Platy With Sudden Multiple Illnesses



Tank is 23L
been running 5 mos
Aquaclear 20 filter with Aqueon 50w adjustable heater
Current temp 80, just bumped the heater to 82
What is the entire stocking of this tank?
3 adult female platys
1 2mos old platy fry
6 dainty corys
1 tiger loach
java fern, water wisteria, java moss

Water change at least 1x/week (3x in the last 6 days), between 20-50% depending
Water treated with Prime
Just switched to sand as the gravel was too hard to vac adequately around the plants in the the fluval edge

*Parameters - Very Important
Tank was cycled back in January before adding fish
API master kit to test

This AM post 50% water change
Ammonia: 0.25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10ppm
pH: 7.0

3-4 pinches of HikarI pellets 2x/day
I have HikarI brine shrimp and spirulina frozen food but haven't fed that in a couple of weeks (I have a hard time dosing it I usually feed 1/2 a cube and that's all the food they get that day but even that seems like its too much)

Illness & Symptoms
Had all three since late January.
Honey (the gold one) was in time out in a fry tank for bullying and she has been sulking/skittish for weeks, but just started clamping a few days before I put her back into the main tank, the last two days she has occasionally gasped at the surface, but mostly just darting and occasionally (1-3x observed in the last few days) will scratch her face on something in the tank. She might have one white spot on her pectoral fin.
Aoidh (the black, white and orange one) has only started yesterday (she was in the fry tank because she was about to give birth and I don't want to keep the fry which are really too good at hiding in the java moss in the main tank) since returning to the main tank and has one white spot on her tail.
Tapicoa (the black and white one) has been doing fine, has never been as plump as the other two, but was traumatized by the recent substrate change (moving to a temporary tank for an hour or so and then moving back into the tank while the chemistry settled) she is now the sickest of the two with raised white spots, red on the edges of her tail fin and what looks like mild bloating, but she's not clamping as much as the other two.

In a few words, can you explain the symptoms?
white spots, red fin tips, clamping, hiding/scratching? in the moss, darting, occasional surface gulping

Have you started any treatment for the illness?
I thought the clamping and darting might be gill flukes as we had those in the past so on Friday 5/10 I did a large water change and added prazipro and metro, not so much flashing and scratching through post meds as the last time they had gill flukes so...I noticed two days later (yesterday) that tapioca had a couple of white spots and the redness on her fins had spread so I gave another dose of metro. Today even though I just dosed the meds last night everything looked much worse for all three so I did a 50% water change and bumped the temp and they all perked up a little although Aoidh started scratching which was something she hadn't done yet.

Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase?
No, but we lost the male within 30 days (months ago) to a mysterious illness that would not respond to meds.

How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?
Honey's behavior has changed dramatically, she's the biggest of the two and has had to go on 3 timeouts in the last 2 mos for bullying (I think she's trigger by Aoidh's pregnancies...why won't she stop having babies already!!! I know why, just trying to wait out the clock as its only been 4 most since her last male contact). The other two are acting pretty normal aside from the symptoms listed above.

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)
My tank started to crash in April after there were just too many fry and I didn't know what to do with them so I pulled out all the fry to a new 10gal and pulled Honey out for bullying. Honey did great for awhile even during the cycling but I think the lack of plant cover in that tank caused her a little PTSD which is what began her skittish behavior. I recently had to get rid of that additional 10gal tank, but I had been wanting to switch to sand substrate for the corys rather than the gravel I had inherited from the previous owner. So I pulled out the fish into a half gal jar (largest I had) but I couldn't get the loach to vacate his pagoda hiding spot so all the fish were in pretty tight quarters for about an hour or so as I performed the substrate change and then an additional water change with extra vacuuming because the water was that cloudy and took forever to calm down (lots of mulm and sand). After the water was 70% calmed down, I began to acclimate the fish in the jar with the new tank parameters (just like I would a new fish from the store) but I couldn't get the pH to get any closer than 1.0 (jar was 6.8, tank was 7.8) no matter how many times I mixed water. After an hour I started getting worried about the stress of the cramped quarter and made the call to introduce the fish back into the tank. That was Monday. Tapioca and Honey were stunned, just sitting on the bottom hiding in the moss for over an hour. I was really worried about them and thought we might have lost them. Aoidh looks like she's pregnant again even though there were at least 2 fry from her birth last week in the other tank and begin pregnant always stresses her out (clamping, darting, hovering, etc.). Kept an eye on the parameters this week as I saw a small spike in ammonia (never over 0.5ppm) which I assumed was from the substrate change so I added extra Prime and changed the water. When I decided to treat for what I though was gill flukes on Friday I had to remove the charcoal but doing so dumped a bunch of junk back in my tank which I let clear for a couple hours before adding the praziquantel/metro. On Monday when I put tapioca back in the tank there was a tiny notch on her tail fin but no discoloration so I figured it could have been from the moving back and forth. On Friday I noticed that Tapioca's fin issues had started to spread and discolor and there was a red dot on the back of her ventral fin. Yesterday, came home last night to some white spots and continued reddening on the edges of her fins. Today, white spots are still pretty bad but maybe better than last night but she looks a little bloated and I can't tell if there is scale involvement or if its just the white spots.

