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FAQs on Platy Infectious Diseases
(Virus, Bacterial, Fungal)

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, Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Genetic, 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

Environmentally motivated in almost all cases... Hence; you need to PREVENT problems via stable, optimized environment and nutrition.

Mycobacteria very problematical in cultured platies:

Terme... Platy... repro. and fungal dis.       7/21/15
Hello Neale,
Terme, the first platy, the first fish I acquired just over a year ago is not well. She has given, in this past year, 4 healthy babes. I've just done a water change and cleaning. I've isolated her in a clear container hooked on the lip of the tank. She can see her mates.
<Nonetheless, do be aware these breeding traps are in themselves stressful.>
Her anal fin is virtually gone, caudal fin is tattered a bit, dorsal fin is flatter, 1 pectoral fin has fuzz on it as of this a.m. Indeed, the prognosis is not good. She eats but half heartedly and her motion is, naturally, wobbly. I don't know what to do for her.
<The fact she's eating is actually a good sign. Treat, promptly, for Finrot and Fungus. In the UK there's a useful medication called eSHa 2000 that treats both simultaneously. In the US you may be able to find similar products such as Kanaplex. The addition of salt to the water can be helpful for all livebearers that are ailing, but this does depend on other tankmates. Assuming your tank is all livebearers, then up to 5g/litre is worthwhile. It won't treat in itself, but salt reduces osmotic stress and often perks livebearers up remarkably quickly. The important thing though is to avoid Melafix, Pimafix and other "all in one" medications that generally do very little once a fish is genuinely sick (they might have some use as a preventative when fish are damaged but not actually sick).>
I had noticed the wobble perhaps 2 weeks ago. All else looked fine. The fin damages seem like a rapid onset. This is my first death of a fish. What do you do with the remains?
<Assuming you're not near a natural waterway, then simply burying the corpse in the garden is effective.>
All else is basically well and good. I certainly hope to find you well and in good spirits.
<Thank you.>
The Best,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Terme...
Thank you so much Neale, I will take your notes with me to 'the guy' today.
<Glad to help.>
this a.m. while changing the water in her container, the 'bracelet of fuzz' drifted off and I was able to, at least, pull that out of the container.
If at liberty to anthropomorphize, I would say that while it seems indeed somewhat stressful to be reduced to a smaller space in her container, she also seems a bit relieved to not have to directly interact and can rest, while still being a part of...
<A fair analysis.>
In any event, thank you again. I will report.
<Cheers, Neale.>
On further observation. Re Platy dis.       7/22/15

and some research at the novice level, my best guess is the virus Lymphocystis, at worst Saprolegnia...I believe the former of those two.
<Is this for the Platy? Never seen Lymphocystis in any of the Poeciliidae.
Tends to be overwhelmingly associated with "advanced" fishes -- cichlids and spiny eels in freshwater tanks, and pretty much any Perciform fish in brackish/marine tanks. Viral infections are typically untreatable, but triggered by some type of external stress. In any event, Lymphocystis is fairly distinctive, with cream to cafe-au-lait coloured growths, often but
not always textured rather like cauliflower.>
Sapro calls for imidazoldinone, malachite green (apparently banned in the U.S.) or Methylene blue.
<Saprolegnia is name widely used, probably without good cause, for certain types of fungal infection. To be clear: without examination under a microscope, identifying a fungus is hard. Fortunately, caught early on, fungal infections are relatively easy to treat.>
I don't see good instruction for delivery of Formalin to a single fish in a confined space.
<Do not use formalin! Toxic. Nasty.>
Concerns seem to be more for me (gloves, inhalation etc. cancerous toxin) than the fish.
Also, I wonder about the singular stress introducing that her. I will check with 'my guy' at our best local shop tomorrow. For now, I figure to simply give her water changes in her isolation container and continue to feed, as she is eating.
<Viral infections are untreatable for all practical purposes, but a good external fungus/bacterial treatment such as Kanaplex or ParaGuard should do the trick without the need to ID the exact pathogen.>
Just wanting to know of your thoughts, Neale.
Best as usual,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: on further observation      7/22/15

Yes, this is my eldest Platy girl (7 in all)...not giving up...
Thanks again for excellent info. I'm so grateful I've gotten your email moments before heading out to 'the guy'...full report to follow...
<Glad to help. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: on further observation.     7/23/15

Dear Neale,
Happily, 'the guy' was in complete agreement with you, thus bolstering my confidences on both sides of the ocean.
I purchased the Kanaplex and gave an initial dose yesterday afternoon. The Kanaplex instructions read as if I were to place the med inside some food source and deliver. This is an ill platy. I took some tank water and dissolved the portion of powder in it and poured into her container. I repeated that process this a.m. after changing her container water. So, 'fresh' water and 'fresh' med daily.
<It's not a product I've used, but provided you follow the instructions carefully, should work well. Be sure to remove carbon from the filter, if used.>
He wanted me to purchase a 2 gallon hospital tank, heater and filter etc. along with the meds, but I needed to decline for sake of finances. She is in her container with water from the tank that is heated and filtered, the container hung from the lip of the tank inside the tank. I figure OK, perhaps not ideal....He recommended at least 4-5 days of meds to see if a good turn around effect takes place. This suggests she could be returned to the tank after that. He suggested only vegetable matter to be given for a week after cessation of the meds...We were in agreement that the tank itself should not be arbitrarily dosed.
<Fair enough.>
What do I need to see from her before placing her back in the tank or is it a matter of how many days she's been on the meds and likely to be clear of infection?
<You'll want to see some noticeable improvement. One Finrot and Fungus are in decline, the fish usually heals quickly provided ambient water quality, etc., are good. Perhaps complete a full course as recommended by the manufacturer; isolate in breeding trap inside main aquarium for a few days so she can benefit from good water quality and social interactions; if all
continues to look good, release into the main aquarium. When she's back in the tank, consider isolating any males for a few days to prevent her being pestered.>
Your excellent thoughts please!
The Best,
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: on further observation.     7/23/15

While the Kanaplex calls for 'every other day 'up to 3 doses', I dosed her in the non-filtered container in the late afternoon yesterday, and again this a.m.
<Any particular reason?>
So, I will count this a.m. as #1. My guy suggested that one cannot really overdose this stuff. (As we were figuring the 1/4 amounts of the tiny, tiny spoon supplied. I figure all of us can overdose on all sorts of stuff and therefore, maintain a strict quantity application. I've never used this stuff either.)
<It's Kanamycin, an antibiotic, so unlikely to cause the fish harm if used in reasonable amounts. But overdosing may affect the filter bacteria, which is a much bigger deal...>
She does seem perkier. Hopefully not an illusion from my rose coloured glasses. There are no males in the tank. Pestered, indeed. She ate her flake food and salad this a.m.
Next purchase will be the breeding trap so that I may release her, in quarantine, into the main tank. Thanks for that. But, not to get ahead of ourselves. A day at a time!
Should I be seeing the pectoral fins actually growing in more fully?
<Dead tissue/off-white edges should vanish quite quickly, even overnight; regrowth may take a bit longer, but by no means imperceptibly across a few days, a week.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: on further observation.     7/23/15

Well. It was the guy's notion to begin dosing immediately after getting home. He encouraged the daily container water changes with 'fresh' med supplied daily.
<Seems reasonable. Supposedly, most aquarium medications are usually neutralised within a day, by the biological filter if nothing else.>
After fully determining the exact, tiny spoonful amount yesterday, it was only after this a.m.'s dosing that I returned to read the duration of dosing, the round, as we say. That's when I read their 'every 2 days for maximum of 3 doses.'
This conflicts with the guy's notion of daily dosing and can't overdose....so, I decided to begin the every other day today, and call yesterday's dose a measure for The Good.
<It's an antibiotic, Kanaplex, so I wouldn't be overly worried about getting the dosing rate off by a day or two.>
And, since not dosing the tank itself, the filter is in no danger...
Best Regards As Usual,
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: on further observation. Neale, please    7/25/15

Ahh, with your good and gentle guidance and some re-orientation of my thoughts, it strikes me that if her water is changed out daily, because it is a small container lacking specific filtration and aeration, then the med must be renewed daily as well.
<Yes, provided you really are changing all the water in the container. Is this like a plastic Tupperware or something? I'm guessing so. Remove the fish with a net, empty all the water out down the drain, refill with aquarium water, add medication pro rata. Make sense?>
If it degrades fairly quickly anyway, then I feel good about dosing daily for about 6 days...then, if all looks better, returning her to the tank with the breeding trap in place for a week or so...
Thank you so much Neale,
<Happy to help, Neale.>
Re: on further observation

