Platy bullies, what to do?

ALAW

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Hi all, so I have 3 male Wagtail Platys in my 13g, a red one who is nearly full size and is the alpha of the 3, a gold one who is smaller than red, and an orange one who is the same size as gold.

They've been in there together a couple of months along with a few Guppys (who BTW are just happy doing their own thing) The Platies seemed to be getting along, however, I've recently noticed orange is being bullied and chased around by the other 2, at first it was every now and then and I thought nothing of it, that it was normal, but it's becoming almost constant now.

Red and gold seem to have become best buddies, they swim around together and they're taking it in turns to chase orange away, to the point where orange seperates himself at the other side of the tank and seems to be hiding from them, every now and again he comes out to try make friends with them again, but it's only a matter of time before red or gold set about him.
So I have 3 options and I'm stuck with what do to.

1. Do I rehome orange to stop him getting stressed and stick with just the 2 bully boys who are getting on. (I'm happy to just have 2 Platies)

2. Rehome both the bully boys and introduce 2 different Platies and hope everything works out.

3. Add a fourth Platy, and hope it turns attention away from poor orange, maybe it will distract the little hooligans.

I don't want to keep a single Platy on his own, nor do I have an alternative or quarantine tank. Any opinions would be welcomed.
 

carligraceee

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Hi all, so I have 3 male Wagtail Platys in my 13g, a red one who is nearly full size and is the alpha of the 3, a gold one who is smaller than red, and an orange one who is the same size as gold.

They've been in there together a couple of months along with a few Guppys (who BTW are just happy doing their own thing) The Platies seemed to be getting along, however, I've recently noticed orange is being bullied and chased around by the other 2, at first it was every now and then and I thought nothing of it, that it was normal, but it's becoming almost constant now.

Red and gold seem to have become best buddies, they swim around together and they're taking it in turns to chase orange away, to the point where orange seperates himself at the other side of the tank and seems to be hiding from them, every now and again he comes out to try make friends with them again, but it's only a matter of time before red or gold set about him.
So I have 3 options and I'm stuck with what do to.

1. Do I rehome orange to stop him getting stressed and stick with just the 2 bully boys who are getting on. (I'm happy to just have 2 Platies)

2. Rehome both the bully boys and introduce 2 different Platies and hope everything works out.

3. Add a fourth Platy, and hope it turns attention away from poor orange, maybe it will distract the little hooligans.

I don't want to keep a single Platy on his own, nor do I have an alternative or quarantine tank. Any opinions would be welcomed.
Recommend getting more fish.

It sounds like he is the weaker of the group and so the boys are taking advantage of it. I would get two or three more male platys. They should group together. However, if they don't return the main bully to your LFS.
 
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ALAW

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Recommend getting more fish.

It sounds like he is the weaker of the group and so the boys are taking advantage of it. I would get two or three more male platys. They should group together. However, if they don't return the main bully to your LFS.
Problem is my tank is a 13g long, and probably won't allow for a 2 or 3 more I don't think, if I rehomed orange what's the chances big red could trun on gold? Didn't think of that ?
 

carligraceee

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Problem is my tank is a 13g long, and probably won't allow for a 2 or 3 more I don't think, if I rehomed orange what's the chances big red could trun on gold? Didn't think of that ?
Okay so can you tell me how many fish you have in total? ANd how often do you water change?

I have a 11g and 7 livebearers and they are doing great.

The red one would be left alone. He COULD turn on the gold one. The best chance you have is returning the most aggressive one. However, if you can, get more platys!
 
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ALAW

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There's 5 guppies and the 3 platies mentioned, I change approximately 30% weekly, I planned on introducing a honey gourami but water here is moderately hard so I'm unsure if its a good moral choice.

Apart from red been a big bully, he has deep red matte colours and i kinda like him, if I were to introduce a 4th Platie I could search for 1 a similar size to red? Might sort him out maybe.
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Any sign of illness with the bullied one? It likely is just a pecking order thing, but if a fish is being picked on, it can also mean there's something wrong with that fish, the other fish try to drive it away since in the wild, a sick fish attracts predators. But in a tank, no where to go. So first thing to rule out is whether he's healthy, or ailing in some way.

I agree that adding a few more male platies might solve the problem, especially if you add more plants/decor that break up lines of sight and provide hiding places at the same time. If you're worried about overstocking, can increase live plants and filtration, and increase water changes. I'd recommend going from 30% weekly to between 50-70% weekly anyway... remember if you only change 30% of the water, you're leaving 70% of the bad stuff in the tank every week... that builds up, and can lead to high nitrates and other water parameters shifting too, until the tank water is chemically different from the source water.

