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FAQs on the Molly Health/Disease 3

Related Articles: Mollies, & Poeciliids: Guppies, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies by Neale Monks, Livebearing Fishes by Bob Fenner,

FAQs on Molly Disease:
Molly Disease 1, Molly Disease 2, Molly Disease 3, Molly Disease 4, Molly Disease 5, Molly Health 6, Molly Health 7, Molly Health 8, Molly Health ,
FAQs on Molly Disease by Category: Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Genetic, Treatments
FAQs on Molly Reproduction/Breeding
Molly Reproduction 1, Molly Reproduction 2, Molly Reproduction 3,

Sick Mollies, Medicated Food, And More - 02/07/2007 Hello crew! <Hi Mary> Thank you so much for all of your help when I was setting up me aquariums, we now have three situations. I am sorry, this is going to be a long one, thanks in advance for all your help again! <Don't think I helped you last time, but you're welcome, on behalf of WWM Crew. I'll try to help you out this time, though..,< Situation number one: After all that I went through with getting the two kids' aquariums up and running, it was clear that when we were close to being able to stock the tanks I wanted to quarantine any new fish first, we had already been through way too much to endanger our two healthy tanks! <Excellent decision!> So I now have 6 new fish in a separate quarantine tank. We have 3 Dalmatian Mollies and 3 platys in the QT tank. I am doing a 50% water change every morning to keep the water clean, and all the fish seem to be very healthy. <Sounds like you are taking very good care of these little guys.> Except for one thing. The day after we brought them home, one of the platys was hiding a lot and had stringy white feces. We had experienced this with other fish from the pet store that eventually died. <Sounds like this fish had an internal parasite - not uncommon, and just to note, a great illustration of the importance of a quarantine, as you yourself know!> So I treated the water with Jungle parasite fungus clear. I figured in a quarantine tank we aren't trying to establish a cycle anyway. <That's true, but generally speaking, internal parasites respond better to medicated food, specifically something containing Oxytetracycline.  Here's where I buy mine from (it's hard to find, at least around Chicagoland): http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/255/cat255.htm?785  > Within the next day the fish seemed to perk up and now 9 days later they all seem very perky. Except now 3 of the fish seem to have stringy white feces. It literally looks like they swallowed a human hair and are excreting it out, with little spots of feces stuck on the 'hair' along the way. Sometimes it gets to be like twice as long as the length of the fish! But again, the fish all look really peppy and healthy. So that's situation number one. Any thoughts on the feces? <Do try the medicated food. Sometimes it can be challenging to get fish to eat it (I'm thinking it probably tastes bad, just like some human meds!), so soaking it in a couple of drops of Kent's Garlic Xtreme ( http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=5016&Ntt=garlic%20xtreme&Ntk=All&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Np=1&pc=1&N=0&Nty=1  ) can stimulate their interest in the food.  That's the best way to combat internal parasites, in my experience.  Should clear the problem right up.> Should I worry or wait and see how they are doing in a few days? Should I just treat them to prevent any problems? <I'd try the food - this isn't a problem that will just "go away".> Situation number two: My daughter started off her brand new tank with 2 platys and an algae eater. The first platy died the next day, and the second within 2 days of setting up the tank. They both had red spots on their bodies which we originally thought were pretty coloring and now I think they were a symptom of some type of disease. <Can you describe the "spots" a bit more? How many, how large, etc.  What color are these platys to begin with? My first thought was some sort of ammonia burn, but I see below that your parameters are good. These "spots" don't move, do they? My next thought is a parasite, but that's just a guess...> We got one more platy after the first one died. The algae eater wedged himself under a decoration on day 4, with no signs of disease at all, I think he just got stuck. Poor thing! <Did he perish as well? Some of these store-bought aquarium decorations can actually be dangerous - I learned that lesson the hard way after one of my Bettas got stuck inside one, and eventually died from the trauma.  Make sure you inspect everything carefully, just as you would for little children - it seems as though if the fish can get stuck, they will...> So now it had been 2 and ½ weeks and we had one fish left alive in the tank. The tank has fully cycled, with nitrates and nitrites testing at 0 for a total of 5 days, hardness steady at 75, alkalinity at between 40 and 80 (kH) ppm on my test strip and PH between 6.8 and 7.2. <Am I to understand that the tank was cycling with the fish in it? If so, that's likely what caused the platys to perish, and the red spots were likely burns from ammonia, as I first suspected. Generally it's best to do a "fishless" cycle, using a small bit of fish food, and measuring the water's parameters the same way.   On another note,  those "test strips" you refer to are notorious inaccurate - I'd recommend investing in a quality liquid test kit that contains ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH tests - I personally like the one made by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals.> A lot of algae, so we went to the store and bought an algae eater from the pet store and put him straight in to the tank. Maybe not the best idea but my thought was that they eat scum, they must be somewhat more resistant than other fish. What do you think? <I think there are better ways to combat algae, like feeing less, reducing the amount of light on the tank, and increasing water changes.  Also, when phosphates are a problem, it's usually due to elevated phosphate levels - you may want to invest in a test kit for  that as well.  If phosphates are your issue, adding a filter media like PolyFilter (http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=4335&Ntt=polyfilter&Ntk=All&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Np=1&pc=1&N=0&Nty=1 ) can help keep the phosphates under control. What sort of "algae eater" did you get? Is it a common Pleco, or something else? If it's a Pleco, be aware these grow very large (12-18").  Finally, I don't know of any fish that eats "scum", as you put it...certain fish eat specific types of algae, but really, water changes are the best way to combat algae (along with the ideas above).> So I am wondering, she has three platys in the quarantine area and we leave for vacation in 10 days. The fish have been in quarantine for 9 days now. When would you advise starting to add the 3 new platys? I know usually we would wait 21 days and then go one at a time but while we are gone the fish will not be getting the obsessive attention they have been getting, so I am trying to weigh the benefits of adding one at a time and waiting a few days between additions vs. leaving them in quarantine for longer. <This can be a tough call. Based on my own personal experience of not keeping livebearers in QT long enough, coupled with the fact that your fish haven't been entirely healthy during the QT period, I'd leave them where they are.  Do you have someone feeding your fish while you are away, then? I'd suggest making little baggies of food for each tank, for each feeding, keeping in mind that less is more, in this situation, since I imagine the kind person watching your tanks won't be changing water...> I really would love your advice here! <I suggest leaving the fish where they are, for the reasons listed above.> Situation number three: My son started off his brand new tank with 2 mollies and an algae eater. <Again, what type of "algae eater"? A Siamese algae eater, Chinese algae eater, Pleco, etc., etc...> They were doing great! And then suddenly Bob (male molly) started swimming upside down (vertical) and losing all sense of direction and balance. He looked grayish and dull, not shiny and sparkly like a healthy fish. <First thing to always check are water parameters...> I took him out of the tank and treated him for bacterial and parasites, (each after water changes and a day between) but Bob died after 3 days. <Best not to throw all sorts of medication at a fish, as this can cause more harm than good.  It can be hard to diagnose a fish, but that's the best thing to try and do. First thing, I would have checked the environmental conditions. If all was well there (no ammonia or nitrites, and nitrates less than 20 ppm), then I'd start looking at diseases.  Based on your description, sounds as though this may have been Costiasis, a/k/a "skin slime disease". It is not uncommon for this to be present in fish acquired from local fish stores. It can kill very quickly.  If it were that, I would have treated with Metronidazole. Just information for the future - not trying to beat you up for the decisions you made!> He was such a great fish! We were heart broken. <I'm sorry.> But Molly (female) was doing great and appeared pregnant. <Female livebearers kept in community tanks usually are...> Molly kept right on doing great for another week and a half or so, but suddenly yesterday she was not swimming right. She is grey and dull like Bob was, has one white cloudy eye, and seems to not have her equilibrium under control. She is not swimming upside down like Bob was but she is not doing well either. And her feces is stringy and white exactly like the ones in quarantine. The nitrites were running really high (between 3.0 and 5.0 on my test strip) when this all started, and the rest of the tank parameters are identical to what is listed above. <Again, I suggest getting a more reliable test kit. But, if the nitrites truly were at between 3 and 5, that's WAY TOO HIGH - they need to be at zero.  How often do you change the water on this tank? The stringy white feces, as discussed above, sound like internal parasites, for which Oxytetracycline medicated food is generally a good course of action...> The one good thing is she is still eating. She is not eating at all like she normally does but she is trying. She has also gotten thinner and does not look pregnant at all. I have looked at her with a flashlight and she does not appear to have ich. First thing I did was a 50% water change. <Did you re-test the water after that? With nitrites as high as they were, you need to be sure they were effectively reduced to ZERO.> Then I treated the water yesterday with Jungle parasite clear, and did a 50% water change today and tonight I treated in with Jungle fungus clear, which claims to also cure swim bladder and white cloudy eye. I am treating her in the regular tank because the quarantine tank is already taken up with the new fish. (took out the charcoal). <It is very dangerous to mix medications. I know you were anxious to help, but in fish illness situations, the best thing to do is step back, try to diagnose based on all the observable criteria, and treat accordingly.  Your description of Molly doesn't lead me to think fungus is an issue. The white cloudy eye sounds like pop-eye, a condition caused by poor environmental conditions.  Many times the eye will clear itself up once the environment is improved, but in more severe cases, Epsom salts are usually a good course of action.  Honestly, if it were me, I'd get the water issues under control ASAP and carefully watch the fish to see if she improved in a day or two, and I'd feed her medicated flakes.  If no improvement with the swimming in a day or two, then I'd start entertaining medication. You must be aware that many fish "diseases" are nothing more than reactions to bad water quality - something that can be fixed through good husbandry alone!> Would you advise cleaning everything out and starting from scratch if she dies? <Actually, I'd advise putting the carbon filter back in place and doing a large water change - you have too many medications in that tank, which could very well kill her.  Get the water clean, feed the medicated flake, and observe closely...> Could this be contaminating our tank now? And of course now we will have to start the cycle over again, because I'm sure the medication killed everything we had started. <Yes and yes.> So now I'm really not sure what to do with the new mollies that I have in the quarantine tank, we are leaving town and that tank will not be cycled. Help!!! <OK, perhaps you can prepare some water for water changes, and persuade the tank-sitter to change the water at least once or twice? That would be the best solution. I would not, under any circumstances, though, move the fish around; at this point, you'd likely do much more harm than good.> The algae eater is doing great in the tank and has grown a ton! <Yes - you need to find out exactly what type of fish this is, as he may eventually need a larger home!> Also, do you have any advice on how to buy fish? What to look for etc? <I like to look at ALL the tanks at the store, as all the freshwater ones are likely on the same filtration system.  Get a sense of how clean the tanks are, how many dead/dying fish there are (ideally, there shouldn't be any...a classic sign of a bad fish store is one that lets deceased fish be cannibalized by others in the tank...), etc. Ask the shopkeeper how long the fish you are interested in have been there - ask what they are being fed, etc.  You can even ask for the storekeeper to feed the fish in front of you - nothing wrong with that at all, many folks do it. Of course, you don't want to buy any fish that looks lethargic, has clamped fins or other signs of disease, etc. Try to find some pictures (either in books or online) of the fish you're interested in buying, so that you know what a healthy specimen should look like.> <Hope I've helped - best of luck, and enjoy your vacation. Jorie>

Bumpy skin on sailfin mollies   7/16/07 Hello, I have a 10-gallon tank containing a large (3 inch) male sailfin molly and two smaller sailfin mollies that were born and raised in my tank. The young ones are now 2 inches and I have recently noticed they have rather warty-looking skin especially from the dorsal fin forward. The other molly retains his beautiful iridescent smooth white look. The bumpy mollies seem otherwise in great good health as do the other fish in the tank. ( 3 neon tetras, 1 Plecostomus, and 2 lava glowfish) I use the recommended dose of aquarium salt, have live plants and treat the tank about every two month with ick medicine. The affected mollies are orange and black and the bumps follow the color pattern as if the source is under the skin. Do I have a problem or just cute little bumpy mollies? Mary <Greetings Mary. OK, the 10 gallon tank is way too small for a 3-inch molly. Or really a 3-inch anything. Mollies are VERY sensitive to poor water quality when maintained in freshwater tanks. (By contrast, they are very hardy in brackish and marine aquaria.) Anyway, assuming you don't have pearl-scale mollies where bumpy skin is normal, the symptom you describe sounds like early stage Finrot or fungus, something that is VERY common when people keep Mollies in freshwater tanks. Treat with a combination Finrot/fungus medication of your choice. Dosing a tank with "aquarium salt" is of no use here and in fact will be stressing your tetras and glowfish, so stop doing that right now. The only people recommending the addition of salt are the people selling the stuff and maybe a few very old fashioned fishkeepers. Almost all tetras comes from soft, acidic waters anyway, and salt certainly isn't part of their natural habitat. Mollies do best in my opinion and experience in brackish water aquaria maintained at around SG 1.003-1.005, i.e., around 10-25% the salinity of normal seawater. You also need very hard (20+ dH) and alkaline (7.5-8.0) water for them. Such conditions are created using *marine* salt mix, not that rubbish "tonic salt" retailers push on unsuspecting aquarists. None of your other fish will accept such conditions. For reasons that passeth all understanding, no-one seems to listen to people who say this, with the result that the number of sick mollies out there is astronomical! Besides providing the hard, alkaline, saline conditions Mollies need, brackish water detoxifies nitrate, something mollies are sensitive to. Unless you have next to no nitrate in your freshwater aquarium, this is probably the number-1 trigger for sickness in Mollies, and the thing to test on a weekly basis, at least until you get a feel for how nitrate accumulates in your aquarium. For the same reason, nothing less than a 50% water change per week is acceptable for mollies. Hope this helps, Neale> <Mary, PS. You shouldn't need to be treating your aquarium every 2 months for whitespot/ick. If you have outbreaks of disease every 2 months, then you're doing something VERY wrong. If your fish are fine, you certainly shouldn't be adding medication just for the sake of it. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: bumpy skin on sailfin mollies -- 07/18/07
Neale, Thanks so much for your response and assistance. Regarding the ick treatment. I don't have problems and thought I was performing a preventative procedure. Great to know. I'll stop that. However, all I got in your reply was the P.S. Do you have input regarding the bumpy skinned mollies? Thanks, Mary <Hmm... Go to this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdailyfaqs.htm and then scroll down a bit, or search for your name, and it's there. Hope it helps, Neale>

