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How To Stop Your Platy Rubbing Against Rocks!

There has been a huge surge in the number of people getting involved in the fish keeping hobby recently and we have also noticed a spike in the popularity of people keeping platies in their tank due to some photographs and videos showing brightly colors platies with unique patterns going viral on social media recently.

We have also noticed that some people the people new to keeping platies in their tanks are having problems and reaching out for help so we have decided to go over the reasons why a platy may be rubbing on rocks for today’s article as well as how you are able to treat it.

If your platy is rubbing against rocks in its aquarium be it decorative rocks or a gravel based substrate then it usually means that there is something irritating the fish.

The more common causes of irritation that will cause the platy to rub against a rock are ich and velvet but there are some less common parasites that can cause the behavior too.

In less common situations, a platy may be rubbing on rocks to remove loose or damaged scales or as a way to try and clean themselves if they have something stuck on their body that is irritating them.

For the most part though, you should definitely be looking for signs of ich or velvet on your fish as these will require treatment as soon as possible before the spread to your other fish and potentially develop to a level where they can be fatal.

Is It Normal For A Platy To Rub Against Rocks?

It is usually not considered normal for a platy to rub itself against rocks in its aquarium and most platies will only rub against rocks if they are being irritated by something on them, usually a parasite.

In some rare cases, a platy may rub against a rock to remove some detretus or algae from it or to help a damaged scale off its body but this is still down to there being something that is irritating them needing to be removed.

As we covered in our article on why your platy is losing scales, excessive rubbing against rocks can be detrimental to your platy and cause injury to the fish as well as scale loss in addition to the problems with the fish.

This can then compound with the other potential problems on the fish such as ich or velvet that is actually causing the platy to rub itself against the rock potentially causing your platy to become very ill, very quickly.

Although the behavior is still due to various issues with your platy, an older platy may rub itself against the rocks in its tank more often than a younger platy.

This is due to old age setting in and the fish having problems with its scales that are considered to be natural for its age and the platy wanting some releife from the irritation similar to how humans itch themselves.

“Platy Calico” by valentinastorti is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

What Does It Mean When Your Platy Rubs Against Rocks?

The two most common reasons that your platy will rub itself against rocks are due to the fish having problems with ich or velvet and treatment should be started for both as soon as possible.

There are some less common causes of this behavior such as other parasites, often platy gill flukes causing irritation on the fish as well as potential problems with the fish having damaged scales.

In some cases, your platy may be pineconing due to dropsy or other causes of bloat that may cause the fish to rub against the rocks in its tank too.

This is much rarer than the more common causes of this behavior though and you can usually see the bloat in the fish as well as the signs of pineconing giving you a good indication that the fish is rubbing against rocks due to this helping to identify the cause.

Although very rare, if the water quality in your aquarium ends up getting so poor that your platy is hiding in the plants of your tank then this can also cause enough irritation to get your platy to rub against rocks too.

This is commonly due to ammonia and nitrate levels spiking but there are some other water parameters in your tank that can cause this behavior in your platy but if you carry out regular tank maintenance on your aquarium then this shouldn’t really be the cause with your platy as it is very rare.

How Can You Stop A Platy Rubbing On Rocks?

The best way to stop your platy rubbing on rocks is to treat the underlying problem that is causing the irritation on your platy and causing the fish to rub on the rocks so much.

Thankfully, both ich and velvet are relatively easy to treat in most situations so the majority of people would be able to treat any parasitic problem on their fish causing their platy to rub on rocks.

You can try the temperature trick if you do think that your play is rubbing on rocks due to ich but something like No products found. will usually be a much better option for treating ich.

Velvet can be a little more tricky to treat but most people will have to increase the water temperature in their aquarium and reduce the lighting exposure as much as possible to treat the parasite.

Other parasites such as flukes can usually be treat quickly and efficiently by compounding the effects of both Melafix and Pimafix at the same time due to both products using different active ingredient.

This can also help treat a number of less common problems with fish such as fungal infections that may cause a platy to itch against rocks.


That brings our article going over why your platy is rubbing on rocks and how to stop it to an end. We hope that we have been able to help our readers understand that there are actually a range of potential reasons that your pet platy may rub against rocks with each often needing their own unique treatment. Thankfully though, although it may take a little work to confirm the exact problem causing the itching in your platy, the majority of the time, the parasites causing the rubbing are easy to treat and your platy should make a full recovery quickly.