Do you know what your tanks nitrate, ammonia and nitrite levels are at the moment?

Source: Breeding livebearers, and keeping male and female only tanks :)
 
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ALAW

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Any sign of illness with the bullied one? It likely is just a pecking order thing, but if a fish is being picked on, it can also mean there's something wrong with that fish, the other fish try to drive it away since in the wild, a sick fish attracts predators. But in a tank, no where to go. So first thing to rule out is whether he's healthy, or ailing in some way.

I agree that adding a few more male platies might solve the problem, especially if you add more plants/decor that break up lines of sight and provide hiding places at the same time. If you're worried about overstocking, can increase live plants and filtration, and increase water changes. I'd recommend going from 30% weekly to between 50-70% weekly anyway... remember if you only change 30% of the water, you're leaving 70% of the bad stuff in the tank every week... that builds up, and can lead to high nitrates and other water parameters shifting too, until the tank water is chemically different from the source water.

Do you know what your tanks nitrate, ammonia and nitrite levels are at the moment?

Source: Breeding livebearers, and keeping male and female only tanks :)
As far as I can tell there's no illness, orange is eating well at feeding time, poo seems normal and there's no visual indications.
There's plenty of hiding places available In the tank, I've just added some frogbit to provide floating cover, sometimes I do a second 30% water change in the week.
Ammonia is at zero, no nitrites, and nitrates climb slowly over the week as the ground plants I have are artificial (I'm hoping the frogbit grows rapidly and helps out with the nitrates)
I last water changed on Saturday and today the nitrates were 10ppm.
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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As far as I can tell there's no illness, orange is eating well at feeding time, poo seems normal and there's no visual indications.
There's plenty of hiding places available In the tank, I've just added some frogbit to provide floating cover, sometimes I do a second 30% water change in the week.
Ammonia is at zero, no nitrites, and nitrates climb slowly over the week as the ground plants I have are artificial (I'm hoping the frogbit grows rapidly and helps out with the nitrates)
I last water changed on Saturday and today the nitrates were 10ppm.
Sounds like the tank is well balanced enough, and you're on top of testing enough - that you could easily add a couple more platies :) Not if you'd prefer not to of course, just if you want to try it and see if it solves the behavioural problems.

Frogbit is great at sucking up ammonia :) I'm pretty sure the frogbit and a few other plants in my 15 gallons have rendered the filters pretty useless....

Personally, I'd try adding a couple more male platies. Before adding them though, remove the existing three, re-arrange the tank decor and some plants perhaps, so it looks as though they've moved to a new part of the river, and have to start over in re-establishing new territories from scratch. Then add the two ones, and the three you already own. They'll start over with establishing a pecking order, but hopefully not pair up to bully to most submissive one. You'd need to monitor of course, but would also give you a better idea if one in particular is a bully and an instigator.

Some chasing and displaying is normal in a male only tank, so long as the chasing isn't relentless, and one individual isn't stressed out and being constantly targeted, the way yours seems to be at the moment, poor guy.

If it continues, or if you don't want to add more fish, you could try the re-arranging of the tank with just the ones you have, and if that fails, rehome the largest orange one that gets bullied the most, and hope the dominant one of the remaining two doesn't turn on his buddy.
 

Skeptical_Mutt

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I too have a bully platy in my tank. When I had 3 platys he would chase one of them around. When that platy mysteriously died he settled down a little.
 
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ALAW

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Any sign of illness with the bullied one? It likely is just a pecking order thing, but if a fish is being picked on, it can also mean there's something wrong with that fish, the other fish try to drive it away since in the wild, a sick fish attracts predators. But in a tank, no where to go. So first thing to rule out is whether he's healthy, or ailing in some way.

I agree that adding a few more male platies might solve the problem, especially if you add more plants/decor that break up lines of sight and provide hiding places at the same time. If you're worried about overstocking, can increase live plants and filtration, and increase water changes. I'd recommend going from 30% weekly to between 50-70% weekly anyway... remember if you only change 30% of the water, you're leaving 70% of the bad stuff in the tank every week... that builds up, and can lead to high nitrates and other water parameters shifting too, until the tank water is chemically different from the source water.

Do you know what your tanks nitrate, ammonia and nitrite levels are at the moment?

