Platys hovering in place

  • #1
My platy couple has been just hovering in place, rather than swimming all over the tank lately. The boy platy was introduced to the girl about 1 1/2 weeks ago. The first couple of days, the boy platy was hiding most of the time. Then he started chasing the girl platy around for about 2 days. Ever since then, both are just kind of hiding and hovering, not swimming around. Anyway idea what the problem might be? I set the temperature to be 75F. The tank has been going for about 4 weeks now, should be fully cycled by now, right?
  • #2
They may just have settled in and feel comfortable in the tank, especially if they're not showing any other obvious signs of disease and are eating normally. I don't think platys are among the more active fish (not like danios, who are constantly zipping around) -- they just kinda loll around the tank most of the time.

Are they the only fish in the tank?
  • #3
Well, my Platys are always very active unless they're sick. Just sitting around is a sign something is wrong. There are several possibilities....

Livebearers should not be kept in pairs. There should be at least 2 females for every male, which keeps the male from constantly harassing the same female.

Did you quarintine your new Platy before adding him to the tank? It is always a good idea to have a separate tank to q new fish in. Livebearers especially are overbred and inbred and are becomming sickly, and many pet store livebearers carry diseases, which makes q'ing them very important.

I assume since you ask if the cycle's done you don't have test kits. It's important to have tests because there is really no way of knowing if the cycle is done otherwise. It's possible the ammonia spiked after you added the new Platy.

My guess would be that the male you added carried in a disease, although there are a lot of things that could potentially be stressing them. Can you see any symptoms of disease? Flashing, spots, sunken belly, etc?
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  • #4
The 2 platys are the only fish in that tank at the moment. I have another tank with a couple of guppies. My guppies definitely swim around much more than the platys.

I want to add more fish but not till the tank is fully cycled. I did quarantine the new platy for about a week before I put him in with his girlfriend. Although I hear the quarantine period should be about 4 weeks. I got a bit impatient.

I've had my water tested and the ammonia level's not too bad but I think the nitrate/nitrite might be a bit high. I'm using water conditioner and bacteria supplement once a day trying to bring the water quality under control. My LFS owner tells me to use a drop per gallon of the bacteria supplement every night till the tank is fully cycled. I add a few drops of the SeaChem water conditioner every night as well 'cause it says it helps with ammonia control. Other than the lethargic hovering, they appear to be healthy. I don't see any spots or sunken belly. They do sometimes nibble at the gravel and the fake plants. As for flashing, I do see that they like to hide in my fake plants and occasionally rubbing themselves against the leaves. However, they don't seem to be doing that excessively or intentionally.

I read some other posts and someone mentioned about lights. I just started an indoor garden that has the light on 16 hours a day. It's about 6 feet from the aquarium. I find the platys hovering in the shadow of the plants. Could that be the problem that they can't sleep because the lights are on? If so, I'll have to move my indoor plants...
  • #5
A q period of around 2 weeks is good.

If you are getting nitrite readings then the tank is not cycled. High nitrites could be causing your Platys distress. It's best if you can get your own test kit rather than having to drive to the lfs every time you need your water tested. If there is ever an emergency/sudden illness the first thing you always should do is test the water, so it's a good idea to have your own test kit on hand. The API liquid test kits are best (avoid dip tests).

What is the bacteria supplement you're using? It wouldn't hurt anything but most cycling products don't do much either.

If you see them rubbing against plants even occasionally then they probably have a parasite problem. Fish almost never flash unless they have parasites. If you see them do it twice in the same week or several times in a row then something is bothering them...they don't have to be doing it constantly. If you can't see any parasites on them then they may have gill flukes, in which case you should treat with an anti-parasite med (and I've also found salt baths helpful).

It's possible that the light is bothering them. However, has the garden been there the whole time you've had your Platys? If so it sounds to me like the male brought in a parasite with him, and the infection got bad enough to start noticing symptoms a few days after putting him in the main tank. I had Platys with gill flukes and they did the same thing, were fine for the first few days and then started sitting under the plants with their fins clamped, occasionally flashing.
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  • #6
The bacteria supplement is the Microbe-Lift Special Blend. The garden has only been there since Saturday night. They were fairly happy and swimming around on Friday. Ehm, I think there might be a correlation. I seriously hope they don't have gill fluke. I'll head down to the LFS and get some aquarium salt tomorrow.
  • #7
Is it "Prime" that you're using for your water conditioner? I do think the lighting would affect them but can't rule out the possibility of something that needs meds. would it be possible to see pictures of them? do you have an airstone in the tank? are their gills red or purplish?
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  • #8
I'm using and Microbe Lift. I have bubbles, lights and filters all on timers. I have the AquaVista 500 all-in-one wall mount aquarium. There's not much I need to do, or can do really... The sunset wag seems to have redder gills than the blue mickey mouse. But, I can't be sure if it's just the lighting or not. I've got some videos on YouTube to share...

