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FAQs on the Molly Reproduction 2

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

Related FAQs: Molly Reproduction 1, Molly Reproduction 2, Molly Reproduction 3, Molly Reproduction 4, Molly Reproduction 5, & Mollies 1, Mollies 2, Molly Identification FAQs, Molly Behavior FAQs, Molly Compatibility FAQs, Molly Selection FAQs, Molly System FAQs, Molly Feeding FAQs, Molly Disease FAQs, Livebearers, Guppies, Platies, Swordtails

Pregnant Molly?  7/21/07 Hello, <Good Evening!> I have 3 balloon belly mollies in a 10 gallon tank. <Brackish setup, I hope?> I went away for the weekend, and came back, and one of my mollies is extremely fat. I cannot tell if it is pregnant or maybe has a case of dropsy. I have never had a fish either pregnant or with dropsy, so I cannot tell what it is (although I suspect pregnancy). <Highly likely. Mollies are prolific breeders in almost any condition.> The other mollies appear to be trying to mate with it (coming at it from behind and pushing it around). Is this normal behavior? <For breeding, yes. Here is a link to molly breeding FAQs on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollyreprofaqs.htm. Great picture to help you figure out the gender at the top. The one on the left is the male. Note the gonopodium at the anal fin on the male, and the lack of on the female. If the tummy area of the female begins to darken and/or she is showing no signs of illness (listlessness, lack of appetite, shimmying, clamped fins), my guess is it is a pregnant female. Congratulations! Get a bigger tank.> Thanks for your help, <Anytime.> Becky <Best of luck, Andrea>

Dalmatian Molly Fry-- 09/17/07 Hi! First off, your site is wonderful. Since I bought my Dalmatian mollies, I've spent a lot of time on this. I have a question about my newborn babies (born this morning!). A few of them are swimming around the top of the feeder net, but most of them (20 or so) are sitting on the bottom, though still moving. Is this a bad sign? I do have salt in my tank, and I have fed them all once. My temperature is about 78 F. Thanks! <Greetings. Yes, it is an odd sign for livebearer fry to sit at the bottom of the tank. Often, but not always, this indicates they are malformed. In particular, that their swim bladders haven't inflated properly. Give it a day or two, but if nothing happens, then painlessly destroy them. Assuming you have them in a tank with only mollies, or their own tank, then raising the salinity will help by increasing the density of the water, so they float better. I recommend a specific gravity of SG 1.003-1.005. Naturally, only ever use marine salt mix, not that pointless "tonic salt" or "aquarium salt" stuff some inexperienced aquarists buy. Only marine salt mix (things like Instant Ocean) contains the carbonate hardness minerals as well as the sodium chloride that mollies like so much. Tonic salt only has sodium chloride, and is really just overpriced cooking salt _sans_ iodine. Livebearer fry need 4-6 meals daily and MUST be provided with shade, such as floating plants, or they tend to become overheated under the lights. Do not confine mollies in a trap for more than 2-3 weeks. They need as much swimming room as possible at this early stage or they never develop properly. The most obvious manifestation of this is poor finnage on the males. As always, you'll get best results rearing them in their own tank. By selling on good quality stock in large numbers, you'll easily offset any minor expense. Hope this helps, Neale>

Balloon Molly Birthing Embryos -- 09/08/07 Two days ago I purchased a very pregnant Balloon Molly and this afternoon I noticed her giving birth. There were several live fry resting on the bottom of my tank as though they had just been born. I also noticed that some of my 2 week old guppy fry were feeding on what I thought were the newborn Molly fry, but a closer look revealed them to be eating Molly embryos that were in various stages of development, some even would flop around as they were nipped at! Why did my molly eject these embryos, even though some looked to be very healthy? Is she stressed and ejecting all her contents? The newborn Molly fry are actually quite large, larger than my 2 week old guppy fry, could she have been pregnant with 2 distinct "batches" that were not fertilized at the same time? thanks, Dean <Greetings. To answer your last question, yes, mollies can have multiple batches of fry at different states of development. Usually these are from a single mating, but the molly can control the rate at which the embryos develop, so some grow quickly, some more slowly. It's called "superfetation" and is quite common among livebearers. Now, my question for you has to be whether you are keeping these fish in brackish water or fresh. Mollies are simply much easier to keep and breed in brackish water, that is, water that has 3-5 grammes of marine salt mix (not "tonic salt" or "aquarium salt") added per litre. Besides salt, mollies need extremely hard, alkaline water to do well: pH not less than 7.5, and hardness not less than 15 degrees dH. Nitrates need to be practically zero if the mollies are kept in freshwater conditions; in brackish water, they don't care about nitrates nearly so much. It is almost certain in this case that the molly miscarried because of the sudden environmental changes between being moved from the pet store to your home. Being very inbred and mutated to begin with, balloon mollies aren't terribly robust animals and frankly I'd just as soon they vanished from the face of the Earth. But that's not my call. Since you've bought one already, you have to realise that in being bred to be a bloated, ball-shaped thing the internal organs are all messed around with and these balloon mollies need extra special care if they are to do well. In other words, don't take chances with them. Observe the water chemistry comments made earlier, keep them in brackish water, and ensure that they are not kept with anything other than balloon mollies. Even other types of molly are likely to harass them, especially the males. As always, remember that mollies are herbivores, and the diet needs to be 75% plant and algae based. Don't feed them regular tropical fish food. Use Spirulina flake, livebearer flake, Sushi Nori, spinach, etc. Only offer meaty foods like live brine shrimp or frozen bloodworms as a treat once or twice a week. Cheers, Neale>

Fertilizing mollies??  9/7/07 How does the male molly fertilize the females??? I see the male chasing different females but how does the ?sperm? get inside the female? Debbie <Hello Debbie. Male mollies (and other livebearers) have a modified anal fin called a "gonopodium". This functions a bit like a penis. It forms a tube-like structure through which the sperm is guided into the female's vent. The actual insemination process is very quick, as you've perhaps observed. The male will approach the female, and if she accepts him (by no means a certainty) he will flex the gonopodium to the left or right and push it up to the vent. The sperm goes into the uterus and with luck fertilises the eggs. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Fertilizing mollies?? -- 09/08/07 Neale, Thank You So Much, you are very wise and informed. It's so nice to know these little details of information. Thanks Again, God Bless You. Debbie <Hello Deb, thanks for the kind words. Please do spend some time learning about livebearing fish. If you think the mating is interesting, wait until you find out about the pregnancy! From fish with placentas just like ours, through to fish where the embryos eat eggs the mother produces specially for them, to fish where the embryos actually eat one another, the diversity of gestation methods is astounding. Aquarists often scoff at livebearers for being "easy" fish for "beginners"; in terms of biology, they are among the most fascinating and specialised of all the fishes on the planet. Best wishes, Neale>

Question about Poecilia sphenops & fry  8/13/07 I have not been able to find and answer using searches online, so a quick question. <Okay> I have Poecilia sphenops (aka Mollies) <One of the species labeled as such> which are certainly good at breeding. One female in particular just had a batch of about 25-30 fry which have all survived. She was in a breeder net and evicted to the main tank afterwards. I am now noticing her gravid spot is extremely dark like she is ready to have more. I understand the typical gestation period for Poecilia sphenops is about 28-40 days. <Yes> My question: After birthing some 30 fry three days ago. Is it possible for her to have another small batch of fry so soon just days after the first, or would there have to be another 28+ days of gestation time before it was possible for her to have more? <Livebearers do/can have punctuated development and release of young at times... particularly if/when the females are moved they may postpone... Bob Fenner> SK

Pregnant Molly 7/21/07 Hi, I found your site and hope you can help me. My molly fish is clearly pregnant and for the past few days has been hanging out at the bottom of the tank but swimming around from time to time. Recently she has stopped eating and all day today she has been laying on her side not moving her fins or anything. She looks dead until I see her breathing. Could something be wrong or is this normal behavior? Thank you, Belinda <Hello Belinda. It is absolutely *not* normal for a pregnant molly to be doing what you are describing. Please check that she is not sick. Many diseases cause fish to swell up with fluids (a condition called "dropsy"). In particular, mollies are sensitive to poor water quality and a lack of plant material in their diet. When keeping mollies, like is 100x easier when they are kept in brackish water. Using marine salt mix (not tonic salt) you raise the salinity, pH, and hardness to the levels mollies prefer. Mollies are also vegetarians, and need a different diet to most tropical fish. Algae and green foods *must* be at the heart of their diet. Livebearer flake is made with greens and works perfectly. Without the extra fibre they become easily constipated and excess protein and fats probably lead to problems with the internal organs (it certainly does with other herbivorous fish) In the meantime, I can't offer anything useful here without some words about the conditions in the tank: how big is the aquarium, what is the pH and hardness, what filter do you use, and how much water do you change per week? Have you tested the ammonia or nitrite levels? Cheers, Neale>

Re: Pregnant Molly - 7/21/07 Thank you for your response. Unfortunately I found her dead this morning. The other Molly fish are active as usual, I have 2 others in a 20 gallon tank. The ph seems ok and I do add aquarium salt. I am going to the pet store today to try and find a better food for them and get another ammonia/nitrate monitor. Thank you so much, she was so beautiful! Belinda <Too bad. Please do a nitrite test and a pH test. You want zero nitrite and a pH around 7.5 to 8.0. And please, make 100% sure you don't buy anything called "tonic salt" or "aquarium salt" -- these are a con! They're just cooking salt in a different box, and do nothing to buffer the water or raise the pH/hardness. You want marine salt mix (Instant Ocean, Reef Crystals, or whatever). Of the kind used in marine aquaria. These contain salt PLUS essential minerals that harden the water and raise the pH. Mollies like a salinity around 10% normal seawater. Other livebearers are fine with this, but most other tropical fish aren't wild about it, so check before adding the salty water to the aquarium. Always make the salty (brackish) water in another bucket, and once its done, add that to the aquarium. You want about 3.5 grammes per litre, or SG 1.003 if you have a hydrometer. Measuring by spoons doesn't work, so ignore anyone who gives you advice in that format -- they don't know what they're talking about. Cheers, Neale.>  

Molly Fry upside down   7/16/07 Hello, I discovered a molly fry by chance about a month ago, swimming for her life as she was being chased by a dwarf Gourami. So I put her in the maturation tank inside the 25 gallon tank. Then two days later, I found another one hiding under a big rock. So I put him in with the first one. This is my first time having fry in my tank and I had bought a maturation tank months ago just in case I do find a fry with no intention of trying to breed them. So I continued observing them and they seem healthy and getting bigger each day. About 2 weeks ago, I noticed that whenever I fed them, the female fry started to spiral around inside the maturation tank literally for minutes and ever since she was found, she would prefer to feed upside down and would swim upside down half the time and normally other times. The second fry that I discovered is still smaller than the first, but his behaviors are completely normal like you would expect from any molly. Ammonia/nitrite/nitrate are at or close to 0ppm and ph is 7.0 as I have clown loaches and guppies among other fish in the tank. I also add 4-5 tbsp of aquarium salt each week when I clean the tank just in case there are Ick cysts. Temperature is at 78 deg F. Can you please help me? I'd really like to know if this sounds like normal behaviour or if there's something wrong with her, and if so, is there a way to fix it. Thank you very much :) p.s. I have also attached a picture of my tank and the fry. Mandy <Mandy, hello there. When baby fish can't swim properly, it's usually congenital and untreatable. The best thing is to painlessly destroy the deformed fry. Now, some other questions. Why are you adding salt? Your fish don't need it and most of them are harmed by it. "Just in case" treatment doesn't work and if you think about it, it's a pretty silly idea. You either have Ick or you don't. If you have it, treat the tank, and the Ick is gone. It won't steal back in during the night and infect your fish; it only gets back into the aquarium when you introduce unquarantined fish. Mollies need brackish water conditions to stay healthy. Brackish water isn't "spoons of salt" but water made with *marine salt mix* that alters not just salinity but also the pH and hardness. Needless to say, most tetras and catfish can't be kept in a brackish water tank. I personally don't consider mollies an option in freshwater aquaria, period. Ammonia and nitrite shouldn't be "close to zero" they should be *exactly zero*. Mollies are exceptionally intolerant of nitrate as well, at least when kept in freshwater aquarium (they're indifferent to nitrate in brackish/marine aquaria because NaCl detoxifies nitrate). In the meantime, if you fancy rearing and breeding livebearers, check out some of the articles here or read a livebearer book. It isn't as easy as people think, but it is very rewarding, and worth doing properly. Good luck, Neale>

