Ulcer? "Bleeding Heart" Platy (pictures attached)


Hello! Hope you're doing well. A month ago, I noticed that the frontal torso right below the gills of my female platy was looking sort of pointed and odd. Well, no big deal, I thought. Platies are always pregnant, and sometimes pregnant platies are boxy shaped, so I figured it'd go back to normal after she gave birth. Two weeks later, I realized my assumption was wrong; any of my platies that are visibly pregnant usually have "deflated" by then, even if I don't see any fry (my fish are efficient at hunting the little guys down :/). Her torso was becoming alarmingly sharp. Compare the pictures below with the one in my profile pic- over the course of the the past month, her torso turned from smooth & curved to practically a right angle.

These were taken 11 days ago, and today morning when I woke up, I realized the protrusion had burst into a red sore/ulcer! I set up a 10g quarantine and put her in it. It's uncycled right now, but tomorrow I'll be stealing some ceramic rings from my canister filter to fix that.

Back to the maybe-ulcer. I've no idea what it is. It reminded of the bleeding heart pigeon, hence the title. The sore is red (not pink like in the photos), circular, 2mm diameter, and there's a scale that peeled off and is hanging onto her body by a thread. It's on the underside of her, which is kind of inconvenient for photos. I figured out that I could take a photo of the reflection off the bottom of the tank though, which I'm proud of, lol. Click on the photos and zoom in to get a better look.

<-- (See the scale hanging off?)

I'm kind of worried about it being an effect of fish TB, for a few reasons. #1, I know it's commonly dormant in many fish in the aquarium trade. #2 The cherry barb I've had for two years has a bend in his spine. He and the other two cherry barbs (they were the last ones left) that I got from the store at the same time came like that, and I now know that's a potential sign of fish TB, but again- it's been two years so if he does have a dormant version, my whole tank is already infected, and seeing as they're not all dead by now, they must've worked out some sort of immunity. However, if it is TB, something must've happened recently that weakened her immune system and allowed it to take hold. She shows 0 signs of pineconing or stomach bloating, though-the only symptom is that protrusion turned sore on the "chest" of the fish.

None of my other fish are showing symptoms. Also, this fish has had no behavioral changes, which struck me as odd; she acted perfectly normal in the 55g, grazing on the algae during the day with the other fish and zipping to the top of the tank for food when the lights turn on.

What should I do? My current plan is to just keep her quarantine tank clean and see if this heals itself, especially because she hasn't been acting odd or stressed. Should I be adding any sort of medication for bacterial infection? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Details below.

What is the water volume of the tank? 55g
How long has the tank been running? Two or three years
Does it have a filter? Yes, a Marineland 350
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 74º
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
1F Pearl Gourami
5F 1M Platy
1M Cherry Barb (I bought 8 when I set up the tank, but over the years they slowly died off, leaving me with this one guy. I feel bad for him, but he's not aggressive to the others, and I don't plan on replacing them for a couple of reasons, which I can elaborate on in another thread.)
1? Nerite

How often do you change the water? ~3 times a month
How much of the water do you change? 50%
What do you use to treat your water? Seachem Prime
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? I vacuum the sand

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes
What do you use to test the water? API Master Test Kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”. Left picture is my tap water for reference, and the right one is for my tank. The order is pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. I know that the ammonia reads as slightly green/0.25 in both; this has always been the case, though, and I'm confident that my tap water has 0 ammonia, so I don't think that's the source of the issue. I later tested with the high pH test and confirmed the 7.6 reading. I realize they look exactly the same, but I'm sure my kit works; I've made some mistakes before that led to me detecting insanely high levels of all three before. In addition, my tank is pretty lightly stocked for a 55g.

Ammonia: 0?
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5-10
pH: 7.6

How often do you feed your fish? Twice a day- admittedly, I sometimes miss a feeding or two, but I doubt that does lasting damage, haha.
How much do you feed your fish? A pinch? I'm not sure how to describe it. Over time I guess you intuitively figure out how much food you have to feed them to not have them look too fat, bloated, or skinny the next day, you know?
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Omega One flakes and New Life Spectrum pellets
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? No

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? I don't remember well, but I think just shy of a year.
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? A month
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Ulcer-like wound on frontal underside of torso
Have you started any treatment for the illness? Only quarantine
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? No behavioral change besides ulcer
  • Moderator


Giving this a bump up for you hope you get some responses today
  • Thread Starter


Thank you Coradee!

Update: The spot appears unchanged. From what I've read, I should be keeping an eye out for any white fuzziness or growth. Everything I could find was about goldfish, and someone suggested a hydrogen peroxide swipe? Sounds like a huge stressor, though. I'll give it a couple more days before deciding if I need a treatment. Are there any less harsh general antibiotics I could add to the water to discourage infection? I considered salt, but I read something that said that adding salt for ulcers could irritate it because that patch is "scaleless", sort of like how salt isn't used for scaleless fish like cories and loaches. Is that true? I don't want to medicate if unnecessary, but right now I'm solely banking on the fact that her immune system's going to be able to deal with it, which probably isn't ideal.


It kind of looks like Aeromonas.
  • Thread Starter


Update: Looks like it healed itself. I'll be releasing her back into the main tank this weekend. My guess is that a scale got forced off somehow (bacteria? something physical?) causing the round red mark, and then the fish regrew it. I've been keeping an eye out for symptoms in other fish, but haven't seen anything.

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