Yes. Really and truly. Changing all the water! The container was purchased at an aquarium shop and is a clear, solid plastic (I assume). All is occurring as you say...
Will forward a happy (one hopes) update soon...(sooo glad you are out there)
<Glad to be of use. Neale.>
Re: on further observation

Yes. Really and truly. Changing all the water! The container was purchased at an aquarium shop and is a clear, solid plastic (I assume). All is occurring as you say...
Will forward a happy (one hopes) update soon...(sooo glad you are out there)
<Glad to be of use. Neale.>
progress report.. What?       8/2/15
Hello Neale,
Well. Terme was in her quarantine container with meds for (8) eight days, (2) without added meds.
It was time to syphon and deeper clean the tank, which I did, complete with water change and change of filter.
I let that 'rest' for 24 hours and for 2 days following that, changed out the water in her container by 1/2 'fresh' tank water and 1/2 whatever meds remained in her container. Same the second day.
Today, she is returned to the tank. I placed a tank divider in there. She has 4X the space of the container she was in, can socialize and be in the filter-flow of the tank.
She is much perkier, she is interested in food and I do see some fin repair.
<Good; these are both signs you'd want to see in terms of her getting better.>
The abdominal fins are still thready, thus it's difficult to *target* her food as she otherwise might. I figure to keep her in this new confinement for at least a week just so she doesn't have to compete for food.
Is that a good amount of time? more? Will the fins, in fact, repair?
<Yes, but the time thing is difficult to say. Likely within a month they should be more or less back to normal. That being the case, and assuming there's no sign the fins are getting worse, and some evidence they're getting better, putting her alongside peaceful companions in a gently filtered tank is not a bad idea at all. But do keep your eyes open for possible signs of stress or damage.>
I've added a bit more 'Stress Coat' to the tank (it's mostly aloe vera) at the suggestion of the directions themselves!
<Indeed, but the accent is really water quality; in good conditions, fish heal damaged fins back without needing medications.>
Your good thoughts are appreciated as always.
Best, Grace
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: progress report..      8/2/15

Yes. water quality. I'm taking a sample in tomorrow to have it checked by 'the guy'.
I would be perplexed if something is amiss as I do regular water changes every 10 days (3) per month - change the filter out twice a month - and syphon the tank once a month.
One of the plants has a goodly amount of the black moldy stuff but, other than it being unattractive, no one seems overly concerned with it. There's a piece of Mopani wood in there. Can't think of what else would shift the water quality.
<Would remove any sort of mould or gunk from the tank, removing infected sections of plants if needed; while these might not be harmful in themselves, decaying organic matter uses up oxygen and can produce additional dissolved metabolites that affect water quality and chemistry.>
At each change, I use 2-3 gallons (15 gallon tank). I use 2 1/2 gallons of RO water and the other (less than 1/2) of tap water.
<Would remind you that soft water is bad for Goldfish; balance your use or RO water alongside tap water carefully. Anything more than 50/50 seems pointless and risky to me. You're aiming for moderately hard to hard water, with a pH around 7.5 to 8. That's optimal for Goldfish, which really do prefer hard water to soft.>
Hence, the Stress Coat product which de-chlorinates as well as soothes.
As usual, thank you for your support and insights!
<You're welcome. Neale.>
Re: progress report.. Platy hlth!          8/3/15

Mine are all Platys, but I take your points carefully.
<Ah, misremembered. But still, Platies need hard water, and won't be happy in soft (mostly RO) water. The harder the better.>
As I'm taking a water sample in today for review, I will review 50-50 RO/tap water (ours is especially hard here in the desert and I myself do not drink it as most people don't)
<Might not be tasty, but should be excellent for Poeciliidae generally. But yes, testing a sample is good, and making dramatic changes to existing water chemistry isn't wise. Any changes you decide to do should be phased in gradually, over a month even.>
and will remove mould and gunk plant.
I spoke with a fellow yesterday who'd had a salt water tank for 4 years and it was his declaration that the more you paid for any piece of plant life, the more resistant it is. Any thought on that?
<I do agree to some extent. I'm sure there's some science that explains this, maybe the cheap plants being the fast-growing species, and these in turn being the most demanding in light energy to power that enhanced rate of growth. On the other hand, the slow-growing species like Anubias and Java Fern are going to be expensive to sell because producing sizeable
daughter plants from cuttings is harder (takes longer). But as these plants need less light energy, they are less demanding in terms of care, and perhaps have other advantages such as needed less nutrients/minerals from the soil/water. On the other hand, certain cheap plants, in particular Vallisneria and Ceratopteris, are very easy to grow.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: progress report..         8/3/15

Neale, thank you. 'The guy' surmised the same, that I should add more tap water and do it gradually.
<Sounds a good "guy"!>
The plants apparently could also use nutrients and more light.
<Often true, and lack of light a common reason aquarium plants fail.
Indeed, probably accounts of 95% of plant failures (other than simply being destroyed by the fish). Lack of nutrients will cause plants to appear yellow (for example) but rarely holds back plant growth dramatically, because at least some nutrients will be present in tap water, as ammonia from the fish, and from decaying organic matter in the tank. So adding nutrients improves plant growth, from 'okay' to 'great', but is almost never the reason for complete failure.>
I don't want to add plant nutrients at this time. I'd like to wait a month to let Terme come around some more and to introduce more tap water. That seems like enough fussing around with the tank....
<Understood. Choose floating plants (which absorb fish wastes very effectively) if you can. I use Indian Fern, and pull literally armfuls of the stuff out of my 180 litre tank every few weeks. Never use plant nutrients. Alongside these, Anubias will thrive no matter what, and its requirements are so minimal that fish waste is enough nutrients usually.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: progress report..         8/3/15

Splendid, I will check in, in a week or so...have taken notes, as I do...
Best, Grace
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Platy melanoma     8/9/13
Hi Crew :)
I had obtained a juvenile platy about a year ago.  In the past few months he developed dark pigmented areas that are now growing what appear to be tumors. I believe he has melanoma; it appears similar to images for platy melanoma I found on the web.  Lately dead tissue has started sloughing off of the tumors.  Do you know if this condition is purely genetic, or if there is any viral or infectious component? 
<Could be either or both>
I'm wondering if the dead tissue gets into the environment, or gets ingested by the other platies, if that could cause harm.
<If viral... could affect others>
He seems unaffected by this condition, so I was just going to let him keep going until the tumors got too big, then euthanize him.  But maybe it would be best to separate him from the other fish.
<May be>
Any insight would be appreciated!
<I would separate the one fish if you have another system up and going. Bob Fenner>

Platy is really bloated    4/1/13
My platy fish that I have had for a year and a half got constipated and bloated about 2 months ago. He eventually defecated and went back to normal. Just yesterday I noticed that he had bloated up again this time much, much worse. He is showing "pinecone" scales and there are uneven areas that are bulging out.
<I see this in your images>
 It must have happened fairly quickly as I had been really busy and hadn't observed him closely for a few days and then suddenly saw this.
I tried putting him in a 1 tbsp/ gallon Epsom salt bath for 30 min. I then kept him in 1tbsp/4 gallons of Epsom salt for the past 24 hours.
<Good moves>
There is no improvement. He has not gone to the bathroom. I haven't fed him anything for 2 days.
<Also good>
I attached 2 pics.
Considering how bad this looks, is there anything else I could try to do, or should he just be euthanized?
<As the fish has improved before... I would not give up... though the prognosis is poor here. I would try offering vegetable/algal based food/material... and leave the Epsom in place. Am curious also re the band of discoloration... and would have you read on WWM, elsewhere re "Columnaris" disease... and consider the addition of an antibiotic>
I feel terrible to see him in this condition.
Eric Chung
<Bob Fenner>


Re: Platy is really bloated   4/2/13
Thank you.  I am not really clear on the concentration and duration of the Epsom salt bath.
<See WWM re>
 I suspect that a platy can handle this better than a soft-water species.  On your site it says to use 1-3 tsp per 5 gallons.
Can I go to a higher concentration and will that have any benefit?
<Not really; no>
I think the discoloration is simply caused by the scales that are extremely "pineconed" appearing more translucent.
<Perhaps. BobF>

