It is common for platyfish to go missing since they like hiding behind filters, under the rocks, or decorative items in the tank. However, if you don’t find your platy in the tank, you want to find out how the platyfish disappeared and where to find it.
The most likely reasons for a missing platyfish are hiding and predation by bigger fish. Platies are also known to eat their fry when hungry. Adult fish can also jump out of the tank and disappear, so check the surroundings of your aquarium for the missing platy.
Can platies disappear overnight?
It is common for platyfish to go missing overnight. Platies in a 10-gallon tank or smaller can be easy to find, unlike when the tank is bigger.
The following are possible reasons for the disappearance:
Platyfish tend to hide when there are stress-causing factors in the tank such as predators and bad water conditions.
Platies may also hide when pregnant or sick. Therefore, if your fish is missing, examine the tank and confirm if they’are hiding within the plants.
Your missing platy may also be sleeping. You can simply wake them up by turning on the lights.
Your platy was eaten by other fish
Due to their small size, bigger fish may attack and feed on platies. Aggressive or large fish species like cichlids, tiger barbs, or wolffish might attack and feed on the platyfish at night.
Therefore, you might find your platies missing because predators ate them away.
The platy jumped out of the tank
Platyfish love exploring and swimming around the tank. If your tank is open or has spaces at the top, the little fish may jump out and fall to the ground.
Since it cannot return into the tank, it will probably dry out and die unless you find it soon enough.
It might also be eaten by your cat, especially if you haven’t cat-proofed your aquarium and therefore disappear without any trace. However, if it dies naturally, you might be able to find the carcass around your tank.
The fish died
If you do not take proper care of your pet fish – such as not feeding platyfish for more than 7 days – they might get weak or sick and eventually die.
Other reasons for the death of platyfish include:
- Toxic water that leads to ammonia poisoning
- Diseases such as swim bladder disease, itch, and dropsy
- Natural death at the end of the 2-3 year lifespan
Dispose of dead fish in the tank to prevent other fish from feeding on it.
Where to find your fish
Knowing where to find your fish is essential whenever they’re missing from the tank. You might be fortunate enough to find the platyfish, but they may sometimes disappear entirely.
Here’s where to look for missing platy:
1. Hiding places in the aquarium
Check their hiding places, which include the following:
- Behind the water filter
- Under the rocks
- On decorative items
- In the aquarium plants
As you search for the missing platy, try not to disturb her tank mates.
Since the platyfish may be sleeping, turn the lights on to try and wake and force them to come out of their hiding places.
Pro tip: Your platyfish may get stuck inside the aquarium structures. Check inside the decorations, filters, and around the plants, and help your fish out if it is stuck.
Fish are creative creatures and can hide in unusual places like hollow aquarium decorations or under the substrate. Therefore, before concluding that your fish disappeared, ensure you search the tank thoroughly.
2. Areas surrounding the tank
If you could not find the fish inside the tank, its likely that it jumped out of the tank or was eaten by tank mates.
Search around the aquarium first. The fish might be barely alive, and you can save it by dipping it back into the tank. If you don’t find the fish a few meters from the tank, widen the search as the fish can wriggle away from the tank.
Pro tip: Cover the top of the tank and seal any open spaces to prevent fish from jumping out of the tank.
When a platyfish goes missing, it is likely that the fish jumped out of the tank, died, or was eaten by a tank mate. You can prevent your fish from disappearing by covering the aquarium, maintaining pristine water conditions, and feeding the fish on time to avoid predation.
Also, have a marine vet periodically diagnose and treat your fish to prevent premature death.