Pregnant Balloon Molly's n Overcrowding   7/16/07 Hi again, Thanks so much for all your advice you've given me in the past, it's been invaluable! Your website is a vault of information for me whenever I have fishy questions, of which I have 1 now and I couldn't find an absolute answer to my questions ;-) <Hello and thanks for the kind words.> So here it is, I have a balloon molly who is heavily pregnant. I've had her for just over 2 weeks now and she was quite heavily pregnant when I bought her or at least that's what the pet store told me! Anyway, I decided to put her into a fish hatchery in my tank so the fry will survive n mom doesn't get stressed. Mom is doing fine in the fish hatchery but how long do I need to leave her in there? I get the feeling she's missing her friends and would like to get back to being carefree and swimming all over! <If a female molly has ever been with a male, chances are she's pregnant! Do not keep her in the hatchery. Those things are *lethal* for mollies. Mollies get stressed by them, and often miscarry their broods. You *may* get lucky, but really those things should be outlawed as far as swordtails, mollies, and halfbeaks go. Smaller livebearers like guppies, perhaps viable, but otherwise avoid. The way to breed mollies is to place the female in a rearing tank thickly planted with floating plants of your choice. The cheap kinds like Elodea and Ceratophyllum you can pick up for goldfish ponds work fine, but otherwise cuttings from your aquarium can be used too. The baby mollies will swim into the plants and avoid predation. Some breeders use tank dividers of a sort to create a "safe zone" where the babies are pushed by the water current. Any book on livebearers will have plenty of ideas along these lines.> Secondly, I've been reading some stuff on your website n I was told when I purchased the tank that it would take around 70 small fish. It's a 30 gallon tank but I think it may be overcrowded? Here's a list of the fish in the tank, and they all seem very happy and my water tests have been spot on:- <A 30 gallon tank will not hold 70 fish except in someone's dreams. Even the smallest and least active gobies are a gallon per fish, and most everything else is scaled upwards from that.> 3 balloon molly's 2 Siamese fighters (Bettas) (1 female 1 male) 1 Platy 2 Clown Loaches (very small at the minute, will move to a 55 Gal when they get bigger) 1 Plec 10 Black Neon Tetras 7 Neon Tetras 5 Glowlight Tetras 1 Unknown (VERY tiny fish, but it appears to be either a shark or an algae eater) <Well, can't comment on the unknown fish, though I would put money on it being the very nasty "Chinese algae eater" Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, a 25-cm monster that attacks anything that moves once mature. The Plec and the loaches obviously need much larger quarters.> Is my tank overcrowded? I know the clown loaches will grow very large but I'm going to buy a 55 Gal tank for them when they grow, as I am intending to purchase another clown loach so they have a happy 3sum ;-) <Good plan. Basically you're at the limit for a 30 gallon tank, and over time many of those fish will need moving out. So for now, don't add anything new, just let stuff grow, and save up for the 55 gallon tank. Many would argue even a 55 gallon tank is too small for clown loaches and plecs, so be sure and do some reading up on those species and budget/plan accordingly.> As I said all the fish seem very happy and the water values are fine. All the fish have plenty of space so I wasn't sure if my tank was at maximum occupancy or if there was room for more? 70 small fish seems excessive for a 30 gallon tank and I told the woman in the pet store when she told me the tank could house that many fish. She assured me that the tank could definitely house around 70 small fish?? <Whatever the pet store lady was smoking, please tell her, it's time to share. No way you can get 70 fish in a 30 gallon tank. Well, maybe 70 guppy fry, but that's about it.> Anyway, thanks for all your advice and keep up the excellent work!!! Sam x <Cheers, Neale>

Damnation Molly Mom and Her 4 Mo. Old Babies behavior   7/7/07 Hello! In March I wrote to you about my new molly fry and I must say you were extremely helpful. Thank you Tom for all of your insight! <<Hello again, Bridgette. Glad I was able to help!>> I currently have 1 female molly, her 11 4 mo. old babies, and 3 new fry in a 10 gal tank. The female ran the male to his death after she gave birth to the first 11 fry she had. <<I recall this from our last conversation, Bridgette, though it's often the other way around. You mentioned she was aggressive, though.>> I am going to buy a 29 gal tank this weekend. Will I need to run this new tank for a month or so before I separate them? <<The new tank will definitely have to cycle, of course. There are ways to speed up the process, the fastest being the use/addition of BIO-Spira (a Marineland product) which will accomplish this virtually instantly. Not exactly inexpensive but the benefits are pretty obvious.>> I was thinking of putting females in one and males in another. <<A good way of heading off a population explosion! :) >> I know this little tank is overcrowded and need to do something about it right away! <<Agreed.>> Also, I've noticed for the last few days that the male 4 mo olds have been looking like they are almost trying to attach to their mother's anal fin. Are they trying to mate with her? <<A pretty good bet that there's interest in this regard.>> Thanks again, as so many people here say, this site is wonderful! <<Very nice to hear from you again, Bridgette, and thanks again for the complimentary words. Keep up the good work and continued good luck. Tom>>

Molly babies   7/2/07 I'm sorry to bother you again, but my baby mollies are suddenly dying. I have read that it's quite normal to have less than half of babies survive. I thought I was lucky, because within the first 3 days or so no babies died. I figured if they were going to die, they would die pretty early. So why now, a week later, are my babies suddenly dying? This morning I spotted the fourth one. Also, Before the babies were born I wrapped part of a nylon around the part of the filter that sucks in the water, because in the past I've lost babies in the filter. How long until I can remover the nylon piece? Again, I'm sorry to bother you. Thank you for your time, Rebecca <Hello Rebecca. Some general advice about rearing mollies first. Like all livebearer babies (and fish babies generally) they need lots of food. Six meals a day is perfectly standard when rearing livebearer fry. Vegetarian flake is the critical stuff for mollies, since they are algae-eaters in the wild. Your aquarium shop will have this. But you have to provide small meals, so the water quality stays good, and you have to do regular water changes. I'd suggest 10-20% daily for the first couple of weeks, then maybe 50% every week after that. Mollies are exceptionally sensitive to nitrate, so water quality needs to be good. Adding marine salt mix helps here, and I'd always recommend rearing mollies in brackish water. Lots of people don't, but on balance, it's just better to keep them in salty water. You don't need a lot of salt -- 6-8 g/l will be fine -- but it *does* make a big difference. Once molly fry and born they should be quite strong swimmers, assuming they have enough to eat, but standard practice with fry generally is to use not an electric filter but a simple air-powered filter instead. I use a cheap plastic box filter (cost $5) and a small air pump (around $10-20). Fill with media from the mature filter, and off you go. Air-powered pumps do an excellent job of filtering the water without stressing small fish. Use this instead of the electric filter you have. One last thing: baby fish need shade. It's often overlooked this, but the lights can cause heat stress since the instinct of baby fish is often to swim at the very surface of the tank. Place some pondweed or plastic plants in the tank so there is some shade at the surface. Duckweed and hornwort are my favourites for this. Done properly, your losses of baby fish should be small. I've reared batches of halfbeak fry (another livebearer) without losing any. If you're losing half the babies, you aren't doing something right. On the plus side, you'll soon get more babies -- so practice makes perfect! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Molly babies  7/4/07 Thank you for all of your suggestions. At this time, I am unable to attain a "simple air-powered filter" like you suggested. Will the electric filter be harmful to the baby mollies? How long until I can remove the nylon cover I placed on the filter (to prevent the babies from being sucked up)? Oh, and can I feed them powdered algae wafers, as well? Thanks, Rebecca <Hello Rebecca. I can't answer the electric filter question because "it depends". In a big tank a small electric filter could be fine, especially if the molly babies were strong and healthy and had lots of places to hide. I've had livebearer fry appear in tanks with electric filters and swim quite safely up at the top among the floating plants. But in a small tank it is perfectly possible for small fry to get "sucked up"! So this is something you will have to work out yourself. If your electric filter can have it's power turned down a bit, then that's an option. Be careful with nylon covers though, as if they clog, and the water flow stops, the pump will be damaged (broken). All else being equal, livebearer babies become quite strong little swimmers within about a month. Powdered algae wafers should be fine. Obviously watch and see they are eating, but essentially they should be good nutrition. Good luck! Neale>

My molly recently had about 28 babies. -- 07/01/07 Some are tan, some are black, and some are grey. I was wondering if the babies will keep their colors or if they will develop more/different colors in the future. <Often do change...> If they will develop more color, how long until I see this change? <Weeks> Also, the babies tummies are starting to bulge a little bit. I read somewhere that over feeding the babies was alright, as long as you remove the uneaten food. But is over feeding the cause of my babies bulging midsections? <Often, most likely, yes> How long until the babies double in size? <A week or so...> I have them in a ten gallon tank, with no other fish. And finally, after the babies grow, what is the maximum number of mollies I can/should keep in a five and ten gallon tank? <Mmm, with weekly water changes, good overall maintenance, maybe ten or so> Thank you for your time, Rebecca <Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Mollies, and more mollies  5/30/07 Hello from Saint Paul! <Hello from Berkhamsted!> I am in love with, and now addicted to, your site. So many of my questions have been answered already! <Very good!> This little hobby has exploded, quite literally, in front of my eyes. Ten days ago I set up and prepped my 6-gallon tank, and purchased four pot-belly/balloon mollies with my daughter. The salespeople at the LFS, of course, weren't too forthcoming with info about the rapid growth that was about to happen - 36 hours later, four blossomed to 40+! The fry are thriving in a breeding net, and the four adults are negotiating the space around it. <I'm glad in so many ways. Breeding fish is one of the very best bits of the fishkeeping hobby. It also sounds as if you're putting the babies in the breeding net, not the mothers. That's the correct thing to do with mollies: molly mothers do not like being inside breeding nets at all. Do bear in mind that not all the baby fish will survive. Even with wild fish a certain proportion will have poor genes; balloon mollies are essentially physically handicapped fish right from the get-go, and inbreeding to form bright colours further restricts the gene pool. So it's more than likely a fair number of fry will be deformed or runts.> Realizing more space is needed urgently, and after more research about my three perpetually pregnant females and one insatiable male, I purchased and set up another tank (10-gallon). This tank is now ready for inhabitants. <OK, a 10 gallon is certainly better than a 6 gallon tank, but neither is really adequate for keeping mollies. In the long term, you want a "long" 20 gallon tank, or better.> I know this could go on exponentially, and am intending on relocating fry to either the LFS or breeders of seahorses and the like. I'd like to keep the fry level to a minimum, however. <If you don't want the fry, then don't remove them from the tank. Most will get eaten. If you need to destroy offspring, perhaps because they are deformed in some way, you can do this painlessly using clove oil; see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm > My specific questions are these: who should I put where? (Adults in one, fry in another? <If you want to rear the maximum number of fry, then yes, separate them thus. The keys to growing on fry to maximum size in minimum time is [a] providing lots of small meals (six times per day is about right) rather than just one or two big meals; and [b] doing lots of water changes, because pollutants in the water suppress fish growth. You're looking at something around 2 or 3 50% water changes per week.> Separate the sexes? <Long term, yes, this helps, but mollies can produce multiple broods from a single mating by altering the speed at which the embryos develop (a process called superfetation).> Who gets the two-bedroom and who gets the studio?) <Well, from the adult molly perspective one tank is bed-sit and under a cardboard box under the bridge. Neither is really adequate in the long term. But a 10 gallon tank is useful for rearing fry.> Should I consider having only females, or does there need to be a male present to ensure bliss? <No, females mollies are quite happy kept alone.> Thanks for your input, o crew of ichthyological wisdom! - Angie <Good luck! Cheers, Neale>

Molly... System mis-mix   5/11/07 We recently started a 25 gallon tank with 1 albino catfish, 1 sucker fish, 1 rainbow shark, 1 brown crab, and 6 mollies (2 silver, 2 black, and 2 marble). <This is rather a random selection of animals. By albino catfish I assume you mean Corydoras paleatus, a small *schooling* catfish that should not be kept singly. Suckerfish may be one of two things (I'm guessing). Either Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, a NASTY, AGGRESSIVE cyprinid that reaches around 25 cm and is totally unsuitable for your aquarium. Or else it's some type of Loricariid catfish such as Pterygoplichthys pardalis, likeable enough animals that get to between 30-50 cm in length depending on the species and again totally unsuitable to your aquarium. Even in tanks twice the size of yours, either of these fishes would feel cramped, and both together in a mere 25 gallons is really pushing your luck. Rainbow sharks become aggressive with age, and all the crabs in the trade appear to be amphibious rather than aquatic and will spend all their time trying to escape. Keeping them permanently submerged is, needless to say, cruel. Most crabs will catch and eat small fish given the chance, so be careful. Finally, mollies do best in brackish water, something that will be fine for the crabs but not the other fish. When kept in freshwater mollies are very prone to diseases of various kinds. Sorry to say, but this aquarium is a disaster waiting to happen.> There are approximately 12 fry in the tank (less than a week later).  Should we separate the fry from the adults, and how often should we expect to see new fry in the tank? <Ideally remove the fry to another tank. Failing that, confine the fry to a breeding trap for 2-3 weeks. None of your fish are especially predatory, but at least some of them (including the mollies) are liable to eat tiny fish given the chance. And yes, mollies will produce fry more or less their entire adult lives every 6-8 weeks usually. Depends somewhat on temperature, diet, etc.> Thanks, Liz <Cheers, Neale>

how can I stop the mother and father molly from eating their babies because I want to see the babies grow up big and healthy!!!!!   5/10/07 <Trade in your excess exclamation marks for some floating plants such as hornwort. Check for baby fish each day, and then remove them to a breeding tank. A 10 to 20 gallon aquarium will do. Once the babies are a few weeks old they can be returned to the community tank safely. Do not try put the mother in a breeding trap. Cheers, Neale>

