Platies Dead - What Is Going On In Tank? Columnaris? (combined Info/threads)

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by PaulaMPi, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. PaulaMPi

    PaulaMPiValued MemberMember

    So I've had several threads over the past weeks and even months about the struggles I'm having in my 10g QT, and I need to combine all the info/everything and get some insight so I can save my other Platies... help?

    -initial setup-
    Tank was set up end of December/beginning of Jan. Initially stocked with two Platies, one danio, and one Tetra. Returned danio and Tetra once I understood schooling fish, and got a guppy and a DG mid-to-late Jan. The guppy died within a day or two. One Platy never ate, and died (wasting) about two weeks later. The DG died in March - perhaps Iridovirus? The Mickey Platy (Mickey) was the only remaining, and left by herself in the 10g for many weeks, but the tank wouldn't cycle with just her. We bought a Variatus Platy (Spark) in April, and the tank finally began to cycle.

    -fry born-
    Spark had a round of fry at the end of April, and a second batch about a month later. Only 2 of the first batch remain (now 2.5mos old), and 6 of the second (about 1.5mos old).

    -Platy: spark-
    All fish in the QT - adults and fry - have white poop. Spark has, off and on, hidden in decor and come out with clamped fins for a week, then been fine for 2-3 weeks, then hiding and clamping again. This pattern has gone on for a few months... she seemed off a couple weeks ago again, but has seemed normal the last 5-6 days... and was dead this am.

    -Platy: Mickey-
    Mickey is a tough Platy. She's been around since the beginning. She's had the nasty poos, scrapes/cuts this past week which have mostly healed, and a red coloring that's been developing on her anal area and rear fins over then past few months - it continues to get redder. I posted several months back asking if there was any chance it was septicemia, but assured it probably was not (her caudal fin in particular is still getting more streaks of red), and more likely just a change in coloring.

    -fry: issues-
    The fry started out with normal poo when they were first born, but within a week or so, they all had white poo too. One of the 2mo looks huge - bloated/constipated... not sure. Another fry (1mo) is missing a large part of her caudal fin (it was there a few weeks ago). The other fry all seem normal, except for the white poo.

    -previous medication-
    Back when the DG was ill, I was advised to try GC, then a couple rounds of Kanaplex. (That was the only time the Mickey fish STOPPED having white poo.) Because Kanaplex is hard on the fish, I was advised to try Jungle Fungus Clear (Nitrofurazone). (The DG died a day or so after dosing the Fungus Clear, early March.) I stopped medicating at that time. When the Mickey started having some fin rot and the red streaks a month or two later, I did another dose of Kanaplex. I stopped when advised I was probably unnecessarily medicating. We bought Spark to help with getting the tank cycled, and she had white poos as well. I was advised to try Prazipro. I used it for several weeks, but it did not seem to help. I also have Praziquantel flakes that I've tried to feed them. Even with large water changes, they started to show some signs of fin rot, so I stopped the PraziPro and added carbon, and they seemed to heal - but the white poo continued.

    -recent posts-
    We were on vacation the last week of June, and when we came back, Spark was clamping and hiding again. On that thread, it was suggested the poos may be either round worms (not responding to Praziquantel) or a bacterial infection... separately, about a week ago, I noticed one of the fry was missing almost all of her caudal fin. They suggested possible infection, or perhaps unrelated (I suspected fin-nipping) and just wait and see.

    That brings us to today, with Spark dead.

    I can provide pics or further details/dates of anything helpful.

    Current parameters:
    Ph 7.4/amm 0/ni 0/na 5/KH 3/GH 7
  2. KimberlyG

    KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    Which one of your threads has a picture of Mickey with the red streaks. I want to take a look at that.
  3. OP

    PaulaMPiValued MemberMember

    This is one of the old threads with the pics... it is hard to get good pics - at the time it was mainly her underbelly under the anal fin, a little on her anal fin, and the lower part of her caudal fin.
    Redness - Normal, Bleeding, Infection, Other?