I've been reading up on freshwater diseases. Here are some of the things my platys do: hovering and flapping their fins; hanging out at the bottom near the gravel; hanging out head down vertically; hiding behind fake plants; coming up to the surface to eat but not too enthusiastically; nibbling at ornament, fake plants and gravel. I'm a fish newbie here. I'm not sure what's normal and what's not...

PS: is my sunset wag pregnant?
  • #9
It sounds like ammonia/nitrite toxins are getting to your fish. I'm curious -- when you say you have the 'bubbles, lights, and filters all on timers', does that mean you don't run your filters 24/7? You should, since the filter is one of the main sources of biological filtration (the gravel and objects in the tank being the other).
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  • #10
The AquaVista 500 has a computer control of when bubbles, filters, lights and heater go on. I have no control. I can select from a few preset modes and that's about it. From what I can tell, there's no carbon filter that I need to change. To set it up, I put in the background, dumped the gravel in, setup the tray for the bio balls and turned it on. That's it. I'm beginning to think that was a waste of money investment. It's only a 6.6 gallon tank. Other than the fact that it looks nice, it's really limited. I can't use live plants or snails. It's too small to have an algae eater so my only option is shrimps for algae control. But, shrimps typically need really good quality water, which is difficult to maintain in a 6.6g. Sigh...
  • #11
Yea, I'm not too fond of 'closed' systems (electronics or fish tanks or otherwise) -- I like to have the option to upgrade or change things.
  • #12
I saw the videos and I didn't see anything wrong with them. I thought you had said that their fins are clamped but reading back, I don't see that in any of your posts. Wonder where I got that from? (must be the :;z again)

If their fins aren't clamped (they weren't in the videos) then they likely are perfectly healthy.

quote: "I've been reading up on freshwater diseases. Here are some of the things my platys do: hovering and flapping their fins; hanging out at the bottom near the gravel; hanging out head down vertically; hiding behind fake plants; coming up to the surface to eat but not too enthusiastically; nibbling at ornament, fake plants and gravel. I'm a fish newbie here. I'm not sure what's normal and what's not..."

Hanging out at he bottom and nibbling at stuff for food is normal behavior (they like to eat algae and other bits of food). If they're constantly floating head down then something's wrong, but they may also be scavenging for food on the bottom. Not sure what you mean by hovering and flapping their fins? Are they "shimmying" in place with their fins clamped? Platys should be enthusiastic about eating time, but since they're new it's not necessarily a reason for concern. Most fish take a while to figure out meal time.

quote: "The AquaVista 500 has a computer control of when bubbles, filters, lights and heater go on."
Are the filter and heater on all the time?

It's likely the garden lights are bothering them if you can't find any other problems.
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  • #13
What I mean by "hovering and flapping their fins" is that their fins are going really fast but they are not moving anywhere, i.e. swimming in place. The female platy likes to swim head down, again in place and not moving anywhere. It's as if she is hooked by the tail and trying to swim downward to get away from the hook but can't get anywhere.

They are constantly hiding behind stuff so every time I go to check on them, I need to look all over the place to find them. When I first got them, they swam all over the tank much more.

I think the filter goes on 45 minutes and off for 15 minutes per hour. I'm not sure when the heater goes on at all. The heater is behind the background. I do see that the temperature is being controlled by the computer chip and ranging from 74F to 77F.

I bought some aquarium salt and a master water test kit at the store today. I'll be monitoring more closely for the next week or two.
  • #14
I think the filter goes on 45 minutes and off for 15 minutes per hour. I'm not sure when the heater goes on at all. The heater is behind the background. I do see that the temperature is being controlled by the computer chip and ranging from 74F to 77F.

That's definitely not a good thing. The filter needs to be on continuously. When it is off for more than a couple minutes the bacteria start dying off because they are not getting food. If you can't set the filter to be on all the time then you need to get a filter separately that you can control. If you get a new filter put the used media from the old filter into the new one (there will be some bacteria on the old media and this will help seed the new one).

