High ammonia and aggressive platy

Fish&chips10

New Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2021
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
Location
U.K.
Hi. I am relatively new to tropical fish (<4 months) and finding it a steep learning curve. I have a small tank (60litres) with 3 Platies (male and 2 females), 3 Guppies (same), 5 Tetras and some ottos and shrimps. I planted 5 plants and then introduced the tetras after about 3 weeks, guppies and Platies a couple of weeks later and others a couple of weeks after that. After about a month one of the Platies (that came as a pair with the male) gave birth and we had around 8 fry which we raised to about 3cm and then gave away. The female has since had 2 more lots - about 15 in total though still tiny. All the checks of the water were perfect and then about 2 months ago we suddenly got black algae overnight. We have been treating with Flourish Excel but to no avail, although it did seem to stop it spreading. A couple of weeks ago we removed 3 of the worst affected plants and replaced them with some from
PetsAtHome. This weekend we replaced the other two the same so there are now 5 new plants in there. I’ve just checked the water and ammonia levels are in the danger zone. My first question is how do I quickly get on top of this (I changed 1/4 of the water yesterday) and could replacing the plants have caused this?
My second question is about the male platy. Around the time of the first plant replacement 2 weeks ago, the male platy suddenly started getting aggressive towards the other female platy who is much smaller (not the one he’s been mating with). He now keeps attacking her and she spends all her time hiding. Any ideas why or what we can do about it?
Oh, and not sure if it related but one of the ottos died last night but now I can’t find its body anywhere in the tank.
Thanks
 

NannaLou

Fish Herder
Joined
Apr 5, 2021
Messages
1,362
Reaction score
1,254
Location
Chichester
A much, much bigger water change to get the ammonia down would be the first thing to do. You don’t say how high the ammonia level was, but if it was even 1 ppm changing 25% of the water would still leave 0.75 ppm (I think Ive got the maths right)
 
OP
OP
F

Fish&chips10

New Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2021
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
Location
U.K.
A much, much bigger water change to get the ammonia down would be the first thing to do. You don’t say how high the ammonia level was, but if it was even 1 ppm changing 25% of the water would still leave 0.75 ppm (I think Ive got the maths right)
Thanks. It was like nearly 6.0! Though the fish don’t seem to be behaving stressed, other than the aggressive platy but not sure if that’s related. And the dead Otto last night of course
 

Byron

Supporting Member
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
19,156
Reaction score
11,050
Location
CA
Welcome to the hobby, and TFF. Unfortunately, like so many new hobbyists, the advice you seem to have been given by the store staff where you bought the tank and fish was not accurate. I agree with above post that you need larger volume water changes.

A 60 liter tank is not sufficient space for all the fish, and they have differing requirements respecting water parameters. And as you've seen combining male and female livebearers (guppies, platies) will inevitably lead to fry, and before long dozens each month. It would be advisable to re-home the females ASAP. The male's "attentions" is normal, but this only works in larger tanks with more females.

As for the ammonia, can you post other data? Nitrite and nitrate if you can test these. And what is the GH and pH?

Ignore the algae for the moment. Adding Excel of any so-called algicide is not the way to deal with problem algae, and Excel is a dangerous highly-toxic disinfectant (glutaraldehyde).
 
OP
OP
F

Fish&chips10

New Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2021
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
Location
U.K.
Hi. All other measurements are perfect. Nitrate is zero. PH is 7.0. I’ve been checking each week and all measurements are perfectly within the healthy range each time but this time ammonia has shot up unexpectedly. Given it is so high and yet the fish look ok, do you think it could just be faulty test strips?
On the number of fish, apart from the fry, they do seem to have all been very happy for a few months and the aggression has just suddenly started. If I remove the females and have only males, won’t they fight?
 

realzalio

Fish Crazy
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Messages
396
Reaction score
312
Location
United States
how can nitrate be 0? with only 5 plants? do you have some sort of nitrate-removing filter media? your tank isn't understocked and it's not heavily planted either. test strips are known to be pretty inaccurate, so maybe you're getting the wrong readings. i recommend that you get a liquid test kit.
 

DScythe

New Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2021
Messages
22
Reaction score
0
Location
lisbon
Hi mate so I had more or less the same problem so I think I can tell you what I did, so for the algea I didn't give any medicine or conditioners to the water I just got the 3 snails a military snail and 2 Red Ramshorn, then when I saw 2 weeks after I had lots of eggs and then more 2 weeks I had 35 snails and they don't look bad and I don't have problem or with green algae or with black hair algea they eat everything from dying plants to fish poo and food that it's not eaten and they reproduce depending in the amount of food source available, I recently got a Bristlenose Pleco and they help too, the amónia question, first thing you need to do is don't add more fish cuz thats vital, then get the snails cuz they actually help with it, second get your testing kit, then you need to vacuum the stones of the substrate urgently, and change the water 40 to 60% , from 2 to 2 days and don't wash or change your filter so it builds up beneficial bactéria again, and this is the most important, don't feed your fishes while you are dealing with this problem, feed them one time from 2 to 2 days cuz they will most amónia hurts them more and staying 2 days without eating trust me they won't starve, and the more you feed the more you will get amónia ( you get it from food they don't eat from the poo they do, from the dead plants in the aquarium and from dead fishes that you don't see died) those are my tips most important is not feeding them the water change and the vacuum and do that for 2 weeks you will see the amónia will from and the beneficial bacteria will be stable again.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
F

