No, he’s not dead. Quite the opposite. Gerald seems to spend a lot of his time lurking flat on the gravel. He was born this way. I think he wants to be a turbot when he grows up.
He spends most of the day hiding. Twice a day at feeding times, though, he’s front and centre – indeed, seeing his wee bright red form lets me know I need to feed the fish.
When he sees me coming near the tank, he starts revving up his stubby tail. When I open the lid, he jets vertically up to the surface (paying scant attention to obstacles and other fish) and frantically scoots around waiting for the flakes. After nomming far more food than such a small fish should really be able to eat, he sinks back down to one of his hiding places.
We’ve had other platies born with similar buoyancy defects, but they’ve never lived as long as Gerald. He seems as happy as a platy could be, and is the only fish that really responds to our presence. Go Gerald!
(and yes, the tank does need cleaning; limescale on the outside, algae on the inside. And it’s blurry, too – long exposure, moving fish, macro depth of field.)