Platy Behavior

Jmccartney

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Help! I have a 50 gal 2 weeks into its cycle. I’m cycling with 6 platys, doing once a week water changes, have several live plants and am dosing with Flourish advance about every other day. Only using Prime with water changes. Water params today are: Amm 0, Nitrite .25, Nitrate 5. Temp is about 79F. My question is why are my platys all suddenly in hiding, only coming out of hiding for food? 5 of the 6 came out to eat this morning, 1 stayed in hiding. I actually thought I had a dead fish until I started moving driftwood around and found a female in hiding. Up until today, they were free swimmers, all over the tank. Today it’s like I added a shark and they’re all scared or something! Is this normal behavior? It’s like a fishy ghost town in there.....
I think my male to female ratio is all wrong. I may have to remove a male. So, next question, if I remove a male, the only place I have to put him is in a 10 gallon with a male betta. Am I asking for disaster?
Sorry for so many questions all at once but I’m concerned and really don’t want any fish loss.
 

TexasDomer

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If you move the male out, I'd go ahead and rehome him. He won't do well with the betta.

After cyclin, I'd lower the temps down to 75 F or so. 79 F is too high for platies.

I would keep a close eye on your water parameters - weekly water changes aren't usually enough while the tank is cycling.

Nitrites are harmful, and they could be slowing the fish down. Sometimes fish get spooked too.
 
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Jmccartney

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Thank you. I’ll lower the temp. If I had this to do all over again, I’d do a fishless cycle! I’ll also do a water change today. Maybe that will help. Only 2 weeks and I’m already attached to these little guys.

I’m also not going to move any fish just yet. No one is actually being aggressive at the moment. They’re just all hiding! I’ve lowered the temp, I’ll do a water change and I’ll see what happens. Thanks again!
 

TexasDomer

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I would still consider rehoming some males if you want to keep the females, and if the females are outnumbered. Males can harass females to death, and I would think you'd rather prevent that rather than rehoming the males after they've already starting harassing the females.
 
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Jmccartney

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I’ll see if the store I bought them from will take the males back.
 

TexasDomer

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How many males and females do you have now? Do you have a plan for any fry? If you don't, it might be a good idea to just keep males so you don't have to worry about being overwhelmed with fry
 
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Jmccartney

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2 males and 4 females. They’ve already had some fry then promptly ate them. I didn’t plan on this being a platy tank and am ok if one of the fry survive. Eventually I’d like to add a small group of Cory’s and then 3-4 angel fish and possibly some smaller schooling fish like rasboras or neon tetra. Adding all slowly over a large span of time, of course. I’m not totally new to this hobby, it’s been about 6ish years since I’ve had a tank, but I’ve never had a tank this large and have never kept platys. I also have never cycled with fish. I’m sort of relearning as I go!
 

TexasDomer

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You have the right ratio then, so you don't need to rehome any unless you see problems

What are the dimensions of the tank?

Never stock with 3 angels (2 will beat up on one), and 4 is likely too many for this tank. There's not a lot of temperature overlap between the angels and the platies. Make sure you keep temperature compatible cories if you do go with angels (one species, like C. aeneus, C. splendens, or C. sterbai), and in a big enough group (6-10, not less). Make sure the small schooling fish are temperature compatible (neons are not with angels) and big enough not to be eaten if you go with angels.

We can help you come up with an appropriate stocking, if you're interested
 
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Jmccartney

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Yes! I’m interested! I have an LFS that I’m hoping will help too so I’ll take your advice and theirs and compare notes, so to speak. So 2 angels would be more appropriate? I definitely do not want to over stock this tank. I know better. As for my 10 gallon, the betta seems pretty content by himself. I considered putting an Oto in with him but I’m afraid 10 gallons isn’t big enough (though there seems to be an endless supply of algae at the moment) and I’ve never had them either. Tank dimensions for the 50 are 36 x 15 x 20. I just did a 25% water change and all but one fish came out of hiding. There’s still 1 female hiding under a piece of driftwood.

As for schooling fish, rasboras may be more appropriate?
 

TexasDomer

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Just be careful - LFS will often give bad advice, either because they don't know, or because they're trying to sell you fish. We get no monetary benefit from giving advice (unlike the LFS), so I'd take our advice over theirs

Depends on the rasbora species

I would also leave otos out of the 10 gal. They should be in groups, not kept singly, and the common species prefer cooler water than bettas.

Having two angels will limit your other stocking, as adult angels are big, and two will fill your aquarium pretty well. They also may not get along long term.

The 6 platies are also taking up a bit of tank space. Again, not sure I'd keep them with angelfish as there isn't a lot of temperature overlap between the two species (by the way, most LFS don't give good advice regarding temperature compatibility, for some reason).

