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FAQs on the Molly Health/Disease 2

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,

Gold Mollies with dry, cracked skin... Nivea solution?  9/18/06 Thank you for your assistance. I have spent endless time on the Internet and have consulted with my local pet store to no avail. I have a 5 gallon tank with 2 gold mollies and 3 guppies. <Hard to keep such small volumes stable, optimized...> The 2 mollies have what appears to be dry, cracked, white skin on the tops of their heads. <Mmm, symptomatic of a few infectious and parasitic possibilities...> A small amount of white was present when I bought them (about 2 months ago). But knowing nothing about fish I didn't recognize this as a problem until the condition got worse. Otherwise they appear to be swimming and eating normally and the condition has not spread to the guppies. Unfortunately, the store I bought the fish from has not been at all helpful in identifying the condition- which is very frustrating since the fish had this problem when I bought them. They just keep selling me more products that haven't solved the problem.  I have tried treating the tank for fungus and ick and have added salt to the water. <Not a fungus or ich... but the salt won't hurt> I have removed the carbon from my filter during the treatments. I have been treating the tank for approximately 1 month. The condition has improved slightly in one molly, but has worsened in the other. At this point I am not only concerned about the white condition, but am also concerned that the filter has not had carbon for the last month (it is a 3-stage filter, so a sponge has been present). <Mmm, actually would need to make a scraping, and take a look/see under a scope to tell much here... culture for definition... But w/o hearing/reading what you've used thus far, under what protocols, am given to suggest a course of Neomycin Sulfate... take a read on the Net re this antibiotic, its uses for ornamental fishes... and the term "Columnaris"... do the pix available, descriptions sound/look familiar here? Bob Fenner>

Mystery Molly Ailment   9/11/06 Hi, everybody. <<Hello, Tim. Tom here.>> I have a four week old 20-gallon aquarium with 16 inches of fish, plus my unexpected delivery of four two-week-old baby mollies. All tank mates have been compatible so far. <<A more specific listing of what you have would have helped here, Tim. Mollies lean toward brackish water conditions so the word "compatible" needs to be taken rather broadly. Bettas and Goldfish require such different water conditions that they would be deemed incompatible though they might never "bother" one another in the sense of aggressiveness.>> My water parameters (temp, nitrites, nitrate, ammonia, pH, hardness) have all been within range until about a week ago, when my nitrites spiked. <<Very predictable with a new aquarium. Ammonia levels had to have spiked as well or there would be no nitrites. A reading of zero is the only acceptable level for either of these.>> I have treated since then, but my molly has come down with a baffling disease. <<Other than treating with BIO-Spira from Marineland, there's nothing readily available to hobbyists, to my knowledge, that's capable of reducing nitrite levels to acceptable levels in a short period of time, Tim. (For those of our friends outside of the United States, BIO-Spira is only available in the U.S.) Sorry for the brief "commercial", Tim. Let's go on...>> It will sit on the bottom of the tank, fins clamped, barely breathing, moving only to eat (quite well, too) and go to some more secluded spot. <<What you describe is symptomatic of poor water conditions or, what were poor conditions, that adversely affected your Molly. If she's the "Mom", the birthing process may have also taken its toll on her. Could be one, the other or a combination. Livebearers like Mollies, Platys, Swordtails and Guppies need recuperation time after the "blessed event". Frequently, they don't get this and the stress is too much for them, sad to say. The addition of aquarium salt to the tank might benefit her but without knowing what other fish you have in the tank with her, I can't recommend this with any confidence. If you have any species of Catfish like Corys or Plecos, these will not tolerate salt well.>> What in the world is wrong with it, and how do I treat it? <<Frustrating though this may be, Tim, I can't give you anything definitive to go on without more information. I've suggested what "might" be the problem(s) but don't have enough from you to go on, quite honestly. Water parameters that are "within range" is too vague a description of the conditions to know exactly what's going on in your tank. For example, nitrite levels at 0.5 ppm might be described as "within range" by some sources. To us, that's in the 'danger' zone. If an undetected ammonia spike preceded the nitrite spike that you discovered, your Molly's gill membranes may have been damaged as well.>> Is it contagious? <<Best guess (and only a 'guess')? No. 'Contagious' maladies tend to spread rather rapidly in an aquarium. I suspect that your Molly wouldn't be the only fish that you'd have issues with.>> It has no physical signs of disease. <<Not likely to if it's what I've described, Tim. If you'd write back with specifics, i.e. 'exact' water parameters, types of fish, etc., I'd like to give this problem a better "shot" than what it may appear to you like I've offered up. Tom>>
Specifics on Mystery Molly Ailment  - 09/14/06
Hi! Tim again. In your last reply, <... don't know who to send this to as you didn't copy/paste the prev. corr.> you asked for the specifics on my tank. Here goes:         pH:             7.0 consistently     Hardness:    Moderate (about 50 ppm)     Nitrite:         0.5 ppm and going down <Should be zip>     Nitrate:        20 ppm <About the upper limit...>     Ammonia:    0 ppm     Temp:          Steady at 80 degrees F     Salt:            1 tsp. to every 10 gallons <Wouldn't add or have present continuously...>     25% water changes/thorough gravel vacuumings once a week.    The tank mates are: 2 gold gouramis, 2 zebra danios, 3 mollies and the molly babies. I also do believe it was the sick one that gave birth - didn't witness it, though, so can't be sure. Plus, on the nitrite treatment: you're right. I bought something else (the only pet store we have doesn't have BIO-Spira) and it has taken a long time for small results. I had no ammonia spike afterwards; ammonia remained at zero all the way through. Thanks! <Do please send along previous correspondence with any/all email... there are a couple dozen of us here, and much email traffic. BobF>

I have a black lyretail molly, he seems to have a broken back  8/29/06 I've had it for 3 weeks and he seems healthy, however it doesn't seem to raise its dorsal fin of use its tail much when swimming. always just treading water, nose up, if I get him out of the tank, he doesn't flap or anything in your hand, you'd think he was dead, when I drop him back in the tank, he sinks to the bottom, only using his side fins. My water tests perfect. I also had a platy die today with no warning. <Yikes... hopefully not related> My tank is... 50 Gallon, dual penguin bio 350, 4 Gourami, 4 mollies, 3 platys, 3 German rams, <Mmm, these last "like" very different water quality than the rest... much warmer, softer, acidic...> 2 danio. the tank is very peaceful, no aggression between the fish. its heavily planted, the water is 80 degrees Any suggestion greatly appreciated Thank you Jason <Well... the molly might have been injured... perhaps "just" old... I would like you to read the livebearer material archived on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm scroll down... In the hope that "something" will "jump out" to your conscious. Bob Fenner>

Vertical Mollie?   8/18/06 Hi <Hi Alex, this is Jorie.> I recently bought a couple of Mollies (1 male, 1 female) and set up a 10 gallon aquarium which seemed to go really well. today I added a couple of guppies. After 1/2 hour or so I noticed that the female molly is swimming almost vertically, nose down. The male seems to be fussing around her and nuzzling her. Is anything wrong? <If you haven't already, you should test the water parameters, including ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.  How long has this tank been established and what type of filtration are you using? Has the tank fully cycled?  A bit more information would be helpful. Also, with regards to livebearers (both mollies and guppies), it is not typically a good idea to have a 1:1 male:female ratio, as the girl will usually get very harassed by the male.  Having said that, I'm not suggesting you run out and immediately buy more females - are the four fish you mention above the only ones in there?  *If* the tank is established (i.e., cycled), then I would suggest perhaps adding a couple more girls, or perhaps even swapping the male for a female, if possible.  You do realize that livebearers, especially mollies, seem to reproduce exponentially - have you figured out what you are planning on doing with the fry? Do take a look here for detailed information on all things pertaining to FW aquariums: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsetupindex.htm > Thanks for the help, <Hope I have helped. Jorie> Alex

My sick molly   7/28/06 Hello. <<Hi, Derek. Tom>> I have found a very similar case in your FAQ, the one entitled "Urgent Molly Question" where within a 2nd reply the person provided pictures of her sick molly with the fungus and the curved spine (on this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollydisfaqs.htm). I also have a silver female molly that is showing ALL the same symptoms EXCEPT for the body fungus. There is no fungus that I can see anywhere. She gave birth four days ago (at least I'm assuming it was her, I never actually witnessed it). Since then she has become VERY weak. <<Not unusual, sadly. Quite a few female Livebearers succumb to the rigors of "childbirth". It's highly recommended that they stay separated from their tankmates for a few days after giving birth in order to recuperate. The males will try to mate with her almost immediately, regardless of her condition.>> She sits on the bottom of the tank unless chased, has a slight curve to her spine, didn't eat for 2.5 days following the birth but now will eat one or two pieces (sometimes just spits them out right away) and then runs away and hides. If I put her in isolation she doesn't eat much more than that. Her skin is becoming transparent and her dorsal fin is getting black lines in it. <<Keep her isolated, Derek. You don't mention whether, or not, you add aquarium salt with your Mollies but this would be a good idea. Keep the lighting low, or off, and give her as stress-free an environment as possible. Were it not for the (probable) case of giving birth, I'd be inclined to side with your opinion to medicate this fish but even this is stressful and, without being sure, I don't see this as the best option right now.>> Any suggestions would be appreciated. I can rush out and buy antibacterial if necessary, and I have fungal treatment already. <<Good to be prepared but I hope it won't be necessary.>> Derek <<Good luck with her. Tom>>

Spinning molly!  7/15/06 Hi <<Hello, Jan. Tom>> My son has a lovely tropical aquarium but he has a problem with one of his Lyre tail mollies. It keeps spinning. He keeps his filters  maintained and does his gravel washes approx every 8-10 weeks, the rest of his fish have no problems at all. Can you tell me what might be wrong with this one particular fish, please? <<Jan, this behavior occurs when a fish has developed an internal infection/infestation that causes its body to "contort" to the degree that it can no longer swim in a straight line. The most notorious example of this is referred to as "Whirling Disease" which is caused by the sporozoan Myxobolus (Myxosoma) cerebralis. This particular sporozoan invades and resides primarily in the animal's spine creating a curvature that results in the "spinning" activity you've noted. Sadly, there's no cure for this and the fish should be isolated. I can't tell you with absolute certainty that your son's Molly has developed Whirling Disease but I do cite this as a possibility. Finally, if by chance, your son feeds his pets Tubifex worms, have him stop immediately. These creatures are known to feed on bacteria and are not recommended as they have been connected with bacterial infections in fish including Whirling Disease in salmonids (salmon, trout, et. al.).>> regards Jan <<Best of luck. Tom>>
Re: spinning molly!
 7/15/06 <<Hi, Jan. Tom again.>> Thank you for the rapid reply. I'm just pleased to know what the problem might be. I will pass this information on to him. <<Please recommend to your son that he keep a close eye on the rest of his pets and keep his aquarium conditions as optimal as possible, as well. Many, if not most, of the pathogens we commonly run across in the hobby are "opportunistic", seeking out stressed fish. Excellent water quality is crucial to maintaining a stress-free environment. Far easier, as you might imagine, to handle a little extra "housekeeping" than to deal with sick livestock.>> Many thanks Jan <<Happy to help any time. Tom>>

