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FAQs on Platy Diseases/Health 10

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 11, Platy Health ,

FAQs on Platy Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Genetic, Treatments,

Related Articles: Platies, Poeciliids: Guppies, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies by Neale Monks, Livebearing Fishes by Bob Fenner,

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

Male Molly is weird        11/20/15
Hi I have a male Mickey mouse Molly
<Do you mean Mickey Mouse Platy?
Never heard of this fish otherwise. Mickey Mouse Platies are very common. Small, compact fish with the Disney logo on their tails.>
in my tank (as well as 2 females, a female guppy and 2 male, and 2 Plecos, and too many snails to count (i know I need to get rid of them)).
<Less food. Snails turn excess fish food, fish faeces, algae, and dying plants into snails. Reduce those four inputs and snail populations (slowly) contract.>
He will randomly swim next to the edge of the tank, usually in the corner, like he's rubbing himself on it and then he does a little side flip thing.
He sometimes does it on the filter tube. And just a little while ago, I saw him do it again on the gravel. He seems perfectly healthy, just a little cuckoo?
<It's not uncommon for fish to "flash", which is how they scratch an itch for themselves. They speed up, rub against something, then slow right down again. But if they do this all the time, it can mean something is irritating them, such as pH change (usually a pH drop) or the start of a Whitespot infection. Review, and act accordingly.>
Any advice would be helpful. thanks
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Male Molly is weird... Platy        11/21/15

Yes. I've heard them called platys.
<The correct name. Platy, from their old Latin name, Platypoecilius maculatus. They're now called Xiphophorus maculatus, but the Platy name has stuck.
Platies are related to Guppies, Mollies and Swordtails, but have their own quirks as well as similarities. On the one hand they're herbivores and the males tend to pester the females, just as with other livebearers. But on the other hand they come from ponds and ditches rather than rivers and streams, so prefer slow levels of water movement.>
The stores I've bought them have called them Mollies, so I've always identified them as this. I guess I'll have to remember to call them platys from now on.
<Obviously you can call 'em what you want at home! But when researching their needs online and in books, look up Platies, not Mollies.>
Would it be normal for only the male fish to be doing it?
<Not really. But one fish may be, for whatever reason, more irritated by whatever the issue might be. It might even have slightly deformed gills (quite common in farmed fish) that mean it's more sensitive to changes in the water.>
I've not seen the 2 females acting this way. I just remembered, he will also do it to my larger Pleco sometimes. I've only had the plays for a couple of weeks.
<I'd treat for Whitespot, just in case you've brought it with you.
Thank you for getting back to me. Also, I've never checked the ph on my fish tank, even after having it for about 5 years +. Is this something that can be done with the little device I've seen them test pool water with?
<Probably, but how accurate it is I can't say. Platies need a pH between 7 and 8. If you have hard water, then you're probably fine. Platies don't like soft water, including water from domestic water softeners. If you're just keeping Platies, Guppies and Common Plecs, then adding some marine aquarium salt mix at a dose of 3-5 gram/litre aquarium water will do the trick nicely, buffering against pH changes, medicating against Whitespot, and helping livebearers osmoregulate more efficiently. Do read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
Other types of aquarium fish, such as tetras like Neons, aren't so happy with salt, so write back if you need help working around them. Cheers, Neale.>

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.>
Terme... Terminal Platy dis.     8/13/15

Well, I said I would report back in and it does not look good.
I had moved her back into the tank with a divider. It was a bit disturbing at first but she began moving around, though wobbly because of reduced fin integrity and expressing zest at feeding times. I noticed her body conformation not improving. Indeed, she has lost her belly, she appears flat bellied in profile, tail down a bit and a depression spot directly on top of her head. At first, I thought, perhaps, 'skinniness' due to antibiotics.
<Can happen I suppose, but isn't normally a big issue with fish. A bigger factor is lack of appetite. Fish won't eat when stressed. I can't remember what this fish was or what the problem was (I answer a lot of questions, so please forgive me) but assuming this is a Goldfish and we're talking about Finrot or something like that, you're doing the best you can. Antibiotics
usually help when combined with optimal water quality, and sometimes a degree of warmth (18-24 C/64-75 F is ideal). Don't forget to remove chemical adsorbents such as carbon from the filter while mediating. Please write back and remind me if necessary.>
I have moved her out of the tank however and into a glass tank for fear of possible contamination of her 'processes' which do not seem to be improving. I certainly don't know if anything going on with her is contagious or not.
<Do make sure the hospital tank has good water quality (filter, water changes, etc.) otherwise there's not much point moving a fish.>
She rests at the bottom of this tank and has not really eaten, perhaps just from being moved again (hope springs eternal).
I don't know what else to do for her. I can't imagine another round of antibiotics to be of real service. Perhaps it's time. I just don't like it at all.
<A photo would help, plus some data on the new aquarium she's in.>
I hope you and yours are well and certainly everyone else in the main tank is charging around.
<Likewise, Neale.>
Re: Terme...     8/13/15

I awoke early around 5 and I knew she was gone and indeed she was. (My first fish, Platy and the only one to have given birth before I realized the other one in the tank was male and returned him - all over a year ago)
<Ah, sorry that things turned out this way.>
She had anchored herself under a piece of Anacharis and when I moved the tank, she floated to the surface. My feeling/thought was that in the same way many humans are horrified by a death sinking to watery depths, fish do not want to die floating upward to air.
<Possibly, but they're usually neutrally buoyant as well, so as they weaken, they tend to be moved around with ambient water currents. More often than not these currents drag them into something that traps them.>
I found myself unusually saddened. I buried her in the garden.
<Cool. Just be sure it's nowhere near a natural watercourse. Otherwise there's a risk of infections getting into wild fish populations. But yes, this is how I dispose of fish, and it's good to recycle the nutrients into the soil.>
Thank you for your response.
As always, The Best,
<Most welcome. Good luck with the remaining fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Possibly undeveloped male Platy? 7.15.15
Hello, how are you?
<All's well, thank you!>
I'm having some confusion over the sex of my Platy I'm hoping you can shed some light on. I have a 10 gallon tank, ammonia and nitrite zero, nitrate 5 ppm, two sponge filters. A year ago I set up this tank and purchased a female Platy who then gave birth to 20 babies. The tank spiked in ammonia and I struggled for some time trying to get the ammonia under control and
still feed the babies at least four times a day. The adult Platy died after about six months, and I gave most of the babies to the pet store except for three. The babies were raised on flake food. One out of the three showed to be a male and in March of this year I donated him to a fish club. In the meantime, the remaining females have been pregnant and having babies, one baby at a time it seems, here and there.
<Young adult female Platies may have smaller than expected, but oftentimes we're talking about predation on the brood, so you only see one or two surviving the first night. Adding floating plants such as Indian Fern can help.>
Now being July, babies are still coming, although I know the females can hold the sperm for 6 months or so (The babies are being raised in a separate tank this time around).
<Evidence for Platies producing six months' worth of youngsters is lacking.
That often-quoted stat refers to a specific fish, the Dwarf Mosquitofish if I recall. For the common farmed livebearers, two or three broods per insemination is probably the rule.>
At one year old, both my Platies are petite in size compared to a normal adult Platy- they are an inch long and their overall body mass is much smaller than a full grown Platy.
<Genes, or environmental shortcomings while they were young, can play a part in explaining this.>
One Platy is obviously female because it's super pregnant right now, and the other one may not be pregnant, however, it's anal fin looks like a fan- I do not see a gonopodium.
<Sometimes males take a while to manifest the expected fin shape. While rare, it's far from unknown. These "effeminate" juvenile males may explain the supposed female-to-male transitions occasionally described for some livebearers but never observed in the wild or under lab conditions. It's telling that all the reports of sex changes in Swordtails (for example) are
people quoting the story, and I've yet to meet anyone who has actually seen it themselves!>
This one is smaller than the other obvious female, but it's fan shaped anal fin doesn't even look pointy. In addition, back in March when the third Platy was present, who was definitely male (had obvious gonopodium), that male only chased the one female that is now pregnant, but I thought this was due to the fact that she's bigger in size compared to the other female.
Now my dilemma- last night while observing them, I think my two "females" were mating!
<See above. Just because it looks like a female, an "effeminate" male would still think and behave like a male.>
The one in question kept backing its tail up to the pregnant one, then would twitch its tail. I don't see any intense chasing going on though, but when the pregnant one is near the other one, "she" backs up "her" tail (they're facing opposing directions) and its tail gets all twitchy! That's mating, right?
<Yes indeed.>
So I'm wondering, since I definitely do not see a gonopodium, could this Platy be an underdeveloped male?
And can an underdeveloped male mate and have babies?
<Depends on whether sperm get injected into the female. If they do, despite the limitations of the existing anal fin, then sure, he could fertilise her. But if he can't get sperm physically inside her, then no.>
I'm so confused because it literally looks like two females mating. So far I have nine babies since April, with more on the way. Thank you! -Lorie
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Possibly undeveloped male Platy? 7.15.15

