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

Per the size of the system, hiding/decor, individuals involved; you want more females than males...


Sunset platy problem       1/6/15
I was wondering if you could help me with a problem I have observed in my new tank.
I have 2 sunset platys, 1 Mickey Mouse platy and 3 male Guppies in a 45L tank.
<45 litres is 12 US gallons; a bit small for these fish.>
The largest sunset (and largest in the tank) is chasing the other Platys l, seemingly scaring them - he is also nipping at their fins and faces.
<Aggression; what they do. If you're a male livebearer, your lifespan is limited (bright colours, small size compared to females) so you need to drive off rival males and mate with any females you can. Evolution ALWAYS trumps being nice!>
The other Platys are hiding from him and whenever he approaches swim away rapidly, occasionally to be followed by him, the others swim away fast and he slowly makes his way back to where he was.
<Indeed. Adding additional fish (2-3 females per male, at least 3 males per species) can help settle livebearers, but you need space for that, perhaps 100+ litres/25+ US gallons for largish groups of Guppies and Platies in the same aquarium. Not viable here.>
I'm concerned about this as I don't want my other fish to be threatened and have an unhappy time just because of him
<Removing the bully often means the next biggest male becomes dominant.
Keeping JUST females can be easier in small tanks.>
- also, I am going to be adding some African Dwarf Frogs in about 2 weeks and this poses even more of a concern as of course they are much more defenceless - All of the other fish are lovely and are happy to interact and be in close proximity with one another.
<Indeed, would not recommend keeping Frogs until you're quite sure you have a peaceful aquarium. The frogs are finicky feeders, easily damaged, and quickly starve in the wrong tank.>
What on earth do I do in this instance? Thanks so much in advance!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

platy problem. Mis-mixed lvstk.    7/4/11
I have a nine and a half gallon tank. In it I have one Balloon Molly, one Glass Tetra, two Tiger Barbs, one Sunset Platy, one Guppy, and one small Algae Eater that I don't know the name of.
<Mmm, these fishes aren't compatible... the molly needs hard, alkaline water, perhaps w/ some salt... the Tetra is salt intolerant... the Barbs too nippy and the Algae Eater likely a CAE, a tremendous bully; read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/CAEsComp.htm
The mess/mix of fishes you have here is untenable... won't work>
Recently, the carbon insert in my filter (Elite Hush 10) had not been changed when it was supposed to. So the filter was running without a clean new carbon insert for a few weeks. A few days ago, it was changed so now everything is running fine. I do regular weekly twenty percent water changes and remove the debris/food/stuff from under the rocks when I do the water changes.
I do a forty percent water change every month. I'm using Nutrafin Cycle, Nutrafin Waste Control, and Nutrafin Aqua Plus after the water changes. I also use Jungle Correct pH every couple of weeks. My fish are fed regular staple Nutrafin Tropical Fish Flakes in the morning at nine AM. At night (nine PM), they are fed Nutrafin Tropical Fish Pellets.
<Mmm, I'd feed earlier... to assure all gets eaten before "lights out">
I also give my fish a Nutrafin Staple Food Tablet (in case my algae eater isn't getting enough algae) and Nutrafin Brine Shrimp Flakes (for a treat) and Sally's Frozen Freshwater Frenzy (for a treat). In my tank, I tend to add a small amount of aquarium salt every once in a while because I hear it keeps the fishs' immune systems up. I try to keep the tank temperature at around twenty-five to twenty-six degrees Celsius but since it's summer, it's been getting to twenty-six to twenty-seven and sometimes twenty-eight.
When the temperature gets higher, I turn on my air pump so the fish get more oxygen. I started my tank last October. I cycled for one week and I have had four fish in total die.
<Best to cycle w/o livestock present... see WWM re>
One Molly died from fungus that he had from the store I bought him from, one Corydoras died from suspected bullying but I was out of town when it happened (but we did have someone watching and feeding our fish), one Tiger Barb died from unknown causes, and one Chinese Algae Eater died from unknown causes but possibly from not enough algae (which is why I'm keeping a close eye on it with my newer algae eater). The last fish died in April, which was the Algae Eater. My fish all seem pretty healthy except for my Platy. My Molly had fungus a few months ago but has fully recovered from it. Lately (past week or so), my Platy was staying in the back bottom corner of the tank behind the heater and fake wood/plant. So I did a water change and got the filter set up properly (with new carbon) and she seemed fine until today. Today, I notice that her anus is swollen and looks like something white stuck in it.
<This is just part of her anatomy, the "colon">
I can't see any worms of any type. Also, I've had her since I started my tank so I don't think it's possible for her to be pregnant. I have attached two photos. I'm sorry that they aren't very good but my platy is afraid of my camera for some reason. I didn't use flash or anything and my other fish are fine with it so sorry. She seems to be swimming fine but I noticed once when she twitched a little bit. Should I try giving her some peas or adding aquarium salt?
<Mmm, not the last... as stated, not good for the Tetra>
I looked on Google and couldn't find anything like this problem that had a solution or a cause.
<Really the best advice (what I would do) is to have you make a list of all the species you have here, and search in books, on the Net for their requirements... in terms of water quality, size of system, number of individuals that should be placed together (i.e. whether the species is social), and any other pertinent notes. Then, figure out what you really want to and can keep... in this 9.5 gal. system, any other that you intend to set-up.
Again, long term, what you have here won't work. Bob Fenner>