Problem with my Dalmatian Molly  7/14/06 <<Hello, Toni. Tom here.>> I bought my son a Dalmatian Molly & a water frog to add to his tank.  They were fine the but now the frog is dead & the Molly is at the bottom of the tank by an artificial plant & does not want to swim in the tank.  It seems to be breathing alright & moves occasionally.  I have not seen it eat today.  When we put them in the tank the Molly acted like it wanted to guard or stay close to the Cory catfish we had in the tank.  Could the Molly be sick or pregnant? <<Your Molly could be either, Toni. If it's a female, the chances of it being pregnant are good. The behavior is indicative of a Molly that's close to giving birth though a sick/stressed/acclimating fish may behave similarly. A remote possibility is that the store you bought the fish from kept salt in the tank, which is what these fish prefer. Had they gone to this "trouble", however, I would have expected them to have explained this to you and recommended that you do the same once it was home. (Don't add salt to your tank now that I've mentioned this. Your Cory and Blind Cave Tetra won't appreciate, or tolerate, salt very well.)>> Forgot to ask the store if it was male or female & I cannot tell. <<Look at the anal fin (bottom, in front of the tail). If it's wide/full, you've got a female. If it looks more like a spike or spine, this is the gonopodium and you've a male. Females are also larger than the males but you don't have others to compare this against.>> The other fish in the tank are blind cavefish, a rainbow fish?, Neons, zebras, and few others I am not sure of.  It is a 20 gal. tank.  Any information would be appreciated. <<All you can do for now is wait and observe. He/she may also "miss" having other Mollies to associate with but these fish can grow to four inches and you don't want to overstock your tank.>> Toni Motley <<Tom>>

Pregnant Dalmatian Molly swimming nose down/vertical wiggle    6/26/06 Okay,  Love your site! I have a 47 gallon tank established a month ago, moved my two Dalmatian mollies (Male & Female) from a 5 gallon. (they think they won the lottery!) <Heeee! I bet>   Everything has been great with the two of them while deciding which fish we wanted to add.... mean tank or nice tank.. started adding cichlid (thought we wanted a mean tank, but after watching them for a week.. decided the smaller fish have way more personality, so switched to nice tank with guppies, danios, got a few silver dollars.. some more mollies.  All the while, my mom and dad mollies have been great.. almost the royalty of the tank.  Well.. that is until last night.  Momma Molly began swimming nose down, completely vertical (almost tipping over- tail over her back... very unnatural looking).  When I tap the glass...she starts swimming away for a moment but appears to be "Forced" back into this position at times.  Other times she swims fine.  This morning for a short while... she was swimming normally... then she was back at it. and in no particular spot (not like she was guarding a spot to drop fry).  As of right this minute, she has gone to the top- right in the little "still" spot behind and under the biofilter wheel fountain, and is floating in a semi-normal horizontal manner, but looks like her backend wants to "float" up.   But, I am wondering if this could be a labor behavior? <Mmm, no... is most likely a "gas" problem with food... too much dried, prepared... along with environmental... Mollies live in very hard, alkaline waters... often with considerable salt content...>   She appears very pregnant, but I am new to the whole Molly pregnancy spotting thing.  When I brought her home from the pet store, we had fry within 4 days.... I didn't even know she was pregnant.  So, when I began looking on your site for info on the whole mom thing...I read about the "gravid" spot... I still am unsure what this is or means. what is gravid?  Now, her belly is very swollen, but still is her regular white... there is an odd tiny bump just behind her anal fin.... mmm kinda like a tiny belly button poking out white like her).   OR, could her swim bladder have an issue? <Possibly> All of the other fish are doing swimmingly... and FYI  I have temp set at 78degrees, the water has salt by the way, how often should I add this aquarium salt to my 47G), <Only when you change some water out... and know that the Silver Dollars don't "like" salt...> I've been adding Nitra ban every week as the bottle directs, <...? Should not have to be added after the tank is fully cycled...> the water looks fairly clear (still getting a cloudy buildup on the glass every other day or so...kinda makes it appear hazy more often than I would like).  Any ideas on what's up with my girl?  I truly appreciate any help on this one. -ABBI <Can't tell more from the information presented. I encourage re-reading the "Mollies" sections on WWM in the hope that "something will click" in your memory, perception. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick fish?    7/13/06 Dear Mr. Bob, Thank you for your past help dealing with my fish. My black molly has had 14 adorable fry and they are all happy in their own tank. <Ah, good> As for my problems... Right now in my fish tank I have a molly, a platy, a few ghost shrimp, one I have no idea what kind it is, and 4 guppies (two male and two female). My oldest male has been acting strangely for the past two-three days. He has been hiding out between my filter and heater (a small cramped space) while swimming in one place. Usually he is a very energetic happy little guy, but now he's very lazy. I also have noticed that his body is not straight horizontally, but his spine curved so his lower half is up and down. I have no idea what this could mean, but I isolated him a while ago and he's in a small tank being treated for tail rot (his other problem..) <Mmm, might be "just getting old"...> Do you have any idea what is the matter with him, if there even is a problem? What should I do? Thank you in advance! Hannah <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm scroll down to the area on Livebearers, Guppies... Bob Fenner>

Black mollies dying   6/9/06 We lost our female black molly suddenly, she seemed fine then her stomach became very bloated and she died the next day. That was a couple of months ago and yesterday the same thing happened to our large male. He seemed fine, swimming and eating, he swelled up over the course of a day and was found dead this morning. please could you tell us what it could be and what we can do to prevent it happening again. It does only affect the mollies in our tank. Thank you. Lisa-Marie. <Mmm, frightening... but not uncommon. Most mollies are raised with at least some strength of salt/s in their water... Keeping them in systems with little or none, with lower pH, alkalinity often leads to the above symptoms, loss. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollydisfaqs.htm and the above linked file on Molly Systems... Bob Fenner>

Dalmatian Molly problem  4/29/06 Hi Bob, <Jason> I have written you before and am asking for your help once again. I have recently moved up to a new 55 gallon tank from a 20 gallon. We have a 7" Pleco, 2 shrimp, 3 tetras, and 2 Mollies. The Mollies, the Pleco and 1 of tetras came from the original tank. We also had 2 Gouramis. Both Gouramis died due to new tank syndrome. Once the ammonia levels jumped, I started doing daily water changes. <Much better to cycle ahead of livestock placement> The nitrites jumped and have since come down substantially. The water readings are as follows: Ammonia - 0 Nitrate - 0 Nitrite - a little over 1ppm (mg/L) and dropping Hardness - very hard (that's the tap water in AZ) Alkalinity - ideal Ph - a bit alkaline (again tap water) Temp - 80 Once symptoms of stress appeared, I started adding salt with water changes, 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons changed. The other fish are doing excellent. My Dalmatian Molly is having trouble swimming straight and spends most of her time vertical with tail up. She still has a substantial appetite and feeds voraciously. These symptoms have been going on for almost 2 weeks. I have been getting the water back to ideal and trying to reduce the stress as much as possible and still am keeping the salinity level up. I have noticed that the Molly is not pooping very much and her belly is big (although she's pretty fat anyway). I have also noticed a small patch of discolored scales on her side and a very small white fluffy patch on the very end of her tail. I am trying to ride this out and stay consistent with the water changes. I hope that this will work it's self out, she's got a lot of spirit. Now I'm starting to think Swim Bladder issues or constipation. I have fed very light over the past 2 weeks while the water quality has improved. I feed lightly with a few flakes and then a few shrimp pellets and an algae wafer for the Pleco. Any suggestions? I talked to guy at pet store who told me about an antibiotic jell that the fish will eat if they are eating. I really don't want to add other chemicals to the water. The last time I did that, I ended up killing another fish. This Molly is a survivor and the mother of the other Molly (who we call Turkey because he was born while we were out of town). What else can I do? Please advise! <Mmm, I would actually do nothing other than keep on improving water quality and offering a mix of good foods, including greens here... The mollies actually "like" different water quality than the rest of the livestock you list, but will hopefully all adjust back to the balance of health under the present conditions here. Bob Fenner>

Sailfin molly problems- I hope you can help    4/14/06 Dear WWM Crew, <Amy> I'm having a serious sailfin molly disease problem. I've had a well-established 55 gallon tank for quite a while, live plants, lots of fry... Then recently one of my mollies developed a disease that I suspected and was further advised was mouth rot. From there things have gone downhill, as I have treated the tank several times with Erythromycin, <Generally very safe... though can cause a cascade of troubles with loss of nitrification> and disease after disease has continued to come up. My beautiful mollies are dropping like flies. At one point, I was experiencing the symptoms of Popeye, dropsy, mouth rot, and ick all on different fish at the same time. Also, all my live plants seem to be dying off! I am concerned that I managed to kill the biological filter in overaggressive treatment of the fish, <Yes, too likely> but what can I do now to try to fix this? <A few things... starting with simplest, addition of Bio-Spira to re-set up populations all the way to the other end of the spectrum, break down the tank and re-set up entirely...> I have done at least 3 25% water changes in the last two weeks, to get rid of the decaying plant matter and keep the filters from clogging and losing the oxygen. Whenever I try to isolate a molly (I've used a separate fishbowl and also a small side-hanging isolation thingie) the fish always dies. I've got a great female who's lying on the bottom of the tank right now with dropsy symptoms. Can you advise me? I'd appreciate your help. Sincerely, Amy Diller <Mmm... hard to make a strong indicative set of statements not knowing more re the water chemistry, set-up and maintenance history here, but I would consider a complete tear-down, and using some new, calcareous gravel, salt additions as proscribed on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollysysfaqs.htm I am very hesitant to suggest further "medication" exposure here... as this will too likely push your already challenged livestock "over the edge". Please do read through the linked files at top on the citation. Bob Fenner>

Bulging molly    4/14/06 I have a yellow molly who has a big asymmetrical bulge on her right side.  She is getting more lethargic each day and having a hard time swimming horizontally.  She hangs near bottom, but is not rubbing on rocks don't think it's ich.) Could it be a tumor? <Most likely, yes> What to do? Also, the other fish were all fine and today two of them died "out of the blue." I'm assuming it must all be connected.  I've had Mollies forever and have never had any problems or seen anything remotely like this fish.  Help! I'm sad.  She looks very uncomfortable. Please email me at jmadden732000@yahoo.com.  Thank you very, very much for your assistance.  Jessica Madden <Perhaps a bit of Epsom salt will help, act as a cathartic here. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Does this system have salt in it already? Will your other livestock tolerate it? Read on WWM re. Bob Fenner> Jessica

Re: My poor Molly... sys., dis.  - 4/11/2006 Hi Crew, <Lisa> I wrote in a couple of weeks ago about an overstocked tank (2 black mollies, 1 gold dust molly, 1 red platy) -- went out and bought a 6.6 gal. tank, which I set up a couple of weeks ago.  This tank and my 1-gal. for the betta are in my office (betta is loving it here -- lots of attention).  Right after I got your answer, the bigger black molly came down with ick, so I quarantined him and treated with kosher salt and RidIck -- he's much better, though recently developed one other little spot, so I'm keeping him at home, doing 25% water changes and medicating daily -- will do so until he's spot-free for a couple of weeks.  I also treated the 2.5 gal with the black molly, gold molly, and red platy proactively, and they seem fine. However, the gold dust molly has begun resting on the bottom of the tank. He eats, though less than before, and after he goes up toward the surface for food, seems to just quit trying and sinks like a stone.  There were a couple of days when he seemed a lot better -- peppier, swimming around more -- but today when I brought him to the new tank in the office he just did the same thing.  His fins look OK, he doesn't have any red sores and no white ick spots -- he just seems exhausted. <Might be> I moved him to a shallow container alone, thinking that the stress of moving might be making it worse. He's not gasping; I just really worry about him sitting/scooting on the bottom.  Is this a swimbladder disease, and if so, how do I treat it? <Mmm, likely "salt/s" and time going by best here>   I feel terrible because he was such a lively little guy and now he just seems so bummed.  Could I have poisoned him by preventatively treating the tank? <Oh yes. Very common>   I don't want to euthanize him unless it's absolutely necessary, but I really don't want him to suffer. Thanks in advance for your help. <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollysysfaqs.htm and the linked files above, part. on Molly Disease. Bob Fenner>