Your help is very insightful Neale, thank you. As far as predation of the brood; I've seen the babies swim around the adults and they do not seem interested in them at all.
<Often aren't, but do be aware that Poeciliid livebearers don't really have an instinct about what their fry look like. So while herbivorous, any small wriggling thing at the surface of the water can be viewed as potential food, such as a mosquito larva. In the wild the fry hide among plants and in very shallow (literally, an inch deep) water where the adults can't go.
So evolution assumes the fry and the adults won't meet, but in the aquarium, of course, that isn't the case. As stated: floating plants help.>
When I find babies in the tank, the adult female is still pregnant (gravid spot, fat). I believed because of her small size; she's still pregnant when babies are found; and no interest in the babies; that she literally was having a few babies at a time, although I don't really understand why she doesn't have them all at once, if I am correct in my assessment.
<Hard to say. Dwarf Mosquitofish are, I believe, unique in producing a succession of fry, one or two a day, across a period of weeks. Other livebearers (in the hobby, at least) produce batches of fry released all at once. Perhaps discuss with the folks at the American Livebearer Association, for example; they have a forum.>
I found two more babies last night; the female now looks slimmer but still obviously pregnant.
<Do bear in mind bloating/constipation is pretty common among livebearers and produces swelling regardless of pregnancy.>
She has had babies at least 5-6 times since March, all the while still looking pregnant afterwards.
<See above.>
Also, if I understand correctly, the male that was present in March could not be responsible still for the babies she's having today?
<Unknown. The record for producing fry after a mating is six months, and that's applied to the Dwarf Mosquitofish. Whether other Poeciliidae are comparable is unknown to me, but it's usually assumed Guppies, Platies and so on can produce two, perhaps three batches after a single mating. More than that is not something I've seen in the hobby literature, but again, a specialist might be able to offer more detailed advice. Also review superfetation in the Poeciliidae via Google Scholar, etc., for an overview of the subject.>
If that's the case then my "effeminate" male must be fertilizing her eggs (I kept two females because I did not want any more babies, haha!).
<Would seem plausible. Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Possibly undeveloped male Platy? 7.15.15
I'll look into your suggestions. Thanks again! -Lorie
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Trying to save my platy    4/25/15
I have been having problems with one of my 4 platys. Currently my 50 gallon tank has 4 platys, 5 danios, and 7 tetras. I got the first two platys back in August from the LFS. They were both small at the time but Clark, the sick fish, never seemed to grow but never acted sick either. He was always a bit more reserved and somewhat scared of the other platy. I was worried he was constantly being picked on so I got two more platys. These two also grew much bigger, but Clarke still did not. He stopped being so scared and was eating like he should. I always thought it was weird that he never got bigger but just wrote it off as he was just a smaller guy. About a month ago I saw him start to have white poop. I immediately thought it was an internal parasite because of his size. I talked with the LFS and they recommended API General Cure and Melafix.
<Neither terribly useful. Think of it this way: if a doctor recommended a medicine that cured everything, would you trust him? No, neither would I. Identify the problem, and treat it with a medication specific to that problem.>
I treated the whole tank as directed but nothing seemed to improve for Clark, however nothing got worse either. When I saw him still pooping white and did some research and found New Life Spectrum's Hex Shield food. I gave him that for three days and he seemed to get better.
<Good. Did the environment improve any? The two things usually (almost always) go together. Let's recap: Platies must have hard, alkaline water; they do not appreciate high temperatures (aim for 22-25 C/72-77 F) preferably towards the low end. Finally, they're less hardy than they once were, and non-zero ammonia and nitrite will cause problems.>
Recently though, he took a turn for the worse. He started pooping white again but now he lays at the bottom in the house or under a plant.
<White faeces imply irritation of the gut and resulting mucous in the faeces. While usually linked to Hexamita, other gut parasites, including intestinal worms, can cause this. Among livebearers sold in the US, Camallanus worms seem quite common for some reason. No idea why. But medicating with Prazi Pro or similar can be helpful.
What's weird though is he will always know when I am feeding the tank and he comes right up to the top to eat. After he eats he lays back down. I tried to feed him the medicated food again but nothing is changing. No better, no worse. We have been doing this for a week and every morning I'm thinking he is going to be dead, he swims right up to the top of the tank
for food. His little front fins do seem to be working hard for the speed he is going but other that there are no other obvious signs of disease. The poop now is white and red and spirals when it comes out, odd.
<If the faeces are moving, then Camallanus (or some other worm species) is almost certainly the problem.>
All of the other fish poop red because of the flakes. I found a place that sells flakes medicated with Fenbendazole. Do you think this will work?
Do you think its camallus worms? Its so hard to tell if its a worm on not.
<Fenbendazole can work against Camallanus, but dosing is difficult. A vet is the best bet, but failing that, follow the instructions, but be prepared to run more than one course of medication.>
Once it fell to the gravel it did nothing but lay there. Could it be something totally different?
<Hard to say.>
Ps. I test the water each week when I do 25% water changes and the water is always good.
<Meaning what? "Good" water chemistry for Platies is "Bad" for most South American tetras.>
Thanks so much!!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Platy acting weird, no data, rdg.      4/2/15
For the past couple of days one of my orange and black platies has been acting weird. Is not swimming anymore, all it does is lay in the bottom, and drag itself all over the bottom of the tank.
It is breathing, and all started by staying vertically behind the heather.
Sometimes it does moves vertically, but not long distances.
I will appreciate any help you can give me! Thank you!!
<Mmm; is your water hard and alkaline? Of appropriate temperature? What other livestock is here, what foods, feeding.... Have you read on WWM re Platies and their needs? Bob Fenner>
Re: Platy acting weird       4/8/15

Thank you for your response! Apparently everything is ok. The fish that was acting weird gave birth. I did not know I had a male on the tank, since when I bought three I told the pet shop employee to give me all females to avoid having pregnancies.
<Mmm; can store sperm in their tracts....>
I have two left, since one die (I don't know if it was the one that gave birth). And I don't know how many were born, since only one baby fry is alive. I will go to WWM and read about Platies. This is the first time this happens to me.

Platy wasting away          2/18/15
Hey guys, running into another issue with the tank, hoping you can help. I have a 200L community tank with Platy's, Neon Tetras, Cherry Barbs, Cory's and Rasboras. A little while ago I discovered that I was essentially asphyxiating my fish without proper aeration, after a number of Rasboras died I had the a-ha moment and fixed this issue. Unfortunately at that point I think a number of the fish had become weakened enough to catch various problems. I've had two neons die from what looked like Neon Tetra disease (the red tail fading to white eventually they turned blackish before I pulled them out of the tank). I now have my longest living platy who has been getting thinner and thinner and thinner over the past few weeks to where it just cant be good. He's still eating, and trails long poops (as do many of my fish now?) I thought it was constipation so fed some mushy peas but it hasn't seemed to help. Some of the fish poop is clear and transparent, others just the color of the food Im feeding. Other then the poor guy getting thinner and thinner I don't see any surface marks or issues with the fish. After much searching It feels like it could be a parasite? Im in the UK so haven't been able to find any medicines that
are generally referred to treat. Do you guys have any suggestions, or could this be something else?
Thanks much!
<Hello Charles. I'm not convinced there's much to be done here. Systemic bacterial infections in farmed livebearers are, sadly, quite common. Guppies are the worst, but Platies are pretty commonly found to suffer from this problem as well. Usually what happens is you buy a group, most do well, but one simply fails to thrive. It gets thinner as the others wax fat, and eventually you simply find it dead in a corner of the tank. Worm infections such as Camallanus might be implicated, but these usually manifest themselves differently, a combination of wasting, worms from the vent, and swelling of the abdomen. More likely is a protozoan infection such as Hexamita, which often leads to clear, stringy faeces, or a systemic bacterial infection such as Mycobacteria spp., which is often the cause of wasting. In any event, your range of options is limited. eSHa HEXAMITA is probably your best bet; see here:
It's inexpensive and widely sold, and eSHa products tend to be a cut-above the other (non-prescription) medications sold in the UK. It should shift Hexamita and some bacterial infections if not too serious. I certainly choose to use them as/when needed. It treats a wide range of possible problems, though not all (Mycobacteria are all but untreatable). Worth a shot, definitely, but not a 100% guarantee. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Platy wasting away
He's actually the oldest platy I have and he's been quite robust till now.
Thanks for the pointer for the treatments, will give it a go!
<Ah; well, good luck. Neale.>

