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FAQs on Platy Food/Feeding/Nutrition

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 Disease, Platy Reproduction, Livebearers, Guppies, Swordtails, Mollies

Tank Stocking and Baby Platy Feeding    12/1/14
I have a tank rated for 29 gallons by the manufacturer. The tank is 36" L x 12" W x 18" H. The ph is 8 and nitrates and ammonia at 0. My filter is a sponge filter rated for 40 gallons. This tank contains 2 guppy females, 5 neon tetras, 10 platy fish, and numerous bladder snails. According to internet aquarium stocking sources I should have 36 inches worth of space for fish stocking. Is my tank overstocked?
<Nope. You are wise to ignore the aquarium filter rating, as these are often "best case scenario" values, and choose a filter "the next size up" for your tank (so 40 gallon filter for a 30 gallon tank, or 90 gallon filter for a 75 gallon tank, and so on. Your aquarium should still have space for a few bottom feeders, 5-6 Corydoras for example.>
I also have a 10 gallon tank with a sponge filter rated for 15 gallons. The ph is 8 and ammonia and nitrites at 0. This tank contains 1 Betta fish, 4 very large ghost shrimp, and numerous bladder snails. Is this tank overstocked?
<Not at all. But since Bettas mix with hardly anything, you're a bit limited here in what else you could add. Shrimps and snails are good
choices. Some of the larger snails (e.g., Tylomelania) might be fun.>
Also, one of my 10 platy fish is a 3 day old fry not much larger than 1/8 of an inch. I have been feeding it 3 times a day with ground up fish flakes, micro pellets, ground up sprinulia flakes, and ground up bloodworms. The fish flakes, worms, and pellets it gets once a day. The sprinulia it gets 3 times. The older fish get what tiny leftovers their are, which is not a whole lot. The older fish get fed 1 regular meal a day, when I feed the baby for the first time in the morning. The baby seems to be eating when fed, looking and darting suddenly at the food to take tiny bites as the older adults do. The baby seems healthy enough. Should I be feeding the baby more than 3 times a day?
<Yes, 4-6 feeds are recommended because (like human babies) fish babies have tiny stomachs and aren't able to process much food at once. Liquid fry foods and even hard boiled egg yolk are useful in situations where you find too few of your fry grow at the rate expected. While livebearers can eat finely powered flake, I'd still recommend the likes of Liquifry or super-fine flake food Hikari First Bites. Access to algae is always a plus, and sponge filters provide excellent feeding spots for young fish, so are always worth installing.>
Thank you.
<Most welcome, Neale.>
re: Tank Stocking and Baby Platy Feeding      12/2/14

Thank you Neal! :)
<Most welcome.>
Sorry. Must have sent it again by mistake. Thank you again though! :)
<Not a problem. Cheers, Neale.>

platy foods and plants      8/18/14
I have 4 platys in a 15 gallon tank.
I now know they are more heavily herbivores.
<Not so much. More algae-eaters and aufwuchs-grazers. They have modified jaws to help them scrape at flat surfaces, but can't really bite and chew (live) plant material.>
Can they eat dulse, in addition to Spirulina, Nori and cooked spinach?
<Dulse is worth a shot, but I've had mixed results offering seaweeds to herbivorous fish. I wouldn't spend the money on anything I couldn't eat or otherwise use up if the fish ignored it.>
If spinach, what of the other greens, kale, mustard leaves, broccoli leaves, radish leaves etc.?
<If leaves are blanched that breaks them down, so yes, you can offer them "greens" and they might peck at them. Mustard and other strongly flavoured leaves are generally not recommended because fish don't care for them and they might be toxic. Bland things like spinach, lettuce, dandelion etc are worth a shot. Slivers of cucumbers, courgette, etc are often popular too.>
How much per fish per feeding? (I feed twice a day.) and, per feeding, feed instead of bloodworms or Spirulina flake?
<No, I'd offer plants alongside regular foods not instead. I say again, in the wild Platies are eating algae, midge and mosquito larvae, organic detritus, and the tiny invertebrates found in aufwuchs on solid surfaces.
Live plants are not a major food.>
What kinds of live plants might I add for nutrition? Currently, I have just Anacharis.
<Which is probably fine. But the ideal is floating Indian Fern. The long roots trap algae and detritus that the Platies will peck at, and the soft leaves are themselves readily eaten by many fish. I've not seen Platies eat them, but more strongly herbivorous livebearers such as Ameca splendens eat them with gusto!>
Thank you!
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: platy foods and plants
Thank you so kindly!
<Most welcome.>
One more question, for the moment.
Of the four platys, one is a newer, slightly smaller female. (the others are 2 fe and one male). The new girl remains separate from them mostly. At feeding time, she retreats behind the shell and comes out when it's all over. She seems to swim by the food, never taking it in or, spitting it out. I'm a bit worried about her and thought of taking her back. She seems to be pooping. She seems to be shy. I'm watching her.
Any thoughts on this behavior and is she eating leftovers etc. from around the tank?
<There are two ways to look at this. If she's basically fine, putting on weight, but just keeps herself to herself or gets chased away -- well, that's a social thing. Platies are sometimes hierarchical in small numbers, and that means sometimes individuals are bullied or excluded. Removing (or confining in a breeding trap) the dominant one while you rearrange the decor (with the aquarium lights out) sometimes resets things. After an hour or two, let the dominant one back and see what happens. However, if she's
not eating, not growing, and in fact seems to be losing weight, then there's a chance you've got one of the so-called Wasting Diseases in that fish. These can be infectious, though environment (including at the
retailer) can be the issue, in which case removing the fish that "is failing to thrive" will generally mean the other fish remain fine.
Livebearers are a bit plagued by this problem because they're bred to a price rather than quality (as with cheap frozen chickens, you get what you pay for with tropical fish). Guppies are absolutely the worst and barely worth buying in many cases, but Platies aren't as strong as they once were, especially the more inbred fancy varieties such as Sunset and Coral Platies.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: platy foods and plants     8/21/14