A fluctuation of 3 degrees per day is stressful to your fish. There is no reason it should go up and down that much. It's okay if, say, your tank is a few degrees warmer in the summer than in the winter, but it shouldn't be varying noticeably on a daily basis. Again this can be solved by buying a separate heater that you can set. The Marineland Stealth heaters are the best and most accurate ones imo (many others on here use Stealth heaters too).

The hiding sounds like it could be influenced by the light from the garden. However, hovering in place (especially head down) is a common sign of illness in livebearers.

That's good you got a test kit...posting your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels would be helpful. I wouldn't add salt directly to the tank (it's not necessary and may be harmful to other fish you may want to get), but keep it on hand in case a salt bath is prescribed. (Salt is great for diseases like ich and parasites.)
  • #15
i've seen our platys often 'hover' with their fins going, mainly their pectoral fins, but the others do move some to keep the fish in place (water currents). Often they're checking something out when they do that. Is that what yours are doing? I remember that tank - very interesting idea but it sounds like they make it too automatic and there must be a way for you to take over control from the chips in it.
  • #16
I've also seen all three of my platys 'hover' in place for a while, at least when they're not pretending that they're corys and swimming around with the cory shoal.
  • #17
Yeah I was just watching my Platys and it occurred to me that they do hover in place a lot. There's a difference between hovering in place to check something out, and hovering due to disease--in which case the fish will be sort of wobbling with their fins clamped.
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  • #18
Thanks everyone for the great input. I've moved my platys to my 10 gallon tank and they are "happier" in that they swim around. But, they are both also getting harassed by the 2 male guppies. The guppies chase the platys all over the tank, one platy at a time, while the other platy tries to hide.

I'm seriously considering returning that fancy but rather useless tank which cost me an arm and a leg. I bought a bowfront 28 gallon tank yesterday. I will soon be able to have more fish, i.e. at least one more girl platy and 4 more girl guppies to keep the boys happy.

On the good news front, I think my girl platy's pregnant with fry ready to come. I've had her for about a month now but I've only had her boyfriend with her for about 1 week. She's getting gigantic and I can see little black dots in her belly. I can't wait to see the babies come out, if they don't get eaten by their parents and mean guppy uncles first.

I have fry! How very exciting! We had a power outage this evening. By candle light, I went and checked on my fish. I noticed the prego platy looked thinner. I thought, ehm, candle light doing tricks. When the power came back on, I checked on her again, and the little black dots in her gravid spot were all gone! I didn't see any fry at first so I thought maybe she aborted 'cause of the stress of being in a not yet fully cycled tank. Then I thought, fry like to hang out at densely populated areas so I checked my fake plants. Low and behold, I saw a little thing with black eyes and orange head just resting on a leaf! I was so excited that I moved all the adults to a new tank that I started just yesterday. I felt responsible for the little guy even though it might be the only one survived the birth/after birth, being that 4 adult livebearers were in the same tank with him. After I moved the adults and put a nylon stocking over the filter intake, I looked around some more, then I saw a little cluster of them hanging out on the gravel. I counted up to 7. Hopefully there are more when they get a bit bigger so that I can see.

I wonder if they platys were hovering 'cause the mommy was about to pop...
  • #19
congrats on the fry! Guppies are like that, especially with females and they may have been trying to get her to abort the fry so they could have snacks. We currently have 2 red fancy male guppies in a tank with female platys, but they're less timid I guess and stood up to the guppies. The largest platy is a big Platy and the guppies now keep to themselves.

be on the lookout for more fry the next few days. Platys usually drop a few more in the few days after the initial drop.
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  • #20
Ehm, the female platy is now in a tank with 1 male platy and 8 guppies. I seriously doubt any additional fry will survive. It's odd that the male guppies are still chasing after the platys and completely ignoring the fine ladies swimming around them. The ladies are, however, a bit smaller than the guys. I wonder maybe it's because they are not sexually mature yet so the boys are still bullying the platys for fun. My male guppies are about 1 inch long while the female are only about 1/2 inch long.

You were so right, COBettaCouple. This morning I was having breakfast and looking at the community tank where the mom and 9 other fish swam. I saw a tiny fry darting behind the filter intake! I've since moved the mom to yet a different tank hoping she can finish her business in peace (without the guppies nudging her for snacks). Last count, 12 fry.
  • #21
they're fun to catch, aren't they?
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  • #22
Yes, I find myself hovering and inspecting the breeding tank counting how many fry I can find. I did a water change today 'cause the nitrate level was high. I hope I didn't toss out any fry with the water!

