (ha...)   <<Well, I've told folks before that it's pretty hard to give us too much information so, let's go'¦>> Ok, I have a ten gallon Marineland tank with a Penguin filter.  The filter uses Black Diamond Premium Activated Carbon, this is the only filtration I have in the tank.  I also have one air stone.  I treat my water in advance in 2 gallon increments and then store it in gallon buckets.  I use half Reverse Osmosis water and half tap water.  The bucket I mix it all together in is old and probably had soap in it at one time or another....I didn't even think about that until recently and am going to get a new one whether that is the problem or not. <<When in doubt'¦ Actually, I think it's very good thinking on your part. Will certainly eliminate a possibility.>>   In the water I put a variety of goodies: -Seachem Neutral Regulator for pH - adjusts high or low pH to 7.0, also removes chlorine, chloramine and ammonia <<I'll get back to this one'¦>> -Doc Wellfish's Aquarium Salt (about 2.5 teaspoons per 2 gallons) <<Way too much salt, Megan. If you choose to use aquarium salt in a maintenance regimen, this should be two to two-and-a-half teaspoons per five gallons of water at most.>> -Seachem Prime - removes chlorine, chloramine, and ammonia.  Detoxifies nitrite and nitrate.  Provides slime coat. <<Excellent product but it negates the need for the Neutral Regulator. We/I strongly advise against chemically regulating pH in aquariums. First, it's rarely necessary given the typically broad range of pH levels that most fish will acclimate to. Second, there can be a very fragile, even unstable, relationship between acids and alkalis and the buffering compounds that keep these from crashing or skyrocketing. As a case in point, a young man I spoke with a short time ago was using a pH reducer in a tank where he had aragonite as a substrate. Aragonite constantly leaches calcium carbonate into the water and will hold the pH quite stable at about 8.0. His chemical treatment reduced the pH to 7.0 temporarily but he found it rising very quickly in just a day or so. In short, his fish were on a pH 'roller coaster' ride. Not good at all.>> -Seachem Stability for new tank stabilization (my tank is about 8 months old, should I stop using this?) <<Stop using it. You'd be wasting your money.>> -Top Fin Tap Water Dechlorinator <<Already doing this with the Prime. Again, stop.>> -Top Fin Water Clarifier <<Ditch it. If you've got 'cloudy' water, there's a root problem to be addressed. This product won't do that.>> -Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Inc. Stress Coat <<Redundant.>> I realize there is a lot of stuff in there that rids of chlorine and chloramine, but there is other stuff that each chemical helps with and I have been told multiple times that this shouldn't cause a problem. <<Way, way too much going into your tank here, Megan. Reduce the salt as I've suggested and cut out everything other than the Prime. Something is causing a potentially serious problem in your tank and this is a good place to start.>> I feed my fish a variety of tropical fish foods including pellets or flakes once daily, and frozen brine shrimp about once a week in place of the other food. <<Good.>> I also test my water with Red Sea Fresh Lab home testing for pH, NH3/NH4 and NO2.  My pH stays between 7.0 and 7.4, my nitrite is at 0 and my ammonia is at 0.  I get my water store tested every once in a while as well with the same results and the quote "your water is perfect! I don't know why your fish are dying!" - helpful..... <<Please understand that your readings (though I don't see any for nitrates) are 'spot on' where we like to see them. (The shift between 7.0 and 7.4 in pH is, chemically/mathematically speaking, a bit large but shouldn't be that big of a problem.) In themselves, these readings give us a fair idea of what's going on in the tank. They aren't, unfortunately, the whole story by any means. There's something wrong and we're going to try to figure out what that is.>> It seems to me that they just kind of keep dying.  I just thought this was normal until recently when I read one of your advisees on your message board telling someone that fish shouldn't be "dying off" which mine seem to be doing.   <<I would have to agree. There's a reason why fish are dying in an otherwise 'healthy' tank -- keeping in mind that it will be a lot healthier when we cut back on the amount of chemicals going in. :) >> Not one after another but maybe one every week or then none for a month and then one dies and then none for 2 weeks, etc..  I mentioned this to someone and he suggested I try medicine for internal parasites. <<Doesn't seem likely to me but I can't really fault the fellow for suggesting 'something'.>> I started this after my last platy died that I wrote to you about.  It is Jungle brand anti-parasite medicated fish food.  You feed the fish this 3 consecutive days out of a week with no other food on those days for 4 weeks. I just finished the second week out of this treatment.  After my last platy died that we discussed I bought two more female platies and I thought one was pregnant. She was happy with her fins standing up straight, then last night she was hiding and wouldn't eat, and this evening she died.    (Also the other new female I thought was pregnant too, but now her fins are down and her anal fin looks like it might be maturing into a male??  I've read about this but I was certain she/he was pregnant.) <<Fish can fool you, Megan. (Heck, they fool me all the time!) In any event, everything still points to water conditions. (I'm starting to repeat myself, aren't I?)>> In my tank I have always had platies, plus a mixture of other fish while I had to keep replacing the dying fish... (Corys, gouramis, rainbows, Otos, Rasboras, 1 Apistogramma, and I think that is what I have stuck with.  Also, at one point in time a snail appeared in my tank out of nowhere. I liked them at first and had quite a few but then someone suggested that they might be why my fish are dying so I picked them all out.) <<I'm not a snail 'fan' myself but I don't think they were the problem, either.>> One other thing that I just thought of is my gravel.  I was trying to be thrifty when I started this tank and was given used gravel and a heater from a strange man with a lot of fish tanks in his house. <<That might describe a few of us here at WWM! Not me, of course, but we might have some candidates! :) >> Both were rinsed thoroughly with hot water before use. <<Probably what I would have done, Megan.>> Ok I think I might be done...?!?!?!?!  Please try hard to think of any and everything I can try to fix my tank.  I am very close to just giving my fish back to my LFS and starting over completely, although I would rather not. <<I'd rather you wouldn't start over, either. All that 'cycling' and such. First (digressing a bit), there's nothing wrong with carbon media in the filter except that it's only effective for a few weeks and, then, should be replaced. ('Cleaning' it does nothing.) Second, if you've cleaned your Bio-wheel, have you rinsed it in 'used' aquarium water? Tap water will obliterate the beneficial bacteria, for the most part. (Getting back to basics beforehand, if you will. Readings may be zero but with so much going on, chemical-wise, it's difficult to know the state of your beneficial bio-colonies.) I repeat myself here, Megan, but cut out all but the Prime and reduced salt. As in human terms, we need some type of 'control factor'. Right now, I don't believe we have any. Continue to monitor your water conditions regarding ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and pH. In particular, do NOT 'jump' on a reading that's out of whack unless it's to do a water change. No chem.'s.>>   Thank you very much, if there is anything I left out or you are curious about let me know and I well  write back immediately! Thanks again, Megan <<What about vacuuming the gravel during water changes? Deep cleaning will help rid the tank of built-up detritus/mulm. (Contributes to nitrates.) How about the frequency of the water changes? Too frequent, under the present protocol, would be as problematic as waiting too long. (This will be remedied, however.) Obscure, but if you have live plants in the tank, make sure that you prune/remove any dead foliage. Plants absorb 'bad stuff' and re-introduce it back into the tank when they die. If you've got 'cloudy water' issues, this is typically due to a bacterial bloom. Better to do a massive water change than chemically treat this. Keep me posted, Megan. Tom>>
Re: sick platy ATTN: Tom
  5/14/07 Hi Tom, <<Hi, Megan. Sorry about being tardy with this. Spent a long weekend with the boys playing every square inch of four beautiful golf courses in northern Michigan.>> Thanks for your advice!!   <<You're quite welcome.>> I was curious if I should take all these chemicals out of the water changes immediately or if I should do like one at a time?? <<Water changes will take care of this, Megan. No need for any extraordinary measures here.>> Also, I am still a little confused about the pH thing but if you say the tank will be fine without the regulator then I am definitely willing to try it.   <<I understand your confusion about pH. Not the easiest concept to grasp. In simple terms, it's just not a good idea to 'toy' with your water's natural pH level. Better to accustom/acclimate your fish to what you have than to attempt to adjust the pH chemically.>>   I clean my tank - with a gravel vacuum - once every other week, and I move the fake plants and decorations around to give my fish a new scenery once a month during the water change.  I figured doing this would help get any nasty stuff that is piling up under the decorations as well.   <<Good thinking on your part here, Megan.>> I started using the water clearer when I introduced a piece a driftwood I bought from Petco and it turned my water yellow. <<The 'yellowing' is from tannic acid leaching from the driftwood. Same thing occurs when folks use peat moss in their filters. It creates what is known as a 'black water' environment common to areas in the Amazon basin, as a 'for instance'. It also tends to acidify your water, dropping your pH levels. (Pretty close, analogy-wise, to the example I gave you about the fellow with the aragonite substrate though on the other end of the pH spectrum.) The pH regulator tends to push the pH back up to neutral while the tannic acid is trying to bring it back down to acidic levels. Depending on what 'naturally occurring' buffers your water has in it, such as calcium carbonate, this could also be trying to drag your pH above neutral into the basic region of pH. Could be lots going on that would be tough to put a finger on without an 'in depth' water analysis.>> I also believe that is where the snails came from.  (It came out of a tank they had there.)   <<A real good bet, Megan.>> Anyways I took the wood out because the water never really went back to clear so I guess I don't know why I kept using the clearer. <<Even more reason to discontinue its use.>>   The filter should be replaced every two weeks?!?! I did not know that, I think maybe I have been changing it every month or maybe longer, and I have never cleaned or rinsed the bio-wheel, it says not to. <<The carbon media is effective for only three to four weeks so once a month is a pretty good schedule for you. As for the Bio-wheel, my concern is that you don't rinse it, if you had any intention of doing this, in tap water. Leaving it alone is fine 'as long as it doesn't start taking on a life of its own. I heard from one guy who hadn't touched his in something like three years. His wife was becoming a little nauseous with the 'aroma'. :) >>   A couple other things I forgot to mention: Worms.  About 2 months ago I was looking at my tank and noticed some white lines "crawling" around on the filter, the area where the water is spit out.  They were about 1/4 of an inch long.  I freaked out and took out the filter and noticed on the blue spongy part there seemed to be like a million of these things!! However, they weren't moving and maybe these ones were just poop.  I am certain the ones I first saw were moving and alive though.  Super gross, but every body told me they were helping the tank and just to leave it be, maybe feed my fish less.  I have been feeding them less and haven't seen any worms since, but it is so hard to know exactly how much to feed. <<The advice you received was correct. The little worms were likely Planaria. Harmless to your fish but indicates that there was an excess of nutrients in the tank. Modest feeding and vacuuming your gravel will keep these at bay.>> Also, in the recent summer months the temperature in my tank has been crawling up and up and up.  I've noticed it mostly around 82 degrees F, and was told this wasn't an issue, maybe lift the lid when the lights are on if I am at home.  Then last night I got home after a day where it was about 90 outside and my tank was at 86 degrees!!!  I put a fan on, directed at the tank and lifted the lid.  (I get nervous about taking the lid off in case a fish jumps out.)  Then this morning it was down to 77 with the fan still on, the heater in the tank was on too.  Arghhhh!  Is there always going to be a new issue? <<Generally, you can direct the air flow across the top of the tank without lifting the lid. This should keep from dropping the temperature too quickly which is more problematic than a 'quick' rise in temperature. Neither is advisable, of course, but lowering it too quickly is the bigger risk. (I share your concern about the fish trying to run away from home!) For what it's worth, I'd rather see the water cool enough to bring the heater on. Hard on the utility bills, perhaps, but easier on the pets.>>   Thanks again, Megan <<No problem, Megan. By the way, there won't always be 'new issues'. You'll get things settled out in short order. We tend to get ourselves into trouble by over-tinkering rather than simple, properly-scheduled maintenance. The less you can do while keeping things nice and stable, the better. Keep up the good work! Tom>>