Platy with weird skin issue going on. – 05/13/12
Hey guys at WWW. I have an interesting case for you that I am having trouble solving. I have a Platy that has a weird skin issue. It almost looks like the skin is peeling off.
<Yes. It's probably Finrot, despite being on the body.>
I'm tempted to call it fish psoriasis because that is what it looks like.
It is occurring on top of the fish in front of the dorsal fin, and then straight down vertically on both sides (not laterally along the sides). It almost looks like the scales have been rubbed the wrong way and they are sticking up and peeling off. It's not dropsy I know for sure as I've seen it first hand. It is not occurring all over and the fish is not bloated. I first noticed this skin thing a few months ago, when it started at the top and crept down a little on the left side. I didn't think much of it because I thought it had been scarring because the fish had gotten stuck in one of my decorations a little while ago and I had to pull him out. The spot was approximately where it had rubbed on the decor when he was stuck. He also didn't show any signs of distress; no flashing or rubbing.
Well after a couple of months it seemed to become more prominent and looked more like peeling so I thought maybe it wasn't scarring after all and maybe it was a developing disease so I thought I'd be conservative and try some Methylene Blue and salt dips. That almost seemed to make it worse, with the peeling now noticeable on the right side. I decided to quarantine him in a 10 gal cycled tank. All references to skin peeling and eroding on the web pointed to Hole-in-the-Head disease and Lateral Line Erosion, and the recommended treatment was Metronidazole. So I used some API General Cure (250mg Metronidazole, 75mg Praziquantel) with two doses, 48 hours apart. It did nothing. I then thought maybe it was bacterial or fungal so I thought I'd do a 1-2 punch with 300mg of Kanamycin and 2.5ml of Maroxy daily with 25% PWCs. For the first few days, it seemed to help, but unfortunately the Maroxy nuked the bio-filter and I ended up with an ammonia spike (which is not helping the situation!) I suspended treatment with the Maroxy so I could try to build up the bio-filter and continued with just the Kanamycin and the PWCs to deal with the ammonia. Free ammonia levels never made it above .25ppm and I've been using an ammonia neutralizer and Tetra's SafeStart along with the daily PWCs, but the free ammonia will not drop below .05ppm. Total ammonia is between .25ppm and .50ppm.
Well the Kanamycin course is nearly complete, but it did not improve anything. Hard to know though if anything will work when the fish is stressed from the ammonia. I thought I'd give the Metronidazole one more shot in case it is stubborn case of Lateral Line Erosion, so I started adding just pure Metronidazole at 200mg every other day. I just did a second dose last night, but still no improvement. I ordered some Nitrofurazone because I thought that since the fish was showing improvement when I was using the Maroxy, maybe it is more fungal even though it's not fuzzy looking. The Nitrofurazone is also not supposed to harm the bio-filter, so maybe it would be a good next attempt. It is supposed to come on Monday.
The Platy has not shown signs of illness really. He's a little schitzy and hyperactive, but it's hard to tell if that is from the ammonia, illness, or the medications. I would like to do some Methylene Blue dips again to detoxify the affects of the ammonia, but I've been kind of waiting to get a hold of the ammonia problem first. Any clue as to what this could be or if I'm on the right track with treating it? I have some photos, but they don't really show the peeling effect very well, they just show up as white blotches. The areas are circled. Tank parameters: PH 8.2; KH 8; GH 10; NO2 0; NO3 <5; NH3 .05; NH3+NH4 .25-.50. Thank you in advance.
<Treat as per Finrot. Ensure ammonia and nitrite levels are zero at all times. The Finrot infection (Aeromonas and Pseudomonas spp. infection) is likely caused by water quality issues. Most commonly seen on Platies in environments where the hardness isn't sufficiently high; adding some marine aquarium salt mix can be a helpful supplement to a good quality Finrot medication. The problem won't go away until water quality problems are fixed, so attend to both these issues, the tank and the fish, together.
Also remember to remove carbon, if used. Cheers, Neale.> 

Re: Platy with weird skin issue going on.    5/14/12
Thanks for the fast response! So fin rot on the body and not the fins, so... body rot? :)
<Heh, heh...>
Just a few quick follow up questions if you don't mind. So why marine salt mix?
<Because marine aquarium salt mix includes both salt (sodium chlorine) and lots of other minerals that raise carbonate and general hardness, and these other minerals raise the pH and keep it steady. Plain aquarium (or tonic) salt doesn't contain these, it's basically just cooking salt, so has zero effect on hardness and pH. Given how inexpensive marine aquarium salt is, and how convenient to use, using it is a no-brainer in situations where you want a bit of salinity *and* steady water chemistry.>
I was planning on putting in some plain rock salt since I had thought the GH was high enough. Should it be higher?
<The higher the better for livebearers, and if you're having trouble keeping them healthy, the addition of a little salt will help too. Use marine salt mix at 2-3 grammes/litre to start with and see how you go.>
Do you think that the Kanamycin was just not helping because of the stress of the ammonia spike, or do you think that the Kanamycin is not effective for this disease or is it just impossible to tell which?
<Both or either. But the reality is that medicines won't help if the underlying cause of infection remains.>
I just am a little puzzled with what would cause the fin rot, because fin rot is usually from poor water quality and when this had started, the fish was in a completely cycled 40 gallon tank. Parameters were Ph 8.0; KH 9; GH 8; NO2 0; NO3 20; NH3 0.
<Earlier message said you had non-zero levels of ammonia -- that's the problem.>

My phosphates were high around 8, could that have been the stressor?
<No, but high levels of phosphate will try to push pH down, which can be bad if the water lacks carbonate hardness to resist this.>
Or that the GH maybe needed to be higher? I finally got the phosphates down to 2 and am still trying to eliminate them. Anyways, I will continue to get my parameters in my quarantine tank under control. Maybe I'll put some gravel from my main tank in there to help with the ammonia, but it seems like whenever I do that, it causes my ammonia levels to raise instead. I also have some Tetracycline, which is suggested for fin rot, but I am hesitant to use it because I've heard it can damage the nitrifying bacteria. Is this true?
<It can be. Why not use something safer? Here in England, there's a medication called eSHa 2000 that I find works well, if that's any help to you.>
I think I will do what you have suggested, and continue with my plan to start the Furan2 when it arrives, and when all else fails, use the Tetracycline.
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Platy with weird skin issue going on. 7/11/12
Hi Neale, Hannah again. It's been a couple months since I last wrote to you and I'm still fighting this skin issue. I've done everything you've suggested: I raised my hardness with a gH of 17, kH of 8, I've added salt, and I've tried eSHa 2000. I also tried furan2 and nothing has helped.
<Oh dear.>
I even waited a couple of weeks between treatments to try and not stress out my fish or water parameters. It's looking worse. My ammonia problem has resolved and has remained 0 for many weeks now. The weird thing is, is that my fish is acting fine. He doesn't act sick. I'm starting to wonder if this is a viral or chronic issue. In your last response, you stated that this sickness was a result of poor water quality because of the ammonia. What I don't think I got across very well in my previous emails is that I only had ammonia problems in my treatment tank after I already tried to treat the fish. The skin thing started when I had him in my display tank where I had no ammonia. So that makes me wonder what caused this, and if this really is an issue of Finrot/body rot.
<Sounds like it isn't. Mycobacteria spp would be the other thing to consider.