Platy with possible dropsy and platy pregnant?       2/13/15
Currently we have 2 adult platy fish and 3 young ones about 1 months old.
The zebra platy has a area (highlighted in pictures) where the scales seem to be fluffy/pineconing/furry looking/sticking out? Sorry about the picture quality as these guys do not hold still to pose. I was wondering if by looking at the zebra platy you can tell what this is and if it's dropsy?
<Dropsy is usually around the abdomen, rather than above the muscle blocks of the "tail" part of the body. So my guess here is this isn't typical Dropsy, but some sort of fluid build up inside the muscles. Hard to be specific what's happened here. Could be a tumour I suppose (not uncommon among farmed livebearers) but could just as easily be the result of physical damage, a bit like swelling around a broken ankle. If the fish is otherwise fine, then the old Epsom Salt treatment might work well; the
recommended dosage is 1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres, for as long as it takes. Carry on with water changes as normal, and don't forget to add the appropriate amount of Epsom Salt to each bucket of water, so if it's a 3-gallon bucket, you're adding 0.6-1.8 teaspoons of Epsom Salt.>
The orange platy either super bloated with sickness or pregnant? What is you opinion on her?
<Again, it's a bit unclear what's going on here, but the Epsom Salt approach could help.>
The 3 babies the mother died right after giving birth and my husband said her carcass virtually exploded when he dropped her in the toilet. :(
<Which says more about how quickly small bits of fish meat decay in warm water than anything else...>
We did not know she was pregnant but she kinda looked like the orange fish does. A few days after her death I noticed these itsy bitsy baby fish virtually impossible to see and now they are growing each day.
<These problems are fairly common amount farmed (inbred, low quality) livebearers. Ensuring good water quality and appropriate water chemistry will help, and don't forget Platies are low-end tropicals, so keep them as 22-25 C/72-77 F, ideally towards the lower end of that range, and certainly no warmer. Heat stress can cause all sorts of problems.>
I appreciate your help! If there is some treatment I would like to get it started to save the little ones and especially if the red one is going to have babies.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Dead Rasboras/White spots (doesn't look like ich?) on tail of platy's       1/18/15
Hey guys, a bit of drama in ye ole fish tank this past week. I have a 200L community tank with Platy's (male/female/babies!) a few guppies, a Betta, a handful of neon tetra's, and some Rasboras along with live plants. A few weeks ago I noticed very large quantities of fuzzy algae in the tank which was very heavily planted. I went in and removed a bunch of the heavy
coated leaves/plants trimming things back, and that's when things went south.
<Sometimes happens when you prune plants; some species dislike this immensely, notably Vallisneria, which goes into total shock if you pull off more than one or two leaves. The plants will recover, but in the meantime, your tank has lost some balance, healthy plants often becoming a crucial part of the ecosystem in older, often somewhat neglected tanks where they
were doing good work pulling in ammonia and nitrate, and giving out oxygen.
Leaves and algae also provide homes for filter bacteria, and if you remove them, there's a bit less biological filtration. If your filter isn't working at its best, then losing these good bacteria can be enough to tip things in the aquarium towards the bad end of the water quality range.
Giving the filter a quick clean, doing a water change or two, and letting the plants alone for a few weeks should have everything back to normal.>
I've only been into fish keeping since this past summer, and I made a huge mistake with my 200L tank when I upgraded to a canister filter. I didn't add any aeration other then the spray bar with the filter. As it turns out, it was just barely adequate with the plants generating oxygen, when I removed them, within a few days my Rasboras started to die.
<Ah yes, see above. Canister filters are outstanding machines when it comes to removing waste, but they use up oxygen like nothing else! Unlike hang-on-the-back filters and any air-powered filter, they don't mix air with water, so the oxygen the bacteria use comes from the tank. You must, must, must compensate for this by using a spray bar, venturi, or some other
mechanism for ensuring a good mix of air and water at the filter outlet.
Simply lowering the water level 1-2 cm below the filter outlet may be all you need. What you want is ruffled water, even a bit of splashing, though rarely enough noise to be distracting. As the filter gets clogged up though, you'll see the water flow decline, and the splashing at the outlet gets less. This is problematic, and can lead to oxygen shortfalls over time.>
I've had a nagging feeling about oxygenation for awhile so on a hunch I bought an Eheim 200 and popped it in at night. By the next morning the entire tank was alive with activity like I haven't seen in an age. Boy did I feel like a bad parent. The Rasboras which had started developing strange sores on their heads appear to have recovered, but in the meantime I started to see a cloudy whitish band on my yellow platy which has typically been crystal clear and amazing to look at. I had a bottle of Rid-Ich on hand as my only weapon so I started to use it (before I realized it would only cover four days of treatment, and I can't buy more anytime soon in the UK unfortunately!) as it claimed to attack other sorts of fungus.
<Ick/Whitespot medications tend to be quite distinct from Finrot/Fungus medications, and I'd be very dubious about any that promised to cure both.>
Now I've found that a number of the other Platy's have started to develop spots of some sort. I've always thought of ich as little grains of sand, and these white spots are much bigger, so not sure what they are? I also am worrying the fish also have pop-eye as they look like they're sticking out a bit more than normal, but I don't know for sure. Any help identifying the
disease(s) would be greatly appreciated!
<I don't see any specific disease going on here, more overall stress and perhaps a bit of overfeeding/constipation. So apart from cutting back on the food a bit, I'd be optimising water quality as described above, and perhaps using a general purpose anti-Finrot, anti-Fungal medication (in the UK, I recommend eSHa 2000 as the one I've had most luck with).>
The yellow guy has a 'cloudy' tail, it used to be super transparent and beautiful, now there is a cloudy/white line running top to bottom, and the red guy you can see the white regions in the images. The red/black platy (we call him roasted pepper also has some strangeness in the orange part of his tail that I didn't notice before, but I could be looking just too close.
The water parameters are 0/0/25-30 for ammonia/nitrite/nitrate, 200L tank, Eheim 300 filter, Eheim 200L air pump, and TMC v2 Vecton 600 (which I was hoping would be a good sterilizer for the lower flow Eheim 300 and small tank size).
<It's a fine unit, but isn't needed most of the time. Since the UV tube has a definite lifespan (6-12 months, I believe) I'd tend to run the thing only for maybe 2-4 weeks immediately after adding new livestock. Beyond that it won't really be doing anything since it really only affects (a) mobile parasites such as Whitespot and (b) planktonic algae such as "green water"
and diatom blooms, which they fix amazingly well. But UV doesn't have any benefits against Finrot, Fungus, or any of the stress-related diseases that crop up over the lifetime of your fish. Do also remember you'll need to clean the glass inside this unit periodically or the UV will be blocked from the water. For what it's worth, there's almost no reason for most
freshwater aquarists to buy these devices.>
Any thoughts really gratefully appreciated!
Thank you!
<Welcome. Neale.>
re: Dead Rasboras/White spots (doesn't look like ich?) on tail of platy's
Thanks Neale, so the white spots on the tail are a fungus?
<Possibly. Or Finrot. Or simply damaged tissue. Hard to say. Optimising living conditions and using an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial medication is consequently the safest first move.>
I'll order up the eSHa 2000 and give it a go!
<eSHa 2000. Available in the UK and Europe. Elsewhere you'll want a different product. In the US, products like KanaPlex (primarily Kanamycin) and ParaGuard (various aldehydes and malachite green) fulfill a similar function.>
Thanks again!

