Platy..finrot? Pleease help!

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by angel_bluesky, Apr 23, 2006.

  1. angel_bluesky

    angel_blueskyNew MemberMember


    I'm new to fish caring and I currently have a 5 gallon with 3 grown platies and a 6 mth old platy in a breeder box. I've had this tank for 6 months now and I had originally started with 4 grown platies. First I lost a platy who started staying at the bottom barely swimming or eating. Then I got a replacement for the dead one (harsh right?) a small female platy who started to swim funny with its tail bent. It started to stay at the bottom often times without any movements. I thought it died for sure a couple of times as it wouldn't move for a while even when I tried to stimulate it by waving or something. Well it died and I didn't replace it.
    The current situation is that all 3 remaining adult fish are showing some sort of illness or another. I started medicating with tetracycline on a four day 250 mg dosage. Day 3 and 4 I did 25% water change before medicating. One Red fish (color coding for distinction) is really bloated (for a few months now) as compared to when I bought it and I can clearly see torn fins (at tail) and the scales seem to be raised. It is swimming with a lot of effort and moves too much even when its staying still (i hope that makes sense to someone). It was eating a little bit now and then a few days ago but not anymore. Red fish is not doing any better since I started medicating, in fact it seems to be doing worse. It usually stays at the bottom with the belly resting on gravel. Now my Orange fish is swimming really really fast and I can hear it hitting the gravel around when it zooms up or down (it usually stays stationary though). Orange is not eating at all now since I started medicating, it didn't show any symptoms b4 I medicated but the medication lable also read "preventative" so I didn't think it would do any harm to it. Lastly my pink and favorite fish who compelled me to the get tetracycline had really frayed fins (at tail and top) and looked like its gills were more reddish than normal. Before I medicated, its fins briefly looked like they were normal again but then went back to being frayed. After medication, she still looks the same. She also stays at the bottom with the head in the gravel and the lower part of the body raised in the water (like the ostrich in the sand!). If I go near the tank, sometimes she swims really fast upward and today I noticed that her tail was just really bent sideways when she was swimming. Pink is the only platy who is eating currently. I've gone through all four dosages today as per the directions of tetracycline. I am supposed to change 25% of water tomorrow and add fresh carbon.
    My questions are:
    1- Should I repeat the tetracycline 4 day dosage or try another good meds since tetra didn't seem to work. Should I just observe the fish longer? But I'm convinced that they will die like the others if I wait.
    2- Did I diagnose the fish properly with the symptoms I have mentioned?
    3- Was medicating tank with tetracycline ok with the baby fish in there?
    4- Would a salt bath help in this case? Please advise on how you actually do that, I just read about it here a few minutes ago.

    I sincerely appreciate any help that I can get. God bless.
  2. OP

    angel_blueskyNew MemberMember

    Oh one more symptom about the Red platy is that since I started medicating its tail area has become yellowish. It was solid red b4 and got a little black dot at the tail after I got it. I don't know if the discoloration is due to tetracycline?
  3. Gunnie

    GunnieWell Known MemberMember

    Wow! Considering the very small size of your tank and the amount of fish you have in it, you should be very proud to have kept your fish alive like you have! Your tank is way too small for your fish, and if possible, you need to get at least a 10 gallon tank for them. You could still use your 5 gallon as a quarantine/hospital tank later on. What I usually suggest for most fish problems including fin rot, is to medicate with a combination of Maracyn I and Maracyn II together to help treat the symptoms, and to prevent any other illnesses while they are being treated. I also see where you are mentioning you will be replacing the carbon. If you are using carbon while medicating your tank, the carbon is absorbing the meds and your fish are not getting the medicine. Don't use carbon while medicating your tank. You can use it later once your fish are well again.

    If you are not familiar with the nitrogen cycle, please read the beginner articles we have here on FishLore to get you up to speed.

    Please post your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Also, how often do you do a water change, and how much water do you change out?
  4. newbie101

    newbie101Well Known MemberMember

    yeah you are really lucky to have those fish alive at all if the tank isn't cycled. 5 gallons is too small for really any fish except bettas (And bettas shouldn't be kept in anything smaller than that when full-grown)
    Is there a heater in the tank?
  5. OP

    angel_blueskyNew MemberMember

    Thank you Gunnie and Emma for your replies :) It seems I was grossly misinformed at the pet store. I was told 1 platy for every 1 gallon or something like that so I originally got 4, the baby arrived after I got the fish in the tank. How many grown platties can I have in a 5 gallon maximum, 2 plus the baby?
    I've had the tank since November 2005, but I also got a severe algae problem so I've also taken the fish out of the tank in a separate bucket while doing the 25% change and wash the tank completely to clean the algae. Trust me it looks really disgusting even if I simply do the water change and don't scrub the tank's insides. Also the waste is visible on the gravel and I don't have a vacuum. I'm wondering if this practice has kept the tank from being cycled? And now that I've used the tetracycline I definitely messed up the water chemisty but the fish still seems to be sick. I did the water change today (about 30%) and also cleaned the water tank. I usually change the water 25% or 30%( if the algae is really bad) about once a week. But during the tetracycline I've changed more frequently. I was thinking of using melafix before as I see it a lot at the store, now may use maracyn as suggested by gunnie. Should I wait for a few days (the last dosage was yesterday and today I put in new filter with carbon)? I will take out the carbon when medicating again. I do have a water heater and I changed the setting from 79 deg to 83 today. Emma why do you think the tank is not cycled, being overcrowded prevents it from being cycled?
    Thanks guyz!
  6. OP

    angel_blueskyNew MemberMember

    I will post the water nitrate/nitrite etc levels shortly...I have to get the equipment for that :-[
  7. newbie101

    newbie101Well Known MemberMember

    no, overcrowding doesn't make it not cycled, just the tank doesn't sound like it's cycled.
  8. 0morrokh