Way overdue Mollie! Way too little info.   3/21/06 Please help.  I have a Dalmatian molly that I got last week.  She is huge with babies.  And is struggling to stay afloat.  I was told to try to stress her to have her babies.  Well so far nothing has worked.  I lost a potbelly this morning.  She was overdue.  I had her for two months.  I don't know if I am doing something wrong or not.  My water temp in now 80.  My water levels are fine.  I have her in a breeder tank but did let her out to swim this afternoon.  I don't want to lose another molly.  Can you please tell me what I can do to induce labor.  Thank you,.  Connie <... need more information than you've posted here... Water quality? Do you have salt/s in this system? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollyreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Balloon molly w/ ich... env. dis.   3/14/06 Hello, I have a 10g tank and had two guppies and 3 balloon mollies.  After the first day one of the guppies died.  About four days after that the other one died.  Then a couple of days later one of the mollies died.  Then I noticed that there were white spots on the last two mollies and found out that it was ich.  I bought some cure-ich and have been treating the tank/ fish for two days (2 tsps) so far.  Tonight another molly died and I thought it would because it kept staying up at the top & never really did much else.  The last molly seems to be ok and is  floating around like normal but still has spots.  I read that I could put salt into the tank and so I put about 2 tsps so far.  My question is, can this poor littler loner make it?  Will he survive alone until this ich is gone, and when should I get more fish?  We have well water, but I put in AquaSafe drops and stress coat before I added the fish to the tank.  I have had this tank about 2 1/2 weeks.  What can I do to prevent ich in future?   Thanks, L. Friend <... your system is not "cycled"... and this is likely the root cause (along with the medicine poisoning) for your ongoing troubles... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sick Dalmatian Molly....   3/4/06 Hi Crew! First I want to thank you guys, I'm a novice in the aquarium hobby and your FAQ'S have been very useful. <Good> I've looked everywhere in the website and nothing really matches to my problem, about 3 days ago I brought home a Silver Lyretail Molly and a Dalmatian Lyretail Molly, I introduced them into my 10 gal tank (I have 2 red wag platy, male female) and started off perfectly, but about 2 days after that the Dalmatian molly stopped eating and became more inactive, he hanged out in the bottom all the time and did not eat for about 3 days. He had this white string-like white/gray.... things attached to the sides of his mouth, I would have thought this was a fungus but I want confirmation from someone more experienced. Now I was treating the platies for Ich with Maracyn, <... and you introduced new fishes to this system? Not good> and the Dalmatian started doing better after I started to repeat the treatment (he is more active, and doesn't spend all his time in the bottom of the tank) but he still won't eat, and the string-like "things" attached to his mouth are still there!! Please help what should I do? And if this is a Fungus then what should I treat it with??? Thank You guys in advance... <Do look up the term... on WWM, the Net: Anchorworm, Lernaea... does it look like this?> P.S. Sorry I do not know the levels of nitrate/ammonia or ph of my water, but I would say it is normal, the tank is kept well aerated and is filtered day and night. <Read on my young friend. Much for you to know. Bob Fenner>

Molly Help Urgently Needed!  - 02/20/06 Hi! <Hello> I purchased a black female balloon molly and an orange male about 9 months ago.  When we got her, she was round, and gave birth pretty quickly thereafter... none of the fry survived... since then she has just gotten bigger and bigger and bigger... now she just looks like a balloon (literally).  Her scales aren't sticking out, <Mmm, a "dropsical" condition> and she is eating all the time, so she doesn't appear sick.  Here's the thing... she has a fin (large fin) sticking out of her backend!  Did I just get lucky enough to see her beginning to give birth?  Or is she is some sort of danger as the fin is pretty large?! please help! Thank you! <Your fish has a nutritional/environmental complaint... likely derived from too much dry-food and improper water quality... Please see WWM re Molly Systems, Dropsy... use the Google tool on the homepage... Bob Fenner>
Re: Molly Help Urgently Needed!   2/22/06 Thank you for replying! <Welcome> I test my water biweekly, and do water changes frequently.  I have no nitrites, no ammonia, ph is around 7.6 (give or take)... what does that mean dry food?  What should I be feeding her?  What about the fin hanging out of her backend??? <Likely a genetic anomaly... like the 3-eyed fish on the Simpson's> It looks like to me that the fry has grown inside of her too big for her to pass, and is now stuck, but please do let me know what other food I should be feeding her. Thanks <... "Your fish has a nutritional/environmental complaint... likely derived from too much dry-food and improper water quality... Please see WWM re Molly Systems, Dropsy... use the Google tool on the homepage... Bob Fenner">

Molly Having Problems After Giving Birth  - 02/20/06 Hello, Thanks for providing such an informative site! I have learned much about livebearers since I stumbled upon your site.  I have a problem with my black molly that I hope you can help me with. I have a 10 gallon tropical fish tank with one silver female silver molly, one female black molly and two male orange guppies. My question is why isn't my black molly eating after giving birth to about 40 fries.  It just lies at the bottom of the tank with drooped tail and the fins not waving. The scale also looks a bit ragged.  I read on your site that sometimes the mother molly needs a couple days to regain her strength but she is getting so emaciated that I am really worried.  I tested the water and everything is fine (the fries are doing well in their breeding net so I assume it's not the water? A couple of the deformed ones died since they couldn't swim to get to the food) The other fish in the tank seem to be doing fine as well. I fished out all the adult fish after the mother gave birth so the babies won't get eaten. I then scooped up all the little guys and put them in a breeding net before putting the adults back in the tank.  Could I have stress out the mother because I temporarily moved her out of the tank? I really don't want to lose her and I hope you guys maybe can offer some suggestion to help get her back to eating before starving to death. Thank you for your help in advance! Ann < She has just been put through quite the ordeal and is probably exhausted. I would isolate her in a breeder net by herself and add a couple floating plants to keep her calm. Increase the aeration so she will have an easier time breathing. Add a teaspoon of salt per 5 gallons of aquarium water. Then just wait until she starts to swim before feeding her. I would start with some live blackworms. They are high in protein and can put her back in shape in no time at all.-Chuck>

Silver Molly    2/17/06 Dear Bob, <Maxxi... the name of our Lab...>    I have a 55 gal. Tank that is doing well.  I have mostly Mollies in my tank.   I have a Silver Molly that got white spots on her tail fin and on her fins closest to her head, but not on the upper fin on her back.  I put her in quarantine and I started treating her for ICH with Quick Cure. <If this is ich, the system "has it"... all needed to be treated> I have  been treating her for 5 days and the spots are still there.  I also added 3 tsp. of salt per gallon to also aid in the treatment of ICH.  I took out the charcoal filter and have her in a bare tank.  My question is this: Could this be something other than ICH?   <Yes... I suspect so> I would appreciate any information you could give me.  Also her former tank mates are showing no sign of ICH. <Confirming our suspicions> I also raised the salt content of the display tank.  All fish in there seem fine.   Please help me if you can.  Thank You so much. Sincerely, Pam <Likely encysted worms, possibly sporozoans... I would re-place this fish and not worry re. Bob Fenner>
Re: Silver Molly    2/17/06
I don't mean to sound stupid, but do you mean re-place her in the tank or do you mean get rid of her and get a new fish all together.  Thank you for your response. <Sorry for the lack of clarity. I would return this fish to your main system... what it has is very unlikely "catching". Bob Fenner>

Thinning mollies  02-05-06 Dear WWM, <Deb> I have been noticing a strange occurrence in my 20 gallon tank. I have mainly sailfin mollies, a platy, a few tetras and a couple of horse head loaches. <The mollies are mis-mixed here. They are brackish water animals...> When I buy mollies, they appear to be healthy. After some time, they begin to completely thin out in the belly until they eventually die. This process tends to take about 4 to 6 months. What on earth am I doing wrong? <Putting them in with animals of a dissimilar water quality/nature> I feed them flakes and I add one tbsp of salt per 5 gallons of water. <Oh!> I don't know what is causing them to fade away into nothing. They never appear to have any visible problems or diseases. Please help. Thanks, Deborah Ward <Could be just the initial health of the livestock... but I suspect that the water is not "salty enough" (see WWM, fishbase.org re)... and your other listed livestock don't "like" this much salt... Bob Fenner>

Need help with Mollies... use WWM   2/1/06 Hello, I have a big problem. I bought my son a 5.5 gal tank for Christmas. We bought 4 fish the first time, 2 mollies and to 2 tetra's... <Not compatible...> the tetra's died first then one of the mollies. We purchased 2 more mollies, 2 died. We are only doing 25% water changes <A good number to limit yourself to> and following the directions on the chemicals that came with the tank. The Pet store wasn't that helpful when we bought the fish. Do we have too many fish for a 5.5 gal tank. <Just hard period to keep small systems stable> The female molly  we have is not eating and I'm not sure what to do for her...she was very happy with the other two fish, but they died today. I don't want to buy any more fish until I know what is going on with this tank. Any help would be appreciated. Best regards, Lorie <... not enough info... Please see WWM re these fishes, FW set-up, cycling...: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm Bob Fenner>

Bent Molly   1/27/06 Hello! I am having problems with my silver lyretail molly. (Who I believe is a female, if i look at the anal fin. but is rather small. so maybe male.) She is eating well, but is, well, bent. Sometimes when she's just hanging out it isn't so pronounced. but its always there, sometimes to an extreme. It is a freshwater tank, other occupants are a male beta and 3 neons. <... the molly is a brackish animal... and the Betta will eat the Neons...> A little while ago I had an issue with ich, and lost one of my neon (started with 4). However, I used sea salt and some rid-ich (had to separate out the beta. made him very sick.) Everyone seems to be clear now, haven't seen any white spots in over 2 weeks. For the most part, the mollies behavior seems normal...When I lift the lid she comes swimming up for food. and follows the betta around as usual. There is no aggressive behavior between the two. and of course the tetras stay away from the bigger fish. Currently the tank is at 80% F, with some gravel, fake plants, and a statue thing. I'm using a Elite Stingray filter for a 10gal and replaced the foam after the ich issue. The water seems to be testing ok. Is this bent spine something I should be worried about? Do I need to add salt? lower the temp? <Please read... on WWM re Betta Systems, Mollies, learn to leave spaces between your run-on sentences. Bob Fenner>