Thanks again Neale. Yes, it is all hierarchical...very Lord of the Flies...for platys and for us.
<Indeed. Kill the pig, and all that.>
So, so far, I believe all's well in Neptune's Tavern. I believe she's in good health. While it's probably a good thing that many of the hobby fish are aquaria raised as opposed to culling from the deepy deeps, no doubt their genetic fortitude has been influenced and compromised.
But, as a new hobbyist, I take my charges seriously and intend to do the best by them. Thanks for immediate responses, clear insights and recommendations all around. I suppose if we were to do the very best by them, we wouldn't hobby them at all. !
<Certainly a lot of pleasure comes from finding out how to keep certain fishes, and to develop your skills/habits accordingly.>
The Best.
<Likewise, Neale.>
Re: platy foods and plants     8/21/14

The dulse is a big hit and brought the shy girl out...defending her dulse!
<Cool. Nice to know they like the stuff.>
I note you have an opinion with regard to freeze dried foods. What is your thought? It's dehydrated *and* frozen = too many nutrients removed and overly processed? or another insight into it...
<Freeze-dried foods can be useful, but their big drawback is cost. For what you're getting, you pay a lot. On the plus side, they're easy to store and less messy than (wet) frozen foods you keep in the freezer. For Platies and most other community fish, sticking with a good flake or pellet food (Hikari, Tetra, New Life, etc.) will ensure all the vitamins and minerals, and you can use either freeze-dried or regular frozen foods as treats.
There's no real benefit to using either when you're keeping small community fish, but it's often fun for the fishkeeper to vary their diet. But in all cases, flake or pellet foods from a good manufacturer will provide a properly rounded diet with all the nutrients they need, whereas doing the same thing with fresh, freeze-dried or frozen foods is much harder. In the wild small fish will eat all sorts of different insects, worms, etc. getting different nutrients from each species they eat. But if you just use two or three different kinds of frozen foods (bloodworms and brine shrimps, for example) you cannot be sure you're providing all the nutrients they need. Hence, even if you do offer bloodworms in one for or another (live, frozen, dried) they're a treat, not a staple.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: platy foods and plants
Thanks again, Neale. I do have a well rounded Tetra flake food, though so far, neither of the new girls care a fig for it.
<Curious. They should eat it happily enough. That said, if there's ample (green) algae in the aquarium, Platies (and many other herbivorous fish) may well eat then instead of other foods. I've got an Anostomus that I've owned some 4-5 years now, and I've never seen it eat anything I've put in
the tank! All it does is graze on the rocks and nibble at the roots of the floating plants.>
It may be that since they are smaller they don't want to compete with the bigger platys for it and wait until stuff drifts to the bottom to pick at, at their leisure.
<Likely so.>
And, now the dulse... and I picked up a wet, frozen food that is packaged in individual pop-out cubes, the whole of which is divided into quadrants.
Each quadrant is comprised of slightly different content, e.i. bloodworms, Spirulina, vits and minerals etc. brine shrimp, krill, plankton, spinach, daphnia and I don't know what. It is fun to feel that one is providing
<Absolutely. These "tropical mix" frozen foods are excellent value. They allow you to add interesting treats to your fishes' diet without having to keep lots of different frozen packages at once.>
The new girls went for the bloodworms. So, at least they are eating! and I believe acclimating to their new surroundings and mates.
<For sure. Bloodworms may be questionable in terms of health benefits (the water they collect them from can be polluted, so some people with delicate fish like Discus avoid them) but there's no doubt fish love them. I find them an excellent conditioning food for getting fish settled and fattened up after buying them.>
All's well and I adore them. Thanks again. So good to know you're out there.
<And glad to be there!>
<Cheers and beers! Neale.>
Re: platy foods and plants... chatting       8/24/14
Yikes! Stripes! the Anostomus has got 'em...what handsome fellows they are...

<Very, and they're tough as old boots as well! But they can be fin-nippers, so choose tankmates with care. Absolutely superb companions for large catfish and characins, and probably small, fast-moving fish like Danios, but not good with Angels, Gouramis, fancy Guppies, etc.>
Well, in the eleventh hour, I decided to take Mallow, the male, back. I really liked him, vibrant, strong, smart. But, he had his eye on Terme, the largest female and he was creating chaos and an anxious sort of hyper-vigilance for everyone in the tank...and me. Plus, I am just not ready to deal with multiple spawnings of fry. I understand that Platys can hold the sperm and sort of self-inseminate beyond a single event.
<Something like this, yes. But it isn't clear to me precisely what happens.
Biologically, there's a difference between (a) storing the sperm in ovarian "pockets" to fertilise egg cells when needed and (b) delaying the development of already fertilised eggs until you want them to grow. Both occur in livebearers, different ones in different species, and honestly I'm not sure which one happens in Platies. Hobbyists generally don't know that both of these can happen, hence the widespread comment they "store sperm" as an approximate translation of "superfoetation".>
So, I have a new female, so 4 all in all. The difference has been immediate. Everyone is eating the flake food, loving the dulse and other treats. They are harmonious with each other, except for a bit of territory
over coveted food scraps.
<Cool. Job done, it sounds like.>
After changing water and the monthly filter, I noticed an odd, white fuzz attached to one of the dangling roots
of one of the plants. I know not what it was. Visually indecipherable even with a magnifier. Dense, hair like and each 'hair' the same length. Do you know? I pulled the plant out and rinsed it thoroughly, mildly rubbing the leaves and offending root. I put it back in.
<Colourless threads on plants, rocks, etc. tend to be saprotrophic bacterial or fungal (though fungal threads are only on organic materials, usually wood that hasn't been cured properly). Such threads are obviously different to the coloured (green, brown, blue, black) threads that algae and cyanobacteria make because fungal and bacterial threads lack chlorophyll and the other pigments needed for photosynthesis. Such fungal and bacterial threads can be washed away, but bear in mind they do indicate there's enough rotting material for these things to grow, so review aquarium hygiene and act accordingly. If you don't, they can grow back.
Occasionally you see them in new tanks as well, and once the tank settles down, they won't grow back after being physically removed.>
So far, so good. All's well in Neptune's Fathoms.
Best Regards,
<Does indeed sound like you're having fun. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: platy foods and plants. Neither      8/25/14

