Is this your first time raising little adorable platies? Well, despite how fun the whole feeding and watching them grow experience can be, several platy diseases may get in the way of a happy and healthy life.
That’s why this guide is here for the rescue; we’ll go through six common platy fish health concerns that every owner should be aware of. For each disease, we’ll break down the symptoms and remedy options so that you’re 100% prepared to deal with each issue.
Let’s dive in!
From platy wasting disease to Fish Tuberculosis, you must know all about the following six conditions to prevent or treat them effectively.
As the name suggests, platy wasting disease refers to a condition where it looks like your fish are wasting away or becoming too skinny.
Usually, this disease—which is the number one common illness amongst platies—occurs due to poor nutrition and low concentration of vitamins in the tank’s water.
Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to identify the warning signs of skinny disease and follow a few measures to restore your fish’s health.
- Sores forming on your fish’s body
- Quick weight loss
- Damaged or rotten fins that don’t seem to heal as they should
Start by cleaning the water of any rot particles to promote healing and minimize further infections. You can achieve that by using Pimafix on the water to treat it for fungus infections and bacterial infections.
Next, compensate for your fish’s lack of nutrients by feeding it high-quality pellets or flakes that contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and potassium.
If you do all this and the physical symptoms of skinny disease remain, consider using Parasite Clear to help get rid of internal parasites.
Ich is short for Ichthyophthirius, which is a type of parasite that can be transmitted to your platy fish in several ways. In most cases, the ciliated protozoans of the genus Ichthyophthirius can find their way to healthy fish through contaminated tank decorations, water pumps, and more.
The name “white spot disease” refers to the growing spots of free-swimming larvae of this parasite. They’ll stick to the surface of your platy’s skin, each spot widening in diameter until it bursts to release those parasites to infect other fish in the tank.
- White spots that resemble salt grains on the skin
- Swimming at odd angles by the water’s surface
- Weight loss due to swallowing struggles
- Gasping for air at the top of the water because of gill or mouth damage
While it may be stubborn, treating Ich isn’t impossible. You should begin by moving the infected fish to a separate tank.
Then, gradually raise the temperature of the tank until it’s above 80 degrees to propel the annoying parasites to leave your fish’s skin. Apply the same treatment steps to the original tank, too, as a safety measure.
After that, add aquarium salt, going for one teaspoon per gallon of water. Don’t change the tank’s water or temperature back to its normal state until around four to seven days have passed.
Once you reach this point, replace 70% of the tank’s water with fresh water, cleaning its substrate in the process.
Platy fish are also prone to shimmies, which means swimming in awkward patterns around the tank due to a neurological disorder. Unfortunately, if you don’t detect this erratic behavior early on, it may lead to unwanted scenarios like paralysis or even death.
The causes for shimmying in platy fish can vary greatly. It may be a result of a bacterial infection or the lack of oxygen in the water.
- Hovering over a spot that faces the wall for long periods
- Violent shaking of the head while swimming
- Body discolorations
- Breathing difficulties
A good thing about this disease is that it’s not infectious, not to mention that it only affects platies and not other fish types.
Now, to treat shimmies in platy fish, raise the aquarium’s temperature to 82–86 degrees. Not only will that help kill the bacteria responsible for the condition, but it’ll also prevent it from reappearing.
Another preventive measure is to ensure that the tank gets enough aeration by keeping the filtering system in good shape. Inspect the equipment in the aquarium regularly for any damaged parts and fix any issues you might come across to maintain an optimum environment.
Next, you may use antibiotic injections, give your fish a salt bath, or perform a water change.
The swim bladder disease occurs when your platy fish’s swim bladder doesn’t function properly. As a result, the poor fish will face trouble swimming because it’ll be struggling with keeping its buoyancy intact.
More often than not, the swim bladder disease is caused by stress, high levels of ammonia in the tank, or poor water quality.
- Imbalanced swimming and general swimming difficulties
- Floating at an uneven angle or upside down
- Bloated belly from internal pressure
You’ll need to tackle all the major causes of the swim bladder disease to help your platy fish recover.
First, look at the environment of the tank and make sure that everything from the water temperature to the ammonia levels is suitable for your fish.
Second of all, find and fix things that may be stressing out your platies. There might be too many fish in the tank, your fish could be overfed or underfed, etc.
This is another condition caused by a parasite; this time under the name Oodinium. Unlike the Ich parasite, Oodinium doesn’t attach itself to the platy fish’s skin.
On the contrary, this specimen burrows deep into the body of the fish. Afterward, it produces gold-colored cysts that might erupt into lesions when they become too large.
- Gold-colored spots on the fish’s skin
- Bleeding lesions
- Skin peeling off (if left untreated for a long time)
Sadly, this disease is highly contagious, so try to transfer the infected fish as soon as you notice the symptoms. Then, you can use Seachem Cupramine to treat your platies, following the instructions written on the package.
Once the visible signs go away, you may do a 90% water change to rejuvenate the tank’s atmosphere.
You must be really careful if you see the symptoms of Fish Tuberculosis on your platies, as it can affect people, too. This condition is caused by mycobacterium.
It’s also important to note that this disease has no treatment, but you may try a few approaches if you want to rescue your fish.
- Lethargy and low activity
- Appetite loss
- Hollow belly
- Rot on the tail and fins
- Ulcers all over the body, especially around the anus
In most cases, FT is incurable, so your best bet is to handle the affected fish while wearing protective gloves and dispose of them.
Or, you could try your luck with medications like Neomycin or Kanamycin, both of which seemed to work for some platy fish parents!
If you want to increase the lifespan of your fish, learning all about different platy diseases and how to treat and prevent them is one of many ways to do so.
Six conditions that platies are susceptible to include skinny disease, gold dust disease, Fish Tuberculosis, swim bladder disease, shimmies, and white spot disease.
Now that you know their symptoms and treatment options, you can say goodbye to weak, unhealthy fish and hello to vibrantly cheerful ones!
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.