Molly ick treatment with fry? Non-cycled, mis-mixed, induced problems   1/20/06 Hello!  My female black molly gave birth a couple of days ago to 18 babies.  They're all doing well, but I noticed today that she looks like she's getting a case of ick (or possibly something else).  She has white spots on her back and she has a white "growth" on her right eye. <... what sort of water is this/these fish in? Is it hard, alkaline, with some salt content?> I would send a picture, but she's kind of hiding right now and I don't want to disturb her.  She's been hanging out a lot in the cave that we have in the aquarium.  I think that she either has Ick or a fungus of some sort.  So, my question is, should I treat her for a disease?  We have some Ick medication from an earlier bout with it.  My only concern with treating her is that the fry are in the same aquarium as all of the other fish (I know that we're supposed to separate them into a different aquarium, but we just barely got this one two weeks ago and we really can't afford to buy another one. <... is this system cycled?> They are sectioned off from all the other fish though, in a breeding net.  They appear to be doing just fine.).  I was wondering if the medication would hurt the fry, since they're so little? <Yes> Also, I know that it's recommended that you put some salt in the tank with the mollies.  I was wondering if it was ok to do that with the other types of fish that we have in our aquarium (4 neon tetras, and one red wag platy). <Not with the tetras...> Any help that you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much Jessii <... you have a bit of reading to do... What you're experiencing is mostly environmental in cause... and rectification. See WWM... re freshwater cycling, set-up... Molly Systems, Disease... Bob Fenner> ps... please reply to and

Molly Help   1/31/06 Hello-        so, apparently I should have done my own research before (key word) buying Mollies.  I have a junior 1 gallon fish tank on my desk at work.   <Too small for this/these species> I went to our local Wal-Mart and asked the sales lady what fish and how many would do good for a very small tank for my desk.  After her suggestions (which she says she has two large tanks, so I assumed she had some knowledge about fish) <The usual admonition here to be careful re such assumptions> I bought 4 shrimp and 5 mollies... <... way too much, too soon> I THOUGHT this was two many, but she said no, no.... I didn't think about the breeding factor and one or more could already be pregnant.. well, within a week 3 shrimp died, and one molly.  so, I changed the water in the tank on Saturday, <"The" water... as in all of it? Not a good idea...> (now have 4 mollies only) and on Tuesday I found 5 babies... I wonder if maybe I washed them out (IF that are tiny and I couldn't see them???) anyway, I have taken them out when I found them.. and another lady at work bought the same type of tank for just the babies... then another lady took two of the adults for her 55 gallon tank at home... .Question... is two mollies still two much for the tank... one is a junior (a lot smaller than the other.)  should I return them for another type that would be better suited for my tiny tank?? <If it were me, mine, yes. I would seek out life that is much more "hardened" genetically for the travails of life in such a container... Perhaps a male Betta, some Whiteclouds... or a Paradisefish... Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Wished I had researched myself FIRST... <Me too my friend>

My Dalmatian coloured balloon molly   1/14/06 Hi! <Hello> I have tried looking over your site, I have used the google search tool and I still can't find the answer to my question! If I am wrong and the answer is staring me in the face, could you direct me to it please? (It's the first time that I have ever seen your site. It's great!) <Will do> I have a female balloon molly that I bought just over a month ago. They told me at the pet shop that she was pregnant, and I have kept her in a separate tank since getting her. Tonight she started acting strangely- she is swimming with her head down, right at the bottom of the tank- although she does stop occasionally and swim normally- and she is flipping her fins madly. She is also 'heavy breathing'. As she is black and white spotty, I can't tell if she has a gravid spot or not, and never having had a pregnant fish before (or balloon mollies) I don't understand what a square fish should look like? <Square?> Is she in labour and if so, how long is it likely to last? How can I tell? <... the area near the anal fin will clear, enlarge...> If not, what is likely to be wrong with her? <Sounds like "indigestion" from flake food diet... need other foods, greenery...> She was fine this morning. The temperature of the tank is about 75 F, and it is clean, with an undergravel filter. Please can you help me? Thanks, Victoria ps. I'm not sure if I have sent this already or not- it hadn't gone from my outlook account when I checked, so I thought that I would try again. I am very sorry if you have already had the email! <Hotay. Bob Fenner>
Re: My Dalmatian coloured balloon molly   1/20/06
Thank you so much for your advice. I fed Molly some blanched cucumber and a pea, and when that didn't work, I re-searched your site and I found other information on constipation in Mollies. She's much happier now, and I am going to put her back into the main tank today. Thank you all so much for helping me to look after her. I shall recommend your site to anyone and everyone that I know that keeps fish! Thank you! Victoria <Life to you. Bob Fenner>

Molly Either Pregnant or Sick   1/13/06 Hello!  10 days ago, we set up our new aquarium and we let it cycle for two days (as recommended) <... likely needs much more time (weeks)... and testing...> before putting fish and some live plants in it.  We originally got 5 neon tetras, two black mollies, and two red wag platies (it's a 20 gallon tank).  So far, one neon tetra has died and my husband and I discovered today that one of the platies is also dead.  We just did our first partial water change tonight.  Here is the question.   We were under the impression that one of the mollies (the female one, obviously) was pregnant.  So we got a "breeding tank", one that has the area for the fry to swim into when they are born.  The pregnant molly has been hanging out by the heater almost constantly, expect when she's eating.  And she's refusing to eat the tropical flake food that we had been feeding the fish. <Mmm, very likely all problems related here... to the system not being cycled, ready for livestock. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm and elsewhere on WWM re Cycling...>   The only thing that she will eat are freeze dried Tubifex worms that I picked up to give the fish as treats.  And she basically inhales these.  I was looking through your website and am now concerned that perhaps she is not pregnant, but instead has dropsy. <Mmm, but the question is... what is the root cause of this symptomology?>   Her belly is very large and, other than having a case of ick when the first arrived, there are no other outward symptoms (appearance-wise) of either pregnancy or dropsy.  I am very concerned about her (I only got 4 hours of sleep last night because of worry) and any help or advice that you could give us would be very greatly appreciated.  Also, none of the other fish appear to be too found of the tropical flake food today... any suggestions as to what else we can feed them? <... posted> Thank you so much! Jessii and Thomas <Cycle this system... means are archived... Bob Fenner>
Re: Molly Either Pregnant or Sick   1/14/06
<... likely needs much more time (weeks)... and testing...> Oh, the info that came with our aquarium said that it needed 2 days. <An incorrect statement> And we did test the water. <Values please, not subjective evaluations> Everything's within normal limits.  But I will be sure to test it again frequently.  Thanks for the info. I still think that the black Molly is pregnant.  She just "acts" pregnant to me.  Is there any way to know for sure (other than when the babies show up)? Thanks Jessii <Please... read WWM. Bob Fenner>  

Sick Molly I have a Molly that was acting strangely a while back.  He had some white spots on him but it did not look like any picture I had seen of Ich.  It did not appear as though it was sticking up like granules of salt or grains of sand.  It appeared flat just a few spots and 2 spots under his head and a couple of spots at the base of his fins where they meet the body.  He was "shaking" on the bottom of the aquarium and occasionally bumping things.   <Mmm, was this fish new to your system? Do you have salt in there?> We treated for fungus first and I did an immediate 25% water change and added salt to the aquarium.  He had immediate improvement.  He has yet to shake or thrash since, but his white patches have reappeared.   No other fish in the aquarium show any symptoms of anything similar.  I did have a platy that was being roughed up by the guppies and she appeared flaky.  I culled her because she looked ill and she was constantly bothered possibly because she was ill.    I can send you some pictures of the molly if that will help. <Would> I'm really beginning to think it is not fungus.  I've also done one Ich treatment.  If you have any ideas please let me know.  This is my oldest and biggest fish I'd like to keep him. Thanks Raina <Thank you for writing so well and completely. I do agree with your estimation that this is not a pathogenic problem... Perhaps just environmental, maybe with a nutritional component. Is your water hard, alkaline? What temperature? Have you read over the parts on WWM re Molly, Platy Systems? Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick molly I am so sorry I forgot to mention this peculiar thing as well.  weeks before the molly showed any signs of illness he had clear string instead of normal feces. <Can be a clue> I did not know what it was still don't.  He also exhibits no other problems he eats interacts with other fish etc. I'm going to go ahead and send the pictures to see if they help. <The fish appears healthy overall> I've spent countless hours on the web looking and disease photos and have yet to see something that looks like this.  Please have a look and help if you can. Thanks Raina <I would seek to understand your water quality, solve this issue... you could make a prophylactic pass at feeding/dosing Metronidazole/Flagyl here... Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick molly Since I wrote this message there have been other developments.  My pregnant platy can't swim well, she appears as though she is having swim bladder issues and one little spot on her fin has appeared which does look like ich sort of at least.  But other than that she appears fine great color eating just hiding but she does that in the week or so before birth usually.  I did another water check and the ammonia and nitrites are at 0 so I was glad of that.  I had added salt first a week or so ago and he immediately perked up but I've done so many water changes since then it's doubtful there is much salt left. <Mmm, the salt doesn't leave solution except by dilution...> Upon the new water testing last night I noticed something very disturbing. The nitrates have gone through the roof.  Just last week it was at 40 which I know is a little high but still within an ok range I guess at least according to who you ask :). <Mmm (again? Heee!), actually about half this (20 ppm) is right about maximum... fishes and non-fishes can "become acclimated" to higher concentrations, but this is also stressful... I would shoot for half what you state at the most>   Well last night and this morning it is at 160+ . <Yeeikesville!> I know that is horrible.  I'm going to clean out my canister today and go get some carbon/nitrate combo filter material.  I haven't had anything in my filter for at least week due to all of the treatments the tank has been undergoing. <Likely the treatments either metabolically checked microbial action and/or killed your nitrifiers outright...> I accidentally fibbed to you in the previous message.  I thought I had done an ich treatment but I was wrong.  After noticing a grain like spot on my platy's tail I did that this morning. I guess now my question to you is:  Do you think I should continue ich treatments and ignore the nitrate at this time, or do water changes/filtration and take care of the nitrate first? <I would do the latter, and replenish, replace the aquarium salt with the water changes>   My mother also mentioned I might should buy some live bacteria since I've been medicating the fish.  I'm kinda lost at this point.  Due to the only fish with any symptoms at all being the molly and the platy, I'm beginning to just think I should somehow isolate them.  I have a 10g that I could set up for them, but would it be more detrimental to them to switch them to a new uncycled tank? <Hard to judge from here... but I am leaning toward your suggestion of moving them to the new ten, with a good deal of the existing water (for biological cycling, acclimation in general reasons), along with some of the "mulm" and possibly gravel from their existing system... Will also help dilute the ammonia being produced by all...> Oh and as per the water.  The pH is at 7.6  not sure if the water is hard or not, but I know it's not soft, there is no nitrates in the tap water I checked that last night.  I've upped the temp just a tad.  Shooting for just under 80.  Will that hurt my tetras or catfish and Pleco? Thanks so much. <They all should be fine with the temperature, pH, and the amount of salt (a level teaspoon per ten gallons of water). Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Molly Not Acting Normal  12/5/05 I have a Dalmatian Molly male sailfin it is floating upside down but side fins are moving and gills still moving rapidly. This morning he was twirling around in the tank vertically and breathing very hard took him out of 55 gal put him is the hospital tank and he acted a little better but turned upside down up against the filter??? We put him in a plastic container with salt and 2 drop of anti-bacterial AP. He started acting better and trying to eat but now is upside down but not on the bottom. The prams on the 55 gal tank were good ammonia 0 Can you help? Carole Thurston < Their is an internal bacterial infection in your molly. Mollies require almost brackish water with lots of vegetable matter in their diet. They will eat foods high in protein but too much of a rich diet gets caught in their intestinal tract and the bacteria start to grow and cause problems with blockage and gas. Treat with Metronidazole and when he starts eating again, give him a food higher in vegetable matter.-Chuck> 