Silver balloon Mollies repro.  4/26/07 <<Hi, Christine ( I hope, since you didn't sign). Tom with you.>> I have had a 29 gallon tank for 8 months now and have recently added a male and female balloon molly to the group (2 Bala sharks, 5 zebra Danios, 2 swordtails).   <<Off the subject here but you need to know the Sharks are going to (hopefully) become huge, fast and skittish. Wonderful fish but I, personally, would be looking at a 90 gallon tank for two of these. (Like you really wanted to hear this, right?)>> We have had the mollies for about two weeks now and one has always been slightly larger than the other.  I believe that it is the female.   <<Very likely.>> How can I tell if she is going to have babies and if she had them without being in a net would any of the fry survive?   <<At the back of her belly is what is known as her 'gravid' spot. If she's pregnant, this area will become swollen with the fry. As to the question of 'when', watch her behavior. Frequently, very pregnant 'livebearers' will tend to isolate themselves from their tank mates. She might hang out near the heater, if you have one, or some other corner of the tank. In short, she'll distance herself from the rest of the fish.>> I have lots of floating plants as well as some in the gravel. <<Short of isolating the mother and fry, floating plants are their best bet for survival. Any place where they can 'hide' will increase their chances.>> Also, how would I know when to put her in a breeding net.   <<If she starts to demonstrate the behavior I spoke of earlier, you should think about moving her.>> I have also read some of the other questions that have been sent in and some of them talk of eggs.  Perhaps a dumb question but do they lay eggs as well? <<No. Mollies give birth to live babies but don't lay eggs. The same goes for Platys, Swordtails, Guppies, Halfbeaks, Mosquito Fish, as well as others. Not a dumb question at all, by the way.>> I would really like to have my kids see some small fry but I don't even know what they look like.  Can you help me? <<Silly answer but, when you see them, you'll know what they look like. Think of tadpoles that look like fish. They'll develop rather quickly so, if you can keep them alive, they'll look more like 'real' fish soon. Best of luck and best regards. Tom>>

Balloon mollies, fry, general tank size requirements  4/25/07  Hey there, <Hi Olie!> My balloon molly surprised me last night, giving birth to at least 9 fry. <They do that when they're kept in community tanks:-) Additionally, females can store sperm for up to 6 mos. or so, and can later impregnate themselves even when there aren't boys in the tank...> I went out later that evening (after school) to buy a breeder trap. <I'm not a fan of these at all - quarters are way too crowded and cause stress.  Better to set up a separate 5-10 gal. tank, in my opinion. How large is the tank you have?> When I got back, I put it in the tank and managed to find 5 fry alive. I have a couple of questions: -How long do you reckon it will be until they are big enough to release (I have a dwarf Gourami) <Depends. If you keep them in the breeding net, they will very soon outgrow it; however, this will be a bit of a catch-22, as it may take up to 6-8 mos. for them to grow large enough to survive a Gourami. However, if you move them to a separate tank, they can grow in peace and not be bullied.> -How often do I need to do water changes <Fry are more sensitive to poor water quality than their adult parents. However, the standards are the same: ammonia and nitrite need to read zero (on a quality liquid test kit), and nitrates no more than 20 ppm (probably closer to 10 ppm, due to the little ones' sensitivity). Again, how large is your tank? How often do you currently do water changes? If you already do regular water changes, you shouldn't have to alter your schedule too much; perhaps a small increase in frequency to account for the crushed flake food they require (which can quickly pollute the water).> -Is there any special care/food needed <My suggestion is Hikari's First Bites - it's basically pulverized flake, with extra nutrition for the wee ones. Many other brands make similar products.> My tank has 2 Corydoras, 5 neon tetras, 3 guppies, 2 balloon mollies and a dwarf Gourami. It is 34 English litres. Is it full? <According to my calculations (actually, www.onlineconversion.com did the work!), your tank is less than 9 US gallons. I wouldn't describe the tank as full, but rather as woefully overstocked.  Setting aside for the moment the fact that livebearers should ideally be kept in a 3:1 female: male ratio (at a minimum- it just depends on how aggressive the male you have is), the Corys, guppies and mollies you presently have render your tank full. You *may* be able to get away with the Neons, too, if you do regular, good-sized water changes and have very good filtration. I'd suggest 33% 2x per week, unless your test kit tells you to do more. Ideally, you should probably find another home for the Gourami, as they can be quite territorial. I'm concerned he may try to make lunch of the guppies or Neons, depending on his size, temperament.> I think the Gourami probably ate the fry I lost. <I agree.> Sorry I'm jumping around a bit. <It's OK, but next time, please do use proper capitalization, punctuation, etc., and not net speak...I corrected the issues this time for you, but please keep this in mind when writing in. With regard to your fry, unless you do plan to set up another tank, you absolutely do not have room for them, I suggest letting nature take its course and let the Gourami have a healthy snack. When raising fry, you need to keep in mind not only their "cuteness", but where they will be housed once they inevitably grow.  As it is, your tank is overstocked, and adding more messy livebearers will only make matters worse.> Hope you can help Olie from the U.K <Good luck, Olie. Start reading here - very useful info. on all aspects, including proper tank size and setup, cycling, fish environmental requirements, of this wonderful hobby: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm Take care, Jorie

New Fish Tank, Mollies 4/12/07 Hi there, <Hello> Firstly, Your website is very informative and It's the best website I have found for any information needed about fish... Brilliant!! <Thanks> My boyfriend and I got a fish tank a month ago. We bought  3 female black mollies, one male white molly and one female white molly with the tank and we bought a Siamese fighter last week.  <Too much too fast, and a Betta/Siamese fighter probably will have trouble in that tank.>   The male molly died within a few days of having the tank... <Check your water quality, my guess is that this did him in.> My boyfriend spotted a tiny baby fish a couple of days ago but it got eaten in a matter of seconds.. When we got back from work today we spotted another tiny fish and managed to catch it. <More will follow, mollies put rabbits to shame.>  We were so unprepared for the fry so we put him in a plastic food bag...<Won't last long in this, needs good water quality and filtration.> The white molly ballooned up 3 days ago but lost the weight the next day. <Gave birth.> Today we have noticed one of the black mollies has also ballooned up... <Expect to see this often, female mollies are pretty much always pregnant.> All of the fish are now fighting.  <How big is the tank?  Some mollies can be quite aggressive to their tankmates.> We are very confused why we have a fry as our only male molly died. Any help you could give me would be brilliant.. I really look forward to hearing from you. Best Regards, Anna S. <Female mollies have the ability to store sperm for up to 6 months, so expect more fry.  And as an added bonus in 6 months the juveniles will become sexually mature and start impregnating the first generation and their siblings, leaving you with a tank full of fish.> <Chris>

Re: New Fish Tank, Molly Fry 4/13/07 Dear Chris, <Hello> Thanks ever so much for this information, you have settled my mind!  We have saved one of the fry... :-) <Good> Have a brilliant day. Best Regards, Anna. <Just a word of warning, plan now for what you want to do with the nearly endless supply of fry that will probably be coming.  Best not to get stuck with a bunch of fish you cannot afford to keep and are difficult to even give away.> <Chris>

Pregnant molly/barb fry   4/3/07 Hi. First off, I want to say that I love this site. Every time I have a question or I'm bored and want to look up things on my fish, I come right here. Anyway, I have a small issue that I don't know how to address. I have a 10g tank with 4 cherry barbs (1 male, 3 females) and 4 mollies (1 male and 3 females). I  just recently got 2 Sailfin mollies <Mmm, these do get very large...> thinking it would balance out the ratio, before it was 1 male and 1 female, but the male is still constantly harassing the one female molly that is pregnant. <And there's not enough room here for her to "get away"...> He doesn't even go near the other 2. I found 1 cherry barb fry the other day <! Really? This is much more likely a Molly> and put it in a one gallon I have until it gets big enough that it won't get eaten in the 10g. I want to separate the 2 mollies because she is pregnant. My problem is this. I don't have another tank so that I can separate the male and female molly except the one gallon that the barb fry is in. Would it be ok for me to put one of the mollies in there at least until the molly gives birth? <Mmm, not really... trouble with waste processing mostly...> And also, which do I put into the tank? I don't know if either would eat the cherry barb fry but I desperately feel the 2 mollies need to be separated until she gives birth. I think she is very stressed out by the male molly. Thanks in advance. Laura. <Let's see... if it were me, I'd return the Sailfin Mollies... you don't have enough room for these... Perhaps trading these in for the equivalent money for a "breeding trap"... a simple "net" type one will/would do here, to hang in the ten... perhaps to give the male a "time out", place the females when they are close to giving birth. Bob Fenner>

Balloon Mollies 3/28/07 Hey guys! <Hello> I was just recently given 2 balloon mollies as gift. The person who gave them to me told me that the fish store told her that one of the two was male and one was a pregnant female. The only problem is I can't tell which is which! They're both huge! The only fish I've had any real experience with before are guppies (which I'm glad to say are all adjusting very well to their new additions), so I'm really in the dark here. <Really not so different from guppies, both like salt in their water, live-bearers.> I tried looking for a black spot on each of the mollies' bellies but one is completely black and the other is gold with black spots so I cant tell. The only other clue I have is that the black molly chases the gold one around a good portion on the time. Is this a good indication that he is the male? <Sort of, but have seen many aggressive females who chase everyone.> In any case, I know I have to go out and get a few more female regardless of who's who, correct? <Would be best for the female, ideally a 4-1 ratio females to males if the tank is large enough.> Thanks for the help! -Jess <Sexing mollies is quite easy actually.  Females have large fan shaped anal fins, while males have tube shaped anal fins (gonopodium).  Please see here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollyreprofaqs.htm .> <Chris>

Re: Pregnant molly   3/21/07 Hi there, <<Well, 'Hi' back, Bridgette.>> Thanks Tom for responding to my question yesterday about my aggressive female Dalmatian molly who just became a new mother. <<Happy to do so, Bridgette.>> When I woke on Saturday morning, the male molly had passed away'¦I'm afraid she may have run the poor little guy to death. He was such a passive fish. Very sad. L <<I'm sorry to hear this, Bridgette.>> All the fry seem to be doing well. <<Excellent!>> I bought some live plants to float at the top of the 10 gallon tank for some added hiding spaces for the little ones. <<Good.>> Right now only the fry and the mother are in the tank. <<Best to keep an eye on 'Mom' where the babies are concerned, Bridgette. These fish lose their appetites for a number of hours after giving birth -- figure about 12 hours, or so - but aren't above viewing the fry as a potential meal later on. So much for Motherhood! :) >> The test strip for nitrite shows somewhere between 1 and 3 (API test strips), I did a partial water change yesterday and again this morning. Should I continue doing these changes every day or more than once a day until it reads zero? I was unsure of how often to do the changes because of the fry. <<The fry will need the most pristine conditions you can give them. Between one and three ppm is too high even for an adult so you definitely want to stay on top of the changes the way you are. Hard to 'over-do' it where little ones are involved.>> Yesterday the mother was making lots of poop. It seemed like every 30 minutes she was going. Is this normal for a new mother? <<Considering the relief on her intestines that giving birth provided, I'd say this isn't at all unusual. As long as the coloration of the feces is normal, I wouldn't be concerned at all.>> I put a little piece of nylons over the filter so that the babies wouldn't get sucked in'¦is that ok for now? <<Perfectly fine and a wise move on your part.>> Also, today the mother has been staying at the bottom of the tank, almost laying on the gravel. She will wiggle for a little while then stop. Could this be a sign of her going into labor again soon? <<We talked about 'recuperation time' during our last 'visit' and this is likely part of that. I wouldn't discount the added possibility, though, of her giving birth to more fry. Livebearers have the habit of spreading this out over two, or three, days on occasion. Not part of a new pregnancy but a continuation of the current one.>> Thanks so much for all your help. This site is truly wonderful and I appreciate all the help you can give me! Thanks again, Bridgette <<I'm glad to be able to help, Bridgette, and we all thank you for your kind words. Keep an eye on the mom and babies and get back to me if you see anything that appears troubling to you. Best regards. Tom>>

Urgent question... Not so... Molly repro.    3/20/07 Hello Guys, I recently found your site and like mostly every other fish owner have become obsessed. <I can't leave either!> I just have a few quick questions. I have a 10gal tank setup with 1 male Dalmatian molly who has somewhat or a larger/longer dorsal fin paired to 3 females (1 white with minimal black spotting, 1 black with a silver flecks on its belly, and one greyish with black spots) Also in the tank inside a breeding chamber I have an orange balloon molly that looked way more plump then the rest at the store and a Dalmatian/black molly who seems a bit more plump then the others) My first question is exactly how much bigger do they get when you know they are about to have babies, I've done lots of research some say they get huge some say they have appeared normal or even skinny. <Definitely bigger most of the time... perhaps twice in girth or so...> I've looked for gravid spots but on the dark ones its nearly impossible and on the white I cant see anything so my bet is she's either not pregnant/in-between or in very early stages. The orange balloon who was more plump then her tank mates at the stores vent areas seems almost lighter not darker so again its hard to tell. <Agreed> If any successful breeding happens am assuming the offspring are just going to be a mix bag of colors so to speak sine at the moment am not working towards any color variations. <Correct> Its been hard to find any pictures of mollies in any stages of pregnancy and since this is my first time with this particular fish am having trouble picking which females to separate for minimal fry loss. <Mmm, I'd get on over to the public library. There are plenty of fine works in print that have such info., graphics re the reproduction, keeping of livebearers...> Any suggestions links or pictures would be a great help I look forward to hearing from you!! Thanks a lot! ~Peter <The library... Bob Fenner>

