Sick Platy? Bad Water?

  1. cosentik Member Member

    I got up this morning and went to check on my fish and feed them, and couldn't find one for a while. One of my platys was hiding way up under a fake coral cave and I actually had to pick the decoration up to find him. I was looking all around the tank to see if he had somehow jumped out, that's how hard he was to find.

    Anyways, this is new. They are usually greeting me at the window as I walk in each morning waiting for food. He is still eating, but he just seems lethargic. I've noticed him hanging around the top in what looks like a gulping for air behavior. Right now he is just kind of hanging around the bottom, not really swimming much, while all of the other fish are very active.

    My first thought was the water. I did a PWC sunday, everything went well. I checked for ammonia earlier. The API test kit I have looked like it may have had a slight yellow/green tint to the water, but it was so close to the 0 reading that it was hard for me to tell. I went ahead an put in some ammo-lock just to be safe. I am going to test the other parameters soon, but up until today my readings have all been 0/0/normal (don't remember exactly). I have live plants and the tank is cycled, so I'm not sure what the issue could be. Any ideas?
  2. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Is it just the one fish that's acting like this? Are you sure this platy is a male or could it be female?
  3. cosentik Member Member

    Hi, yes it is just the one fish and I am 100% sure it's a male.
  4. cosentik Member Member

    I recorded the behavior in these two gifs. You can see the lethargic platy compared to the normal active behavior of the others, and in the other you can see what looks like the other 2 platys trying to nudge the one that is acting sick.

  5. cosentik Member Member

    I got up this morning and fed the fish. The "sick" one is actually not eating. He wasn't hiding but he has been just floating around doing this gulping/gasping motion constantly with his mouth. He does it floating in the middle and also at the top (like he needs air).

    I even made sure a flake or two was right in front of him and he just ignored it and floated by, doing the gasping motion.
    He is definitely sick, but since the other fish seem fine and my parameters are normal, I can't figure out why. He doesn't have anything visibly wrong with him, he looks just like the other fish.
  6. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

    I have a few questions. Giving the symptoms, I'm all ready guessing in one direction, but would like to rule out other possibly first.

    What are you feeding them? What is your feeding schedule?

    Now, I would like you to go to Petco or Petsmart with a water sample and have them test it. I need the full reading with numbers. I'm especially interested in the Hardness (GH) reading. Get the exact numbers, and do not accept "Your water is fine". Please post the results.

    Also, when was your last water change? What is your water source (tap, filter/RO, softened)?
  7. cosentik Member Member

    I feed them:
    tetra tropical flakes-small pinch 2x daily
    Freeze dried brine shrimp 1-2x weekly
    Bloodwork alternated occasionally with shrimp

    My last water change was Sunday.
    I may not be able to make it to petco today, but I do have an api master test kit. Would you be able to taken the results from that?

    As far as water hardness, I know that where I live the water is relatively hard. I use tap as my source. I can give you those results when I'm able to make it to petco, hopefully by tomorrow.
  8. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

    Do you soak your freeze dried foods first before feeding? To prevent problems, especially bloat, you should soak freeze dried foods for a minute in tank water. Me personally I use a drop of vitamins and some tank water to rehydrate.

    Unfortunately what I'm looking for, your master kit does not have. I'm needing your GH (General Hardness). Your water has different hardness. KH (carbonated hardness) which controls your PH and keeps it stable. It also is what causes the white buildup on faucets and shower doors. It is used by your cycling bacteria, and also used by snails for shell development, and shrimp for their exoskeleton. The other hardness is GH (general hardness). This is the rest of your minerals in your water such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, etc. These minerals deal with the osmotic process of your fish. They absorb these minerals from the water, and generally not found in their foods. Live bearers need high amounts of GH (around 150ppm plus), where tetras need lower amounts (75ppm or less). If your water has low gh, your fish's organs begin to shut down. Think of it in human terms like hypothermia. Nonessential organs first, then vital organs. If the GH and osmotic process is not corrected in a timely manor, it can lead to fish death.

    I only recommended Petco and Petsmart because I know they use the 6 in 1 test strips, which have the alkalinity and hardness pads on them. Any shop will do, as long as they have alkalinity (KH) and hardness (GH) test avaible. Take with you both tap and tank water for the test, and post the results. Unfortunately not many shops, especially Petco and Petsmart know what those pads mean and ignore the results. So get the exact numbers from them. If you go to a store that uses liquid, give me the amount of drops used.
  9. cosentik Member Member

    Thank you for your help! I will get those results to you as soon as possible. I think what I'm understanding is that you are making sure that the water hardness is not too low. What I can tell you is that I know my tap water is in the higher range of hardness. I did the test strip a few weeks ago and saw that it was in the higher range. I will tell you my exact numbers as soon as I can.

    Also, no I don't soak the food first, but I will start doing that. If it is bloat, do they recover from this or is it something that is too late to fix? ( I'm a veterinary student and bloat is a life threatening emergency that requires surgery in mammals)
  10. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

    Bloat for fish can be solved 2 ways, but essentially the same thing. A laxative is needed. Normally we recommend using boiled frozen peas, deshelled, to cause the laxative effect, if the fish is eating. If the fish is not eating, we normally recommended Epson salt treatments. Bloat for fish is normally just blockage from food swelling in the stomach and digestive track, which is why rehydration is recommended. Then there is bacterial bloat, which normally leads to Dropsy, and takes antibiotics to solve, if not to late. I personally do not know if fish can get the same bloat as mammals, of the twisting of the stomach. I suppose it's possible, but no one will want to pay for that kind of treatment unless it's an expensive show koi.

    The hardness you get from like water softener test strips normally only measure KH, not GH. I tested that theory out myself. I was in the process of looking for a TDS meter for my tank, and found those strips at Home Depot. They gave me the exact same results as my KH liquid test. Like I said, the white crusty build up you find on faucets and shower doors is your carbonated hardness (KH). Water softening systems usually lower both KH and GH, but increase the sodium of your water, which is not good for the fish. So I'm pretty sure the Hardness test result your seeing is KH and not GH.

    Does this make sense?
  11. cosentik Member Member

    Yes this makes perfect sense. I will put him in a quarantine tank for now and I will try epsom salts. I don't think it is bacterial because the other fish are fine, but I will keep an eye out for them as well. He is not eating so the peas aren't an option.

    You have been very helpful! I will update you with the water hardness results and also with the outcome. Thank you!
  12. cosentik Member Member

    Thank you for your help, but unfortunately the little guy was dead when I got home for lunch. I rechecked the water and I'm still at 0/0/0.
  13. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

    That 0 nitrate normally means not cycled. What are you using in your filter? Are you using products that are "sludge" removers? Do you have a heavily planted tank?
  14. cosentik Member Member

    Hmm I'm not sure why it wouldn't be cycled. I have 4 java ferns that are pretty small because I just got them . I don't add anything to my filter, just using whatever came with the kit. It's an Aqueon 10g kit from petco. I used the tetra safestart stuff which says the tank should have been ready for fish immediately. But this tank has been going for about a month now.

    If cycling was the problem wouldn't I see ammonia or nitrites?
  15. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

    It would depend on how heavily your stocked. Java ferns are medium growing plants, so that will not explain your 0 nitrate. The last time you took care of your filter, did you by any chance replace your filter cartrage? The Safe Start, does it say on there Start Up or Maintenance? It should say on the front of the bottle.