Will take and post pictures ASAP



Hello, lovefishgram!

I'm sorry to hear about your platies! I keep guppies and am not the platy master but I know that I have had my fair share of disease (unfortunately, nearly unavoidable in the hobby) and can absolutely understand the struggle and stress.

There were a few things that stuck out to me in the information that you provided, the first being the size of the tank. If I'm correct, 23 liters is a little over 6 gallons. That's quite a small space for the fish that you have; I would not place most of them in a tank less than 10 gallons. The loach is likely suited for a much larger aquarium as well (if it is a clown loach, which I have heard referred to as a tiger loach, this is especially true.)

The 0.25 ppm reading of ammonia is also a potential cause for concern, since cycled tanks should have 0 ppm. It is possible that changing the substrate removed BB and caused a mini-cycle. I suspect that the stress of transport and the pH differences as well as, potentially, the ammonia reading, may have provided an opportunity for disease. When fish are stressed, their immune systems suffer.

I can't see any white spots in the s, unfortunately, although I did spot the red area. Are the white spots on the edges of her fins? It may be a case of fin rot, brought on stress, but I'm hesitant to confirm that. (If it is, the praziquantel/metro will not do much in the way of curing it).
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Thank you so much for your response!

I agree with what you said about the potential cause of illness, anyone of those things could have caused a problem, but I have added in extra Prime which, as I understand it, detoxifies ammonia up to 1ppm . I also think that the spike is either ammonia stirred up from the mulm that was under the gravel and/or a mini-cycle.

As far as stocking goes, the tank is 6.6 gal fluval edge and part of the substrate change out was to increase the circulating water by decreasing the amount of substrate (1.5" of sand). I also think I have a few more fish than are appropriate. They all came in for particular reasons: the platys were recommended by the friend who gave me the tank (before I knew better), I've tried reducing their group but they aren't happy in lower numbers, the corys are a dwarf variety and as such are all less than 1" and again happier in their sextuplet as it were, the loach is a zebra loach that was forced on me by my LFS as a solution to my snail population when they were out of assassin snails (he's adorable and is by far my favorite fish now even though we hardly ever catch a glimpse of him). I feel kind of stuck on that front as I live in an apartment and can't really keep a larger tank. I'd like to re-home the platys but have been unsuccessful in finding homes for their offspring much less themselves. I do test the water regularly and do frequent water changes to keep the Nitrates below 10ppm.

As far as the illness goes, no more meds until tomorrow. The tank temp is at 83 F right now, I've read conflicting reports on how stressful the heat is for the fish so I'm not sure whether to up the temp or just wait until tomorrow, do a second water change and begin Paraguard or another yet to be named options?. The white dots are hard to see in 2D, but they are obviously raised white dots all over her back and tail maybe 12 give or take. In the picture below, you can see 2 spots on her tail, there are also several on her back one on top which almost looks like its hanging off accept that its way too small to be an anchor worm I think not as notable around the gills and maybe a few on her pectoral and ventral fins.



Prime would definitely help!

Considering the stocking, the situation and history definitely makes this tricky. Your approach with water changes and testing is good and, although I would still highly recommend a larger for the increased space, I understand that rehoming fish is difficult. I can't offer any other solutions than returning some fish to the store in the future but, for now, the stocking is not too bad. (I'm glad to hear that it's a zebra loach, not a clown loach!) I know that I would be focusing on the platies and taking on one problem at a time is good.

It's possible that the high temperature may be stressing her to some extent. Oxygen levels are lower at higher temps and metabolisms are higher (in the long run, lifespans are shorter.) But, as a temporary situation and, as long as there's good aeration, I wouldn't consider it super stressful. Why did you increase the temp?

I agree that the white dots don't look like anchor worms. The first thing that I thought of, seeing them, was actually ich. The fish often have clamped fins and they flash along with the very signature little white specks, in my experience. Paraguard treats external parasites, so it's possible that it could work for ich (since that is an external parasite), but I have never used Paraguard, so I can't say for sure. Raising the heat would definitely be a good choice if that is what it is (I know that many people have claimed to cure it through that alone, at a temp of around 86 for 2 weeks). I would recommend looking into the possibility of ich yourself, however, as I don't want to make any definite claims on what this is. It does seem very likely however, now that I can see it.

It doesn't explain the issue with the fins, however, which I still suspect to be some kind of fin rot. I agree with what you said in your title; it looks like there are multiple illnesses. Do her fins look like they're receding very slowly, like a gradual disintegration beginning on the edges?
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rainydays said:
Do her fins look like they're receding very slowly, like a gradual disintegration beginning on the edges?
Yes. I think so. They all have a thin translucent border at the edges of their tails with the variegated black it often times looks ragged but up close you can see that the translucent part is intact. I’ve only conclusively notes it on her tail fin, but everywhere there is red, it looks like the fun is receding.