Re: platy problem.   7/5/11
<"Again, long term, what you have here won't work. Bob Fenner>"
I don't have a problem with my tank. I know what my fishs' requirements are. I'm maintaining a community tank just fine. I only gave you my tank information because your three-step question-asking process asked for it. My problem is with my Platy! I'm pretty sure that my Platy's "colon" sticking out of her body is not part of her anatomy. I take care of my fish and I love them and I noticed that one didn't look the same as the day before. Also, I've noticed that she isn't eating much and I haven't seen her poo since she's been like this. We think it might be some sort of "rectal prolapse". Do you know anything about THAT at least??
<... Yes; please use the search tool with the term and species. B>
I've tried feeding her peas but she hasn't eaten anything other than some of the Sally's Frozen Freshwater Frenzy (which is like all my fishs' favourite thing to eat that I have given them).

New platy hardly moving   5/22/11
<Hi there>
I got two new Platies yesterday. One is chasing the others and acting normal, the other is at the bottom or hanging at the top. Could this platy be on his way out already? The sitting at the bottom is a concern
<I do agree. Healthy livebearers don't "sit" at the bottom>
At the store they keep the Platies in a warm tropical tank and keep a Betta with them. IT is to warm for them. What does it usually mean when a platy is at the bottom?
<It's not feeling well>
I remember I got a couple of Platies months back at a different store. They swam around like crazy after being put in the tank and both were dead the next morning. That was odd. Thank you!!!
<Mmm, well, this is also disturbing. Is this system cycled? Do you have/use water tests for aspects of ammonia, nitrite...? Please read here:
Umm, can't log on here (am out of the country). See WWM re Platies...
Systems, Disease. Bob Fenner>
Forgot to mention   5/22/11

I forgot to mention that the water chemistry is great, temp is 70 with a little marine salt for hardness. I did I water change yesterday, and one every week.
<Mmm, no need for the salt... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
New platy now normal and water hardness question    5/23/11

The platy that I purchased recently is acting normal now. I removed all four males (I have males only) for five minutes, putting them in a one gallon. After I put them back in the 29 gallon and moved the decorations around, the new platy was "normal" swimming around. I think he was being bullied and I reset the pecking order, I think.
Anyway we have a water softener here and our water is very soft. A few tablespoons of marine salt and the testing strip reads for hard water which Platies like. My question is would it be better to add Epsom salt or baking soda or both instead of the marine salt, if so how much for a 29 gallon??
Or just keep using the marine salt for water hardness?? Thank you!
<Please read Neale Monks' excellent input re here:

