Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Platy Genetic Disease

FAQs on Platy Disease: Platy Disease 1, Platy Disease 2, Platy Disease 3, Platy Disease 4, Platy Disease 5, Platy Health 6, Platy Health 7, Platy Health 8, Platy Health 9, Platy Health 10, Platy Health 11, Platy Health ,
FAQs on Platy Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Treatments,

Related Articles: Platies, Poeciliid Fishes, Livebearing Freshwater Fishes

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

-- genetic defects are very common in highly inbred livebearers


Sick platy   9/27/12
Dear gang
Long time no speak!  I hope all is well with you all.
<So far>
I bread <bred, unless you were cooking> a large batch of panda platies about nine months ago.  Mostly, they have done very well.  I have one female (cross breed of panda and orange) who is showing some odd signs of ill-health and I cannot work out exactly what the problem is (except that she may just be weak and prone to illness).  Her symptoms are clamped fins and a worsening deterioration of the tail.  She also appears to pant with her mouth and is thinner than the others with occasional white stringy faeces.  She frequently hides by herself and is becoming less and less sociable.  I rarely treat the tank if just one or two fish become ill. 
However, I sometimes do three days of ESHA 2000 if I suspect signs of fin-rot or any fungal/bacterial signs when normal weekly water changes aren't enough - I've added some today just to see if she responds.  Tank is 110 litres, 3 yrs mature, fully cycled, heavily planted, lightly stocked, 24 degrees, zero nitrites / ammonia. No new fish have entered tank for several months - fish are fed on mixture of dried flakes, frozen brine shrimp, Microworms and occasional peas.  I suspect it's just one of those mysterious illnesses that come about due to weak genetics as all other fish appear fine, but I thought I'd throw this one your way before I give up on treatment.
Dr Patrick Nunn
<Mmm, considering the age/establishment of the system, that others of the same kind are doing fine... the most reasonable assumption is that this one specimen is poorly due to its genetic heritage. Unlike tetrapods (including ourselves) "lower vertebrates", fishes "do" a good deal of their initial development as juveniles... This one is likely an example of a "runt". Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick platy   9/27/12

Thanks Bob!  And apologies for the bread - it was a late night!
<No worries Pat>
<And you, B>

Deformed Platy  1/3/11
We have 35 gallon community tank with platys, mollies and one Pleco.
About 2 1/2-3 months ago one our platys became quite deformed. The spine is curved down and it has lost a substantial amount of weight. The fish seems to work hard to swim and frequently rests on the bottom of the tank, but eats well and doesn't have any problem going to the bathroom. I have not noticed any problems with its scales or any discoloration, other than it is slightly darker orange than the other platys.
<Good observations, reporting>
In the research I have done the symptoms seem similar to TB.
However, I would assume after this amount o f time some of the other fish would have been infected as well?
<You are correct for the most part>
All of the other fish in the tank are quite healthy, the mollies breed like crazy and some of the fry have survived with no problems. I know your site reports TB is often blamed for other diseases with curvature of the spines and wasting.
<Yes; this is so>
I have contemplated euthanasia, but it seems to be doing well. As long as the other fish are not in danger and my family is not in danger I would just assume let him live out his life.
Any suggestions?
<I would do as you have... I suspect that this one fish has a genetic anomaly/predisposition to the condition... a bit like Scoliosis in humans... And would leave it to live as long as it has a modicum of quality of life. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Tumorous growths on a few in platy group 7/26/2009
Dear Crew: Easy question, not life or death.
<Fire away.>
I wish to know whether Platies are particularly susceptible to tumors.
<Depends how inbred they are; fancy Platies are, as with any inbred fish, more likely to lack the hardiness of their ancestors. Moreover, careless breeding means that deformities are very common.>
Of the various species, only Platies have had slow-growing bumpy growths, and it has been just a few over past two years or more. Fish look fine, no deterioration, except for the huge growths that develop on a very few of the mature individuals, maybe one in 20. This question is more curiosity than worry because generally fish appear to thrive.
<If these are all descendants of a single pair of Platies you bought way back when, it's entirely likely there's a genetic explanation to the deformities or tumours you're seeing here. If you've repeatedly added Platies to your tank from multiple batches of fish, and you repeatedly see otherwise healthy fish develop these abnormalities, there may be something odd going on.>
Conditions: Near the beach in Orange County, Southern California. Fish are in a deep 700 gallon pond in an atrium with partial sun. Summer temps get up to high 70s Fahrenheit. Only heating in winter is modest: I try to keep temp above 63 degrees Fahrenheit by heating a small boxy corner of pond and letting them huddle there. There always is some winter die-off, yet most survive.
<Platies were, ancestrally at least, fairly cool water fish by tropical standards, and the fish we call the Variatus Platy is certainly as much a subtropical fish as anything else. So somewhat cool conditions is not, in itself, a disaster. That said, fancy Platies will lack this hardiness and inbreeding is likely to mean the Xiphophorus hybrids sold as fancy Platies and Swordtails are best kept in fairly warm conditions 365 days a year.>
Platies began with three pairs five years ago. I estimate they number maybe 30-40, just guessing. There is heavy planting, papyrus (roots in pond) and other unknown aquatic plants, rocks, structure, and large 3' tall plastic plants. Pond is heavily filtered with skimmer filter and waterfall filter + large UV fountain. No other aeration. Water does not circulate too strongly, but flows mostly along one wall--fish aren't jostled or fighting currents. Don't know pH or anything technical about water conditions.
<This is important, and Platies are hardwater fish, and under acidic conditions will not do well.>
Water usually is clear. Twice in past few years it was slightly cloudy so I added commercial pond bacteria mixes. I added sea salt (cannot recall recommended proportion I added), but it is not brackish.
<So why add salt at all? Let me make this point crystal clear: tonic salt (as opposed to the salt used in marine aquaria) does nothing at all positive when used in freshwater ponds or aquaria. It doesn't raise pH and it doesn't raise hardness. Waste of money. By all means add a Rift Valley cichlid salt mix if you want, even a DIY mix using Epsom salt, baking soda, and marine aquarium salt mix; such a mix will raise hardness and steady pH very well.
Haven't added new fish in over a year. Population includes maybe 15-20 pineapple swords (growing segment!), 3-4 rosy barbs (haven't bred),
<Like Platies, both of these are low-end tropicals, and Rosy Barbs especially prefer cooler water than most tropicals, and in my opinion would be ideal inmates for an indoor pond.>
couple of gold mollies, maybe a Pleco or two (they hide, and seem not to live more than one and a half to two years),
<These are tropical fish, and the fact they die after a year or so, when they should live 10-20 years, easily, is sad, and you really shouldn't be using them in this set-up.>
1-2 white dojo loaches.
<Also subtropical fish, and ideally suited to an indoor pond.>
Also numerous Gambusia (mosquito fish, a mistake left over from original setup).
<Subtropical fish as well.>
Plus lots of little red shrimp less than one inch long (don't know where they came from).
<Neocaridina shrimps thoroughly enjoy subtropical conditions.>
Oh, and one huge old white and red fantail goldfish. I've not had diseases I can identify, such as Ich or fin or tail rot or anything. Fish look good. One or two fish have died that looked bad, deteriorated fins, but not the tumorous Platies that seem to carry one despite large growths. So any thoughts about Platies and these growths?
<Probably a combination of bad genes and inappropriate environmental conditions; would be tempted to remove them, and concentrate on known subtropical species, like Gambusia, Xiphophorus variatus, Heterandria formosa, wild-caught Poecilia latipinna from the US coastal states, or even more fun, the Goodeid livebearers, many of which, like Ameca splendens, Xenotoca eiseni and Characodon lateralis, thoroughly enjoy subtropical conditions. Sure, some of these are tricky to get via your chain pet stores, but with a bit of work they can be obtained easily enough from fish clubs, fish forum members, regional livebearer associations, or as special orders from better pet stores. If you're a serious fishkeeper with a big pond, why not keep something a bit more interesting that Platies?>
Thanks for your kind help, Miles
<Cheers, Neale.>

