Platy fish has serious problems

Discussion in 'Platy' started by citrus, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. citrusNew MemberMember

    So I have a female platy named Citrus. She was fine a minute ago, but now she's at the bottom of the tank. She looks dead, like she isn't breathing. I had to push her around with a stick to help motivate it to live. I'm not sure, she is NOT looking good. 2 days ago she had white patches on here tail. And long white stringy poop. She had this at the beginning of this week. I treated her with melafix and some anti-parasite medicine. I also did a salt dip for 1-2 seconds. After that she seemed stunned and was at the bottom, breathing. That was yesterday, and she was fine after that. Today, she was swimming around nicely. But now, she's just at the bottom, not breathing, not moving her fins, and she's not dead because she's not on her side. She momentarily moves her fins and takes a breath, but that's it. I separated her into a hospital tank. She's still the same, except momentarily moving. I keep trying to motivate her with a stick, and so far it's helping. Please, what's wrong with her? :( I'm just so worried.

  2. DaacWell Known MemberMember

    Well first we need some information about your tank... what are the parameters and do you know about the nitrogen cycle? Do the other fish look health? How long ago did yoy get this platy?
  3. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!

    I'm sorry that your fish is sick. It sounds like she could have a fungus (white patch) and possibly parisites (long white stringy poop).

    Is the tank cycled? What are your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings? How long has the tank been set up?

    I would also advise against "motivating her with a stick". She apparently needs to rest, much like if you were sick, you would get better sooner staying in bad rather than running around.
  4. citrusNew MemberMember

    Well, sorry to say but she is dead. :(. And another fish is in critical condition. Her name is sunny, and she is EXTREMELY thin. She just started eating yesterday. She has the same white string poop, which means parasites. She is in a hospital tank, which is 0.6 gallons. She has been eating baby food, for the baby platies we have in a separate tank. So, she has gained a tiny bit of weight. She looks good right now. The main tank is a 10 gallon tank. It has 2 black mollies, one is a sailfin fully grown male, don't know about the smaller female one but she is a black molly. Then there are 2 male platies. They always fight for no reason. They've been doing that since they were introduced to the tank. There are 4 female platies for each one, don't know what their problem is. They seem to like this female platy, minnie. They're kind of stupid. So, and then one of them keeps on chasing two fish, a sunset wagtail platy and a sunset (not a wagtail) platy. I have no idea if it's cycled or not, and it's been set up since, 2-3 months now. After 12 days or so we change 50% of the water. It keeps it cleaned, and I don't know what ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings are. I think there's not high levels of ammonia, because well there are 2 plants in there and they help cycle. Well, I have no clue and I can't spend any more money on these test kits. I REALLY want to, but I can't. We've got Citrus for 3 months now, same with Sunny. I am a total noob to this fish stuff. I thought small tanks were for beginners....
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
  5. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    First off, I'm sorry your fish died. It's always sad when we loose our fish.

    But you have several problems going on, and the really need to be addressed if you want your fish to live.

    The most important thing is to understand the nitrogen cycle. Basically it goes like this:
    Fish produce waste that turns into ammonia.
    Ammonia (even at low levels) is highly toxic to fish.
    In the presence of ammonia in the water, over the course of several weeks, a bacteria will grow in your filter media that consumes ammonia and releases nitrites.
    Nitrites (even at low levels) are highly toxic to fish.
    In the presence of nitritesa in the water, over the course of several weeks, a second bacteria will grow in your filter media that consumes nitrites and releases nitrates
    At low levels nitrtaes are not toxic. You keep your nitrate levels low by doing weekly partial water changes.

    Your next problem is that your tank is overstocked. Mollies are hugh waste producers (making it difficult to keep the tank cycled) and get toolarge and are too active for anything smaller than a 20 gallon tank. I also, kinda lost count of how many Platty's you have in there but it sounds like you have too many. I think in a 10 gallon tank you could keep around 5 total.

    The aggression in your tank is being caused by too many fish in an uncycled tank. It tends to make the fish cranky and when they get cranky, they get aggressive.

    So your course of action would be to return the Mollies and get a test kit. Then do daily 50% water changes with a water conditioner called Prime until the tank is cycled. Prime has the ability to detox lowish levels of ammonia and nitrite. The daily water changes will keep those levels low allowing the Prime to keep your fish safe.

    Also, since the bacteria that keeps your tank cycled lives in your filter media, you never want to change unless it is totally falling apart. Just rinse it in used tank water during your water changes (after your cycled. Do not mess with it during cycling). The carbon in your filter only last about 4 weeks and get saturated and stops working. Carbon is not necessary and you can cut a slit in your filter cartridge and dump it out if that is the type of filter you have).

    One other thing, I hope you removed the carbon when you medicated your tank. One of the things carbon does best is remove medications form the water.

    You know I spent a long time writing this, so I really hope you heed the advice given. I don't want to sound harsh, but would you get a dog if you couldn't afford to provide it with what it needs? Well fish are the same way. They have pretty specific requirements, and sadly most people (myself included) jump into fishkeeping without having a clue of what is required. Part of the reason is because the fish stores give the worst advice (but it usually ends up in more sales for them when you keep replacing fish and buying medicines etc).