It's incurable, so you may as well destroy the fish humanely (30 drops clove oil in 1 litre aquarium water works well; immerse fish for 10, 20 minutes and will be unconscious in a few seconds, dead within a few minutes, but allow more time to be sure if you don't know how to test for death). Mycobacteriosis (sometimes, erroneously, called "Fish TB") has a range of symptoms including red and/or white patches on the skin, listlessness, wasting, and ultimately death.>
I have tried very hard to treat the tank with mild meds that won't disrupt the filter, but now I may need to break out the big guns. Here are my thoughts: One thing that I thought helped in the beginning was Maroxy, but that completely killed the biofilter and raised my ammonia, so I never finished treatment. If I try it again, I can always use filter media to recover the biofilter, but in order to lock up the ammonia that will build up while treating with this med I need to find a product that only locks up ammonia and not remove chlorine and chloramines since the med is neutralized with dechlorinator. The directions say not to do water changes either so I would need an ammonia neutralizer. Another option is that I could try another antibiotic like Maracyn, Maracyn 2, or Tetracycline. I don't know what would be most appropriate. I've heard Tetracycline is not very effective in high gH situations, and I'm not fond of the icky yellow foam that seems to linger forever. I'm leaning towards the Maroxy and Maracyn as next options. Right now I'm extending the eSHa 2000 treatment until I leave on vacation for a week, as I don't want to try another treatment before I leave in case my tank crashes. Any other ideas? I feel bad for my fish because he's been away from the other fish and I think he's lonely...and horny haha. I think pretty soon, regardless of whether he is healed or not, I'm just going to put him back in the main tank. I'm pretty convinced this isn't contagious and almost convinced it isn't curable. At this point what course of action should I take, or what would you do?
Highest regards and many thanks,
<If a fish doesn't respond to the first couple rounds of treatment, and isolating a fish isn't an option, I'd tend to euthanise. At some point it becomes good money after bad, and if it's in the community tank, you risk infecting other fish. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Platy with weird skin issue going on.    7/13/12

Thank you Neale you have been helpful. I sure hope this isn't fish TB.
<Can we please not call this Fish TB. It isn't Fish TB, and freshwater fish hardly ever get Fish TB. What we're talking about is a Mycobacteria infection; Fish TB is one kind of Mycobacteria infection, but there are others, so don't assume the symptoms of Fish TB apply to the other Mycobacteria infections.>
He hasn't wasted or developed a crooked spine however.
<I see.>
I did have some danios die in my display tank that had symptoms of fish TB like wasting and curved spines so it didn't shock me too much when you suggested it. When the danios died, I decided to get a UV sterilizer.
<Can be useful.>
Never got around to plumbing it in since no other fish became ill, but I think I will make time now to get it up and running.
<For sure. While these don't prevent all diseases, they reduce the risk of many types, though not so much opportunistic bacteria like Mycobacteria or Finrot. They are good for minimising problems with Whitespot and Velvet following the introduction of new fish, which is why pet shops use them.>
As for my ill fish, I will keep him isolated and try a couple other things before I give up on him. I know fish TB isn't really curable, but there are references for treatment using Kanamycin for 30 days along with vitamin B6.
<Good luck.>
I already have Kanamycin and I think I will start making medicated fish food with that. The person feeding the animals while I'm on vacation can feed the medicated food to him and when I get back, I can try some Maracyn and Maroxy. I guess we'll see, but my hope for him is waning. If I let a mixture of flakes or freeze dried bloodworms soaked in water with Kanamycin and Seachem Focus dry out so the flakes/worms can be fed over a couple of days, will the medication still be active?
<Likely not. Use as instructed on the packaging. Antibiotics have a limited lifespan out of the bottle, and organic material (such as food) reduces this even further as bacterial decay progresses.>
Or what's the best way to bind the medicine to flake food for use over a couple of days?
<Buy medicated food; else consult your vet for a specific dosage.
Antibiotic resistance is a major problem as I'm sure you know, and in part this has been caused by "trial and error" dosing by the non-medically trained. A vet can help you calculate the dose required for a fish of given mass/weight, and as you will have read in Myron Roth's piece on Mycobacteria, if you don't get the right dosage, nothing will happen. In the UK, antibiotics aren't sold over the counter, so this isn't an issue I have ever had to deal with; you have to go to the vet to get antibiotics for fish, and that means you'll use the correct dosage anyway. This holds true across most of the world as well. But in the US antibiotics are still -- to some degree -- sold over the counter, and this creates a very grey area in terms of antibiotic use, with aquarists reporting all sorts of results, from great success to total failure! This is why web pages often seem so inconsistent; unlike the scientific literature, American fishkeeping web sites cannot possibly be expected to provide you with good, reliable dosages. Either speak to a vet, or use medicated food where the manufacturer tells you precisely how much (and how often) to use.>
Again, many thanks and I'm really hoping this is just a resistant bacteria and not fish TB, but if he starts to suffer or get much worse, I will most likely have to euthanize.
<Indeed. Good luck, Neale.>

Re Fish are getting better...? Lost...  Mycobacteria f'   3/4/12
Just a little update on the fish and how they're doing.  They've gotten so much better, and they no longer seem panicked or stressed.  I do have one more little problem.. The golden female platy in my tank has become very, very thin, and her spine is starting to curve strangely.
<Hmm… do suspect Mycobacteria infection… very common among farmed livebearers (including Platies but especially Guppies). Essentially untreatable; would recommend at least isolating, else euthanising.
To some degree Mycobacteria infections are environmentally-triggered, but that said, the quality of farmed livebearers (and a few other groups of fish) is so low that these bacteria are especially likely to become a problem.>
She also has developed little black speckles all over her body, all of them no bigger than a fleck of pepper.  She shows no signs of illness, she's eating properly, nothing wrong with her digestion, but it still worries me.  (The angelfish also has very tiny flecks of black on the bases of its ventral fins, but I'm pretty sure they've always been there, since she's white with black patches/spots)
My little sister recently purchased four neon tetra and a fancy guppy for my tank, so to spare her feelings, I had to keep them (and the fact that she threw away the receipt..) Despite the addition of the fish, the ammonia stays at zero, nitrites at zero, and the nitrates at 10-15 ppm.  I also got a big piece of Mopani, and I soaked it for five days in a separate container, but it leached more tannins into the water when I put it in the tank.
<And will do, for months if not years. Do check the pH; livebearers mustn't be exposed to pH below 7, so it's important to ensure at least moderately hard and alkaline conditions to keep the pH in the 7-8 range.>
So there are two possibilities for the platy to have the black flecks: contraction of disease from the guppy and tetra, or something from the driftwood's tannins.
<Or a third possibility, that "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" isn't true, and the Platy got sick at a time purely coincident with the arrival of the new fish.>
All of the fish are still doing fine, but I'm just a little worried.  The black specks do not protrude or intrude on the body, so it looks like part of her coloration.  She is a panda platy, but she is mutated, so she's completely yellow instead of both yellow and black.  She originally had little flecks of black around her tail area, but I'm not sure if her coloring is just coming in a little more, or if it's something else, like a parasitic or bacterial disease. There's also the fact that she looks anorexic, and her body is starting to curve a little bit, her back arching up more and her tail curving down. Do you think she could have a disease that's making her so thin and curving her spine?
<See above, and the linked articles.>
Should I be feeding her any special foods?
<Platies are herbivores, as are Guppies, so a Spirulina-based flake is recommended.>
I feed them all Ocean Nutrition: formula two flakes, which has a lot of protein and vitamins for the fish, and the only one that's getting fat off of this stuff is the baby platy.  The momma is starting to get a little bit bigger, but I don't know if that's because I'm feeding her a little more or because her back is starting to arch more.
All of the other fish are fine, except that the male guppy loves to watch himself go up and down the glass every other hour, and they're all eating fine. I'm cleaning the tank more often to keep algae from building up, keeping the nitrates lower, etc.  I'll have them in a bigger 30 gallon tank by the end of this spring, so I'll just have to work harder on this tank until then.
If you could reply back, that would be great  :)
Thanks again, Jenny.
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: Fish are getting better…? (RMF, photos consistent with Mycobacteria?)<<Could be>>     3/4/12