Pregnant molly  3-13-07 what... <What - proper sentence case is very much appreciated, so I don't have to re-type everything...> ...is the gestation time of a black molly?? <All livebearers generally have a gestation period of 4-6 weeks> I... <I> didn't notice her getting big until being away for a weekend??!! <Any time mollies, platys, guppies (i.e., livebearers) are kept in a community tank there's a pretty good likelihood that the girls will be pregnant - these fish reproduce almost exponentially, or so it seems.> Please get back to me ASAP, so I can go out and get a breeder net if needed!! <Let me ask how large the tank currently is, and what fish are housed in it? If the tank is large enough and has enough cover (plants, decor, etc.) for the birthing mom and her new babies to hide in, it's perfectly OK to allow the female to give birth where she is. I've been keeping mollies for several years now, and have yet to see an adult eat its own young.  If you have bigger fish in the aquarium, that's another story; fry make a tasty treat for lots of fish... I discourage the use of breeding nets, as they tend to needlessly stress the birthing mom out. If you have the room to raise and care for the babies, best thing to do is put the pregnant girl in her own cycled 5 or 10 gal. tank.  But again, do keep in mind that livebearers are virtually almost always pregnant, and you will soon be overrun with the cute little fry if you don't think about what you plan on doing with them! Do be sure to keep your water quality pristine, as fry are even more sensitive to poor water quality than their adult counterparts... Good luck, Jorie> Thanks!! Carrie

Pregnant Molly Question   3/4/07 <<Greetings, Vince. Tom here this morning.>> I have a Dalmatian balloon Molly that has been hugely pregnant since the end of December.  How is it that I have seen no babies yet?  I haven't ever had this happen before.  It's driving me crazy. <<A plausible, if somewhat obscure, explanation would be that the 'first' pregnancy became unviable and she never gave birth. Since sperm can be stored by livebearers such as Mollies for approximately six to eight months following a single mating, it's possible that your Molly started a 'second' pregnancy before the unviable fry had been completely reabsorbed into the mother's body. I can't say that it's not a 'stretch', Vince, but your Molly is far past her gestation period from December and should have gone through a slim-down period of some description whether, or not, she had given birth. Without any other outward signs of ill health or stress, I can't think of another explanation for her remaining 'hugely pregnant' all this time.>> Info: The tank is healthy, with 3 fry (10 weeks old), one male other than this female.  I used to have another female but she died 2 days ago- no apparent reason.  Live plants and snails.  Nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia always test low. <<You might try isolating her if possible. The change, and relief from potential stress from the male, might help Nature take its course if she's near birth, which I would surmise she must be by now.>> thanks- Vince <<You're welcome, Vince. And, don't go crazy. That's my job. Good luck to you. Tom>>

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

HELP PLEASE! Molly repro.   1/27/07 Hi, <<Hello, Brittany. Tom here with you.>> I've been online researching cures for things I've lost a lot of fish from... and I always come to your site for answers. I have Lyretail and Sailfin mollies, as well as 3 Corys. <<Behaviorally compatible species, Brittany, but not 'environmentally' compatible. Mollies are widely considered to be a 'brackish' water species of fish, i.e. salinity levels between 1.11 and 1.17. Corys are strictly freshwater species as are all 'scaleless' fish, Plecostomus varieties included among others.>> A minute or two ago, I went to check on my fish.  I had put a male and female together in a "net breeder" to later move them to a tank so they could breed.  When I went upstairs, the male and female had been together for 2 hours or so, the male was picking at the female.  At first, I thought she was dead by the way she was floating in the water and the way the male was "lipping" at her.  When I removed the male, I saw her gills were moving, and she was managing to swim. <<Livebearers such as Mollies almost never require being separated into a breeding tank in order to mate. Chances are close to 100% that she's already mated with one of the males in the main tank. What we refer to as 'breeding' tanks, in this specific instance, would be used for the pregnant females to give birth away from other adults that will see the fry as 'food'. Egg-laying fish would, potentially, be a different case all together since the eggs might well be seen as food by the adults making the production of their fry difficult, at best, without separating them from the 'herd'.>> The female is a sunset molly. Very, very bright orange color with beautiful markings.  Now, she has a transparent "patch" on her head, and from the center of her body to her tail, she has lost all her color but a very pale yellow.  Her fins, tail and dorsal look like that of a fish with shredded fins from fin rot, but she was perfectly healthy just hours ago.  I'm assuming the male did something to her, perhaps attacked her... but I don't know what's wrong with her... she's not bloody, just pale and her fins appear "stringy"... <<For the future, moving a fish is highly stressful. Right up there with being attacked by a predator.  Next, the male will be relentless in pursuing a single female in any system which would only add to her stress.  In a small tank, she'd have nowhere to run or hide. Last, we can't discount the individuals themselves regarding how easily stressed the female might be and how aggressive the male is. As 'innocent' a move as this may have seemed, it was a recipe for problems.>> She does still swim around, but have limited use of her tail.  Please tell me what to do... She is a very lovely girl and I don't want to lose her as she was very very healthy and a rare find.  I'm sorry for the lack of grammar and what not. I'm in quite a hurry and a nervous wreck. <<I completely understand, Brittany. Let's do this. Move the male back into the main tank'¦now! Leave the female in the small tank and we'll convert this to a temporary hospital tank. Depending on the size of the smaller tank, I want you to perform a small water change (as you normally would) but add aquarium salt to the fresh water, letting it dissolve completely before adding it to the tank. The ratio of salt to water that I'd like you to shoot for is one generous tablespoon of salt per five gallons of water. (I'd help with the math if I had the specifics from you.) Keeping a close eye on her goes without saying here. If you don't already have them, I'd consider a small, submersible sponge filter and small, good-quality heater for this tank while she recovers. No need for any but natural lighting during her recuperation.>> I know you get tons of emails, but please respond ASAP!!! ~Brittany <<If you'll keep me posted on how things are going I'd appreciate it, Brittany. Best of luck to you and your Molly! Tom>>

Dalmatian Molly Fry - it's not OK to kill them because you didn't know the habit of livebearers   1/25/07 Hi,  I purchased a Dalmatian molly two weeks ago, it's (not surprisingly) pregnant! <That's the joy of having livebearers...>   I don't want the fry, is there any chance that the molly, 2 neon tetras, 2 guppies and 1 bumblebee goby will eat them all? <I think the tetras are your best bet...I've never personally seen a molly eat its own kind (though I've read about it), and the guppy and bumblebees probably don't have large enough mouths.>   If not, what is the kindest way to "put them to sleep"? <Ummmm, I'm sorry, but my opinion is that's not a viable option.  If you really didn't want the responsibility of caring for fry, well, then perhaps you should have done your homework and not purchased a female molly from a community tank.  At this point, see if you can "donate" the fry to a LFS - they'll likely use them for feeders (at least they're dying for a purpose), or perhaps a friend. Please, next time, do your reading prior to purchasing a live being; you are responsible for your fish, as well as any babies they might have, and you have a moral obligation, in my opinion, to do you best to care for them. I cannot knowingly tell you how to kill your fish for no good reason - sorry. As a side note, bumblebee gobies are brackish water fish and belong in water with a salinity of around 1.005.  Mollies and guppies also thrive in these conditions, but tetras do not. You have two incompatible species together here...> Cheers, Joscelyne <Forgive my terseness, but this just isn't appropriate, in my mind. Regards, Jorie> Pregnant Molly ??   1/12/06 <<Hello, Dianne. Tom with you.>> I have a balloon belly molly that my husband has been swearing was pregnant. Much to my surprise yesterday morning, I got a glimpse of a fry.   <<See, sometimes we guys know what we're talking about. :) >> Unfortunately we were not prepared for this, and we haven't seen the fry since. I'm sure he was eaten by one of the other fish in the tank.   <<That's where my money would be, Dianne.>> The mother molly is still pretty good size, and my husband thinks she is still pregnant.  We have put her in a breeding net, but I don't want to keep her in there if this isn't possible.  Any insight? <<Put your money back on your husband, Dianne. The birthing process can actually run out over a couple of days. If memory serves (an 'iffy' proposition in my case but, still'¦) we had a writer, not too long ago, whose Platy had fry over a period of three days. Somewhat unusual, to be sure, but it can happen. Try, if possible to give the mother some isolation afterward. Frequently, the mother doesn't fare particularly well after giving birth and needs to recover without the 'attentions' of males that aren't noted for being very sensitive to her condition. Let's call it for what it is. Males in the livebearer group are 'pigs'. Can't pour perfume on that one. :) >> Thanks, Dianne James <<You're welcome, Dianne. Hope all turns out well. Tom>>