Source: Breeding livebearers, and keeping male and female only tanks :)
As far as I can tell there's no illness, orange is eating well at feeding time, poo seems normal and there's no visual indications.
There's plenty of ding places available In the tank, I've just added some frogbit to provide floating cover, sometimes I do a second 30% water change in the week.
Ammonia is at zero, no nitrites, and nitrates climb slowly over the week as the ground plants I have are artificial (I'm hoping the frogbit grows rapidly and helps out with the nitrates)
I last water changed on Saturday and today the nitrates were 10ppm.
I too have a bully platy in my tank. When I had 3 platys he would chase one of them around. When that platy mysteriously died he settled down a little.
Maybe he died from the stress of being bullied? Which is what I don't want to happen, the orange one I have that's been bullied is so bright orange compared to others I see in my LFS, it would be a shame if he carked it.
 
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ALAW

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Sounds like the tank is well balanced enough, and you're on top of testing enough - that you could easily add a couple more platies :) Not if you'd prefer not to of course, just if you want to try it and see if it solves the behavioural problems.

Frogbit is great at sucking up ammonia :) I'm pretty sure the frogbit and a few other plants in my 15 gallons have rendered the filters pretty useless....

Personally, I'd try adding a couple more male platies. Before adding them though, remove the existing three, re-arrange the tank decor and some plants perhaps, so it looks as though they've moved to a new part of the river, and have to start over in re-establishing new territories from scratch. Then add the two ones, and the three you already own. They'll start over with establishing a pecking order, but hopefully not pair up to bully to most submissive one. You'd need to monitor of course, but would also give you a better idea if one in particular is a bully and an instigator.

Some chasing and displaying is normal in a male only tank, so long as the chasing isn't relentless, and one individual isn't stressed out and being constantly targeted, the way yours seems to be at the moment, poor guy.

If it continues, or if you don't want to add more fish, you could try the re-arranging of the tank with just the ones you have, and if that fails, rehome the largest orange one that gets bullied the most, and hope the dominant one of the remaining two doesn't turn on

Sounds like the tank is well balanced enough, and you're on top of testing enough - that you could easily add a couple more platies :) Not if you'd prefer not to of course, just if you want to try it and see if it solves the behavioural problems.

Frogbit is great at sucking up ammonia :) I'm pretty sure the frogbit and a few other plants in my 15 gallons have rendered the filters pretty useless....

Personally, I'd try adding a couple more male platies. Before adding them though, remove the existing three, re-arrange the tank decor and some plants perhaps, so it looks as though they've moved to a new part of the river, and have to start over in re-establishing new territories from scratch. Then add the two ones, and the three you already own. They'll start over with establishing a pecking order, but hopefully not pair up to bully to most submissive one. You'd need to monitor of course, but would also give you a better idea if one in particular is a bully and an instigator.

Some chasing and displaying is normal in a male only tank, so long as the chasing isn't relentless, and one individual isn't stressed out and being constantly targeted, the way yours seems to be at the moment, poor guy.

If it continues, or if you don't want to add more fish, you could try the re-arranging of the tank with just the ones you have, and if that fails, rehome the largest orange one that gets bullied the most, and hope the dominant one of the remaining two doesn't turn on his buddy.
Thanks for that I didn't know re-arranging would have that effect on them, but after plenty of tittivating ive finally got the tank looking how I wanted haha, maybe I'll go get a couple more, seen a blue wag last week which I havnt seen before ? thanks for the advice ?
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Thanks for that I didn't know re-arranging would have that effect on them, but after plenty of tittivating ive finally got the tank looking how I wanted haha, maybe I'll go get a couple more, seen a blue wag last week which I havnt seen before ? thanks for the advice ?
Ooohh, I really love the blue platies! Have some youngers growing out right now;
DSCF6466.JPG
DSCF6212.JPG
DSCF6216.JPG
 
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ALAW

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Very nice, lovely colours! I think this is a great excuse to go fish hunting on my day off (other half will be thrilled ?) ??
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Very nice, lovely colours! I think this is a great excuse to go fish hunting on my day off (other half will be thrilled ?) ??
I'm going to the fish store in the morning, have to be strong and resist getting any fish. I need more fish food, not fish! I don't have a spare tank to quarantine right now, I have too many to fry growing out already that aren't large enough to go to the store yet, and also got unexpected cory fry the other day that I'm trying to raise... I can't get more fish!

But they know me in there now, and they know they have like, three species in right now that I really want at some point. When I asked in the FB group before my cories decided to spawn whether he'd be able to hold some fish (with a deposit of course) for a couple of weeks until I could free up a quarantine tank, he said "next time you come in, we'll work something out ;) " I was like, "I'm scared to come in! Too many fish I want, and I have to resist buying" and he said "exactly my plan". Darn it! I'm going to spend more money than I should on fish again. I know it.
 

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