Thank you for adding to my vocabulary = superfoetation and aufwuchs for two!
<Glad to help!>
With regard to saprotrophic bacteria or fungi as it may appear with these white filamentous 'hairs'...with the magnifier, I was able to see it again on the tank's glass. With the scratchy pad, as carefully as I can I removed it.
Is there a test for a.) good bacteria etc . levels in the tank and b.) bad bacteria, mold, parasite etc.? Surely, one does not wait for 'symptoms.'
<Pretty much. The good bacteria are essentially invisible because you shouldn't see large numbers of them in a healthy tank. As soon as bacteria become visible (as with blue-green algae, which are actually bacteria despite the name) then that means something has gone wrong (in the case of blue-green algae, usually some combination of high nitrate, low water flow rate, and the wrong quantity of light for the plants being grown). Fungi are just the same. Microscopic amounts are essential, breaking down solid wastes into what the filter can handle; but as soon as fungi become visible, that means there's too much of them, and in some cases, they even pose a threat to fish and fish eggs.>
Also with magnifier, I see nothing on their bodies...
Is there a general tonic for such? i.e.
<Nope. Good conditions in the tank generally = no visible bacteria or fungi. So focus on stability, keeping good conditions steady for the next few weeks, and you should find bacteria fade away. I've only ever seen fungi on solid chunks of organic matter: dead fish, uneaten fish food, and non-cured wood. Removing these should prevent fungi problems. Note that these saprotrophic bacteria and fungi aren't necessarily dangerous, but they are unsightly, and the conditions that favour them can favour the "bad" fungi and bacteria that harm fish. (There's actually a very fine line between being a scavenger and being a parasite, and some bacteria like Aeromonas that consume organic matter on the substrate will do likewise on open fish wounds, and in turn can lead to Finrot. You can't eliminate Aeromonas from your aquarium -- and wouldn't want to under normal circumstances since they're part of the biological filtration process in a way, breaking faeces etc down into the ammonia the filter bacteria use. But at the same time you don't want the Aeromonas going "bad" either, which happens when fish are stressed and their immune system no longer fends off these nominally harmless bacteria. What happens in a fish tank is astonishingly complicated and dynamic when you start thinking about it, and the simplistic model of biological filtration bacteria really only
scratches the surface of what's going on.) Cheers, Neale.>
Re: platy foods and plants.... more chatting      8/25/14

good grief. I inadvertently pressed send...
Is there a general tonic for such? ex: freshwater aquarium salt, or does one go straight to something like Malachite Green? What to do? or, will steady water changes work it out?
<Good hygiene is the name of the good. Remove uneaten fish food, dead fish; do water changes once a week; don't overfeed or overstock. The usual.>
Indeed, the tank is only 6 weeks 'old'.
<Ah, makes sense. Should settle down shortly. A lot of weird bacteria blooms can happen in new tanks. Almost always run their course within 6-8 weeks, but sometimes excessively warm or cold weather seems to make things take longer if temperature fluctuates in the tank.>
I got it together, placed live plants, one shell,
<Would go easy on shells. One shouldn't do any harm, if small, but shells dissolve in water, raising pH and hardness.>
a piece of cured Mopani wood with live plant in it and d├ęcor and let it 'run' for 2 weeks before placing fish in there. I have the water checked every week and change out at least 2-3 gallons each week and just did the first month's water change. I use reverse osmosis water, tempered with appropriate conditioner.
<You shouldn't use just RO water. No fish lives in pure water. Not good for them. Unless there's some overwhelming reason not to use your tap water, a 50/50 mix of RO and "hard" tap water should result in excellent aquarium water, around 10 degrees dH hardness, pH 7.5. That's ideal for a community tank. Very soft water (and pure water is the extreme end of soft, with no hardness/dissolved minerals at all) will have an unstable pH and can also mess about with the osmoregulation of your fish. Furthermore, filter bacteria actually prefer moderately hard, alkaline water to work best. Unless you're breeding fish, avoiding very acidic conditions is wise, and keeping at least some hardness is beneficial in terms of pH stability. If you have soft water fish (Neons and Angels for example) you can use RO water mixed with commercial "Discus buffer" to create soft water with a stable pH (I think it uses some sort of phosphoric acid buffer). But for mixed communities (hard and soft water fish, e.g., Guppies and Neons) then the 50/50 mix of RO and hard tap water is ideal.>
Is it perhaps present as a result of the tank's newness, or ?
<See above.>
If Malachite Green is applied to the tank, will the filter effectively filter it out over time? or too quickly? such that re-applications may be required?
<Randomly medicating is unnecessary and not a good idea. Yes, anything that kills "bad" bacteria can kill "good" bacteria too. So antibacterial medications should be used sparingly, only when clearly indicated.>
Many, Many Thanks Neale,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: platy foods and plants     8/25/14

Yes, very complex and dynamic bio-chemistry in the tanks. (I am a former
Biology grad). It accounts for my near breathless hyper vigilance for the
first month and my somewhat more calm daily study.
waiting for symptoms....ugh. don't love that...not at all.
<It passes. Once you've had an aquarium for a while, you'll get used to its
stability, and it becomes a pretty ornament in the house that just needs
food and water. That's the fun. You can then concentrate on fish behaviour,
breeding, or buying more delicate/difficult species if you want a
challenge. Fish tanks are relatively high maintenance only for the first
few weeks/couple months. Once balanced and stable, they're remarkably easy
to keep.>
The water repeatedly checks well for nitrites, ammonia etc. the tank lid
has led lights which are on 10-12 hours a day. Not sure how to measure H2O
flow...as it is, not only is the surface moving well, but the down pour
below the surface creates enough flow that they swim a bit harder to pass
by it. Air bubbles galore. Big ones near entry into tank and lots of little
ones all about the surface.
"fine line between scavengers and parasites"..people as well, eh?
<Without wanting to direct my gaze and certain members of the legal
profession or our elected representatives in government, I'd have to say
yes, people as well.>
Certainly no dead fish. Let it be forbidden. Not sure how to 'remove
uneaten food' when the staple is flake food. Some say, 2-3 flakes per fish.
Sure, OK. but they're *flakes*, they break down in the container to flea
size. So, ?
<Ball park: an amount twice the size of a fish's eyeball is ample for a
daily ration. Will vary for more specialist species like predators and
herbivores, but for common or garden tropical fish, this is fine. If you're
underfeeding, fish will become hollow bellied and fail to grow larger.
Viewed head on, they often get a distinctly concave profile to the abdomen.
But provided their bellies are flat to slightly convex, they're adequately
fed. The old rule is that all the food should be gone within a minute or
The tank temperature is a constant at about 77-78 degrees...and I DO use a
bit of our hard, tap H2O. I did read about pH stability being better with
its use. Thanks for the reminder!
Most excellent advice all around and with respect to antibacterials. I
rarely use them myself, same reasons!
Best Again,
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: platy foods and plants       8/26/14