Fish&chips10

New Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2021
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
Location
U.K.
how can nitrate be 0? with only 5 plants? do you have some sort of nitrate-removing filter media? your tank isn't understocked and it's not heavily planted either. test strips are known to be pretty inaccurate, so maybe you're getting the wrong readings. i recommend that you get a liquid test kit.
Sorry that should have been nitrite was zero. Nitrate has generally ranged up to 25 but never more. Yesterday is was close to zero
 

ClownLurch

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Apr 21, 2020
Messages
2,082
Reaction score
2,377
Location
Snorbens, Just North Of London
Do 50% WCs every week. Do a bigger one now.
As Byron asks what are your water parameters? ph, kh, hardness etc. Hardness will be on your water suppliers website. Get back with this info ASAP as it’ll be helpful for both you and your fish.

My local PAH don’t stock plants that are particularly beneficial to fast cycling/cleaning of a tank unfortunately apart from Salina. Their stuffs more aesthetically pleasing though.
Try and get some Frogbit, water lettuce, water sprite, anacharis, hornwort, moneywort.
Get some aquatic snails also, possibly a handful of RCS as well.

Your baby platy problem will continue as long as you’ve a pair in the same tank…..and for a while afterwards!
We’re going through a similar thing here. Mrs Lurch bought four female endler guppy’s as she decided her two males needed girlfriends. They’ve not yet been introduced. Theyre in the QT tank still and we‘re seeing the produce of the girls ex boyfriends on a weekly basis.

Best of luck.

Best of luck.
 
OP
OP
F

Fish&chips10

New Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2021
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
Location
U.K.
Do 50% WCs every week. Do a bigger one now.
As Byron asks what are your water parameters? ph, kh, hardness etc. Hardness will be on your water suppliers website. Get back with this info ASAP as it’ll be helpful for both you and your fish.

My local PAH don’t stock plants that are particularly beneficial to fast cycling/cleaning of a tank unfortunately apart from Salina. Their stuffs more aesthetically pleasing though.
Try and get some Frogbit, water lettuce, water sprite, anacharis, hornwort, moneywort.
Get some aquatic snails also, possibly a handful of RCS as well.

Your baby platy problem will continue as long as you’ve a pair in the same tank…..and for a while afterwards!
We’re going through a similar thing here. Mrs Lurch bought four female endler guppy’s as she decided her two males needed girlfriends. They’ve not yet been introduced. Theyre in the QT tank still and we‘re seeing the produce of the girls ex boyfriends on a weekly basis.

Best of luck.

Best of luck.
Hi. All other parameters are fine. Water is extremely soft but other than that they all test ok and did yesterday too.
I did think maybe the plants weren’t as good as the ones from the aquarium suppliers which I bought initially. But as you say, much more aesthetically pleasing. I ended up with a load of snails which came in on the first lot. I’ll look out for those you’ve mentioned and replace a couple soon. Do they need time after planting to start doing their job?
I don’t know what to do about the male/female issue. The original shop said we’d be fine with a male and 2 females as the male would divide his time. The guppies are ok and haven’t produced any fry yet, though he isn’t interested in the second female. The Platies were the same apart from the regular fry. He only bothered with the female he came with but now he’s really aggressive towards the second female for some reason.
It’s actually my daughter’s tank and she’s be devastated to have to lose any of them other than naturally over time so it’s a dilemma. Would having only males lead to fighting? Would having only females be better (though they tend to not be as attractive)
 

Byron

Supporting Member
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
19,156
Reaction score
11,050
Location
CA
Livebearers (guppies and platies, and for the record also mollies, swordtails and Endlers) must have moderately hard or harder water in order for their internal processes to function. "Extremely soft" if it really is will mean the slow death of these fish over the next few months. You must pin down the numbers for GH and pH, check the website of your water authority, or call them.

Female livebearers once impregnated--and this can occur with fry before the males even get colour--can produce several monthly batches of fry, and they won't all get eaten. Males only with livebearers is the only way to deal with this problem, unless you have very large tanks.

Nitrate that is fluctuating as you describe means trouble. Water changes must be regular and substantial, and with this many fish you need to remove some of them. And be careful not to overfeed, many tend to do this following the "advice" of manufacturers or store staff by feeding several times daily. Once a day, on alternate days, is more than sufficient. What goes in must come out and it affects the water quality, something that is even riskier in this small a tank with too many fish. Nitrates should remain consistent over months, even years, and the lower the number the better for the fish.
 