Red wag platy; hlth.     12/3/14
Hey folks, I have a 20 gallon tank that's been up and running fabulously for almost a year now. The tanks only inhabitants are one red wag platy (age unknown) and one 6 month old blue wag platy. The red wag platy has developed a white gash on the side of her head that is now flaking. She's hiding in the corner of the tank barely moving her fins and hasn't eaten in 3 days. Its not ick from what I can tell, it's one singular spot right above her eye. I thought maybe it was some kind of bacterial infection so I did a week of Melafix to no avail. She seems to be getting worse and I don't want to lose her. Any ideas of anything I could try?
<Melafix isn't a very reliable medication. In this case, I'd add a decent amount of salt (if there aren't any plants, as much as 5-6 gram/litre would be an excellent start) as this perks up livebearers. I'd also use a proper antibiotic. Various on the market, depending on where you live. In the US, the combination of Maracyn 1 and 2 seems popular. Do review aquarium conditions generally. Platies are fairly hardy, more so than, say, Guppies, but they are prone to bacterial infections and fungal infections in soft water. Would encourage you to read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlatyDis10.htm
These white-gunk-on-my-fish scenarios are far from uncommon. Cheers, Neale.>


Old Platy has raised scales on caudal peduncle     11/9/14
Hi. I have a 3-4 year old platy that has recently developed an area of raised "pineconey" scales mostly on the lower half of the caudal peduncle.
<I see this in your photo>
In addition he displayed some erratic behavior (slight hyperactivity, rarely hanging at the surface, some sudden jerky movements, caudal fin clamped). He eats normally. For about 6 months or so he had a few
individual scales that were raised (1. where caudal fin meets peduncle, and 2. one on his side, right in the middle).
<Good observation; relating >
These never seemed to correct themselves but did not seem to be progressing. However about a week or
two ago, I noticed the large area of raised scales.
I am unsure if this is a straight infection, age related degeneration, or a combination of age-related degeneration + opportunistic infection.
<Perhaps along with some issues from too much inbreeding... likely>
I have moved him into a quarantine tank with approx 5g/l marine salt ( I ran out of regular aquarium salt) and added 2 measures of SeaChem Kanaplex in 10 gallons of water. I also mixed some Kanaplex with food and fed it to him.
He has been in the bath for 48 hrs. His condition does not seem to have improved, but it has not gotten worse either.
Here is a photo attached
Thank you for any insight you might have.
<Well.... there could be an infectious agent at play here as you hint/surmise... but my guess is principally on the heritable characteristics element here. Too many livebearers are casually incestuously produced (as opposed to line breeding that originally was employed to produce varieties and fix them. IF it were mine, and the only fish involved I would humanitarily euthanize this one specimen. Please read Neale's piece here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm
Bob Fenner>

Re: Old Platy has raised scales on caudal peduncle     ‏            11/10/14
Thanks Bob,
<Welcome Eric>
I've had this platy since 2011 and he has always had some slightly rough
scales. Perhaps it is bad genetics ( I had a few platies that developed hereditary melanoma, so I've experienced some of that before).
<Ah, yes>
It has only
recently become worse enough to become an issue. I'm keeping euthanasia as an option for if/when it gets worse. If there is an infectious component, any guidelines for trying to treat it?
<There are a few "general approaches"... the better dealing with a mix/variety of antibiotics/antimicrobials, BUT given that you've had the fish this very long, I would not employ any... the issue/etiology is apparently not pathogenic>
Best regards,
<Bob Fenner>

Platy problems     10/17/14
We set up a new 48 gallon aquarium April 2014 and after cycling the tank added 6 platys and 3 Danios to get started, losing one of each in the first 6 weeks.
<Oh dear.>
At the end of June my daughter brought home her first grade classroom guppies (which had been kept with snails that I did not put in our tank).
I kept them separated for a while but I am now worried it was not long enough. The Danios still seem to be doing well and growing. The guppies are reproducing regularly, but something is wrong with the platys. We have lost one platy a month for the last 3 months and are now down to the last guy.
<Hmm... if the other fish are fine, you may have got a "bad bunch" from the retailer. Livebearers are often produced to a price rather than a quality, and while Platies aren't the worst offenders, they're not as bulletproof as they once were. To recap: Platies need hard, alkaline water. They must not be too warm (22-25 C/72-77 F). They dislike strong water currents. They are herbivores, so do best on algae-based flake food. Bullying can be a problem, so keep at least two females per male, and if you keep more than one male, keep three or more, not two.>
He was a large, robust bully for months but lately has been hanging out on the bottom under a rock and a few days ago I noticed he has a white thing a few millimeters long sticking out from under his left side fin.
<Not faeces come out of his anus? Hmm... could be many things, simply dead skin from physical damage and an external parasite such as Anchor Worm to name but two. Try dipping the fish in seawater for 2-20 minutes (basically, for as long as it takes before he gets too stressed or rolls over). A seawater dip is aquarium water to which is added 35 gram of salt per litre.
Cooking sea salt works fine, though aquarium salt is probably better. No need to buy marine aquarium salt though. If the parasite is external, daily dipping thusly should shift it.>
A local fish store recommended "ParaGuard".
<A worthwhile "treats all sorts of things, if not especially well" product.>
I have been treating the tank daily all week, and giving the platy a dip in more concentrated treatment each night but have seen no change. I did not notice this on any of the other platys who died. They all seemed to
lose weight quickly and the first also had a bent spine before dying.
<Wasting and bent spines typically indicate Mycobacteria, of which more is said elsewhere on WWM. Basically untreatable. More often than not a subset of species kept by aquarists are vulnerable, and in your case, it seems the Platies were probably infected at the retailer, and some shortcoming in aquarium conditions triggered their rapid decline.>
I am having trouble determining the cause and why only the platys are affected. I do a 25-30% water change each month and the water parameters have been fine. Is the ParaGuard the best course of treatment? How long
should I continue?
Thank you very much for your help,
<Do you best for the Platy, and review conditions as noted. But realistically, if he doesn't pull through, I'd avoid this species in the future, or at least avoid store-bought ones. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy in a Tank (a 3-gallon tank, at that!)       8/16/13
 I am so glad I found your website, unfortunately I did not see my problem there. I have had one platy ( the one with the orange body ink black fins and tail) I do not know what kind it is and if it is male or female. She/he is the only one in 3gal tank and lived there for about 1 year and 9 mos.
Recently I have noticed at the base of the tail becomes see through. He is eating normally and swimming normally but I am worried as the spot gets bigger. He/she survived two times through ick and this is my only aqua buddy I do not want to kill him.
Thank you o much in advance,
<Hello Gergana. The bottom line is that this aquarium is far too small.
Your Platy may be too cold, or too stressed, to be healthy. Platies need ~15 gallons at minimum. I'm amazed yours has lived for almost two years, but they should live 4-5 years, so don't get too excited about your success just yet! It sounds like your Platy has Finrot, a common problem when fish are kept poorly. Do start by reading here:
Unfortunately for you, animals cannot survive on love alone, and if you care about an animal, you need to provide it with what it needs. You might care to start here:
And while this next article is about Goldfish and Bettas, the basic theme is relevant:
Hope this helps, 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 Plague     5/14/13
I've been having issues with the Platies in my 55 gallon tank dying off.
It is an issue that has been going on and off for several months and only seems to be effecting the Platies and none of the other fish in the tank.
<Mmm, a good clue. What are the/se other species?>
One day they seem to be doing fine the next they are gasping at the top of the tank, will have one or two white spots on their body (similar in size and color to Ich), and long stringy clear white stool. After a while they will become emaciated and occasionally show fin rot before death.
<Good descriptions>
The tank has been running for nearly two years, and shows 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites, and only low levels of Nitrate, it is heavily planted as well. I have researched and asked the folks at my LFS, nothing seems to add up. I have treated with Erythromycin, Furan 2, Triple Sulfa, and Quick Cure (in case it was protozoan parasite).
<Yikes... contains formalin... a biocide... kills all life; and only "good" for external parasites. This is likely internal>
 All attempts to cure the fish that come down with this mystery illness have passed away, none of the drugs I've used have seemed to do any good.
One or two Platies will get sick at a time, I will quarantine them in another tank and the mystery illness seems to disappear for a couple weeks before another fish starts to show signs. Other inhabitants of the tank include Harlequin Rasboras, Peppered Cory Cats, a Siamese Algae Eater, a Dwarf Pleco, and a mated pair of Dwarf Gourami's. Again no other inhabitants seem to be effected by this disease. Only female platies live in this tank to prevent unwanted breeding.
I perform 40% water changes weekly. Any suggestions, insight or knowledge would be greatly appreciated.
<Am guessing (again) that this might be an internal/luminal issue. I'd lace foods w/ an anthelminthic (vermifuge; likely Praziquantel) and Metronidazole. Please search, read on WWM re both and their use here. Bob Fenner>