    I took a video with some screen grabs today too. The red is now streaked throughout her caudal fin, bottom to top, as well as on her belly and anal fin. Again, I am not sure if this is "normal" for fish coloring, but I've never liked the look of it :-/

  4. KimberlyG

    KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    This is a new pic? This looks like relatively normal coloration but you would know best. If it is septicemia, that is nothing to fool around with and kanamycin needs to be started. I just don't see it here.

  5. OP

    PaulaMPiValued MemberMember

    The attached pic is new. I honesty do not know best - I have no idea what is going on, and just trying to figure out any possible/the most likely culprit... the poo issues have been going on for 6+ months, and with today's death, I just want to get some idea of what is hurting these guys.

    (the red streaks could very well be normal, but there just continue to be more, so I figured it was worth mentioning again. It's been over four months since they started though, so I'd guess there would be more significant issues by now if it was something serious?)
  6. KimberlyG

    KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    Okay, what have you been treating them for as far as parasites are concerned?
  7. mollybabesWell Known MemberMember

    I can't see anything wrong with Mickey(Loving the name btw.)
  8. OP

    PaulaMPiValued MemberMember

    I've used General Cure back in the Jan/Feb timeframe... (tried one dose of Jungle Fungus Clear, then Kanaplex - can't remember if that was to see if it was an infection, or because of something with the DG... under direction of CindiL)... Switched to Prazipro for several weeks. I also have done garlic guard in food/peas, Praziquantel flakes, and two rounds of Levamisole flakes (one dose x 3 days, then repeated three weeks later).

    I think that's everything?

    Hah, thanks. That's the creativity of my then-2yo ;)
  9. OP

    PaulaMPiValued MemberMember

    The only other thing I can think of that I hadn't mentioned yet, was that Spark did have some faster-than-normal gilling during those times when she was hiding/clamping fins. (It seemed to go back to normal when she stopped hiding/stopped clamping - again, don't know why she started or stopped.)

    Mickey does also seem to have one gill in particular that seems slightly bubbly/open. It's been like that for a long time though.

    I had considered the possibility of some sort of gill flukes, but also assume that the meds I had used would've worked on those as well, if that's what it was.

    I personally can't cut my fish open, but my husband is willing to if there is something we should look for :-/
  10. OP

    PaulaMPiValued MemberMember

    The dead Platy is in a bag of water in my fridge... any ideas if/how we should try to further investigate her body to see what happened before she starts to disintegrate? :-/

    Any other thoughts on if/how/what/whether to medicate the Mickey and fry? I'm beginning to get quite a bit discouraged again :(
  11. OP

    PaulaMPiValued MemberMember

    Quoted from my "fry missing most of caudal fin" post, so everything stays in one place... @Dragones5150918, I decided after a couple more days of watching my fish that, as you suggested, columnaris seemed to be the most likely culprit... noticed other symptoms in the tank such as my Mickey swimming slightly wobbly, looking like she was "choaking" on something - mouth opening and closing a bunch (eventually stopped).... two of the fry are super bloated, and the one other was missing her fin... the Variatus seemed fine for several days before she was suddenly dead in the am. I started Jungle Fungus Clear (half dose) and Kanaplex (half dose) on Monday (half doses due to the fry in the tank).

    The fry missing the fin has been in bad shape the last couple of days - flopping around, dragging herself across the breeder's box I put her in. This am, she is unsurprisingly dead - but she has a huge fuzzy white tuft on top of her head. Again, I assume this also validates columnaris? (Or I saw something about saprolegnia being similar?)

    The question now is, what do I do at this point? I feel somehow this either makes everything more urgent, or more hopeless.


  12. NavigatorBlack

    NavigatorBlackFishlore VIPMember

    I hope I'm not asking something I asked before - there are a lot of sick platy threads out there.
    Yours is really perplexing because:
    it affected fry growing out;
    the diseases you treated for should have killed the fish long since - they don't stick around;
    you have medicated the fish very heavily - more meds than most would use in years;
    you have a decent pH and hardness for platys.

    I wonder if it's the water more the fish?

    Please don't be insulted, but a basic question occurs to me. How much do you feed, and how often? A lot of the things you described could come from overfeeding, and with such a small group of fish, that is really easy to do. Test kits can be like "ammonia goggles" keeping us from seeing other problems - nutrients or growing media for bacteria and fungi, for example.