My female sail fin, dis...  7/13/07 I have had a pair of sailfin mollies for three days. <Hi there, Jorie here. A bit more info. would be very helpful here - how large is your aquarium, is it cycled, what other fish/livestock do you have, etc.?> Tonight my female looks like it has a growth on its mouth (whitish) and is sitting on the bottom mainly. <This certainly doesn't sound like a well fish. How large is the growth? Is it symmetrical? Can/does the fish eat?> I have checked all pH ammonia and nitrate, plus temps, and all are fine. <This is very subjective - what are the actual readings? Ammonia and nitrite must be zero, and nitrate no more than 20 ppm. With mollies, pH and temperature can be within a fairly wide range, so long as they are both kept stable. Also, mollies are a fish that appreciate a bit of salt in their water; I'd suggesting adding either aquarium salt or marine salt (presuming the other livestock are salt-tolerant). Take a look at this article pertaining to livebearers, generally: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/poeciliids.htm Also, here's a very good article on basic aquarium-keeping "101": http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm > No other fish in my community tank look like this, is this something they have come with? Or have I a problem in my tank? <Sounds like you introduced this pair of new fish without quarantining them - not such a good idea. All new livestock should be isolated in a QT tank for a minimum of 3-4 weeks, to observe for signs of illness, disease, thus preventing the spread of infection, etc. to a healthy system. As to what your fish specifically has, without a bit more information, it's very hard to say precisely what is ailing her. Here's a good place to start: http://www.fishdoc.co.uk/disease/diagnosis.htm > I can send them back the shop but want to make sure that there is nothing that I have done wrong. <Again, without some more basic information, it's really hard to say for sure what's going on. I would suggest isolating the affected fish into her own hospital tank (a 5-10 gallon tank would be plenty big for a single molly to recover in) and, for starters, adding aquarium salt at the rate of 1 tsp. per 5 gallons. Good water quality is key - keep up on the water changes, especially if the hospital tank is not cycled. I'll try to help out more once I've heard back from you with more details...> Thank you, Amanda <Best, Jorie>

Sickly mollies   7/10/07 Hi, about a week and a half ago, one of my mollies had babies. Now, just a few days ago, my other molly had her babies. I've been watching the babies very carefully because both of the mothers were sick when they gave birth. And although I separated the babies from their mothers immediately, I was afraid they had been exposed to the bacteria too long. All of them seem to be doing pretty well, but there is one that I am concerned about. I'm afraid that I've spotted some tail rot on him. The only problem is, he is black with some white patches, so I don't know if the pieces that appear to be missing from his tail are gone, or if they are just transparent, like some of his siblings tails are. At first I thought that it might just be his coloring, but today I've noticed that he is clamping his tail a little bit. Can you please help me? I don't want to treat the tank for no reason, but I also don't want his sickness to get out of control if he is actually sick. I don't know what to do, and all of my hospital tanks are full, due to recent ich and tail/fin rot break outs. Thank you, Rebecca <Hello Rebecca. The first question is do you keep your mollies in fresh or brackish water. Mollies require hard (20 dH+), alkaline (pH 7.5-8), and preferably brackish (SG 1.005) water conditions. Failure on any of these counts tends to make them sickly. Period, end of discussion. I know people sell mollies as "good community fish" but they really aren't. So, what are the water conditions? As for treating the tank, assuming you choose the right medication and dose according to the instructions (removing carbon from the filter, of course) there's no risk to the baby fish. In fact, when you start breeding egg-laying fish, you'll discover that adding medications pre-emptively is standard practise. So in this instance, treat with a combo fungus/finrot medication. Cheers, Neale>

Sick molly - disappearing Betta 7/9/07 Have been reading your website - but nothing seems to apply exactly to what's going on with my fish. <OK.> We have a ten gallon aquarium which we started with a male beta he lived there for a few weeks with 4 plants in peace and harmony - then we brought home from the store 2 Creamsicle sailfin mollies and a snail. One molly had a pale patch of scales on it's head, but we had seen others in the tank with the same markings so we thought it was a normal color variation. After adding the new fish we noticed the larger female molly without the pale spots was frequently attacking the other molly it seemed to have ideas of attacking the beta - but of course the beta wasn't having any of that! <A bad combination of animals. Apple snails almost never mix with fish because they get nipped, and after a while they die, polluting the tank. They're also subtropical -- not tropical -- animals and get heat exhaustion in the long term. Mollies, contrary to myth, do best in brackish water. Bettas (not betas) need freshwater conditions, and are essentially incompatible with mollies. Mollies are also far too big and active for a 10 gallon tank. So right out of the starting gate there's problems. Did you do any research before buying these animals?> The next morning we noticed the beta had a split in his tail and the smaller female molly also had a piece out of it's tail so we returned the aggressive (?the healthy one?) fish to the store. <Hmm...> The betas fins continued to rot away - but the molly's seems to be growing back for awhile. Beta occasionally chases and nips at the molly still. <Did you do anything to treat the damage? Adding finrot remedy after fin damage is absolutely essential. Fish are swimming about a warm, bacteria-laden soup and can't help but get infected if they're immune system is at all compromised.> Now they both look awful - the beta's tail is nearly gone - I don't see any white patches on the beta though and he still flares at the mirror and swims around normally and chases the molly. The molly has large chunks out of her tail, the pale spot on her head is paler and I can make out a couple more pale spots by her dorsal fin perhaps a bit pinkish? The scales on the top of her head look uneven like sheets on an unmade bed - she has a red spot on each gill though seems to be breathing normally - she is wasting away very skinny and has no energy - sometimes floating or swimming around listlessly with her nose up or being bumped into the floor of the tank by the filter current. Her body occasionally twitches or shakes. <The molly is obviously dying; she has a combination of finrot/fungus plus something called "the shimmies" which is a neurological condition brought on by poor healthcare. Doesn't happen when they're kept in brackish water, but I guess that horse has left the stable... She's dying, so may as well euthanise her painlessly.> The both swim to the top and seem to be starving at feeding time but then when I put the food in they don't seem to see it and are lucky to get a piece before it floats away. <Maybe they don't like the food you're giving them? Mollies are primarily herbivores, so algae-based flake plus stuff like Sushi Nori are what they need. Bettas feed on insect larvae, and (wet) frozen bloodworms are the ideal for them.> Do you think it's columnaris introduced by the new fish? Should we separate the molly and beta since the beta is not as sick and treat them separately? <There's a whole bunch of things going wrong here, but the problem is you, not the new fish. You've bought a collection of incompatible fish, kept them in a too-small tank, made no attempt to provide the correct water parameters for the mollies, and apparently not treated for any of the diseases.> Ammonia and nitrites are 0 - nitrates are 20 - temp 80 - pH 8.2 <The pH is way too high for a Betta, and the nitrates way too high for mollies. Bettas need around pH 7.0, mollies around pH 7.5-8.0. Mollies in freshwater conditions need ZERO nitrates, but in brackish/marine conditions are much less fussy.> 6 plants now and the snail is fine except the beta has bitten off his antennae! <The snail will die soon. When the antennae get nipped this is a sign the apple snail is being harassed. As sure as God made little green apples this poor old snail will be increasingly stressed. After a few months it will die. Apple snails simply aren't good in tropical aquaria. In subtropical aquaria maybe, but not tropical aquaria. Max temperature is around 75 F long-term, but ideally a bit less even than that.> we heard you could keep a beta with some other fish but ours doesn't seem very sociable <Most Betta owners keep them in their own aquaria or with peaceful bottom dwellers such as Corydoras and Kuhli loaches.> also we will be moving cross country in a month - do you have any tips for the best way to transport fish tanks in a car? <Place fish into sealed bags or buckets about 1/4th filled with water and the rest air. Insulate the packages with towels or something similar to keep them warm. Your local aquarium shop may be able to provide you with the polystyrene containers they receive fish in. These are perfect for the job. Cheers, Neale>
Re: sick molly - disappearing Betta  7/10/07
Hey Neale <Hello Ruth & Eric,> Thanks for your assistance. <No probs.> I'm surprised to hear that mollies shouldn't go in with bettas as we actually did research it before buying them and several sites specifically suggested mollies as good tank mates for bettas because they both like hard hot water. <Well, no disrespect to the source you read, but the fact I know better is why I write aquarium books and for aquarium magazines. I don't make this stuff up to annoy people! Mollies like water that is hard, preferably brackish, and with a pH around 7.5 to 8. They do even better in seawater. In terms of temperature, something around the 26C/79F mark suits them well. Bettas are classic labyrinth fish and have evolved to live in hot, humid places where their air-breathing 'labyrinth organ' helps them get oxygen from the atmosphere because there isn't enough in the water. Anything up to 30C/86F will suit them fine. In terms of water chemistry the ideal is soft to moderately hard and around pH 7. In other words, much like barbs and tetras.> However I think we should have gotten the smaller short finned variety as soon as we put these in the tank we could see the tank looked crowded. We have been adding 1 tsp of aquarium salt for each 5 gallons but probably should have been more for mollies? <To be honest, this is like trying to make an "happy medium" that will suit camels and penguins. It can't be done. Mollies want a completely different aquarium to Bettas. Mollies need lots of swimming space, a fairly strong water current, plenty of depth, and they need to be kept in groups to avoid aggression. Bettas live in swamps and hate strong currents, and they need tanks with lots of plants so that they are always near cover. Bettas are slow moving and feed at a snail's pace, Mollies wolf down food as soon as they see it. Bettas are carnivores and like plants for security, Mollies are herbivores that simply eat plants as food. Adding MARINE salt mix (NOT "aquarium salt" or "tonic salt") will help Mollies a great deal, but at the dose your Mollies require for health, your Betta will be stressed, probably die. So what can I say? There's really no way you can please both these fish at the same time.> The water comes out of our tap with a very high pH - maybe we should add a piece of drift wood to bring it down a bit? <No, don't bother. Messing about with pH unless you know what you're doing usually ends in tears. Much better to accept the water conditions you have, and in future select fish suited to it. If you have very hard and alkaline water, then stick with livebearers, rainbowfish, cichlids, etc that enjoy such conditions. Your fish will be healthy, happy, willing to breed, and easier to keep. Problem solved.> The snail was more of an impulse purchase - we didn't realize they don't like hot water! <Lots of people make this mistake. Apple snails come from Florida, which isn't hot all year round as you know, and in the wild Apple snails "aestivate" during the summer. That is, they go into a resting phase. Without this resting phase they simply "wear out". This is why so few Apple snails last long in regular aquaria. For most people, they only last a year, if that. Kept properly, they live for many years and reach enormous sizes. One at the London Zoo had a shell that was bigger than a tennis ball!> Or that the betta would nip his antennae. <Yup.> He seems very happy he's so active and moving around the tank all the time - the molly does not harass him. <Snails aren't very smart, so don't expect to see any signs of stress as such. It's not like a fish that goes and hides in the corner when it's unhappy.> How can you tell if your snail is sick? <Usually, they die.> Will they become sluggish? <Don't bank on it.> Ours moves around like a little race car. <Yup! I've kept and bred Apple snails and adore them. The babies are amazingly cute. But there's no escaping the fact they need their own quarters, or at least a subtropical aquarium with suitable fish.> We had read that the best first step to treating fin rot was to do frequent water changes and add salt so we tried that first. <No idea why that was suggested. Salt can *prevent* secondary infections setting in when used at a substantial dose (around 1 gramme per litre upwards). But it cannot kill off an infection once one has set in. Otherwise marine and brackish water fishes wouldn't get finrot, but they do (though admittedly not commonly). Really, the only cure for finrot, which is bacterial, is the use of an antibiotic or antibacterial medication. There are many of these available. Dipping freshwater fish into seawater for short periods can also help as a therapy, but raising the salinity to that level in the actual aquarium would be lethal. Apple snails, incidentally, are likely respond poorly to most medications, so check before use or remove to another tank during the treatment. Finrot almost always follows on from physical damage and poor aquarium water quality, so check these factors as well as treating the symptoms.> Last night before receiving your reply we decided we had to do something so we got a divider to prevent the molly from being harassed did another water change and added tetracycline to the water. Now the betta looks quite happy and is enjoying his own little partition of the tank where there's nearly no current because of the divider. <Indeed. Betta may be happy, but the molly won't be.> He's eating like a piggy and flaring at his mirror I think he will be fine - I did notice some trailing white fuzz from his fin today which makes me think maybe it's Flexibacter? <Quite possibly.> The molly just looks worse though lying at the bottom of the tank panting - I feel like we should give her every fair chance to recover though. My brother thinks the tetracycline made the molly worse and we shouldn't add any more of that - I think the molly would have gotten worse anyway and that we should finish the treatment to get rid of the stuff if they are going to have any chance of recovering. <The tetracycline should be fine for the molly. The problem is, and I keep coming back to this, but everything you do to make a good aquarium for a betta makes a worse one for a molly.> We actually did tons of research on this tank - but it seems like you get different answers from every site you see so it's hard to know which one is right! We read the articles on your website as well as many others. <I've never written anywhere that Mollies are good with Bettas. Within the hobby, I perhaps have a reputation for being a bit hardline on this, but frankly I don't consider mollies freshwater fish at all, at least not in the sense most aquarists mean. Yes, they live in freshwater in the wild, but in aquaria Mollies kept in brackish water simply do better, live longer, and are less disease-prone than Mollies kept in freshwater. Period. End of story.> Actually the article on wetwebmedia by Bob Fenner suggests mollies as good tank mates for bettas. <Bob and I will have to agree to disagree here.> We had a lot of algae in our tank and wanted something that could gobble it up and the mollies had it clean in 2 days! <Yup, that's what mollies do. They're herbivores.> We have flakes for the betta - maybe we'll go get some frozen bloodworms too - we weren't sure what kind of meaty food to get him since we read somewhere that the freeze dried ones aren't properly disinfected and might put disease in the tank - and we have algae based flake food for the molly - she seemed to like it but then she sometimes would spit it out so maybe we should just try a different brand for her - if she recovers that is. I think the betta perhaps just couldn't get to the food because the filter was shuffling it away too fast - so we'll feed with the filter off from now on. <I abhor freeze dried foods with a hatred that cannot be described. I have yet to see any fish prefer them to wet frozen foods, and I personally have never kept any fish that would even eat them. I have no idea why people buy them. Wet frozen foods are healthier and the fish much prefer them. So do yourself a favour and skip the freeze dried rubbish.> Thanks for your input and will be glad to hear any further comments. Ruth and Eric <Bottom line, I think your Molly is doomed. Your intentions are all laudable, but in this instance I think you received some flawed information. Bettas are simply easier kept alone with ZERO tankmates. If you want to keep Mollies, then set up a 20-30 gallon tank just for them, and keep it at a brackish water salinity (SG 1.003 - 1.005 is ideal). You will be STAGGERED at how much healthier mollies are under such conditions. Also, consider buying a book. Web sites are all very well but there's no quality control. But books from reputable publishers in the field like TFH and so on will have stuff that's been edited and fact-checked. Good luck. Neale>