One thin platy... Chatting, no reading... CAEs...  10/4/09
My 10 gallon tank has currently 3 patties and 1 Chinese algae eater.
<Oooh, do read on WWM, the Net re this fish... CAE's, Gyrinocheilus are "wolves in sheep's clothing"... Not to be trusted with easygoing tropicals>
In one group I bought a Mickey mouse, a red(?) and one that was large & gold.
Not orange-ish but yellow, shimmery gold & beautiful. We have had him(?)
<? Easy to sex...>
for 3 weeks. The Mickey died because the previous bottom feeder got injured & plummeted the ph before I noticed.
<? How?>
Everything stabilized for a while after I added a new Chinese. The gold is having problems, it is ravenous, very active, has gotten skinny, and I don't know what to do for it.
<Feed it... wafers, pelleted foods of largely greenery base... that sink>
I do ph testing & Petco tested water for ammonia & we are fine. The 2 reds and the bottom feeder are great. I try to feed him more but I worry about a dirty tank, I see accumulated food in the bottom & siphon out but I don't want to exchange water too much. any ideas or suggestions?
<Yes... Read re set up, filtration and maintenance of FW systems on WWM>
He is definitely bigger that the other 2, does he need more food?
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/algaeeaterfaqs.htm>
How do I do that without polluting the water. He seems like a fighter so I don't want to give up on the poor
guy but I can't imagine what is wrong.
<I can't imagine you not following instructions before writing us and searching our site. This is a reference system, not a chatroom. Bob Fenner>
Re: one thin platy 10/4/09

Wow, did not know that about CAE, it was recommended over a Pleco because Plecos get too big.
<This is why you need to read *before* you go shopping. Would you trust a car salesman to sell you the right car for you without doing some research first? A real estate agent? The guy in the clothes store? Of course not.
While there are plenty of informed and helpful sales clerks in many pet shops, there are also plenty of them who haven't the first clue.>
I definitely understand your warnings about listening to fish sales people.
Boy, my first foray into aquarium keeping is not so successful. So far the CAE shows no aggression, he is very reclusive.
<Often are when small. But up above around 10 cm/4 inches, they can become real menaces.>
His predecessor was injured when he panicked trying to get out of a rock/cave he liked to hang out in while I was cleaning the tank. It had doubled in size and it was a tight fit for the fish, I have since removed
the small rock. About the gold Platy, he eats at the top of the tank and you recommended sinking foods. Or was that for the CAE?
<Gyrinocheilus aymonieri will do well on mostly algae wafers (such as those sold for Plecs) plus a few catfish pellets now and again. Platies are herbivores, and a good staple is vegetarian flake food (sometimes called livebearer flake food) plus occasionally offerings of something a little more meaty, such as live brine shrimp, live daphnia, or wet frozen bloodworms (kept in the freezer). Don't waste your time with dried (freeze dried) bloodworms, shrimps, etc. Beyond simply being insanely expensive, such foods seem to be associated with digestive problems, particularly constipation, and especially so in herbivorous fish.>
Sorry, the algae eater is doing great health wise it is the gold Platy that has gotten skinny & is ravenous.
<Farmed livebearers are somewhat troubled by "Wasting Disease", likely a Mycobacterium infection and essentially incurable. It's mostly an issue with farmed livebearers because these are farmed to a price rather than a quality. So it's the "fancy" specimens you buy from chain pet stores that tend to have the problem, rather than more expensive wild-caught livebearers or livebearers sold at auctions by home breeders. In any case, the symptoms tend to be gradual emaciation, regardless of the amount of food the fish is given. Now, before assuming this to be the case, Mycobacterium infections probably account for a hundredth, if that, of the sick livebearers in the world! It's easy to blame any ailing livebearer on Wasting Disease when actually other issues are responsible. Often, less experienced hobbyists use these fairly obscure diseases as excuses. So, before assuming it's Wasting Disease, focus on the other, much more probable, explanations: Platies need hard, basic water for a start, and will never do well in soft water; you're aiming for pH 7.0 to 8.0, 10-25 degrees dH. They don't like to be too warm either, and above 25 degrees C (77 F) they get stressed and sickly. Like all livebearers, they do best given constant access to fresh green foods. Clumps of Indian Fern work great, and they'll peck at these all day, but otherwise strips of Sushi Nori or thinly sliced cucumber can work well, too. Like all herbivores, they can't do well given one high-protein meal each day: their digestive tracts are adapted to process lots of small meals across the day. Finally, physical and behavioural stress will both cause problems. Bullying within groups is the classic, Platies, like all livebearers, doing best in groups of one male to two or more females, and in small tanks, below 90 litres/20 gallons, a single male is recommended, with 2-3 females. Oh, and do check for Camallanus worms. These are not uncommon among farmed livebearers. The red thread-like worms emerging from the anus are distinctive, and like other worms, big populations of them in the gut will reduce the amount of food the host (i.e., the fish) can absorb. Anti-helminth medications should do the trick here.>
When I searched I only saw info about pregnant & fat Platies.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: one thin platy 10/4/09