Molly Crossbreeds and susceptibility to white spot    1/5/07 Hello from the middle of the UK <And hello from Chicagoland, Illinois, USA!> Firstly, your site really is a fantastic resource, many thanks for the hard work you must all put into it. <On behalf of the WWM Crew, thanks for the kind words.> I have found different websites have slightly varying opinions on the finer points of keeping tropical fish... <...there really are lots of views out there.  Of course, there are some concrete basics that cannot/should not be varied, but many things are debatable...lots of differences of opinion, even amongst crew members at times...> ...your site deals with this so well as the answers in the faq's come from different people as do the questions, it's very informative, thanks again. <Glad you find it useful! I am always looking things up on the site - it's how I've learned much of what I know about the hobby.> Having prostrated myself at your feet and declared myself "not worthy" :-)..... <Well, you don't have to go that far!! lol...> I have a 150 gal tank with 2 female Bettas, 1 Plec, 1 Algae eater (long thin light orange sucky fish, not sure what to call it really)... <another type of Pleco, perhaps? Any pictures for identification?> ...7 tetras of varying types, 1 Lyre tail molly and 12 fish that came out of the Molly, I think they may be crossed with a Guppy we have in our other tank... <crossbreeding between livebearers can, and does, indeed happen> ...(we moved her and some of the offspring, she is getting quite big and the kids were taking over the tank). <Yup, livebearers can/will do that! I'm amazed they haven't taken over the planet with their reproduction rate...> Water is at 28.3 deg C +/- .2... <This is the high-side of OK for most tropical fish, but good for the Bettas...> ...ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate around 40ppm... <MUST reduce the nitrate levels...20 ppm is as high as they should be.> (most of the time) ph 7.8 constant. Filter is an Atman 882, it's an in tank filter, housing a heater, 2 compartments holding bags of different filter medium and a pump, in that order as the water flows through. I do a 10% water change/clean every week and add a little stress coat type treatment (Nutrafin AquaPlus) each time to the fresh water to remove the chlorine and help the fish, I normally age the new water for 24 hrs before doing the change and add a little AquaPlus (20ml) to the tank. <Your water change schedule generally sounds OK, but since those nitrates are so high, I would recommend doing a 10% change 2 times per week, until the levels fall under control.  They really are too high and are likely stressing the fish, causing them to be more susceptible to disease.> The water from my tap is quite high in nitrate (around 40ppm) so 1 of the bags in the filter contains "Nitrate Sponge" to help keep the nitrate at an acceptable level. <Well, there's the problem, then...if you keep doing water changes with this water, the nitrate levels likely won't drop.  I'd recommend looking into a RO/DI unit, or at the very least, a DI product such as this one: http://www.aquatichouse.com/WaterPurifiers/tapwaterfilter.asp The RO/DI unit will cost you more, but will save you money in the long run, as the filters don't have to be replaced nearly as frequently as the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Tap Water Filter product.  I don't know if they'll ship to the UK, but I am a big fan of www.airwaterice.com for RO/DI units. I'm not familiar with the "nitrate sponge" product you refer to, but it clearly isn't working.  I really suggest a water filtration system.  Everything else you describe seems great.> Questions: Can a Molly cross breed with a Guppy? <Yes.> The offspring certainly look like that is the case though there was also a male Swordtail in the other tank when she gave birth (She has also had normal Molly babies before and after this bunch arrived). <From my understanding, all livebearers are capable of cross-breeding. Might want to consider just housing a single sex, if you want to keep all these different species.> A quick aside here, she also gave birth to a Platy! <Without a platy parent?!> And we don't have any, well we do now! <OK- I'm confused a little about that one...> Why are these cross breeds so susceptible to whitespot (The pure Molly is fine as are the rest of the fish)? <I am by no means a geneticist, but my general understanding is that too much genetic variation causes all sorts of problems, including a weakened immune system.> If the nitrate level climbs above 50ppm they start breaking out with it,... <Nitrates really need to be between 0 and 20 ppm...> ...which is fine when I spend a lot of time watching them as I see the first spots and drop in some of the stress coat stuff and check the nitrate levels straight away and the whitespot goes in a day or 2. HOWEVER, if it's Christmas and I don't pay enough attention, they get in a hell of a mess in a very short time and it's out with the blue stuff (Waterlife Protozin) to fix them. <Do read here for some helpful information on treating ich.  Keep in mind that the ich parasite goes through various life-stages, and truly the only way to get rid of it is to run the affected tank fallow for at least a month... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm > Probably worth mentioning the fish in question are now at least 4 months old, maybe more.> Any ideas? The best I can come up with is that it's a genetic failing, but I wanted to check it's not something I am doing wrong, I'm not sure they like it! <It is likely a genetic weakening, and these fish will likely always be more susceptible to disease than their "purebred" parents.  The one thing you can do is to lower your nitrate levels - that's about the only problem I can see.> Many thanks again John <You're welcome. Get rid of those nitrates and you're fish you all likely be more healthy.  Best of luck, Jorie Re: Molly Crossbreeds and susceptibility to white spot (Now about Nirate levels)  1/5/07 Hi, have replied with the previous message and comments below so you know what's going on. <OK, sure!> Firstly thanks for the info, a brief overview of your reply would be that I need to get my nitrate levels down. Great, I have something to do that should fix the problem so... 3 reasons for my reply: 1) Many many thanks to you all 2) Discussing reason 3 may help others with their searches when this message goes into the site 3) I'll be as brief as I can....... <(1) thank you,(2) this will be posted on our FAQs, and hopefully others can benefit from the info. also, and (3), no worries - I can be long-winded myself!> Up until now all the information I have read and been to me given about nitrate levels has been that they don't matter too much, and yet "Graham T" says 20ppm Nitrate is good, any more is bad, 60ppm a big no no... <Graham is one of my fellow volunteers; for some reason, I think his name got attached to our general "crew" e-mail box.  In any case, my humble understanding of water chemistry is that 20 ppm is not "good", per se, but on the high-end of acceptable.  In an ideal world, nitrates would be at zero, but that's pretty hard to achieve in reality. If the reading is 20 ppm, I do a water change, but I understand that in your case, since your tap water is coming out at 40 ppm, this really won't help.> ...and yet when I ran up my first tank a year and a half ago, I took a sample of water from the newly cycled tank to my local shop and they tested the water and did not comment on the nitrate being around 50ppm. <This is precisely why I test my own water and do independent research.  I can't tell you why your fish store wouldn't advise you the same way, all I can say is that my own readings, research and experience have all led me to the conclusion that FW nitrates must be 20 ppm or less for the ultimate good-health of the livestock.> The water from my tap has a nitrate level of 40ppm!!! <I remember - I was shocked when I first read that!> so my frequent water changes are just making matters worse. <Well, I wouldn't say worse, but it certainly explains why your last reading was 40 ppm...> I shall put my hand in my pocket and buy a water purifier. <Reverse osmosis/de-ionizing units can be expensive, but well worth it, in my opinion.  We had a problem with high phosphates in our tap water, which is what led us to purchase ours...our fish have never been healthier.  Plus, there's a drinking water switch, so you may be able to benefit from that, personally, as well!> But, a couple of questions: A quick search of WWM shows that you all think that nitrate levels are important, how come I had so much info that said otherwise? <"So much" contrary info., or just what your local fish store folks told you? Again, I certainly can't comment on why others say what they do, but I can tell you that most, if not all, reputable research in the hobby shows that nitrates, while not as toxic as nitrites and ammonia to fish, certainly aren't good and should be as low as possible...> I am beginning to thing my beautiful male Betta died because of the high nitrate levels, I won't replace him until I have got the nitrate down, he was more of a pet that a pretty fish in a tank, real personality, sob sob etc... <I agree with you - I've got three Bettas (two males and one female, all separate, of course), and they are my favorite fish.  So much personality, and beautiful, as well.  I can't say that the nitrates killed your Betta, but they surely didn't help.  Another common problem with folks keeping Bettas is not keeping them in a min. 2-3 gal. filtered tank, with a heater set to a constant 80-82 degrees F...I'm sorry you lost your little friend.  Once you get your RO/DI unit, and a suitable tank for the Betta, you will be all set, as they are very low maintenance once these general requirements are met...> sorry, had to let it out somewhere :-) best to do it where I maybe understood. <Ask my boyfriend - I am the nutso-save-all-the-Bettas-in-little-cups-in-PetSmart lady - I'm in the process of writing a simple how-to-care-for-your-Betta article.  It's one of my passions! Long life the Bettas...I can keep going for ever:-) > Second and maybe even more importantly, myself and my family (and everyone else in the town) are drinking tap water with a nitrate level that makes fish ill. Is this bad for humans?????? <Well, I'm not a doctor, but I can't imagine it's good.  Again, if you invest in a RO/DI unit, I would look into the drinking water attachment...> Finally a note for the google search to help others... " High nitrate levels in tap water " :-) <Thanks - will pass this along.> My complete thanks to you all John <You're welcome, John.  And, your P.S. re: a FAQ on sending pictures - I am forwarding that along to Bob Fenner himself.  I'll happily admit I am not a computer junkie, and as this is Bob's site, he's the best one to help you out on that note. I'm sure he'll appreciate the advice/suggestion.  Best regards, Jorie> Female balloon molly dying after giving birth - need to test water, isolate fish  1/2/07 Hi- <Hello and Happy 2007,> I currently have a tank with 2 female balloon mollies and one male.   <What size tank is this? How long has it been established?> One female gave birth recently to about 18 fry on Dec 25. <A nice Xmas present!> I didn't do anything to separate the mom or babies, and now there are 7 babies still alive. <As long as the tank is large enough for everyone, that's OK - I've never had a problem with molly parents/adults eating fry.  It is advisable to provide plenty of cover (plants, decor, etc.) to maximize the fry's survival chances, and frequent water changes are necessary, as fry are even more sensitive to poor water condition than the adults.> On Dec 29, the mom started acting strange... hiding in the decorations, staying at the bottom of the tank, sometimes acting like she was trying to burrow into the gravel.  The other 2 fish are very healthy and active.  The fry seem healthy too.  I have live plants and one snail. <Definitely odd behavior.  Have you recently tested for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, and when was this tank's last water change? Although it's good that only the one fish appears to be affected, she could be more sensitive to poor water quality, as she's likely still recovering from giving birth.  Alternatively, does this female in question have any strange coloration, parasites, anything else visible going on?  First off, I'd suggest a water change (matching temp, pH, etc. as closely as possible, just like always).  If her behavior doesn't improve shortly thereafter, I'd recommend isolating her to her own tank, so that she doesn't pass on whatever it is that's ailing her to the others.>   The male fish doesn't bother her (a passive male), and only the other female (pregnant & grumpy) acts aggressively towards her and only at feeding time. <In this one fish's weakened state, this could have caused her to get sick from the ever-present bacteria in the water...again, I suggest changing water.  Also, it sounds as though a separate tank for her to recover, not be bullied by the other female, is in order ASAP.> To combat that, I dropped a couple of shrimp pellets to the bottom so the sick molly could feed in peace. <OK, but be sure you aren't overfeeding - uneaten shrimp pellets can quickly foul the water.> Yesterday (Dec 30) she seemed better- swimming around and eating (although still not fully herself), but this morning (Dec 31) when I checked her she was on the bottom, her sides looked sunken, and she was listing to one side. <Not good...> Is there anything I can do?  I don't have anything to test water levels with- I take samples in to my fish store periodically to have them checked and the levels are always good (so they tell me)- no color change with the ammonia test. <It is imperative that you have your own quality test kit in this hobby - it isn't realistic or practicable to rely on the LFS.  First off, I recommend investing in a liquid kit, such as one made by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, to measure ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH.  Even if ammonia levels are at zero (which they need to be), there could be a build-up of nitrite and/or nitrate, both of which are toxic to fish.  In the absence of such a kit, I do recommend a relatively large (but not complete) water change, as well as moving the bullied/affected fish to her own quarters. Hopefully then, you can feed her something more nutritious, such as vitamin-enriched bloodworms or mysis shrimp. Based on your description of her, it sounds as though she isn't eating...>   I have had the tank since March of this year, bought the molly that just gave birth Dec 15. <What is your current water change schedule? And again, it would be helpful to know how large the tank is.  Is there filtration running, and if so, what kind? Without this info., all I can do is surmise that a combination of poor water quality, coupled with being bullied by the other female, are contributing, if not causing, the problems...> Thanks, Molly <Best of luck, Jorie> Re: Female balloon molly dying after giving birth - need to test water, isolate fish PART 2   1/3/07 *Thank you for your help*.  I am going to go and buy a test kit ASAP.   <You're welcome and good idea.> Unfortunately, the sickened female died. < :-( > Her babies are still doing well, though. <Excellent.> One thing about the shrimp pellets- I use a turkey baster to suck up the uneaten remains (that I can see), and the snail I have eats the remains too. <That's great.> I do think I will step up my water changes.  I just read that more frequent water changes is very important for the fry. <This is true - fry seem to be much more sensitive to poor water quality than their adult peers are.> This female actually sickened after a 40% water change I had done the day before, and made me suspect that something went wrong there- but I did it as per my usual method, and as the other adults and fry are fine I was really perplexed as to why she suddenly took suck a terrible turn.  I thought if anything, the fry would sicken if poor water quality.  My usual method is to net the fish (also the fry) and put them in a holding bowl (with the current tank water)  until the cleaning is complete, as I do a thorough vacuum of the rocks and it churns up a lot of stuff.  I reintroduce the fish after the tank is re-equilibrated.   Maybe this was too much of a stress on the new mom- :-(. <I think you are right - too much stress.  She was likely weakened after having given birth.  Although I applaud your thorough cleaning of the tank, you might not want to remove the fish each time you do a water change, as that is a bit stressful.  In your 10 gal. tank, if you've got just the fry and the one male and one female adults, I'd suggest doing a 5 gal. weekly water change (assuming that all your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate readings are at zero) using a siphon to remove excess food, debris, and an algae pad to clean the sides of the tank where necessary...you can leave the fish where they are.  If you see the tank becoming excessively dirty (which is shouldn't, if you keep up with this water change schedule), you could use your method once in a while, but I really wouldn't recommend doing it all the time, as it is likely too stressful.> I have a 10 gallon tank, btw.  I have a filter (regular, not under gravel), running, and a BioWheel (an Eclipse tank set up).  When the fry were small, they would occasionally get sucked up by the filter but the nice thing about this set up is that it is always wet and I could just remove the filter pad and the water would flush them back into the tank without harm. <A piece of pantyhose over the filter intake will alleviate this problem, as will the special "sponge" covers some LFSs sell.> Now the fry are big enough to escape the draw of the filter. <Great - they seem to be growing nicely!> Right now I think it's imperative to test the water, and if it's OK get another female so that the current one isn't bullied too much by the male. <I agree that testing the water ASAP is necessary.  Adding a female would likely be a good idea as well (assuming the parameters are fine), but do be sure to quarantine her for at least 3-4 weeks.  I somewhat recently decided not to use my own advice, and introduced a new molly to an established tank...wiped out EVERYTHING.  That's the last thing you want to do, especially with your new fry and all.> I thought it would be fun to have babies- and it is- but it's such a responsibility- just like any babies. <Hee hee - they are a lot of work! I haven't experienced the human variety myself, yet, but have had tons of molly, platy fry to raise...!> It was a wonderful Christmas present to see those fry swimming around- all big eyes.  Now they are so much bigger it's amazing!  I can see what coloring they are going to have now.  I sit and watch the fish, hold my baby up to see them (he loves to watch too).  It was just so terrible to lose the mom after she gave us these wonderful babies.  I don't want this to happen with the next one.  I need that water testing kit!!!! <Agreed.  Also, when doing water changes, do be sure to match the new and old water pH (most standard test kits will have this test also) and temperature as closely as possible - again, to alleviate stress.  Also, try the method I've recommend for water changes, to also minimize stress.  Finally, you and your son enjoy the fish!> Molly <Best regards, Jorie> Molly help!  12/30/06 Hi -- <<Hi, Jay. Tom here.>> I'm totally new to tropical fishkeeping, with just dim memories of tanks my dad kept when I was a child. Not wanting to get into too much scary cleaning and messing about I purchase a BiOrb tank, 30 litres, which has proven brilliant in terms of keeping the water clean and clear with the minimum of hassle. <<Glad to hear this, Jay.>> Into it I put a sailfin molly and a small leopard patterned Pleco. They both got along fine, although I was told afterwards that the Pleco would eventually grow too large and would need his own tank, but I was happy to do this if he survived me that long! (so much for asking advice in pet shops staffed by kids lol) <<What they also failed to mention is that Mollies are a brackish water species and Plecos aren't tolerant of salt. Always best to research fish before you buy.>> Anyway a few weeks later, carefully following instructions about when and how to stock my tank, I added a small lyretail molly. All was fine, but the next morning I woke up to see 11 pairs of beady little eyes looking up at me from under the driftwood. I didn't know that they were live bearers, or that she was pregnant - I thought she was pleasantly plump! <<And, now you know why she was full-figured. :) >> To make matters worse, my sailfin, whom I had been assured by the same damn shop would not mate with her, started in on the act, and was soon chasing her round the tank relentlessly. <<A common denominator among the more popular live-bearers, in general, is that they'll mate with your house cat if given the opportunity. They'll tend to stick with their own kind in a community setting but don't bet your next paycheck on it.>> Mum went back to the shop, and the babies took their chances, with all surviving. As they got bigger, the water quality became terrible, despite my best efforts, and my poor Pleco died. <<Sorry to hear about the Pleco, Jay, but 12 Mollies and a Pleco in a 30-liter tank is, as you now realize, a recipe for disaster. Far, far too over-crowded.>>   As soon as they were big enough, they went back to the shop, and I am now left with one who is about to go, and one little weird one who has never really grown. What I would like to know is whether the little runt will ever grow, and if not whether is likely to get eaten, and what I can put into the tank with the sailfin and the runt that will not breed with them or eat them. I would ideally like something a bit colourful, more so than the mollies, but that's easy to keep. Any ideas and suggestions? <<The 'runt', in my opinion, is destined to remain stunted in his growth. Likely a genetic abnormality that will also probably shorten his expected lifespan. As of now, I don't see him in danger of being turned into lunch, however. As to the second part of your question, you're going to be a bit 'hamstrung' by two important factors. First, I'll refer you back to the salt requirement for Mollies and, second, the size of your tank is going to be problematic where any of the popular brackish species are concerned. A 30-liter tank (about 8 gallons) is simply too small. (You'll see a wide assortment of sites that will suggest that Mollies are compatible with a large assortment of Tetras, et. al. Perhaps, but I consider this to be disputable based on the conditions that Mollies require to thrive.) What to do? Find a suitable home for the two fish you have now and start from scratch. A personal choice of mine would be the ever-popular Neon Tetra based on the size of the tank and your preference for something colorful. Black Neons are also attractive and a modest grouping of both types might be of interest to you. Another possibility here would be a single Betta as your tank would be a great size for one of these. It would preclude the addition of other fish, in my opinion, but tough to beat for beauty and relatively easy care.>> Thanks Jay <<I wish you good luck in your 'quest' here, Jay. I know you'll work it out. Happy New Year to you. Tom>>