Balloon Bellied Molly, likely env. dis. I have a 30 gallon tank with 5 neon tetras and 4 balloon bellied mollies. One of my female mollies is on the bottom of the tank, upside down with her lips to the bottom of the gravel. <Very bad...> She tries to swim around but seems to be stuck without turning over. I feed them a dry food <Need more than this...> and all levels seems to be normal. <Not useful... need data, not subjective evaluations> I have one other female who is swimming normally but she is staying at the bottom. My two males are up top and seem to hang around my heater a lot. Any help would be very much appreciated, as I'm very worried for my molly girl, as she seems distressed. Thank you for the help! -Rachel Rogers <Mmm... well... you do know that these two fish species "like" different water quality? The Neons, soft, acidic, warmer... the Mollies, hard, alkaline, cooler... and brackish? Please read re both on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm  Bob Fenner>

Mollies with Ich and nitrites issue -- 06/29/07 Hello Marco. <Hi Melissa.> Thank you so much for your help. <You are welcome.> I'm sure you won't be surprised to find out that the little guys now have ich, which I noticed this morning. My frustration meter has just quadrupled, and that's partially due to the fact that every website I look at says something different about treatment. <There are several different methods to successfully treat this parasite.> One thing after another thanks to my lack of patience. Oh well, live and learn I suppose. <Yes, and read.> Any suggestions? <Please read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm  and the linked FAQs to learn about ich. For mollies a treatment with salt works well in my experience. Rid Ich (Malachite Green and Formalin) may also work, but may cause problems with your biological filtration. If you want to use it, it'd be a good idea to put the filter into a bucket with untreated tank water until the treatment is over. Water changes and careful dosing will be needed, because you already have nitrites and removing the filter will increase the need for dilution of the nitrites.> I have Rid Ich, but I haven't used it yet because I don't want to do anything else incorrectly. I feel so lost now, with the nitrites, a crappily cycled tank, and now ich. Where should I start? <Large water changes to get rid of the nitrites. For ich salt or Rid Ich may work.> Sincerely, Melissa. <Good luck. Marco.>

My golden molly is turning black...  6/12/07 Dear crew: <Hello.> I first off want to apologize for my lack of knowledge of fish completely. <Hmm... not a good start. When caring for any animal, it is always wise to read first, then buy the animal, not the other way around.> That taken care of, I bought a gold molly to keep my albino... side sucker fish company so he'd have a friend. <What's a "side sucker fish"? I'm guessing either a Plec (an armour-plated catfish) or a sucking loach Gyrinocheilus aymonieri (a minnow-like fish with a sucker mouth). Either way, appallingly bad choices for neophyte fishkeepers. Plecs grow to around 30-60 cm depending on the species very rapidly and eventually need massive tanks. Sucking loaches also get big (around 25-30 cm) but top that off by being among the nastiest-tempered fish out there. Either way, you will need a tank containing at 200 litres within even the medium term (6-12 months). If you don't have that, return them. One other thing: mollies are extremely delicate when kept in freshwater tanks, and the only sure-fire way to keep them healthy is to keep them in brackish water. Brackish water is unacceptable to both the catfish and the sucking loach. Now, if you feel the need to keep mollies in freshwater despite the fact some or all of them will get sick, you need to ensure the following: Nitrates less than 20 mg/l; pH 7.5-8.2; hardness 20 degrees GH or more. Skipping on any of these is the express route to mollies getting fungus, finrot, and the "shimmies" (a type of nerve damage disease). Don't believe me? Stop by any fish forum you like and review the questions in the Livebearers section. The number of messages about sick mollies will stagger you. I feel I say this every week, but mollies just aren't good fish for beginners and they categorically aren't community fish by the generally accepted meaning of the word. Have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollies.htm  and some of the FAQs as well.> I've had these fish for about 3 months and all of a sudden my gold molly is turning black, starting with the tail. <Almost certainly just genetics. Assuming the fish is otherwise healthy and the skin isn't rotting or something. Mass-produced mollies are not "quality controlled" so you have no guarantee they are "pure bred" in any way. So, it's basically a case of enjoy your newly metamorphosed fish!> I've tried doing some research and I can't figure out if this is just a gold molly turning into a Dalmatian molly (do they do this?) <With quality stock, no.> or if it has some sort of problem... in which case I'd like to help. <No, nothing you can do.> Thanks! Jen <Good luck. Mollies are among my favourite aquarium fish, but they are demanding and they do need special care. It's a shame they're so widely sold, because people assume they're easy fish. But kept well, few fish combine personality, colour, and easy breeding so well. Worth sticking with, and learning about. Cheers, Neale>

Dalmatian Lyre-tail Molly Question... dis.?   5/22/07 I am in need of some desperate help for my poor molly (Peanut). For the past few days, I noticed that she has had some dramatic behavioral changes. <Good to be observant> She use to be very energetic and swam all over the tank (10 gallon) and suddenly, around 2-3 days she became very lethargic and almost lazy. I began to get worried when she would sit in the bottom of one of the aquarium decorations and not come out for feeding. I placed her in a hospital tank (3 gallons) with a feeding clip holding some fresh lettuce. <Not advised> Today, when I came home from work she has a very noticeable curve in her spine, almost shaped like and "S or Z". She swims with her head down and rear up - when she swims at all. I don't know if this is a parasite or a fungal infection. She seems to want to use only her front fins to swim with and hardly moves her tail at all. I read a similar case (Re: URGENT MOLLY QUESTION) and read of the suffering that poor molly went through and eventually it was recommended to put the molly down. What should I treat Peanut with? I don't want to have to put her out of her misery if her misery can be ended with a simple medication. <... what re how long you've had this fish, its system make-up, maintenance, water quality/tests...?> I'm not sure if this could be related. Just 1 day ago I had a Silver Molly (Cashew) die on me from complications similar (lethargic and slow), but she did not have the S-curve and I believe she had a parasite (after I saw her poo a clear string I knew something was wrong - so I put her in a hospital tank and did a 100% water change). I tried to treat her with the medication recommended by my local PetSmart, <Which was? And the result/s?> but alas she died in the middle of the night. Thanks for any help you may have, Bethany D. <Well... need to know much more here... the bent spine and behavior you mention however are bad indications. Please read over other people's related experiences here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above, and write back with the info. requested above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Balloon Molly question!  5/19/07 Well, this morning, I had 21 bouncing baby fry and the mother is doing well. <Ah, good>   I moved all 21 to another tank because I was treating the larger one for ich. <Yikes... do keep your eyes on the moved fish... very likely the ich was transported with them...> All 21 are doing great, swimming around and eating the first bites fish food stuff recommended at the pet store.  I added some salt to their tank, as well as the big one, and the ich seems to be getting better.   <Good> I haven't noticed any spots on the little ones yet.  Thank you for your response! Meghan <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Molly still with internal parasites   5/19/07 Hi crew! <<Greetings, Audrey!>> I need help. I had a good long chat with Tom a while ago about my little Molly with the red stick-out-of-butt type of parasite. I tried Metronidazole, then Jungle Labs Medicated Fish Food (I think that, even mashed with bloodworms it wasn't palatable enough for her to eat any kind of meaningful amount). Then I tried a gel medication (which she ate, but it contained mainly Metronidazole, and a small amount of Praziquantel - probably not enough to work). The worm is still there. <<Not making light of the situation, Audrey, but I'll give the little bugger credit for 'staying power'.>> I'm trying to find Praziquantel/Flagyl and/or Levamisole/Piperazine online. All I can find is Prazi-pro (dissolved in water). Every time I see Praziquantel recommended for fish, it's specified *in food*, so I have no idea how effective the in-water treatment might be. The only other Praziquantel medication I found so far is dog/cat medication. There are no other ingredients listed, do you think I could use that? <<Audrey, the PraziPro will work in solution with the tank water. Praziquantel is readily absorbed by the fish through the skin and gills. One of the reasons why it's recommended since fish frequently stop eating when they're ill. The Praziquantel for dogs/cats (Droncit is one brand name) will also work but, as with the Levamisole, might be more problematic in dosing since the tabs would have to be crushed up and measured out to achieve the appropriate proportions for the tank. Go for the PraziPro which is 'packaged' for aquarium use.>> I'm still looking, and might find it before I receive your answer, but right now I'm not having much success. I'll keep trying until I find something that works, or she dies (hopefully I'll find something before it comes to that!). I'm just not successful right now, and getting frustrated. <<A fish that's held on this long has to be saved, Audrey!>> Thank you for your help, Audrey <<Hopefully, you'll be able to put an end to this in short order, Audrey. Bonne chance to you both! Tom>>
Re: Good news, and bad news, and more good news! Molly with internal parasites
  5/30/07 Hi crew! <<Hello, Audrey.>> This message is for Tom... this is an ongoing saga we started a few months ago that has finally come to an end. <<At your service'¦though I suspect some bad news first.>> You probably remember my desperate attempts at saving our little Molly with internal parasites. The good news: the PraziPro seemed to be working. The worm started sticking out further then it had ever done, until we found a bit of something red laying at the bottom of the tank - there was still one red worm in her that we could see, though, but I was thinking: "Finally, we're going to beat this thing!". The bad news: the poor little Molly died anyway. She was swimming, eating relatively well, and then she was dead. I guess her health was already too compromised by months of emaciation... <<Agreed. I'm, frankly, surprised that she stayed with you this long. Rather remarkable.>> More good news though: this frees up the quarantine (and our energy!) so we can get new healthy fish, and treat them from the start so we won't face the same problem again. <<I'm with you all the way!>> All in all, I'm sad for my little fishies, but we acquired a ton of useful knowledge in the process! <<Certainly a 'learning process', Audrey. None of us is 'born' with it.>> Now... we need to take the bottle of PraziPro and show it to our LFS so they can stop selling infested fish... there are still some too-thin specimens in their balloon Molly tank and I have a strong suspicion that it's not a genetic thinness... They're really good at quarantining new fish (at least a week, which is more than the usual nothing), watching for and treating ich and not selling sick fish to customers (they wouldn't even sell us water lentils from an ich-infested tank, good for them!), but I don't think they know how to handle internal parasites... time for some education work! <<I wish you, and your LFS, the best here. Good for you, by the way! I hope they're receptive to your experience/knowledge!>> Thanks for all the help! Ã' la prochaine! Audrey <<Moi, je serai ici, Audrey. Tom>>

Black Molly, dis.   5/10/07 Hi! <Hello!>   I just want to ask about the white and red freaky spots in my black molly's forehead, I change the water and add AquaPlus Water Conditioner a while ago because I am thinking if those spots are wounds. <"Freaky spots" covers a lot of ground. The most common problem "white spot" problems in fishes is Whitespot (or Ick) and Velvet. Whitespot tends to look like crystals of salt on the fish, whereas Velvet is much finer, more like powdered sugar on the fish. Both are relatively easy to treat if caught early. Use commercial remedies, but always remove carbon from the filter before use, because carbon neutralises the medication. The "red" part of your description is unusual though. I don't know any diseases that cause red and white spots. A photo would help.>   Another question is that can they live in a brackish water with a 1-2 tablespoon of synthetic marine salt per gallon? <Mollies not only like marine salt mix but do best in saltwater or brackish water tanks. An ideal amount is 2-5 grammes per litre (0.8-1.2 oz per US gallon). This will help your fish heal quickly and become much more resistant to disease. Other species of fish may not like this much salt, so check that tankmates are salt-tolerant first. Guppies are fine with salt for example, but neon tetras are not.> Last question, can you tell me things to remember to have a healthy and happy black molly. <Please have a look through this article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/poeciliids.htm and then take a look at some of the Molly FAQs as well. But basically: mollies like warmth, salty water, high hardness and alkalinity, plenty of green foods, and lots of swimming space. They don't like aggressive tankmates, Nitrates, low temperatures, meat-based flake foods, and soft/acid water.>   I'm sorry for many questions, because I love them very much and I don't want them to die due to diseases. <Questions are good. Happy to help.>   Thanks in advance, and God Bless to all of you! <Cheers, Neale>
Re: Black Molly dis.?  5/13/07
Hi to all crews of WWM again!! <Hello.>   Thanks for your immediate reply! <Cool.>   I can't take pictures of my black mollies because the spots are small, and they are fast moving so now I will just describe it. <What's fast moving? The spots or the fish?> The white spots are in the forehead of my molly they are look like dandruff, not a cotton something. While the red spots are also found in their forehead some says those are wounds. What do you think are those 'freaky spots?' <Impossible to say without seeing them. Holes in the head can be caused by poor water quality, by internal parasites, by physical damage through poor handling, from fighting, from external flukes and lice, etc., etc. Knowing mollies well, I'd put money on a combination of the wrong water chemistry and high nitrates.>   Oh, by the way I bought a marine salt yesterday from the famous petshop in our country. Now the problem'¦how can I put it in my tank that's fully set-up? <Don't add the salt directly to the aquarium, but to the water you add to the aquarium.>   a.)    Will I add the suggested dosage directly to the tank? <No!>   b.)    Will I get a small amount of water in the tank and add the salt on it and pour it in the tank? But the instruction says that I must aerate the water with the diluted marine salt for 30 min.s. <Follow the instructions, but reducing the dose ten-fold, since you only need about 10% seawater for your mollies to really pep up.>   c.)    Will I remove my black mollies in the tank and add the suggested dosage of marine salt in the tank and leave it for a couple of minutes then I will bring back the fish. <If all you have are mollies in the tank (whatever sort) then leave them all in the aquarium.>   d.)    None of the above!! <Here's what you do. Let's say you take out 1 bucket of water from the tank. Dispose of that water. Fill the bucket with fresh water, add dechlorinator, and then add 3 to 5 grammes of marine salt mix per litre of water in the bucket. So if it's a 10 litre bucket, add 30 to 50 grammes of salt. Right, now you need to stir it well, let it sit for 20 minutes, and ideally aerate the water to help it dissolve. If you don't have an airstone, that just give it a vigorous stir every couple of minutes. After 20 minutes it should be nicely dissolved, but check there aren't any grains of salt left at the bottom of the bucket. Assuming it's all dissolved, pour this water into the aquarium. Do this every time you do a water change. Basically you are running a low-salinity brackish water tank, an ideal habitat not just for mollies but a whole host of interesting fishes. Have a read through here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/bracsystems.htm for more.>   I have an outside hang-on filter with a carbon in its cartridge, will it remove the salt and other trace elements found in the salt or am I just paranoid of that carbon? <Carbon is a waste of time/money and also removes medications making it impossible to treat your fish with the carbon in place. It doesn't really remove inorganic substances (it removes a few, but not many) but it does remove organic substances very effectively. When you add medication to a tank, all the carbon does is mop it up, keeping your fish sick and wasting your money in the process. I despise carbon in freshwater aquaria and recommend you throw it far, far away. Replace the space the carbon was with something more useful, like a bit more biological filtration or some filter floss.>   Last question, my tank is planted with Java Moss; will the plant die if I add marine salt? <Java moss (and also Java ferns) do exceptionally well in brackish water, so not a problem.>   Again thanks for the knowledge, and God may give all of you patience for answering questions!! --Wilvic-- <'Tis fine. Cheers, Neale>
Re: Black Molly
   5/15/07 Hey Neale!! <Hello!>   The "fast moving" I told you are the fishes not the spots, so what is it? and how can I cure it. <Without a picture, difficult to say for sure. If the white spots are like salt grains in size and colour, then it's likely whitespot. If the white spots are irregular and more grey than white, then likely early stages of fungus, which on black mollies is obvious as grey-white patches. In this case, try a combination fungus/finrot medication. Either way, keeping brackish water and raising the temperature (mollies like it warm) will help a great deal. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/poeciliids.htm and the related FAQs.>   You said that I must remove the carbon in my hang-on filter, so what will I use instead of it? <Replace with biological filter media. Filter wool, sponge, ceramic chips. Whatever works for you. Chemical filter media -- carbon and ammonia remover -- don't serve much purpose in most freshwater tanks and you won't miss them.>   Thanks again!! <Cheers, Neale>