Normal temp is 78-80. She looks more bloated tonight so I am a little worried about the high temp.

My take on Paraguard is that it’s a pretty gentle broad spectrum med. it didn’t save my male a few months ago, but he didn’t have this kind of spots.

She’s still not particularly interested in food but her energy is better, I am worried about the rapid progression of the fins and bloat. I’m guessing Paraguard won’t treat those, but I have almost every other kind of med from my battles for the male back in Feb: kanaplex, furan-2, metroplex, prazipro, Paraguard & homemade melafix and pimafix. I’m my own fish pharmacy!

I guess the good news is that the Cory’s are looking fine still (happily schooling post water change today). The bad news is that I think one of the three Platys had more fry today at lest two that I glimpsed. Finding/removing them is going to be my next challenge as there’s a forest of java moss in this tank.


I know that many people recommend simply keeping water conditions as pristine as possible for fin rot, likely since it often occurs because of water conditions.

That has never been successful, in my experience, although this could be because the fin rot that I've had came out of nips/tears + stress. If the fins are still receding despite keeping water parameters at 0, 0, and <10, I would turn to medication. Nitrofurazone in a hospital tank has always been my go-to for fin rot and it's worked on several of my guppies. I use it in Jungle Fungus Cure (a bit of a misleading name as it's an antibiotic) but it is also the active ingredient in Furan-2, I believe.

But, if you go with this route at all, I would most definitely cure the ich first before tackling the fin rot.

As for the bloating, have you tried feeding boiled and de-shelled peas or daphnia?
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Post AM water change parameters are 7.2pH, 80F, 0/0/5: "pristine" achieved

White spots are fewer but still present on Tapioca and appear to be gone on the other two
Tapioca's fins are no longer red on the edges, I can definitely see where there is fin loss but it doesn't appear to be progressing.
There is a small bruise? on Tapioca's tummy. I've seen these on her before as she is practically translucent, but they've gone away on their own. This one is small but I will keep an eye on it.

She also continues to be bloated and if not "pinecone" then slightly ruffled scales. I will get some peas when I go out today, but she's still not super pro on eating. The other two happily munch on the java moss if I take too long to feed them but tend to gobble up the food quickly. Is there a good method for trying to get her to eat the peas before Honey and Aoidh dig in? I have fed them frozen food (mixed with tank water) from a pipette before which has sometimes worked to get individual fish fed but only if they're interested.

I do have a 2.5gal with a small non-adjustable heater, that I have used as a hospital tank I the past. Its currently occupied by 6 abandoned (a friend was going to take them but backed out), tiny, platy fry that have yet to go back to the LFS. I could move her there to treat but, my question is three fold:

If the fin rot and ich (I'm pretty sure it was ich) appear to be resolving after improving water conditions, what am I treating for? Root cause of the bloat but what? and;
Even though the ich is gone I still need to treat the main tank because now the eggs are everywhere waiting for an opportunity to hatch and strike right? So Paraguard daily for a couple of weeks?
If I'm treating the main tank is it better to leave her in to avoid the stress or pull her out to treat more aggressively? She's my 6yo's favorite fish :-(

The other 2 continue to clamp off and on and Honey still gulps at the top a few times/day but no other signs.

Thank you again for sticking with me on this one. Its nice to feel not alone while I wrestle with all of this.


It's great to hear that Tapioca's fins aren't getting any worse! Especially the disappearance of the red streak. If you see any transparent edging on the areas that have receded, depending on how much fin she lost, it's a sign of healing.

If the issues with fin rot and ich are resolving, then there is no need to isolate fish to treat them in a hospital tank. If those particular problems worsen at all, then you would be treating for them. Ich should treated in the display tank and it should be treated before removing Tapioca for any fin rot treatment.

Vacuuming the substrate very thoroughly will go a long way to remove ich spores.

As for the bloat, I would definitely wait to see how she responds to the pea and if the bloating lessens. The "ruffled" scales are worrying, however. Kanaplex and Epsom salt is the answer that is said to work for some cases of dropsy if this ends up being the case. Hopefully, however, that isn't what it is (and I don't want to jump to conclusions) since you did say that she's not really pineconing. Again, I would wait to see if Tapioca improves with a pea.

Honey's gulping doesn't sound abnormal if she is not constantly doing it. My guppies skI'm the surface of the water a few times a day as well, without adverse effect.

I'm not sure what Tapioca's bruise could be and would just keep an eye on it.

lovefishgram said:
Thank you again for sticking with me on this one. Its nice to feel not alone while I wrestle with all of this.
P.S. Of course! Issues like this with fish are always stressful and we don't always know what's going on, unfortunately. I just hope to help as much as possible.
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