Injured platy fry    4/3/13
Hello there ! I have previously sent you an email about a "pregnant guppy female" in a very tiny tank , it turned out that the guppy was a male and after me buying a larger tank he seemed to get better :) after having this tank for a while I got 2 female and 1 male red wag tail platy (yay !!) . I arrived home on April fools to find 5 platy fry in my filter (it has water in it) and 2 in the main tank , 4 of the ones in the filter were alive and I fished them out an put them in my older tank , I managed to rescue one out of the main tank but when I was trying to catch it in my net I accidentally pushed it against the wall of the tank. It seemed fine at first by upon further investigation I could see that the ends of its tail I shredded and from the base of its Tail it swollen and slightly bent downwards and has turned a milky greyish color. It seems to be swimming around with the other fry but when it doest swim and sits there it sometimes (like 1 out of 10) it starts floating tail first towards the top , is there anything I can do to help it or should I put it out of its misery ,
<If it were me, mine, I'd just wait/see. Often enough, these physical injuries fix themselves>
I feel awful because it survived its parents and now I could be the cause of its death (its my first batch of fry).(I apologize for the quality of the picture but you can see where it starts becoming lighter)  Thank you . Kind regards Amber
<Cheers, 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>

Possible Camallanus worms     3/13/13
It's me again and I wouldn't bother you but I'm desperate for an answer and I have read what your site has about these worms and I have other circumstances that are confusing me.  I admit, I'm a complete novice but I have tried really hard and shed quite a few tears over these fish and I'm trying hard, too hard according to some, but here's my dilemma.  I have a 26 gallon tank with artificial plants, a tower with holes for hiding and a small treasure chest.  I did a fishless cycle to start and have gone probably four months with no ammonia or nitrites.  I have had a few issues with nitrates which, thanks to your advice have been resolved with larger water changes each week.  I lost a Mickey Mouse platy a few months ago to dropsy prior to getting the nitrate problem under control but had platy fry that have flourished in the tank with no problems. Three were Mickey Mouses from the one that died and the male died before that but I may have been too new at this because I saw no problems before he left this world. 
Things appeared to be going well until last week when my huge Red Wag Platy became sick hovering on the bottom and then died.  I was shocked then when one of my older baby Mickeys became huge.  Then another of the smaller Mickey babies looked kinda bent in a downward s-shape and his eyes looked pronounced as well as what looked like labored breathing.   I read everything I could find. Also, on close inspection my orange platy looked a little bent.  I rechecked my water parameters and it was zero in ammonia and nitrites and 10 nitrates so I feared a bacterial infection and started treating with Maracyn 2 but after reading the insert I added Maracyn since it stated they could be used together
<Yes; all Mardel products are miscible/mix-able>
and I felt time was of the essence.  I treated the 5 days suggested.  I had fishless cycled a 5 gallon tank for a quarantine tank so I did a big water change in it, brought the temp to 80 degrees and removed the two baby platys to it. The one that was bent is starting to straighten out some, the other still hovers near the bottom but doesn't lay on the bottom.  The littlest one has started swimming much more.  Moving them was because my male guppies were also picking on them some and wanted to eliminate any stress from their being harassed. In my main tank I did a large water change today after noticing that after the Maracyn treatment I had a slight ammonia reading and added prime and some SafeStart to help re- establish my cycle again. Tonight then I notice bright orange stick like (single) protrusions coming from the anus of my male guppies!!!  They eat great, swim around great and don't act sick but in researching what it could be I keep getting Camallanus worms as the probable issue.  Left in my main tank are my orange platy( slightly bent), two quarter inch long fry, three male guppies and two Corydoras catfish. They appear to be doing well and eat voraciously.  I feed flakes and fresh cooked shelled peas.  I called PetSmart tonight because we don't have a fish store in our town and asked if they had Panacur because it appears to get the best reviews on curing the nightmare of these worms and they acted like I was an idiot.
<I don't like, condone this rudeness>
 I admit, I feel like one but I'm just trying to learn and to get them the best help I can. Your site is the only place I trust to help me. I don't want to do them harm even though I know treating these worms is often a fatal deal.  Also, I'm confused because they aren't thin, curly or bristle like but appear thicker and don't appear to have movement.  Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
<Mmm, well, a photo of these worms would help, but there's little to no harm in adding a vermifuge (I'd use Prazi/quantel) to their foods. Please search WWM re Prazi use>
  I hate the thought of euthanizing them all and tearing my tank apart but I will do whatever you tell me to do.  Thanks again for all you do to help us beginners!!!  One more thing please, since the Maracyn and Maracyn2
helped my little platys, should I wait a day or two and do another treatment cycle to maybe help him more since he seems to be better since I know I will have to treat him and the QT for the parasite as well? 
<Another treatment cycle of these antibiotics is not dangerous and may well help>
Thanks again!!!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Male platy not active      3/12/13
Hello Crew,
Please help me diagnose problems with my platy. I have a 10 gallon tank with a HOB filter , air stone and heater. The occupants are 2 adult female sunburst platies, 1 male swordtail, and a male sunburst platy. These were about a year old when I got them and they have been with me for a year and a half. There's also another young female (8 month old) platy that was born in the tank. I have a water Anubias plant, some decorations and gravel. My water parameters are as follows. I do a 10% water change every week. The tank is cycled and running since August 2011 with no problems.
Ammonia : 0 ppm
nitrites : 0 ppm
nitrates : < 20 ppm
ph : 6.8-7.2
kH : 80
gH : 150.
Temperature : 78 F
<All appears fine here. I do wish this tank were a bit larger though...  easier to maintain, a bit more swimming room>
The problem is with the male platy. All other fish are healthy, eat well and are active, no problems at all. I feed them with Tetra algae flakes. once a day. About 4 weeks ago, I noticed that the male platy was getting very thin. I thought he was perhaps getting bullied, so I started putting food closer to him to make sure he ate well. Then, 3 weeks ago, he started lying down on the gravel. He swims sometimes, but it looks like he has to put in a lot of effort to swim. He does display a swimming habit that I could describe as "darting wildly" when he goes to eat food floating on the water. So I got a breeder net and put that in the tank and put him in it to make sure he ate well. Nowadays the only time he does swim is when I go near the tank and when I put in food. He is eating but its lesser than what the other platies eat. His poop is white, stringy and very little, consistent with the amount that he eats.
<Ah yes>
The lying down, being thin, and white stringy poop made me think he had internal parasites,
<Not necessarily>
 so I dosed the tank with Tetra Parasite Guard medication. So far I have put in 1 tablet a week with a 20% water change on the weekend. The medication contains Praziquantel, Diflubenzuron, Metronidazole and Acriflavine. I tried powdering some of the tablet mixing it with his food but he just won't eat it then. I tried soaking freeze dried bloodworms in the medication dissolved tank water but he wont eat the bloodworms. Freeze dried brine shrimp are too large for his tiny mouth. Besides the symptoms I have described, he doesn't seem to have any other problems, his skin looks fine no spots or bulging eyes or anything unusual.
Please let me know your thoughts on this. I truly appreciate your help.
Thank you.
<Thank you for writing so well, thoroughly. I do wish I had something definitive to offer you here. This one male platy may "just be getting old" (yes, at the few months, years you mention)... It may have some sort of internal parasitic issue, but I doubt it... as your other livebearers would likely be similarly infested. I would do as you've tried, but don't anticipate that this one specimen will rally. The one action I would take is to set your heater thermostat to lower... allowing the temperature to register in the lower 70's F. when ambient conditions allow. Drifting higher in warmer weather is/will be fine. Bob Fenner>

