Platy Help Please

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by Roxanna, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. RoxannaNew MemberMember

    Dear all,
    I tried posting my 1st post in the forum but i cant yet.
    Could you please guide me? My female platy is swimming in the bottom and eating very little for the past few days. Our aquarium is small: 16 L (4.3 Gallons) and only 2 adult platy (1 male and 1 female). They get along well and have seemed happy since we got them in Dec 2016. The male was behaving just like the female a little ago (now he is back to normal swimming around) but now the female is behaving oddly (i thought she could be pregnant and feeling sick?). Temp constant 24-15 Celsius, good filter and O2 pump. We siphon the bottom water and organic waste frequently. When they behave oddly we suppose the water has bad quality (high ammonia) so we make weekly 25% water changed (as suggested in this forum). We dont have water quality kits in Patagonia would have to import them... Only have artificial aquarium plants as here (in Patagonia) is difficult to get suitable plants for tropical fish. We want her to feel better and act as she used to. I raised guppies when i was a young girl but now my 2 boys and i are raising these specie for the first time.

    Thank you,

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2017
  2. ashenweltWell Known MemberMember

    Is her body very large and rounded? Their belly gets rounder and you will see little black dots on the underside.

    Also you need to do lots and lots of large water changes with plays in a small tank. Really you need a much larger tank for platys. But first try some water changes. Then lets talk tank sizes.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2017
  3. CoradeeModeratorModerator Member

    Hi Roxanna, welcome to Fishlore.
    To post a new thread go to the most appropriate forum for your question e.g. Freshwater fish disease & on the right near the top you should see a Post new thread button, click on that & post your question :)
  4. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    Welcome to fishlore!

    They need 10 gallons minimum.
    I would be doing 40% water changes twice a week but more would be better.
    How high was the ammonia?
    Do you know what the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are now?
    I would be surprised if she wasn't pregnant.
  5. RoxannaNew MemberMember

    Thanks for the replies! No dots...She is definitely not pregnant. Yes, i know that about platys and small tanks. Being only 2 and for their size (space wise) the tank volume is theoretically ok, but i know its small in terms of the cycling. We have done regular 25%water changes (twice or 3 times/week). Its the 1st time since Dec that she seems sick (not eating for 2 days). Today i got a hold of a regular stripe quick kit and found the following: pH 5, soft water, 1.0 NO2, 25 NO3, the end % is 46 which indicates the quality is not good but does not have ammonia toxicity. I have cleaned the sponge that comes inside the filter (which i had forgotten to clean, we have mainly used the syphon); someone told me i had to clean the sponge with the same aquarium water and not with tap -despite i rinsed very well). I contacted someone locally that knows (a bit) about aquariums and suggested that because of water quality she might have fungus or parasites (nothing shows), she has not been eating for 2 days. I started the fungus treatment today and at least she is not in the bottom anymore but swimming higher in one spot. Not eating yet, but moving more.
    Oh, Esmeralda is also opening and closing her mouth frequently (she did not do this before). She is not gulping for oxygen on the surface though (sign of ammonia poisoning right?), maybe this latter observation is also relevant. I have seen images of fungus infected platys and she does not show any similar sign (she is light orange, maybe is more difficult to detect white spots). In any case, after i rinsed the filter sponge (it was very dirty) she has been behaving more alert almost instantly...4 hours ago we started the fungus treatment. The person who suggested the treatment said that if she does not get better in 2 days i should start the parasite treatment. He also said that after the treatments i have to change almost all the water to clean up from the meds...and then correct the low pH...I need guidance with the latter please. Thanks much!

    Oh and the kit we got does not measure there a kit to measure ammonia? (we dont get those here but someone said that if the final % of the quick test gave less than 30% it indicated ammonia poisoning. Ours was 46% with  ).
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2017
  6. RoxannaNew MemberMember

    Thanks again for your valuable responses. I gave some additional information above but this is more recent: She has been eating very little for 4 days, treated for fungus (2 days) after that she seemed to improve but yesterday she again did no eat. Because her fins were mostly closed I started the parasites med (1 day), her fins are more open now. Current Parameters: NO3=15, NO2=0, pH=6,5 (SERA quick test). She is not swimming in the bottom anymore but in the middle of the aquarium but mostly on one spot. After the fungus treatment i cleaned the water 40% change as you suggested and used activated charcoal pellets inside the filter. My 2 sons and I really hope we could help Esmeralda. Thanks for your help,
  7. allllienWell Known MemberMember

    I wouldn't worry using meds unless you see signs of disease, I'd just stick with regular water changes and regularly rinsing out the filter sponge in a bucket of the old tank water when doing water changes, I'd say if you hadn't done this in a while, that was likely the problem. Charcoal in the filter is a good idea, especially in such a small tank, you can also try zeolite or a mix of charcoal and zeolite in the filter, it will definitely help, just don't forget charcoal and zeolite need to be replaced every 4 -6 weeks to be effective. They also need to be removed when using medications as they will remove them (which is probably fine for now if you're not treating any specific disease). Hopefully she comes good, is the male still ok?
  8. RoxannaNew MemberMember

    Thanks for your reply! The only sign of illness is the female not eating and not swimming much around plus (because of lack of food i guess) her upper fin is closed most of the time. I do regular water changes (25% 2 times per week) because of the size of tank (after this will change to a 20L one) but this lack of appetite did not happen before. Will search for zeolite what is it for? The male is doing fine and eating normally. Hope her health improves.

  9. allllienWell Known MemberMember

    It sounds more like a water issue, just keep up with the water changes but remember to also rinse out the sludge from the filter sponge (don't rinse it out too thoroughly as it's where most of the good bacteria live, but still squeeze it out fairly well until all the thick sludge is out of it, so it can get better water flow through it). Zeolite works similar to carbon in that it helps to purify the water but also removes ammonia -if there's high ammonia in your tank it might need to be replaced every 2 weeks, but usually is replaced every 4 -6 weeks. You need to get a good quality one though as they're not all the same, I use this type:  
  10. RoxannaNew MemberMember

    Thanks so much! I think i rinsed all the good bacteria from filter can i solve this? (i thought the good bacteria were in the bottom). I just got a biological activator but am not clear as to how to use it: it says that after 1 hour of treating the water with anti chlorine add 20ml every 100L of water. For water changes during 10 days add 10 ml every 10L of water. Current Parameters: NO3=10, NO2=0, pH=6,8 (did a 30% water change plus activated charcoal in filter to clean from parasite meds). Thanks for your prompt replies! Hoping for the best. PS. her upper fin is no longer close to her body, but still not eating -2 full days now- I bought a new food that reduces waste and comes as a tablet -they use it when leaving the aquarium un attended for several days).
  11. allllienWell Known MemberMember

    If you only rinsed out the sponge in tank water, it should be fine as the bacteria also live in the tank gravel, rocks, ornaments etc, it's more of an issue if the tank is newer / less established or doesn't have any substrate etc. (I wasn't sure how well established your tank was). I rinse my sponges out as well I can with established tanks, but less in newer tanks. The biological activator probably isn't necessary but wont hurt, the directions just mean you use a double dose the first time, then half dose after doing water changes. You could just use it at half dose I think, seeing as your tank has already been cycled / isn't new, unless you've accidentally rinsed the filter sponge in tap water which would kill all the good bacteria, then you would have to cycle it again. She may still be eating but just not when you're watching -as long as her belly isn't sunken, I wouldn't worry too much if it's only been 2 days. Is she swimming around normally?
  12. RoxannaNew MemberMember

    Thanks again, really helpful your replies. I rinsed the sponge in tap i need to double the dose of the biological activator? (i applied it last night). How often do i use the activator? (it said weekly). She is not acting normally as when i fed them she swam close to the food. She is opening and closing her mouth...We really appreciate the help.
  13. allllienWell Known MemberMember

    No problem, yes, use a double dose then, and then weekly at half dose (or whenever changing water). Once the tank is cycled again you can stop using it as enough bacteria will then be living in the sponge (or use it until you finish the bottle), and then only rinse the filter sponge in the old tank water that you remove when doing water changes (in a clean bucket that hasn't had any chemicals etc in it). She may be a bit unhappy while the tank is cycling again, you can do more frequent water changes for the first week or 2 until the water is stable, adding the bio activator each time. Hopefully she'll be ok, did you also rinse out the gravel and ornaments etc in tap water, or only the sponge? If only the sponge, it should cycle fairly fast but if you cleaned the whole tank it will take longer. Just keep an eye on her and if she's not looking happy, do a 25 -50% water change each day until the tank is cycled, then back to your normal regime.
  14. RoxannaNew MemberMember

    We continued 25-30% water changes on Sunday and Monday plus the biol activator. Last night though i read about this intestinal parasite Hexamita (and associated Hole in The Head HITH disease), am pretty sure she has that parasite because her poop is whitish, slimy and stringy and she is not eating. So, last night i started the medicine (full effect in 2 days). Am hoping we are on time to cure her (and him, am sure he is also affected but not showing symptoms yet). After 2 days if she does not seem better, i guess i would need to re apply...(i just want to see her eating again, i read that they can stop eating for a really long time). After the meds i will do 25-30% water changes with treated water plus biol activator. I have to wait 30 days for my tank to cycle? (considering i rinsed the sponge and 3 small ornamental plants with tap water - i dried carefully. The gravel i did not rinse only cleaned with siphon). For now i cant do partial water changes (because of medicine) but tomorrow i will start again. I also read that the black dust in activated charcoal could cause HITH because of the impurities deposited in the water. Any information on this regard? Thanks much!

    Esmeralda just passed...She started laying on the bottom. Amazingly and beautifully Jake the male started pushing her up with his body constantly. We helped her with a piece of acrylic so she would stay closer to the surface and the filter. She was well cared. We got a hold of a larger aquarium 25L, Jake currently is in a 16L. My question now is can Platys live on their own? or they need at least 1 or 2 female partners? The boys (and me) here are very sad...we have other pets but fish are so short lived... (platys 1-3 years right?). Its too much of a heart ache for the boys. Suggestions are EXTREMELY appreciated

    Also, i will finish the parasite treatment tomorrow and then do 25% water changes activated charcoal in the filter and biological activator. What is the best approach in this post med transition? (and probably to a new aquarium). Thank you
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2017
  15. Redshark1Fishlore VIPMember

    Sorry to hear that you lost your female Platy. It is sad but all part of keeping small fish which are fragile. I hope you don't give up, but work towards success after setbacks as I have done. You will be rewarded.

    Although it may not be obvious, and I may seem harsh, all this is a valuable lesson for children and not too upsetting for them compared to other life events.

    It is quite possible to keep just one platy (the male). It is not recommended as it is unnatural for a fish to be alone all its life. But it can live.

    The interactions with you and the kids will be important for stimulation.

    You may just need to work out how to provide conditions as healthy as possible. A larger aquarium always helps.

    If keeping the same aquarium I think I would change a little water each day, say 2 litres and I would feed a variety of good quality foods little and often (careful with storage).

    Fish need very little food to maintain the same body size and you will observe this and adjust the amount accordingly. More food leads to more pollution of the water.

    Fish don't have to be short-lived as there are many many species that have long life-spans.

    There are many long-lived sturdy catfish, for example, which can be very satisfying to keep, especially ones that have character, but you have to know their eventual size and plan accordingly.

    My fish are 23 years old. Of course, my Clown Loaches required an investment in a large aquarium so I had to wait a long time to keep them. However, a large aquarium is not so much money compared to other things people purchase such as cars, holidays or even other hobbies.

    15.08.30 Clown Loach Steve Joul (2) - Copy.JPG
    14.01.03 Clown Loach Steve Joul (2) - Copy.JPG
  16. RoxannaNew MemberMember

    Those are beautiful fish! We are mostly traveling, so for now we wont be able to have a massive aquarium. We will move Jake to the 25 L one, but after the Hexamite medicine and then partial water changes with bio activator. When and how can we introduce a new gal? Esmeralda and Jake got along well, and they never seemed stressed. I prefer to keep our population small to really take care know and take care of them. Thanks in advance!
  17. allllienWell Known MemberMember

    Sorry to hear she didn't make it :( Some of the medicines can be a bit harsh, especially when a tank isn't properly cycled. I think if you see white stringy poop, it usually suggests intestinal worms which can be fairly common, it's often treated with Praziquantel:
    I'm not too familiar with hexamite, so unsure if it's worth treating for it or not, a lot of fish problems can have similar symptoms and are often tricky to diagnose (often a broad spectrum treatment or antibiotic is best when unsure of a disease, or an intestinal parasite treatment such as Prazipro if you suspect intestinal parasites of some sort).
    You can introduce a new female or 2, but I'd wait until you have the new tank set up and cycled first, as the old one is really too small to add more fish. It's also best to quarantine any new fish to make sure they don't have any diseases that might be passed on to your remaining fish, so may be worth using the new tank to quarantine a new one (once it's cycled), and then when you're sure it's healthy, you can add your other fish.

    I forgot to mention platys (and swordtails) can live for 3 -5 years, and I've had some live as long as 7 years :)

    Awesome fish btw, I never knew they could get so big :) It's funny, I know goldfish can live a long time, but I'm so used to livebearers living on average 3 -5 years that I forget other fish can have longer lifespans. I guess if you keep livebearers though you usually end up breeding them, and then you can keep a certain line of them going for a long time ;)
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2017
  18. RoxannaNew MemberMember

    Hmm, so maybe the anti parasite was worse for her.....This med was a broad spectrum including metronidazol to treat Hexamite. The poop was not much in volume but hung from her like a filament. The appearance was more slimy than stringy and more almost transparent than white...that is how they described Hexamite, and i also noticed a very slight dent on her fore head (HITH associated disease).
    How long do i have to wait for the tank to cycle? Since we are moving from the 16L tank to the 25L one, do i transfer the same old water and old gravel once its cycled? and then add additional treated water little by little? or we start a brand new tank for both fish? (and i keep the 16L as a hospital).
    Thanks much!
  19. allllienWell Known MemberMember

    It's really hard to say, she may have already been sick for quite awhile, even if it was normal intestinal worms. Some fish can live fine with them, and others will gradually become lethargic and fade away. Don't beat yourself up about it, you did the best you could and it happens from time to time. Sometimes when a fish isn't eating (for whatever reason), the poop can look like a transparent thread, a bit like a ghost of a poop, just because there's nothing the fish has eaten for it to do a proper one. It isn't always indicative of worms, but a fish with worms will typically do the same type of poop. Another thing to look out for is extremely tiny/thin, hair-like red colored worms slightly protuding from the fishes anus, these worms are much harder to treat, and a bit of a nightmare. I got them in my tanks once and couldn't get rid of them -I basically waited a few years for the fish to live out their lifespan before starting over, Camallanus Worms: An Aquariasts Worst Nightmare
    I can't really help you out much with the cycling process (as I have my own strange way of doing it without water testing), so the best way is to look it up on here or find someone more knowledgeable in that department who can help you out with the water testing etc.
    But yes, when you do a water change from the current tank, add the old water to the new tank, and some or all of the gravel (depending if you want to have both tanks set up or not) -If you're not keeping the old tank, and you transfer everything to the new tank, it should pretty much be cycled instantly, as you already have all of the bacteria in the filter and gravel etc, there may still be some adjustment so testing the water is still a good idea. If you're using a new filter in the new tank though, you will still need to go through the cycling process, add the bio starter and test the water until it's safe to add fish (but adding old tank water and bio starter will help speed up the process).
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017