Platy Question   4/11/07 I have noticed a clearish tubular structure on my 1 year old red wag platy. What is this? <... appears to be part of this fish... but not distal enough to be an extruded part of its G.I.... a "prolapsed colon"... perhaps a trauma... with a powerhead or such...?> It does seems to maybe have intestines in it...please e-mail me back here at this address but I will also check the website again. -- Katie Bruhns <Mmm, not likely pathogenic or "treat-able"... I would just leave this fish as it is. Bob Fenner>

Re: platy Question   4/11/07 Well it is coming out of the anus, and I do not have a power head in fact he is still in breeder net because of his small size (and am waiting for it to get bigger so my Gourami doesn't terrorize it too much) if it is part of his intestines, would it perhaps fold back in? <Mmm, is possible, yes. Does happen. Bob Fenner> -- Katie Bruhns

Flakes on Platy   4/11/07 Hi!! I think I may have a problem but I'm not sure.  I know for a fact it shouldn't be normal though.  Mind boggling enough for you there?    <Not yet... all you've stated thus far is your reaction...>   I recently noticed about maybe 4 days ago or more that one of my female Mickey Mouse Platies may have Ich, but! when I did research on your webpages and saw pictures of other peoples fish with it.  I didn't know if it was Ich anymore.  She looks as if her scales are dry and just needs lotion. <Yikes...> Now the Webpages describes it as white spots.  The pictures also show white spots.  She doesn't have just the white spots.  Like I said before its more of a just needs lotion type thing.  None of my other Platies or Guppies or my two Glass Fish have it just her. <I would separate this specimen, pronto> Now my tank does need to be cleaned.. I recently bought a sucker fish for it.  I have white rocks. Just my luck its easier to see the uneaten food that gets collected at the bottom.  Should I just go ahead and clean out my tank? <? Not entirely... weekly water changes with gravel vacuuming are recommended...>   Set tank up right at end of December or very very beginning of February.   More water and solution has been added to it for when the water level starts going down a bit. <Mmm, not a good practice... solids accumulate...>   So my final question is, is there more than one type of Ich?  Any advice will be appreciated.   Em <Can't definitively tell anything from the simple description... Might be Columnaris... Likely improving the environment will do about all the good you can here. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm Bob Fenner>
Re: Flakes on Platy   4/11/07
Thanks for the quick reply.  I do have a vacuum cleaner.  Just for that purpose!   Em <Ah, good... regular water changes... Bob Fenner>

Mystery band on Redwag platy  4/10/07 Hi all, First of all, you have a wonderful site!!!! I read the FAQ's frequently, awesome job!! <Thank you> Here is my problem that I couldn't seem to find an answer to. I have read many many many articles on your site.. and other sites. <Okay> I bought 5 Redwag platies (3 female, 2 male) and had them in their own 15 gallon tank. They were in the tank for about 3 weeks when I started to notice that one male was losing some color. They are a very vivid reddish/orange color. The following day after noticing a bit of color loss, it had gotten worse. I moved the male platy to a 10 gallon by himself, fearing that whatever it is may spread to the rest. It is almost as if someone had drawn a wide band down the body of the fish, from top to belly, just behind the head. It isn't clearly white, but almost a yellow I would say. That is on one side, the other side isn't as far down the body, but still a lot of color gone. I guess you could say, it looks faded. It looks like a very defined line, very straight not jagged at all. The fish acts normal, not loss of appetite, swims around just as it had before. I feed all my fish Nutrafin Max flakes and Bloodworms. I also toss in some shrimp pellets. All the tanks have been cycled, I use sponge filters from existing tanks to help it along. I have 14 other platies in my 32 gallon tank that are doing fine. Also have 14 Redwag fry from that batch of 5, they are doing great so far (they are in that 15 gallon tank now). If you could offer any help or suggestions it would be very appreciated. Kevin Nova Scotia, Canada <From the apt description... I suspect that this mark is due to this one platy getting "whacked" by a/the net when you bought it... or "smacked" against the specimen container in the process of being transferred... I do hope that it will cure on its own... in your good care... Bob Fenner>

Platy thin and lethargic   3/31/07 I noticed that my platy is suddenly very thin and looks like she is having problems opening her mouth. She does try to eat, but doesn't seem very successful. When I first set up the tank I'd had some ammonia problems <Trouble...> and she developed purple gills that have never cleared up. <Yes, possible> Am I having more ammonia problem or did she give birth or is there some other problems? I have 5 others, 3 female and 2 male that are doing fine. Thanks! Julie <Mmm, that others of the same species are fine is indicative of your having no endogenous problem... perhaps this one fish was damaged by the transient ammonia exposure... Only time can/will tell here. I would not try to "treat" these fish with chemicals. Bob Fenner>

Platy Help please!!!  3/28/07 We have a Mickey Mouse Platy. She just had fry but got ill right after birth. We wonder if she maybe didn't get all the fry out. She has been ill 3 days now. She has not been eating. <Some times this happens... You've just got to be patient, keep offering food/s> Her top fin is down and her tail is tight and now kinda chewed up. There are no fish bugging her. She has a film around her but she is fighting. She is still moving around as best she can. It seems her rear half is almost paralyzed. I feel she is showing us she is strong and can pull through. But she is not eating. She does move around a lot but hangs out on the bottom... sometimes she is on her belly sometimes at an angle on her side. Is there anything we can do for her??? -AMBER- <Mmm, need to know more specific information re your set-up, maintenance, water quality... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sudden death of platy's 03/22/07 Good morning, <Hello.> I have a question regarding the sudden death of a couple of my platys (both the same type sunset wags).  I have a 55gal livebearer tank, water parameters are pH 7.4, ammonia 0, nitrates 0, nitrites 0, GH 4, KH (not sure - have to retest). <Mostly sounds good, but the GH for platies (and indeed most other livebearers, should be a bit higher, at least 10-degrees GH.> A couple of my older female platys have suddenly died.  One died without any visible cause Tuesday morning.  The other one died yesterday.  There is nothing on the fish indicating infection or fungus.  No strange behavior except that they both segregated themselves only hours before passing.  I have not noticed any sign of disease on the other fish. <Odd indeed. Perhaps old age if it was just one fish, but two at once is unusual.> Currently I have around 20 fish and fry in the tank.  Since these girls were rather large when I got them, I'm not sure how old they were.  I have only had them 3 months.  If I have anymore deaths I'm going to treat the water with tetracycline. <Do you mean "tetracycline"? That's a broad spectrum antibiotic that should only be used in very specific circumstances. Here in the UK at least, only by prescription from a vet. Your local laws may be different. Either way, it isn't something to use without first confirming there's a problem with bacterial infections. It'll do nothing a protozoan parasites, intestinal worms, fungus, etc. let alone water quality/chemistry problems.> I am already adding salt to the water to keep parasites at bay. <Why are you adding salt? Salt at low concentrations has little to no effect on parasites and at high concentrations will stress your fish. Platies are *freshwater* fish and do not normally inhabit (or want) brackish water. Please keep the salt in the kitchen, not the aquarium!> I did add some guppies and new swordtails about 2 weeks s) ago so I'm looking for signs of Columnaris infection.  One of the half black guppies (female) died shortly after added it to the tank.  I noticed that she was badly mutilated so I'm thinking she was attacked while dropping fry.   <Swordtails can be a bit aggressive to keep with platies and guppies, so that combination wouldn't be one I'd recommend. But even so, I'd be surprised if the swordtails actually mutilated another fish to the point of causing death. I'd be thinking more along the lines of fin rot.> I added cardinal tetras to another tank and they all died along with half the other tetras in that tank with similar symptoms. <Why are you adding cardinal tetras -- fish from soft, acidic waters -- to a tank with fishes that need hard, alkaline water? Please buy a book about aquarium fish and learn about their water chemistry requirements. Freshwater fish no more need the same conditions than panda bears and polar bears.> Until I added the new fish I had not lost a fish in that tank in over a year!  These fish segregated themselves and within hours were dead.  Water parameters and the same in the 37gal tank as the 55 gal.  That's the first thing I checked when the fish started to die.  In fact one of the new tetras died about an hour after being introduced to the 37 tank.  I went back to the pet store and noticed that they had no living tetra's in the tank I bought them from. <Just a spelling note, the plural of "tetra" is "tetras".> The LFS would not say whether or not they had a problem in that tank.   I've been treating it with salt and water changes and haven't lost any more fish. <Again, why the salt? That will certainly kill the cardinal tetras or any other soft water fish. Salt is for brackish/marine aquaria, not freshwater aquaria.> I want to hold off on the antibiotics until I have to. <Quite right too. Almost all fish deaths are related to problems with water chemistry, water quality, and diet. Disease, particularly "mysterious bacterial infections" are much less common than aquarists believe.> Any other advise or ideas on what is happening?  I've never lost so many fish without any visible symptoms.  Like I said the only thing I noticed is that the fish break away from the group and seem to breath very rapidly (at least the tetras did) and then die.  The platy's just went to a corner didn't eat for one feeding and were dead. <Difficult to say. Could be a variety of things. Chronic constipation for example (you *are* feeding your livebearers vegetarian flake, not regular flake, right?) These fish need lots of greens and algae and relatively little meaty foods. Sure, they'll eat bloodworms and daphnia until they burst, but it's no more good for them than it is giving steak to a horse. These fish are omnivores in the wild, and eat a lot of algae along with small insects. Cooked peas a very useful for constipation. There should *always* be something green in the tank for them to peck at, such as thin slice of cucumber or zucchini. The water hardness is far too low for livebearers, and I'd suggest raising the GH by incorporating some buffering agent, such as coral sand, in the aquarium or filter. Please have a read through the Poeciliidae page and related FAQs, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/poeciliids.htm > Thanks, <Cheers, Neale> Linda Ritchie
Re: Sudden death of platy's
   3/22/07 Hi Neale, <Hello Linda> The livebearers (swordtails, guppies, platys) are in the 55 gal tank and the tetras black neon, Pristella tetras, harlequin tetras and one Betta, one catfish, and a clown Pleco) are in the 37 gal tank. <Very good. Livebearers mix best with other hard water loving fish, like gobies and rainbowfish. Lots of people keep them with tetras and barbs, but it isn't a great combo for the most part. Only relatively few tetras or barbs are adapted to hard water conditions (though Pristella tetras are one).> I have been advised by many regarding adding a small amount of salt to the water on a regular bases... <Lots of people think carrots help 'em see in the dark, but it doesn't make it so. Aquarium "tonic" salt is basically a device for extracting cash from unsuspecting aquarists. It serves no purpose in modern fishkeeping. It doesn't harden the water or raise the pH, so doesn't help the livebearers, and at 'teaspoon per gallon' concentrations has little effect on parasites or fungus. It won't harm your livebearers, so use it, don't use it -- it's your money you're wasting. But it certainly won't make your fish any healthier. Proper pH/hardness, decent filtration, regular water changes all much more useful.> ...in fact one website indicated that salt is actually required for swordtails. <Swordtails do not come from brackish water. The addition of salt to tanks with mollies may help, because salt reduces the toxicity of nitrate, which mollies are extremely sensitive to. But in a clean aquarium with low nitrates and regular water changes, adding salt is redundant.> The livebearers do get veggie flakes and there are living plants in the aquarium. I give them several kinds of flake food and occasionally Tubifex worms (freeze dried). <Good, a nice varied diet! Platies especially like to have something to peck on algae-wise, so don't clean the tank too aggressively.> I will closely monitor the situation and look for any kind of bacteria infection.   <Forget about the bacteria for now. Such infections are uncommon. Water quality first, water chemistry second, diet third, disease last. That's the order of play when fish get sick. Just like people -- how many diseases are caused by environment and diet, and how many by bacteria that suddenly spring out of nowhere and kill otherwise healthy people living healthy lives?> I agree the GH is low and I'm working on that but don't want to do anything to suddenly. How do you raise the GH without raising the pH to undesirable levels? <Various methods, but the simplest is put crushed coral in a filter media bag, and stuff that inside the filter. If the tank has an undergravel filter, replace some of the gravel with coral sand. There are also hard water-creating salts you can add to raise pH and hardness, sold for use with Lake Malawi and Tanganyika cichlids. Discuss with your retailer what's available.> It's currently around 7.4. <Acceptable.> I do have some coral and seashells in the tank and it has helped a bit. <No, they won't help much. Algae and bacteria cover them, stopping the lime in the shells getting into the water (think the crispy shell around the chocolate on an M&M). With calcareous filter media, you can run under the hot tap to clean off this slime each time you maintain the filter. Maybe even replace entirely every few months. Also, because the water moves past the calcareous stuff in the filter, it "picks up" hardness more easily than when stuff is just sitting in the tank.> I have both solutions for correcting the problem either way.  If this is a protozoan or a parasite problem what do you recommend for a solution. <I'd not worry to add anything yet. Correct the water, and sit on your hands for a bit. Let things settle down. It doesn't sound like any of the other fish are sick. Knee-jerk treatment of fish is no better than doing the same thing with humans -- diagnose, then treat, not the other way around. Once the hardness has risen a bit, your platies and swords will be so much more robust.> I've used CopperSafe in the past for flukes. All the fry are doing well and everyone else is happily picking on the plants and rocks and acting normal.  Kind of a mystery to me. Thanks for your help. <Maybe the older fish never adapted to the water conditions in your tank, but the fry have and are fine for now. Keep a look out for the usual things like Finrot which is often the first thing to go wrong with livebearers. Treat only when you have securely diagnosed the situation. Otherwise, buy some crushed coral, put it in the filter, sit back, and enjoy your fish!> Linda