Thank you Neale, it is the worms, I have seen them!
I didn't know what they were & will try the medicine.
<Levamisole, Piperazine and Praziquantel are often recommended, but don't always work, and Fenbendazole and Flubendazole are much better, if you can get them.>
Thanks again, you are a wonderful resource of information and will regularly check this site before a problem arises.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Dead platy 12/2/08 Hello again Neale. Hope you and your fishy friends are well. Here I am again..! Last time I contacted you I had treated my new tank for Whitespot, and had moved a harassed male platy to my new tank. A week ago I moved the remaining Platies in to the new tank. Immediately the other male started harassing the male that I had moved into the tank earlier. He once again took to hiding away, and would come out a bit but very wary of the other one - once I actually saw them fighting - fins up, swimming in circles around each other taking nips at each other. I haven't been able to get out and get some more females, but really 5 should be enough for the two of them? That said two are quite small still. Anyhow - today I found one of the males dead. He was kind of trapped between some bits of (plastic) plant. I tested the water and nitrite is at less than 0.3ppm, zero ammonia, and less than 20ppm nitrate. Yesterday he seemed OK, when he came out he was swimming about and eating, fins up (until he saw the other male, when he'd swim as fast as he could and hide) Could he have been harassed to death? There were no signs on the body of anything at all, a bit of a nip out of one fin (which could have happened post death I think) I am very reluctant to put my new additions in the tank (5 zebra Danios) in from the QT until I know there are no problems. Most other fish are fine. Only exception being one female platy who is also subject to harassment and frequently has her fins clamped and hides. She comes out for food and has her fins up then, but clamps them when the male is around. Frankly I think he's a bully! On the plus side we have a lot of fry! Can they be harassed to death? Wondering in a fishy manner... Sarah <Hello Sarah. Male Platies certainly can be aggressive towards one another. Mixed sex livebearer groups are honestly easiest kept either as one male with multiple females, or else in big groups (10+ specimens) of both sexes, albeit more females than males. Only a few species are truly gentle and gregarious, and none of the common species are! If you have 5 adults, with 2 of them boys, you're really not going to have peace and quiet unless the tank is big (30+ gallons) enough for them all to spread out. Can they fight to the death? Not directly, but certainly long term stress through one bullying the other can weaken another fish such that it doesn't get enough to eat, or becomes more sensitive to disease. I do regularly state this, but once again we'll make the point: livebearers are not "easy" fish despite their reputation. They're among the fish aquarists most regularly have problems with! The elevated level of nitrite is worrying, so I would go back and check what the cause might be -- too many fish, too much food, or inadequate filtration are all on the list of possibilities. If you have a lot of fry, do rear them as best you can, and then sell them on but keep at least some of the females. The more females in the group, the better they get along. Wild Platies essentially operate with females forming schools and males fighting over access. When we try to keep them as pairs or families, that's when the wheels come off the wagon! It's just not how they're wired. Wild Platies are smaller and brightly coloured, and consequently die younger than the females -- so everything about their psychology is about fighting rival males and mating with anything female in range! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dead platy 12/2/08
Hello! Just a quick one now as I have a small person in the bath..! I thought the nitrite was low - less than <0.3mg/l is the actual reading (getting muddled with my ppm / mg/l). This is the lowest on the scale on my Tetratest chart... I think I will get two more good sized more female Platies to pacify my male. We have maybe 10+ fry and they seem to get bigger and bolder by the day. Tank size is 180 litres (no idea in gallons) Thanks again for your super fast response. I do like the Platies, they have personalities... :) Thank you... Sarah <Hello again Sarah. I don't really understand your test kit: ordinarily there's either zero (safe) and everything else (not zero, not safe).180 litres (about 44 US gal.) is a good size for Platies, and you could easily keep a dozen or more alongside whatever fish you have in there. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy with damaged tail after being attacked (Guppy, Betta) 3/5/08 Hi there At the weekend I bought a Siamese Fighter Fish which attacked my female platy for a day until I found someone else to give the Fighter a new home. Then my male guppy started attacking the poor platy! (the guppy was also bought at the weekend) so I have sectioned the guppy off in his own special area of the tank to avoid the platy any more damaged or stressed. The platy's tail and fin are very damaged and frayed from the Fighter fish and although she is now swimming about happily, I am concerned about fin rot setting in. There is a white line appearing along the edge of the damaged tail - I wanted to ask if this is this fin rot or the healing process? I have just ordered some Melafix online - is this safe to use even if it's not fin rot (as a prevention) and is it safe to use it with the other fish in the tank? (4 neon tetras and the guppy)? I've attached a couple of photos - you can see the white line on the close up picture - looks like the tail has a white lining but there are no other signs of white spots on her body. Thanks in advance. Christine <Hello Christine. Male livebearers are aggressive, especially when kept with insufficient females and in tanks that are too small (by their standards, if not yours). While lots of people *think* they can keep Guppies and other livebearers in tanks 20 gallons or smaller, the reality is that all too often males behave in a very aggressive manner. In the wild, male Guppies would be creating an "exclusion zone" around themselves, driving away rival males so that they have exclusive access to the females. All fine and dandy in the wild, but in aquaria a recipe for disaster. In any case, there's nothing you can do to stop the Guppy behaving this way. Yes, your Platy has early stages of Finrot, and yes, it needs treatment. I personally consider Melafix an inferior product for this sort of thing: it just isn't that reliable. It's low cost as "New Age" recipe appeals to some people I guess, but given it doesn't always work I'd sooner recommend something reliable. Maracyn, for example, or eSHa 2000. Do remember that whatever treatment you use, you must remove carbon from the filter before use. Cheers, Neale.>