Molly Gender Changing   12/6/06 Hello WWM crew! I used to have a few mollies, and I have a very strange question about one of them. We went to a pet store, and I'm pretty sure we bought a girl Molly. (The guys have this little stick fin thingy, and the girls just have regular fins.) <Ah, yes> Well, we got home, and she was so fat, she almost looked pregnant. Well, about a week later, I noticed some spots on her. I didn't think it was such a big deal. So the next day or so, we went on vacation to Florida. By this time, the fish was half covered with spots. So when we came back 2 weeks later, the fish had changed into a boy! Or at least I think it was a boy! <Mmm, yes... happens> She had spots everywhere, and she was a BOY! I even caught her trying to mate with other girls, and if I'm right, got one of them pregnant. Is it common or at all possible for a fish to just change genders like that, or do you think maybe he was a boy the whole time? <Could be either... not uncommon.> I'd love to know! (The fish is dead now...been dead for 2 years...just thought I might add that on.) Any help is appreciated! Thanks WWM crew! -Leira <Want to be further astounded? Look up "Amazon Mollies"... Bob Fenner>

Compliment for you; molly population explosion!  - 12/04/06 Hi Bob and crew!!!! <Well hello there, Rachel in the UK - this is Jorie from Chicagoland, USA...> Just wanted to say that you have a fabulous website and I've been addicted to it for 3 days now! <Just wait - 3 days will quickly turn into 3 years! Thank you, on behalf of WWM, for the lovely compliment. We do try...> As a result of browsing through your site I have now introduced a new molly to my tank as the local petshop failed to tell me about the male to female ratio. <Best to do independent research - LFSs have a vested interest in selling fish, and often fail to give the best advice.  With regards to the male:female ratio, I like to keep it around 1:4.> Seems I'm soon going to be over run by mollies though so looks like I'll have to buy another tank. What a shame eh....  ;) <Yes - I'm amazed that mollies haven't taken over the planet by now...I cannot believe how often they have babies! Plus, I have learned that a female molly can actually "store" sperm, and basically impregnate herself for up to six months or so! My female livebearers are almost always pregnant; I've had to resort to allowing them to give birth in community tanks, and allowing the larger fish to enjoy the feast of fry.  Of course, sometimes I "rescue" one or two of the fry, just because they are so darned cute!> Thanks and keep up the great work, Rachel in the UK xx <Thanks for your kind words, Rachel.  Enjoy your livebearers - and yes, you will likely soon have scores of molly tanks, unless you find some tankmates to control the fry population. Best regards, Jorie>

Re: Questions about Mollies   11/24/06 (a personalized reply - no need for detailed response unless you want to. Also no need for posting on site archives due to nature of this reply which is just me sharing the excitement of my fish hobby) <<Au contraire! Part and parcel of our involvement here... A/the human experience! Thank you, B>> Bob, Thank you so very much for your replies! I appreciate the time you & others spend volunteering to answer questions for people like me. It was a kind gentleman named "Tom" who replied when my 4 year old Betta had a tumor about 2 months ago, had no quality of life left, and he sent me a link on how to euthanize my long-time fish friend (clove oil & vodka). Since then, my attention has turned to the mollies which I've had just for a few short months. I never knew there were livebearing fish, so this along with my questions were new to me, and sometimes the right search words via google for info can be difficult to find because of all the garbage out on the net as well. Of note - all 7 baby gold-dust tuxedo mollies born this past weekend are still alive and well, swimming in the open with the adults. Because of the blind molly, I keep a "vacation feeder tablet" in the tank in addition to daily regular feedings for her (blind one) to peck on for added nutrition. A last note/request;  could you forward this message on to Tom? I'm just happy to share my updates for my newfound hobby. I miss my Betta, but have not replaced him yet, since I'm thinking about getting a fancier bred one such as a moon-tail. Whatever I decide, I know I have a 3+ year commitment ahead since every creature I own always seems to live longer than most.   Again, thank you Bob, and to the rest of your crew. Have a happy Thanksgiving! SK <<Bob did, indeed, forward your message to me and I thank you for both the kind words and for sharing your new experiences with us. I and the rest of the WWM crew wish you continued success in this wonderful hobby of ours. Happy Thanksgiving to you and a joyous holiday season! Tom>>

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

Questions about Mollies, repro.  11/22/06 I have some questions about my gold dust mollies. Can a molly that was once female still have the ability to bear fry after it has turned into a male? <Mmm, nope> One had changed, so I'm just curious if that's possible for it to fertilize "IT"self. <Not the species sold as pets... though you might be fascinated to look up the "Amazon Molly"... and mollies that have not changed sex are capable of storing sperm in their tracts> How often do they change color? I have one that survived that is now 3 months old. She was originally solid black, but now as she has gotten older, has turned bright orange. Is this common or normal for them to change colors? <Not uncommon to change to silvery/light... and back at times... but to orange... usually a one-way trip> I never used a breeder net, only have ample hiding places, breeder grass, etc. in the tank. Over the weekend, one of my mollies had another batch of fry. Usually they are eaten right away with only a couple smart enough to hide that have the chance to survive.  Right now, for the past 48+ hours, I've had 7 swimming in open water and the adults are NOT eating the babies.  Is there any special reason the babies would not be eaten? <Mmmm... maybe the adults are full> I suspect the blind one is the one that gave birth, but the others usually snack on them. One difference with this batch of fry, since euthanizing my 4 y/o Betta that had the tumor a month or so ago, I don't have a Betta in the tank using fry as a prime delicacy which is really the only change that has taken place. <Interesting to speculate that the male Betta's presence might have influenced the others predation here> Do mollies have a placenta that they expel after the birthing process? <Do have a placenta-like structure. This is mainly retained> The one I think was mom had some mammoth sized, what I thought were dark turds, but now I'm wondering. Thanks! You guys always have great advise, answers and fun to share my fish stories with. SK <Do take a read on the Net... better still a large library re these and other Poeciliid fishes... a wonder. Bob Fenner> Molly-youngest to be pregnant?  11/22/06 (I sent another message today and forgot to ask) What's the youngest age a molly can become pregnant? SK <A mere couple/three months... Bob Fenner>

Molly Mayhem  11/21/06 Hello, <Hi> I stumbled on your site, looking for an answer to my question, and could not find it, so, so I am asking... <Ok> I bought two Dalmatian Mollies about a month ago, and added them to a 55 gal tank with Neons, two Powder Blue Gourami's, one Silver Shark, and two Dinosaur Eels.... ok, now before you tell me, yes, I know the Eels should not have been in there, and we found this out by losing a few fish, they have since been separated into another tank of their own.... <Several of the remaining fish come from very different environments and require different water conditions, check out WetWeb for specifics.> Anyway... before our Eels got really "hungry" all of a sudden, our female Dalmatian looked as if she were getting quite plump, so we thought we were going to have fry soon... then our eels did their thing, and we lost our male Dalmatian, a few Neons, and two blood gourami's, and a powder blue Gourami... after this happened, and we removed the eels immediately, our one powder blue, and our female Dalmatian started acting like they were really confused, they would swim all over the tank, very rapidly, as if they were "looking for something" during this time our female Dalmatian seemed to "lose" her plumpness, and we just wrote it off that she was not pregnant, because she never got big enough to "drop"... <Not uncommon, she probably either gave birth prematurely or aborted the pregnancy altogether.>  So we went and bought another powder blue Gourami, and another male Dalmatian, and added them to the tank.  Both "stressed" fish calmed right down, and "buddied" up to their new friend... and we seem to have happy fish again, (and our silver shark is now growing, which he wasn't doing before)... but the main question I have is this... now it seems that our female is getting quite plump again, and the male and female, who were getting along great, now are exhibiting behavior I do not understand. I read that when a female molly is pregnant, she will irritate others in the tank <Depends on the individual>, but this is not the case, it is quite the opposite, the male molly follows her constantly, seeming to "smell" her rear side <Trying to mate.>, and she is constantly trying to swim from him. He does this all the time, seeming to give her no peace at all... what is the deal with that?  <Need to have more females than males to give the ladies a break from the very determined suitors.>   She is not bothered by any of the other fish, they all seem to get along very well, we still have the two powder blues, 3 Neons, the two Dalmatians, and the shark, along with a plecostomus. I was trying to look for the black spot they speak of, and the problem is that she is so dark black, with Dalmatian spots, that we can't tell... any help? Thank you, Kathy <You can assume she is pregnant, they almost always are if they are in contact with a male within the last 6 months.  The harassment is normal, and can be lessened by adding more females if the tank size allows.  You need to review the requirement of your various fish for incompatibilities and the long term problems that will develop from them.> <Chris>

Pregnant mollies?  10/26/06 I have got some important questions for you. <OK!> I'm new to the whole fish and aquarium scene. <Welcome.> I have had 2 marble mollies for a little over a month now and when I got them they looked like they were pregnant and still today they look huge, like they're pregnant. <Likely are - female livebearers kept with males are virtually *always* pregnant - plus, they can store sperm for up to 6 mos., and basically self-impregnate at will...> But I still have no babies.  Do you think maybe their eating them before I can get to them? <It's possible. I've never seen any of my livebearers eat their own fry, but I have heard of it happening.  Are there any other fish in the tank who may be the culprits?> Should I put both fish in one of those birthing things for a while to see what happens? <I do not recommend breeding nets or boxes, as they usually just stress the fish out, in my experience.  Keep the fish in pristine water conditions and don't stress them out - nature will take its course.  If you like, you could move the two females to a separate birthing tank (5 gal. minimum).> I'm really confused because they really do look pregnant. <Are you sure these aren't the balloon-bellied variety that are always quite round and full?> Please help. <Given proper tank conditions, the females will give birth in due course.  Since you mention you are new to the hobby, let me direct you here for some important information concerning optimal water chemistry, tank size, etc.: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/taptrtmnt.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfiltration.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/poeciliids.htm Best regards, Jorie> Swordtails Breeding with Mollies?  - 10/24/06 Hi from Australia <<Hi from the USA. Tom here.>> I have a large 3 foot aquarium that has a silver shark, lace Gourami, 3 female mollies, 2 female swordtails, 2 mail swordtails and 2 large silver dollars. I also have a small tank that has about a dozen swordtail fry born only yesterday. <<Congratulations.>> I have two questions that I hope you will be able to answer. <<I'll give it my best'¦>> Firstly, I just guessed when I thought that the swordtail was pregnant (these are my first fry) and put her in the breeder tank because everything I read says that you will know that they are about to have the fry when you can see their eyes at the back of the belly. <<A very good indication, certainly.>> My 3 females all have black stomachs and I can't see anything, is there any other way to tell as I think the other two may be pregnant as well? <<Early in the pregnancy, this may be a little difficult particularly when the gravid spot isn't clearly visible to you. Obviously, as things progress the abdomen will become fuller/rounder and, when time for the 'blessed event' is near, the female will tend to isolate herself from her tank mates. One common behavior is for her to linger near the aquarium heater if one is provided. Her vent may also become a little more pronounced.>> And, I think that 2 of my mollies are pregnant. Is it possible for swordtails and mollies to breed as the mollies were given to me as fry and I have had them for months so I know they weren't pregnant when I got them? <<Yes, this is possible. It's a bit of a misconception that livebearing fish like Mollies, Swordtails, Platys and the like will 'readily' crossbreed but it can/does occur. In general, each will seek out its own kind first but, in the absence of this, males of one kind may seek out a female of another variety.>> Please help. Thanks Amanda <<You're welcome, Amanda. I hope all goes well. Tom>>