Indeed. 'Word' is an older street term for indeed or truth saying. !
<Ah; possibly not current in the UK during my teen years. Is it the same as "Word up" in that old 80s song by Cameo?>
So encouraging to know that things will settle down and become more routine AND stabilized. It was comforting to hear that from you. Indeed, people thought I had purchased these individuals (as many people apparently do) as 'starter fish' i.e. expecting them to die having done their job of cycling the tank. No. No dead fish before their time.
"twice the size of the eyeball" ! oh my. I must definitely pull back from the '2-3 flake' notion. I have heard of the 2-3 minute standard. I include in that time frame, food that has fallen to the bottom and will be found later.
<Quite so.>
Definitely convex in the belly. I will monitor portions better. It's a bit confusing with providing flake, allowing dulse or Nori to linger (?) and when to offer treats like the frozen, mixed bloodworm etc. and if alongside flake or instead of. Really don't want to overfeed. I do understand the array of 'dirt' it creates in the tank.
<Indeed. Plant leaves and such can be left as long as you want because their protein content is negligible, but as they break down they can produce muck that's unsightly. But the stuff the affects water quality is the protein-rich food, typically flake and pellets, but potentially meaty treats like bloodworms too.>
It would seem that the large female, Terme, was pregnant before I was able to return Mallow. I did see a little one yesterday. But at least, hopefully, after this, no more.
I noticed a small snail in the tank. I believe it rode in on some Anacharis
I'd gotten. So far I've removed every snail I've seen. In taking care of (
3 months) some rosy red minnows a friend had, I noticed a proliferation of
snails. The plant suffered and 2 minnows died. The fish people declared
infestation and that snails can add to the nitrite and other bad issues in
the tank. Is there a 'good' snail to have that doesn't reproduce like that,
that would be good on the clean-up crew?
<Yes, many. The ones to avoid are basically Physa and Physella spp
("tadpole snails"), Ramshorn snails, and most notorious, Melanoides spp.
(the Malaysian turret snails). In a healthy tank none of these really does
any harm, and even the Melanoides do good by keeping the substrate clean.
They don't eat plants, either. But they do breed fast, given the
opportunity, and that annoys some people. I think of them more as a gauge
of the healthiness of the tank: too many snails means somethings amiss with
my maintenance regime. Anyhow, Nerite snails don't breed at all and are
outstanding algae-eaters; Tylomelania snails breed very slowly and
juveniles are easy to sell (these snails get massive, 5-10 cm long!); and
Clea helena "Assassin snails" are predators on other snails as well as
scavengers on meaty fare like uneaten flake. They breed, but slowly, and
for most people finding baby Assassin snails is actually a plus because
they inhibit, dramatically, the numbers of other snails.>
<Welcome, Neale.>

Platy and Variatus Not eating; 1 gal. bowl...      4/5/12
I am a complete novice when it comes to fish, and I have encountered a problem that I cannot seem to find the answers for. My daughter recently went out and purchased an assortment of five fish from a Petco here in our town. I have seen her receipt and they are four kinds of Hi Fin Variatus (two are neon blue and two are a red tailed kind) and one Red Hi Fin Platy.
She chose them because they were listed as beginner fish. I probably should have gone with her or monitored more closely the process of fish and fish supplies. She put all five in a one gallon fish bowl
<... can't live here; in fact, very little can. Please read:
and the linked files above>
 with a rock cave and plants for hiding. She treated the water she put in there with something called AquaSafe first, and then has been dropping a pinch of tropical fish flakes in the bowl every morning. They are apparently not eating. She came to me and asked me what to do, and after observing the fish appear to be very hungry but not eating the flakes,
<... the environment. This system is not "cycled"... a break in period for establishing absolutely needed microbes.>
I started to Google. There were so many different answers and most people have massive aquariums with multiple kinds of fish. They also seem to all have tanks that include a pump/filter system and many of the people asking questions are breeding and have baby Platys involved. I need to know whether or not I need to go out and get a bigger tank for the fish, as well as a pump/filter system?
<Ah yes...read...>
 The water has been getting murkier every day due to the uneaten fish flakes and I am sure some fish poop. Also, what do they need to eat if they are refusing to eat the tropical fish flakes? I read something about freeze dried fish flakes but then I read another set of advice regarding plant based foods. Any help
would be so appreciated. I would hate to lose all the fish and have my daughter be devastated.  Thanks so much!
<Review and write back if what is needed isn't clear, complete. Bob Fenner>