My Mickey mouse platy! No useful data  3/16/2007 Hello I have a Mickey mouse platy that is exceptionally thin, I noticed it yesterday and I am planning to bring it to a local pet store tomorrow, its gills are red and its really thin. Could you tell me what it is or is it going to die? Will it affect others in the tank as well? <Possibly... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above... You provide no useful information re water quality, set-up, maint., feeding... BobF>
Re: My Mickey mouse platy! (follow-up information)
-- 03/17/07 <<Hi, Derek. Tom this time.>> Oops, so sorry about that, well there's a little algae, temperature is 78, pH and everything is fine. Well, there was a bullying platy; took him out after symptoms occurred. Could it possibly be Hexamita and Spironucleus? <<Could but there are other diseases/conditions that could cause this as well. The problem here is linking the reddening of the gills together with the 'wasting' of the fish. Not a 'silver bullet' but I would try adding some aquarium salt to the quarantine tank. This would help alleviate problems the fish may have with breathing by improving the gill function. In so doing, it will also help alleviate stress on the fish and could, potentially, get your Platy eating.>> And could this possibly spread throughout the tank? He is quarantined now, and I am hoping you could help me with this. Thanks! <<The fact that this Platy was being 'bullied' helps and, at the same time, hinders making a hard diagnosis here, Derek. Frequently, a sick fish will be picked on by its healthy tank mates, i.e. the 'illness' came first. In other cases, the bullying, itself, can keep a fish from feeding adequately, or at all, and bring on stress-related symptoms. Medicating without knowing what to medicate for would likely be a waste of time and money. The aquarium salt is a safe route to take and, in combination with quarantine, help us to eliminate some possibilities. With a bit of good fortune, both will bring your pet around to good health again or, at the least, narrow things down for us. Best of luck to you and your Platy. Tom>>
Re: My Mickey mouse platy! (follow-up information)
  3/18/07 <<Hello again, Derek.>> Thanks, well the aquarium salt I bought didn't work well and it is dying currently. <<Sorry to hear this, Derek.>> Could I possibly tame the bullying platy because it is a rare fish and I don't want to just kill it. Got any tips? <<One possibility is to purchase a plastic breeding container and sequester the 'bully' in it while keeping it in the tank. Some folks have used clear plastic bags filled with tank water and floated these the same way you might when acclimating a new fish. The point of this is that the other fish can swim around the tough guy without getting bullied and your 'roughneck' finds that trying to fin-nip or chase is futile. Unless he's a complete rogue, one or two of these sessions is all he'll need to discontinue his bad behavior. Animals rarely pursue activities that don't yield what they perceive as a 'positive' result. Doesn't always work but I think it's worth a try before giving up in him. Tom>>

Platy Doing Poorly   3/2/07 Hi Folks! <Hello to you!> I have happened upon your wonderful website and hope you can help me. <I'll sure try - thanks for the kind words...> I have had a Redtail Dalmatian platy (Dotty, although I do not know her sex for sure) for 4 months now, in a 29-gal. tank with 3 other platys, 8 neons, and 4 lyretail guppies. <It's fairly easy to sex livebearers, once you get the hang of it.  The male has what's called a "gonopodium", and essentially it's a modified anal fin. It's elongated and the male tends to flick it back and forth.  That's how he impregnates the females.  The females, on the other hand, have a triangular shaped anal fin; if female livebearers are kept with males, they are likely pregnant, so that's the really easy way to tell:-)  Other tip-offs are enlarged bellies, the protrusion of a "gravid" spot, right by the anal fin, and, if the fish is light enough in color, at her end-stage of pregnancy you can sometimes see little dark spots through her skin, which are the eyes of the wee fry inside her! Do a Google search for "livebearer" and "male" and "female" and you'll find all sorts of pictures, images, etc.> She has taken to hiding in the large cave (decoration) in the tank and has not come out to eat or swim in the past 2 weeks or more. <That's definitely not good.> I know she is living because she drops out of the cave ledge when I do water changes and clean the decoration. <Glad you are doing regular water changes.> I have not seen any spots or enlarged belly on her. She just lays on the rocks and her body seems to mold against the shape of the rocks. She is still breathing and her side fins still move. My nitrate and ammonia levels are zero and I do weekly water changes. <What about nitrite? It sounds as though your tank is fully cycled, but it couldn't hurt to check...> I add aquarium salt of 4 Tbsp./change, plus the suggested Stress-Zyme each week and Stress-Coat each change. No one has been harassing her - in fact, they all ignore her and swim right by. <I'd isolate her, first off, just in case she's got a communicable disease. I'm wondering if any of the other livebearers (platys or guppies) are harassing her? I, too, keep guppies, platys and mollies, and I am amazed at how mean some of them can be.  Isolating her would give her a break from any bullies, too; a chance to fatten her up. With regard to her not eating, what are you offering her? If you haven't already tried, frozen, thawed bloodworms are usually a big hit, as are Mysis shrimp.  If all else fails, Kent Garlic Xtreme (basically concentrated garlic oil) can do wonders in stimulating appetites - just a drop or two in whatever you're feeding should do the trick. The other benefit of isolating Dotty is that you'll be able to see more readily if she has any discoloration, wounds, parasites, etc.  Everything else you've done sounds fine, but this is obviously not normal behavior. At first, I thought perhaps she could be pregnant, but two weeks of acting like this is a long time to go on like that.> What can I do to help her??? Thanks. Carol <Sorry I can't give you a definite diagnosis.  Hopefully I've at least given you a starting point - do let me know if you see anything else unusual, and we can hopefully figure out what's going on! Best of luck, Jorie>