Balloon Molly, hlth.    4/19/07 I noticed that my balloon molly's face was slightly swollen. <You have good vision!>   I've looked over your website and any molly diseases with swelling in the face also seemed to be accompanied by discoloration. <Yes... usually so> My molly's face (specifically her "cheeks") are swollen.  There is no discoloration, but it appears as if some of the scales are wanting to peel off. Some of them are raised and slightly curled.  I had issues with Ich a few weeks ago and have since cleared it up ( <?... with a chemical treatment?> or so I think) and a water test showed that my levels are where they should be.  Could this be some side effect of Ich? a parasite? <Mmm, much more likely from the treatment> I'm not sure what to do.  I have quarantined the molly and all of my other fish appear fine. Thank you, Lauren <... I would just try to maintain optimized, stable conditions here. Bob Fenner>

Mollie with internal parasites?  - 4/6/07 Hi all! <<Hello, Audrey. Tom here. It's been some time since we spoke.>> You helped get me started a few months ago. Your site got me to amaze myself getting rid of an algae problem by myself in two weeks. Thanks to your good counsels, we have a few happy fish -- and a second tank that cycled in three days. All great so far, until... <<Sounded great up until the 'until'¦', Audrey.>> Once again, I come to you for help. <<Okay.>> One of our balloon Mollies started losing weight. She's always been a real pig, very inquisitive and somewhat odd. She ate so much I was afraid she'd get constipated and die on us in the first few weeks we had her. I'd suspected something was wrong with the other Mollie we bought at the same time, but she'd always been very shy and scrawny so when she died I thought I'd just inherited a balloon Mollie with bad genetics - until the odd one started losing weight. <<More than coincidence, I'd say.>> Last weekend, it got so bad I switched her over from the main tank to the small tank so she could be on her own (with the Apple snail). She was hanging at the top of the aquarium just below the water line doing nothing and she was hiding from us, and eating only a little. I did my research here, strongly suspected internal parasites and then called a few local places. Our best supplier (sadly they sell only saltwater) told us we could get Metronidazole at the local pharmacy (they don't sell the medicated food around here because of some silly rule the vets passed a few years ago). <<Ah, those 'rules' again.>> I dissolved about 100 mg in a tiny bit of water and soaked some frozen bloodworms in it (her usual Saturday treat, usually she gets Hikari flakes but soggy flakes didn't seem like a good idea). She got two or three on Wednesday morning and the rest on Wednesday night. She started swimming around again in a few hours only. Major, immediate improvement. <<Good to hear this.>> Now, it's Friday night and I'm worried. She's swimming around and she's back to her odd, hungry self but I can see two short, fine, reddish things sticking out of her anus. <<My first thought would be Camallanus, Audrey, but it would be an inappropriate 'jump' to draw an absolute conclusion about this.>> I know Metronidazole shouldn't be administered repeatedly, but in this case, is it indicated to try again? <<There are varying reports on the efficacy of Metronidazole when it comes to treating infestations of this sort. You might find Praziquantel readily available to you and it's a safe, effective treatment.>> She pooped a lot (well, what seems like a normal amount for a Molly anyway) and the red things are still there. Will they go away on their own or should I assume she still has something living in her? <<They're still there and probably doing well, unfortunately.>> If I do give some to her again, how much should I use? Should I add some to the water as well? They do sell the Jungle Labs parasite guard (the back of the bottle said not to use on food) around here. I'm worried she'll re-infect herself eating her own poo at the bottom of the tank. <<I'd shoot for the Praziquantel here, Audrey. Overall, I think it would be the safest way to go as well as being very effective. Hopefully, this medication doesn't have the restrictions on it that you've run across in the past.>> Thank you for your help. Worriedly, Audrey <<Your concern is understandable, Audrey, but this is treatable. Best of luck. Tom>>
Re: Molly with internal parasites?
  4/19/07 Bonjour Tom! <<Bonjour, Audrey! Quoi de neuf?>> So, you remember me from the chats we had in January - yes it's been some time, because everything was going well :-) No news in this case is good news... <<Glad to hear it.>> I just wanted to let you know how things worked out. I did some poking around and couldn't decide if I needed Praziquantel (per your recommendation) or Levamisole (which was mentioned on a few sites for Calamanus and similar problems). In any case, I couldn't find Levamisole alone, so I went for the Jungle Labs medicated food, since it contains the three most common anti-parasite medications. <<Without belaboring it, Audrey, the Levamisole wasn't a recommendation of mine for several reasons, not the least of which was availability. Another is that it's a pain in the backside (if you'll pardon the expression) to dose fish accurately with the stuff. Fortunately, a little overdosing does not appear to have adverse effects but the Praziquantel was definitely my first choice here.>> Getting her to eat it was quite a challenge. We ended up soaking the food and crushing it with a tiny amount of bloodworms. Otherwise, she'd spit out every single bite she took. <<Resourceful of you. Well done!>> And it made her poo like crazy - crazy amounts and crazy colours too (alternating dark and pale stripes, almost 3 inches long). <<Normally, I'd tell someone that this was more information than I really wanted but, in your case'¦  :) >> I'll try garlic this weekend, maybe she'll like it (our Betta goes crazy over thawed peas, but the Molly won't touch them - crazy animals). <<Peas are not my favorite veggie either, I'm afraid.>> The label says to feed three days in a row every week for four weeks. We've done one three-day treatment. On the morning of the third day I could still see the red worms. I don't know if they're still there now. <<Good bet that if they were still there, you'd see them.>> BUT, the good news is that she's totally, totally CRAZY! She's dizzying. Up, down, through the castle, around the thermometer, poking at the bottom, swimming backwards with nose straight up looking for food in the floating plants,  pulling on the roots, playing in the current from the filter, or trying to eat every single bit of floating stuff (mostly water lentil bits) that happen to float by... She was like that when we bought her. She's quite something. <<Sounds like it, Audrey. I could use some of that energy myself!>> Oh, and she's interested in human fingers again. A few days ago, she was running away from them. Sorry, I'm babbling again. I just think they're all so endearing and interesting... <<Babble away! I love the enthusiasm! It makes our work all the more worthwhile when folks give us feedback like this.>> All in all, I don't know if she's cured, but at least it did *something* and she seems a lot better. <<They're resilient creatures if we give them a fighting chance. You've done well.>> So... "merci beaucoup" for encouraging me. Now I just have to be patient and keep on treating her on schedule! <<Je vous en prie! Important here to complete the entire regimen of treatments. (Hard to fault a product, or manufacturer, if we don't do as they ask.)>> Thanks again! Audrey <<Thank you for the feedback, Audrey. Good to hear from you again. Cordialement! Tom>>

Serious Mouth Fungus Problem (Black Molly); just using WWM  3/23/07 Dear WWM crew, <Kathy> Help!!!!  I need some kind of urgent advice. I have 3 mollies in a 10 gallon tank right now for medication. All of them got mouth fungus, especially the male molly. I treated them with MelaFix, PimaFix first. <... not worthwhile...> They got better for a week but then the fungus came back and never went away. <... Wait... what about your water quality?...> So I tried Mardel's Maracyn Plus. today is the fourth day of the treatment and the male molly looks even worse. His mouth seemed to have a small bit coming off and white stuff around the mouth and eye. Please help my male molly. I do not know what I should try next. Any other better medicine? <...> Anything I can do to help to cure him? Please help as his mouth is damaged. Your quick response will be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Kathy <... less panic, hypochondria, more knowledge, communication needed. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above... Likely rectifying water quality, salt additions will cure your fish here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Serious Mouth Fungus Problem (Black Molly)... Not reading  - 03/24/07
Dear Bob, <Kath> Thanks for your quick response. I am sorry that I did not provide enough information. I was very much worried as this was my first tank. <Okay> This morning I decided to separate the 2 female mollies from the male molly, as he really looks very bad. The two female mollies are still very active and like to eat. They do not show white tuff growing on the mouth, but I could sort of see some grey line inside the lip. One of the mollies had one scale coming up a little... looks like she got hurt or something. Under the scale is a bit of white cotton stuff. Would this be body fungus? <No way to tell from here... Again, most likely the root of all here is preponderantly "environmental"... likely these fish hail from, have been brought up in very hard, alkaline, salty water...> Any idea what this could be and how I should treat her? (I also feel the two females mollies are going to give birth soon.) The two female mollies are in a 10 gallon tank. Ammonia & nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 25~30 ppm <Too high> PH: 8.0 Temperature: 26~27 The very sick male molly is in a 2.6 gallon tank. I use Aquaclear power filter 30 on this tank. He has very bad white fungus one ach end of his mouth. (I think it is mouth rot now...) A little piece of his skin above the mouth has come off. He does not eat a lot... seems to lose interests in food. He will also hide under something unless I am not around and the light is off. He feels insecure, I guess. This tank: Ammonia & nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 20 ppm <Borderline high> PH: 8.0 Temperature: 26 I really do not want to lose the male molly but do not know what I should do to help him. Melafix, Pimafix, Maracyn Plus did not cure his fungus. <Not efficacious here> Anything else I should try? Hope my male molly can recover from this serious mouth fungus. Thanks for your help in advance! Worried Kathy <... obviously you did NOT read where you were referred to previously... Please... don't write... DO read. B>

Molly and Neon Tetra Health Questions, env.  3/16/2007 Dear WWM crew, <Ching> I love your website and learn a lot from here. Thank you. <Welcome> I have a 15 gallon tank with 2 Cory catfish, 3 black mollies and 7 neon tetras. <Mmm... the Cats and Neons like very different water conditions than the mollies... soft, acidic, much warmer... no salt...> Environment: Water PH: 8.0 (Our tap water is pretty hard.) <I'll say! About the same here in San Diego> Temperature: 25~26 C Nitrate: 20~40 ppm <Way too high... a source of stress...> Nitrite: 0 ppm Ammonia: 0 ppm One male molly has "obvious" mouth fungus and noticeable grey spots on his body. As I heard Cory catfish and neon tetra do not like salt, I did not add aquarium salt to the tank. <Good> I used Melafix and Pimafix together to treat the black molly. The second day and third day I could see the improvements and thought the medicine worked great. <Mmmm> As the medicine indicated we can use it when intruding new fish to the tank, so while during the course of Molly's medication (on the fourth day, I think) I added 4 neon tetras to the tank. The 7 neon tetra were doing fine and schooling around together. The black molly seemed to be getting better too. However, yesterday (the 8th day of the medication) black molly's mouth started to show the fungus again and I saw a couple of grey spots on his body. Should I use other medicine, stronger one? Or I should continue the ones I am using? <I would separate the molly/mollies, treat it/them with salt... Keep it in another setting> Today (the 9th day) I saw a red spot on one neon tetra's body, which is near the tail. I am not sure what it is an have no idea what I should do. It looks like human's bruise just the color is red not purple. Anything you could suggest? <Yes... to modify their water chemistry (w/o the Mollies present)... to be softer/more acidic (pH below 7.0)...> I have had this tank just for two months and enjoyed it a lot. But, there's still so much to learn to keep my fish healthy. <Lots of valuable lessons about life...> Thank you again for all the information you provide on the site. It is really helpful! Yours truly, Ching <A pleasure to help you, Bob Fenner>

Sailfin (Molly) with Fin Rot? No useful info.  3/6/07 Help - my 4year old sailfin has seemingly overnight lost half of his dorsal fin and now his tail fin is looking ragged. I treated with Melafix <Worthless> a couple of days ago but I think it's getting worse. Today I noticed a red tailed shark also has a ragged dorsal fin. I haven't added any new fish for a while - mainly African cichlids which have been in with him for a couple of years. <Yikes... incompatible> I did add a Red Terror a few months ago who has grown quite quickly. Could he be tearing up these two or more likely fin rot? <Possibly, yes... more likely stress induced... environmental> Unfortunately I don't have a spare tank so if you think it may be aggression I will have to move Terror on. Hope you can help, Thanks Lisa <Uh... where's the boeuf? Information re your set-up, maintenance, water quality tests, feeding... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Velvet and a pregnant molly, copper FW trtmt.  2/28/07 I love your website and refer to it often when I have questions or more often just looking for entertainment. It has been a great resource over the years. Thanks for all the time put into making such a great information source. <Welcome!> I recently added a new silver lyretail molly to my community aquarium, but two days later it started to show signs of velvet and died pretty quickly. I didn't quarantine this fish (stupid, I know), and it spread to several other fish, including all of the mollies and swordtails. I removed my live plants and added CopperSafe by Mardel, and am keeping the tank well oxygenated with a air pump since the plants are no longer there to do this. I am also doing partial water changes (about 15%) every other day to keep nitrate levels down as the plants (again) are no longer there to take care of this. I also have one tablespoon of aquarium salt for every 5 gallons of water and have raised the temperature of the tank to 84 degrees. <All good moves...> One of my black mollies is pregnant, and I expect her to give birth within a day or two, but I know mollies often do not release their babies under stressful conditions. As she is so far into her pregnancy I have been reluctant to move her to another tank, but I am worried the stress in this tank could be enough to keep her from releasing the fry anyway. I am not terribly concerned about the fry surviving at this point, I just want to give the mother the best possible chance. Do you have any suggestions? It is a fully cycled tank that has been set up for about 14 years, with ammonia and nitrites both at 0 and nitrates at between 5 and 10 ppm. The other fish in the tank currently are two dwarf gouramis and a small pleco. Beth <... Really... to continue doing what you're doing... maybe with (you're likely doing this but didn't mention it) testing for ammonia... A test kit for FW copper use would also be a good idea... as with all such treatments, should the effective/concentration drop too low... and this happens very easily in established systems... mulm/other absorption... there is no treatment. Bob Fenner>