    Raising 2 fry is way harder than raising 25. Here, overfeeding fry leads to parasite problems (in my soft water, velvet). That has shown me how very easy it is to foul the environment in a small tank. A 10 gallon is a tiny tank. If it isn't planted, even with 2 adult livbearers, it won't be forgiving.

    I can't help but feel (and "feel" is vague) that with all those difficulties, there has to be an underlying environmental cause. You are stomping at little fires, and I think the source is going to be very simple once it's been spotted.

    Frankly, it could be overmedication. Side effects happen. But you seem to be a solid aquarist with a serious eye, and whatever is amiss is hard to spot. So how often and how much do you feed? How often and how water do you change?
  13. OP

    PaulaMPiValued MemberMember

    I used to feed the adults once every other day... once I had the fry, people suggested feeding more frequently, so I'd feed once-twice every day... (twice when they were newborns - very small amounts - once when they got a bit bigger) crushed almost fully, a pinch at a time. There were two adult Platies, then one had several fry - four were surviving when she had her second batch (two adults, 4 one-month fry, several newborns). Shortly after, two of the "older" fry were missing/half chewed and removed. Finally noted a total of 6 "newborns" making the total 2 adults, 2 two-month olds, and 6 one-month olds at the beginning of this new(?) issue.

    I do try to remove any poo I see with a baster, but I will admit I'm not necessarily good at getting all the uneaten crumbs up - and probably worse when I do a deshelled pea (though the Platies seem to like to dig for those even after they've been fed). I guess part of me thought they would be less likely to eat their own poo (which they do a lot) if there was a little "real" food still findable.... but I don't feel like there's an untoward amount of stuff rotting in the tank... but then again, this is why I am slowly removing the gravel and now getting close to bare-bottom. I always find nasty stuff under the gravel... and crazy amounts of poo.

    All that being said, I do a 50%+ change every week, and use the baster daily to get up whatever I can.

    One other thought about the feeding - I previously (months ago) was much better about rotating the food. I do have frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp, but haven't used that in a while. I mainly use "the works" flakes from angels plus. I do a deshelled pea soaked in garlic about once a week. (Typically a day before a water change so it doesn't hang out forever.) Could I not be varying the diet enough? A couple of these fry are so fat they look like they should explode. (One has leaned out a bit since the meds on Mon.)

    I'm definitely still a newbie, but I'm really really trying to figure all this out. I'm definitely discouraged at this point.

    415pm - I've been counting the fish, and kept coming up one fry short - finally found her... another one of the 1.5 mos is now flopping around the way the finless one was doing... I could put her in the breeder's box in the tank for now, but then would she be more likely to infect the others too? She is currently just in a cup on the counter. I don't have clove oil on hand.

    440pm - I washed the breeders box and put the new sick fry back in. She's hanging out on the bottom, wriggling. All the other fish seem normal-ish, though the adult Mickey does seem to be getting "stuck" between decor and the wall quite a bit the last day or so...


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
  14. OP

    PaulaMPiValued MemberMember

    (Merged info with previous post)
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
  15. OP

    PaulaMPiValued MemberMember

    Guys, I could really really really use some help.

    This next sick fry isn't dead yet, but she's not far off. On the bottom of the box just flopping
    /wiggling a fin occasionally.

    Also, Mickey now has some sort of something on top of her head. Looks kind of like a sore (she also had a sore on her side when we got back from vacation that seemed to be healing). I don't know if this is from her getting stuck in weird places or something growing on her.

    Anyone have ideas or know who I can tag to help? I don't want to euthanize the whole tank but I'm starting to wonder if I should.

    Edit to add: The super fat 2mo fry has also pooped what literally looks like a mini-pebble a couple times in the past few days too (could she have literally ate a piece of the gravel?) blurry pic, sorry.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
  16. OP

    PaulaMPiValued MemberMember

    Updated pics of the Mickey - I'm starting to really worry about her... (and yet another fry has started clamping fins and looking a bit wobbly).

    This is a current pic of Mickey's side, where she had the injury when we got home from vacation about 2 weeks ago. It's still kind of white - is that normal for healing, or is this another spot of concern?