Sick Mickey mouse platys; likely due to poor acclimatization, poor water quality...  -- 2/26/07 Please help! <I'll try - Jorie here> I have a relatively new tank that is a week old.   <Not relatively new, *very* new!> It is a 15 gallon (24*12*12), with a aqua clear 3-stage filter, and a submersible heater.  Water temp. is at 24.5 degrees Celsius.  I have dechlorinated the water and treated for hard metals, added organic waste management... <Don't know exactly what this is, but with regular water changes on the tank, it shouldn't be necessary> , and added 'Cycle' to my tank.  I gave everything a double dose for the first application and let the bacteria multiply for 3 days. <I don't use the "Cycle" product myself, but I understand it can work.  I would have suggested that you tested for presence of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate before adding livestock - *if* the tank indeed cycled that quickly, then all should be at zero (well, maybe nitrates as high as 20 ppm)> I then got a collection of five Mickey Mouse platys from the local pet store.  I brought them to the tank and let the bag sit in the water for 15 minutes as I slowly brought the tank  temp. up from 22 Celsius to 24.5 Celsius. <Probably should have had the temperature up prior to buying any fish.  In any case, 15 min. is a relatively short time to go from approx. 71 degrees F to almost 76 degrees F. I would have done this over a period of hours.> I then netted them and transferred them into the tank without spilling any of the water out of the bag. <Good>   However two of them look sick.  The first one the fins beside his gills are white and seem to have little tears at the end and are very small, and for the most of the time his fin on his back, his dorsal fin, is down.  He stays up in the top corner of the tank without moving and only moves when he's fed. <These are not good signs. First thing to do is test the water - you need a quality liquid test kit, if you don't already have one, to determine if ammonia, nitrite and/or nitrates are present. Also, a pH reading would be helpful.> He will not even move when I tap on the tank right where he is.   <Don't tap on the tank!> The second platy also has fins beside his gills that are white and torn.  He also has a silvery, whitish, dull patch on his sides which he seems to try and flick himself onto the fake plant to try to 'itch'.   <This behavior is called "flashing", and can be caused by toxins in the water...> I do not know if this is itch because it is just one blotch and not white specks.  He swims actively and eats fine, he seems to even have a darker scale tone then the rest of the fish.  I don't know what is wrong with these fish.   My guesses are that I did not wait long enough for the tank to cycle? <My guess also. If you don't have a water test kit at your disposal, I'd suggest doing a 50% water change ASAP, and then go invest in one...> But the other three seem healthy.   <They may have stronger immune systems...if the water quality if really that bad, it'll catch up to these three as well...> They have fin rot, as there fins seem to be tearing at the ends and they are white. <All 5 are we talking about? Fin rot is almost always caused by poor water conditions...> Or the one has velvet, because of the velvety sides of him. <Velvet looks like a very-fine sprinkling of gold dust. The dull coloration you describe could be a sign of a bacterial infection, but my first guess is it's merely a reaction to poor water quality...> I am going to do my first 10% water change today with treated water.  What should I do? <I'd start making up more water - I'd do a 50% change in this relatively small tank.  As far as test kits go, this one's my personal favorite: http://www.amazon.com/Aquarium-Pharmaceuticals-Freshwater-Master-Test/dp/B000255NCI/sr=8-1/qid=1172529198/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-8672312-4778220?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden > <My best suggestions are above. Here's a helpful article on cycling, for your info.: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm Good luck, Jorie>

"Ich"y Platies  2/18/07 Although I am pretty new to this hobby, I did quite a bit of research on freshwater aquariums, yet none of the sites I visited fully answered my questions. First, I bought 3 danios as "test fish" and they died within a day. <...?> It could have been the water, but my little Neptune heater didn't seem to shut itself off where I set it to, and the temperature went from 76 to 82 overnight, and rising until I unplugged it. My dad thinks the temp fluctuation did them in, but I wasn't so sure. <Likely at least a contributing cause> I took in a water sample to the pet store, and ammonia levels were very high. <Could have been "after the effect"... the fish's stress, deaths> I felt really bad, then I took the heater out and let the tank run on its own for a little while. After another water test, it showed the parameters were "safe" for fish, <... Uhh> so I bought 3 platies (for the record, they all came from separate tanks): a gold twinbar, a Mickey Mouse, and a sunset. When they arrived to their new home (a "cozy" 5g tank, kind of a trapezoid shape with a curved front and 2 live plants) they seemed a little nervous about their new surroundings and they didn't eat, but they got along okay. In fact, they spent most of the afternoon huddled together in the corner. Hmmm. <Indeed> I read online that they might be doing this because of high ammonia levels. <Yes...> I changed out some of the water <... what re cycling?> and fed them, and they were doing much better. They were actually swimming around and they even ate. During the night, the temp went from 78 to 74. Living in Southern California, I figure the temperature at night won't get too drastic, even in the winter. The fish started acting lethargic again. Then I saw them rubbing against the plants and realized they showed symptoms of Ich. <Maybe> That made me panic a bit, because I read that temp fluctuation actually makes them more susceptible to Ich, <Yes> and the tank is heater less. Luckily, they showed no signs of having the infamous white spots I've read so much about. The only heat source I have for them is their overhead lamp, plus the afternoon sunlight from the window (I know it's not the best spot for them because of algae, but there is literally no other place for them to go). To try and get the fish happy again, I changed some water again, and I added 2 tbs. salt. I risked taking advice from one site that claimed that up to 2 tbs. salt would not harm the fish, even though several sources said 1 tbs. for every 5 gallons water. <Should be fine here, for platies... but maybe not the plants> Day number 2 (this was written on day 2 by the way) is where I confirmed my fear that they have Ich, because my Mickey has some visible white flecks on his tail and fins. The other two don't have any white spots yet. I turned on the light to warm up the water in the morning, <Need that heater...> left for a while and in the afternoon, came back to find the water at 82. I did more research and found a site that told me warm water  is more difficult to get oxygen through. <This is so> I debated with myself if they should be stuck with parasites or if it's better they suffocate. Then I went back a few years to my biology lessons and recalled that plants give off oxygen! <During "light" periods... the opposite in the dark> So, I'm sacrificing their (I'm hoping extra) oxygen levels for warmer water. And finally, after a thorough, if not lengthy, description of my situation, here are my questions: 1) I don't have any extra tanks, nor do I have a gravel vac. Is this a huge problem, or do you think I could get by without either? <Will want some maintenance gear in time... can make... or buy> 2) Would leaving the light on at night be too stressful on the fish, <Yes> or should I put the heater back in (or go without either at night)? <... need a heater...> 3) Can I expect Ich to go away with salt and warmer water alone (even with possible temp fluctuation)? <Not with low temp. or fluctuation> 4) How long should this treatment last and can I know for sure if the Ich is all gone? <Read on WWM re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm scroll down...> 5) Should I change a little bit of water each time the fish start acting lethargic? <No... need your own simple water test kits... and to read...> 6) I know at this point getting another tank   buddy wouldn't be a good idea, but if the Ich seems to clear up, could I get another fish sometime in the future? <Yes> And last, 7) Judging by the size and shape of the tank, at what point would mine be "overcrowded"? <No> Thanks so much for taking the time to read this...I know that it's really long, and apologizing for it just makes more words to read.   Sorry. Thanks again, Angela <Read Angela... your fish are in peril... only you can preserve their lives. Bob Fenner>

Sick Platy question    02/17/07 Hi Wet Web Crew, <Carlie> I looked through your website and didn't find anything that really fit with what happened to my platy. I have a tank of platies, and one of them is a Mickey mouse platy who has always been very healthy and active. When I fed them last night they were all healthy, and my Mickey mouse platy was fine. But this morning when I went to turn on the tank light I noticed that he had a large white patch on his back, covering a little less than the entire upper portion of his body. It didn't look like a fungus or anything was on him, because it wasn't raised above the scales at all. It looked basically like all of the pigment on the upper half of his body was gone, or like perhaps the scales were just missing. But he was still fairly active, although less than normal. I did ~50% water change and added 2tbsp of salt hoping that this would help. <Good moves> But when I can home tonight he was on the bottom of the tank, had ceased almost all fin movement, the whiteness had increased, and he was floating vert ically with his head in the gravel. He has already died, but I was wondering what could have happened? <Reads like a rapid onset case of Columnaris disease or other bacteria agent... Have you introduced any new livestock recently?> I have never heard of something that looks quite like what he had, or that acts so quickly. Could my other fish be in danger? <Yes, depending on the cause here> And is there anything I can do to prevent something like this from happening again? <See WWM, the Net, your books re Chondrococcus Columnaris... Columnaris disease> P.S.: So that you have a better idea of what my tank setup is: I have a 10 gallon freshwater tank with 4 (now 3) adult platies, a Chinese algae eater, African frog, and temporarily ~10 baby platies until I can find them a home. I have not made any recent changes to my tank or introduced any outside fish, so I don't think that was an issue with what happened. Thanks for your help, Carlie <Frightening for sure. Bob Fenner>

Platy w/ fungus - probably poor environmental conditions; need more info.   2/13/07 Hello all, <Hi Tim- Jorie here> I'm writing about my Mickey mouse platy. As of now he is in a 2 gallon hex tank. <Is this is permanent home, or have you isolated him to this tank? Does he have tankmates, and if so, how many and what sort? Also, is the tank cycled? What are the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings? This is a VERY small tank, and is big enough for, well, about this one fish...> When I looked in his tank this afternoon of his side fins looked like part of a cotton ball. I immediately called LFS and they said that it was fin and tall rot. <It doesn't sound like fin/tail rot, as that would appear as though the fins/tail were disintegrating, but rather "cotton wool disease", or external fungus.  This is usually caused by poor water conditions - do test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate ASAP if you haven't already - ammonia and nitrite should be zero, and nitrates no higher than 20 ppm. If you don't have a quality test kit at your immediate disposal, I'd suggest doing a 50% water change right off the bat. I'm betting dollars to donuts this is caused by poor water quality - what is your water change schedule like? How often and how much at one time?> I put MelaFix in the water. Was that the right thing to do? Any more suggestions? <The jury's out on MelaFix - my personal thought is that it can help, when coupled with good husbandry, the latter being essential and the MelaFix not being paramount. I suggest testing the water ASAP and doing a water change - first thing to suspect here is water quality. Improve that, and add some aquarium salt to treat the fungus (generally 1 tsp. per 5 gal.)> Thanks, Tim E. <You're welcome. Go do a water change ASAP - that's my best advice! Also, if the 2 gal. is the platy's permanent home, and he has any tankmates at all, I'd suggest upgrading to a bigger sized aquarium. Jorie>
Re: platy w/ fungus - probably poor environmental conditions PART 2
 - 02/15/07 Hi Jorie Thanks for the quick response time. As of now I'm stuck. We just got a foot of snow and there's no going to the pet store now for water testers (I ran out). <I understand - we got pounded in Chicago a couple of days ago as well...> The person at my LFS whom I credit as extremely knowledgeable say that the three platies in the 2 gal. hex tank is fine. <It's really pushing it, since the hex. shaped tank has less swimming space than a "regular" 2 gal. does. I've got a 5 gal. hex, and my 3 male guppies and 1 female molly seem crowded...> You don't seem to like this idea so what tank size do you recommend? <Minimum 5 gal., but larger is better, easier to maintain in the long-run...> The platy with the cotton thing is swimming fine but the cotton thing is still there I put in the aquarium salt and he is doing o.k.! Would you recommend continuing to use the MelaFix? <Even though you don't have a test kit at your disposal, I recommend doing daily water changes on this tank.  Ideally, you should isolate the sick platy to his own tank, so he doesn't infect the other two. If you don't have that option, daily 50% water changes, coupled with the appropriate amount of Aquarium salt should help.  MelaFix is optional - I'd probably stop using it only to be able to evaluate whether the salt/water change method works on its own.  If this doesn't improve things, you may have to medicate the sick fish with an antifungal medication - something like Jungle Fungus Eliminator.  If that becomes necessary, you really do need to isolate the sick fish, as it's a bad idea to medicate fish not showing signs of disease. In the meantime, the daily water changes and addition of aquarium salt will help, if not completely resolve the problem. Keep in mind that the main cause of fungus of this sort is poor water quality, so even in the future, best to remember to do at least weekly water changes - 75% of so would not be excessive in such a small tank!> Thanks, Tim E. <You're welcome. Best of luck, Jorie>

