Platy in My Aquarium

I have a 10-gallon aquarium in my office. It’s nothing fancy. I have a few tetras, platys and a snail. The bottom has the usual aquarium gravel and a bunch of artificial plants. I keep the filters clean.

Last Friday I noticed that one of the platys looked like it was dying. It was swimming crooked and just didn’t look right. So I figured that by the time I came back to work on Monday it would be dead. Yesterday when I came in, I looked in the tank and sure enough, it was stuck in amongst one of the “plants”. I went to get the net to scoop it out and when I returned I saw that it wasn’t dead. It was now making an attempt to swim, but its body was curved and it couldn’t do much more than wiggle around. Very stressful to watch and I’m guessing not much fun for the fish either. So I watched it throughout the day and when I left for home it was still alive. This morning I thought the poor thing would be dead for sure. Nope! It’s swimming around like normal today! Any aquarium experts out there that might know what happened?

I’m not any sort of expert on this, but I do know that all living things get sick from time to time, and that most times, when a living thing gets sick, it manages to recover on its own, somehow or another. I see no reason why that shouldn’t be as true of aquarium fish as it is of any other creature.

My first thought is some kind of gas bubble- they can leave fish swimming oddly and are potentially fatal, but can spontaneously resolve themselves.

What do you mean when you say ‘keep the filters clean’ by the way?

Consider yourself lucky. I’ve seen more than a few fish suffer a similar fate and not survive. At least you didn’t rush him to your vet for no reason.

I change the filter cartridge when it gets dirty.

Thanks, I’m going with your diagnosis.

Ha! I wonder what he (the vet) would have said?

It may have been passing a baby snail. Look up under the aquarium hood for signs of a clutch. What kind of snail is it?

It could also be a parasite though, snails are notorious for spreading them around the aquarium world. As the parasite goes through its lifecycle there can be periods of extreme pain for the fish. Any other signs? Odd cloudiness? White patches? White stringy poop?

You don’t mention water changes, how often are you doing them? With what kind of water? I nearly killed a whole tank of fish because the office cooler had been switched from Spring Water to RO. The RO water left my fish starved for basic electrolytes, and they developed a sort of limp, loopy movement. That took forever to figure out, but luckily I got there in time. Turns out there is such a thing as water that is too clean.

What are your water spec.s? Ammonia? PH? Nitrates? Any Nitrite?

If you are not already, start doing 50% water changes weekly. Use either Spring Water or treated tap water. If tap, I highly recommend “Prime” water conditioner.

If you have never changed the water, then only change one gallon the first day. Then do that again, one gallon each day for a week. After that you should be fine going to 50% once per week instead of daily changes.

Nothing constructive to add, but at first I thought the post title was referring to flatworms.

Rush a $2 fish to the vet?!

It may have recovered, but in my years of fishkeeping, the vast majority of times when a fish behaves as you describe, it’ll be dead sooner rather than later.

Fish don’t live forever. One of the reasons I generally recommended sticking with cheaper fish.

Heck, I thought they were talking about platypuses!

Wondering how long this tank has been going? The snail theory is a good one, but also potentially a harbinger for trouble to come. Aquariums are closed-loop ecosystems that can easily get out of balance on many levels, and the smaller they are, the less stable and therefore more quickly and severe problems can crop up. Snail(s) can quickly overrun a tank if they do not have a natural predator to keep them in check. Many varieties of Loaches and Puffers are good snail eaters.

This particular tank is about 2 months old. The snail is a gold colored snail, not sure what kind it is. I see no baby snails, or weird poop. I use tap water from Lake Superior with water conditioner. I got the snail to help with the algae. The only place I have to place the aquarium (where I can actually see it and enjoy it) is in front of a window that has vertical shades that are partially closed.

I’ll do a partial water change this week.

OK, 2 months is about right for a nitrite bloom. It may be that you have completed cycling the aquarium. Do water changes one gallon per day but don’t change out your filter material for a couple of weeks. You want the good bacteria to get well established before you disturb their primary hangout (the filter). If you are using a bubbler with floss, always rub the new floss on the old before changing it out to give the bacterial colony a head start.

Get yourself a Test kit and see where you stand. If that’s too dear, at least get a set of 5-in-1 test strips and a set of ph and ammonia monitors. They are not laboratory level, but they beat nothing.

Fish have strokes/brain bleeds/etc. that can partially paralyze them. In the wild they become lunch in short order. in an aquarium they can last a while.

Oh, and leave the algae alone, don’t scrape it. It is helping to keep your fish alive by absorbing the nitrates and organic matter from the water column.

You can keep a platypus in an aquarium?

Probably not on your desk, mind.

They might make good pets…and they lay eggs! :smiley:

Thanks for all of your great advice. The aquarium itself is two months old, but I did transfer the gravel from my previous aquarium. I thought that’s what I was supposed to do to help with the good bacteria. I will also get a test kit of some kind.

But how much of the algae do I leave on the glass? As of now, I only notice it from certain angles, but eventually won’t it get to be too much?

Now I know who to go to for all of my aquarium questions!

And not outside Australia. There is no other zoo that has a platypus.