    Here is a pic of her side (same injury), you can slightly see the white spot on top of her head (scratch, fuzz, injury?)... but moreso does she look grayish/dark behind the gills/around the pectoral fins? It's not just the lighting of the pic - I can see it in person all the time - just not sure if it's normal too or problematic.

    This next pic shows a little of the white line (scratch/fuzz/injury?) above her right eye, and you can slightly see the white on top of her head on this angle too.

    This final pic has a better image of the fuzz/whatever on top of her head (and you can just barely see the white between her mouth and eye-on-the-far-side).

    She's really acting off... she's floating around, swimming some, but mainly drifting, somewhat wobbly... keeps getting stuck in plants in particular, but can still wiggle out. She's "pacing" the same route most of the time. She just seems out of it. This is the lady we've had the longest, and I'm truly concerned about her and desperately want to know what to do.

    I dosed the (half dose) Kanaplex and (half dose) Fungus Clear on Monday. I want to go ahead and do a water change, but not sure if I should yet. The only "good" thing at the moment is that the two fat fry are both starting to have some brownish stool again. Everything else seems bad right now.

    I really need advice. I don't like to keep bumping-posting, but I'm pretty much out of ideas and spirit.... so if I don't hear back tonight, I will change the title of the post in the am to get advice if I should just euthanize everyone and start over :-(
  17. mollybabesWell Known MemberMember

    I'm thinking maybe the fry just aren't healthy. Born that way. I don't know.
  18. Dragones5150918

    Dragones5150918Well Known MemberMember

    Given your discriptions and pictures, I'm still inclined to think water quality is the trigger here. As of 6 days ago, your GH was 7, and all live bearers need minimum of 8, 10 preferred and higher. Also with a KH of 3, good chance your having PH fluctuations, and just not catching them. What is the PH from your water source? 6 days ago you had a PH of 7.4, and if the PH is higher then 7.8 when added to the tank, it can create PH shock. All these things can trigger the symptoms your seeing. If the GH is to low, it creates osmotic issues, they can not absorb the minerals they need, which will cause what your seeing in your fish. The Fry are especially vulnerable to this. It's like feeding an infant regular milk instead of formula.

    Given the fact your adult platy is showing osmotic pressure problems, I'm inclined to say your faced with a GH issue, and creating secondary problems like fungal and bacterial because their system is off and slowly shutting down.

    To fix this, add crushed coral. Sprinkle about a cup through out the tank, or add about 1/4 a cup to a media bag or nylon stocking and add it to your filter. Do a 50% water change with a good substrate vacuum, then resume medications. Once you get the GH up, the medications should eliminate the other issues fairly quick.
  19. OP

    PaulaMPiValued MemberMember

    What should my KH be? I had direction from another member here several months ago that made it sound like 3-4 was ok for KH, and 8 was ok for GH... not arguing, just trying to understand! I have no issue trying to up it if it'll help.

    PH of water source is usually 7.4-7.8. I test it about once a month just to see if there are changes - interestingly, some folks from my neighborhood have mentioned they've noticed a significant chlorine smell to the water in the past week. It could be coincidence- does Prime remove ALL or just a certain amount? I tested it again this am and did not get readings for ammonia/nitrite/nitrate, and GH/KH are 2/2 as usual in the tap.

    Just for learning, which specific things that I've mentioned sound like osmotic pressure problems?

    I am hoping this will work! I had crushed coral in there before, but I'm also using replenish and alkaline buffer at each water change, and was concerned about the pH getting too high (at one point it was maybe even 8.4ish?) and fluctuations at water changes, so I took it out and thought it was doing better between 7.4-7.6, and tap similar. I added Replenish last night, and GH is 8-9 right now, and a dose of Prime last night. Mickey actually seems perkier today? (I will add coral at the water change).

    I have not done the water change yet, as I was concerned about the extra chlorine smell from the tap... reading online doesn't explicitly say but seems to say Prime will detox/remove all of it either way?