Wow, poor punctuation and molly env. dis.    02/17/07 i <I> have been reading all of your answers on the web forum, but im <I'm> still not sure what's wrong with my 1 potbellied molly. I've had her for quite a while, along with the rest of my tank.  water samples seem great and no signs of disease or anything... expect for the large growth on the potbellied molly's top fin?  it looks almost like a large bubbly white/grey tumor...  and every once in a while a clear bubble forms on it, then pops or goes away?  then returns.  she doesn't seem to be affected by it and no other fish in the tank are acting sick or have any signs of ick, etc. <Environmental...> this has been present for almost a good month now.  i tried to raise the temp. to 85deg. and add some ich treatment, but it doesn't seem to be doing anything good OR bad.  any ideas?  any suggestions?  I'm kinda a fish dummy, but I'm trying! if a picture will help, i can try and snap one! thank you, Cindy <Spell, grammar checkers please... and reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

My Mollies... hlth.   - 02/15/07 <<Hello, Ashley.>> Thank you very  much for the reply. <<You're quite welcome.>> The tables have turned now and Lancelot (male Dalmatian) is now chasing Vivian (female Dalmatian) around like crazy. He seems to be head butting her and they often run into the glass in their pursuit, I'm worried this may be hurting them, but I'm unsure as to what to do about it. <<A bigger tank? Actually, it's not likely that this type of 'crashing' will be harmful. What might be a problem is that she's the only one he's got to chase. A couple of more female Dalmatians, tank size notwithstanding, would 'dilute' his attentions somewhat'¦unless Vivian's a real hottie. Nothing we can do about that! :) >> I also have a question about salting my tank. After I add the salt how often do I have to add more, and how much. Also, will using table salt work as a temporary means until I can get to the pet store? I checked the pet aisle at the grocery story but they didn't have any and it will be a couple weeks before I can get to the pet store again as I'm going on a vacation next week and I don't have my own car to drive it all the way to the pet store (that's generally my boyfriend's job). If not, will they be okay until  I can get the proper aquarium salt? <<Second question first, Ashley. The grocery does have the 'equivalent' in the form of Kosher salt. Will work just as well as aquarium salt since it doesn't contain iodine or anti-caking ingredients. (There are varying theories on the use of regular table salt. Some recommend avoiding it like the plague. Others state that it works perfectly well as a maintenance-level additive. Personally, I don't recommend it's use in aquariums. Kosher salt is fine, however.) Now, the first question. You should add more with water changes. How much you add will take a bit of minor calculation. Salt does not evaporate with water so any 'topping off' of the tank due to evaporation will put the salt-to-water ratio back where you want it without adding more salt. (The 'flip-side' is that the solution, salt-wise, becomes stronger due to evaporation so you'll want to bear this in mind.) When you physically remove water from the tank, you do, in fact, remove salt with the water. In other words, if you've added one tablespoon of salt to your 10-gallon tank and remove five gallons of water, you'll have to add one-half tablespoon of salt to the new water to bring the ratio back to one tablespoon per 10 gallons. More realistic? Let's look at a 20% change (more appropriate anyway). You'll have removed one-fifth of a tablespoon of salt with the water so you'll have to add one-fifth of a tablespoon to the new water to bring the ratio back to normal, i.e. one tablespoon per 10 gallons.>> Kinda sucks about not being able to sex angelfish, but oh well, I say she's a girl, so she is. It's unlikely that I'll get another angel anyway. <<A flip of a coin says that you're right.>> Thanks a bunch for your advice. Ashley <<Happy to help, Ashley. Tom>> PS: Your site is absolutely great and it has so many important tidbits of information. <<We've got a heck of Crew here, Ashley.>>
Re: My Mollies... hlth.
  - 02/15/07 Oh, boy, me again. <<And it's me again, too, Ashley.>> I've got another question that may sound strange even though you haven't gotten back to me from my last email yet. <<Sorry. A certain Yellow Lab puppy seems to think the world revolves around her lately. :) >> I've been watching my mollies for a while (they're so entertaining and I wanted to keep an eye on my male to make sure he wasn't being a bully). So as I was watching I noticed that my female Dalmatian doesn't swim like the others. She's more erratic and seems to constantly be in motion and when she swims her head moves as well as the rest of the body. I noticed the other two managed to keep their heads mostly still when swimming. At first I remembered something mention in the FAQ's called shimmers or something like that so I searched back through and when I found it the symptoms didn't sound the same. So I compared the anatomy between the f. Dalmatian and my f. Creamsicle and discovered that the Dalmatian is missing a fin! The entire fin that goes along the back of the fish (dorsal? ventral? I don't know the correct terminology) is gone. I haven't noticed this before, and as I've only had them for three days I don't know if she came that way or if she lost it to the male or if it was a birth defect (I hear that there's a lot of inbreeding). Will the fin grow back or will she be deformed for the rest of her life. <<Double check for the 'dorsal' fin, Ashley. While it's possible that the fin could be 'missing', in a lot of cases a fish that's stressed may have the fin so tucked into its body that it appears to be missing it all together. My Sailfin Pleco has a very large dorsal fin but can fold it in to where it's almost imperceptible that he has one at all.>> Also, I'm curious as so why the m. Dalmatian isn't interested in my f. Creamsicle. Is it because of the size differences between them? The Creamsicle is bigger than the Dalmatians. <<Size can make a difference but Livebearers (Mollies, Platys, Swordtails, etc.) will attempt to 'mate' with their own kind first. They can/will attempt to mate with others but I'd say that Vivian is going to be Lancelot's main focus. Hybridization, is more a creation of Man than of Fish. (Man tinkers with life and equates a 'success' with a green light to continue 'tinkering'. Makes you wonder sometimes'¦>> Thanks again for all of your help and for providing such a wonderful outlet for all of our questions. Ashley <<Once again, Ashley, we're happy to help. Tom>>

Brown Dalmatian Mollie fry - deformed spines?   2/13/07 Hi Crew! <Hello there - this is Jorie> Hope you are well! My question concerns the fact that I have 3 batches of Dalmatian Mollie fry in a large nursery tank. I know who the father is of the two oldest batches (2 at 8 weeks and about 10 at 21 days old) but not the father of the newest batch (about 15 at 17 days old). The second oldest batch of mollies are definitely Dalmatians but are brown and appear to be of a slightly different shape with longer bodies and a tummy that turns in rather than out. <Hmmm, this could be a curvature of the spine - this condition is usually seen in guppies, and is likely caused by overbreeding, but it can occur in other livebearers as well.  Depending upon the severity of the deformation, the fish could grow up and be just fine, or they could be stunted, have all sorts of health problems, etc.  In all honesty, this is what "culling" is used for...but many times people destroy the affected fry simply because they won't be of "show quality", which shouldn't matter to many of us...> They are all well and active. <That's the most important sign.> Parameters of the tank are fine although I seem to have a bit of rust mould growing in the tank. <Likely some sort of algae - I've got the same problem in my 10 gal. Figure 8 puffer tank, due to his messy eating habits.  I suspect if you are feeding pulverized flake food, or other traditional "fry food", some of it isn't actually being eaten and is decaying in the tank, causing what you describe.  Simple solution is an algae-scrubbing pad and more water changes...> My question is that why is that particular batch of mollies brown and of a different shape? <Likely caused by genetics...> I've done some research but can't work it out! I do hope you can help! <It sounds as though all the fry are moving about and eating. I'd suggest keeping a close eye on them, and if you start seeing problems, then you may have to look into euthanasia. But as it sounds, for now, all is well; enjoy your little cuties!> Best Regards, Rachel UK <Good luck, Jorie>

Male molly  2/12/07 I apologize now for this question may sound like a windup or something purvey, I have a black male molly who has been in the tank for nearly a month, throughout this time he has basically been a sex-pest to a female molly who he shares with a subordinate orange male, <A bad sex ratio for poeciliids...> until recently, she has been the only fish the male has been able to harass; recently I have introduced two female molly/ platy crosses for him to harass. <Oh! Good> the other day I noticed he (black dominate <dominant> male) was hanging round at the bottom of the tank, 'hiding' nearly out of site, <sight> when he moved and was visible, and this is why I don't want to sound funny, his 'Gonopodium' (genitalia) which normally sits back or extends round when he is copulating is now permanently sticking out from his body at an odd angle. it also appears that a small black lump on the end of his parts has appeared, though this could be normal as it is his normal coloration. his character has dramatically changed, he hides a lot and he avoids brushing 'it' on things in the tank. I would have used the forum chat, but ppl might accuse me of being some sort of pervert. has he really injured 'himself'? <Does read as such, yes> is this a common problem? <Not atypical> what can I do? <Hope, be patient...> I can send pictures if this helps but I have as yet been unable to find anything on search engines which doesn't bring up obscene porn or strange blogs mike <Thanks for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Puffy White stuff on molly   1/29/07 Hi! <<Hello, Ladies (Kim). Tom here with you.>> I know you can help me and my daughter figure out what's going on here, I'm sure it's something simple. <<If there's anything I'm good at, it's 'simple'. :) >> My daughter has a 10 gallon tank that's been going since Christmas. A couple days after having it run we put in 2 long-finned blue danios and 2 zebra danios to start the cycling process. <<Well, there goes 'simple', Kim. 'Old school' approach to cycling. We recommend 'fishless' cycling but let's go on'¦>> A couple days after that her ammonia went sky high - it appeared dark green on the test kit chart. We bought some cycle to get the bacteria going (LFS recommended it) and some ammonia clear (recommended by LFS). <<Stop listening to those people if you haven't already. Cycle is worthless (thank you, LFS!). Not blaming you, Kim, but you'd think the 'pros' would start to learn sooner or later.>> We did a 50% water change & a couple days later the ammonia appeared normal. We waited another few days to make sure everything was going ok & it was. At that time LFS said it was ok to add more fish, so we added 3 neon tetras, 2 algae eaters, 2 of some kind of catfish, and 1 black molly. <<Is this from the same LFS, Kim? Oh, you know where I'd like to go with this!>> Right away one of the Neons died. <<What are the odds?>> We took it back to store w/water sample. Everything appeared fine and we replaced the neon. <<According to the folks at the LFS who gave you really bad information on cycling the tank and then sold you far more fish than a 10-gallon aquarium should ever house, not to mention far, far too soon. (Time to start educating yourself, Kim. You know when you're getting fed a line of 'baloney' elsewhere. Time to start finding out when you're being fed the same line at pet stores.)>> About a week later another neon died. <<Again, not surprised.>> We replaced it and bought a water test kit. <<Ahhh'¦ Now, we're talkin'. Well done!>> A few days later we did a water test and discovered the ammonia was sky high again. <<Yep.>> We did a 50% water change and did not add any of that ammonia clear stuff. I can't remember if we added any aquarium salt or not (LFS says to add it every other water change). <<You'd have remembered, Kim. Did the LFS mention that Catfish don't tolerate salt well? Did they mention that, for this reason, Mollies shouldn't be mixed with Catfish or other 'scaleless' fish? If your 'algae eaters' are of the Plecostomus species, they fall into the same category. The Neons probably didn't care for any salt, either, not to mention high levels of toxins in the water.>> I figured the ammonia level was so high because of the ammonia clear (I didn't get all excited - I thought it was a false positive). <<A so-called 'false positive' can occur with some test kits since most test for 'total' ammonia. This includes toxic ammonia (NH3) and less toxic ammonium (NH4). Ammonia Clear converts toxic ammonia to the less toxic compound. It doesn't rid your tank of it. Fortunately, the beneficial bacteria 'attempting' to become established in the tank will feed on both.>> Last night our molly seemed fine, as do the other fish in the tank. But this morning we woke up and she has white blister like things all over her face. She also has some kind of white furry spots (maybe ich - don't know what it looks like) on her body and tail. <<Ich doesn't appear 'furry'. It appears like grains of salt on the fish's body. Fungal infections appear 'furry', however. These are secondary infections.>> The blister things on her face look like air bubbles. <<I would assume Ich, in this case. Aquarium salt, in moderation.>> I don't know what this is and I don't trust the LFS to give me an accurate diagnosis and how to cure it. <<Along with the purchase of the water test kit, Kim, you're making me proud. At this stage, don't let those folks at the LFS tell you that a fish is a fish!>> We did a water test and the nitrates are at 40 ppm and nitrites are at 2.0 ppm. How do we fix this? <<The nitrates are easily controlled with water changes. The nitrites must come down, immediately, with a 'massive' water change, though. Close to 100%. Do NOT remove the fish! This will add unneeded stress. Do this one to two gallons at a time, adding conditioner with each change. Pain in the backside, Kim, but it's got to be done. Just keep repeating 'til you think it's appropriate.>> We did a 50% water change & we did not add salt - afraid of overdosing if we added it to the last water change. <<A good idea with the Catfish. Salt goes into 'solution', though, Kim. Whatever percentage you change with 'fresh' water cuts the solution by that amount. In other words, if you maintain a 'maintenance' level of one tablespoon per five gallons of water and do a 50% change without adding salt, you've reduced the 'solution' to ½ tablespoon per five gallons of tank water. (Sorry if that was 'obvious'.)>> Also, our tap water is 8.0 ph and that's where the tanks sits and the temperature usually is between 76 & 80. Can't seem to get it to stay constant. <A heater would help. The pH isn't really important as long as it remains stable. Fluctuations here would be as bad ammonia and/or nitrite spikes.>> Also, I'm pretty positive this tank is WAY overloaded - but daughter listened to LFS.... <<Already mentioned this one, Kim. You're exactly right, though. In my opinion, the Danios were plenty for a 10-gallon tank. Always think 'adult' sizes of the fish.>> Also, do mollies need to have other mollies to be happy or can they be the only one's in the tank? <<A single Molly might never seem 'fulfilled', breeding-wise, but he/she will be fine with compatible tank mates. The trouble here? Compatible tank mates! Salt. Catfish. We need to talk more, Kim.>> Thank you so much!!! Kim & Krystina <<Happy to help, Kim. My best to Krystina as well. You know where to find us. Tom>>
Re: Puffy White stuff on molly  2/1/07 Hi Tom -- <<Hi, Kim.>> Thanks for your reply!!! <<Happy to do so.>> OK. After a few days thinking about all this here's what daughter reluctantly decided to do. We have another 15 gallon tall eclipse tank (we bought for son 6 years ago - used it, moved across country, never set back up) she'd like to set up, cycle, and put fish from her WAY overcrowded tank into. <<I like her thinking! She needn't be 'reluctant' about this, Kim. It's a good way to go.>> Our question is: are all these fish compatible (likes the same temperature & salt). Which fish should we move? If molly likes salt & we already put salt in her 10 g tank, who else should we keep or put in there with her? Should everyone else be moved? If we do that won't we end up with an undercrowded tank where the molly is and an overcrowded tank where the rest are?   AHHHH - help!!  How long should we wait? And if you could send me to a "how-to" page on properly cycling & setting up, etc since we're sort of doing this trial and error wise. <<Eeek! Just kidding'¦ Keep the Molly and Danios together with a 'maintenance level' of salt at one tablespoon per five gallons. The others, when the tank is ready, should be moved. As I mentioned, Catfish don't like salt. Doubtful that the 'algae eaters', whatever they may be, will like salt, either. Look at this, Kim: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm If you have questions, I'll be more than happy to fill in the gaps.>> BTW... puffy stuff on molly is gone. <<Good.>> The air bubbly looking stuff was huge (bigger than "her" eyes). Didn't look like rice, was clear and bubbly looking. If they don't have a mate, do they try to lay "dormant" eggs? <<Mollies are 'livebearers', Kim. They don't lay eggs. They have 'babies' like people do'¦'cept a lot more of them. The 'fry' are born alive and swimming.>> What's that all about? I feel like this is a huge science experiment.... <<Welcome to our 'world'. People are accustomed to furry mammals like dogs and cats. Fish seem like a science project and, in a specific sense, they are. They live in a completely different environment than we do. When you start to appreciate how remarkable they are, though, it becomes fascinating. The gills of a fish, as an example, are vastly more efficient than our lungs are at taking in and utilizing oxygen. The more you learn'¦>> Oh, and we do have a heater in her tank (we bought her a kit that included tank, hood & light, heater, filter, etc). Is there a better heater? Our house temp drops down to 62 and night and comes up to 72 during the day. But I need a heater that can keep the temperature in the tank stable. <<I don't know what brand of heater you have, Kim. 'Hydor' makes a very good heater, particularly for small tanks. Eheim is another brand you might look at if it's in the budget. (Used to be Ebo-Jaeger which was the 'benchmark'.)>> Also, pretty turquoise blue gravel is now kinda brownish - makes the tank look dull (I'm sure it's from high nitrate levels). <<Fish poop, uneaten food, diatoms. You name it. Most will contribute to high nitrate levels.>> How do we clean this so it's pretty again? Vacuuming didn't help. Maybe we're retards here and are doing it wrong - but vacuuming can't be that tricky! <<My advice? Reduce lighting levels. The diatoms disappear as quickly as they show up, in most cases. (That's the brown algae stuff.) Algae, in whatever form, requires light.  If deprived of it, it clears up (dies). After that, sorry, but you're back to vacuuming.>> I enjoyed reading your reply so much I sent it to husband (he's deployed to the Persian gulf)!  He got a total kick out of it!! <<Well, that puts things in perspective! I'm talking about 'fish poop' and your husband's in a war zone. (Head down, butt low and gear packed tight!) Send him, and his buddies, my very best and a huge 'Thank You!!!' from all of us here at WWM.>> <<Tom>>