    0morrokhFishlore VIPMember

    You can't really have any Platys in a 5 gallon, it is just too small for them. 10 gallons is the minimum. It sounds like you have several diseases going on...the fraying fins is finrot, the raised scales is dropsy, and the red gills may be gill flukes, not sure about that. Finrot and dropsy are usually caused by poor water quality--which would be due to the tank being small and overstocked. Finrot is reletively easy to cure provided the water quality improves; on the other hand, dropsy is 99% of the time uncurable. Gill flukes is a parasite, but again not positive about that diagnosis.
    You will need to get them a bigger tank in order to really fix the problem. Washing the tank out is probably disrupting the cycle. The excessive algae is probably due to two things: excessive nutrients (nutrients to algae, bad for fish...) and direct sunlight. If you get a bigger tank for them (please do for their sake), it would greatly benefit them as well as cut down on algae to make it planted (I'm assuming the 10g isn't). Also, the diseases may need different meds, but remember not to mix them.
    Let us know how you are doing.
  9. ncje

    ncjeValued MemberMember

    Definately a case of dropsey. Dropsey is caused by high nitrates, high nitrates are caused by 1/ overcrowded tank 2/ under-filtered tank 3/ unclean tank 4/ over feeding 5/ uncycled tank.

    To treat long term, first you need to consider a new home. You could add a filter but that would take 6 weeks to really kick in. Plus adding a rapid growth plant like Salvinia will help keep nitrates under control. Salvinia grows fast and you have to chop it up often. Not sure if you can get it in the states.

    To treat short term. Dont add liquid chemicals, fish dont like chemicals.. even if the your local fish shop tells you to.

    Stop feeding your fish.

    PH: Lower it.

    Edit: sorry lower PH means amonium (harmless) rather than ammonia (dangerous) nothing to do with nitrites... has been awhile.

    Nitrites: Water Change

    Nitrates: You could try something like this:

    Or this (only lasts short time - but good for a quick kick of nitrate removal)

    There are many products like these - different brands that do the same thing... your lfs can help you... stay away from those liquid chems though.
  10. OP

    angel_blueskyNew MemberMember

    Thank you all for your invaluable advise. I used a PH regulator fluid to bring it down to 7.0 for the poor Red fishy with Dropsy. But alas she left me! It seems that tetracycline really jumped up its illness, the discoloration appeared on the first day of the dosage and then I noticed that by the end of the treatment its tail had completely disappeared and poor thing was really struggling with its scales rotting away. I got "fungus eliminator" by Jungle yesterday to medicate dropsy (is this the right med for it?) but she had other plans. I also have a transportation problem to go to the real fish pet store where I can get all the good stuff. For now I can only go to the local wal mart thats really thin on proper supplies AND advise. I'm left with 2 platies now :( The fin rot seems to have gone away and I'm changing the water every other day. The temp is still at 83 degrees incase there is still some infection left, should I adjust it back to 79? The pink fish that had fin rot still has reddish gills and I can't remember if its the normal color or darker? The baby fish seems to be doing good but its tail is slightly bent to one side when its swimming, its this a sign of fin rot starting up?
    I feel like giving away the remaining fish to someone as a gift after they are better...loosing them is too painful.
  11. 0morrokh

    0morrokhFishlore VIPMember

    It was prabably the chemicals that killed your fish :'( :'(  I'm really sorry.  Those pH adjusters can be dangerous for the fish.  I wouldn't use them. Don't feel to bad about losing the one with dropsy, it is considered by most uncurable.
    Go ahead and leave the temp at 83'. So now do you have any sick fish? (sorry, I'm not good at keeping track...)
    Don't give up fishkeeping.  Almost everyone had a hard time when they began.  But it is very rewarding in the end.  Trust me, I decided to give up fishkeeping after all my Goldfish died, but I came back to it and got some help here, and now I'm addicted! ;D  Believe me, it gets better. :)
  12. OP

    angel_blueskyNew MemberMember

    Thanks for the support Omorrokh :)
    I think I've learned a lot from my mistakes...I moved the tank from a VERY sunny area to another room where hopefully it won't get sunlight. Also I think I was feeding them waay too much b4 which messed up the water levels before. I wish the PH adjuster had a warning on it or something....that was a total waste. I'm changing the water (25%) every few days (less then 7 days apart). I don't know if the tank is cycled though cuz I washed the tank about a week ago. How do I know when its cycled? and how do u guyz clean out the fish waste at the bottom, do u vaccum or it doesn't build up when the tank is properly cycled?
    The 2 remaining platies seem to be doing ok....the pink one still has very dark pink gills but otherwise is doing well and eating and swimming normally. I don't want to medicate when its not acting sick, do u think I should? Maybe I can post her pic...hummm....
    Thanks again!
  13. 0morrokh

    0morrokhFishlore VIPMember

    The tank is cycled when you no longer have ammonia or nitrite readings but you have nitrates.
    When you do your water changes, you have to vacuum out the debris that builds up on the bottom. It is recommended by some people that you only vacuum one half of the tank each time because you are disturbing the beneficial bacteria on the gravel.
    If you don't think the fish are sick, then don't medicate. Like all other chemicals, meds can be harmful, so should only be used when necesary.