If you’ve noticed your platy fish swimming on its side or upside down, it’s a cause for concern. This behavior is usually a sign of poor water quality or a potentially serious health problem in the fish.
The most common reason that a platy may lay on its side is due to swim bladder disease in the fish. Less common problems that can make a platy fish lay on its side include dropsy or injury to the fish.
In some cases, your platy may lay on its side at the bottom of the tank due to being close to death due to a totally different reason.
The majority of our readers should easily be able to treat a platy laying on its side due to swim bladder disease by using one of the commercially available treatments on the market. These treatments are relatively inexpensive and can be found at your local fish store or online.
If you believe that your platy is suffering from swim bladder disease, we recommend treating the entire tank as this is a contagious disease. Once you have treated the tank, make sure to do regular water changes and monitor the Platy’s diet until you are sure your platy is better.
Is It Normal For A Platy To Lay On Its Side?
While it’s not “normal” for a platy to lay on its side, it’s not uncommon for platies to develop swim bladder disease.
In fact, this is one of the most common health problems that we see in platies, especially for people new to the fish keeping hobby.
If you are noticing that your platy is laying on its side more often than usual, it’s a good idea to check the water parameters in your tank and make sure that everything is within the normal range.
If everything looks good with the water, then you will want to consider treating your platy for swim bladder disease and in some cases if there is obvious bloat on the fish, dropsy.
Thankfully, swim bladder disease is much easier to treat than dropsy and if caught early, your platy should make a full recovery.
In most cases, your platy should be able to get back to full health in as little as a week but depending on how bad the case of swim bladder disease actually is, it may take as long as a month for the fish to recover.
Why Is My Platy Laying On Its Side?
The most common reason that a platy fish may lay on its side is due to swim bladder disease. This is a fairly common condition in platies and can be caused by a variety of different things, including poor water quality, bad diet, or even stress.
In very bad cases, dropsy can also cause a platy to lay on its side and various problems that come with old age can also be responsible.
Other symptoms of swim bladder disease include :
- Swimming upside down or on their side.
- Floating at the top of the tank.
- Sinking to the bottom of the tank.
- Rapid Breathing.
- Bloated Abdomen.
Other symptoms of dropsy in fish include :
- A bloated abdomen.
- Scales that are sticking out (known as platy pineconing).
- Fluid retention under the skin.
- Lethargy and loss of appetite.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your platy fish, it’s important to take action quickly as both conditions can be fatal if left untreated. Unfortunately, dropsy can develop quickly and many platies that end up with dropsy can be dead within 48 hours.
How Can I Stop My Platy Laying On Its Side?
The best way to stop your platy from laying on its side is to treat the underlying condition that is causing it. In most cases, this will be swim bladder disease but in some rarer cases, it may be dropsy and if you have an older platy then old age and the problems that come with it can be the cause.
Thankfully, there are some great, cheap swim bladder disease treatments available that can be found at your local fish store or online.
We recommend using one of these treatments and following the instructions carefully. In most cases, you will need to treat the entire tank as swim bladder disease is a contagious condition.
In very bad cases, you may have to get a veterinarian involved as they can usually offer you a stronger treatment for swim bladder disease or dropsy.
However, this should only be considered as a last resort as it can be very expensive and the additional time require to see a vet may take up valuable time for your platy if it is swimming on its side due to dropsy.
Should I Quarantine A Platy Laying On Its Side?
If you have more than one platy in your tank and you notice that one of them is laying on its side, it’s a good idea to quarantine the fish that is laying or floating on its side.
This will stop the disease from spreading to the other platies in your tank and will also give you a chance to treat the fish without having to worry about your other fish.
To quarantine a platy, you will need to set up another tank that is at least 10 gallons in size. The tank should have the same water parameters as your main tank and you may also need to add a filter and heater.
Once the tank is set up, you can then catch the platy that is laying on its side and put it into the quarantine tank.
Even once the affected platy that is swimming on its side is in the quarantine tank, many people within the fish keeping community will still treat their main tank for swim bladder disease in case other fish in the tank are in the early stages of the disease.
Can A Platy Floating Or Swimming On Its Side Make A Full Recovery?
If you take action quickly and treat your platy for swim bladder disease or dropsy that is causing the fish to swim on its side, then there is a very good chance that your platy will make a full recovery.
In most cases, the fish will be back to swimming normally within a week or two and will return to their playful selves in no time.
Very bad cases of swim bladder disease will take longer to treat though and you may find that your platy doesn’t return to normal for several weeks.
In some rare cases, the fish may not recover at all and will die but this is usually only seen in very old platies or those that have other underlying health conditions.
If your platy is laying on its side due to dropsy then it is far less likely that it will be able to make a full recovary. In most cases, the fish will die within a few days but in some rare cases, the fish may survive for a week or two giving you time to treat your platy.