Thank you for the reply.
I've read both of the links, and I now realize that the infection may not be treatable, but if I were to try and treat her, what medication should I use?
< Mycobacteria? Not really worth medicating, if it is this.>
There should be two pictures attached, but I don't know if they will show up.  In the first picture, the black specks didn't show up very well, but you could see that her tail is slightly curving downwards and her back is arched more than usual. You could also see that she's very. very thin.  The second picture kind of shows the black speckled area near her tail which has always been there, but the new specks that have appeared look like the specks in that area, so again, it could be part of her coloration.
<The black specks could be anything. "Black Spot" in pond fish is a parasitic infection, and when it happens in aquarium fish, generally clears up by itself because the parasite can't complete its life cycle in aquaria.
Black patches on a fish are more likely to be bacterial infection, dead tissue, defective colouration cells in the skin -- a variety of things.
What makes me think this is Mycobacteria is the deformity and thinness of the fish, entirely consistent with Mycobacteria infections of livebearers.>
I forgot to mention this, but she started getting thin a little while ago, long before we got the new fish and the Mopani wood, so that excludes the possibilities of the new fish or the wood contracting the disease. I just wasn't very worried then because she was still eating, and she seemed perfectly fine other than that she was starting to get thin. But when her spine started to curve like that, I got a little worried. I probably should have emailed sooner.
But she seems to be getting better, eating a little more than she used to and grouping together with her tank mates more, looking a little bit bigger than she was before.
<Since Mycobacteria are opportunistic, it is possible for fish to get better under their own steam. Rare, but possible. Treating is difficult.
Mycobacteria are considered to be Gram-positive bacterium from the perspective of medication, so an antibiotic that treats Gram-positive bacteria, such as Maracyn, as opposed to a Gram-negative antibiotic like Maracyn 2, is the way to go, and if the fish is feeding, may help the fish's own immune system pull the fish through.>
I read in that first link that you can treat the fish three ways: through immersion, feeding orally, or injection.  It seems that oral would be the easiest way to treat, since she's gulping down food just as well as the others, but I wouldn't know how to feed her the food with the medicine. I could do it one of the mentioned ways, food mixed in with the Jell-O, but again, I don't know which medication to use. (are any of the medicines listed on that first forum oral medications, or can be used for food?)  In the end, I'd probably have to euthanize her, but I at least want to try to help her: she's a very nice tank mate to have and she has a very good temperament.
<Do refer to the instructions on the antibiotic used.>
And thank you for the links, and I'm sure they'll be very helpful to me. 
I'll try to set up a separate tank for her, but I don't have anything over 1 or 1.5 gallons. Maybe I can get a bare 5 gallon for her, and I'll need to buy a new filter to go with it.    I also mentioned getting a 30 gallon at the end of this spring, so this new tank will be disease free. :)
<Antibiotics can be "hard" on biological filters -- after all, the things do the filtration are bacteria, and you're treating with a bacteria-killed chemical! So use of zeolite instead of a biological filter, plus regular (ideally, daily) water changes will help.>
Thanks, Jenny
<Cheers Neale.


Re: Fish are getting better…?     3/6/12
Actually, just one more really quick question: can you use medicine for immersion in food instead of putting it in the water?  <If you're a vet and know how to dose according to body mass. Otherwise, no, not if the medicine doesn't come with instructions for doing this.>
I'm going to set up a separate 2.5 gallon, using water from the tank to avoid any more stress from uncycled water, and have her in there for a little while, feed her the food, then put her back in the main tank, just to avoid any mess-ups with the water quality in the main tank.   I went to the LFS, and they didn't have any five gallons, just 15 and up or 2.5 and below.
If I were to feed her the medicine, I will use the gelatin method, blending the food with the medicine and some water, mixing in some gelatin and freezing it. Then I can give her the recommended dose on the box.
<Cheers, Neale.>

MB and Panda Platy   2/21/11
Dear Crew
I've emailed your fantastic team over this sick fish in the past. Although I've successfully halted most problems my female Panda Platy over the past few weeks, it appears that the fish TB (Mycobacterium) is taking hold now.
<?... what evidence?>
She developed fin rot and has stopped eating. I put her into a hospital tank where I do a twice daily water change and put it some liquid vitamins.
I treated the fin rot with some salt and JBL Ektol Fluid for two days and the rot appears to have stopped. I gave her two days free from meds and she appeared to be swimming fine albeit with a wobble now. She hasn't eaten for a week and is now looking painfully thin. Is it now time to put her out of her misery with some clove oil?
<I would not give up...>
She appears to be happily swimming about so I don't want to deny her a few last days if you think she is not in pain. However, if you think that this is unkind, please tell me and I will perform the euthanasia as soon as.
Finally, will I need to strip down all my tanks?
<I would not do this either>
She has been in all of them for one reason or another. The other fish all appear fine and I have read that there could be up to 25% of all fish sold commercially with TB. Any advice?
<To stay the course... cleaning these tanks and just replacing the supposedly infected fishes won't cure or stop Mycobacteriosis>
Thanks so much once again,
<Mmm, have you read here:
and the linked files (Related...) above? Bob Fenner>
Re: MB and Panda Platy   2/21/11
Dear Bob
Thank you so much for responding.
<Certainly welcome>
The evidence for the fish MB is as follows for me. I've had my tanks now for nearly a year. The shop that sold me my first batch of Panda Platy's finally admitted they had something wrong with the fish/tanks when I complained after they kept dying. They all wasted away pretty fast.
<There are quite a few possible etiologies/causes for this>
The only one to survive was one Panda Platy despite having a curved spine.
About seven months down the road, she started to show a lump and strange flaking on her tail (almost like dropsy). After communications with Neale (he wasn't sure from the pictures I sent), I decided to try a 30mins bath in JBL Furanol 2 antibiotic and it appeared to help. She did well in the main tank again for a few weeks but then became shy and stopped keeping food in. I also noticed she had developed fin rot and was looking painfully thin. This is when I moved her to a hospital tank and treated her with JBL Ektol Fluid. The fin rot appears to have stopped but she just now wobbles at the bottom of the tank and appears very very thin and weak.
I have indeed read the page you suggested to me, thank you. I understand that the JBL Furanol 2 does not treat MB. Is there anything else I can do?
The param.s in the other tanks are ok and detailed below:
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 10ppm
PH - 8.2 (tap water is 7.6 but I cannot get the PH down in the tanks despite bog wood added)
Phosphates 2mg/L (I know this is high, but the tap water is the same)
Water Hardness (hard - 16 degrees?)
<Is okay>
The water in the hospital tank is being changed almost twice a day although due to her lack of eating, the ammonia and nitrate levels are pretty much zero.
What should I do?
<If it were me, mine; nothing treatment wise>
Thanks so much!
Dr Patrick Nunn
<Do you have a sufficiently high-powered microscope, or access to one/folks who know how to use? Mycobacteria are easily discerned... gram neg., non-motile rods... BobF>
Re: MB and Panda Platy   2/21/11
Dear Bob
<Hi Pat>
Once again, many thanks.
<As many welcomes>
I'm not sure whether I will be able to get it checked out via microscope, I'll have a think on that one (I am a doctor of music, not medicine unfortunately in this case).
Should I be able to tell from a water sample?
Or do I actually have to get a scraping from the fish (can't imagine how on earth I would manage that!)
<Is actually easily done... but need proper light microscopy... And not really worthwhile in view (as you've stated) of the commonplace occurrence of Mycobacteria... Better (in this life period) to "shoot for" good initial health livestock, optimized environment, nutrition... and boosted resistance>
If I find anything, I'll come back to you.
<And you, BobF>
Re: MB and Panda Platy    2/21/11

Dear Bob
<Mr. Pat>
That's great. Thanks. I'll try and make Platy's life as comfortable as possible as there appears to be not much more I can do.
A quick question on tank maintenance if I may take one further minute of your Sunday. My tanks are pretty heavily planted and I have a JBL Manando substrata with some white sand that has since become rather dirt coloured.
I try as much as I can to clean out fish waste with a battery vacuum
<Better by far to just siphon the water and waste out and put it on your plants, replace w/ new water>
but there always appears to be so much waste left behind (when I change water it stirs up in the tank for a good hour). I've searched the net for ages and found nothing much more than others advising not to bother, the waste will act as a fertiliser for the plants.
<Mmm, most systems are too crowded, overfed for this...>
Is this correct or should I continue to get as much as I can out (along with the snail shells etc.)
Dr Patrick Nunn
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2ochgs.htm
and the linked FAQs file above. BobF>