Platy Disease, env.  2/5/07 I'm kind of new to the whole aquarium scene and I've been running my first tank for a little over a month now. The nitrite level is still a little high (between .25 and .5 ppm) <This is way too high... toxic. There should be no fishes present> so I can imagine that's causing a little stress on my 4 platies. One of them has developed a white sheen on its tail over the past 3 days, and my only aquarist friend can't help here. <With?> I'm hoping you might be able to identify the disease and suggest some cures. <Environmental at root> Right now it's quarantined from the rest of the fish to prevent further spread. I have attached several small pictures to help. It's not spots...just more like a coating of sorts. thanks in advance, Josh <BioSpira, a dearth of feeding... See WWM re FW nitrites: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwno2faqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sick platies/thread poop... Gen. lack of knowledge re FW life-keeping   2/3/07 Hi.  Your site is great but the more I read the longer I stare at my fish to try and diagnose their problems and behaviors (the more my head hurts). <Need to prioritize... less-reading, more intelligent searching... leaving more time to enjoy your aquatic charges, life...> 29gal FW tank with 3 tablespoons of aquarium salt Whisper 30 filter heated to 80 degrees 1 male Platy 4 female Platies 1 Flame Gourami 1 Oto 1 gold Chinese algae eater 4 or 5 Ghost shrimp 2 pond snails some trumpet snails heavily planted (I have no clue about plants) <Many of these don't "like" salt...> 30% water change about a week ago. Petland tested my water and it's good quality <Need to test yourself... changes with time, travel> I do not have a quarantine tank although, if recommended, I could round one up I just recently added 9 male feeder guppies (sad, but I wanted to see if they caught these diseases before I invested in Blue Rams). <... Such "feeders" almost always harbor/transmit pathogenic, parasitic diseases...> My Platies have always flicked themselves up against rocks and plants.   Some more than others.  I just thought it was typical fish behavior.   Then I started reading your site.  Parasites, maybe? <Very likely> So I added the CopperSafe and salt about 5 days ago. <... not to your main system? A very poor idea> They are still flicking.  They do not have any spots.  I have seen Ich so I know what that looks like.   I don't know about any other parasites, though. <There are many> My white Mickey Mouse Platy got sick with fin clamping and this weird motion where she looks as though the is swimming in a current when there is none.  She barely eats.  Now I noticed she doesn't poop so much as expels two inch long, fine, clear threads.  Internal parasites maybe?   <Likely> I switched to flake food with garlic (they're called marine flakes.....is this ok?). <Of no use> It's only been a couple days and she still has the fine threads coming out and the weird swimming behavior. Now I see another Platy laying on the ground with her fins kind of quivering. They all hide now and then, it seems more than normal but I'm not sure.   They also rest in the plants and on the ground occasionally. The feeder guppies that I added 24 hours ago are eating well.  But 2 have started this flicking against the rocks and one has the thread poop. I am at a loss and I am not going to add anymore fish until I resolve this. <This is good news (at least)> The Petland kids are really smart but are reluctant to recommend anything for the possible internal parasites except the garlic food. <They are wise here> Help.  I don't remember having this many problems 20 years ago when I kept fish in a tiny, overpopulated 10 gal tank. <"Things... have changed"... As with so much of the "real world"... Much of the livestock nowadays is produced outside the U.S.... imported with many problems... And the hobby is dominated more and more by "big box stores"... not "independents" (Mom and Pops)... who know, care little for the health of the animals in their charge... Many, much more disease issues... the hobby much more a "frivolous" past time for folks, less of a serious "caring for life" concern> Thank you and I hope you have time to respond. Holly <I hope you have the strength of conviction, dedication to pursue what you need to know here sufficiently to care for this life... Please start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/parasitcdisovr.htm and the linked files above... A few "clues": You have infested your system... You cannot effectively "treat" what you have done in the main system... The chemicals applied are toxic to invertebrates and plants at effective dosage... Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick platies/thread poop... attempt at sarcasm... B+, A-   2/4/07
Thanks, Dr. Fenner. <No doctorate... Just "Bob" please> I did not realize that fish keeping required so much advanced scientific knowledge.  It seems that even you are stumped as to how I should start healing my fish, for you only commented on what I did wrong without pointing me in any right direction.   I understand you want me to read your complex scientific article, and I did.  But me being a lowly hobbyist (without a college education) and not so much the "life-keeper", I could not understand it or find any useful information in it.  I'm sure it is a very good article, though,  with many praises and accolades from your peers. <... the use of a dictionary?> If you were to rescue this tank from my obviously abusive and infested hands, where would you start? <... at a/the beginning... You are correct that this hobby is indeed "complex"... more so than a video game let's say... But it has requisite reward potential... The more you delve into it, the more likely you are to enjoy... and become more self-aware, knowledgeable re other aspects of life...> My plan is to let my infected and infested tank kill off everything in it (as surely that will be the final result of my gross mismanagement) and start over.  This will be, of course, after I have attained my degree in Marine Biology. Thank you (I think). Holly <Apply yourself my young friend... Not difficult. BobF>
Re: Sick platies/thread poop  2/4/07
Dear Bob, <Holly> The feeder guppies are doing great, the thread poop platy is looking better, the flame gourami looks horrible (some kind of mottling on him plus he had a 2 inch long thread poop), 3 platies are still hiding, a bunch of grass is dying, the shrimp look great, the snails are happy, the Oto is healthy, the Chinese algae eater looks emaciated and French Fry (the 4 month old female platy we've raised since birth) is the strongest of them all. Seems my little 29 gallons of life could benefit from some help but I don't think things are as desperate as I first thought, for nothing has died.....yet.  I'll just keep feeding the garlic food, I'll do a water change to take out the copper in a few weeks, I'll keep salt in the tank, take out the plants that don't like the salt and see what happens.  Trial and error, I guess. Wish me luck, <I do. BobF> Holly

Emergency Need Help!!!! Platies, reading/using WWM  1/29/07 Hello, I just wanted to know if you guys can help me out with the situation I have. I have recently bought a male and a female fancy guppy along with another platy, to crossbreed them with my sunburst platy. the female guppy died this morning. There was no sign of disease I'm just wondering the cause of the death. I have now three sunburst platy, one unknown platy, and one fancy guppy. Can u help me with this? <You, not u...> Also can you send me a link on how to tell a the sexes of the platies. One of the platies gave birth recently and has a white spot on the tail, I think its damage but not sure. Its healing already, so I don't know for sure if it may be a disease. I don't have a nitrogen or ph monitor but all the platies are breeding is this supposed to be good ph and nitrogen for them? Like are they sensitive? Thanks for the help too. You guys helped me before and it was great advice! You people are simply awesome! Thanks by the way, I'm glad I have you people as advisers, because my local pet stores just brushes me aside and said I shouldn't even start one. So Thanks!!!!!!! <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Platy stillborn  12/20/06 We had a Dalmatian platy that got bigger and bigger for months.  We thought she was pregnant but nothing happened.  She started shaking her head from side to side.  Then we thought she had bloat and put her into a hospital tank.  She calmed down and after two days we put her back in the big tank.  Same thing - shaking.  Back into smaller tank.  Next day we get up.  She is dead and there are 55 dead fry.  We suspect stillborn because they would have been crushed inside her.  Is this correct thinking? <Mmm, not necessarily crushed... some livebearers do have other difficulties...>    What else could we have done? <Mmm, nothing more... I would have done as you did>   We didn't know for sure she was pregnant.  She was very dark all over. Janice Carruthers <I suspect that this fish had some sort of genetic or developmental pre-disposition. Bob Fenner>

Platy fry death  - 12/12/06 Hi <<Hello, Ian. Tom>> I woke up this morning to notice that my female platy was giving birth. I have watched her all morning and she just dropped about six fry at one time all which are dead. Is this normal? <<Normal? No, but not unheard of, sadly. If this is her first birth, which I suspect from the small number of fry, she may have carried them too long for them to remain viable. Please try to keep her isolated for a short time to recover. She may have been excessively stressed prior to giving birth and she'll need a little time to recuperate before returning to the community. Good luck. Tom>>  

Female Platy Problem   12/8/06 Hi, <Good morrow!> I have a female platy that's got something protruding from her anal vent and seems to be swollen, however she is not "pine cone" looking.  It started this morning by just looking like a yellow/orange bubble, but now (7-8 hours later) seems to look like it's ruptured and there are patches of red coloring and/or material mixed in.  I removed her to a breeder net thinking she was possibly going to give birth or was aborting.  After a few hours she began having trouble staying upright and was floating on her side at the surface of the water.  She will move and swim around when disturbed but then goes back to floating on her side.  She wedges herself under plants if she can to keep herself down.  I'm not sure what if anything to do with her? <Have you had this fish long? Any other fishes similarly afflicted?> Should she be quarantined in her own tank? <Likely a good idea> Should I try medicating her?  If so, with what? Or should I just let her be?  I've attached a couple pictures, they are a bit blurry but perhaps helpful in some way.  Any help or advice you can give would be appreciated. Thanks! <This does look something like a prolapsed colon... but from what... and more importantly, how to fix? I would isolate this one fish (in stable conditions) and treat the water with Epsom Salt. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm Bob Fenner>
Re: Female Platy Problem    12/9/06 Hello again, <JKfan> I just wanted to update <... please include prev. corr.> and say that the platy expelled what appeared to be a few eggs (round, orange colored balls) last night however was still swollen and unable to stay under the water.  I removed her to a bucket with clean water, and an air stone.  I salted the water with aquarium salt as it was late and I didn't have any Epsom salt.  This morning she was gone.  I had had her about 4-6 weeks.  There are other platies, mollies and tetras in the community tank she was in and so far no other fish seem to be afflicted. I guess I will just keep an eye on the others and hope this doesn't happen again. <Yes> If I detect anything suspicious going on I gather the best course of action is quarantine and treat with Epsom salt? <Yes, barring any other input as to apparent cause/s> I had read somewhere in my research yesterday that overfeeding of blood worms can cause conditions such as this platy seemed to have, could this be possible? (I had fed blood worms the previous day) <Mmm, possibly... but not necessarily. I suspect that this one platy was damaged somehow... perhaps in netting/moving.> Thanks for your help!      <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Sick Platy   11/17/06 Hi there! I have had a white Minnie Mouse platy for about 3-4 months now. She has been living happily with one other Minnie Mouse (or so I think?) platy and a pink tetra. I noticed she was bloated for a significant amount of time and finally came to the realization that she was pregnant. Unfortunately I was a little too late in reading up on platy pregnancy and how to appropriately deal with the situation. A week ago she hid herself in the tank (its a small tank of 3.5 Gallons) and emerged much thinner (thus me realizing I was too late) and unfortunately no babies to speak of. The issue is now that she is not herself. I've been noticing that she sits on the bottom of the tank with her side fins beating wildly, it also appears that she is having some breathing problems. I've also noticed that the area around her gills is very red and a small dot has appeared on her body. She is also not eating the same amounts as she used to. Now in reading many of your other postings in regards to platy illnesses, I gather that the dot is related to ick, <Mmm, not likely... perhaps "just" environmental/behavioral stress... the birthing, the small volume system...> but my concern is also the redness of the gills and if there is something else on top of the ick afflicting her? I haven't had fish for many, many years <Mmm, don't live that long...> and have sort of been "winging it" with this small tank. I have been cycling the water every other week, <What do you mean by this?> and the other fish seem to be doing fine and acting normally. I also raised the temp in the tank to between 78-80 and she did seem to perk up a bit but then went right back to her previous behavior. I have since removed her from the tank and her breathing seems to be less erratic. Is there anything else that I can do? Thanks, CLK <Mainly just be patient, hope and be diligent re monitoring the fish's water quality, feeding. It "reads" as if it is simply getting "too old". Bob Fenner>