I also like to check out my guppy ladies and see if I can spot any pregnant ones. They swim so fast that it's hard for me to tell either way. My platys have been hiding again. Not sure why... They are in their own tank, with no guppies bothering them. I wonder if it's the water quality. This is the small tank that I thought had issues. Will have to test the water and see...
  • #23
Water quality would have to be pretty bad before it'd bother Platys.

Congrats on the fry...they're cute aren't they?
  • #24
It's perhaps too much, but I do a 3-part system for moving water from the tank to the drain. I move the water to a container from the tank, check for fry, then move it to another container, check for fry, then slowly pour the water out into the sink with the drain stopped up, check for fry, then unstop the drain and let the water out. Sounds crazy, but even checking like that, I have found fry swimming in the water in the sink on the 3rd check.
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  • #25
Pregnant again!

My platy just dropped fry last week and now she's gigantic again. It looks like she's ready to pop. She seems bigger than she was right before she dropped fry last time. Do they get progressively bigger, where the belly is?
  • #26
Not sure but I think they tend to have larger batches after their first few. Also it's possible she didn't drop all her fry at once, sometimes they drop them over a period of a few days or occasionally even longer. Again congrats on the fry!
  • #27
HI Miraloma, sounds like you are really committed to your fish. That is so great! Your platy was pregnant before you bought her, and from looking at your u-tube, she looks perfectly healthy, except maybe a little red around the gills.

Did you ever get a API test kit? If you did what are your readings?

When you say your nitrates are high, just what are they?

I am super glad you have gotten the equipment to be able to control your tank better. If your fish flash at all, I would suspect ick, it can hide in the gills and not be detectable until it is epidemic. But if you raise your temperature up to 82 or just a tad higher for several weeks, it will kill it off.....a really good reason to be able to adjust your temp.....

How are the fry? What are you feeding them? I keep frozen baby brine shrimp for mine. I have them in a tank with cherry shrimp and what the fry don't get the shrimp do, it keeps the tank clean.

Best of luck with the babies.
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  • #28
HI Susitna-flower, I'm glad to hear that you have fry with cherry shrimps. I've won an auction on but asked the seller to postpone the shipment till my tank is ready for them. I can't wait! At what stage do you move the fry to the adult tank? I read that livebearers are notorious in eating baby shrimps.

I feed my fry with decapsulated brine shrimp eggs. Hatching brine shrimps just seems like a lot of work, not to mention possible side effects like accidentally getting the shells in and equipment setup, etc. The website that sells the brine shrimp eggs claims that eggs are more nutritious than actual brine shrimps 'cause no energy was used to actually hatching the shrimps. That's why I went that route. We'll see how well my fry turn out.

I did a water change today but haven't done a test yet. My API reading yesterday were as follows:
6.6G - NH3 0.25-0.5 ppm; NO2 1-2 ppm; NO3 5-10 ppm; pH 7.5
10G - NH3 <0.25 ppm; NO2 1 ppm; NO3 <5 ppm; pH 7.5
28G - NH3 0.5 ppm; NO2 0.5 ppm; NO3 0; pH 7.3

My fry are in the 10G, roughly 15 of them. The 6.6G has the platy couple while the 28G has 5 guppies. The fry tank doesn't have a heater yet. I'm getting one shipped to me shortly. The other 2 tanks have the temp set to about 80. I could raise it to 82.

Other than flashing, I really don't see any other symptoms on my guppies. I don't see white spots, gold dust, red gills, etc. Although one guppy that died a couple of days ago seemed to have velvet, faded color on the torso right before the tail. No one else has any discoloring any where on their bodies right now. It's possible that it's still in the early stage of whatever is developing. I'd hate to medicate for the wrong thing and causing more stress on my fish. I've got different medicines on hand. As soon as I'm 100% sure what they have, I'll start treating.
  • #29
Probably a good idea to wait to medicate till you're sure of your diagnosis. However if they start dying then you should probably take a guess and try something. Sometimes fish will get sick but not show a lot of symptoms and it's pretty much guesswork.

Bbs is fine for livebearers but make sure they are also getting some veggie matter in their diet, such as ground up veggie flakes. I've never heard of feeding brine shrimp eggs...I guess it would probably be fine.
  • #30
It's quite possible that internal parasites are causing the problems that you see.

To help balance their diet, I'd recommend feeding the fry a combination of Omega One Veggie Flakes and NutraFin Livebearer Flakes. You can pour some of both into a baggie, fold it over and crush it with a rolling pin or glass.

Vitachem and/or a garlic liquid with vitamin c would be good to add daily to the tank with the fry to aid in their spinal development.

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