Molly With Dropsy  12/7/05 Hello there. Your site is wonderful. I can't tell you how many hours of schoolwork have been sacrificed so I could read as much as I could. I'm new to fishkeeping and feel very lost in the sea of information available, so to speak. I'm having problems with a black molly that I bought a little over a week ago. My tank is brand new, so it could be a cycling problem. When I first got her home, she was very reclusive and just sort of floated in the corner of the tank. Three days later, her belly started to swell a little bit, so I looked up how to sex mollies to see if she was indeed a she (which she is) and see if she might be pregnant.  I moved her to her own 5g tank, and her belly continued to grow. Four days after that, it started to look like her scales were sticking out a little bit, almost as though there weren't enough scales to cover all of her skin and I started to worry. They aren't sticking straight out like some of the pictures I've found, but they aren't like lying flat either. I had just read about dropsy, so I researched it as much I could, but I have no idea what to do, if it is.  Since I moved her, she started to move around a bit more, swimming in lazy circles at the surface of the water. She doesn't have much of an appetite. Another strange thing about her... she's got a strange white lump on or in her rectum, kind of like someone stuck a little white stone in it. I tested the water.. PH was 7.2, Nitrates and Nitrites were 0, Ammonia was 0.5 (As soon as I finish this email, I'll be doing a water change to try and fix that). I added some salt to the water (about 3 tsp), but I don't know what else to do or try. Please help, if you can. Michi < Do a 30% water change, clean the filter and vacuum the gravel. Add the salt back from the water you removed. Stress from the move has caused your molly to come down with an internal bacterial infection. Treat with Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone as per the directions on the packages.-Chuck> 

Sick White Molly  11/10/05 Hi, <Hello there> I have a 10 gal tank freshwater aquarium, inside are a female guppy who gave birth to around 20 fry guppies, 1 orange platy and 1 white molly.  My white molly has been the healthiest fish since the first time I bought her ( 8 months ago), but since yesterday she has been acting different. she hid behind the rocks, stayed still near the heater or stay near the bottom of the tank on one of the tank's corners. I checked the pH, nitrate, ammonia, nitrite levels, and they checked OK. I was wondering if it's because I put too much salt yesterday, I put 2 tablespoon full. <Mmm, this shouldn't be too much> I used to have a black molly that died due to white spots that looked like flaky skin, I wonder if my white molly is having the same thing, it's hard to see because she's white. <Ah, I see> One thing I noticed though is that her fins/scales are darker than usual, and there is a red visible patch on the top of her head. <Good observations, bad symptoms> I have "quick cure" and "MelaFix" already, which one do you think is better for my fish? <Mmm, likely the latter... Quick Cure is quite toxic... Melafix has only a mild antimicrobial effect... I would treat these fishes for white spot/ich with Malachite Green...> Or do I need other medication? Thank you very much, Ike <Not unless there are specific symptoms... Bob Fenner>  

Health/Disease In Selectively Bred Fish - 11/07/2005 Hi there, <Hello.> I'm a beginner to keeping fish, having started with a tropical 30L BiOrb (just 1 plastic plant and 1 cave-esque decoration along with the provided media) in late June this year. My first 3 fish were balloon mollies; one died from dropsy <.... a comment, here; "dropsy" is not a disease, but a set of symptoms.... what *causes* those symptoms is what you need to explore. In some cases, it can be as simple as constipation. In others, it can be a nearly-always fatal bacterial infection.... and there are other causes, as well.> in a QT tank shortly after escaping the boiling fate the other two shared thanks to what I've been assured was a faulty heater. <Yikes!> My next fish were another balloon molly and a guppy; to this pair I added a balloon molly and a swordtail. The first molly died after being sucked through the siphon tube (my fault - I now watch them like a hawk when siphoning) <I have had a similar experience with a female Ameca splendens - heart-stopping.... to me.... but the fish did fine.> and today the other molly and the swordtail died from whirling disease in the QT tank. <Oh, gosh, yikes!! Scary.> I spent some time watching all three of the fish last night, and they all seemed fine - then this morning the swordtail and the molly were clearly sick, the swordtail very much so, so I quarantined them immediately. When I returned from work some 7 hours later, both had died. The guppy is okay so far (as far as I can tell) and I've performed a 50% water change. The ammonia and nitrites had been 0 for over a week and were 0 this morning when I quarantined the swordtail and molly. Nitrates are at about 25 ppm (my LFS tells me that due to being in a hard water area I'm unlikely to get it any lower than this) and pH is usually around 7.8 - 8.0. I've chalked the dropsy incident up to my own inexperience (I made some maintenance mistakes early on) but I don't know how my fish got whirling disease, which in turn means I don't know how to prevent it happening again. <Mm, difficult to impossible to prevent, aside from maintaining optimal water quality.... These fish likely had the disease prior to purchase.> I also don't know if there's anything else I can do to try and make sure my remaining guppy doesn't get it. I've read what I could find on your site and Google about whirling disease, but I couldn't find any preventative measures anywhere (my apologies if they're listed). <There are none, really, aside from removing affected fish immediately, and maintaining pristine water quality.... excellent, high-quality foods.... in general, bolstering the health of your fish as best you can.> Presuming my guppy remains healthy, how long should I wait before adding companions for him?  <A few weeks, at an absolute minimum. And quarantine any newcomers if at all possible.> I've noticed that it's the most selectively bred fish I've chosen (5 balloon mollies and a swordtail) are the ones that have died. Is there really this much of a difference in susceptibility to disease?  <Yes, there really is. A decade or so ago, male bettas were expected to live several years. Now, they're so inbred that even breeders of "high-quality" bettas claim that a couple of years is all you can hope for. In short, yes, any fish that is highly inbred or line-bred or selectively bred is much more susceptible to disease, genetic disorder, etc. Especially fish that are bred to be mal-formed, in my opinion.> I'm sorry this e-mail is so long, but I wanted you to have all the information you needed. <Thank you for your attention to detail.> Thanks in advance for all your help - I love keeping fish and I'm learning all I can, but things are still going wrong and it's very upsetting. <It's a tough learning curve, but you're getting things right - you'll get there, no worries!> Regards, -Victoria <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Funny white spots on Molly 11/6/05 I have a lone male black molly (no other mollies in tank). He's come down with a case of itty bitty white things on the top of his head. <Good description> I've looked very closely and it looks more like a fungus than anything (does anyone have a decent pic of 'ick'?  <Hardly> He was a in a community tank with several platy fry so I didn't want to treat for ick and kill them all. <Good point> Before the white spots came about, I noticed the skin/scales around the top of his head looks like it's cracked, like if you make a 'snake' out of play-doh. It could be wrinkles??? <Of a sort... more likely "stress markings"... from this and that... most Mollienesia species are more brackish to marine animals... that enjoy steady hard alkaline water quality, and rarely receive this... eat mostly algae based foods, and rarely receive them...> The top ridge of his dorsal fin has been white for awhile now. I thought it was his coloration as it's very uniform all down the fin. Is this normal? Tank specs: 10gallon, heated (80º) pH: 7.2 Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: ~40ppm <Too high... try to keep under 20 ppm> Tankmates: Male Molly, 2 platies, five platy fry, 1 golden algae eater. Today was tank-cleaning day so part of me wonders if it's just all the junk that got stirred up by the gravel vac. What's going on????  (I'd include pics but it's so tiny you'd never be able to see it :P) Please help Jill <All the fish listed will tolerate some salt content... I would add a couple of teaspoons over a few days (per the ten gallons), and replace this during water changes... with "aquarium salt" if possible (not simply sodium chloride/table salt). Bob Fenner>

One Black Molly, One Balloon Body Molly 10/31/05 We have found your site helpful, but we have more specific issues than we could find on your site and that is why we are writing you and hoping you can help: <Will try> We have a 29 gallon tank with mainly platy's, but also have 3 barbs, 3 glow light tetras, 3 other type of tetras and several types of mollies. The tank was tested fine for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, ph and so forth and is ok. But one of our female black mollies has started swimming with her head up and her tail partially down. For several days her fins were clamped, but she was eating, and she still is. We have put salt in the tank, but not a lot (we have it tested for salt levels at our neighborhood pet store as Tetras do not like salt). <Correct> We also have had ich in the tank and we would rather try a holistic approach then throw all sorts of medicines in. We did put Prazipro in the tank as we had other fishes flashing, but that has been the extent except for frequent water changes. We even took the plants out and cleaned out the tank the best we could without taking out the fish.  We have a 2nd tank that is a 20 gallon tank only with Mollies. We had a number of fish die from what our guy at the fish store said was "genetics" and swim bladder problems. How prevalent is swim bladder in mollies?  <They all have one... disease of same is actually rare... most Mollies die from poor environment in captivity, secondly from malnutrition> All the numbers like the tank above are fine and we do frequent water changes as well except we have used more salt as they like it brackish and have used Formalin, Prazipro, Triple Sulfa and Bacterial Food (not at the same time and over a very long time period) to help several fish and it seem to help all but this one I am writing about. She has the opposite problem of the fish above: she cannot seem to keep her head up so her tail is always up in the air. <Likely too much environmental "stress" for too long... you might move this fish to the "molly system"> So she is having a hard time trying to eat. It like she has lost her balance. This is not the first time we have seen this in this tank, plus we have had fish that also swam with their head up and tail down, but this all happens gradually, not just right away. My husband and I cannot believe that we keep getting all these fish with swim bladder disease.   <... you're not "getting" them with such, but inducing troubles with unsuitable water quality...> We do have a five gallon hospital tank that is cycled available.  Thank you Ellen and Mike Gordon <... for? I would separate the fishes/livestock you have into "water quality groups"... keep softer/acidic water tropicals in a group (if compatible) and harder/alkaline, brackish types apart. Bob Fenner> 
Re: One Black Molly, One Balloon Body Molly 11/1/05
What about the two mollies we have in our medical tank? The black molly swims head up and has the tail bent a little down. The balloon body molly swims with her head down and her tail up. It seems as though both their tails are not quite right. Any idea what this could be? <Mmm, perhaps a developmental disorder... hopefully not Myxobolus...> I do not want to lose anymore fish to the same problem. Is there something we can treat them with that can help them? <Mmm, there are some possible antimicrobials... but none that I would use, encourage you to seek out> The medical tank does have salt so it is brackish. We appreciate your help. Ellen and Michael Gordon <Best to hope for a self-cure here. Bob Fenner> 