Platy aquarium: fry, poor water quality 10/16/06 Hi Bob, <Hi Meridith - you've got Jorie instead of Bob this evening...> My name is Meridith. I am a total novice with fish. <That's OK - we all start somewhere, right?!> I have developed the interest because of my  2 and 3 yr. olds joy of fish. <Yes, I have a 3 1/2 yr. old niece who loves to come visit my boyfriend and me to watch the "Nemos"!> I have a 5 gallon hexagon tank with a type z rite-size filter and a BioWheel. <I have the same tank myself.  It's not currently set up, but I've used it in the past.> We had 3 different types of platies and a black Molly. The black Molly died about a month ago and all has seemed fine with the rest. <In my experience with mollies, especially black ones, I've noticed they greatly appreciate either a little aquarium salt, or being in true brackish (part salt-water) environments.  Seems to keep them healthier and happier.  Just future info. for you.  Your platys may benefit from a bit of aquarium salt as well, but in my experience, it isn't as essential.> The other day I discovered a very healthy looking tiny baby with good color. <Welcome to the wonderful world of livebearers...soon there will be more, then more, then many more...> I did not even know that any were pregnant. <Pretty much any time a female livebearer (guppy, platy, molly) is kept in a community tank with males, it will become pregnant. Also, these fish have the ability to store sperm for up to 6 months, and pretty much become "pregnant at will"...> I did not even know what the difference between a male and a female was.  I started trying to see, who's the Mommy? <The female has a more rounded anal fin, whereas the male's is more pointed and elongated.  Do a search on "Google" and you'll find pictures - once you see the difference, you'll see it is quite easy to tell the two apart.  Also, when the females are pregnant, they become more round in their bellies, and the gravid spot (right by the anal fin) will become dark and enlarged once they are ready to give birth.> I did some research and found your web site. <Glad you did - welcome!> I found a Mommy all right, she kept hiding and laying around, I was worried because she did not look good and then I saw her pop out 2 babies. <The females tend to hide when giving birth - this is totally normal.  Hopefully she's back to normal now?> I went to the store and purchased a small maternity tank and put her in it. I decided that she was just laboring hard and I watched her have 7 more babies in the little tank. (the kind that hangs inside the big tank). This morning she was dead. My kids don't know yet. <I'm not a fan of these "breeding boxes"...they tend to stress the fish out and don't allow for proper filtration.  Have you recently done a water change and/or tested the water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate? I'll bet it's time for a water change.  Do read here if you haven't already: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm > She appeared to have a slight case of ick. <Like a dusting of salt?> I teetered back and forth because of the babies and I treated the tank with Quick Cure. <Very harsh medication.  Better ways to treat Ich such as adding heat, salt...also, you never want to medicate your main tank.  The link I sent you to above talking about establishing a cycle will address why - the medication destroys the cycle.> After reading on your site I am more worried because I have treated for this now for the 3rd time since I have had the tank and never removed the BioWheel. The directions say remove all carbon filters, I read about people removing the BioWheel on your site. Now what? I am like 12 hours in with one baby a couple weeks old, maybe and some others born last night that seem very iffy health-wise one newborn escaped into the tank along with the 2 that were born there. I also have 2 Cory cats in the tank one seems healthy and the other is missing most of it's fins. I feel very overwhelmed and not sure what to do next. Please help! <OK, take a deep breath - we can fix this.  First off, I'd like to recommend a very helpful beginner's book by David E. Boruchowitz - it's called a Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums.  It's a very good starting point.  With regards to your situation, you may be overstocked.  How many fish are in the 5 gal. hex? 2 Corys, 3 platys, and the babies?  If that's all, you are likely OK, *if* you keep up on your water changes.  You should be doing 50% weekly.  Second, ditch the breeder box - you don't need it.  I highly doubt the Corys will touch the babies, and most livebearers don't eat their own fry, in my experience.  Third, replace the carbon pad along with a 75% water change...you need to get the medication out.  Re: the BioWheel, yes, I'd replace it.  Normally, you don't ever want to replace a BioWheel, but if you truly had ick in the tank, that is a parasite and quite hard to get rid of.  Fourth, if you have a spare tank, I'd isolate the coy with missing fins, and treat that tank with MelaFix.  Make sure to keep the water pristine, as the fish will be more likely to get an infection due to the injuries.  I think most, if not all of your problems, are due to poor water quality - let's get that in check and re-assess. Do you currently see signs of Ich in your tank? You haven't mentioned it, so I'll assume not... Do check out the book I've recommended, along with the link.  Also, see here for more useful info.: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/taptrtmnt.htm Thank you. Meridith     <Hope I've helped.  Please be aware also that the babies are even more sensitive to poor water conditions than the adult platys are.  Do invest in a good test kit (liquid kind, the dip-sticks are very inaccurate) and keep ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels at zero.  Good luck, Jorie>

Newly Acquired Platy   10/4/06 Hey there crew! I just bought a little female platy today, & after about 2 hours I noticed that her right fin is significantly smaller & weaker- <Shades of Nemo!> looking than her left one (like Nemo). She barely ever uses it, & because of this, at first I thought she was missing her fin entirely. It really doesn't seem like the deformity of the fin is an injury--it just looks as if it naturally grew that way. <Does happen> I was just wondering if using Melafix would help that fin grow at all, <Mmmm, doubtful> or if there is anything I should do about the fin. OR, should I just exchange that poor little platy for 1 that is a bit stronger? (I have 2 significantly larger platies, a female & a male.) Please advise. Thanks a lot! --Jess T <Mmm, up to you... Likely other than the one "gimpy" fin, this present platy is fine. Bob Fenner>

Platy troubles  9/25/06 Hi. Some background first, so bear with me- Our first platy died a month ago. Suddenly and without warning. Nothing looked externally wrong with him and our water checked out fine, so we didn't think too much about it. Sometimes fish just die. <Yes... often without apparent cause> That was stupid. So last week we noticed that one of our other platys was acting strange. Sitting listlessly in the corner, breathing hard, pooping white stuff, <Bad signs> but still eating. Other than that he looked fine. And again we checked our water and it was fine. After spending exhausting hours searching the net trying to figure out what the heck was wrong with him, I decided to try to treat him for internal parasites because it was the closest I could find to his symptoms. Put him in a hospital tank and gave him Parasite Clear. Tried to feed him medicated food, but wouldn't touch it. That's when it got ugly. He started to poop out this horrible white poop- for hours! It was awful. Then when he was done, he died. I felt horrible. Now I was worried about the rest of the tank, which was acting and looking just fine. So I took my water and fish to the LFS. My water tested fine as I suspected and they couldn't find any external signs of disease. <Would need microscopic exam... including feces...> So their recommendation was to treat the entire tank with erythromycin, <?! No... what will an antibiotic do?> thinking that it was probably an internal bacterial infection. <Extremely rare...> They swore up and down the meds wouldn't kill my African dwarf frog and snail. So I went home and then I noticed that one of my platys had lost a patch of color on its head. Not fungus, or a growth, or anything like that- the scales were still there, the color was just gone in that one spot. Frustrated I went ahead and used the antibiotic, but my questions are this- 1. Does this seem like a bacterial infection? I couldn't find anything on your website with exact symptoms. <... no> 2. Am I using the right antibiotics? <There isn't any... in this scenario, that are "right"> 3. Am I hurting my frog and snail? <Not helping them... though low toxicity...> I know snails usually can't handle most meds. And will they catch whatever it is, or should I just take them out. <Better to have/house elsewhere for now> 4. My ammonia has spiked dangerously in the last 12hrs of putting in the meds, <... yes... killed off nitrifying bacteria...> is it okay to do a water change? Or will it make the antibiotic less effective. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks! <Where to start here? I would have done what you did initially... treated sequentially with an anti-protozoal (Metronidazole/Flagyl), then a vermifuge... likely Praziquantel... Too many "adopted"/imported pathogenic problems nowadays... w/o serious attention paid (by importers, wholesalers AND retailers... let alone end-users... i.e. hobbyists) to quarantine, isolation of new livestock... Too much to re-state here... Please, if you have earnest interest, read starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdis3setsfactors.htm and the linked files above... do this when you have time, can be calm... BobF>