Platy with white raised caudal fin scales   1/22/11
Dear Crew
Over the past six weeks, my panda platy has developed on one side some rather strange raised scales at the point at which her caudal fin meets her body. The scales are grey/white. It doesn't look like mould/fungus (I think we would have noticed if she was developing the usual fungal infections as they would have consumed her by now, right?). Today, she started to swim mainly near the bottom of the tank and hide somewhat under the bog wood although swims out to eat and say hello. Her swimming has become a little more 'wobbly' from side to side but only slightly. She only clamps her fins when the male Gourami comes too near although that is getting less. She has always had a curved body too (her previous play mates all died from what I assumed was fish TB despite the shop admitting to this). She has survived about 4 months longer than those that did die so I assumed she was ok. Any ideas? Should we be concerned? If so, any treatment advise? We have plenty of meds here (broad spectrum antibiotics etc.)
Tank is 95 litres, lightly planted, 11 young guppies, 1 male cherry Gourami and this female panda platy. Param.s are: Ammonia/Nitrite = 0, Nitrate = 10, PH = 8.
I've added pictures in the hope that it might help. Fingers crossed as she is just adorable!
Many thanks
BJ Haria
<Hard to know what the explanation is here. Platies are prone to bacterial infections of various types, primarily when they're kept too warm (22-24 C is optimal), in soft water (at least 10 degrees dH required), or when given a poor diet (they're herbivores, so greens are important). As with all "fancy" livebearers there's inbreeding to contend with too, and the overall quality is often poor, and the fact they're seen as cheap fish means their maintenance isn't always as good as it should be. Dropsy is distinctive and usually appears around the abdomen first, so you may be able to discount this. Instead, focus on the things mentioned already, and do also remember that female Platies should outnumber males by at least two to one. Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: Platy with white raised caudal fin scales   1/22/11
Dear Neale
Thank you so very much for you wonderful and speedy advice as always.
<Glad to help.>
The water temperature is just over 25 so perhaps I could reduce that (I have guppies and a male cherry Gourami in with her). Unfortunately London water is notoriously hard so I'm not sure I can do much there.
<London water is in fact perfect for Platies and all the other kinds of Central American livebearer. Nitrate levels can be a bit high, but other than that, there's nothing to worry about.>
There are no other platies in with her (I refuse to buy anymore from the shop where she came from as I have found since that their care is rather poor and in fact, many of their platies have died since).
<Indeed. The quality of livebearers is extremely variable, and there are really only a handful of stores in the London area I'd trust to get good quality livestock from -- and none of them generic pet shops. Among the better stores for freshwater fish are Wildwoods in Enfield, Wholesale Tropicals in the East End, and Abacus Aquatics in Southeast London.>
I managed to take two further pictures which may help further - one from the good side but showing the swelling and one from the side in question - shall I treat her with some JBL Furanol 2 in a hospital tank for a few days?
<I wouldn't bother. I don't see anything "obvious" and medicating for the sake of medicating won't achieve much. A wait-and-see approach might be best. If she's feeding normally, then she's likely okay, and time and a good diet should help. I don't see Dropsy here, so an antibiotic probably isn't relevant. Physical damage is a possibility, but again, unless there's a sign of Finrot, medicating won't do anything particularly useful.>
I don't want to stress her out more.
Many thanks
BJ Haria
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Platy with white raised caudal fin scales  1/24/11

Dear Crew
I emailed you yesterday about my platy (please see conversation below) who had a raised area on her caudal fin.
She has spent the past 24 hours hiding and now she swims without energy when I put food in but actually doesn't eat.
<Not good.>
I think it may be time to transfer her to the hospital tank now wouldn't you say?
<Only if the hospital tank offers conditions *at least* as good as the aquarium she's in now. There's no point moving her to a tiny tank without a mature filter.>
What should I treat her with? Meds? Salt? Do you think it might be bacterial? TB related?
<This is certainly possible. Platies are somewhat plagued with TB-like diseases, perhaps because of their mass production and overall inbreeding.>
A parasite?
I've never seen this before on a fish so am stumped how to help her.
Please help, she is our favourite!
<Not much I can say of help here. From what you're describing, this does sound like a systemic bacterial infection of the sort common with livebearers. Check you're offering good water chemistry, i.e., hard, alkaline water. The addition of 4-5 grammes of salt per litre can help, but won't turn around a hopeless case. In the UK at least antibiotics are only available from vets, and this will probably be cost prohibitive. I would encourage you to think about euthanasia as the right thing to do when a cherished pet gets sick. In this case, a litre of aquarium water into which 30 drops of clove oil is stirred will create a bath that will quickly sedate and then kill small fish.>
many thanks
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Platy with white raised caudal fin scales  1/24/11
Dear Neale/Crew
Thank you so much once again. We decided that if she wasn't eating, we would at least give her a chance with medication. Instead of using the hospital tank, we gave her a 30 minute bath in one tablet of JBL Furanol 2 (as recommended on their website) in 1 litre of old tank water with an air filter added for good measure. She seems quite happy. We then made sure she was transferred safely back to the original tank without any of the antibiotic present (we use a well rehearsed trick whereby we lift her out with a nursery cage, the water drains and just before she is left high and dry, we then put her into more old tank water at the same temperature in a big bucket just to dilute any remaining medication left. Once again, the nursery cage is lifted safely into the big tank at the same temperature and she never gets stressed out). Oddly, the white stuff on her tail looks less! And she appears to be swimming around a little more although not taking food just yet. I'll keep an eye on her and if she appears to be going down hill fast, I have the 100% clover oil ready. Thanks for all your help once again - your team are amazing!
<Glad to help, and keep me posted. Good luck, Neale.>

Odd platy illness 9/3/10
Dear Crew
<Hello again Patrick,>
I have emailed your team once before about a female platy that became weak with what I suspected initially to be a swim bladder problem but had a hunch it may have been some kind of parasite or wasting disease.
<Indeed; the latter, some type of Mycobacteria infection, is quite common in farmed livebearers.>
She did, unfortunately pass away. A couple of weeks later and another female platy has shown some signs of illness which are not too dissimilar (hiding, slowness, wasting away, not eating, pale colour but not any
swimming problems).
<Oh dear. Mycobacteria is incurable, but it may be triggered by diet or environmental issues.
Not much you can do about it once it appears.>
I have separated her into a hospital tank and have treated her with the Interpet internal bacteria treatment (and have removed the carbon filter as usual) - currently three days into the treatment.
<Would be staggered if this medication helped. I've yet to see Interpet Internal Bacteria cure anything.>
All tanks are 3 months mature (Ammonia zero, Nitrite zero-0.1ppm and nitrates usually around 5-10ppm). Her symptoms began a few days after I had placed her (and another female) with a male platy for breeding purposes (about an hour) and then put her back into the female only tank. A few
days after, she began to hide and would not eat. Currently, she is much thinner and paler, attempts to nibble occasionally but nothing seems to go in and she is passing white stringy waste which I assume is a sure sign of an internal parasite.
<Yes and no. Like all herbivores, Platies consume a lot of food and produce a lot of waste. Constipation is common if fed primarily flake. Quite minor dietary changes can result in odd quantities of faeces. Unless the faeces are unusually clear -- i.e., mostly mucous -- I wouldn't be too alarmed.>
Today, I noticed that she was turning sideways to rub her body against the gravel. Any ideas what she is suffering from? She is looking much thinner. What should I do to aid treatment further?
Kindest regards, Patrick
<If this is Wasting Disease, i.e., a Mycobacteriosis or nocardiosis, there isn't much you can do. Do read WWM re: euthanasia. Take care not cross-infect any other aquaria you have, e.g., by sharing nets or buckets without sterilising them first. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Odd platy illness 9/3/10
Many thanks Neale - your team are the best!
I'll watch her for a few days and then if she fails to show any signs of recovery, I'll do the clover oil and vodka session ;-(
kindest regards
<Glad to help. Good luck, Neale.>

?... Columnaris... Platies...  -- 2/3/10
Hey Neale,
I got your email about Stella and thanks for replying so soon, but I looked up Columnaris on Google and it doesn't look like what she had?
<Oh? Columnaris is variable, but typically looks like threads or mould around the mouth. Finrot is similar, but as its name suggests, tends to appear on the fins first. Fungus looks more like cotton wool. All three appear on fish that have been physically damaged and/or exposed to chronically poor environmental conditions. Really do need a photo to diagnose diseases.>
I have checked the chemistry, which was pH 7.6, and the temperature 24 C.
<Fine and fine.>
I don't have a tester kit for hardness dH or KH - do I need one?
<I'd have a general hardness kit to hand, yes. In the meantime, ask yourself whether kettles fur up quickly in your house. If they do, then you probably have hard water. Hard water is what Platies need. If your kettle doesn't fur up, then you probably have soft water. Soft water is lethal to livebearers including Platies. Remember, never use water from a domestic water softener in an aquarium!>
My tank is 28 litres; the shop said this would be fine?
<28 litres (less than 7.5 gallons) is much too small. Half the minimum size for this species. Your shop mislead you. Water quality could very easily be an issue here.>
Also, I'm thinking about getting some Neon Tetras - would it be OK to introduce them this early, and would my two types of fish get on?
<Yes, they get along; no, not in this tank. Do read here:
You said Columnaris occurred when the immune system weakened - I clean the tank every Saturday properly, so how does that work?
<When fish are stressed, they become subject to infections. Just like humans who are exposed to extremes of cold or not getting enough food.>
Thank you so much for your help (no sarcasm intended, honest.)
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Identify illness... FW 4/1/09
Hi, I'm afraid I don't have time to go thru all the research to find what I'm looking for, sorry.
<Oh? Let me cut to the chase here: On the page where you got our e-mail, there's a link to an article on common problems, here:
Item Number 4 on that list of problems is likely relevant here. There's also a quick guide to diagnosing disease, here:
The reason I'm explaining this is that everyone thinks their time is valuable and their needs are important (I really should press on and make my breakfast) so if you're anxious for a quick solution rather than a fun chat with a fish expert, 5 or 10 minutes spent on the site could well have led to the answers you needed. We have a Search tool, and simply looking up Platy and Finrot would have come up with lots of useful information as well.>
A platy that I've had for 1 1/2 years, has become sick. A couple of white spots, some grey spots, top fin is frayed (rot).
<Treat for Finrot/Fungus, using something like eSHa 2000 or Seachem ParaGuard but not Melafix, Pimafix, or salt.>