Not The Greatest Mix, and Maybe Velvet - 10/18/2005 Hi and thanks for a great site! <Good morning, and thanks for the kind words!> I have a screwy tank population and I need advice on how bad it really is and if I can intro a livebearing species into it.  I have a 29 gal long tank with an AquaClear 200 filter and a heater. For livestock I have 2 Plecos, 1 banjo catfish, 1 dwarf frog, 1 Kuhli loach (sp?), <Kuhli> 1 Oranda, <Does NOT belong in this tropical mix at all.> 6 tetras (maybe serpae or phantom) , 5 small mystery tetras-3/4 inch white with 2 red spots on fins, and 6 Cory cats. I had a school of black sailfin mollies-about 9 as well. <Too many fish, including the mollies.  Mollies prefer harder, more alkaline water than the tetras, banjo, loach, plec, Corys....> I keep the tank at 78 degrees, I add 1tbsp of salt for every 5 gallons and I test it every 2 days. I do a 10 gallon water change 2-3 times a week <Slow down there, turbo, that's a bit too much changing of water!  Kick back and enjoy your tank a bit.> and the ph is always around 7.8, <Too high in my opinion for the most of your fish - BUT - a stable pH is what's important, NOT a precise pH....  I would keep this as-is, if it's working well for your fish.> ammonia zero, nitrites and nitrates negligible. <Mm, nitrites should not be "negligible", but zero.> Half of the mollies were a new intro and I think they stressed out the original mollies. After 2 days together I saw one male start to lose weight and move to the bottom of the tank and start shimmying. <Not a good sign, at all....> He died. Another one became sick the next day and I took him to the pet store for advice. They said he was going to die so I left him there. <Could be salvageable - I have seen these symptoms in plenty of livebearing fishes before; in my case(s), it was always Oodinium ("velvet") - a pretty communicable parasitic complaint.  Uhh, you really, really should start employing a quarantine tank for new livestock....> I came home and Moved the 5 new mollies out of my 29 and added a little more salt. The new mollies are doing ok-1 fatality and all of my original mollies are dead. Before they die they develop a faded cast on the back half of their body. What went wrong? <Yes, I imagine you saw some sort of protozoan parasitic disease.> What should I do? <In all honesty, I did have some great success treating exclusively with food medicated with Metronidazole - but there are more effective methods of treatment, to be sure....  just none I would comfortably use in the presence of your scaleless catfishes and sensitive tetras.  Oh, actually, I take that back - elevated temperature and salt (perhaps bringing the specific gravity of the water up to even 1.003) would likely bring about a cure, and though somewhat irritating to the catfishes, is certainly better than dying.> I lost my little girls pregnant molly in this mess and she's very upset-can we get another livebearer? <I would not, not in this system.  Too differing in water preferences....  Why not set up a small (say, 10g or so) tank for her for a few platies?  If you have the space, time, funds to do so, of course.  I would keep such a tank salted a bit more than your current tank, and perhaps even buffer the water with a little bit of aragonite sand or crushed coral in a filter sock in the filter to keep the pH a little high and stable.> And if so-what do you suggest? Thanks so much! Any advice is appreciated. Lynn Fish <All the best,  -Sabrina>

Black-Eyed Dalmatian Molly 10/16/05 Hi Bob <Mike G> Thanks for your very useful information.  I have done some searching (in vain) to find out what could be the issue with my fish. I have an 84 litre (I am not sure how many gallons that is)  <Approximately 22 gallons> 'self-cleaning' tank <No such thing, in my experience.> <<No such thing PERIOD.  Marina>> containing a catfish, Siamese fighter, a kissing Gourami, a bicolour shark and some guppies (1 adult, and 8 fry), 8 Neons and various plants.  <Sounds a bit overstocked.> I have checked the pH, which is 7.2. <Good.> I have recently treated my fish for ich, using a five-day course of Myxazin, which cleared up the white spot, but the trouble started shortly after, when my one Gourami died. Shortly afterwards, two mollies died days apart from each other. I did a water change of about 15%, but now two of the remaining three mollies have black rims around their eyes, and one has patches where it looks as though his black scales have been rubbed off.  <Puzzling.> A couple of the guppy fry also seem to be getting black rims around their eyes.  <Odd.> Also, some of the guppies' bellies seem bloated, so I mashed up a pea and gave it to them.  <Good idea.> Normally, I only feed the fish with tropical fish flakes and a Spirulina tablet - both products by Nutrafin.  <Never liked their food, just my opinion.><<Garbage. RMF>> Please help - I can't find any information on what could be causing this! <Ammonia "burns" tend to be located on the more sensitive spots of s fish (eyes, gills, etc. and appear as black splotches. That's what I'm guessing it is, though it could be a side effect of the medication or a secondary infection.> In the meantime, I have done a 20% water change (using tap water treated with AquaSafe and AquaClear as always).  <Only one is necessary, both do the same. I'd advise testing for ammonia and possibly getting a good picture of the black splotches.> Thanks again for a great Q & A section. Janet Chadwick, South Africa <Good luck! Mike G> 

Molly Not Moving Much  9/29/05 Hi Friends: Once again I need a little help please. I have a sickly looking Mollie but with no obvious signs of illness/injury. I have a 10-gallon fresh water tank with approx 9 small Dalmatian mollies. They are all siblings from my daughter and are still pretty small. My filter is a Whisper with a bio bag and I have an anti-ammonia pillow in there also. I test the water regularly and the tests are good except the nitrate which is still round 20. Nitrite is zero, hardness 75, ph 7.8. Temperature is 80F and stays very stable. I feed flakes twice a day except a couple of times a week they get Tubifex worms or peas or something like that. I do a 1/3 water change every week and the problems I had back in August with the cloudy water have gone and the water has been clear. The plants are all plastic. Now I have a (female I think) Mollie who does not appear to be doing very well. Yesterday I noticed she was on the bottom of the tank a lot, although if another fish came near her she would swim off. Today she was hanging more on the bottom and mostly ignoring the others. I isolated her into a bowl and put her into an Epsom salt solution. It was hard to guess how much so I think the solution is a bit light as I was afraid of overdoing it. I don't have another tank to put her in so after I did the water change today (it was actually due tomorrow) I have put her in a clear container, still in the Epsom salt solution, inside the tank where she will be warm. She has no signs of anything like ick or injuries. She is just sitting pretty still, moving her fins a little but otherwise pretty motionless. She is in a normal position, not on her side or anything. My questions: Will she be OK with no aeration? Is there anything else I can do for her? Is there an easier way to measure the amount of Epsom salts for a small (1-1 1/2 ) pint container? With no visible signs of anything wrong I don't know what else to do. Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions Vivienne < Mollies can actually handle seawater concentrations if the salt is added gradually. Since all your other fish are mollies I would add some salt over time in small doses. A big influx of salt will not be good for your nitrifying bacteria. Add a tablespoon per week and see if it makes any difference. Slowly you will be increasing the salt concentration. Stop when you see the fish acting better.-Chuck>

Sinking Molly  9/5/05 My email provider let me down, and my Molly passed away overnight, but perhaps an answer to this question could help me or others in the future.... Hello! Thanks for the kind work that you are doing by sharing answers to questions about keeping fish healthy and owners happy! Please forgive me if I'm repeating a question that you've answered, but I didn't manage to put together the right combination of search words to find the answer to my question either on your site or on the Internet. I'll do my best to provide all the information that might be relevant without abusing the privilege of taking up your time. <Much appreciated> I have a molly that is sinking to the bottom like a rock. She is eating and can swim to the surface, but she really has to struggle for it. As soon she stops holding herself to the surface by frantic swimming, she falls to the bottom like a boat anchor, as if her belly were filled with rocks rather than a swim bladder. She assumes a "vertical take-off" position to reach the surface quickly for food, but otherwise she is not head-standing or tail-standing; she maintains a normal body position while swimming. Aside from feeding time, her mode of transportation is to drag herself along the bottom of the tank. To the best of my comprehension, she is not flashing or scratching but is simply avoiding the exhausting work of lifting her body in the water to swim. This has been going on for about a week now. She has a fat looking belly, but so do her four children who are about 6 weeks old. So, perhaps this is a breed characteristic. She breathes rapidly but does not come to the surface to gulp. She does have about 4 or 5 discolored scales that seem to slightly protrude. The edges of these scales are lighter in color and strangely reflective - almost phosphorescent in appearance. Fearing the onset of "dropsy," I started her on Maracyn-Two about four days ago. I think it's probably useful to provide a brief history of the aquarium water. We added five guppies to the tank several weeks ago, and one week later, we had two sudden deaths among the guppies. There were no prior or subsequent indicators of disease that I could recognize. I tested the water for ammonia, and my test showed no signs of ammonia. I scooped some water into a glass jar and took it straight to the LFS for a more comprehensive test. I hunted down my favorite LFS employee who also works at a nearby wildlife rescue and is quite knowledgeable. She tested my water sample for ammonia, nitrate, nitrites, pH, salt and hardness and said that every indicator is ideal. When I got back home, I treated with Copper Safe and QuICK Cure (formalin+malachite green). I used the dosage specified for tetras because I have a "plecky" who is great at doing (aquarium) floors and windows. I continued the QuICK Cure nightly for 10 days at that dose and another six days (or 3 periods of 48 hours) at 1/2 that strength every second night. I have kept the concentration of Copper Safe constant by carefully measuring it out when I do water changes. Our population is 13 fish, all less than 2", a 5" plecky, and as many pond snails as can possibly reproduce between water changes. They are in a 55 gallon tank with a filter supplied by the manufacturer of the tank (Top Fin). The water temperature is constant at 78.5 degrees Fahrenheit, and I match the temperature when doing water changes. Water changes are done approximately once per month, because contrary to all written advice, a fellow hobbyist and I have had the mutual experience that more (or less) frequent water changes than once per month result in dead fish. (Short digression: When I first got our aquarium, I was changing 20% of the water weekly, and if I got a sick fish, twice weekly, literally by the book. Fish were dying at the rate of one fish in two weeks. Since I reduced the frequency to once a month on my friend's tip, I have had only the two guppies from the LFS die in about 6 months. As insurance, I test for ammonia frequently.) Evaporated water is replaced by distilled water from the grocery store. Water changes of about 15% to 20% are done by vacuuming the bottom and replacing the lost water with tap water treated with AquaSafe water conditioner. Tank mates are the molly's "babies," six wagtail platies born in my tank, the remaining three guppies, and the Plecostomus. I observe the fish frequently and carefully, and all the fish in the tank are idyllically peaceful and gentle. The tank has four live plants recommended by the LFS, which I hope add good shelter and oxygen but are undoubtedly the origin of our snail population. They are fed twice daily with flake food and several times per week are given a little frozen brine shrimp, frozen plankton, or frozen blood worms as a supplement. I also add a little bit of Spirulina pellet food for the plecky once or twice per week. Sometimes he finds it before the mollies gobble it all. I keep the salt at a low concentration for the plecky's sake, but I brought it up to about 4 tablespoons (in a 55 gallon tank) recently in hopes of offending whatever beasties are causing my molly's distress. I hope that I have given adequate information (without overkill). Please excuse any typos; I am quite exhausted after two weeks of hurricane duty here in Alabama. I would be deeply appreciative for any tips you can give regarding diagnosis and treatment that could help me bring my molly back to health. She has loads of personality and is our "pride and joy." Thanks, Steven <Mmm, the more likely "explanation" of the one molly's distressful behavior is something developmental, or traumatic happening to it, damaging its gas bladder as you hint. I do hope, and think that the other mollies, platies will not be similarly afflicted. Your detailing shows good care, practices. Bob Fenner>

Molly gonopodium 8/28/05 Hi, sorry to trouble you, but I have tried to find the answer to my  question in all of your answers but I can't seem to hit on the right way of  phrasing it. My male molly, a sailfin, about 2 years old, has an embarrassing  problem! His gonopodium is poking straight down instead of laying flat to his body.   <Happens> He seems to be in some distress as he as taken himself away from the other fish, and has stopped bullying the other male molly in the tank. It seems that he can't retract it or whatever they do, and that it's stuck in the downward position. <Likely a physical trauma> Is there anything that can be done. I do hope so, because he looks so  sad, he's usually so busy pestering the living daylights out of all my female mollies! I hope to hear from you soon. Kind regards, Sue <Mmm, often such troubles prove to be self-rectifying... I would do your usual best to provide good environment and nutrition... and try not to worry. Bob Fenner>