Platy and Plant problems   9/17/06 Hello WetWebMedia crew! <John> After several months of a well-established tank, I have developed quite a frustrating and persistent problem.  It began with a stubborn case of fin rot on a guppy that would not resolve.  Consequently I treated with erythromycin for 5 days and this cleared up the problem with his tail and he is now on the mend!  Nitrites have fallen back to zero from peaking at about 0.3 ppm and the tank is doing fine in terms of water quality.  Parameters are: Ammonia: 0 ppm Nitrites: 0 ppm Nitrates: 12 ppm pH: 7.5 Temp: 25C The tank is approximately 24 gallons and 40 cm deep with 18W fluorescent lighting (single tube) from Sylvania that claims to have 10,000K spectrum and the company says is ideal for growing plants.  As the medication damaged some of my plants, I have removed the dying ones and replaced with some new ones (soaked for 10-15 min.s in potassium permanganate to remove unwanted visitors) - similar to Amazon swords, but I only have the Italian name and not the scientific name.   <Both likely Echinodorus species> The problem with the plants is that they are turning yellow and developing some brown holes on the established leaves (veins seem green) even after I purchased them a healthy green colour from the LFS.  I have fertilized with solid pellets and have also used a pellet that encourages rooting.  There is also some liquid fertilizer in the tank that I add approximately every three weeks as indicated on the product.  Still, I am not sure what would be causing this. <Mmm... could likely be just the KMnO3 treatment... permanganate is a powerful oxidizer... dangerous. But could also easily be a bit of "moving shock" syndrome... All that can be done is be patient at this point> The second problem is with a female sailfin platy.  I noticed her with some laboured and rapid breathing.  She does not swim as much and seems lethargic.  On closer inspection I could see fine white filaments (diameter is sub-millimetre, very fine) extruding from her mouth and also extruding from her gills.  Looks like very fine silk thread.  Currently I can see about 4 or 5 of these maybe 3-4 mm long.  Could this be gill worms? <Mmm, not likely, no>   I had thought mouth fungus, but it does not look "cottony".  If worms, then I am not sure where they came from as the plants I added are not from a tank containing fish and I even did the potassium permanganate soak, so it seems improbable that this would be the source.  There have been no new additions and it is even possible that I was seeing these prior to the addition of the plants.  Clearly it is a gill problem, but I cannot seem to identify it.  Would this possibly result from the erythromycin treatment?? <Likely this is some bit of mucus from the trials of being present in a non-cycled system... and will clear on its own> I hope you can offer some advice as I am not sure what is going on with my tank! Best regards. <Well... better by far never to actually treat (most fish medicines are generally bio-cidal in action) in ones main/display tank (but do elsewhere)... And a need to understand that aquatic time-frames are different (much more delayed) than our terrestrial impressions... Some/many things "take time"... Best to learn/practice patience here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Platy and Plant problems  9/19/06
Hello again Mr. Fenner, <John> Thank you for your very valuable advice.  I just have a few final questions regarding the injured guppy.  The tank temperature is currently 25C.  Should I increase this for him? <Mmm, I would not. This temperature is about ideal... faster may disfavor it/him> Also, in regards to aquarium salt, I have read the information on your site and some people suggest 1 tablespoon per gallon and others suggest 1 teaspoon per gallon.  Which measure should I be using here (the tank is a planted tank as well)? <For treatments or just use with non-brackish life, the lower, teaspoon per gallon would be my maximum concentration. Hard on fishs' kidneys...> Finally, given the damage to his tail, what kind of recovery time am I looking at and, will he be able to heal this damage? <Should start to mend in a week... or two...>   It's not quite to his body, but it is pretty close.  He seems to be eating and is actually quite active at the moment. <Good signs> Thanks again for your website and it's abundance of information. Best regards to the entire crew. <Thank you John. Bob Fenner>
Re: Platy gill/breathing problems  9/25/06
Hello again Mr. Fenner, <John... sorry for the delay... have been "out"> Greetings to you and the entire WWM crew! If you recall, you were helping me with some platy problems.  I had a female sailfin platy that was breathing rapidly and hard.  I think I had noticed some mucous coming from her gills.  I did add 1 teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon of tank water (approx. 24 gallon tank) and have an air-bubbler going. <Good> Water temperature is 25 C.  Unfortunately, she seems to be getting a little worse.  Before she was swimming in the tank about mid level and remaining in one position.  Although I can no longer see what I thought was mucous she is now resting on the bottom almost all day long.  She does come up and take some food (but very little) and then immediately returns to the bottom of the tank.  I cannot see anything obviously wrong with her externally.  Gill colour is difficult to observe so I cannot give you much useful information regarding that.  Ammonia and nitrites are all at zero. Do I continue to wait this out? <I would not... time to "escalate" the treatment here a bit. Please search out "medicated flake food"... there are a few makers of such, and use the anti-protozoal mix... is laced with Metronidazole... which you can/could make up yourself...>   The fact that she is sitting on the bottom now is concerning.  Should I try feeding with a boiled/peeled pea? <Mmm, I would not... too little likelihood of being taken... too much chance of just adding pollution> I have read that bottom sitting may indicate constipation. Not sure what else to do at this point. Regards to you and the crew. <BobF>

Platies Dying  9/9/06 Dear WWM Crew, I recently bought two Gold Mickey Mouse Platys, and they were fine for the first 6-7 days, but two days ago one looked as though something had taken a chunk off of its fin. Later that day, the fin looked as though it was being thinned out, and the fish began swimming near the bottom, fin-up, head-down. It also swayed back and forth, and looked as though it was sucking on the rocks at the bottom. The pH and temp. are fine, and we have a 20 gallon tank with 1 Dalmatian molly (the other died), 2 red platys, and 3 black skirts. The other Dalmatian molly had stopped eating and began to take to the "hiding place" we have in our tank. It seemed to dislike the other Dalmatian molly, because it always swam away from it and hid from it. Then it died, but its side was a little bit greenish, and my brother said it could be lung disease. Anyways, now our other Gold Mickey Mouse Platy is acting strangely. Is there anything I can do? Thanks! Sincerely, Platy Problems < Fish don't have lungs so your brother's suggestion can't be the problem. Sounds like an array of bacterial infections. I would do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with Nitrofuranace as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>

Fish Can Get TB Too!   8/29/06 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a big problem.  I have a 25 gallon tank and had 9 platies in it originally. about a month ago one of my three males developed this odd disease where his body seemed to be becoming deformed. the base of this tail was widening while his tail fin was becoming smaller, he was becoming very skinny and was swimming on an angle with his head pointed slightly upwards, his body looked different and he seemed to have problems eating.  I separated him and 2 days later he died.  Yesterday I noticed my other male had the same thing, this morning he died in his hospital tank. A few hours later I noticed my last male with the same thing and a female who started to look similar, I separated them all and when I came home after dinner they were both dead. Now I see another female fish with the same symptoms, they are dropping like flies. I can't find anything online that has to do with this. Please help me, two of the remaining female are pregnant and I don't want them to die! <I'd be very careful with this disease!  It sounds like Mycobacterium marinum (fish TB).  See:  http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-07/sp/feature/index.php ~PP>

Platy with clamped fins   8/22/06 Hi, <Hello> I have been doing lots of reading the past few days since I have developed some problems in my tank.  I recently had a Mickey mouse platy and a dwarf blue Gourami die and I have another Mickey mouse platy that is showing signs of illness (or something I can't identify).  Both platies have been hovering in the corner of the tank for a while with their fins clamped.  The platy that recently died got really emaciated in his belly even though he was eating.  After about a week and a half he died.  He didn't have any other signs on him to help me know what was wrong (no ulcers, mucous, funny looking scales etc.)  The Gourami had a hole in his tail fin and had slowed down his movement as well.  After a few weeks, he died too.  My other platy hovers in the corner of the tank with clamped fins but eats well and also doesn't have any ulcers or other (external) signs of disease.  We have well water and it is VERY alkaline-it reads 300ppm on the test and our water is also very soft (25ppm).  (We don't have a softener it is just naturally that way.) The ph is always the darkest pink on the litmus test strip reading 8.4. Nitrates are 20ppm, <I would keep these no higher> Nitrites are 0, ammonia is 0 too. It is the Eclipse 12 gallon tank and has been running since this past Christmas.  We have 4 zebra danios and 1 Oto (which are all healthy) and one more healthy platy in the tank.  I have read a lot on your sight about hard water but not much on soft water.  Do you think that some of the problem could be from our water being soft? <Yes... some troubles are greatly enhanced with too-soft water> I did notice recently that there are the little white worms around the bottom of the tank.  I think it is Planaria which I know won't hurt the fish but it is a sign that something is wrong.  After taking a closer look I noticed a lot of "stuff" on the bottom of the substrate that has built up over time.  I have been consistent at doing a 30% water change every 1-2 weeks and I do a gravel vacuum every time. <Good>   I am thinking that I need to do a gravel vacuum every week now.  I have been doing a daily vacuum and water change for the past few days to get all this extra gunk out of the bottom.  My substrate is about 2 or 3 inches deep because I have some live plants.  Do you think the substrate is too deep and that is why there is so much buildup? <Mmm, no> Could that be part of the problem? <Not likely> One more thing-I realized this week that the water change I did at the beginning of August was a major mess because I had ran out of dechlorinator and had bought some more at the store.  I realized last week that I actually didn't buy dechlorinator but some kind of water clear stuff. So I did a 30% water change with no dechlorinator.  It is amazing that the fish survived-and not only that but I had a lot of brown algae on our rock and had soaked it in a bleach solution to clear it up.  I guess that could be part of the problem too? <Yes... a contributing influence> I am still learning as I go and have been doing tons of reading. I did recently add some aquarium salt to help with all the water changes and hopefully to ward off any more illness that is lurking around.  Any advice would be great.  I want our fish to be healthy and feel like a dork for not catching some of this sooner.  Thanks-Amelia <Mmm... I encourage you to look into a reverse osmosis water filter... for your potable (drinking and cooking) uses as well as to blend in with your well water for aquarium use. A simple addition of "Baking Soda" (Sodium Bicarbonate), about a teaspoon per five gallons, mixed in with new water while you're doing water changes... will safely raise your water hardness here. Bob Fenner>

Dying Platy/Disease?   8/1/06 Hello, <Hi there> I have a 55 gallon tank which has been set up for the past 3 months. Currently I have 3 swordfish (1 male, 2 female) , 2 platys (both female), 2 guppies (1 male, 1 female), 3 zebra danios, 3 Corys, 3 Otos, 5 black phantom tetras and 5 Glowlight tetras.  I recently purchased three guppies, which I should have put into quarantine (I should have just held off getting them), but that tank was fully of baby platys. One of the guppies became sick within 48 hours of being introduced and I euthanized her.  I couldn't find any obvious problems like fungus etc, she just had clamped fins and was sitting on the bottom on her side. <... Perhaps Columnaris... and your system already infected with the new fish addition> Well recently, a male platy who I just euthanized became sick. His mouth was hanging open all the time, and I noticed he didn't really seem able to eat, and slowly he seemed to get sicker, finally his rear fin split and so I put him down as well.  I am worried about the rest of my fish, who seem fine currently.  I do about 10% water changes twice a week.  My levels are pH 7.6, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate < 20ppm.  What would you recommend? <Less than 10 ppm nitrate..., possibly investigating Columnaris, Neomycin Sulfate...> I have not added any salt as I have a lot of plants, but of course I would take them out and add salt if that will help the fish.  Thanks for your help. Dan <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Platies not doing as well as usual... new system/hobbyist syndrome   7/28/06 Hi  - Thanks for reading this - I need your help as I'm not sure what's going on. 25 gallon tank set up for 1 1/2 weeks. <... cycled?>   Fish added six days ago. Temp 82 Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Nitrates 5 ppm pH 7.5 We bought 6 platies (3 red wag, 3 blue spotted).  One died two days after coming home. The rest of the platies are usually very curious and very entertaining. They would swim to wherever you were, follow your finger around the tank glass, if I put food in the tank they were quick as lightning finding it. We enjoyed them so much.  A couple days ago we found 3 fry, and I know at least 2 are still alive (not been eaten) as I saw them both today.  There could be more, but with 25 gallons and lots of java fern, <Ah, good to read that you have live plants here> they're excellent hiders.  All the fish seemed very happy and healthy until this evening. My husband did a 20% water change as we've been doing every 3 days to control the ammonia/nitrites. <Not a good means... this tank, the fishes are suffering for/with "new tank syndrome"...> After he was done, all 5 fish stayed near the bottom, breathing extra heavy and frantically waving their front fins though not moving anywhere.  I also noticed the usually bright blue colour of the blue spotted platies is more of a dullish gray-green around their head/eyes.   If the water quality is really bad, then wouldn't the babies have already died? <No, not necessarily. Young are more resistant to some types of malinfluences than adults> Could this be the sudden (and all 5 at once?) result of less than optimal tank conditions over the past few days due to it's newness? <Ah, yes> The tests now look OK.  Or could it be that the gravel vac water change scared them for some reason?   <Perhaps a small factor> They've seen it before, in fact, once they even went directly under the water fall 'just to check it out' when we were replacing the water.   I'm sad because our little characters seem a lot duller than usual.  What do you think it is? <"New water", non-cycled system...>   What can I do?  (I added a 1/2 tsp of salt today because I read that that reduces stress.)  Anything else?  They are looking a little more active now but definitely not their usual selves.  Any suggestions? <Look for the product "Bio-Spira", cut the water changes and feeding way down to keep ammonia and nitrite under 1.0 ppm... read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Platies not doing as well as usual   7/28/06
Hi <Hello again> I just thought of something else that might possibly be relevant. The water we added today had been sitting in a bucket overnight (to get the temp acclimated) with conditioner (dechlorinator) and aquatic plant fertilizer (my husband mixed it in there as opposed to pouring it directly in the tank). Is it possible that the fertilizer, having sat in the water overnight without plants to absorb it, broke down into something toxic to the fish? <Mmm, no... a very good idea to have a strictly fish-use only plastic container for this purpose. Bob Fenner>

