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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

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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