RE: The Killer Hickey...Guard Those Powerhead Intakes - 01/29/07 Morning Crew - <<Hello Lisa>> Ya'll are awesome and I thank you for the info. <<Quite welcom> Sounds like the plastic screen material and some long tie wraps will cover the Seios. <<Indeed>> You mentioned unguarded heater elements. <<I did, yes...I have seen more than one Aplysia specimen fried/burned to death because they were on the heater-element when it kicked on.  These creatures move so slowly they cannot escape quickly enough to avoid damage>> Is this something I can wrap with plastic screen as well or ..? <<Hmmm...a "cage" made from eggcrate/screen would be better/provide more "standoff">> What's the best way to protect the livestock from the heater without causing damage to the heater? <<Mmm, place it in a downstream sump...if possible>> Thanks so much! Lisa <<Always welcome.  EricR>>  
<<Hello, Brittany. Tom again.>> Re: THANKS - NEW PRODUCTS - PIX - ATTENTION FOCUS : MORE PROBLEMS - THANKS   1/29/07 Thanks so much for your help, but sadly, she died a short time later.   <<I'm very sorry to hear that.>> I did separate her from the male before I emailed you... Unfortunately, being a senior high school student running around between jobs, school, and the SPCA, my money is on it's last limbs... so I have no money to replace much of my fish stuff anymore. <<Been there myself, Brittany. Completely understood.>>   I recently just got my parents to buy me some Melafix (fin rot, pop eye, etc).  I also bought some "Stress Coat" stuff by API since a lot of my fish seem to be breaking out in stress-related illnesses. <<Melafix is a fairly decent product but not exceptionally potent. Good to have on hand when a problem is caught early on. Stress Coat, likewise, is a good water conditioner. Be aware that it doesn't do any more, or less, than any other good quality conditioner, however. The name's a nice marketing tool but if you check out other good water conditioners, you'll find they do the same things. I only mention this so that you understand that it's not a 'treatment', per se.>>   I try to keep my fish "well socialized" with me so that when I do move them around when they are sick or something, they will be somewhat familiar with being put in my "breeding net"... so hopefully a "tank move" for hospitalization reasons won't be so stressful.  I'm a prospective vet student, so my outlook on animals is a "social" one. <<I can't say that there isn't some merit to your viewpoint, Brittany. A lot of fish become 'accustomed' to people and some seem to relish our company as much as we do theirs, even when being fed isn't their primary concern.>>    I know this is not the best approach perhaps for fish, but the effects are quite interesting.  I keep a log of my fish as often as possible because I tend to come across some beautiful mollies... by using a digital camera.   <<An excellent idea, Brittany.>> I have come to find that my fish seem to be very friendly in the sense of coming "to" me.  They seem to know the camera means something, and gather around me, making pictures rather easy.   <<Waiting to be 'discovered', no doubt.>> Some of the fish even have become accustom to the breeding net.  When I "catch" them in it, I simply submerge it near the desired fish, and wait for them to swim above its opening or actually into it.  Therefore, the stress level seems to be a little reduced.   <<I'm sure it is.>> When I feel necessary however, I will get the actual nets with handles and "chase" a fish... I only do this when I'm doing a big water change and tank cleaning or when I think a fish is potentially harmful to their tank mates. <<Sometimes there is just no way around this'¦>> I have attached some of my pictures if you would like to see. <<Sure thing.>> Some that I'd like you to look at are of the following: 1) A mostly black Dalmatian lyretail - I found her one day with a seemingly "split" lip, which then mounted to a clean sweep on the side of her face... it looks like someone took a nail file to the side of her head.  Her eye was included in the "injury?" and has started to swell.  I have noticed that it's not her actual eye that's swelling, like pop eye, but some sort of scar tissue? ***My camera was being VERY unhelpful when I was trying to get this picture <<It is a bit blurry. For a typically peaceful, easygoing species, I find it difficult to imagine what kind of 'Donnybrook' she would have gotten into to result in this sort of injury.>>    2) My male red Dalmatian sailfin - a truly MAGNIFICENT specimen, Tyson (I've learned not to name them, but I couldn't resist this beauty!) is the male I spoke about in the previous email.  He has symptoms that a previous dominant male of mine expressed.  He's been curving his back so his tail falls toward the bottom.  He has trouble swimming sometimes, has a bit of fin clamp (tail mostly), and sometimes exaggerates the side-to-side motion.  I looked online and his symptoms seem to fall under the listing of "tuberculosis".  I don't wanna lose this guy, he's too young! ***Sent you a "large" picture incase there's some kind of fungus I don't know the appearance of. <<A gorgeous fish, Brittany. I don't recognize any signs of fungus. I've had 'conversations' with a few folks regarding piscine TB when a pet has displayed a spinal curvature. It's generally hard to suggest anything but a genetic anomaly when that's the only abnormal 'characteristic' of the fish. What catches my eye, as it did yours, is the inclusion of the 'sunken' chest/stomach area on Tyson along with the bend in the spine. Hardly conclusive, but it makes me wonder if this isn't, unfortunately, a legitimate case of TB. Strictly as a precaution, I'd be careful about putting your hands in the tank particularly if you've got a scratch or cut. The disease is contagious to humans though not in the form of Tuberculosis. It can, however, infect an open sore/cut that will take a long time in healing. Be safe.>> 3) 24 Karat Gold molly - I named this girl "Mommy" because she's surprisingly the only molly of mine that has ever had consecutive successful births... Of course there's only two survivors.  While looking online for common fish diseases and symptoms, I came across a couple "worm" symptoms.  She has two brown "twigs" sometimes sticking out of her butt... wondering if it could be something. ***The corner picture is an enlargement which I messed around with on my handy-dandy Microsoft PowerPoint haha. <<I see what you're addressing, Brittany, but I'm not familiar with it. (Bob, or one of the other Crew, may be able to shed some light.)>> Another thing that you may see in some of the pictures is a white or clear, long feces thing... You can tell I'm a young adult by my language, I know haha. <<Long before you were born, President Harry Truman, well-known for his 'earthy' language, gave a speech before a convention of farmers in the Midwest. On numerous occasions, Mr. Truman referred to the use of 'manure' on crops. Feeling a little uneasy about his use of this term, the host of the convention leaned over to the First Lady, Bess Truman, and quietly asked if she could inform the President that the preferred term was 'fertilizer'. She smiled and responded, 'Do you have any idea how long it's taken me just to get him to refer to the stuff as 'manure?' It's fish poop, Brittany. :) >> Some of the listings on the site (Fish Farmacy, Aquatic Pharmacy? <<Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (API)?>>) said that this could be a sign of multiple parasites including tape worm.  There's no "eggs" that I see in the feces, and the fish seem healthy, especially Mommy, my longest surviving Molly. Should I be concerned? <<'Could be', Brittany. This is a 'symptom' of a possible problem. Or, it might not be a problem at all. That's why we look for more than one sign in most cases. Is the fish lethargic? Has it stopped feeding? Is the fish 'hiding' uncharacteristically? Are there external signs of disease or infestation? Are water parameters optimal? Is anything different today than it was yesterday? On occasion, we're compelled to 'assume' but, you want to be careful when you do this. Education is key here.>> Again, thanks sooo much for your help!! <<We're always happy to help, Brittany.>> I worked very hard to get these pictures, so I really hope they go through!!  If you have a section on your site for the different colors of mollies, I have tons of pictures you could add!! <<I'll be more than happy to share this with Bob.>> Red Dalmatian male, females; silver; sunset; black; black with yellow tips; Dalmatians; 24 karat gold; creamcicle.... <<Have you considered a book? :) >> ~Brittany Thank you so much. Feel free to post this on the site, as well as the pix, as I'm sure many (beginners?) may have similar problems!! <<We'd be out of jobs if they didn't!>> Thank you SO MUCH! This is very, very much appreciated!!! <<Oh, stop! I'm starting to blush! :) Thank you for sharing here, Brittany, and the very best of luck to you in the future. Best regards. Tom>>

RMF's note here (again) re sending too-large image files... a few hundred Kbytes maximum, please... These were 5 megs plus... not able to store, or place... and these ones not-utilizable for the Net!

Re: HELP PLEASE! (Follow up) ... dis.? <<Brittany>> Actually, I did take and html/css course a few years ago, so I am planning to do something with my pictures.  I'm not sure what.   <<You've got time.>> You're right about the whole "fish poop" thing... I thought that's all it was too... but this site was like "OMG! white poop! BAAD!" and I was like... hmmm... and after several sources revealing the same thing, I was a bit frightened.   <<Light/white fecal matter is a 'sign', or indication, of a possible problem. I've also seen this clear up in a day or two. Shouldn't be discounted, certainly, but, again, you need to look for other behavioral 'differences', i.e. other symptoms. I'm totally against medicating fish 'out of hand' on assumptions. Even if it's only you that remembers this, Brittany, a fish's best advantage/defense against disease is its own immune system. Optimal water conditions can't be over-stated here. Med's 'control' the problem. The fish's immune system is what eradicates the problem.>> Mommy is perfectly healthy as of now.  Tyson on the other hand, is becoming more and more secretive and I am really worried about him.  I've lost beauties before... none have ever gotten to 6 months of age!  I wonder if I should get my fish from another source... <<Or, more research on your part. Not a criticism at all but, I figure that after a couple of weeks without problems the 'onus' is on me. Mollies aren't as easy to keep as we're led to believe. The parameters they require aren't those of the typical 'freshwater' fish. Though quite adaptable, they're generally considered to be a 'brackish' water species of fish. Regardless of what you settle on, they will require salt to thrive. Mixing them with other species is, in my opinion, not recommended unless the parameters are compatible.>> Can Bob or you suggest any sort of medication I can give Tyson to increase his chances of survival?  Is it a good idea to "bathe" him in a small bowl with melafix?  Or should I just continue putting the recommended dose in the whole tank? <<Optimize the tank's conditions here, Brittany. While I can't be absolutely sure, I don't believe Melafix is the answer. As I mentioned to you previously, it's not particularly 'potent'. One time more, I don't want to 'assume' a specific condition. If Tyson is suffering from piscine TB (Mycobacteriosis), the treatment would be complicated if not close to impossible for a hobbyist. Even at that, the prognosis would not be good. Isolate Tyson, if possible, and set the tank up for brackish water (salinity: 1.011 to 1.017). Keep your fingers crossed.>> Thanks so much!  If I ever get that site up, I'll let you know! <<We'd like to be the first ones to know! Wish you luck, Brittany. Tom>>