Help! I think my platy may be dying; no data, rdg.     2/17/13
My one platy in my tank is laying in the rocks under my Chinese sculpture thing. I have been having trouble with a lot of dying fish lately and I want to know if I can save this one.
<? Need data Alexis... and for you to read in the meanwhile. Here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
re: Help! I think my platy may be dying

Here is also a picture of my fish he came out from under the arrangement so....
<... read re the sorts of information we're looking for. B>

Platy with a hump, rdg.     2/9/13
<Howsit Celine?>
48h ago, my platy started looking poorly.
<Mmm, yes; bent spine... often "just genetic", but at times due to nutritional deficiency, even bacterial issue>
He still feeds, but otherwise hangs at the bottom of the tank, his fins clamped.
His tail is thinner, and he has developed a hump on his back.
He swims with his body in a vertical position or at an angle.
It looks as if he does all the swimming with his 2 side fins and drag the rest of his body.
I went to the specialist shop yesterday, and they advised me to use some medication.
Yesterday evening, I put a dose of eSHa 2000 (Fungus, Finrot and Bacteria Treatment) and a dose of Melafix (treats bacterial infection).
<The last is a scam. See/search WWM re>
It is a 3 day treatment course, so will be finished by Sunday.
But I cannot see any improvement to the fish condition after the first 24h of treatment.
<This treatment won't cure anything here>
Any comments or advice would be great. Here is a picture, hopefully it will give you an idea.
<Search (the tool's on every page) WWM w/ just the two words "bent spine" and read on! Bob Fenner>

Platy in trouble, env.     2/8/13
Back again....geez!!!  Thanks so much for being here for us in our time of need.  I lost two Mickey Mouse Platys about 2 months ago with dropsy which I'm sure was my fault because during the holidays I got behind on water changes but I have four fry two very small and two about 3/4 inch that seem to be fine and eat well, along with three male guppies a large red platy and a smaller orange platy.  The red and orange were introduced while the Mickeys were still in the tank.  I now have two peppered Cory's in a 26 gallon tank with artificial plants, two moss balls and a tower and two small treasure chests.  Ammonia and nitrites stay at zero, and I've had a problem with nitrates so I've bought a new and hopefully more efficient gravel vacuum.  Ph seems high at around 8 but conflicting suggestions on lowering it with babies in the tank scares me.  Water temp is at 84f
<Too high. Would be better ten degrees cooler... See WWM re for these species>

 and they have done well but now I have a big problem.  The big red one almost looks as though she has a bit of white fuzzy look to her and she stays in the tower most of the time and the orange one has white and black stringy pop and hovers at the bottom of the tank now.  I'm terrified of loosing <losing> them but I wonder if its from whatever took out the Mickeys.  Also my 3/4 inch which parents died with dropsy seem a bit bloated.  I am so frustrated I want to scream and sad because I truly am attached to them. Thought about treating with Maracyn two since the little ones look bloated and dropsy got their parents but with the long stringy poop in the orange and bottom hovering maybe Tetra's Parasite Guard would be the best first step so I don't lose the orange platy but afraid to do anything because of the babies and my 5 gallon hospital tank isn't ready because I'm doing a fishless cycle in it although I could get a heater for it and do a water change taking the tank water from the large tank and add it to the small tank.  What do you suggest because I don't feel I have much time for my big red and orange platys!!!  Thanks so much for helping me!!!
<Read... likely the environment is all that needs fixing here. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Platy becoming very thin - 01/27/2013
Hello again you beautiful fishy friends. . .
   Bob has been helping me through a bit of an issue (I've kept the E-mails attached if you need to look back). As promised, I'm back with an update - and seeking further guidance, hopefully.
<Have been out of touch here in the Philippines, on a live aboard>
As instructed, I fed the Platy twice a day for three days with food 'laced' with Metronidazole and Prazi. On the day before I began treatment, the sick one took to hiding in the corner and seemed to be trying to eat, but was spitting every bite back out. On the 3rd day of feeding medicated food, he came around and has been swimming openly and eating voraciously ever since. I also treated the water per package instructions (3 doses, 48 hours apart), after finishing with the treatment via foods. Though I understand that it will take him time to regain weight, this fish is still growing thinner by the day. He eats well, swims with the rest, his colors are bright and vibrant, breathing normal - but he's painfully thin and hunched. These pictures were taken about a week ago, right after feeding. His stomach is even more emaciated now - very clearly bowing inward. As you can see, his back has developed a pronounced hunch to it - the spine is curved? Is this fish TB?
<Can't tell... w/o sampling, actually destroying this specimen... to culture>
I'd like to point out the 'pimple' on his face. It isn't white or doing anything, just there. Not sure if this is a possible symptom or not, but since last week one of the other Platy in this tank has developed a similar bump, so I thought it would be prudent to check on that. On the picture attached below, you can see that he has a small white speck on each corner of his mouth. They don't seem to be fungal, or growing - but I don't know if this is considered 'normal,' and they're new for this fish, so I wanted to point it out as a possible symptom.
Just as stark contrast, here is an image of the ol 'boy when he was well - a very different fish from the one I'm seeing in the tank today.
Is there anything I can do for him aside from what has been done already?
<Not as far as I know, no>
 Is this the type of thing that will ultimately spread to every other fish in the tank?
<... depends on what the actual ailment/s is/are... what cause/etiology. Bob Fenner>
Please advise!
- Chesh 


Platies dying but others all fine help please - 1/25/13
We have only had a tank for 1 year and we are at a loss as to what to do as is our local pet shop! we have a Corydoras mollies guppies and platies in a 100l tank not overstocked -no aggression- we had a catfish it grew too big and the water quality was suffering so we took it to our local dealer but it was too late and we ended up with fin rot, cleared the fin rot but now some of the platies are dying they are on bottom mouths open fins all extended grey/black colour to top of body(think from previous bad water) and 1 has a pin hole in fin tail, most are not eating however 1 that's ok has been constantly pushing his smaller platy mate up to top of tank i suspect to help it get oxygen? Anyway I went to pet shop who checked water quality which was ok, they recommended paragon so treated tank and most platies have now recovered including the one with a helping friend but some are no different what can i do now as i feel so guilty not helping them get better and the pet shop is out of ideas so I'm stuck watching them suffer please help thanks Lindsey
<Hi Lindsey, If you can quarantine the few fish that are still suffering it would be best. Not only is it easier to treat in a small volume, it's also safer for the fish that already recovered because they don't get unnecessary treatment.  If you can get them quarantined and treat with what you already observed to be effective, that would be my suggestion. - Rick> 

new platy swimming problem 1/21/13
Hi there,
Yesterday, I brought home a new male platy for my 13 gallon planted tank.
<Somewhat small aquarium for this species. Do-able, but be careful, and don't keep more than one male. I wouldn't add any females either unless you keep a fair number of them, three or more, otherwise they're likely to get harassed.>
He looked fine at the store.  He was bagged and was in my car for 30 minutes before being floated in the tank.  I notice he was quite disoriented in the bag, swimming sideways and even up-side down a bit.
<Does sound like stress. Was it a cold day out? Or very hot? Did the retailer carefully bag the fish? Generally, this sort of "loopy" behaviour rights itself if the fish is gently acclimatised to its new home.>
When released, he was still swimming on an angle (either side down) a significant part of the time.  There is no apparent fin damage. He is eating well, and seems better at feeding time near the surface.  This morning he was a bit worse when the lights came on but improved after feeding.  He is definitely not 100%. I am assuming his swim bladder was damaged during transport.
<Possibly; Platies are what are called physoclistous fish, meaning their swim bladder is not connected to the mouth (as is the case in primitive fish, the swim bladder being a modified version of the lungs). It takes a while for them to add or remove gas from the bladder using the bloodstream, and it may take hours or days before a physoclistous fish adjusts its buoyancy. On the other hand, damage to the swim bladder is relatively rare unless a fish is literally dragged up from deep water to the surface very rapidly. On the other hand, constipation is extremely common in herbivorous fish such as Platies; feeding them exclusively fresh greens (cooked peas work well) alongside adding 1-3 teaspoons Epsom salt (not ordinary salt) per 5 gallons/20 litres seems to do the trick nicely, helping "floaty, bloaty" fish recover in a few days or weeks.>
What do you think?  What is the treatment or prognosis? Have you seen this before after transport?
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
re: new platy swimming problem 1/21/13

thank you very much!...I will try the peas and report back.
<With the Epsom salt!>
I enjoy the website a lot.
<Good luck, Neale.>
re: new platy swimming problem 1/21/13

