Tropical Fish Forum

Tropical Fish Keeping Help and Advice => Fish Species => Topic started by: rosaleen on July 29, 2016, 08:40:22 PM

Title: Platies
Post by: rosaleen on July 29, 2016, 08:40:22 PM
Hi :wave:
, I've read conflicting opinions  :vcross:on whether Platies do well with or without salt.
I'm in a hard water area  and thinking of adding platies to my tank which has amongst things  6 shrimps. I understand shrimps  will not tolerate salt? :o  Has anyone experience of keeping Platies with or without salt???
Many thanks
PS I wouldn't be thinking of trying to breed from them and would aim to have females only.
Title: Re: Platies
Post by: Littlefish on July 29, 2016, 08:54:12 PM
I only have variatus platy in my temperate tanks. They are doing well in my hard water. The girls are quite hefty lassies, and will eat absolutely anything. I had to put the male in a separate tank after the first babies, for obvious reasons. They were the first fish I bought from P@H and I didn't know how to tell the sexes apart until it was too late. Ooops.
I hadn't heard about them requiring salt, and the profile on this site doesn't mention it, but the more experienced keepers will know more than me.
Title: Re: Platies
Post by: Sue on July 29, 2016, 09:15:59 PM
Platies don't need salt but they can tolerate it.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about livebearers. So many people say that all livebearers and especially mollies need salt. They don't. They need hard water.

I think the confusion stems from the word salt. In chemistry, a salt is the product of the reaction between an acid and a base. Common salt, sodium chloride, is the product of hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide. Calcium carbonate (which I have mentioned many times in relation to water hardness) is the product of carbonic acid and calcium hydroxide. Nitrates are salts of nitric acid, nitrites are salts of nitrous acid. Sulphates are salts of sulphuric acid. On the base side there is sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium etc.
As you can see, in chemistry there are many salts and a lot of these occur naturally in fresh water. One that doesn't is sodium chloride, aka common salt, the stuff you put on your chips.

So if I were to say that livebearers need salts in the water, almost everyone would interpret that as needing common salt when what I actually mean is water with lots of salts in the chemical sense, that is - hard water.

Just for completion, several molly species are from brackish water areas. But the mollies in shops bear little resemblance to wild mollies. Shop mollies are usually hybrids of more than one wild species, and they have been bred in farms for so long that they no longer need any common salt at all. But mollies tend to suffer more than any other livebearers if they are kept in water that is not hard enough.

Title: Re: Platies
Post by: rosaleen on July 30, 2016, 10:46:47 AM
Hi firstly Sue,
a HUGE thanks for your detailed relly, I confess I got lost on the chemistry, never my strong point, but know others who read the post will understand it better. It's VERY reassuring to have your expert view.
Id read  on the net a fact sheet that said Platies needed salt that was why I queried it.
Re mollies, I tried them a long while ago ,but they did badly and I ended up taking the surviving one quite quickly back to the shop. So I'm loathe to try them a again beautiful though they are, as much for their sakes as mine.
Little fish, glad your Platies are doing well. I checked with the local MA who said they can pick out females only for me.
How long have  you had yours and do you know or have you experience of them being long lived??
Title: Re: Platies
Post by: Sue on July 30, 2016, 11:39:13 AM
The main point is that platies (and mollies, guppies etc) don't need salt but they do need hard water. And they can tolerate salt better than soft water fish if it's ever needed for medicinal reasons (eg combatting whitespot)

Don't forget that any female platy that has been in a tank with a male for longer than 10 seconds will be carrying sperm and can have babies once a month for about 6 months.
Title: Re: Platies
Post by: Littlefish on July 30, 2016, 11:49:50 AM
The MA staff will perfectly capable of picking out the females. The males have "an obvious gonopodium", which (in my terms) is a pointy fin behind their other fin under their bum area, and the females have a curved fin in that area. As you can tell, my grasp of technical names and details is amazing.  :rotfl:
I only started keeping fish last October, and those fish were the first I had. Luckily I only had the one male, and only one female had babies, of which only 2 survived.
Apparently they live around 2-3 years, which is a shame as I've grown quite attached to mine.
Title: Re: Platies
Post by: rosaleen on July 31, 2016, 08:08:24 PM
Hi again, thanks Sue  for the info on pregnant females, be interesting to see if this happens when I get them. Both genders at the local MA are kept in the same tank so it's a distinct possibility !
The  water is  hard so no problem there. I'll keep well away from salt, don't want to upset my shrimps, which I've had the longest and I'm most attached to, but like your Platies littlefish
Title: Re: Platies
Post by: rosaleen on July 31, 2016, 08:32:10 PM
Sue, sorry I should double  check...............
does my water with a KH 15 and a GH 7-21   mean it's  hard enough?
Title: Re: Platies
Post by: Sue on July 31, 2016, 08:50:14 PM
Can you pin the hardness down a bit more closely? 7 to 21 is a huge range from slightly hard through moderately hard and hard to very hard. In fact 21 is off the top of the scale with my water company!

Platies should be fine in that hardness even if it's nearer the 7 end. It's mainly mollies that have problems if the water isn't hard enough.
Title: Re: Platies
Post by: rosaleen on August 01, 2016, 04:03:50 PM
Just checked the GH using a strip test, it's showing between 14 and 21. Not too sure about KH I think it's roughly  10d .
Sorry for the vague reading from before. I hadn't really taken a lot of notice how to properly read the GH And KH, as I was being obsessed with the other readings
I was going to use the local water report but looking it up in my fish file I came across an old post from you that I'd printed out for reference, dated 30th Jan 2010! It/you said then that my water company, which you'd looked up didn't give KH, only GH. I can't figure out how to read their terminology. Is 'total hardness as CaC03 ' the GH? If so the 2014 reports says the mean is 326. Don't know if I'm making sense as I don't know what I'm reading.
Thanks for your help(again)
Title: Re: Platies
Post by: Sue on August 01, 2016, 05:10:46 PM
There are several units for hardness but fishkeeping uses just 2. They are German degrees, also called dH and mg/l CaCO3, also called ppm.

So your water company uses the second of the two used in fishkeeping, and your hardness is 326 ppm and that converts to 18.2 German degress/dH.

Your tap water is very suitable for platies  :)
Title: Re: Platies
Post by: rosaleen on August 01, 2016, 08:03:47 PM
As you mentioned mollies.......... would my water be OK for them too???
Title: Re: Platies
Post by: Sue on August 01, 2016, 08:26:03 PM
It should be, provided the tank is big enough - mollies are big fish (and I can't remember the size of your tank  :-[ )
Title: Re: Platies
Post by: rosaleen on August 02, 2016, 09:53:30 AM
Ah, yes, hadn't thought about that, maybe  not big enough at 89 litres. Never mind it was just a thought.
Still have to wait and see if the tank has properly stabilised in any case......