Was Missing Guppy, now bitten Platy   9/1/07 Hello, Thanks for your advice. I never did find my guppy. I have another problem now. One of my first Platy's caudal fin has been bitten (a bit at the top and a bit at the bottom). I first noticed this yesterday but there is even more missing today. I think the culprit is a yellow/black guppy which was added around 3 weeks ago. I say this because it does seem to follow the platy around and on one occasion I have seen it try to bite. Would it be a good idea to remove this guppy from my collection? The bitten platy seems to be swimming but I don't want it to totally disappear. I don't know if the behaviour I have described is pretty normal in an aquarium. Thanks, Seema. <Hello Seema. Sometimes fish do bite one another, but then get over whatever aggression or curiosity was behind the action. So for now, I'd leave things be, though treating pro-actively with anti-fungus/Finrot medication (or even Melafix) would be sensible. As always, when keeping livebearers, aim to have at least twice as many females as males. Livebearer males are all more or less mutually aggressive, and fighting between them is normal. Platies are usually the most tolerant, guppies a bit less so. Swordtail and molly males are very aggressive, to the point that unless you have a large tank these species are "one male per tank" animals. Because these "species" are all hybrids in terms of aquarium stock, behaviour tends to be less cut and dried than I suggest here, so you can easily end up with placid mollies but psychotic platies. Females of all species tend to get along quite well. So if you have problems with nipping and fighting, concentrate on getting females of whatever species you're interested in. One last thing. Do consider the tankmates. Even "good" tetras like Neons have been known to nip other fish given the chance. Many fish view the scales and fins of other fishes as potential food. So watch the dynamic of the aquarium, and see if any of the other species might be responsible. Sometimes the shape and size of the bite-mark can be a clue: a small, circular bite might match the dainty mouthparts of a Neon rather better than a guppy, which has a broad, flat mouth. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Missing Guppy -- 09/01/07
Thanks for your reply. I bought some eSHa 2000 treatment for fin rot so hopefully this will fix the problem! Cheers, Seema <Very good. Hope it all gets fixed up. Cheers, Neale>
Re: Missing Guppy - 9/3/07
The platy died last night! I was so sad.... <Sorry to hear that. Make sure you understand what went wrong, and give the tank a week or two to settle down before adding any more fish. Once you're sure everything else is healthy, and you know precisely how to prevent this problem happening again, then go buy some new fish. Rushing out to buy a replacement is usually where people go wrong... without knowing what their mistakes were, they end up with the inevitable result they imagine fish are flimsy and die easily! Cheers, Neale>