Platy starved; env. issues      11/26/11
Hi my name is Jenny. I've emailed a bunch of times in the past and it has really solved all of my complications with my aquarium. I just have to say, you have a wonderful site. :)
<We thank you for your kind words>
So, I have a ten gallon aquarium with one 2'' angelfish
<Mmm, really needs a larger world... May well become too territorial, harm your other livestock here>
named Patches, and one 1''5 golden panda platy with her four platy fry. I have had many complications, with my water quality over the past two months, and one of my fish recently died: my little fantail
<A goldfish? Incompatible environmental- and behavior-wise w/ tropicals>
had just died from a sudden drop of pH (don't know why it dropped so quickly) and I guess he couldn't handle it...
But now the levels are better, a little closer to what I would like them to be.
So I got the pH level up with some baking soda, just the way my fish like it: around 7.2-7.5. I used to feed them one small-ish pinch everyday, about enough to cover a dime. They ate it all, so I didn't have any extra food to clean up.
<... See WWM re foods/feeding/nutrition for the species you have, want>
But a few days ago, I noticed the difference between my mama platy and her two bigger babies. The babies were very round and plump, but she had a very flat stomach, and she had a big dent right below her gills. I didn't really take notice of it until then. I guessed that the two fry were stealing all of her food before she could get to it. I don't know how it could be, since she's faster than both of them. Her own babies were basically starving her to death, and whenever I came to the front of the tank, she'd get very frantic and swim around the surface of the water, begging for food, I bet.
Water quality:
Nitrates- 20-30 (trying to get them lower)
<Need to be below 20 ppm... Again, see WWM re>
Nitrites- 0
Ammonia- 0
pH- 7.2-7.8
After four days, I finally got her plumped back up, using one of my sinking algae wafers I had for my Pleco,
<This volume is too small for this fish as well>
since she wouldn't eat her usual flake food.
I only break off a piece that's about as big as her eye: she's able to nibble on it after it softens up in the water. The babies actually like it too, but they don't rob it from her like they do with her flake food.
She's doing fine now, but after I tried to switch her back to flake food, she wouldn't eat it. even with the tiniest of pieces I'd put in there, she'd just eat it, spit it back out, and repeat. So I've had her on a steady diet of these algae wafers for two days now, but I'm not sure if it's all that good for her. She's not getting any of the protein and nutrients that are in her flake food. The only one who eats it is Patches.
I've tried a couple of things, but I can't get her to eat the food. Do you have any ideas of how I can train her to eat her flake food again?
<The real issue here is the size of your system... All the species you've listed need more room. Please READ on WWM re all... and look (soon) to getting a twenty or more gallon system. You won't be able to keep these fishes well or long in the ten>
Thanks, Jenny.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Platy starved    11/26/11

Thanks for the reply.
<Welcome Jen>
I know the system is too small, but I'm planning on getting a 20 or 30 gallon very soon. I have two broods of platy fry, two from each one. I'm planning on giving the two bigger ones away and raising the two others until they're big enough to be given away.
<I see>
The goldfish was always very well in the tank. He got along with the other fish and never really became a problem, or seemed to have any problems.
<This latter>
It was the sudden drop in pH that got him, though. Somehow, the angelfish and platies pulled through.
Also, I DID have a 3'' Bristlenose about a month ago, but one of my rock decorations had fallen on him while he was sleeping, and I'm guessing you know what happened. So I just have the algae wafers that I used to feed him.
For some reason, I had a spike in nitrates last week, so I'm going to do a quick tank check; 20% water change, clip the dead leaves off my plants, vacuum the gravel, wipe down the tank walls. That should help the water quality a bit, spiffy up the tank, too.
I also have one little question. I have an AquaTech above water power filter, and it's not working too great. I was thinking about getting new filters for when I get my twenty gallon, but I want them to actually work.
Would it be okay to have a filter in a 20/30 gallon that is meant for a larger tank, like a 40/50?
<With the livestock you list, yes>
Thanks, Jenny.
<Welcome. BobF>

Platy fry not eating yet 11/14/11
Hi Crew, <Hi Liz, Sugam with you>
I have a 10 gallon quarantine tank that I kept my pregnant platy in until she gave birth to two fry 2 days ago. I removed her from the tank and put her back in the 120 gallon community tank. The fry are in the tank and there is gravel, fake plants and a couple rocks in there for cover. <Some floating plants would help provide shade and help them feel more secure. Do ensure there is sufficient plants etc. in the tank for them to feel comfortable> I have a couple of small filtration systems and a bubbler on the bottom. <I assume the filtration is suitably subdued for the fry and you have some kind of protection against them being pulled into the intake of the filters?> I have been feeding them crushed flake food and so far I
have not seen them eat it. <Fry typically feed on algae and very finely powdered flakes. Try and feed about 4 time per day. Very small quantities.
There are fry foods such as first bites available that work quite nicely.>
I don't think they understand that it is food for them to eat. What do I do? <Instinct will kick in if it hasn't already. Just make sure food is powdered enough for them.> Will they begin to understand if I keep putting it in. <Yes, in small quantities.> Are they just eating it off the bottom and off the plants. <Quite likely but do not overfeed assuming this to be true.> Do you think they are okay if they don't eat it off the top right when I put it in. <Should start to do this soon enough. Livebearer fry are greedy eaters in my experience.> Any ideas would be helpful. <Try some specifically formulated fry food. I assume they other behavior is normal?
Should come around in short time either way.> Thank you for your time.
<Happy to help! You can read here for some more information. Do review links at the top of the page -
Liz Thayer <Good Luck! Sugam>

Re: Sick Platy - Please Advise, fdg. beh.   3/9/11
Apologies for the additional email - one more addition. The sick fish, I noticed, has been regurgitating a bit of his food in the beginning of each feeding.
<Not atypical... a normal behavior... Many fishes have teeth/triturating processes in the buccal cavity... pass items back and forth to break up, soften>
I usually break down the flakes into small bits, and he seems to take a bunch in, then spit some back out, then continue feeding. After about three times of this pattern he continues to feed without further regurgitation. I don't remember specifically looking for this pattern before he became sick, though, so I cannot say for sure it started recently - but I did not notice the other platy doing the same thing, so I thought I should mention it, just in case it is relevant.
Thank you again,
Alex Marin
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Platies and their "poo" 2/3/11
I have a few platies in my 20 gallon long. I feed them "algae crisps" and "tropical flakes" which is like a mixture of protein and algae. Also the occasional algae disk that sinks
<Sounds fine.>
They are fed about three crisps a fish, twice a day and in the evenings the platies have very long strings of "poo" hanging from them sometimes nearly six inches long
<Constipation. Offer some fresh greens, or increase lighting in the tank so that green algae grows (not brown or hair algae). Then let them eat algae a couple days per week.>
Is this due to too much algae? over feeding??? or is it just a platy thing?
<They're herbivores, just like us, and if they don't get enough fibre in their diet, then just like us they become constipated.>
They are really cute fish and I like to watch them, but the "poo strings" kinda ruins looking at them sometimes. The mollies in the other tank are fed the same and they hardly ever have that string of poo hanging from them.
<A curious difference, since they're both herbivores. Possibly Mollies are eating more algae in the tank, because they're better adapted at scraping algae than Platies, so will be able to make better use of whatever's there.>
It seems that platies are worse for that than mollies in my experience. Is there anyway to reduce this "problem?" If it is a problem
<Cooked spinach, Sushi Nori, squished cooked peas are among the best.>
Thank you!!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