Platy Males and Fry Problems    6/14/06    Hi WWM crew! <Hi Jing - this is Jorie.> I own a 10 gallon freshwater tank equipped with the basics (carbon filter, bubble stone, heater, light). I currently have two male platy, two male white cloud and one female white cloud. There is also a platy fry in the tank. I have checked the water recently and everything was normal (except that the water was very hard). <Parameters are always helpful, for everyone's definition of "normal" varies substantially...>    My question is concerning the two male platies. The yellow Mickey-mouse platy often swim aggressively against a side of the tank. He has been doing that for some time now and I don't know why. He doesn't look ill, but this behavior is certainly erratic. <Do you mean attacking his own reflection, or scraping himself against the side of the tank?  The former would likely just be a showing of aggression, and nothing to worry about, while the latter would likely indicate something wrong with the fish.  Make sure there aren't any visible parasites or any white spots (i.e., Ich) on the fish, or any other visible signs of injuries to the side, and do double check your water parameters...scratching can be the sign of environmental problems.>    My other platy, a half-orange half-red, is showing some dorsal fin damage. At first I suspected that it might be bacterial fin rot, but the fin was clear and the base of the fin was not red. His fin has been looking a bit ragged for more than a month now, and it doesn't seem to be getting worse. I am really puzzled at this - can it be physical damage?. <It absolutely could be physical damage - I, too keep livebearers and I cannot believe how much aggression some show towards others.  Have you noticed the Mickey-mouse (or anyone else for that matter) attacking the red-orange platy?  Is there adequate cover (e.g., decorations, plants, etc.) for the fish to hide in, if necessary?  To prevent secondary infection, you may want to isolate the affected fish and consider treating it with Melafix - not necessary, but it aids in fin regeneration and the prevention of secondary infection.  Also, be sure to keep up with water changes, as this fish is even more susceptible to secondary infection with its injuries.> The platy fry right now measures a bit over 1/2 inch. The other platys are a bit over 1.25 inch. Is it safe to let the fry swim with the adults? It still looks pretty small. <I have never witnessed any of my adult livebearers attempting to eat their own young, although some people claim it does happen.  I've never had a problem allowing both molly and platy fry to swim free with adults of both species - but I won't say that it is entirely unheard of for an adult of either species to attempt to eat its own young.  In my own experience, however, it hasn't happened.> My last problem is that previously my Mickey has been bullying my Orange-Red for quite a while now. <Well I think we've just solved the above fin-damage issue...you may want to try re-arranging the tank decor, as this will allow each fish to re-establish its own territory.  If the bullying continues, though, you might ultimately have to separate the two.> However, just yesterday, I saw the Orange-Red retaliating. Now my Mickey chases the Orange-Red some of the time, and the opposite happens sometime, too. It's like they are having a masculinity contest, with their fins fully extended and all (plus, there are no female platies). I cannot find any explanation of why this happens; is it normal? <As mentioned above, I see all sorts of aggression between livebearers...in fact, my own tank at times has housed some pretty amazing molly-on-molly action!  It usually isn't a problem, but if there's evidence of physical damage, well, that's obviously not good.  Perhaps the introduction of the little guy will change things up a bit, and the aggression can be more evenly spread among more fish, thus causing less problems to any one isolated individual.> Thanks, Jing <Hope I've helped - I've given you a couple of thoughts, and my suggestion would be to not try them all at once, so that you can see exactly what works and what doesn't.  By all means, however, if you see that one fish is becoming badly torn up from fighting, etc., you should remove it immediately.  In the absence of this, I think you should be able to solve, or at least minimize the problem, but it's likely that you'll always see some aggression between the fish you have...that's normal.  Good luck, Jorie>

Sick Platy - 06/07/2006 Hi, <Good evening.> I've had a high-fin blue platy for around 9 months now. She is in a tank with a smaller yellow platy and around 15 fry who are getting big enough to go to the pet store. <Neat!> It is a 10-gal tank. About two or three of the fry are the size you would see for sale in a pet store. I think overcrowding is becoming an issue with the fry maturing.   <Err, yeah, at that size I'd say so.> Recently, the blue platy has been lethargic and seems to not want to eat flake food (sucks it in and spits it out). She was eating some dried brine shrimp, but now will not. Just tonight, she passed some strange orange transparent feces. it looked a bit like a transparent sack of orange goo.   <This may just be the brine shrimp passing, but I suspect more.  Urgently test your water quality - ammonia and nitrite should be ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm.  If these are not so, do water changes right away to fix them.> She also has 5-6 spots on her tail fin only, and they seem to be getting fuzzy. These spots showed up a few weeks ago when the behavior started, and I thought it might be a fungus; I used Fungus Clear tablets and the spots went away (at least I couldn't see them anymore)....but they have returned. <Possibly a fungal infection, maybe bacterial....  I would remove this fish to a separate, dedicated quarantine tank for treatment and treat with Kanamycin or Nitrofurazone.> I can't find any mention of the strange orange feces on the net, any thoughts?   <I suspect that this was just the passing of the brine shrimp coupled with the fact that the fish is ill.  I would definitely quarantine the fish at the least, and consider treating as above.> Thanks,  -Brian <Glad to be of service.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Mickey mouse platy with a swollen belly   5/26/06 Hello! Thanks for the great information in your archives. I looked around, but didn't find the answer to my question. I have a 5 gallon eclipse tank with bio-wheel filter (came in the box), a submersible heater, and an air stone. The tank has a few live plants. (Anubias, wisteria and one I can't remember the name of). I have had the tank set up for almost a month with just a healthy male Betta in it. For the Betta I had added 1/4 tsp of salt per gallon. <Mmm, I'd limit this a bit more here... like by half> I recently purchased 3 Mickey mouse platys for the tank, and moved the Betta smaller tank. One of the new platys, (who I think is female) is bigger than the other 2 and had a very swollen belly when I bought her. I will admit that I didn't do a great deal of research before buying them, as I am new to the fish keeping hobby. She doesn't have a black spot, so I don't think that she is pregnant. Today her belly looks smaller, she is active and seems to try to gobble all the food before the others have a chance. The thing is, she is always pooing. There is almost always a black string of poo coming out of her, it drops off and starts again in less than three minutes. Is this normal? <Possibly... depending on the type, amount, frequency of food/feeding...> I haven't noticed the other 2 doing that, but then again they don't eat as much as she does. Otherwise she seems fine. I read the information on cycling, and didn't realize that it took a month or more to occur. The people at PetSmart said that it would be fine in a couple of weeks when I started out. I check the water every other day, and the nitrate level was high but balance out last week. I have been doing about 30% water change twice a week, and wanting to change to perhaps once a week. Would this hurt them? <Nope... should help> Also, I am wondering if the small amount of salt I put in with the Betta initially would harm them? <This amount should be okay as well... I suspect your tank is really just "settling in"... takes a few months to really become established. Take care on the amount of food you offer and you should be fine here. Bob Fenner> Thank you so much, Melissa

Choking Platy?   5/23/06 I have a Dwarf Sunset Platy who appears to be choking on a piece of mashed green pea that I just fed her. Is it possible for them to choke, and how can I help her out?? Thanks so much! :) -Getting All Choked Up <Really best to "wait and see"... most likely can/will dislodge on its own... more likely to damage the fish trying to net, fix this. Bob Fenner>
Re: Choking Platy?    5/24/06
Okay, thanks so much!! She rammed herself into the glass and got it out by herself eventually. Hope it doesn't happen again :) <Me too! BobF>

Sick Platy - 05/17/2006 Hello There.  I have a question that I hope you can help me with.  I have a 12 gallon freshwater tank that I've had about 8 months that has:  4 platys, 3 Dalmatian mollies, 2 Cory cats and 9 Dalmatian molly fry.  I'm getting ready to move they fry to a 5 gallon tank I just purchased.)  My problem is with one of my platys.  She is sick...the scales around her bottom fin are sticking out.  Her poop has been kind of thick and pink lately.  Looks weird, like an intestine sticking out or something (not that I know what a fish intestine looks like).  I'm worried about her, but also the other fish in the tank.  Last night, I tested the water for the first time ever (sorry, just found this site yesterday) , and everything looked good except two things:  Nitrate was very red (couldn't tell exactly what it matched on the card, but was 40-80) so I did a partial water change.  The PH was 7.8.  So I just went over to the tank to retest the Nitrate level...and I found out that one of my Dalmatian mollies (that just had the fry 2 days ago looks terrible!)  She is not really moving, kind of stuck near the filter tube.  Oh no!  What is happening?   <Likely just this poor water quality.  When you do a water change, you need to be sure that thee temperature and pH of the new water is the same as the water in the tank, and be certain to use a chlorine/chloramine neutralizer.> So my Nitrate level still looks like 40 or 80 today.  Should I do another/bigger water change?   <Yes.  This alone may be the problem.  Try to get your nitrate below 20ppm; preferably lower if possible.  Also be sure that ammonia and nitrite are ZERO; anything above zero for either of these should be considered toxic.> My poor fish - the fish store is closed and I'm not sure what to do!  Please help if possible.  Thank you very much,  -Anne <Have patience, and get some water changed.  Once the water quality is improved, hopefully the fish will improve in health.  Wishing you and your pets well,  -Sabrina>

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