Sick silver molly?  8/26/05 We bought a 10 gallon tank about a month ago, and, among our 6 fish, is a silver molly.  She has developed a red spot on her side and it is starting to get very distended.  I know absolutely nothing about fish and have done a little research, but can't seem to figure out what this is. Thanks in advance, Nicole <... is this system cycled? Is it composed of hard, alkaline water quality, perhaps a bit of salt? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick silver molly?  8/27/05
Thanks for getting back to me.  From what I understand, I think the system has cycled.  We bought the tank and set up the water, gravel, etc, and had only one sword in it for about a week and a half.  The water became cloudy for a couple of days and then cleared up.  (Of course, if I needed to actually add something to water for it to be considered cycled, I guess it is not.) <Mmm, no... just time going by. You can read re cycling on WWM> I am headed back to the pet store today to buy testing strips for the water.  I'm a little frustrated with the people at the pet store.  They seemed knowledgeable, but apparently they weren't.  They never said anything about cycling the tank, testing the waters, or the need for slightly brackish water. <Disappointing... Cycling issues are very likely the number one cause of aquatic livestock loss> (I am also going to add a little salt to the tank when I clean it today.  Can you recommend a type? <"Aquarium" salt... Marine aquarium is best...> And, how often should I be cleaning a 10 gal. tank, and what percentage of the water should I replace at a time?) <... Posted... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2ochgs.htm> I feel bad because my fish are suffering while I am trying to figure out how to care for them!!  As far as the sick molly, the scales have started sticking out and (I'm not sure on this) <Called "dropsy" or a dropsical condition... please use...> but from what I've read on your site it sounds like dropsy. (???) <Ah, yes> Should I remove her from the rest of the group?  Also, I am not sure whether to set up a hospital tank for her, because I'm not sure if she can recover.  (Haha- another thing I need to research.  I am calling it "she", but I have no idea what the sex is.) <Easy to do...> She seems to be in pretty good health and still swimming well, so I definitely don't want to put her down if at all possible.  But, of course, I don't want her condition to spread to the rest of the group. <Won't likely... these fishes have different needs, ranges for water quality...> Thanks for your help.  I started out a fish-idiot and am trying to learn more so that my little fish will be happy! Nicole <Study on my friend. Bob Fenner>

What is going on with my balloon belly molly???? 8/9/05 Hello there! Your website is AMAZING and has really helped me out with my   newly purchased fish. I have 2 balloon belly mollies in a 2 gallon tank.   This morning I noticed one of my mollies was swimming a little vertical, I  tested the water and everything was fine except there was a teeny bit of  ammonia. <Yikes. Should be zip> I worked on the water, retested it and it then said the ammonia  was at zero.   Then, she started to swim completely vertical, but the other  was still fine.   I put the vertical one in a separate little fish bowl (I  took water out of the normal 2 gallon tank and put it in the separate bowl) and  she isn't swimming that vertical anymore.  A little bit sometimes, but  seemed much better.   Hours later she seemed completely fine so I put her  back in the tank and once again she was swimming completely vertical, so I took  her out and put her back in the separate bowl and once again, she seemed  much better.  As of now she is still in the separate bowl swimming much  more horizontal.  What can I do to help her so she can return to her normal  tank and swim right??? Thanks! Laura. <Something... in the tank... or the tank itself... shape, size... I would try changing a good deal of the water (with pre-treated) and adding a level teaspoon of aquarium salt. Do you feed other than dried flake food? I would try foods of fresh or prepared greenery. Bob Fenner>

Dalmatian Molly acting very weird 8/1/05 Hi, I've read for a couple of hours now and not run across this so I guess I have a question!  Why is my Molly laying at the bottom of the tank using her fins and breathing (normal?), but is unable to swim or stay upright. (she's been doing this for 2 days)   At first I thought she was pregnant and getting really close to delivery however she doesn't look quite as big but not real healthy either.  We went away for a vacation and I made sure the water was good to go before we left.  We have a 30 gal community tank with 3 serape, a Gourami pair, a swordtail pair, a couple of long fin danios that are very small, and the pair of Dalmatian molly.  I had a red tip shark and an algae eater but they've disappeared for some reason... anyway... everyone else is doing great.  Suggestions? Valerie <Mmm, it might be that the fish is being bullied by the minnow shark, but you'd likely see this... Perhaps this fish has an internal complaint (genetic, parasitic, infectious...), or is "just tired". I do hope it recovers, resumes swimming. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dalmatian Molly acting very weird 8/3/05
Thanks for your reply.  She died this morning.  Have no idea.. the others are quite healthy but I did find the carcass of the shark and the algae eater when I cleaned the tank today. <!? What?> I did a 50% water change as the Nitrates seemed to be staying high.  I have a little bit of the problem with that.. Oh well.. live and learn... Thanks again.  I really like your site it's quite informative when you have the time to read... Valerie <... the Molly might have died from whatever killed your other fishes, or the result of their decomposition... BobF>

Swollen lip on Black Molly Hello, I do hope that you can help me.  I have a Black Molly and it seems that he has developed a swollen bottom lip.  I have tried to research this and I have not found out anything about this or how to treat it.  Please help.  I love my little Molly. Thanks, Lora <Mmm, well, some species, individuals of mollies do "just get" thicker lips... if you think yours has injured itself (is it still eating?), you might try a simple addition of aquarium salt if your other fish/es will tolerate it... perhaps just a bit of Epsom. Bob Fenner>

Poorly Molly Hi <Hello there> I'm new to looking after fish and have had my tank for about a month. I have 1 Dalmatian, 1 leopard, 3 silver and 4 black and 1 Pleco. They have all been in the tank together for approx 3 days when suddenly last night when we fed them they started to get aggressive towards one another. I noticed tonight that one of the silver mollies has a red head (looks sore) and swollen lips. Is this an infection or has it been attacked by one of the others? Thanks Carrie-Ann  <Mmm, can't say with the information you've provided... Is this tank cycled? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm.  If not, this could be a/the root cause of your problems... Do get/use test kits for ammonia, nitrite... Bob Fenner>

Balloon Molly with Bubble on Butt ok I don't know if fish have rectums, she is pooping, this bubble is just behind the rectum (closer to the tail) its translucent. it seems to be separated in halves. I've never seen a fish birth fry, so I don't know if that's what's happening, but this doesn't look like a fry. is she sick? I've never heard of anything like this, please help! nitrate is a little high (a little more than 25 mg/l), ph 7.5 nitrite, ammo=0 <<Hello. Sounds like a GBD, due to high levels of dissolved oxygen (or other gas) in the water. Could have started before you bought her. There is not much you can do for the fish at this point, except to keep your water quality high, test it often, and do the water changes accordingly. There are some websites to help you, just do a search for Gas Bubble Disease: http://www.thekrib.com/Diseases/gas-bubble.html -Gwen>>

Molly "Shimmy" - 08/05/2004 I didn't see this q&a posted. <Well then, bring it on!> Ok, here's the deal: my female black molly is doing this side to side dance thing; she has been doing it actively for 2 days now. <I have seen this behavior.  From what I can tell, this typically happens only when there is either something IN the water that shouldn't be (ammonia, nitrite, etc.), or something NOT in the water that SHOULD be (especially with mollies, a bit of salt is quite desirable). She still eats well and her tank is very clean.   <Are you testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?  This is crucial; as clean as a tank looks, it may be very, very "dirty" - only test results will let you know this.  How clean a tank *looks* is often irrelevant.  Please test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and do water changes if ammonia or nitrite is above *zero* or if nitrate is above 20ppm.  Be sure to use a water conditioner that removes chlorine and chloramine.> Is this possibly a mating dance? <No.  It is an abnormal behavior, and indicates illness.> I'm worried she might put a hole in her dancing shoes (so to speak-lol). <Understood.  If your water tests okay, AND dependant upon her tankmates, I would add marine aquarium salt to the tank, and slowly (over several days) bring up the salinity in the tank to a specific gravity of about 1.002-1.003 (use a hygrometer to be able to tell the specific gravity - make sure it will test that LOW, though - some hygrometers will not even indicate salinities that low).  Take care NOT to do this if any of the molly's tankmates are not salt tolerant.  Even just one or two tablespoons of aquarium salt per ten gallons will be of great benefit to the molly.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Black Molly I have 2 black Mollies, 1 male, 1 female, the female is fine but the male over the last few days has started acting a little strange, the back half of this body just hangs and he does all his swimming with his fins, also the top of his back body is turning a whitish colour.  I thought it was the lack of salt and the last couple of nights I've been giving him a salt bath but he hasn't improved.  Is there anything else you can recommend please. Thanks, Taryn <<Dear Taryn, do you know your pH and hardness? Mollies prefer alkaline water with a pretty high pH. If pH and hardness are too low, they can develop spinal deformities, like your "bent back" problem. To raise the pH and alkalinity, you can add some crushed coral to your substrate and/or put some into a filter bag inside your filter. Either way works. Test your pH to see how much it goes up, you may need to add more if the amount you use isn't enough. In the meantime, how often do you do water changes? You do not mention your water parameters at all, and this information is important. Please test for ammonia, (should be zero), nitrites (should be zero) and nitrates, (should be kept between 20-40ppm with regular water changes). To rectify the whitish body problem, you will require an antibiotic. Unfortunately, it might be Columnaris, which is one bacterial infection that is notoriously difficult to treat. It can affect and kill within 24-36 hours. I have not found a treatment to combat this problem, even the best antibiotics may only save 3 or 4 fish out of an entire tank full that is affected. At any rate, I cannot tell without seeing the fish, so we will just have to hope it is another bacteria, and you will need to go to your LFS and ask them for an antibiotic to treat a bacterial skin infection. PLEASE follow the instructions closely! And remember, good water quality is 80% of the cure. Test your water regularly. -Gwen>>

Molly problems I have a 10 gallon tank with seven fish in it. <That's a lot of fish for a 10 gallon> Since February I've lost 2 Dalmatian Mollies. The main reason appears to be a "paralysis" of their tail. <Shimmying?> There is the appearance of the fish having to exert a lot of energy for a couple of days before they die. The pH and nitrites appear to be fine. <Ammonia and nitrate?> The Dalmatians when healthy are constantly finding things in the gravel to eat. <Should be no food in gravel. Use a gravel vac to clean up uneaten food and fish waste.> The other fish are guppies. What can I do? <Mollies are brackish fish. They require some salt in their water to thrive. Some say the lack of salt alone can cause mollies to shimmy. Others say that the lack of salt allows secondary infections to attack the fish. I found a thread from a person with the same problems with her mollies. I quote Gwen's response below: "Your fish do sound sick, it sounds like it could be velvet, a parasite like ich, only smaller, complicated by a bacterial infection, possibly Columnaris. I would treat the tank with a broad-spectrum antibiotic for the secondary infection, and an anti-parasitic medication to kill the parasites. Remove your carbon, keep the temp around 82. Make sure the tank is well aerated! Treat with the antibiotic and anti-parasitic according to package instructions. Gwen" <Hope this helps. If you do treat the tank it will kill the good bacteria that are needed to control ammonia and nitrite. Pick up a test kit and use it daily. Do water changes, replacing any salt or meds, to keep both at zero. Don> Ruth A. Bell