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

Re: Question about my new cycling Platy tank, and fdg.    1/15/11
Hello again,
I have some additional follow up questions regarding my 4 Platies. As background, I have now had them for 6 weeks. The ammonia appears to be between 0 and .25. I have not yet seen any nitrites or nitrates. The temperature is 79 and the pH is about 7.2.
When I first started feeding my Platies weeks ago, I used the Aqueon tropical flakes that came with the tank. They ate them, but the Platies never seemed too enthusiastic. Perhaps it was because the tank was cycling and they didn't have much of an appetite.
After the first 2 weeks I started using Tetra Color tropical crisps. Around week 4 the Platies seemed very enthusiastic about these flakes. I had tried to feed them only once a day in order to avoid over feeding and high ammonia levels. They never appeared all that hungry so I thought this was fine. It is now week 6 and their appetites have gone through the roof. When I put the tropical crisps in the tank it's like a frenzy. On one hand, I am happy to see they are eagerly eating, but on the other hand, their desperation to eat makes me wonder if they aren't being fed enough.
<Feed more frequently, small amounts>
For the last two weeks I have fed them a few flakes in the morning and at night. Once they are done eating I observe them and they swim around the tank looking for little pieces everywhere, even the bottom. They swim inside rocks and nibble little crumbs...and seemingly spend hours swimming around nibbling food off of rocks, fake plants, etc. Am I underfeeding them such that they are starving?
<They're likely fine>
Or am I feeding them a correct amount and it is just normal behavior for them to constantly be looking for more?
<Do their stomachs appear sunken in, concave?>
My second question concerns none other than fish poop (sorry in advance for graphic details). Two of the Platies eat, yet I've never seen them poop so I can't comment on its color. One of the Platies (the most voracious eater) very frequently has a light brown or pink poop string floating behind him, which he quickly loses. The other platy, who also has a big appetite, has clear poop. I've been reading that this is often a sign of parasites or gastric irritation. He seems otherwise very healthy...lots of energy, swims happily, no flashing, no fin clamping, etc. The poops are not long and white and stringy (which after my reading sounds like parasites), but rather they are clear, rather short, and fall off very easily. I read that perhaps I should be feeding them more vegetables so for the first time tonight I boiled peas, removed them from the shell, and squished up a few and dropped it in the tank. I have never seen them so excited about anything! Even my most finicky platy who is the lightest eater went to town on the peas.
Again, it made me wonder whether I've been under feeding them and starving them because of the desperation they show when eating. I am hoping that if they have any stomach backup or constipation that the peas will help.
What are your thoughts on the platy with the clear poop? How often should I be feeding them peas? And does it sound like they are being underfed?
<Not to worry... I'd feed the peas once, twice a week or so.>
My third series of questions concerns general "tank gunk." I have a power head in the tank and it is connected to a clear hose that comes out of the tank through which the air passes. The clear hose is covered in a white film, which when touched, comes off in a slimy gooey kind of way. I don't
think this is the beneficial bacteria is it?
<Microbial life of some sort>
I was under the assumption that those colonies were microscopic and not visible to the naked eye.
I've noticed a few of these white slimy flakes on the fake rocks also. Also on the fake rocks are what appear to be brown specs. They are not on all parts of the rocks, just some. I also noticed them on the leaves of some of the silk plants. Is this something that I need to worry about?
<Not at all>
Finally, what are your thoughts on the fact that I've had the tank for 6 weeks and have between 0 and .25 ammonia, no nitrites and no nitrates?
<Still cycling>
At one point (about week two) in the cycle, I used Ammo Lock for 3 days because I was afraid that the ammonia levels were too high. I was told that this would result in a false positive for a long time after using it. Is it possible that the ammonia levels are actually 0 and that I'm just getting false readings?
Thank you so much for your help.
<Welcome! BobF>
Re: Question about my new cycling Platy tank   1/15/11
Thanks, Bob! No, their stomachs are not concave. I'd say they are either perfectly flat or perhaps every once in a while a little rounded (i.e. after they eat).
<Ahh! They're fine. Cheers, BobF>

Platy fish excreting white stuff 2/14/09 Hi Crew; My platy fish is excreting a lot of white stuff from his/her lower region. They are like strings about and inch and a half long that do not fall off right away. It looks like it could be waste but it is white and there is a lot of it. The fish looks bigger so she could be pregnant. This has been going on for about two weeks and I have no idea what is wrong with the fish. He/she seems active and healthy. Thanks for your help! Joni <I'm assuming that the white stuff you are talking about are faeces. Under certain situations, such as gut irritation, the intestine produces excessive amounts of mucous, and these bulk out the faecal material, producing long, pale stringy faeces that often hang from the anus. My guess is that's what you're seeing here. The commonest problem with Platies is a failure to understand their needs. These are herbivores that should be fed ample green materials. Algae-based flake (Spirulina flake) is a good staple, augmented with things like Sushi Nori, cooked or tinned peas, cooked spinach, and thinly sliced cucumber. Avoid feeding them standard flake foods and do not feed them freeze-dried anything, except maybe once a week, tops. Wet frozen bloodworms and live daphnia are both good supplements to their diet, live daphnia being an especially good laxative. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy foods 11/21/08
I have had platy's for about 2 years now and have recently gotten 2 dwarf African frogs that live in the same tank and I just stumbled upon a question about their diet. I know they are herbivores and need a variety in
their meals but I saw this one food at the store and I was wondering if they could/would eat it. The food I found is dried seaweed
<Well, you can try it... I don't see how it could be bad for them.>
and I wanted to know if it was safe to feed my platy's.
<See if they'll eat it. Just be sure that if they don't eat it, you take
it out of the tank.>
Tara Beauchamp
Sara M.>