If you wanted to understock, you could do something like this:

1x Angelfish
15-20x Harlequin rasboras
8-12x C. aeneus, C. sterbai, or C. splendens (just one species)
Keep temp around 78 F

But if you really wanted to keep the platies:
8-12x Harlequin rasbora
8-12x Neons
4-6x Platies
1x Dwarf gourami
8-12x Cories (just one species, but lots more options here)
Keep temp 75 F or a little below
 
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Jmccartney

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I like both options and I have some time to think about it. Gourami was another “centerpiece” I had considered as well but wasn’t sure about. I really love corydoras as I bred them for about a year and had much success so either way, I want them! I don’t plan on breeding this time around, too much work. Thank you so much for your help. I’ll keep enduring the cycle and will start doing more frequent water changes until it stabilizes. I figure I have at least another month or 2 before it’s safe to consider adding any more fish.
 
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Jmccartney said:
I like both options and I have some time to think about it. Gourami was another “centerpiece” I had considered as well but wasn’t sure about. I really love corydoras as I bred them for about a year and had much success so either way, I want them! I don’t plan on breeding this time around, too much work. Thank you so much for your help. I’ll keep enduring the cycle and will start doing more frequent water changes until it stabilizes. I figure I have at least another month or 2 before it’s safe to consider adding any more fish.
UPDATE:
My water parameters have been excellent for almost a week now, Amm 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate less than 5. The plants are keeping everything in check, platys are healthy and I’ve added an Amano shrimp into the mix. I plan to add a school of Cory’s next (haven’t settled on which variety yet).
In other news, I added 6 habrosus corydoras to my fully cycled, planted, 10 gal about a week ago and they and the betta are getting along swimmingly! @TexasDomer I really appreciate your help and am looking forward to slowly stocking my 50 gal over the next few months. Looks like I’ll be keeping the platys because I’m kind of attached now so I’ll be going with a dwarf gourami as my “centerpiece” fish at some point. My 10 gal is now fully stocked! Just love this hobby!
My next project is going to be a species only tank. I would like to keep dwarf puffers so I’ve been researching like crazy. I won’t be cycling with fish this time, I plan to grow plants first and do a fishless cycle. Stay tuned. Can’t wait!
 

TexasDomer

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Jmccartney said:
UPDATE:
My water parameters have been excellent for almost a week now, Amm 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate less than 5. The plants are keeping everything in check, platys are healthy and I’ve added an Amano shrimp into the mix. I plan to add a school of Cory’s next (haven’t settled on which variety yet).
In other news, I added 6 habrosus corydoras to my fully cycled, planted, 10 gal about a week ago and they and the betta are getting along swimmingly! @TexasDomer I really appreciate your help and am looking forward to slowly stocking my 50 gal over the next few months. Looks like I’ll be keeping the platys because I’m kind of attached now so I’ll be going with a dwarf gourami as my “centerpiece” fish at some point. My 10 gal is now fully stocked! Just love this hobby!
My next project is going to be a species only tank. I would like to keep dwarf puffers so I’ve been researching like crazy. I won’t be cycling with fish this time, I plan to grow plants first and do a fishless cycle. Stay tuned. Can’t wait!
Glad everything is working out well for you!

You have stocking issues in the 10 gal, if you'd like to discuss it
 
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Jmccartney

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TexasDomer said:
Glad everything is working out well for you!

You have stocking issues in the 10 gal, if you'd like to discuss it
Uh oh. Whatcha got?

P. S. I do know that the betta could have potentially been aggressive toward the Cory’s, in fact I had a breeder box ready to toss him into if he got out of control. But, so far he’s only shown some curiosity and the Cory’s have learned to steer clear of him. The tank has 3 good sized pieces of driftwood and lots of plants so they are able to hide if needed. I keep the temp at 78 which is within the temp parameters for both types of fish and frequent water changes. 1-2 times a week. Is that what you wanted to discuss?
 

TexasDomer

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It's more that the cories should be in a bigger tank (20 gal minimum) and they're not temperature compatible with the betta - they'll have a shorter lifespan at the higher temps (yes, even 78 F is too high).
 
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Jmccartney

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TexasDomer said:
It's more that the cories should be in a bigger tank (20 gal minimum) and they're not temperature compatible with the betta - they'll have a shorter lifespan at the higher temps (yes, even 78 F is too high).
According to this website (Fishlore) dwarfs (habrosus) like higher temps and are ok in a tank as small as 10 gallons. Is this wrong info? I’ve been using this website (plus comparing it with a few others) to help me decide how to stock my tanks.
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Sarah73

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Jmccartney said:
According to this website (Fishlore) dwarfs (habrosus) like higher temps and are ok in a tank as small as 10 gallons. Is this wrong info? I’ve been using this website (plus comparing it with a few others) to help me decide how to stock my tanks. View attachment 439446
This is wrong because they haven't updated in a while. 15 gallons at least for pygmy and 20 gallons for regular cories.
 

TexasDomer

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And when we say 15 gals, we mean a 24" tank, which has the same length as a 20 gal high.

The Fishlore profiles aren't accurate. Planet Catfish is best for catfish info. Remember not to keep fish at the extreme ends of their ranges either, meaning that the cories aren't temp compatible with bettas.
 
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Jmccartney

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Thanks guys. I will take your suggestions and advice under consideration. I appreciate your help!
 
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