eating, spending time on bottom, breathing hard.
No sudden changes in water values, stress caused in Dec/Jan when new tank set up, transferred from 10 gal to 29 gal. Gradually added pearl Gourami and silver tipped tetras (5 of them, 4 gouramis). 2 other adult platys, a few juveniles. Ammonia at 0. other values within normal limits, except pH and hardness on low sides. Live plants.
<Not sure what "normal limits" are. Ammonia is zero, which is good, but also nitrite should be zero as well. Just as critical is the pH/hardness; livebearers invariably need hard, alkaline water. The addition of "tonic
salt" or "aquarium salt" won't do anything to raise either pH or hardness, so while some people recommend this, it's actually pointless. You should have a pH around 7.5-8, and the hardness should be above 10 degrees dH, and ideally 15+ degrees dH. Often it's easiest to add a certain amount of Malawi cichlid salt mix. Luckily for you, I did have the time to go through all the research and dig up a recipe. Since you have other fish in the tank, I'd probably use one-quarter to one-third the dosages recommended for Malawi cichlids, though the Platies themselves would positively thrive at the full dosage. So per 5 gallons/20 litres add:
1/4th to 1/3rd teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
1/4th to 1/3rd tablespoon Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate)
1/4th to 1/3rd teaspoon marine salt mix (sodium chloride + trace elements)
Alternatively, you could go buy some Malawi salt mix, and add it at 1/4th to 1/3rd the recommended dose quoted on the packaging. Test the water with your water chemistry test kits to see how things look. Note the use of marine salt mix isn't the same thing as cooking salt or tonic salt; marine salt mix contains other things besides sodium chloride.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: identify illness (Platypoecilia; health) 4/1/2009

Thank you for getting back to me- FYI, I had spent about 45 minutes trying to research info on fish diseases the night before, including your site, but after awhile, it got confusing, especially since it is so hard to
identify what is actually wrong with my the platy.
<Ah, good to see you did some research. Wasn't clear from your message, and before my first cup of tea, I'm a little cranky and sometimes go off on tangents...>
(My days have been exceptionally long this week so not much extra time).
<Sorry to hear that.>
I thought he might have fin rot, and some spots, but none of the descriptions I've read really seem to match.
<The thing with Finrot is that it's a catch-all description, a bit like what we'd call a "fever" or a "virus". Essentially Finrot happens when otherwise harmless, even beneficial, bacterial in the environment are able
to overwhelm the fish's immune system. Just like us, fish have an immune system that constantly kills off bacteria that come into contact with their body. In the case of fish, the first symptoms are usually bloody patches on the fins where veins have become blocked by dead blood cells and dead bacteria; signs of the "war" of sorts that's going on.>
Maybe I need a magnifying glass. I printed your email and took it to the fish store, which is PetSmart. They didn't have any of the meds you suggested.
<Too bad; do try shopping online, or reviewing a phone directory for other aquarium stores in the neighbourhood. Actually, the brands don't matter, provided the medication is appropriate.>
I had originally bought Lifeguard all in one, but read it's not that effective.
<Indeed not; one of those "jack of all trades, master of none" medications.>
So today bought API brand Fungus cure (Victoria Green and Acriflavine) and Mardel brand Maracyn(erythromycin)
<Both should work here, and indeed should be safe to use together. Excellent choices.>
I also bought Oceanic brand Natural Sea Salt Mix. Not sure if that's going to work.
<This is a salt mix for use in marine aquaria. It is also superb for use with livebearers, which will thrive in the raised pH and hardness levels, and for whatever reason also seem to benefit from a slight salinity. But do
note that other types of fish may be less tolerant. Guppies, Mollies and Swordtails will all be fine with a little salt, but soft water fish, such as Neons and South American catfish, may be (will be) less happy. Do get
back to be if you have questions about the other fish in the system, if there are other species.>
My guess is I won't save this platy, but do want to get the pH and hardness right.
<Precisely. But I hope your Platy will recover.>
All the other values were WNL.
<Be careful here; some test kits suggest 0.5 mg/l nitrite or ammonia are "safe"; they're not.>
thanks again
<My pleasure, and good luck. Neale.>
Re: identify illness (Platypoecilia; health) 04/03/09

Neale, now that I have a little more time, thank you very much for your help.
<Most welcome.>
Having been on many other fish websites, I have found this one to have the most useful information.
<Nice of you to say this.>
And really appreciate the time everyone takes to respond to individual emails...how do you all do it?
<It's a team effort, and Bob's created something here that we all believe in.><<Siaynoq! We share! RMF>>
But since you are offering, 2 more questions. How does one gently euthanize a fish?
<Do see here:
Also, I do have 3 pearl Gourami, 5 tetra and 1 Siamese algae eater. Will they be affected by the increased pH etc? (I know you mentioned the tetra's wont' but I don't like them either (too darty around the tank... silver tipped tetra). The Gourami I would like to keep.
<Provided the pH stays at or below 8.0, you should be fine with most any community fish. There are one or two exceptions, such as Cardinal tetras and Ram cichlids, but for the most part, fish are more fussed about a stable pH than its precise value. On the other hand, if you raise pH and salinity at the same time, e.g., by using marine salt mix, that will stress freshwater fish in the long term, and isn't advised. Do contrast Malawi
"cichlid" salt mixes (which raise pH and carbonate hardness) with marine salt mixes (which raise pH, carbonate hardness, and salinity). With Platies, you want to raise pH and carbonate hardness; it's carbonate
hardness that steadies the pH and makes livebearers across the board feel happy. Raising the salinity won't harm livebearers, but it will stress other types of freshwater fish (with a few exceptions) so I'd always
recommend using a Malawi salt mix rather than marine salt mix for general community tanks. Usually a 1/4th to 1/3rd dosage of Malawi salt mix is ample: you're not trying to create full Lake Malawi conditions, just
something a little harder and more alkaline than normal.>
Thanks, have a great weekend.
<Likewise, enjoy yours. Neale.>

Mollies, Platies, and Fungus 7/21/07 WWM Crew, <Hello again!> Hi, I wanted to thank you for all the great advice you have given me so far. It has been a tremendous help. Following Neale suggestions I went off to my LFS to buy a Hydrometer and Marine Salt to convert my tank to brackish water. I also wanted to make arrangements for my Molly fry as I thought it would be bad to go from freshwater to brackish and back to fresh when they go to the LFS for sale. To my extreme horror they did not know what a hydrometer was and had to call the owner. Then the sales girl told me they did not carry marine salt and just to put 1/2 cup "aquarium" salt per 10 gallons in my tank. Gasp, needless to say my babies are not going there and I am looking for a new store. <If you don't have a hydrometer, you can just about get away with weighing the salt. Since seawater has 35 grammes of salt per litre, for 10% seawater, which is a good baseline for mollies, 3.5 grammes of salt per litre should be fine. Since mollies are euryhaline, exact salinity doesn't matter. The only problem here is that once a box of salt is opened, it tends to absorb moisture from the air, so you want to wrap it up tightly and store in an airtight container (like a Tupperware or biscuit tin). Measuring salt by volume, i.e., spoons or cups simply doesn't work because salt will be more or less packed down depending on how it has been transported.> When feeding my fish the next morning I noticed that my Creamsicle Lyre-tail Molly had white fuzzy stuff on her tail and top fin. Previously I noticed a fuzzy white spot on my Red Wag Platies mouth but it went away on its own. After spending quite sometime searching your site I decided a fungal treatment was in order and bought Jungle Fungus Treatment. I also added more "tonic salt" to the aquarium and slowly set the temp to 82 degrees. Water levels still testing good with weekly water changes. After putting the treatment in the tank, The Molly's fuzzy spots are almost gone. But now the white spot is back on the Platies mouth. I'm not quite sure what to do. I have attached pictures of both fish. The picture of the Platy is of bad quality but does show the spot. All fish are eating well and active. <Spots on the mouth are usually a bacterial infection called Mouth Fungus. Combination Finrot/fungus medications usually kill these. As a supplement to treating the tank, dipping the infected fish into seawater for 1-10 minutes at a time (depending on how the fish reacts) will also help by dehydrating the bacteria. Finrot, fungus, and mouth fungus (all caused by different pathogens) tend to follow on from poor water quality, so reflect on the conditions in the tank. Do you have the right pH and hardness? What are the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels? Is the filter big enough and the tank big enough? Do you overfeed? How much water do you change per week. Read through the Livebearer articles here at WWM for some background info.> <Good luck! Neale>