Mollies Shaking - 01/27/2007 Hi <Hello.  Sabrina with you today.> We have a 40 Lt tank, with guppies and mollies. Most of the fish were born in our tank. Two of the black marble mollies (I think females but they are still a bit small to be sure) have this weird behaviour, they swim to the bottom section of the tank, in the corner and face down they shake their bodies - this can last for about two to three minutes a time and they do it approximately every 5 -- 10 minutes. They appear otherwise healthy, as do the other fish in the tank. What could be the reason for this behaviour? <In my experience, this "shimmy" has usually been indicative of a "skin slime" parasite - Costia, Childonella, Icthyobodo....  Other symptoms, though harder to see, would include occasional clamping of the fins and a slight "film" or "cloud" to the skin and fins.  I have also been of the understanding that this "shimmying" can be due to a lack of electrolytes or salts in the water.  If guppies and mollies are all you have, I'd try adding one to two tablespoons of aquarium salt per five gallons of water (12 to 24 grams per 19 liters).  This amount of salt will not be harmful to either guppies or mollies and will actually be quite beneficial to both.  This *may* also help if it is in fact a "skin slime" parasite, but if the symptoms persist after some days, or if the symptoms worsen and the fish get notably "sick", you might consider treating with an anti-protozoan medication.  Of course, this part goes without saying, but I'd better say it anyway:  Be sure to keep ammonia and nitrite at ZERO and nitrate below 20ppm with regular water changes.> Thanks for the great information you supply on your site. <I'm glad you've found it useful, thanks!> Steph <All the best to you,  -Sabrina>

Defective Balloon Molly    1/14/07 I recently purchased a balloon molly and it has been acting a bit strangely for the past couple of hours.  It does seem to have the best control of its swimming and often does "barrel rolls." <Eeee, not good... evidence of "swim bladder damage"... can be from a variety of causes...> It sometimes swims on its side and often lodges itself under the aquarium decorations upside down. The times that it does decided to unlodge itself it obviously has no control over it movements and tends to crash into things.  I am aware that balloon mollies aren't the most graceful fish and do tend to behave "strangely." <Mmm, yes... part of their "mutant" price> This behavior does seem to be too strange even for a balloon molly and I am afraid that it will hurt itself. I know that these fish often have problems with swim bladders, and I also know that they can catch the whirling disease (my fish's movements aren't spiraling, he just does barrel rolls.) <Mmm... not so much the bacterial mediated version of this label...> I was just wanting to know how to distinguish the two, assuming that the fish's problems are one of the two.  My other fish, which includes a balloon molly, are doing fine. I had a local pet store test my water and all levels (nitrites, nitrates, ammonia, pH and hardness) were all in check. Thanks, Lauren <Mmm... if this fish/specimen is doing this anomalous behavior a good deal of the time... I'd isolate it... not so much for fear of pathogenic disease spread (which I doubt is an/the issue here) but for the other livestock not being overly-stressed... Ultimately, euthanizing this fish may be the humane route to go. Bob Fenner>

Molly Crossbreeds and susceptibility to white spot    1/5/07 Hello from the middle of the UK <And hello from Chicagoland, Illinois, USA!> Firstly, your site really is a fantastic resource, many thanks for the hard work you must all put into it. <On behalf of the WWM Crew, thanks for the kind words.> I have found different websites have slightly varying opinions on the finer points of keeping tropical fish... <...there really are lots of views out there.  Of course, there are some concrete basics that cannot/should not be varied, but many things are debatable...lots of differences of opinion, even amongst crew members at times...> ...your site deals with this so well as the answers in the faq's come from different people as do the questions, it's very informative, thanks again. <Glad you find it useful! I am always looking things up on the site - it's how I've learned much of what I know about the hobby.> Having prostrated myself at your feet and declared myself "not worthy" :-)..... <Well, you don't have to go that far!! lol...> I have a 150 gal tank with 2 female Bettas, 1 Plec, 1 Algae eater (long thin light orange sucky fish, not sure what to call it really)... <another type of Pleco, perhaps? Any pictures for identification?> ...7 tetras of varying types, 1 Lyre tail molly and 12 fish that came out of the Molly, I think they may be crossed with a Guppy we have in our other tank... <crossbreeding between livebearers can, and does, indeed happen> ...(we moved her and some of the offspring, she is getting quite big and the kids were taking over the tank). <Yup, livebearers can/will do that! I'm amazed they haven't taken over the planet with their reproduction rate...> Water is at 28.3 deg C +/- .2... <This is the high-side of OK for most tropical fish, but good for the Bettas...> ...ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate around 40ppm... <MUST reduce the nitrate levels...20 ppm is as high as they should be.> (most of the time) ph 7.8 constant. Filter is an Atman 882, it's an in tank filter, housing a heater, 2 compartments holding bags of different filter medium and a pump, in that order as the water flows through. I do a 10% water change/clean every week and add a little stress coat type treatment (Nutrafin AquaPlus) each time to the fresh water to remove the chlorine and help the fish, I normally age the new water for 24 hrs before doing the change and add a little AquaPlus (20ml) to the tank. <Your water change schedule generally sounds OK, but since those nitrates are so high, I would recommend doing a 10% change 2 times per week, until the levels fall under control.  They really are too high and are likely stressing the fish, causing them to be more susceptible to disease.> The water from my tap is quite high in nitrate (around 40ppm) so 1 of the bags in the filter contains "Nitrate Sponge" to help keep the nitrate at an acceptable level. <Well, there's the problem, then...if you keep doing water changes with this water, the nitrate levels likely won't drop.  I'd recommend looking into a RO/DI unit, or at the very least, a DI product such as this one: http://www.aquatichouse.com/WaterPurifiers/tapwaterfilter.asp The RO/DI unit will cost you more, but will save you money in the long run, as the filters don't have to be replaced nearly as frequently as the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Tap Water Filter product.  I don't know if they'll ship to the UK, but I am a big fan of www.airwaterice.com for RO/DI units. I'm not familiar with the "nitrate sponge" product you refer to, but it clearly isn't working.  I really suggest a water filtration system.  Everything else you describe seems great.> Questions: Can a Molly cross breed with a Guppy? <Yes.> The offspring certainly look like that is the case though there was also a male Swordtail in the other tank when she gave birth (She has also had normal Molly babies before and after this bunch arrived). <From my understanding, all livebearers are capable of cross-breeding. Might want to consider just housing a single sex, if you want to keep all these different species.> A quick aside here, she also gave birth to a Platy! <Without a platy parent?!> And we don't have any, well we do now! <OK- I'm confused a little about that one...> Why are these cross breeds so susceptible to whitespot (The pure Molly is fine as are the rest of the fish)? <I am by no means a geneticist, but my general understanding is that too much genetic variation causes all sorts of problems, including a weakened immune system.> If the nitrate level climbs above 50ppm they start breaking out with it,... <Nitrates really need to be between 0 and 20 ppm...> ...which is fine when I spend a lot of time watching them as I see the first spots and drop in some of the stress coat stuff and check the nitrate levels straight away and the whitespot goes in a day or 2. HOWEVER, if it's Christmas and I don't pay enough attention, they get in a hell of a mess in a very short time and it's out with the blue stuff (Waterlife Protozin) to fix them. <Do read here for some helpful information on treating ich.  Keep in mind that the ich parasite goes through various life-stages, and truly the only way to get rid of it is to run the affected tank fallow for at least a month... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm > Probably worth mentioning the fish in question are now at least 4 months old, maybe more.> Any ideas? The best I can come up with is that it's a genetic failing, but I wanted to check it's not something I am doing wrong, I'm not sure they like it! <It is likely a genetic weakening, and these fish will likely always be more susceptible to disease than their "purebred" parents.  The one thing you can do is to lower your nitrate levels - that's about the only problem I can see.> Many thanks again John <You're welcome. Get rid of those nitrates and you're fish you all likely be more healthy.  Best of luck, Jorie Re: Molly Crossbreeds and susceptibility to white spot (Now about Nirate levels)  1/5/07 Hi, have replied with the previous message and comments below so you know what's going on. <OK, sure!> Firstly thanks for the info, a brief overview of your reply would be that I need to get my nitrate levels down. Great, I have something to do that should fix the problem so... 3 reasons for my reply: 1) Many many thanks to you all 2) Discussing reason 3 may help others with their searches when this message goes into the site 3) I'll be as brief as I can....... <(1) thank you,(2) this will be posted on our FAQs, and hopefully others can benefit from the info. also, and (3), no worries - I can be long-winded myself!> Up until now all the information I have read and been to me given about nitrate levels has been that they don't matter too much, and yet "Graham T" says 20ppm Nitrate is good, any more is bad, 60ppm a big no no... <Graham is one of my fellow volunteers; for some reason, I think his name got attached to our general "crew" e-mail box.  In any case, my humble understanding of water chemistry is that 20 ppm is not "good", per se, but on the high-end of acceptable.  In an ideal world, nitrates would be at zero, but that's pretty hard to achieve in reality. If the reading is 20 ppm, I do a water change, but I understand that in your case, since your tap water is coming out at 40 ppm, this really won't help.> ...and yet when I ran up my first tank a year and a half ago, I took a sample of water from the newly cycled tank to my local shop and they tested the water and did not comment on the nitrate being around 50ppm. <This is precisely why I test my own water and do independent research.  I can't tell you why your fish store wouldn't advise you the same way, all I can say is that my own readings, research and experience have all led me to the conclusion that FW nitrates must be 20 ppm or less for the ultimate good-health of the livestock.> The water from my tap has a nitrate level of 40ppm!!! <I remember - I was shocked when I first read that!> so my frequent water changes are just making matters worse. <Well, I wouldn't say worse, but it certainly explains why your last reading was 40 ppm...> I shall put my hand in my pocket and buy a water purifier. <Reverse osmosis/de-ionizing units can be expensive, but well worth it, in my opinion.  We had a problem with high phosphates in our tap water, which is what led us to purchase ours...our fish have never been healthier.  Plus, there's a drinking water switch, so you may be able to benefit from that, personally, as well!> But, a couple of questions: A quick search of WWM shows that you all think that nitrate levels are important, how come I had so much info that said otherwise? <"So much" contrary info., or just what your local fish store folks told you? Again, I certainly can't comment on why others say what they do, but I can tell you that most, if not all, reputable research in the hobby shows that nitrates, while not as toxic as nitrites and ammonia to fish, certainly aren't good and should be as low as possible...> I am beginning to thing my beautiful male Betta died because of the high nitrate levels, I won't replace him until I have got the nitrate down, he was more of a pet that a pretty fish in a tank, real personality, sob sob etc... <I agree with you - I've got three Bettas (two males and one female, all separate, of course), and they are my favorite fish.  So much personality, and beautiful, as well.  I can't say that the nitrates killed your Betta, but they surely didn't help.  Another common problem with folks keeping Bettas is not keeping them in a min. 2-3 gal. filtered tank, with a heater set to a constant 80-82 degrees F...I'm sorry you lost your little friend.  Once you get your RO/DI unit, and a suitable tank for the Betta, you will be all set, as they are very low maintenance once these general requirements are met...> sorry, had to let it out somewhere :-) best to do it where I maybe understood. <Ask my boyfriend - I am the nutso-save-all-the-Bettas-in-little-cups-in-PetSmart lady - I'm in the process of writing a simple how-to-care-for-your-Betta article.  It's one of my passions! Long life the Bettas...I can keep going for ever:-) > Second and maybe even more importantly, myself and my family (and everyone else in the town) are drinking tap water with a nitrate level that makes fish ill. Is this bad for humans?????? <Well, I'm not a doctor, but I can't imagine it's good.  Again, if you invest in a RO/DI unit, I would look into the drinking water attachment...> Finally a note for the google search to help others... " High nitrate levels in tap water " :-) <Thanks - will pass this along.> My complete thanks to you all John <You're welcome, John.  And, your P.S. re: a FAQ on sending pictures - I am forwarding that along to Bob Fenner himself.  I'll happily admit I am not a computer junkie, and as this is Bob's site, he's the best one to help you out on that note. I'm sure he'll appreciate the advice/suggestion.  Best regards, Jorie>

