Steph 2012-06-17 06:18:02
I am a novice and started up a 10 gal tank about 3 weeks ago. I
initially got 4 zebra danios. About 5 days ago I got 2 male platies.
One of my platies developed a white ulcer-like sore on the side of his
head 2 days ago. I tested the ammonia then and it was quite high, so
I’ve been doing 25% water changes daily since. Now ammonia is 0.1,
nitrates and nitrites are both 0, and pH is 7.8. Temperature is 78
degrees. Today it looks like his belly is quite swollen. He has been
hanging out at the top of the tank has hasn’t been eating. Also there
is white stringy material coming from his a***. The white sore has been
getting better since the water changes, but he doesn’t seem to be doing
well. Any advice?
Elaine t 2012-06-17 06:18:28
First, you have too many fish in the tank for cycling so you may have a
rough time of it. http://faq.thekrib.com/begin-cycling.html explains
the nitrogen cycle. 0.1 ppm of ammonia may not be enough to cycle
properly – I’d recommend using AmQuel instead of massive water changes
since it makes ammonia safe for the fish but leaves it available to the
growing bacteria. Also, I recently heard from NanK in rec.goldfish that
Seachem’s Stability actually works to jump-start cycles. Nan’s a great
aquarist so I’m inclined to believe her.
You will likely lose this platy. The stringy feces suggests an internal
infection that he likely had when you bought him at the pet store. High
ammonia likely weakened his immune system and now he is *very* ill. The
sore may have been an ammonia burn, but the swelling (often called
dropsy) is a sign of kidney failure. Internal infections are best
treated with antibiotic food, but he’s not eating and probably won’t
To try to save him, you would have to put him in a hospital tank with
antibiotics in the water and hope enough is absorbed and that you’ve
guessed a good antibiotic. That route usually doesn’t work for dropsy,
but many people like to try out of a sense of responsibility, or in case
they have a fish that does respond. Antibiotics in your main tank can
kill the filter bacteria you’re trying to grow so I wouldn’t use them
during a cycle.
As I see it, you have a few choices, none of which are easy.
1) Cross your fingers that he’ll respond to better water, and start
using AmQuel to lower the fish-toxic ammonia all the way to zero and add
2) Euthanize the platy to prevent your other fish from possibly becoming
infected. Internal infections are less likely to spread than external,
but they sometimes can.
3) Set up a 2 or 3 gallon hospital tank and treat him with something
like kanamycin, or furazolidone.
Personally, I have a quarantine tank so I’d quarantine and treat with
either kanamycin or furazolidone. If the swelling got to the “pine
cone” stage where scales stick out, I’d euthanize. I’m quite sure that
fish in kidney failure must be suffering on some level.
Coolchinchilla 2012-06-17 06:18:52
For a hospital tank you can use a bucket instead with a heater and
Elaine t 2012-06-17 06:18:54
I didn’t suggest a bucket because it’s very hard to see the fish. IMO,
glass bowls or tanks are better for a hospital and far superior for
Teri 2012-06-17 15:35:48
Speaking of sick Platies. Two of mine have been having some really
long clear or white “p*** trails” also. No swollen bellies, and they
are eating and swimming around just fine. Sometimes the p*** goes
from brown or red and changes into the clear or white. As close as I
look I have no idea if there are worms or not. So since they are
doing fine do I do nothing, or give them medicine (how do you really
diagnose this?) I don’t want to “treat” them if they are not sick.
If I did give them medicated food I could probably just do it in the
regular tank since they are always the first ones to eat whatever is
put in the tank, but I don’t know if I should do that or not.
Coolchinchilla 2012-06-17 15:35:55
Oh I whole heartedly agree. I now have a hospital/QT TANK. Quite
superior. I just thought for a stop-gap solution, a bucket might
work in a pinch.
Daniel morrow 2012-06-17 15:36:03
Don’t medicate until you are sure there is a reason to. Medicating without
proof of disease can cause more problems than they solve. Good luck and later!