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

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

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

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

Platy Problems - Bacterial Illness - 10/10/2005 Hello and thank you for any help you are willing to render. <Good morning.... Sabrina here, glad to be of service.> Recently some of my platys began to develop white, mucusy-moldy looking patches on their bodies, (mostly on their fins, but some also up along their back). Reading through your "FAQs on Platy Diseases/Health", and searching through the internet I think that they either have "Columnaris Disease", or a fungus of sorts. From what I have read however the two are difficult to tell apart, and require separate treatments. <Correct on both counts.> I have sent a picture with this email showing what the fish look like (I couldn't get a good picture of the infected fish so I Photoshopped a picture of a healthy one, but it is a reasonable likeness, sorry if it is pathetic.) <Not pathetic at all - and please do understand, with only this and your description to go off, I would lean more toward the guess that this is bacterial in nature....> Hoping for your learned opinion. The infection has seemed to spread quickly and is killing the fish. <Another good indicator that this is not fungal, in my opinion.> It also seems to have spread to a Danio. Thank you for any help. J Dunlap  <My response would be to treat with Kanamycin sulfate, or perhaps Oxytetracycline in food.... And of course, maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, and nitrate below 20ppm, with water changes.... Wishing you the best, -Sabrina>
Cricket my platy has Popeye 7/22/05 Hey crew, <Jennifer> I have a red female platy named Cricket who has developed Popeye.   I am not sure why? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/popeyefaqs.htm> I test my water 2x a weeks and all is in the norm. I think she may have ran into something while I was trying to get my red male out of the tank. <Possibly> (he is small about 1 inch but very aggressive and picks relentlessly on my blue sail fin undetermined sex platy) Anyways deep tank, lots of hornwort and short net stick working against me in the battle to capture him <A good idea to have, use two nets...> and put him in his new 5 gallon tank.  After he was out I noticed she was sitting under the bog wood where she stayed barely coming out for 3 days.  I noticed while feeding her on the second day that her eyes where looking a bit strange. On the third day I took her out and put her in a 10g naked hospital tank, I started treating with Maracyn two since both eyes were swollen then on the third day I realized that the meds said expire 7-05! <Mmm, don't let this throw you>   So I changed 80% of the water and started the meds all over.  She is now on  her third day of the new Maracyn two treatments with no improvement it actually looks worse in one eye now.   I don't know what to do?  After I finish the Maracyn treatments should I try Epsom salt? <I would, yes> Someone told me that they used JungleLabs fizz tabs for fungus and Popeye with success, should I try that? <I would just use the Epsom> She has still been eating but has not been active since the night I moved the male. I really don't know what to do since I don't know what the cause is.  I have two other adult platies in the main tank along with several (maybe 25) ranging in size from 1 and a half cm.s to a little over a half cm.  All seem healthy including my three deformed fry. Please help me! I hate having to euthanize my fish. Also after reading your FAQ section I see that Popeye can last for a very long time?  Why is that? <Latent damage to the eye/s... trapped gas at times> Is it painful for the fish?   <Mmm, I don't know. Doesn't appear to be> If it was because of a bacteria wouldn't she be getting better from the antibiotics and not worse? <Not particularly... just as with human health, there are bacteria that are susceptible to some antibiotics, but not to all> Please help, I get very frantic when my fish get ill, I am starting to be afraid to look at her for fear of seeing her eye burst or something, I really do not want her to suffer and will not let it get that far, so I am just trying to help her out as much as I can now. BTW,  today her water tested: Nitrate- about 10 Nitrite - 0 pH     - 7.5 Thanks in advance, I really hope she makes it! <Me too. Bob Fenner>
Sorry I forgot to add the picture.  It was taken with a camera phone so the quality is not great but it is fairly clear.  This picture is from yesterday 8 days after the male was removed, today one eye looks a little worse. <Welcome. BobF>

Platy Disease? 7/11/05 G'day. <And to you> I've been using your site for quite a while, and while it's usually the solution, I can't seem to solve my latest problem.   My problem tank is 72 gallons, and has about 20 platies, a guppy, 4 clown loaches, some Corys and 4 dwarf gouramis.  All the water parameters are normal and the temperature is set at 26 degrees Centigrade (about 79 degrees Fahrenheit).  There is a low salt concentration.  The fish are fed flakes, skinless boiled peas and irradiated frozen bloodworms regularly. Here's the problem: There are some white patches appearing on the body and tail of some of the platies.  They began the size of a scale, but have grown - one is about the size of a hole in a binder book.  At first I used a multi cure, thinking it was the early stages of a fungus, but that didn't work.  The patches didn't seem to bother anyone so I left it alone.  In about a month, the patches appeared on some other platies, so I asked a LFS and they prescribed a fungal cure (all of these cures have been malachite green and formalin solutions). <Good clue> This had no effect, so I took an infected fish to another LFS, who is nearing retirement after 30 years in the same store.  He said he'd never come across the problem in all his years, and that otherwise the fish seemed fine.  About 6 weeks after the first signs, a large platy with the biggest patch on the flesh of her tail has become very sluggish, avoiding swimming where possible.   <Another revealing item> So far, there have been no casualties, though I would love to get rid of the patches incase it does prove fatal.  The marks are like a spot of white paint, though they look like a loss of pigmentation when examined very closely or on a fish out of water.   Any help would be greatly appreciated, Jimmy. <Without microscopic examination a determinate evaluation is difficult, but this does sound like a case/scenario of "Columnaris"... I would treat your fishes with Neomycin Sulfate... if you could through their foods... Please read here re making your own antibiotic laced foods: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm My next best guess is that your platies have a fluke problem... Trematodes... Do you have access to a microscope? Something in the few hundred power will be necessary for the bacteria... Bob Fenner>
Re: Platy Disease?   Part 3   8/19/05
G'day again.   I'm still having trouble with my 72 gallon tank. I ended up using a microscope (not research grade) to have a rough look at the white spots.  I made up a slide with some material from a live fish (he was real impressed...) and stained it with iodine.  The structure of the spots appears to be ruptured skin cells but there also seems to be a fungi growing randomly. <Could be secondary...> I assumed it was a fungal strain resistant to the chemicals I was using, so I put a heap of salt in the treatment tank 'cause good old salt cures everything.  The salt did the job and the white gave way on one of my best looking platies (before the disease), revealing a bad wound.  The wound she has is so deep in her side, her spine is visible.  I'm amazed he hasn't died yet.  Despite all the salt in her tank (9 gallon, no substrate, whisper filter, no cartridge - they contain carbon, sponge over intake) the white spread back over his wound and the surrounding area. The worst part of this disease is how fast it propagates.  I went away last weekend and one of my infected platies had a new white patch, about 1.5cm tall and 1cm across.  I don't like to think what's happening under the white.  In the majority of cases it goes for the face above the eyes, just on the top of the fish's head. <Frightening> When one of the fish get one of these patches on them the scales remain, though they ripple and look soft.  The scales also stop reflecting light.  I hope you can help with this problem as it's taken quite a few fish already, if you need anymore information let me know.   <... time to march out the big guns... I would try a mix of antibiotic and anti-fungal... these are discussed on WWM> One last thing, do clown loaches often eat other fish? <Very rarely> I have 4 x 2inch long loaches that I've raised since they were about 1cm.  Recently a large Cory and a large dwarf gourami, who were perfectly healthy and the biggest fish in the tank, went missing.  I saw a loach carrying the remains of the gourami like a dog with a bone a couple of days later. <Very unlikely that the loach actually killed this fish> I give them lots of hiding places, but I don't want to start a black market down there.  I've kept them for years and been suspicious, but everyone says they're so peaceful.   Thanks for your time again. Cheers, Jimmy. <They are my friend. Bob Fenner>

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