    Here's another (possibly terrible) question. I was moving gravel, and noticed there is a sticker from when we purchased the tank still in the middle of the tank! :-/ It's always been covered by the gravel/decor, and I never noticed it when vacuuming before. Any chance this sticker (and its adhesive) is causing any of these issues? I'm almost done removing all the gravel to go bare bottom - wondering if I should move the fish to a bucket while I finish removing the rest of the gravel (so I can remove the sticker), rinse everything well, and put them back?

    Just for the record, one more sickly fry is "missing" and another one is starting to look less than optimal too. So far the 2 fat fry are fine, and 2 other other younger ones are still ok.
  20. Dragones5150918

    Dragones5150918Well Known MemberMember

    3 to 4 KH is ok, but you run the risk of your PH fluctuating when it is at 3. 3 is the bear minimum. I'm not sure if it was explained, but your cycle bacteria mainly uses kh, then inverts to make their exoskeleton. Fish them selves use very little of it. As you know from the nitrogen cycle, bio load determines how much bacteria is cultivated. In a large tank, like a 30 gallon with just a tetra, there would be a small bacteria colony. At 30 gallon with heavy waste producers like live bearers and gold fish, you would have a very large colony. A 3dKH is walking a fine line to disaster, because just one slight thing goes wrong, like births which increases the bio load, the bacteria react, multiplies, and uses the KH. Once the KH hits 2dKH, the ph will start to fall, so 3dKH is really walking on the edge. 4dKH is a little safer, but still not a huge amount of wiggle room. Depending on the bio load, you can drop to 2dKH with in a couple of days, unlike hours with 3dKH. A safe level is 5dKH, which can give you 4 days to a week to catch the KH drop, and a lot of the time, it makes it to water change time, and not noticed. Now to finish confusing you, at water change time, if your tank has 3dKH and you do a 50% water change and add 5dKH water, it will only rise to 4dKH. So did I successfully confuse you?

    8dGH is also the bear minimum for live bearers and gold fish/koi. Goldfish and koi because of their growth rate and size, and live bearers mainly because of their reproduction rates. Think of it this way. A human female needs extra vitamins and minerals during pregnancy right? If she starts with prenatal vitamins just before she gets pregnant, she has some stores up, but otherwise during pregnancy, she needs the extra vitamins and minerals. A male needs to be healthy to produce sperm. If he don't eat healthy and take care of himself, his healthy count will drop. Well the same with live bearers. They need a large amount of minerals in their water for the same reproductive reasons humans do. If the GH is to low, the female will give birth to sickly fry. Just like humans, their bodies will keep most of the minerals in the mom to keep her alive, and the fry while in the mom will get less as they grow, which will give you a few healthy fry, the rest with defects, sickly, and possible a few still births. Think of it this way, it's like us just eating nothing but fast food, and nothing else. Yeah our bellies get filled, but we are really lacking in the nutrition which will eventually cause us to become sickly as well. Anyways, back to the point. 8dGH is the minimum live bearers can live at, but not ideal health wise. Ideal is 10dGH or higer.

    Chlorine smell in water should be gone with just a single use of Prime.

    Osmotic pressure issues is a near and dear problem for me. I deal with it all the time. I've lost so many fish to it. Osmotic Shock mirrors many things, but there is a few symptoms that makes it stand out for me. The biggest one is gasping and hidding, especially when there is no reason for it. When all the parameters in the tank are perfect, water quality is perfect, diet can be accounted as good, and so forth, then one fish after another start to show the same symptoms one after another, I really start to look at osmotic process. Then giving the fact the more sensitive fry keep showing birth defects such as curved spines, then the female platty is gasping and lethargic, really nails it into this problem. If you look up Osmotic Shock, you will see the symptoms your female is displaying.

    If you use a lot of crushed coral, yes it will raise your ph. The basic math I go by is for a media bag is 1/4 a cup to start, and if it does not hold the KH and GH at a constant level, increase it. Normally 1/4 a cup in a water flow like in a filter does it, but not always. When it's distributed through out the tank, I go higher because there is less water flow over the coral. As the KH drops, and the PH gets to 7.0, the coral slowly dissolves, which will keep those at a constant level. It will also constantly be releasing the minerals into the water, which will keep your GH stable as the fish use it.

    The sticker should not be causing these issues, especially since it's under the gravel.

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