I tried the peas but that particular fish was not really interested.
<Be patient. Offer NO other food. After a week, your Platy will be more amenable!>
Will Epsom salt in any way affect the other fish (tetras, GBR, Cory), plants, snail and shrimp?
<Short term (weeks, months) no; will be fine.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Babies and a platy that possibly has dropsy    1/10/13
I want to start by saying how grateful I am for your website.  I almost gave up a few times and you threw me a lifeline to what is now a fun hobby but tonight I'm in trouble.  I just lost a Mickey Mouse Platy tonight and felt horrible but had been pretty secluded most of the time I had him I believe. Looking at another Mickey Mouse that I bought at the same time( a couple of months ago) tonight looks huge and the fins look a little pine coned.
 I know from reading your site that it is most likely dropsy and although I do water changes with the holidays I got a little behind but kept testing water and nitrites and ammonia stayed zero so I felt I was okay but I must have guessed wrong.  Now for my problem, I don't really have a hospital tank but might be able to get one I'm not sure.
<Better to leave the mal-affected fish where it is. "Dropsical conditions" aren't "catching"; but the causes need to be addressed for all>
 In my tank, I have the Mickey, two other Platies, 4 male guppies and three very young Mickey Platies from my females that are doing well and several little fry that are so cute but very tiny but also seem to be doing well so if I can't get the hospital tank put together will it kill all of my babies if I treat the Adult Platy?
<Depending on the treatment...>
 What do you suggest I do if I can't get the hospital tank together soon enough?  Thanks for being there!!! Karen Fadely
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dropsyfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Platy becoming very thin     1/8/13
Greetings fellow fishy friends!
<Chesh... as in the cat breed?>
I'm hoping that you can point me in the right direction here, I've searched your site and found some similar situations, but I'm still feeling unsure as to what the proper course of action should be, so I apologize if this is a duplicate question.
<No worries; thanks for checking/reading ahead>
I have been running a Platy tank in my daughter's kindergarten classroom since September. I do once weekly water changes, and the tank is live-planted.
<I see this. Very nice>
Parameters are stable and consistent with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 7.5 nitrate. Currently the tank is stocked with 7 adult Platy and two babies born in mid-November.
The fish came to me from the shop with Ich in September, which was treated and has not been seen again. Everything seemed well until early November, when one of the female Platy got very thin. She was eating and swimming normally, but in a very short time her belly went from bowing out like the others, to curving inward, up toward her spine. I got her out and brought her home to my hospital tank, but was unable to save her.
Last week I noticed another fish showing the same symptoms, he's suddenly gotten very thin, but behaving normally and eating well - at least he was eating until this morning. Today it seemed as if he was trying to eat, but spitting nearly everything back out again.
In between these skinny incidents, we've lost two other fish. One was during the weekend, and was found behind the breeder net that we were keeping the babies in. The other happened over winter break. I'm not sure if these were random events, true accidents, or if they were somehow related to whatever this illness is, but I thought I'd mention them on the off chance it helps.
<It does; or at least, may>
From everything I've read on your site, this sounds like wasting disease, but I've read that this is a generic name that can cover a fairly broad range of problems, so I'm unsure of how to go about treating it.
I have a medication on hand that contains 250 mg Metronidazole and 75 mg Praziquantel in a powder form. With what I can find out about them, these meds seem to treat a fairly broad range of illnesses including parasites, bacterial, and protozoan infections. Is this something that could help out here?
Or can you recommend something
else that would be better?
<The combination anti-protozoal and dewormer you have is about the best treatment to try, w/o much more work in dissecting, sampling the fish...>
I would really appreciate your guidance here, I'm very worried that this is not an isolate illness, but something that is slowly spreading through the system. I have a very hard time losing fish, but in this case I'm extra worried because there is a classroom full of 5 year old children involved. I HAVE to get their fish healthy again!
Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!
<Follow the directions for this medicine explicitly. It may call for introduction via foods (the best) as well as placing in the water (not of much use). IF in doubt, concerned, do search, read on WWM re these compounds; write back>
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Re: Platy becoming very thin      1/8/12
Hello again!
<Hi Chesh>
Bob, thank you for your quick reply, and yes - Chesh as in the most famous of felines, and a nickname that refuses to go away!
<Ahh, am now thinking on Grace Slick and the line from the song that's "giving me the call">
Just a couple more questions before I start treatment, if you don't mind. I'm very happy to hear that this choice of meds (250 mg ,Metronidazole and 75 mg Praziquantel) is what I need to help these little fish. In reply you wrote:
<Follow the directions for this medicine explicitly. It may call for introduction via foods (the best) as well as placing in the water (not of much use). IF in doubt, concerned, do search, read on WWM re these compounds; write back>
Having looked further into it, I see that feeding the meds is the best way to go, as you recommended, however . . . the directions on the packet say to use 1 packet per 10g of water. Repeat every 42 hours for a full-course of 3 doses. Nothing about adding to the food, so I'm a bit confused as to how to proceed.
<Mmm... well; adding medicines (particularly the two in question) to freshwater... that need to be/get inside fishes... is not of much use>
Should I dose according to package directions, but mix a bit of powder from another packet in with their food - maybe defrosted brine so it will be most appetizing to them?
Or should I just ignore the package directions and ONLY dose via their food?
<Yes... this is what I would do>
I'm nervous that the medication that is on the food will be diluted into the water, and possibly cause an overdose if I do both, but I'm obviously new to this! Also a bit worried because the thin one seems to be spitting his food now, where before he was eating just fine. I may bring him home and isolate him so that I'll be able to keep a closer eye on him, while still medicating the school tank to be sure that this problem is gone.
One more question for you. . . the children are absolutely in love with their tank, and enjoying every aspect of it's care. Because of this, we have been planning to add an Apple snail and a pair of African Dwarf Frogs to the tank. (when school is closed for the summer May/June-ish, these creatures will be coming home to live in my species-only snail and frog tanks, so this will be a temporary thing for the benefit of the kids) The frogs were slated to be added to the tank this week, but I obviously want to clear up whatever illness is running through the tank before adding any new critters. Will residual medication from these drugs affect the snail and frogs?
<They will not... But do wait a good week after medicating for their introduction>
If so, how long should I wait, or how much water will need to be changed out, before I can add these sensitive animals to the tank?
<The regular (weekly) percentage... likely 35-30%>
Thank you again for all of your help, I truly appreciate it!
- Jes (Chesh)
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: Platy becoming very thin      1/8/12

Thanks again for the speedy reply, I'll send a follow-up to let you know
how it all comes out.
<Thank you>
Great to know that the snail and frog won't be
affected by this, and I will be sure to wait an additional week or probably a bit longer before adding them to the community - I generally change out about 30% of the water weekly, so all should be well there!
Just one last thing (PROMISE!) before I begin treatment. From what I've read, I just toss some food into the powder and shake it to coat and feed, correct?
Should I measure the powder so that I can keep track of exactly how much is going into the tank?
<Mmm, if practical... otherwise, not so very important>
 Or just as much as will cover the standard amount of food that they are given?
<Is fine>
Also, should I continue to feed only one time a day (we skip weekends, as the school is closed), or do more frequent, smaller feedings until the course of medication is through?
<Twice a day for these fishes is better>
And finally, is there a specific length of time that I should treat with the medicated food? Or just until I see improvement in the fish that is currently ailing?
<I would only feed/use for three days total>
That's it - I swear! I'll let you know how it all comes out and thanks again for all of your help!
- Chesh
P.S. <Ahh, am now thinking on Grace Slick and the line from the song that's "giving me the call">
. . . it's okay, Bob - just 'Remember what the door-mouse said' and you should be fine ;)
<Wowzah! "Feed your... fishessssss!". B>