What Were You Thinking??!! Hi my mollies have been die with no clue as to why! Well I have 7 mollies 2 males and the rest female. First one large molly (I think it way pregnant but I don't know how to tell) fell to the floor of the tank and seem to have trouble breathing and was upside down (belly up) and died soon after. No signs of disease! Then one male yesterday did the same thing two weeks later. The water is cloudy too. Now here the tanks set up: 5 mollies  one male two females 10 Zebra Fish 3 gold fish 3 black Moor gold fish 6 neon tetras 1 peacock eel 5 guppies( just had 20 babies I keep in a small tank) 1 upside down cat fish 1 glass catfish 1 Raphael cat fish 3 silver hatchet 2 cat fish that I don't know there names 2 plants of one kind 5 plants of there other 1 of one kind! A bio filter 1 old fashion filter( plastic box with carbon and white foam filter) 1 small tank filter 2 castles ¼ inch gravel All this in a 10 gal. I don't know what I was thinking? Is this good or bad? How do I keep my mollies healthy? How do I keep the others healthy? Can all the animals live with one another? Help I have no clue on anything? <I count 41 fish in a ten gallon tank!!! And another 20 fry in an even smaller tank! This is what you MUST do. Return all the Goldfish, all the Catfish and the Eel! (OMG, an eel too!) Then out of the rest, pick your favorite five. Return all the rest. If any of the Catfish are Corys you can keep them, but they count towards the five. All the others must go. You have no chance of them living let alone being healthy. To say you are grossly overstocked is a gross understatement. You can also keep the castles, but I wouldn't. Don>        

Good Golly Sick Molly Hi., I wrote to you  months ago for advise on treating our Molly with pop-eye, and your Epsom salt treatment worked great. Now I have several new dilemmas that perhaps you can help me with. First, That same Molly who got through a very bad case of pop-eye has been acting very strange since mid-August.  She spins out of control doing flips and swimming upside down and crashing into things.  At first we thought she was ill and expected her to die, but she's still at it!  Could she be blind in one eye from the pop-eye and that be causing this erratic behavior? < She may be blind but is still troubled by the internal infection. Treat with Metronidazole and see if that helps.> Next, We inherited 6 zebra danios from a friend and added them to our 10 gallon tank.  We had a frog, 3 Mollies, a tetra, and a loach.  Up to this point, everything was fine.  I then added a catfish and a Chinese sucker fish and that's when problems started.  Within a week, the catfish died.  I replaced him with a different kind of sucker fish that we found the carcass of 3 days later.  Then the other sucker fish died.  Now, we found parts of our frog (who appeared perfectly healthy up to this point), and are missing our loach and last suckerfish.  Everything I've read says that the danios are very peaceful fish, but I cant' think of any other explanation for the missing and partially eaten fish we've had.  Any advice??? < The new fish could have brought a disease with them that the other fish had no immunity. In the future we recommend quarantining new fish so that the new fish won't add new problems to your already established aquarium. Check the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero. The nitrates should be under 25 ppm for most fish.-Chuck>

Sick Black Molly? Worms? Help!  There is a long pink 'string' hanging from the belly of my black molly.  I am new to this so I'm clueless as to what this might be. < It is probably fecal matter coming from the rear end of the fish. Depending on the food it sounds like you may have been feeding materials high in shrimp meal. If it is truly coming from the belly of the fish it may be a worm parasite called anchor worm. Treat with fluke tabs . It will kill snails so be careful if you have any.-Chuck>

What kind of Black Molly ailments are these? Lots of helpful information. Hey y'all! I think this is an excellent site, however, I am having a serious problem trying to figure out what exactly is ailing my two black mollies, both of which are females. The tank is relatively new; I had it set up a week prior to getting the ladies, something I called a work in progress. Not only for getting all those nasty chlorides out and what not; I needed an assortment of landscaping to appease me. I'm silly like that. But either way, I'm keeping a FW 10 gallon (as I have a love for albino Corys, I can't get enough of those suckers, no pun intended!) At any rate, I purchased these two a few days ago, and lo and behold, one of them is pregnant. No worries, I can handle that. Get some plants, keep the tank clean, etc. etc. The point is, is that I am encountering two 'diseases' (if that is what they are) on both of these. On the pregnant one, (she's about to pop, how I missed it when purchasing her, I have no idea), she has this weird spider web like string coming from her girly bits. I've never seen anything like that; she behaves normally, so I can't make an assessment on what it is, and I don't remember anything like this from owning mollies years ago. I read somewhere that it could be filabacter(?) some kind of bacterial growth that grows in string formation? It doesn't grow anywhere else, just near/on her bits. ;P (it's hard to tell, she's kind of hard to keep an eye on with all that foliage and movement) The second female, who is like her lady in waiting, has this weird white ring-like growth on her right side, localized on her abdomen. It wasn't there when I bought her (I always check for healthy stock) and it isn't fungal (no fuzzy stuff) and it isn't moving around. It's been 2 days, and I used some parasite medication in there (on consultation with the LFS), but even they couldn't figure out what exactly she has, and the best they could tell me was that it could be 'ringworm', which sounded oddly fishy. XD She's not as active as her counterpart, but she is relatively active. Hey, I think all fish have personalities. Anyway, I hope you can help me out. I'd appreciate it! < Mollies actually prefer some salt in their water. When no salt is present they come down with diseases caused by bacteria and ectoparasites. I would try treating with Nitrofurazone for bacterial infections first and then clout if the first medication did not work after a few days.-Chuck> :)

Help need for my molly I have a Aquarium 4 black mollies and 3 white mollies 7 colorful mollies . I have this aquarium for 3 months but before 3 days 2 mollies stomach were big so we kept them separate I molly gave birth babies they are doing great but the other molly stomach is getting bigger and bigger now it is 1 cm it is not eating it is always tired what can I do. < If it is pregnant then warming the water up a bit to 80 F may help. If the scales are distended and she is not eating then it may be an internal bacterial infection referred to as bloat. The only thing that works at all is Metronidazole. Just in case do a 30% water change and service the filter before treating.-Chuck> PLEASE REPLY AS SOON AS YOU CAN

Molly fry dying one by one!!! Help!!! Dear WWM Crew,    I had over 40 molly fry which were born about a month ago.  A few died a couple of days after birth which I expected.  They all seemed to do fine then about a week or so ago a few fry died one by one.  One every day.   My pH, ammonia and nitrate are all fine but my nitrite is high. <How high is high?> I did go and buy Nitra-Zorb hoping it will help.  But, my question is, if it is the nitrite then why isn't it killing all the babies or even most at the same time? <Individual tolerance varies>   It's 1 dead fry every day not any more than that.  The fry are in a breeding tank and are born of 2 separate mollies.  It's an established tank.  I don't know if this will help but my snail died about 2 days ago.  Please help if you can before I lose all the baby fishes.  Thank you for your time and help in this matter.                                                                   Sincerely,                                                                  Desperate Mom <What is your pH? Do you add salt? What do you feed all? Have you done much, anything to the water during this time? It may be that your mollies are simply having defective young... this happens the first few "batches" or so at times. Bob Fenner>

BLACK MOLLY FRY DEATH Hello. Happy New Year!-- I'm desperately trying to have/raise Black Molly fry in my fish tank. Here's my story/situation/problem: I have had molly births in my tank before but they died within a week but I understand that this was caused by the tank not being cycled. About 2 weeks ago my tank finally cycled & I went out & bought a few mollies (one of which was pregnant) to add to a couple I already had in the tank. A couple of days later she gave birth (I did not use a fry saver/spawning box) because I don't find mollies to be that aggressive towards the fry. I believe the pregnant F gave birth to about 14 babies all which died within a week but appeared healthy prior to dying. The water parameters on my tank are  -0- ammonia & nitrites, ph=7.4  and GH & KH=8- 10 which I think are supposed to be good for mollies. As for the salinity I use a mixture of marine salt & aquarium salt which when I measure the salinity w/ a hydrometer comes out to about 1.003-4.  Temp=78-80. So my question/problem is---What went wrong? & Why the total fry wipeout? <Very likely just simply moving the female so close to parturition... this happens> I'm thinking---Was there too much salt in the tank for the fry to handle?   Was putting a fish that was impregnated from another tank and spent most of her gestation time outside of my tank & then all of a sudden giving birth in my tank, the problem? <Bingo> Or is there something I just didn't do or supply to the fry?   Just about everything I've read says it's very easy to raise live-bearer fry but I didn't encounter it that way. Please share with me your knowledge & expertise on this matter so that I can avoid this fry death in the future. Let me know exactly what needs to get done. Thank you so much for your help. RIC V   <Did you feed the young Ric? Keep trying my friend. You'll get it right. Bob Fenner>

Sick Mollies Hi there, <Hello Sam> Please help me, my mollies are sick.  I have an 18 UK gallon tank with 6 female and 2 adolescent males.  Ammonia and nitrite test at 0, nitrates currently 20ppm, doing a 25% water change tomorrow morning and adding aquarium salt at 1 rounded tablespoon per 2.5 UK Gallons. Usually do water change once a week, but have done it twice a week these last 2 weeks. <So far, so good> Tank fully cycled at least 2 weeks ago with 3 goldfish and the 2 males (goldfish now in new tank and doing fine). <Hope the use of the Goldfish didn't leave "any problems" (disease) behind... happens frequently> I didn't quarantine my females but they have been fine until now (added them 2 weeks ago).  After a week I noticed some babies, only one of which that I can see is left, but I think they were born prematurely.  Last night one of the females was hanging slightly, wobbling very slightly from side to side, but look like she was swimming on the spot (strolling, not energetically), isolating herself either at the bottom of the tank or by the filter.  Her fins were also clamped.  I did see one of the females produce a long, very fine white poo that looked almost like a filament.  I treated with Sterazin and put her in a net breeder to isolate her, because the other fish were starting to bully her. <Mmm> Since this evening, another female has begun to do the same thing, so I have put her in the net breeder too, but I am worried that the others will get sick too.  The other fishies are looking like they are going to develop the same, but it is late and they could be winding down for the night! I have increased the temp to 82 degrees from 79, but I don't know what else to do - any suggestions? <Do check your water's pH... and raise it... with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)... a teaspoon per ten gallons daily... till it is at least 7.5. Bob Fenner> Thanks so much, on behalf of me and my fishies. Sam in the UK
Re: Sick Mollies
Hi there, <Hello again> Thanks for getting back to me. <Welcome> Checked my PH today - it was 7.8, which is usual, did the 25% water change yesterday, water good today (Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5). <Mmm, this water quality is fine for your mollies> No disease left from the goldies, they were upgraded to a 35G, and doing nicely. <Ah, so they were pets (good to hear/read), not transient "feeders" used to cycle your new system> The two females have been released back into the main tank, the others aren't bothering them, but they don't really seem any better.  They are eating, but the rest of the time they are hanging around at the surface by the filter, fins clamped and wobbling slightly.  I am putting the 2nd dose of Sterazin in this evening, is there anything else I can do?  Any idea what the problem is? <May be that your system is "just" new, the mollies "just" acclimating to it... There are proprietary and home-remedies that one could try... brass and copper scrubbing pads for instance... but I am rather conservative in urging their use here... as stated, there may be very little actually "wrong" that is correctable, and more to be lost by over-reacting. I would stay the course you have described so well, and hope the fish rally. Bob Fenner> Thanks very much Sam

Sick Molly Hi, I have a male balloon molly and he is swimming upside down and spinning   around like crazy. I don't know what is wrong with him. the other fish were   attacking him. so I put him in a breeder tank by himself. he eats good and   everything but just does not swim very good. I looked up swim bladder and that   was not it. he just spins around like he is dying. please help. thanks  misty < You fish may have an internal bacterial infection. Try treating with Metronidazole. Early treatment is essential.-Chuck>

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