OP
OP
F

Fish&chips10

New Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2021
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
Location
U.K.
Livebearers (guppies and platies, and for the record also mollies, swordtails and Endlers) must have moderately hard or harder water in order for their internal processes to function. "Extremely soft" if it really is will mean the slow death of these fish over the next few months. You must pin down the numbers for GH and pH, check the website of your water authority, or call them.

Female livebearers once impregnated--and this can occur with fry before the males even get colour--can produce several monthly batches of fry, and they won't all get eaten. Males only with livebearers is the only way to deal with this problem, unless you have very large tanks.

Nitrate that is fluctuating as you describe means trouble. Water changes must be regular and substantial, and with this many fish you need to remove some of them. And be careful not to overfeed, many tend to do this following the "advice" of manufacturers or store staff by feeding several times daily. Once a day, on alternate days, is more than sufficient. What goes in must come out and it affects the water quality, something that is even riskier in this small a tank with too many fish. Nitrates should remain consistent over months, even years, and the lower the number the better for the fish.
Thanks for the response. The water here is classed as soft with 13.6mg/l of calcium. PH is generally around 7.6 though I always get readings of around 7-7.2 when I test. I did raise the softness with the shop (it’s a specialist shop) and they said not to be worried if the other readings are ok. The shop also have said different things to you. They recommended the number and sex of the fish and they also recommended feeding them twice per day which we do. We have generally replaced 25-30% of the water each week and I was advised (and have read on many websites) that fortnightly should be enough so I thought I was doing it more than necessary.
 

NannaLou

Fish Herder
Joined
Apr 5, 2021
Messages
1,362
Reaction score
1,254
Location
Chichester
The shop also have said different things to you.
From bitter experience the lfs (and they all appear to be specialist) are out to make money. Dead fish..? You buy more…

My advice would be not to take advice from someone who is making money on you acting on that advice, take it from here where we have nothing to gain by giving poor advice.
 
OP
OP
F

Fish&chips10

New Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2021
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
Location
U.K.
From bitter experience the lfs (and they all appear to be specialist) are out to make money. Dead fish..? You buy more…

My advice would be not to take advice from someone who is making money on you acting on that advice, take it from here where we have nothing to gain by giving poor advice.
That’s why I’m here! I wasn’t suggesting I trusted them more, I was just reflecting on how different the advice is and that we’d followed what we thought was good advice to the letter. In fact looking at several forums, even the experts in the forums seem to have differing views. I took advice from a different forum on how to deal with the black algae and it contradicts the advice I’ve had in this thread. It’s a minefield.
 

Byron

Supporting Member
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
19,156
Reaction score
11,050
Location
CA
You have raised one of the biggest problems in this hobby...conflicting advice. When one is dealing with opinions on "x" it is fine to have differing views. No one individual may be "right," depending upon the topic. But when one is dealing with absolute scientific fact, there is no "opinion," one either accepts the fact or one rejects it and pays the consequences.

The GH of the water is critical for most fish. Dealing only with livebearers, those who have studied the physiology of fish will know that the presence of the minerals calcium and magnesium in the water in which these fish live is crucial to their life. Each species of freshwater fish has evolved over hundreds and thousands of years to function in a very specific environment, and this includes the water parameters. As soon as the fish is placed in an environment that does not provide what it needs, it has a harder time of just carrying out the life processes necessary to its survival. Stress results (and this cannot be seen by the aquarist until it has become critical and by then it is too late), and the fish slowly weakens. Energy is being used to try and maintain the metabolism, which means the immune system is being compromised. The fish may last for a few months, or it may succumb to some issue that normally, in the proper environment, it would easily be able to deal with, but cannot in its weakened state.

So, how does one sort out the truth from fiction? Know the individual giving the advice, by which I mean their level of knowledge. This means not only "experience" which for many is worthless to begin with, but knowledge of the biological facts involving fish; many non-professional aquarists have gained such knowledge over their years of experience. When you get sick, you go to a qualified doctor because this individual has spent six or more years learning medicine. There are experts and authorities in this hobby who have done similar. Anyone can set up a website and promote themselves as some sort of expert, when in fact they know next to nothing about fish biology. On a good forum like TFF, what one member posts is open to scrutiny by others, something like peer review in science. Separate the wheat from the chaff. If you compare the data among similar sites--meaning those owned/operated/managed by other professional biologists and ichthyologists and knowledgeable individuals, it becomes apparent that they tend to agree very closely on such data. These sources are more reliable for obvious reasons than someone who posts a couple of videos on YouTube spouting some fanciful often ludicrously half-baked idea that has no scientific basis.
 
Last edited:

Most reactions

trending

Staff online

Top