Swim bladder didn't inflate; Xiphophorus, repro., hlth. 8/14//08 Hi, I bought some sunset fire wag Platies (a male and a couple of females). They mated and now I have some fry. Most of the fry have developed normally although they seem to grow at different rates, but one baby's swim bladder never inflated. His growth rate has been very slow, but he's such a little trouper. I don't see him "fading" at all; his condition seems quite stable, but I'm wondering what the future holds for him. He's become my sentimental favorite, so it would kill me to lose him; still, I want to do what's best for him. Any suggestions? Betty <Hello Betty. It is quite common for fancy livebearer fry to be deformed in various ways. They are extremely inbred, and demonstrably less robust than their wild ancestors; for example wild and "feeder" guppies (mongrel guppies, essentially) can be adapted to seawater without problems, but fancy guppies will die if you try this. The situation your Platy is exhibiting is known as "belly sliding" and is incurable. Whether or not you destroy him is up to you, but he isn't going to get better and he isn't going to be able to do Platy-like things. Mixing him with other Platies would probably be a bit unfair, but I suppose he'd be happy enough in a quiet tank with a soft (e.g., smooth silica sand) substrate that didn't scratch his belly. (Remember, he's not evolved to live a life on the bottom, so he could be damaged by sharp sand or gravel.) Cheers, Neale.>

Platy fish problem -- 11/16/07 Dear WetWebMedia Crew, I have many Platy fry that range from two weeks to two months old. A few of the fry have very noticeable crooked or "S" shaped tails. Is this condition a genetic defect of some sort or perhaps a condition that is out grown? What do you normally recommend for this type of condition. Thank you as always for your input and great website. Glen <Hi Glen. A certain proportion of most livebearer broods will be deformed in some way, and crooked spines are common. There's nothing you can do to treat this, and the most humane thing is to destroy the fish. They won't heal, and very often fade away slowly as they mature. Now, the actual proportion of deformed fry does depend on certain factors. Inbreeding is the key one. If you want to breed, say, Sunset Platies, it's a good idea to go buy males from one store and females from another. That'll mix up the genes more than buying both sexes from a single batch of fish. Diet is another critical factor. Just as with humans, the Platy mom needs to get the right diet before and during gestation to ensure optimal health. Since Platies are herbivores, this means lots of algae and green foods and not too much regular flake! Stress is the third factor. If the females are harassed, the chances of premature parturition increase, and undersized fry are more likely to develop improperly. Cheers, Neale.>

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

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

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

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: