Platy With Clear Poop

  • #1
I just got 3 platys about a week ago. One passed yesterday (I think due to stress, and because it was a weak fish), but the other two look perfectly healthy and are eating great. The only problem is, they both sometimes have clear poop. I have seen them both with normal looking poop (and I see normal poop on the bottom of the tank), but I also sometimes see clear poop hanging off of them. I have read that this could be internal parasites, but I heard some people say that it just happens to their fish sometimes. I don't want to treat the tank without being sure, and other than the clear poop, my fish seem completely fine. Is this internal parasites, or is it just normal for platys?
  • #2
This is a question you see a lot. I don't think it's normal to have consistently clear poop, even with normal looking poops in between. Whether or not it definitely indicates parasites - that part I don't know.
Do you know the genders of the fish?
Have you kept platy before? Having some familiarity with their usual appearance and behavior will help you spot discrepancies.
Are you familiar with fish symptoms of illness? If not, I would look them up and familiarize yourself with them so that you are better able to spot them: listing, flashing, clamping, etc. Report back if you notice anything different.
You might also try to snap some photos of your fish. That way if you notice a grey spot or a white spot a few days later (possible indications of different illnesses), you can go back and make sure it wasn't there before.
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  • #3
Yes, they are both girls. I have never kept any fish before, but I have done a lot of research (I know, hardly a standin for experience, but it helps a bit). I know a bit about symptoms of illness, and as far as I can tell, my fish are displaying none. I know that they don't have clamped fins (the one that died did this, so I know what it looks like). They shimmyed a bit when I first put them in, and they also gulped for breath one of the first days, but I think that these were because of high nitrates (my nitrates were at 40 when I added them, I think that I had messed up the test the day before). I did a big water change, and they haven't done these since, but here are some things I noticed that might be weird:

1) They sometimes let air bubbles out of their mouths when feeding. 2) They sometimes hover like top dwellers just under the surface of the tank (this doesn't seem like a symptom of being sick, though). 3) They will often grab food, spit it out, then grab it again and actually eat it. They also grab anything floating in the tank in their mouths, but this seems pretty normal. I can't think of any other symptoms, but I'll let you know if I notice anything else.

I love the suggestion about taking pictures of them. I'll try and do that as soon as possible, and I think that I'll do that with all of my new fish.
  • #4
Research counts for a lot!
You're right, none of that really stands out to me as being obvious signs of illness.
Did you just recently get a lot of fish other than these platy females? Are they all in the same tank?
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  • #5
No, the female platys are the only fish in the tank (they are currently the only fish that I own). They went into a newly cycled 20 gallon aquarium. Before I got them, they were in a tank with other fish at the LFS (I think there were also some German Blue Rams and plecos in there). I am wondering if its possible that just the change from the waters at my LFS to my tank combined with the stress of moving and the new food that they're eating might make them poop weird.

I will admit that there was a dead fish in the tank (at the fish store), but the place I go to almost never has dead fish in their tanks (they seem really nice, and they're tanks look great), and it was a German Blue Ram. I know I still probably shouldn't have gotten them from the tank, but since all of the other fish looked healthy, I decided to get the platys anyway. Could this explain what's going on?
  • #6
Oh good. When you said you were going to take photos of all your new fish I thought maybe you got a lot of fish at once. But you mean in the future
Usually the things that are associated with weird poops are parasites, pregnancy, and constipation.
Since your fish were in a mixed tank at the pet store, they're almost definitely pregnant. Hopefully this isn't new information to you, but if it is, congrats!
That definitely doesn't mean that they don't also have parasites though. They could have both fry and parasites.
The stress of the transition may have contributed to the death of the first fish, but it seems unlikely that it caused the death directly because it happened a whole week later. What seems more likely is that it was already afflicted with something and the transition exacerbated the problem.
I know none of these are definite answers and it's kind of frustrating. It's just really hard to tell for certain with fish until there are very obvious symptoms, and then it's often too late to save the most symptomatic fish.
So you have a couple of options:
1 - Monitor the fish. Cut back on feeding if you think you might be overfeeding (it's very easy to do). Maybe feed them a pea now and then (let me know if you want more info on this anti-constipation technique). See if new symptoms arise or the poop improves.
2 - Take the signs of dead fish and stringy poop to mean they probably have a parasite and go ahead and medicate.
Over medicating is a problem, but given this information I think I would go ahead and treat. The fact that your fish store appears clean but they had dead fish seems like a sign that those fish died of an illness rather than poor water conditions.
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  • #7
I think that I'll go ahead and get some medicine from Amazon (how does HikarI Prazipro sound for this? Would you recommend any particular medication?), and in the meantime I'll just keep an eye on them. Unfortunately, I don't have any peas, and I also don't live close to a store. What would it do to the fish if I medicate them and they aren't actually sick? Also, how will I know if the medicine works?
  • #8
Prazipro is what I bought and used in a very similar situation to this and it was basically successful. I lost one of the two platy, because I was unsure and waited and the symptoms got too severe. The other platy and all of her fry I still have. So I think it's pretty safe to use.
Since then, I've learned of General Cure, which has both the main ingredient in Prazipro and an additional ingredient used to treat parasites (Metronidazole). Other medications are available with this combination as well, and some are listed in this thread:
Medications-ingredients-disease treated
I would probably get one with this combo, just to cover more bases.

Well, if the fish don't develop other symptoms and you don't see clear poop anymore, it probably worked. It won't happen immediately though. And right after you add it you may see some other symptoms, such as flashing, as a reaction to the medication. It should just be initially and they should be mild symptoms, just the fish adjusting to a new substance in the water. Follow the dosing on the medication's directions and they should be fine.
Some things to note about medicating:
If you have a filter with a carbon insert, you'll need to remove it. Continue to run the filter with the sponge inside though. You'll need that to retain your cycle and also for aeration.
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  • #9
In that case, I think that I'll go with the API General Cure. Also, I'm sure that it will be good to have on hand. Thank you for your help, I'll let you know how things go.
  • #10
Yeah, keep me posted.
Good luck!
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Alright, I just dosed the medicine. The fish seem fine, they became suddenly very active when I put it in, but I think that they thought it was feeding time. Also, should I just feed them normally while medicating, or should I fast them for 2-4 days?
  • #12
I would feed them regularly. Keep their strength up.
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  • #13
Alright, then I'll just keep up their normal schedule.

I just put in the second dose of medicine. Since I added the first, they actually seem more active, and their fins are more extended (they never had them tucked in, but they were apparently not fully extended either). I think that this must mean the medicine has started working. I'm still seeing some clear poop, though.
  • #14
What's your feeding regimen like? What kind of food, how much, and how often.
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  • #15
I feed my fish New Life Spectrum Thera A small fish formula (the .5 mm pellets). I feed them once a day, around 2-3 O'clock, and I give them a tiny pinch of fish food (I don't think that its always gone within 30 seconds, but it never takes them more than a minute to eat). How could my feeding impact the fish's reaction to the medicine?

Also, a few new things that I noticed yesterday are: One platy had perfectly healthy poop last night (yay!). The other one did still have the clear looking poop, though. Today, I have noticed that one (the one that had clear poop last night) is swimming slightly weird. As opposed to being straight up and down as she swims, sometimes she is leaning a bit to one side (other times she swims normally, though). I am hoping that this is just a weird side affect from the medicine, but I'll keep a close eye on it.
  • #16
Partly seeing if you are overfeeding, which could cause constipation. It sounds like the amount you're feeding is perfect though. Dried foods (like flakes, and probably pellets) are more likely to contribute to constipation when overfed because they absorb water and get larger. Since fish usually eat them right away, this happens inside the fish. But again, in small quantities, this seems unlikely. Breaking up the feedings doesn't hurt, just as a side note. Two smaller meals rather than the one large would also make them less likely to be constipated.
BUT something you could do with these dried foods is this. Sometimes people soak food in internal parasite medication and feed it to the fish to get it more directly to the target area. From what I've read online (posts from people who say they spoke to the manufacturer's customer service reps) General Cure should not be used to soak food in and then feed. But what you can do is take a little of the treated water out of the tank and soak the food in that before feeding (just the quantity you're going to feed right then). This should be fine, as the medication is only present in a concentration that the fish are taking in all day anyway. Additionally, by pre-soaking the food, you make it less likely that the fish will be constipated from the food expanding in their digestive tract as it takes on water (because it won't take on more water).
The treatment was pretty recent, so it's understandable that a fish might not be cured yet. The symptom you described, called listing, is concerning though. It should not be a side-effect of the medication as far as I know. Frequently, it is related to a problem with the fish's swim bladder, which can have many causes. Most common cause is constipation, but parasites or a secondary bacterial infection from the parasite could have caused this. Also I guess pregnancy can sometimes affect the swim bladder.
Have your fish had any fry yet?
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  • #17
Thank you for the suggestion, I think that maybe I should start soaking the food (I'll begin with tomorrow's feeding), since I've also read that expanding food can cause problems for the fish. I have not seen any fry, and they didn't even look fat when I got them, however, I noticed today and yesterday that the one having problems is starting to look a bit fat. I have also seen this bizarre spiral in what I think is the fish's stomach (my platys are naturally a bit see-through, its actually pretty cool), and I'm not sure if this is normal or not. I thought that it might be related to parasites. I think that for now I'll just watch her (she hasn't done it since this morning, so I'm not sure what the deal is, maybe she was tired?).
Also, is it possible that the one platy is just now being affected by the parasites, because she caught it from the other one?
  • #18
A spiral? Is it in the area of the gravid spot?

Fatness could be pregnancy, but often bloating is present with swim bladder issues.
I'm sure it's possible that one fish was infected more recently by the other, but you would think the symptoms wouldn't be as severe given that the treatment was already underway. It seems more likely that either the fish showing symptoms now was just more heavily infested (hopefully not beyond treatment) or has something else going on like a secondary infection.
Watching her, soaking the food, and continuing the treatment sounds like a good plan. Hope she pulls through.
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  • #19
No, the spiral is further up, in what I think is the stomach. You can literally see the spine and internal organs on my platys, and I'm not sure if the spiral is just part of the organ or not. It's probably normal, and I'm just overreacting. Anyway, I'll let you know if I see any new behaviors, or if she gets better.

I just finished the fish treatment by doing a 25% water change and replacing the filter. I also went ahead and checked my parameters, and they are looking good. While doing some research earlier, I read that not all fish will show the gravid spot, and I am starting to think that maybe my girl is just pregnant. A lot of the weird things she's doing are signs of pregnancy, and she is a female platy .

Also, I tried soaking the fish food, and it all sank and the platys couldn't find it. I ended up having to take the soaked food out, and put in some fresh not-soaked food, so that the fish could find it. Any suggestions?
  • #20
They were never able to find it, or just didn’t find it immediately? They’re probably used to looking for food on the surface, but when they get hungry they’ll forage on the bottom and find it. If you don’t think so, maybe try just dropping it really obviously in front of their faces? Other than that I’m not really sure what you can do outside of trying a different food.
Yes, not all platy have a visible gravid spot. If you got your female platy from a store where they were kept in a mixed tank, they’re almost guaranteed to be pregnant. Not sure if you encountered this in your reading as well, but a female platy can retain sperm and give birth to as many as three broods over the course of months from just one male encounter. Apparently each brood can have a ton of fry too. So far mine have only had like 10 each time. And the adults don’t seem to eat them, though maybe they did initially when the fry were first born and less mobile.
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  • #21
They seemed to have a really hard time finding the food, and I watched them for several minutes after the food was put in. I will see about some different tricks for getting it to the fish, but they don't seem to be having issues now, so I won't try too hard if soaking the food doesn't end up working.

The store I got my fish from seemed to have only female platys in the tank (I didn't check every one, but of the several I did check, they were all girls). It is possible that before they were in my LFS, though, they were with males. Fortunately, she has stopped swimming lop-sided. I am wondering if maybe she bumped into something hard, and that is what caused her to swim funny (the current on my filter was a bit strong, I've since turned it upwards, so its not as bad).

As a more general update, both of the platys seem to be doing great. They are both looking more vibrant and healthy, and they are both swimming very strong. They have also started swimming excitedly along the front of the aquarium every time I enter the room, which is super adorable (even though they're really just wondering if I'll feed them ). I also think that they have grown a bit since I got them from the fish store.
  • #22
I'll confess, I don't soak flakes before feeding them to my fish. I just break the flakes up really tiny and spread them out so it takes the fish longer to eat all the pieces and hope that they absorb a little water in that time. But I try to mix it up and give them other foods and sometimes do a fast day. Seems a lot of fishkeepers swear by a fast day once per week to give the fish a day to clear their system.

But anyway, Yay! So glad they're doing well!
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  • #23
I might try that, putting a tiny bit of food on one side of the tank, and another tiny bit on the other. The platys are super quick, though, so I don't know how much this will help .

Anyway, its been several days since medicating them, and the girls seem to be doing great. They are looking healthy, swimming strongly, and they even seem to be pooping normally (I have not seen any long strings of poop, even the correct color, attached to them in a few days). At this point I'll continue to keep a close eye on them, but I think that its safe to say that they are probably over the parasites. Thank you so much for all of your help .
  • #24
No problem! Take care

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