Platies are turning pale and gulping air

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JackGulley

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I keep seeing my platies gulping air from the surface, which I know isn't normal for them. Sometimes when they do it they also appear stressed, and will clamp their fins and/or fade in coloration (I have painted platies; the black part fades into splotches and you can see the orange underneath). They still eat fine. The females have a small white bit sticking out of their cloaca, but I'm pretty sure its just the cloaca being dilated from being pregnant (one is definitely pregnant; the other only shows a gravid spot and the cloaca). Most of the time they seem happy, and the other fish seem unaffected*. My filter is disrupting the water surface plenty, and this was going on even when the water level got low and there was very strong disruption.

*The one thing I will mention is that my otos have always had slightly red gills and breathe kinda fast, but I'm not sure whether this is normal or not; I just chalked it up to them being very active but someone here mentioned it could possibly be a problem
 
Have you tested for ammonia? I'd do a big water change, at least 50% (be sure to dechlorinate and get the new water within about 5 degrees before adding it in). Sounds like you might have a water quality problem, maybe an emergency.
 
That's the odd thing: my water parameters come back normal. They've been like this across two regular 20% weekly water changes, and tests read no/negligible ammonia, no nitrites, and 40ppm nitrates (pretty much constant no matter water changes).

I should also probably mention that, while they gulp at the surface multiple times a day, I;ve only seen the paleness once or twice in about a week.
 
Have you got any aeration/ surface turbulence in the tank?

Post pictures and video of the fish so we can see what they look like?

Livebearers shouldn't have anything sticking out their butt, Most common livebearers (guppies, mollies, platies, swordtails) from fish farms have intestinal worms, which can cause the butt to poke out a bit.

Section 3 of the following link has info on treating intestinal worms in fish. If the fish have been gravid (pregnant) for more than a few months and not giving birth during that time, they probably have worms. If a fish has a lot of worms, it can appear pale due to lack of blood.
 
Have you got any aeration/ surface turbulence in the tank?

Post pictures and video of the fish so we can see what they look like?

Livebearers shouldn't have anything sticking out their butt, Most common livebearers (guppies, mollies, platies, swordtails) from fish farms have intestinal worms, which can cause the butt to poke out a bit.

Section 3 of the following link has info on treating intestinal worms in fish. If the fish have been gravid (pregnant) for more than a few months and not giving birth during that time, they probably have worms. If a fish has a lot of worms, it can appear pale due to lack of blood.
I will try to get some photos later today.
The filter waterfall definitely disrupts the surface/makes bubbles; the fish were doing this even the water level was low and so there was a really strong waterfall.

One platy has been round for about 3 weeks, has a gravid spot*, and its cloaca looks like a little white dot with an opening in the middle. (I was told this was a sign of pregnancy, that it's just the cloaca itself pooching out to get ready for birth. Although I thought it was a little odd that it showed up since the beginning of gestation, since I think it's normally something that appears soon before birth.) I have seen stringy white poop from that one once, although it normally isn't like that. The second platy is not round, but has a gravid spot and the same cloaca thing. The third one is the male. It does not have the cloaca thing going on, but I have seen it getting pale and gulping just like the others.
I should also mention that when they get pale, it comes on and then goes away within 30 seconds-1 minute.

*Edit: I just looked up what a gravid spot is and I don't think this is it. Both females have a dark-ish patch (under the skin I think) right on the midline of the underside, in front of the cloaca/fins around it, which is only visible from under the fish, not from the side.
 
IMG_3698.jpegIMG_3699.jpeg
Water hitting the surface
IMG_3690.jpegIMG_3688.jpeg
Platies' butts visible (This is the cloaca itself, not poop.) I'm aware they're fat, I fed them too much repashy today but when I don't feed for a few days they go back to normal shape.
 
That's a nice platy colour form.

I also suspect worms or nematodes. I would look online for treatments that cover helminth and nematode worms. I'm in another country so I can't suggest brands. Americans here could.

Your water change routine is good, and the gasping could be recovery from their recent journey from the fishfarm. Do you know your water hardness and could you be keeping them too warm? They're fine from 72 to 75f.
 
75f temp
150ppm GH (8 dH)
180ppm KH
pH 8.0
No ammonia/nitrites
40ppm nitrates

I've had them since New Years. I first noticed the breathing about a week or two ago, but if this is related to what I thought was pregnancy, then it's been going on 3 weeks.
 

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