    Good luck, and one last tip, they make a fish food that contains medicine that will kill parasites. It is really the most effective way to treat parasites, but usually by the time you realize the fish has parasites, they have stopped eating. Since yours are still eating, you may have some success.

    Feel free to ask any further questions you may have.
  6. citrusNew MemberMember

    I know, thank you very much. I know about the nitrogen cycle, I know that ammonia, nitrite and nitrate have to be zero. I didn't know that I have an overstocked tank. I have :
    2 mollies, 7 platies, one clown plecostomus (i don't know but it only grows to 5 inches max).
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
  7. DaacWell Known MemberMember

    That is really overstocked... a clown pleco needs at least a 30 gallon tank and mollies need at least a 20. You could have like up to 3 or 4 platies of one sex or the other in a 10 gallon tank. If they breed it would be too much for the tank to handle. I would rehome most of your fish if I were you but that is just me. I agree with the advise about the nitrogen cycle and the parasites and fungus. Best thing you could probably do is keep the parameters safe and get a much bigger tank or rehome most of the fish.
  8. DonnerjayWell Known MemberMember

    Hello and welcome to FishLore.

    Sorry about your fish and your situation. You've come to the right place for advice. Now it depends on you and your circumstances.

    If I were you and I couldn't afford a test kit, first thing I would do is take a water sample to a local fish store and ask them to test the water. Most will do it for free. Get the exact readings from them (don't accept that the numbers are "fine"), come back here and post the numbers. That won't cost anything.

    What water conditioner do you use? Prime is the best in my opinion. Get a small bottle of Prime. Depending on where you live, that could cost as little as $5. Then use it according to directions and start doing water changes.

    Remember that fish/pet store that tested your water? Make friends with them. Keep taking water samples to them for them to test free.

    What size tank do you have? I didn't see it (someone said 10 but not sure). PLEASE fill in your aquarium info. That will help us help you.

    Take care and keep us posted. We're here to help!
  9. LupinusValued MemberMember

    Sorry about your fish. Most of us have been there right at the beginning.

    Firstly, you have a two part stocking issue. You are overstocked and have fish that aren't right for the tank. Out of your list the only thing that is appropriate for the tank are the platties and I'd recommend a smaller number. I'd also recommend sticking with males unless you have something to do with the fry, otherwise you will have a ton of platties in no time. I'd return or rehome everything but the living platties and even then probably get rid of the females.

    Second, the water parameters are likely all out of whack. With that many fish in that small a tank, even after several months, you probably aren't cycled or anywhere near cycled. The bacteria that turn ammonia into nitrites and nitrites into nitrates find high levels of ammonia toxic (exact number 4ppm IIRC) so probably haven't developed yet and likely wont under current conditions. As recommended above most fish stores will test your water for free. Take a sample in and let them test it for you so you at least have a base line. Get the numbers, not just a general answer of fine or oh . Just worry about the ammonia and even though you probably have little if any, the nitrites and nitrates.

    Then once you take care of the above, you have two options. Both with pro's and cons.

    Option A: Daily water changes with a water conditioner called Prime or Amquel+. Both of these are water conditioners that take care of the chlorine and nasties in your local tap water but also detoxify ammonia and nitrites for 24 hours making the water safer for the fish. The first change I'd do would be very large and I'd also do a really good gravel vac while I was at it. Then refill the tank and dose the entire tank volume with the Prime or Amquel. Then 50% water changes with Prime or Amquel+ everyday until it's cycled. With such a small tank it sounds a lot worse then it is. These two water conditioners are also fairly inexpensive and go a long way because they are fairly concentrated. You could probably get by with taking in a new sample weekly to see where you are at if you can't scrape together the cash for a testing kit. Doing the water changes after it's cycled wont hurt anything. Keep in mind this one will take some time, upwards of 4-6 weeks to cycle. I'd stick with just the two males during this to keep ammonia as low as possible.

    Option B: Starts the same as above, do a huge water change and gravel vac to get you as close to a clean slate as possible. Then refill the tank and dose it with a water conditioner. For this, you will want the opposite of the above. You will want to use one that only deals with the stuff in your tap water, such as Tetra AquaSafe. Basically one that does not detoxify ammonia or nitrites. If it does, you will need to give the tank at least 24 hours after using that conditioner. Then add the Tetra Safe start and do nothing but wait. No water changes, no gravel vacs, nothing. Feed the fish and top off the water if needed. This will last for two weeks after which time it should be cycled and you should have the store test to confirm. For this one especially, you will need to follow through with the rehoming mentioned above. I wouldn't do this with more than two platties in the tank as any more and they will probably give off to much ammonia and cause the safe start to fail. One would be even better to ensure success. Tetra SafeStart is great stuff and reliable, but it's also pretty fragile and prone to failure if monkeyed with or overwhelmed by ammonia due too to many fish in the tank at the start. Once it's cycled, you can add a few more platties or appropriate fish. Again, I'd stick with male platties to avoid a ton of fry.
  10. citrusNew MemberMember

    First, I need to go do the water test to see the conditions. I think something could be too high, like the nitrites or something.
    Thanks for the advice! Much appreciated. :)

    Oh yeah, the Clown Pleco is only an inch right now. He's (or she) is still a small one. And the biggest molly, is only an inch and a half or so.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012

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