Orange Balloon Molly Miscarriage - 10/18/06 Hello, <Hi - this is Jorie.> I recently purchased a 10 gallon tank and properly set it up including the aquarium salt, filter, heater, lovely temperature of water. <"Lovely" being defined as what?> I put in the fish, including a orange balloon pair and the female appeared to be pregnant and showing signs of impending birth (as soon as I placed her in) - usually for me, it seems impending birth is that they stay in the same place, just moving their fins and their underbody seems to change. Anyways, I moved her into a breeding net and woke up to a lot of what appears to be orangish eggs. I am assuming that she had a miscarriage due to the stress of moving into the new environment - could I be wrong? <I think that sounds to be the most logical explanation. I'll admit I've never seen what you describe before - I've seen "stillbirth", but not this...> The eggs are almost a clear orange and do not appear to be at all ready to have turned into actual baby fish.  How long should I keep her in the breeder net to assure she gets rid of all the miscarried eggs before putting her back into general population and is this possible that it could happen again? <As you point out, it is important not to stress pregnant fish, especially.  Personally, I don't like the breeder net contraptions - if you are intent on separating the birthing mom, a separate tank is a better option, in my opinion.  The breeding nets/boxes have always caused stress on the fish, in my personal experience.  With regard to releasing her, I see no reason not to do so immediately.  I suppose it could always happen again, but if you keep the water quality good and move the fish around as little as possible, this minimizes the risk of stress, hence minimizing the risk of birthing problems.> I don't want to keep traumatizing her and I know in my aquarium at the school where I teach, as soon as my black molly had her fry, I removed her, put her into general population and the male black molly immediately began harassing her again. <Sounds like a typical boy molly! Do you have adequate cover in the tank, in the form of plants, decor, etc.? Also, what type of male to female ratio do you have - generally, 1:4 is enough to allow the male to "diversify" his attentions...> I feel sad to think that these ladies have no time to themselves to rest and prepare for the male onslaught of attention again. <I know - I feel sorry for them at times myself!  Again, adding more females (or simply keeping all females) will minimize/solve this problem.> Any help on my orange balloon molly would be appreciated! <I hope this helps.  Hopefully, this is a one-time occurrence and she'll be just fine next time.  Best of luck, Jorie> Thanks, Lynne D. Upstate New York

Premature Molly Fry and Coloration - 10/22/2006 Hello! <<Hi, Tara. Tom>> I've been reading your FAQs for a while now, but only now am I in dire need of help. <<Can/does happen to all of us'¦>> My molly mama just had babies maybe 4 hours ago, and I didn't know what it was at first but now I have a pretty good idea. The babies, 5 of them alive right now, all had red/orange bellies (orange ones had red streaks in them, like veins) and I immediately knew that I could not put them with the others, so I put them in a cup with water until I could figure this out. I have come to the conclusion that they were prematurely born (there were also 3 that where only eggs). <<Your conclusion seems completely logical, Tara. There's a catch to this one, though. The fry develop inside of the fertilized egg with no 'attachment' to the mother. Once hatched, there's nothing for them to do but be born. Could they have hatched prematurely? Plausible, but it would be a stretch. Another consideration is that these Molly fry needn't have the same coloration as the parent fish. A Black Molly female may not necessarily give birth to Black Molly fry. Females have the capacity to store semen from males for a period of time and, depending on her mating history, she may have been inseminated by more than one male. Just something to consider'¦>> I want them to have the best chance of living and I would like to know what I can do, what they're chances are, and anything else. They are currently in a breeding net in the 10 gallon that serves my many baby molly fry from previous births. <<Keeping them isolated with optimum water conditions will give these fry the best chance they'll have. Again, it would be 'premature' on our parts to assume that these are other than normal, albeit differently colored, fry.>> Please reply as soon as you can, Thanks, Tara. <<You're welcome, Tara, and apologies for not being more prompt in my response. Been a little hectic around here of late. Best regards, Tom.>>

Pot Bellied Mollies repro.   10/2/06 Sorry to bother you, but I have a few questions. <'Tis not a bother - that's why we are here!> 1. I had a female pot bellied molly (balloon molly) who just gave birth to 20 healthy, live babies. And towards the end, she gave birth to 10 dead babies. Is that normal? <It certainly can happen - overbreeding is the number one cause of stillborn molly fry.  20 is a good amount of babies, though - congratulations, "fish grandma"!" 2. How can you tell if a balloon molly is pregnant? <Even though the balloon molly is naturally "round", if you carefully observe a pregnant female for a period, you'll notice her get even fuller.  Also, the gravid spot, which is located near the anal fin, will get darker right before she's ready to give birth.  Finally, when the babies are well-developed enough inside the mom, you may be able to see their eyes through the mom's stomach - little black spots.> 3. How can you tell the gender of a balloon molly? <Just like any other molly - the females tend to have triangular, more rounded anal fin, whereas the male has a pointed anal fin.  Look up some pictures on the internet, and once you see the difference, you'll always be able to tell the sexes apart!> Thank you for your time, Tiffany <My pleasure.  I absolutely adore balloon mollies - they are so very cute! Be aware that the fry are more sensitive to water conditions than their adult peers, so do keep up those water changes! Enjoy your fish...Jorie>

Pregnant Molly has BURST!  - 09/14/06 Okay, while watching her grow during her pregnancy in the last few weeks, I made jokes about her getting too big.  I kept telling the kids that, if she didn't deliver soon, she would explode.  Now I have to eat my words. <Yeeikes!> This morning, I checked on her again, and sure enough, there is a split in her side, where the sac has erupted!  She is still extremely active, eating heartily.  I can see the fry inside the sac, and my husband says he can see a sac emerging from behind as well.  But her tail fin looks kind of clamped.  I'm scared to death to move her, but equally scared not to... PLEASE any help on how to save my molly-girl would be much appreciated! I can't get a good enough pic, small enough to send -- the smallest was 384,000 kB.  Sorry. <Yowzah!> Shannon Loftis Joliet, IL <I'd leave this molly where it is... and just hope it self-repairs. Bob Fenner>

Molly Concern  - 09/10/06 Hello, <Hello there, you've got Jorie tonight.> I have been reading your website for tips on caring for my Mollies since I have gotten them.  Thanks for all of the advice! <You're welcome - that's what we're here for!> That being said, I have a concern about on of my female mollies.  Currently I have a 10 gal. tank with 5 mollies, 2 female gold dust, 2 female Dalmatians, and 1 male Dalmatian.  I had an additional male gold dust, but lost him to new tank syndrome. =( <Hmmm, sorry to say "new tank syndrome" is really not a disease, but simply has to do with the new fish owner adding too many fish, too fast, to an unestablished system.  If the nitrogen cycle is established (fishes), prior to adding any livestock, this will never happen.  Read here for more info. on cycling: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm Also, since you're tank isn't huge, I wouldn't recommend adding any more male mollies to the mix...sometimes it's fine, but other times, the one of the two males will terrorize the other, in an attempt to declare his "alpha-ness".  In all reality, if you have a 10 gal. w/ these 5 mollies, you're fully stocked, in my opinion. The mollies will grow to anywhere between 3-5" each, and they sure poop a lot!> Anyway, the concern I have is about one of my female Dalmatians.  She has a green spot on her belly.  It is on her left side in approximately the middle of her abdomen.  It doesn't look like an external growth and she still has her iridescence. <So no protrusions? Could just be coloration.  Have you recently tested water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH) - if not, do so.  How often do you do water changes in this tank, and what kind of filtration do you use? As mentioned above, mollies are pretty messy and produce a lot of waste, so the level of environmental toxins is something to keep an eye on.> She has developed a tendency to hide under the fake rock in the tank.  She'll come out once in a while, and will come out for feedings, but she doesn't go to the top of the tank like the rest of them do, instead, just picks the food from the gravel.  She also looks fatter than the rest of the mollies, like she's bloated or something. <Oh, now I see! She's likely pregnant! Females, when pregnant, can slow down and tend to hide more.  After verifying that the water conditions are good, I'd would just leave her alone, of course keeping a good watch over her.  The spot you are referring to could just be the darkness of the eyes of the little fry inside her belly! You said she was eating, which is a good sign.  For now, let her rest, make sure she isn't picked on, and just wait patiently.>   Her gills look fine, and she doesn't look like she's laboring to breathe.  Her movement is straight, and her fins are not clamped in the slightest. <All excellent.  I still believe you are an expecting fish grandma!> I've tried taking a picture of her and the spot to include with the email, but she is being very camera shy.  She could be swimming around the tank, but when the camera comes out she immediately goes back under the rock.  I've even tried my camera phone thinking that it wasn't big like the actual camera, but she hides for that as well. <It happens.  Don't stress her out, as it could interfere with her pregnancy.  Give it some time, and I'm pretty sure she'll give birth on her own.  OF course, if the symptoms should change, then we'll have to re-address.> When my male gold dust died, I had the water tested at both the PetCo that I bought the fish from and the "specialty" aquarium store in my town.  PetCo (which tested with the dip strips) said that everything looked good... <Those dip strips are notorious inaccurate.  You should invest in your own test kit - I like Tetra's Master Test Kit.  Easy to use, easy to read.> ...however, the aquarium store said that my bacteria was slightly low <...have NO idea what they mean by this...> and my ammonia was slightly high, <...OK, that's bad.  Do a 50% water change ASAP if you haven't already.  Ammonia and nitrite should always be at zero, 20 ppm is the high-end of acceptable for  nitrates (but lower is better).  Also, when relying on fish stores to test your water, make them give you the actual readings for the above-mentioned parameters.  Some people's definition of "low" and "high" aren't the same as other peoples'...> ...but did not give me exact figures for either. <See above.>   I have since treated the tank with bacteria and an ammonia break-down compound. <There is no need for this - just keep up with regular water changes and the bacteria will establish itself, and the ammonia will be removed.  I'm not a fan of products such as these, as I believe they give folks a false sense of reliance, and they then shirk they water-changing and filter-changing duties.  Do read that link on cycling provided above.> I have added 2 TBS of aquarium salt. <That's great - I was going to suggest it.  Mollies do appreciate a bit of salt in their water.  Remember, salt doesn't evaporate, so you only need to add more when you do water changes, not when you top off due to evaporation.>   Please help, because I can't find any information on any sort of green spots anywhere and I'm concerned about the molly. <In all honesty, I've not seen an actual "green" spot as you describe, but everything else leads me to believe your fish is pregnant.  If you look at her belly very closely, is she somewhat translucent? Can you see little fry in there if you try hard enough?> Thanks so much! <You're welcome.  Let me know should things change. Jorie> <P.S. Here's another helpful links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwtips4beginners.htm> Re: Molly Concern  - 09/10/06 Hello Again! <Hi> Thanks so much for the advice.  I did a partial water change (25% one day and 25% two days later as to not stress out the Dalmatian female too much) and had the water re-tested.  The aquarium store said that my ammonia levels had dropped to .5, still a little high but it will fall now that my bacteria was established. <Ammonia needs to be a ZERO at all times there are live fish in your system...do another water change ASAP.  Also, it really is worth the $25 or so to have your own test kit on hand...no need to make extra trips to the store, and much more reliable.> Oh, and my female Dalmatian did have babies. <Wonderful! Do you have fry food for them? If not, crushed flake food ('till you have a power-like consistency) works well...> And now that I know what to look for, I think that one of my female Golddust mollies are pregnant. <It seems as though there's always at least one pregnant molly in my livebearer tank...you'll soon have more babies than you know what to do with.  My platys are in a community tank w/ boesemanni rainbows, and this takes care of the overpopulation issue nicely.  The mollies live with a knight goby, who does his part as well...> Such is life, I guess.  The little fry are cute though. <Yep - I always get a kick out of how very small they are!> Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks again for all of your help.  Keep doing what you are doing, because it sure is helping! <You are most welcome.  Enjoy your fish!!> Mindi <Jorie> Help! Molly prego but not giving birth  - 09/10/06 I was hoping you could give us some ideas on how to handle a black molly female. <Jore here - I will sure try!> She has been pregnant for a while - we think she has spawned a few fish... <Younger females give birth to only a few fry during their first pregnancies...this isn't abnormal.> ...(we have 2 prego mollies) but is now very lethargic and looks like she is dying.  She continues to grow in her belly but has not given birth.  We have her in the tank in her own birthing net/box but for 2 weeks now she is not improved.  Is there anything we can do? <Sometimes pregnant fish don't react well to the breeder boxes - it can cause stress, which can cause all sorts of problems with pregnancy, including not giving birth.  What are the other fish in the tank? Do you intend to raise the fry to adulthood? If not, I'd suggest releasing her back into the community, providing she has enough cover (i.e., plants, decorations, etc. to hide in/around).  Also, if this is a species-only tank (i.e., just mollies), or if all inhabitants are relatively small-mouthed, and you do intend to raise the fry, you could still release her.  Again, just provide enough cover for the mom (as well as the babies once they are born).  Hopefully your fish is still eating normally and swimming (although it may be hard to tell in the box).  Alternatively, do you have another tank (maybe your quarantine tank) where she could temporarily live while she is pregnant? Really the only thing you can do is to let nature take its course...and keep her as calm as possible (which is hard w/ the birthing box).> It is a 50 gal established tank with 6 fish (plus about 20 babies now). Please help if you can. <Well, it sounds as though the babies can survive in the main tank; again, I recommend removing her from the breeding box and allowing her to swim free.  Just so long as she has hiding places.  I think she'll be much less stressed and you'll likely wake up to fry one day soon! You didn't mention how long you've had this tank, but you did say "established" - hopefully you are doing regular water changes? If you suspect a problem with water chemistry, take a reading of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate just to be sure...pregnant fish, as well as their fry, can be even more sensitive to toxin build-up than other fish are..> Thanks! <Best of luck! Jorie> Molly Giving Birth   8/27/06 Tried to find an answer but was overwhelmed with the amount of info. here. Most questions are about the gestation period more then the length of the birthing process. So here it goes...We recently purchased two new mollies for our tank. The female was obviously already in the family way as this evening we came downstairs and found some babies in the tank. This was around 9:00 p.m. We fished as many as we could out and separated them.  It is now 12:30 a.m. Is she done giving birth. We were able to get 7 or 8, 1 doesn't look so great.  2 went in the filter.   1- is it possible that is all she had? <Depending on the size of the female she could have as few as a couple and as many as a hundred plus.> 2- Could she have had more and they were eaten?  (My husband usually pays good attention and hadn't spotted them during the day.) < She could have eaten some.> 3- Could she still have more in the overnight? < Most females give birth over a period of time that depends on the water temp and how many fry she has. Some livebearers give birth slowly over a few weeks, but you molly should be done in 24 hours.> For future reference...how long might it take for the mother to give birth to all her babies for that particular pregnancy? An hour, two, etc? < Most of the fry are probably born in the first hour or so. Others then maneuver into place to be born.-Chuck> ]Thank you so much!-Shereen