Platy with lump  (Bob, any ideas?) <<Same as yours. B>>    11/8/12
I noticed about 5 days ago that my platy had a small lump on her top/right side. It looks like there is a growth under the skin. The surface of her skin was smooth, just bulging a little, until today. It seems to be growing and now her scales are pushing out a little and there is a small white spot on the surface. Ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 20. Swimming and eating ok. I have had her for about 6 months in a 20 gallon tank with 3 other platys, 2 guppies and 3 peppered cories. I will send a couple pics in a separate e-mail.
<Hard to say what this is. My gut feeling is some sort of trauma or developmental problem. There's no "cure" as such, but it's important that the fish is carefully maintained and feeding; oftentimes if these odd-looking fish are feeding, they may not recover their original shape, but they will at least stay healthy and happy. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Platy with lump (Bob, any ideas?)    11/8/12
Thank you very much for the response. I put her in the 10g quarantine tank in case she required treatment. I will let her hang out there for a while and keep a close eye on her.
<Glad to help. There's no need to isolate her if she's happy where she is, but if you do isolate her, make sure the hospital tank has a mature filter and the same water chemistry as the main tropical aquarium -- exposing her to less good conditions would simply make things worse. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy sick    11/4/12
Hi, hope you can help.
<Damian and Kim>
I've read the pages on your site and elsewhere on the web, but haven't really found any suggestions.
I have a 125l <33 gal> tropical tank containing:
1 male, 3 female Platies, 2 baby Platies,
1 male, 1 female red Apistogramma Cacatuoides,
4 Danios,
3 Corydoras,
Handful of neon tetra and
a few shrimp.
<There are different water parameter preferences in your tank. How hard is your water> The Apistos might be sensitive if the water is too hard.>
The tank has been cycled for 3-4 months, readings are
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 40ppm (our tap water is at this level, so it's hard to keep it any lower)

pH 7.6
<Live plants should help bring that down. If you don't have the proper substrate, some plants are available in small pots and the plant stays in it. Also, there are some mosses that need no roots at all. Java moss is a standard, Christmas moss a little more attractive.>
The only change to the tank has been the recent (2-3 weeks ago) addition of some (pre-boiled/soaked) Mopani wood and Purigen into the filter instead of carbon to help remove the tannins.
<Tannins will make your pH drift lower, so keep an eye on it. I never use carbon unless I'm removing meds from the water. Some people find tannins in the water to be attractive, and the Apistos probably love it.>
Our male red Mickey Mouse platy has suddenly (last 2-3 days) started behaving strangely, his bottom lip has swollen and he's breathing/panting hard. We've not seen him eat. There are no visible signs of fungus, spots etc, he looks normal apart from the lip. He's generally swimming, but hides quite a lot (more than normal) and isn't his usual frisky self around the females. All other fish seem to be OK.
<Something is wrong, clearly. I'm more concerned about the behavior than the swollen lip, but together might mean something. Hard to say what with the information given. Best to quarantine this fish, just to keep the rest of the population healthy. The following link has a lot of good information and links to more good information:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwfshparasites.htm >
We have a hospital tank, but it's uncycled, so we're not sure of best treatment once we figure out what it is and how to treat.
<They rarely are. Cycled hospital tanks tend to become permanently occupied by healthy fish. Partial water changes daily, use your ammonia test at least daily. Use Zeolite if necessary. But, I would definitely remove that fish and quarantine it.>
Can you shed any light on what may be wrong and how best to treat given our hospital tank situation.
<Could be a lot of things: bacterial, parasitic, cancer, benign tumor, mechanical injury. Quarantining will help you to observe the fish more effectively and look for other symptoms, another good reason to do quarantine. Do have a look though the disease link I posted above and see if anything describes what you observe.>
Look forward to your response. Thanks
Damian & Kim
<Welcome, - Rick>
Re: Platy sick - 11/4/12 11/9/12

Thanks for your help.
Could that behaviour be related to low pH caused by the wood/tannins?
<7.6 isn't really all that low. It's still on the alkaline side of neutral and should be fine.>
Just getting slightly concerned, as a few more of our fish are now exhibiting similar behaviours too - mainly platy's/danio's - are they especially susceptible to low pH?
<As I said, 7.6 isn't really all that low. It should be fine for both the platy and the Danios. To me, it sounds like there's an issue with lack of dissolved oxygen or a toxin in the water.. sounds like there's an issue with lack of oxygen. Check also the gill tissue and be sure it look normal, not discolored. How are your ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels? You said originally that you have nitrates in the tap water. Is that level stable or has it changed? Dissolved oxygen levels is where I'd start the search for the root cause. - Rick>

New guppies bald spot area on top of them    10/24/12
I am a newbie but have read, and read and read prior to getting 4 sunrise tequila guppies in a fishless cycled 26 gallon tank. 
<Everyone starts as a newbie. Good to see you reading.>
I am running two over the top filters, one that came with the tank set up and a 20 gallon that I added new cartridge pads rinsed in treated water ( dechlorinated) but my large water change prior to adding fish sent my nitrites up to 2.0(I know its horrible!!!)
<A water change increased your nitrites? Very odd.  I suggest getting some java moss or Christmas moss and other live plants for two reasons. first, it will help to absorb the nitrogen compounds and second, it will provide cover for the eventual fry, allowing you to leave them in the main tank.>
so I added Prime to help lower them and provide a stress coat for the fish., ammonia is staying at zero and nitrates rose to 20 so I did another small water change today( just added fish yesterday) but am a little worried because two seem fine and active, two hover at the top but are not gulping for air.
<You should be able to do this volume of water change every day no problem.>
Wondered if its just stress, their nature or am I missing something???
<Guppies do tend to like the upper levels of the tank, so could just be normal.>
My other concern is they have beautiful color(4males) except on the top of their heads where it looks kinda dark or bald.  Is this a normal marking on some or a disease waiting to devastate them and me???
<Probably just natural variation on the color pattern.>
 It took 4 months and two tries to get my fishless cycle and 1 day to screw it up with a large water change so I'm scared to death to do anything else!!!  Please help because I've fallen in love with them already!!!
<A large water change shouldn't screw up a cycled tank.  The beneficial bacteria resides on surfaces, so you won't lose much with a water change unless possibly you forget to DeChlor, but even then a lot should survive. 
Try testing the water right out of the tap and see if it contains any ammonia or other nitrogen compounds.  If not, we need to step back and analyze where the nitrites are coming from. - Rick>
Re: New guppies bald spot area on top of them    10/24/12

Thanks so much for such a quick reply!!! 
Any ideas on where to look for other sources of my nitrite spike???
<It's possible (and even probable) that the nitrite to nitrate end of the cycle crashed. It should recover in a few days.  Just keep monitoring and if the levels get too high, do a partial water change.>
You guys are awesome for new fish enthusiasts!!!  Thanks again!!!!
<You're going to make me blush. - Rick>
Re: New guppies bald spot area on top of them - 10/25/2012

Me again!!! 
<Hello Karen>
Sorry but one more question please.
 I still have zero ammonia and 2.0 nitrites
<Are you sure you are measuring nitrites and not nitrates?
Big difference.  How are you measuring it and how old is the test kit being used?  And, if you are correct and nitrites are 2.0, what is your nitrate reading?> 
so I did another small water change tonight with AquaSafe and Prime to try to protect this fish but should I vacuum my gravel to get any missed food and poop or leave it alone to help with my apparent re-cycle???
<Unless you have a planted tank with substrate specifically for planted tanks, vacuuming the substrate is a good idea.>
So many different opinions but I trust you and I'm afraid of causing more problems!!! Also, are 4 guppies in a 26 gallon tank enough to keep my ammonia eating bacteria going???
<Enough to maintain the 4 guppies.  However, if you have both males and females, you won't have only 4 guppies very long.>
Thanks again!!!
<Welcome, Rick>

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