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

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

My Paraplegic Platy 10/22/05 Hi there,  <Hi Catherine here!> I have a 10 gallon tank that contains 1 huge blue Gourami, 4 zebra Danios, and now 2 platys. I started out with 4, three of which really looked pregnant, but I guess are not. 1 I found dead and the other just disappeared. I want to blame my Gourami, but am trying not to. Anyway, there are now 2 platys. 1 seems to be doing very well.  The other one as of late, who used to look pregnant, is now awfully thin. I try to feed it alone even, but it barely eats. As of today I have noticed it in the oddest of places in my tank, and realize that it is balancing on leaves, caves, etc. because it is looking paralyzed. I am so sad about it. I separated it tonight into a bowl and fed it alone again but I don't know what to do.  Thin and paralyzed, this is my problem. Now if it dies, do I buy a couple more as the 1 will be all alone? Or do I buy Danios, which seem happy and healthy. My Gourami is about 4 inches long and pretty thick. It is not very aggressive either, and the little guys seem to do well with it. So it is the platy I worry about. What should I do? Thanks for your time. Tracey <You have a teeny tiny tank for soooo many fish. Both the Gourami and the Danios would really prefer to be in a 30 gallon. Remember, fish poop. This makes waste which is toxic to the fish. You don't provide ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. However, I suspect that if you test your water these will be high. This is probably stressing your fish and the platys are most susceptible.  The solution: big water changes frequently until you get a larger tanks. About 1 tablespoon of either Epsom or Marine salt per gallon of water may also help your platy perk up. As far as the isolated platy, I'd keep it isolated until it is looking better in case it really has a bacterial infection. I assume this "bowl" is heated and filtered. If not, your fish probably won't do very well in it. Look around WWM for more info on your fish. Catherine> 
My Platy Follow-up 10/25/05
Hi Catherine,/Crew Do you really think my tank is too small? I have 1 blue Gourami, 4 danios,1 (sigh) platy and 2 of those Otocinclus (I think) algae eaters. They don't look cramped at all, but do you think they are? If I want a larger tank, my husband says I have to give the fish away. That I don't want to do, especially because I like the danios a lot. I could get a tank of 10 danios and be quite happy with just those.  So do you really think the fish are crowded? <Three things can make fish crowded, in my opinion.  1) There are so many fish in the aquarium, that you cannot keep ammonia at 0, nitrites at 0 and nitrate under 20. Violation of any of those conditions is stressful/toxic for the fish.  2) The fish don't really have enough room to swim around. A 4 inch fish in a 10 gallon tank is a fairly tight fit, especially a fat fish.  3) The fish like to swim fast and don't have enough room. This may be the least important consideration. However, the danios like to school and dart around the tank. They'd probably prefer 30 gallons, but they'll be okay in 10, assuming the water quality is excellent. Look at www.liveaquaria.com for good suggestions for tank sizes.> Thanks, Tracey <Anytime, Catherine>  

Red Platy A Loner? 7/22/05 Greetings. I have read your site with interest, and find it a tremendous resource. <Thanks, I've been reading it 5+ years, and the amount of info here never ceases to amaze me.  I'm just glad to add a bit to the pool, if I can> After reading over the advice given previously to others about Platy aggression, I returned one of my two males to the LFS, as I was unable to add any females of the species to the tank for fear of overcrowding. While this is not a pressing query, I would like your opinion about whether the remaining Platy is happy: After I removed the aggressor, the Platy came out from hiding, swims about the tank most of the day, mingles with the White Clouds, is eating heartily, and seems to enjoy swimming past a small plastic "imitation Platy" I placed in the tank. Could a single Platy actually be content, or am I reading contentment into his actions? Perhaps all the swimming and eating is actually unhappy behavior. I've asked him if he's happy, but so far, no reply. *winks* <While it would probably prefer some more platys, especially female platys *wink back at ya* it should live a long and happy life without company of the same species.  And yes, I do hate how platys give their owners "the silent treatment"; biting the hand that feeds it seems to me!> Thank you. <My pleasure> <M. Maddox>  

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