Female balloon molly dying after giving birth - need to test water, isolate fish  1/2/07 Hi- <Hello and Happy 2007,> I currently have a tank with 2 female balloon mollies and one male.   <What size tank is this? How long has it been established?> One female gave birth recently to about 18 fry on Dec 25. <A nice Xmas present!> I didn't do anything to separate the mom or babies, and now there are 7 babies still alive. <As long as the tank is large enough for everyone, that's OK - I've never had a problem with molly parents/adults eating fry.  It is advisable to provide plenty of cover (plants, decor, etc.) to maximize the fry's survival chances, and frequent water changes are necessary, as fry are even more sensitive to poor water condition than the adults.> On Dec 29, the mom started acting strange... hiding in the decorations, staying at the bottom of the tank, sometimes acting like she was trying to burrow into the gravel.  The other 2 fish are very healthy and active.  The fry seem healthy too.  I have live plants and one snail. <Definitely odd behavior.  Have you recently tested for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, and when was this tank's last water change? Although it's good that only the one fish appears to be affected, she could be more sensitive to poor water quality, as she's likely still recovering from giving birth.  Alternatively, does this female in question have any strange coloration, parasites, anything else visible going on?  First off, I'd suggest a water change (matching temp, pH, etc. as closely as possible, just like always).  If her behavior doesn't improve shortly thereafter, I'd recommend isolating her to her own tank, so that she doesn't pass on whatever it is that's ailing her to the others.>   The male fish doesn't bother her (a passive male), and only the other female (pregnant & grumpy) acts aggressively towards her and only at feeding time. <In this one fish's weakened state, this could have caused her to get sick from the ever-present bacteria in the water...again, I suggest changing water.  Also, it sounds as though a separate tank for her to recover, not be bullied by the other female, is in order ASAP.> To combat that, I dropped a couple of shrimp pellets to the bottom so the sick molly could feed in peace. <OK, but be sure you aren't overfeeding - uneaten shrimp pellets can quickly foul the water.> Yesterday (Dec 30) she seemed better- swimming around and eating (although still not fully herself), but this morning (Dec 31) when I checked her she was on the bottom, her sides looked sunken, and she was listing to one side. <Not good...> Is there anything I can do?  I don't have anything to test water levels with- I take samples in to my fish store periodically to have them checked and the levels are always good (so they tell me)- no color change with the ammonia test. <It is imperative that you have your own quality test kit in this hobby - it isn't realistic or practicable to rely on the LFS.  First off, I recommend investing in a liquid kit, such as one made by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, to measure ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH.  Even if ammonia levels are at zero (which they need to be), there could be a build-up of nitrite and/or nitrate, both of which are toxic to fish.  In the absence of such a kit, I do recommend a relatively large (but not complete) water change, as well as moving the bullied/affected fish to her own quarters. Hopefully then, you can feed her something more nutritious, such as vitamin-enriched bloodworms or mysis shrimp. Based on your description of her, it sounds as though she isn't eating...>   I have had the tank since March of this year, bought the molly that just gave birth Dec 15. <What is your current water change schedule? And again, it would be helpful to know how large the tank is.  Is there filtration running, and if so, what kind? Without this info., all I can do is surmise that a combination of poor water quality, coupled with being bullied by the other female, are contributing, if not causing, the problems...> Thanks, Molly <Best of luck, Jorie>
Re: Female balloon molly dying after giving birth - need to test water, isolate fish PART 2
  1/3/07 *Thank you for your help*.  I am going to go and buy a test kit ASAP.   <You're welcome and good idea.> Unfortunately, the sickened female died. < :-( > Her babies are still doing well, though. <Excellent.> One thing about the shrimp pellets- I use a turkey baster to suck up the uneaten remains (that I can see), and the snail I have eats the remains too. <That's great.> I do think I will step up my water changes.  I just read that more frequent water changes is very important for the fry. <This is true - fry seem to be much more sensitive to poor water quality than their adult peers are.> This female actually sickened after a 40% water change I had done the day before, and made me suspect that something went wrong there- but I did it as per my usual method, and as the other adults and fry are fine I was really perplexed as to why she suddenly took suck a terrible turn.  I thought if anything, the fry would sicken if poor water quality.  My usual method is to net the fish (also the fry) and put them in a holding bowl (with the current tank water)  until the cleaning is complete, as I do a thorough vacuum of the rocks and it churns up a lot of stuff.  I reintroduce the fish after the tank is re-equilibrated.   Maybe this was too much of a stress on the new mom- :-(. <I think you are right - too much stress.  She was likely weakened after having given birth.  Although I applaud your thorough cleaning of the tank, you might not want to remove the fish each time you do a water change, as that is a bit stressful.  In your 10 gal. tank, if you've got just the fry and the one male and one female adults, I'd suggest doing a 5 gal. weekly water change (assuming that all your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate readings are at zero) using a siphon to remove excess food, debris, and an algae pad to clean the sides of the tank where necessary...you can leave the fish where they are.  If you see the tank becoming excessively dirty (which is shouldn't, if you keep up with this water change schedule), you could use your method once in a while, but I really wouldn't recommend doing it all the time, as it is likely too stressful.> I have a 10 gallon tank, btw.  I have a filter (regular, not under gravel), running, and a BioWheel (an Eclipse tank set up).  When the fry were small, they would occasionally get sucked up by the filter but the nice thing about this set up is that it is always wet and I could just remove the filter pad and the water would flush them back into the tank without harm. <A piece of pantyhose over the filter intake will alleviate this problem, as will the special "sponge" covers some LFSs sell.> Now the fry are big enough to escape the draw of the filter. <Great - they seem to be growing nicely!> Right now I think it's imperative to test the water, and if it's OK get another female so that the current one isn't bullied too much by the male. <I agree that testing the water ASAP is necessary.  Adding a female would likely be a good idea as well (assuming the parameters are fine), but do be sure to quarantine her for at least 3-4 weeks.  I somewhat recently decided not to use my own advice, and introduced a new molly to an established tank...wiped out EVERYTHING.  That's the last thing you want to do, especially with your new fry and all.> I thought it would be fun to have babies- and it is- but it's such a responsibility- just like any babies. <Hee hee - they are a lot of work! I haven't experienced the human variety myself, yet, but have had tons of molly, platy fry to raise...!> It was a wonderful Christmas present to see those fry swimming around- all big eyes.  Now they are so much bigger it's amazing!  I can see what coloring they are going to have now.  I sit and watch the fish, hold my baby up to see them (he loves to watch too).  It was just so terrible to lose the mom after she gave us these wonderful babies.  I don't want this to happen with the next one.  I need that water testing kit!!!! <Agreed.  Also, when doing water changes, do be sure to match the new and old water pH (most standard test kits will have this test also) and temperature as closely as possible - again, to alleviate stress.  Also, try the method I've recommend for water changes, to also minimize stress.  Finally, you and your son enjoy the fish!> Molly <Best regards, Jorie>

Molly help!  12/30/06 Hi -- <<Hi, Jay. Tom here.>> I'm totally new to tropical fishkeeping, with just dim memories of tanks my dad kept when I was a child. Not wanting to get into too much scary cleaning and messing about I purchase a BiOrb tank, 30 litres, which has proven brilliant in terms of keeping the water clean and clear with the minimum of hassle. <<Glad to hear this, Jay.>> Into it I put a sailfin molly and a small leopard patterned Pleco. They both got along fine, although I was told afterwards that the Pleco would eventually grow too large and would need his own tank, but I was happy to do this if he survived me that long! (so much for asking advice in pet shops staffed by kids lol) <<What they also failed to mention is that Mollies are a brackish water species and Plecos aren't tolerant of salt. Always best to research fish before you buy.>> Anyway a few weeks later, carefully following instructions about when and how to stock my tank, I added a small lyretail molly. All was fine, but the next morning I woke up to see 11 pairs of beady little eyes looking up at me from under the driftwood. I didn't know that they were live bearers, or that she was pregnant - I thought she was pleasantly plump! <<And, now you know why she was full-figured. :) >> To make matters worse, my sailfin, whom I had been assured by the same damn shop would not mate with her, started in on the act, and was soon chasing her round the tank relentlessly. <<A common denominator among the more popular live-bearers, in general, is that they'll mate with your house cat if given the opportunity. They'll tend to stick with their own kind in a community setting but don't bet your next paycheck on it.>> Mum went back to the shop, and the babies took their chances, with all surviving. As they got bigger, the water quality became terrible, despite my best efforts, and my poor Pleco died. <<Sorry to hear about the Pleco, Jay, but 12 Mollies and a Pleco in a 30-liter tank is, as you now realize, a recipe for disaster. Far, far too over-crowded.>>   As soon as they were big enough, they went back to the shop, and I am now left with one who is about to go, and one little weird one who has never really grown. What I would like to know is whether the little runt will ever grow, and if not whether is likely to get eaten, and what I can put into the tank with the sailfin and the runt that will not breed with them or eat them. I would ideally like something a bit colourful, more so than the mollies, but that's easy to keep. Any ideas and suggestions? <<The 'runt', in my opinion, is destined to remain stunted in his growth. Likely a genetic abnormality that will also probably shorten his expected lifespan. As of now, I don't see him in danger of being turned into lunch, however. As to the second part of your question, you're going to be a bit 'hamstrung' by two important factors. First, I'll refer you back to the salt requirement for Mollies and, second, the size of your tank is going to be problematic where any of the popular brackish species are concerned. A 30-liter tank (about 8 gallons) is simply too small. (You'll see a wide assortment of sites that will suggest that Mollies are compatible with a large assortment of Tetras, et. al. Perhaps, but I consider this to be disputable based on the conditions that Mollies require to thrive.) What to do? Find a suitable home for the two fish you have now and start from scratch. A personal choice of mine would be the ever-popular Neon Tetra based on the size of the tank and your preference for something colorful. Black Neons are also attractive and a modest grouping of both types might be of interest to you. Another possibility here would be a single Betta as your tank would be a great size for one of these. It would preclude the addition of other fish, in my opinion, but tough to beat for beauty and relatively easy care.>> Thanks Jay <<I wish you good luck in your 'quest' here, Jay. I know you'll work it out. Happy New Year to you. Tom>>

Molly has many small growths on its head area   12/14/06 Our male molly has developed several small, clear and bubble-like growths on its head and "neck" area.   Thus far, he is eating and swimming normally, but these growths are quite disfiguring and we are concerned.  To this point, we have been unable to match his condition with any diseases listed on various tropical fish sites. Thank you for any guidance you can provide. -Debra and Dave <Hello there - you've got Jorie here this evening.  First off, a bit more info. on your tank setup would be helpful: how large (gallons) is the tank, how many and what kind of fish are in it, how long has it been set up, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and temp. readings would be helpful, so that we can better determine what's going on - if its environmental, bacterial, parasitic, etc.  Off the top of my head, lymphocystis comes to mind; the common name for this is "cauliflower" disease, and it's viral in nature, and as such, cannot readily be "cured".  Here's a good image for reference - does this look like what your fish has? http://images.google.com/images?svnum=10&hl=en&lr=&q=lymphocystis.  Other "lumps" or "growths" on the fish could be lesions as a result of bacterial infections (e.g., fish tuberculosis or Mycobacteria; can be treated by antibiotics such as Kanamycin or erythromycin), can be internal or external tumors (generally untreatable), or could even be parasites, or larvae. In any case, I'd definitely suggest isolating this fish if you haven't already, to prevent transmission of whatever is going on to any other fish.  Keep the water especially clean, and take a look at images of what I've suggested to see if you can match what's going on in your poor molly.  It's generally not a good idea to treat without knowing fairly certainly what's going on, as you can very easily misdiagnosis and kill a fish with improper medication.  If there's anyway to send a picture, please do and I'll try my best to help you identify the issue... We'll likely be able to identify the issue if we look at all the information present - I look forward to hearing back about the details of your setup. Best, Jorie

Marble Mollies  11/22/06 Hi, <Hi>  I have two marble mollies that we just got about 2 weeks ago and the whiter molly has been getting a large belly on it, I had been reading and thought that it may be pregnant, however, I also read about dropsy.  <With mollies pregnancy is always a likely condition.>  The scales seem to be flat against his/her body and it is eating well, however I noticed that over the last couple of days the blacker one also seems to be developing a bulge.  Help!  I just bought them for my kids and really don't know a whole lot about them.  I do treat the water with the water buddies before putting them in and have changed the water once and the filter once.  <How long has the tank been set up?> I keep the water at room temperature <Probably not warm/stable enough, get a heater and thermometer, looking for 74-78>, I am just not sure where to go from here, and if the one is pregnant what now? <Molly fry>  And how do I know if I have males or females? <See here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollyidfaqs.htm , should answer most of your questions.> <Chris>
Marble Mollies  Part II11/22/06 The tank has been set up since I got them, I appreciate your reply, I will check the link you have given.  Thanks <Good luck with your new pets.> <Chris>

Molly environmental disease?  - 11/02/06 Dear Crew    <Kyleigh>   My red wag molly is losing her color.  Would it be ick?  Could it be something else? <Could be either/neither/both>   What are common reasons why they lose color?   <Most often unsuitable environment... but due to social dynamic, general stress...> She sometimes swims horizontally and has a hard time swimming up.  My dad put in Mollie Bright and Melafix that contains Melaleuca today so not sure if there has been enough time for it to help her.  The water levels are all fine, we had them checked today.   The other fish seem fine. She's in a 10 gal tank with 3 neon tetras and 3 danios that were added 1 month ago.     <Mmm, molly species like very different water than Neons... hard, alkaline of moderate temperature: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollysysfaqs.htm You may need to choose which type of environment... or two you want to provide... and choose suitable/suited livestock from there. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance   Kyleigh

Uh-oh, I screwed up...  9/23/06 Hey Bob- hoping you can give me some fish advice.  Several days ago I purchased two Dalmatian lyretail mollies from PetSmart - one male and one female.  I QTed them initially, but due to the small size of the QT tank (2 gal.), the male was harassing the female non-stop.  I was afraid he'd kill her, so I took a chance and put the male into the 29 gal. BW (1.005) tank that already housed several mollies and one knight goby.  Baaaaad idea - I've had two molly deaths since I introduced the new fish into the tank.   The fish in question has no visible signs of disease, acts normally and eats well, but it seems as though I've introduced something very bad into the tank.  Do you have any suggestions as to how I can remedy the situation? <Mmm... frightening... but... no real idea> I do now have an addition open QT tank that I could put the male newbie into, but I'm not sure that would do any good at this point.  The two fish who've died were about 2-3 yrs. old, and I'm thinking perhaps with their age, they had lower disease   resistance and that's why they didn't make it? <Again... I don't really know what this might actually be... to act so quickly... perhaps a very virulent bacterium>    I'm at a loss as to how to rectify my dumb move...any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!    Thanks mucho,    Jorie <I would isolate the one new fish again... for sure. Bob Fenner>
Re: Uh-oh, I screwed up...  9/27/06
Hi guys, <Jorie>    Here's the update on my "problem tank" - I lost two mollies yesterday, and another one this morning.  All sudden deaths with no visible illness prior to.  Dalmatian lyretail who "caused" this problem is in his own 3 gal. tank.  I've done 2 5-gal. water changes in the past 3 days, and am sending Chris to store to purchase new test kit (old ones are expired).  I don't suspect ammonia/nitrite/nitrates to be a problem, but who knows at this point.  Will test water tonight.  I plan on hooking up the UV sterilizer, but unfortunately needed to order a part...should be here tomorrow.    Anything else I can/should do? SG at 1.005 (tank is planted...am afraid to raise salinity for fear of killing plants...java moss, Bacopa, micro swords...thoughts?)  What about temp? Currently at 78 degrees F.    Any additional thoughts would be appreciated! I'm afraid everyone's going to die, and the tank won't be able to house anyone ever again. <Woulda, coulda, shoulda...>    Also, two Dalmatians bought from PetSmart, QTed in separate tanks, are doing just fine.    Thanks in advance -    Jorie <Well... you could try a/the blitzkrieg of antimicrobial/antibiotics array... or just wait all out for a loss of virulence. I do think you had/are suffering here from some infectious agent. Likely a bacteria. BobF>
Re: Uh-oh, I screwed up...  9/27/06
<Well... you could try a/the blitzkrieg of antimicrobial/antibiotics array... or just wait all out for a loss of virulence. I do think you had/are suffering here from some infectious agent. Likely a bacteria.>    Bob, if this were your tank, which approach would you use? And if the former, can you suggest specific meds?    THANKS!!! <First go... Spectrogram... Next Nitrofuranace...  BobF>    Btw, Sabrina and I were chatting last night and decided you need to look into one of these: http://www.utilikilts.com/    Best - Jorie <Heeeee! I do have a kiltie! B>
Re: Uh-oh, I screwed up...  9/27/06
Hi Bob, <Jor>    I'm sorry to bother you again, but I have some new info. that might help us (you!) diagnose what's going on - I'm not at home, but Chris tells me that my two remaining grey mollies almost look as though their skin is peeling...it's opaque instead of translucent, also.    Does this change the prescription/suggested course of action?    Thanks for ALL your help-    Jorie <Mmm, nope. B>

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