Xiphophorus maculatus (health, diet)  10/12/08
I am just wondering if stringy feces are always sings of internal parasites. I have a Platy that has string like feces, but the she is acting as normal as she ever has! Thank you very much! You are always so helpful and the first I come to for my fish advice!
<While it possible that your Platy has a parasitic infection (such as Hexamita) that is irritating the gut wall and causing extra mucous to be produced, and so resulting in stringy faeces, that wouldn't be the first thing I'd worry about. No, instead review diet: Platies are herbivores, meaning they eat mostly plant material. In the aquarium this can be either algae (e.g., Sushi Nori) or else algae-based prepared foods (e.g., Spirulina flake). Most tropical fish foods (flakes, pellets, etc.) are formulated for carnivores, and lack the correct balance of fibre and vitamins herbivores need. How herbivorous fish react ranges from constipation (the probable issue here) through to extreme bad health (things like Head and Lateral Line Erosion). So, make sure you are using herbivore flake and not standard tropical fish food. And yes, herbivore foods are perfectly safe for use in mixed community tanks, and things like tetras and Corydoras will come to no harm at all eating them. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Xiphophorus maculatus (health, diet) 10/12/08
Thank you Neal. One last question, does this mean theoretically I could feed my Platy vegetables?
<Yes, though some vegetables are better than others! Cooked spinach, blanched lettuce, thinly sliced cucumber, tinned peas and cooked rice often work well with herbivores. Any "sea vegetable" sold in an Asian food market should be good, too, for example Sushi Nori. Herbivorous fish used to standard foods may turn their noses up at vegetables at first -- leave the veggies to soften up for a couple of days and don't feed the fish for the interim. All this said, standard issue herbivore flake or wet frozen foods may well be more balanced and easier to use.>
I have seen this in forums and such! Thanks! Marion
<Cheers, Neale.>

Pregnant platy stops eating  7/8/08 Hi everyone, I have just spent 2hrs. reading and searching. I have 2 females and one male platy. One of my females is very pregnant and the other just started to show. I moved the very pregnant in to a 2 gallon tank (the birthing tank) and she started to act funny. She has been there for 3 days and she had hid the whole time but would come out to eat. Today she would not eat and her spots look to me as gotten darker. I know she is close because she was pregnant when I bought her 1 mo. ago and she has a what I like that call a black stripe from her eyes fin that was not there when I bought her. Is something wrong? Katie <Doesn't read as if anything is wrong Katie... just time going by. Be patient. Bob Fenner>

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

Former Eisner Fish Question  - 3/1/2006 Hi Bob, <Lori> I have an orange fish which I believe is nicknamed the "Mickey Mouse" fish. <Mmm, likely a platy, moonfish, Poecilia maculata> I'm obviously new at this and don't know the correct name.  Sorry.  Anyway, I've had this fish for a few months and he's always been a very good eater and active.  He now is spending time hiding and not eating. He appears to have something wrong with his mouth.  It looks like his lower "lip" is jutted out and he's moving his mouth much more than normal. The mouth area seems  whiter than it used to be but it doesn't appear anything has grown on the body or the actual mouth.  Just appears to be wide open where the other fish like him has its mouth closed more. He comes to the food but then doesn't eat it.  It's as if he can't and it spits back out.  Any advice?  Thank you. <Mmm, yep. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platysysfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Platy Too Shy To Eat   1/13/06 I have a 10g tank with 2 mollies and 2 platys. One platy seems to be too shy to get to the food I drop before one of the mollies.  I know the mollies are aggressive, but my Dalmatian one doesn't chase him or nip, she's just "quick" and hangs out right under my hand for the food. I've been successful a couple of times to get it to him. But if I move to fast or he sees my hand suddenly, he goes to the bottom and doesn't get it. He swims a lot so I think he is fine.??? Any suggestions? < Get some floating plastic or real plants. When you feed the tank the food will be spread out all over the top and the fish will all have a chance to get some food while feeling comfortable and hanging out in the plants.-Chuck>

Food For Thought (or Platies) - 07/12/2005 Hello Crew, <Hello, Michelle!  Sabrina with you today....> I've been feeding my Platys a variety of flake food from Mike Reed and Omega One.  I want them to have a nutritionally complete diet and I have been thinking about some different food ideas, please let me know which would be appropriate, and which are a crazy/bad idea.  Incase it makes a difference, the platys are in a ten gallon planted tank. Frozen Mysid shrimp -- do I need to make sure to avoid a brand using a saltwater species (or which brands are okay for freshwater fish)? <I don't think any brands on the market are freshwater species of Mysid shrimp - but no matter, be they of marine or freshwater origin, they would be fine.  Excellent treats, but not the best nutritionally.  Not something to feed as a stand-alone diet.> Frozen bloodworms -- could these cause illness or disease? <Good food.  Won't cause illness - don't confuse this with tubificid worms (Tubifex, etc.) which CAN pass parasites on to your fish.  Bloodworms are a larval stage of a midge fly, and are one of my favorites out there.> Frozen ON Formula One <Good.> Frozen ON Formula Two <Good.> Frozen ON Prime Reef <Good.> Frozen ON Spirulina Formula <Good.> Organic Spinach (from the grocery store) <Good.  Blanch all raw veggies before offering to your fish.  You can freeze after blanching for ease of use.> Organic Zucchini (from the grocery store) <Good.  Same as above.> Nori/dried seaweed <Good.> Freeze Dried Krill <Good.> Cyclop-eeze <Good.> Sweetwater zooplankton <Good.> Different manufacturer's flakes added to the Mike Reed/Omega One flake mix (it is crushed up and mixed together) such as Ocean Nutrition Formulas, OSI Spirulina, Two Little Fishies, etc.  Would that be redundant? <Kinda redundant, yeah - but variety is the spice of life, as it were.> What would you use for Platys? <Various high-quality flakes (Omega one and Ocean Nutrition are my favorites) with emphasis on vegetable/Spirulina flakes, frozen vegetable matter (ON Formula Two, for example), and some sort of frozen protein matter (Mysis, bloodworms, etc.) or Spectrum pellets (a very good, high-protein pelletized food).  I would also suggest keeping plants available for nibbling.  Certainly try the other things in your list, and see what goes over well - I'm sort of a fish food junkie, I can't help bug try offering pretty much anything I can find, provided it is of good quality and not in any way harmful to the fish.  For platies, as long as you lean more on vegetable matter (be it flake or frozen), you'll be fine. Thanks, Michelle <Any time!  Wishing you and your platies well,  -Sabrina> Re: Food For Thought (or Platies) - II - 07/12/2005 Hi Sabrina, Thanks for your reply!   <You bet.> I'm rather a fish food junkie myself, I like feeding a variety of foods when I had my reef and would like to do the same for the Platys.   <Always good.  Keep in mind your live options, too, such as mosquito larvae if you can place a pan of water safely free of chemical interference (pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers....) and collect them.  I tend to do this quite often.  For larger fish, I inadvertently found that a thoroughly soaked sheet placed on the walk to our front door will collect tons of earthworms.  Flies and other bugs tend to come in handy, as well.  Platies and most other "hardy" freshwater fish certainly don't require live foods, for the most part, so this is entirely optional.> So far the platys have been on flake and pellet food, I've never used any other kinds of food for freshwater (except baby brine shrimp).  Can frozen food be used as a daily food in a freshwater tank?   <Sure.> Would that cause problems?   <Not really, provided you do NOT overfeed, of course.> Is the gel binder an issue? <To my knowledge, no.> Would Frozen Formula Two make a good daily staple? <Probably.  I would probably alternate this with flake foods, due to the expense of frozen foods, and the sheer fact that I'm lazy.> Can frozen food be used twice daily (i.e. morning Formula Two, afternoon bloodworms). <This would probably be okay, but I would not offer bloodworms or other super-high-protein foods more than every other or every third day, unless you have other, more carnivorous fish in the tank.  Also, again, be certain not to overfeed.> Can Nori/dried seaweed be in a tank for days without causing problems or is it more like hours. <More like hours.  Overnight (for fish like plecs) tops.  I'm not certain whether or not a platy would eat Nori....  Worth finding out!> I take it Cyclop-eeze and Sweetwater zooplankton would be more of an occasional treat than part of a daily diet? <Indeed.> I'll keep an eye out for Spectrum pellets.  I've been using Hikari Sinking Wafers and Omega One Shrimp Pellets for my Corys (and of course the Platys eat that as well). <Hikari is an excellent brand.  My panda Corys won't touch the sinking wafers, though.  Picky pandas.> Can flake food (and the Wafers and Pellets) be stored in the refrigerator or is that too cold for them? <Oh, you can absolutely store your foods in the fridge - or even the freezer! - to extend the life of the food.  I heartily recommend you do this, if you have the freezer space!> I love reading over wetwebmedia, thanks for all of your time and help! <And thank you for your kind words.> Cheers, Michelle <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Platy problems Thanks for the timely reply. I guess I should have given some more info when I emailed you the first time. After all the fish had died, here is what I did: 1. I emptied the tank and cleaned everything including the gravel at the bottom. 2. I bought a new filter system and removed the underwater filter I initially had. The current one is not an underwater filter. It's above water and circulates the water with activated carbon cartridge. 3. Then, I installed everything and have added water. I treated the water with PRIME (which is a dechlorinator and it also removes nitrites, nitrates etc.,). I also added some aquarium salt. The I added the pH reducer since my tap water had a pH of 7.7 Please note that I have a water softener in my home that uses Potassium pellets.  4.Finally it has been two days since I installed everything and my filter keeps on running. I tested the water everyday and here is my results from today: Nitrates - around 20 mg/L Nitrite - around 0.1 mg/L GH - between 25-75 ppm KH - between 180-300 ppm pH - between 7.8-8.4 I don't have any fish yet. We want to have some black and gold platies. But they keep dying in this environment. What should I do now? Your help is very much appreciated. You have given the only reasonable advice so far. Thanks again for your time in this regard. < Use water from the garden hose before it goes to the water softener. This water is probably closer to the water that is being used by your local fish store. Go to Marineland.com and go to Dr Tim's Library and look at the article called The First 30 days for properly starting a new aquarium.-Chuck> Fat "he" platy Hello, I've got a 10 gallon tank with 5 platy residents. Two are male and three are female. I noticed yesterday that one of the male platy's belly is getting swollen. The other fish all appear to be healthy and normal. His color, appetite, and behavior haven't changed. In fact, he appears to be healthy and normal as well, with the exception of the gut he's got. Could this be the onset of something bad, or is he just eating more than the other fish? Thank you, -Concerned <I am concerned as well... I do hope your diet for your platies consists of some fresh greenery and meaty foods (not just all dried/prepared)... If the swelling continues or shows on your other fish, I would encourage you to add a level teaspoon of Epsom Salt to the tank. Bob Fenner> 

Meaty Foods for Platys - A Follow-up? Crew, Thank you for your suggestions. The morning after I sent the email, he was back to normal size. I think he was just over-fed. My platies' diet consists mostly of fresh greens (algae and live plants in the tank) and flake food. What would you suggest as a meaty food that isn't dried? <Hello...Jorie here this time. I like to alternate between frozen (then thawed in a cup of tank water) bloodworms and Mysid shrimp...my platys love both (as do all of my other fish!) Stay away from brine shrimp, as there is basically no nutritional value there.>

My Platy is barely eating > Hello, <Hi Tim, nice to meet you, MacL here tonight to help you.> > I have had a 10G tank running for 5-6 days. <Great brand new tank and very exciting.> I bought 1 molly and 3 platies after the tank was running for 2 days. The question I have is about one of my platies. I have no idea if this platy is a male or a female. Every time I feed my fish (I turn off the filter before start) all the other fish start eating except for this one. <Its possible the other fish are bullying it or its possible that the platy might not be well.> it stays at the bottom. <Not a good sign Tim, have you looked at it closely? Does it have any spots or dots on the fish?> It will only go up once or twice to get food. <But it is eating some?> My dad says it only was overfed once and that's it, but I am still worrying. <Its hard to learn the right amount to feed and very easy to overfeed Tim.> I hope you can answer my question with just the information I gave you. I just didn't know I had to check my nitrate levels and stuff. <Tim I think you are on the right track, you are watching your fish and that's what's important. Look for signs of bullying and take a small water sample to your local fish store to have your water levels checked. Also you might want to invest in an ammonia test kit. If you see any signs of anything like dots on your fish let me know, it might possibly be a fish disease that is fairly common called ich.> Thank you. Tim > <Good luck Tim, MacL> Thank you for your help but my platy just died this morning. it was bullying from another starburst platy. don't feel bad you did your best. I will always refer to your site for any other questions. I'm sorry for your loss!  MacL

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