Poeciliid Fry growth    8/7/06 Hi there, I have a few questions for you. I was wandering <And wondering?> how fast do fry grow and how many weeks till you can start telling them from female and male? <Mmm... for most livebearing species a few weeks... 3,4,5 will serve here... can be sped up a bit by frequent small feedings, and changing parts of the water on a regular basis (reduces metabolites that slow growth...)> We bought our first set of mollies on the 5th of August. She started to have babies in the bag on the way home.  The man at the store said she would have about 30 fry, well we got home and put her in a bucket and she had the babies in a 10 gal. aquarium.  After a hour past I checked on her and counted all the babies as I moved them and she had a little over 100 fry.  Now my next question is the next time she has fry will she have more than that or about the same amount?  I sent a picture for people to see the difference in a male molly. Thank you Robin <Mmm, thank you for this. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollyreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above... Much more pertinent info. to relate... and you'll realize the "method in our madness" in such referrals. Bob Fenner>

Baby Mollies, Using WWM    8/7/06 Hi!  I have had a fish tank for about 5 months now.  We decided  on mollies so that the kids could see the babies and all that cool stuff.   Of course, several have died, but the two adult mollies that are still alive  have had several babies.  We started with 2 white mollies, 2 black, 1 red  velvet and a sword tail.  The black one had about 11 babies, the red had  about 7, and the white had 6 the first go around and recently had 30, give or  take a few, over the course of about 2 days.  All of the adults, except for  the white ones died.   All of the babies are doing fine.  Here is where  my question comes in.  The black babies were the first ones born and I  assume are getting big enough to mate as they are chasing the white female, as  well as the black females around.  When they get to the white female (the  biggest one) they seem to rub there backs or top fins (I don't know fish anatomy  terminology) on the females belly or mating spot.  The white male  doesn't do this though, only the smaller black males.  Also, how old do the  fish have to be before they are able to become pregnant?  A few of our  "baby" black mollies look pregnant.  Thank you for your advice and sorry  again for my lack of knowledge on fish. Denise <No worries. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollyreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Molly health concerns, repro.  7/23/06 <<Hi. Tom with you.>> HELP!!!!! <<Will try...>> I have checked everything on mollies I can find but still have questions so here we go. I set up my tank for three weeks. My brother and I got Dalmatian mollies, my sister got a black molly, and my other sister got a red wag molly. My molly had 56 fry but all died. Now my brother's molly is going to have fry and mine is sick! <<I don't see a question here so let me toss out a couple. While looking up the information on Mollies, did you research "cycling" an aquarium? Three weeks, unless you've taken some elaborate steps, is not long enough to completely establish the beneficial bacteria needed to eliminate ammonia and nitrites in the water. Did you run across any information on the addition of aquarium salt to your Mollies' environment. Generally speaking, one tablespoon per five gallons of water is considered beneficial for most all FW fish. In the case of Mollies, though, one tablespoon per three gallons is more appropriate. How long ago did your Molly give birth? Livebearers like Mollies, Swordtails, Platies and Guppies need some "down time" especially after having such a large brood. If your aquarium is small, she may have no place to retire to for some badly needed, and well-deserved, R & R. Do you have a water test kit or, can you take a sample to the local fish store for testing? Knowing what your water parameters are is critical to any effective action that needs to be taken. Keeping your fish in pristine conditions can make up for a world of smaller errors.>> HELP!!!!! fish fan <<Tom>>

Re: Sick, pregnant Mollies   7/24/06 <<Hi, Kyleigh. Tom again.>> I have been cleaning the tank every week but we went to the pet store and they said the ammonia was very high and not to clean the tank but they also said to only feed 1 flake per fish every 3 or 4 days is that true? <<The folks at the fish store have given you good advice. The reasoning here is that water changes deprive the beneficial bacteria of what they need to multiply in great enough numbers to deal with the ammonia and nitrites that are affecting your tank. Additionally, fish food creates two problems. Uneaten food contributes to the pollution problem and the food that's eaten will turn into fish waste amounting to the same thing. By limiting your feedings - won't harm the fish at all - you cut down on the amount of ammonia in the tank while giving Mother Nature a chance to do what needs to be done. (All of this sounds pretty contradictory, doesn't it? It's not, really. The high ammonia that the fish store found is undoubtedly due to what we refer to as a "spike". First, you don't have it then, BAM!, it's through the roof. Too much for the bacteria you now have to deal with at one time but more than enough to harm/kill your pets.)>> Also is there any thing I can do for my dying fish? <<Unfortunately, there's little you can do other than heed the advice you've been given. One thought might be to move your fish to "temporary" quarters like a large plastic bin. Since you aren't concerned about cycling their substitute home, you could change the water as needed to keep the ammonia/nitrites very low. This could buy some time for your main tank to completely cycle and give your Mollies a fighting chance. Obviously, you'll want to keep a very close eye on the water conditions in the main tank by having the pet store test the water frequently or, you might get your own test kit, which is what I recommend. Once the ammonia has gone to 0.0 and the nitrites have risen, then dropped to 0.0, your tank is cycled and your fish can "go home".>> I am thinking about getting a neon tetra if she dies. Is that a good mix? <<Will they do okay together? Sure, but remember that Mollies like salt in their water. Generally, about one tablespoon of "aquarium salt" - not table salt! - for every three gallons of water in the tank. Too much for a Neon Tetra. In fact, Tetras, as well as Catfish, do very well with no salt in the water. They don't tolerate it well. Hope this helps, Kyleigh. Tom>>

Re: Molly fry... Tom's magnanimity   7/25/06 Thanks, Tom, for that great advice. <<You're welcome, Kyleigh.>> My friend wants some of my brother's fry (when they're born). I will tell her about you. <<You're very kind but WWM is a team effort. No one can or, possibly could, do it all around here. Feel free to direct your friend to me, though. I'm flattered.>> My fish died last night but after the cycle I am getting a neon tetra. <<I'm sorry to hear about your Molly, Kyleigh.>> I am such a beginner. I read all the articles on how to tell the gender and couldn't understand any because I don't know what the anal fin is! <<Quick anatomy lesson, then. The first fin in front of the tail, on the bottom of the fish is the anal fin. With female Mollies, this will actually look like a fin. With males, this will look more like a spike or spine. It's called the "gonopodium". This is true of all of the common, livebearing fish like Mollies, Platys and Swordtails. Now you, too, can impress others with your knowledge of fish! :)>> Kyleigh <<Best regards. Tom>>

Molly... reproduction 7/9/06 Dear WWM Crew,   My parents got me a Dalmatian molly. Five days after I got her she had fry. We counted around 34 alive ones but I'm new at keeping fish so what should I do?                                Fish Fan <Become a "Reading Fan": http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollyreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Premature (Molly) Birth?   6/16/06 I recently bought 3 mollies, one black, one gold, and one white (sorry am new at this, i <I> don't know the actual names for these colors). But today, my black molly I think gave birth; lately she has been increasing in size and has been quite the hermit. Although, what she did today does not comply with normal birth for these fish. She let out a large stream of yellow fluid with a few millimeter-sized "pearls." These pearls are pale yellow and don't move, unlike normal fry for these fish, which I understand swim. What should I do? <Mmm, nothing> I just removed the mother from the main tank and into another in case she lays any more "eggs." So, my question is, what are these things? <As you state, unformed reproductive products> Is it a premature birth? The mother still is very large and has a ravenous appetite. Please help me! Thomas Newbern <Best not to move Mollienesia close to parturition... Maybe take a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollyreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above... in the hope that there is ancillary material of utility to you. Bob Fenner>

Molly problems 6/14/06 Hello, <Hi> I am a bit of a beginner when it comes to keeping fish.  <We all were at some point.> The tank was have is rather a small one, but ideal as we are still beginners.  <Actually, bigger usually means easier.> The white Molly in question was purchased about 2 and 1/2 months ago and was in good health at first. Then about 5 weeks ago it seemed to become kind of deformed in shape, its stomach area became really round and looked black inside. Then it seemed to be having trouble swimming and was only using its side fins, not its tail. We have been keeping a close eye on it, but as it always seemed to be feeding we didn't think that whatever was wrong was that serious. This past weekend we have been away and when we came back I looked in the tank and the said Molly is now a 'normal' shape and swimming fine, but it looks about half the size of the other silver Molly we have. Could it have been an illness that it just got over itself?  <Always possible but doesn't sound likely.> Or is it possible that it could have had babies?  <Most likely scenario.> I have looked at some of the frequently asked questions on your site and read that Mollies are usually pregnant for about 32 days, from working my math out it would seem the if ours had of been pregnant that would have been a lot longer than 32 days. Any light you could shed on this would be much appreciated. <Well, with live bearers it is never that simple.  Their method of reproduction puts rabbits to shame.  Mollies actually have the ability to store sperm for up to six months, then become pregnant when they feel like it, which is usually quite often.  So while gestation is around 32 days or so, the actual insemination of the female could have taken place months before.> Do you reply to this email or post it on the website? <Both> Thank you. Shelley <Sounds like you have a typical molly, expect similar behavior in the future.> <Chris>

New Molly Fry 5/27/06 I have 6 molly fry.  They were all born the same day, but some are much larger than the others.  Why would this be? Thank you Karla F. <Genetics, food availability mostly.  Same reasons humans grow at different rates.> <Chris>

Molly fry survival - 5/8/2006 Hi all, <<Hey Katherine.>> First of all, wow, I have certainly learned a lot today though my reading on your site.  I do have one question that I couldn't find the answer to.  I have (what I have found so far) about 7 black molly fry.  Currently they are hiding in the rocks in the tank.  I have one of those floating grass things for them to hide in, but they are not interested I guess.  I don't have another tank to put them in, and I was just curious of the survival rate of molly fry if they are not removed from the other fish.  I am very excited and would like to see them all survive, but I do know that's probably not very likely, but how many will survive, if any without me moving them, and just letting nature do her thing?   <<That's really up to the other fish in the tank.  You will likely keep a few.>> One more question (not fry related). I have in this same tank one algae eater, one green sword tail male, two female red sword tails, one angel fish, and two black mollies, one male, and one female.  My question is, along with them I did have one red swordtail male, and two more female red swordtails and they have died quite unexpectedly.  Any ideas on what could have happened? <<You don't provide any information of water parameters/readings, water change schedule or tank size, so no.>> My dad told me it could have been the angel fish picking on them, but I can never catch him doing it, he is always swimming along by himself when I'm watching them.  Innocent until proven guilty.  Are angel fish an aggressive fish? <<Can be at maturity, yes.>> Any help you could give would be appreciated. Thank you, Katherine <<Glad to help. Lisa.>> Tiny Tank With Fry On The Way   4/30/06 I have a 5 gallon tank with 2 swordtails, 4 mollies, an Otocinclus and 3 small shrimp. My silver molly is pregnant, will she come to term in such a small tank? Also, I do have a few live plants but will the fry survive? I am not sure if it will be too crowded and effect the other fish. Thanks! <Hi, Don here today. Yes, your Mollie will give birth in this small tank. I would think that most will be taken by the swordtails if you leave things as is. This is not a bad thing, it's nature's way. But if you want to raise the fry and keep the fish you currently have, you will need a second (or larger well planted) tank. You are already overstocked, the fry will put additional stress on the system. Look into setting up a 20 gallon long for your current fish and using the 5 as a fry and shrimp tank. If a new tank is not possible I suggest you pick your favorite 2 or 3 fish and find new homes for the rest.> Molly fishes cross breeding   4/26/06 In my 200 lit tank along with gouramis and regular mollies, i have a pair of Giant sailfin mollies. Since last week I am seeing the male sailfin molly trying to breed with a much smaller black mollies. It looks just like an elephant trying to breed with a mouse. Is such a breeding possible, what would the fry be. <A cross betwixt genus Mollienesia species is possible> Can it be dangerous to smaller females, there are about 10 females in this tank with lots of hiding places.   Thanks   Sandeep Raghuvanshi   India <Can be dangerous to be chased too much here, yes. Bob Fenner> Baby Mollies, Lack Of Color - 04/16/2006 Hi, Thanks for the fantastic site, there is SO much information.   <And thank you for these kind words!  I'm glad you find this site useful.> I've been reading all I can on molly babies since I'm the new 'mommy' of about 40 of them (less than 1 day old).  I keep reading 'black molly' fry, 'gold dust molly' fry,  etc, which has me a bit worried.  My fry are colorless, like ghost ship.  Is this normal?   <Yup, totally normal, and nothing to worry about.> If so, when can I expect the, to start getting their color(s)?   <It just takes time, and a little bit of patience.  Their colors will come in time.  Some factors that will influence their growth are temperature and water quality - care for them well, and they'll grow well and quickly for you.> Thanks a million,  Heather <All the best to you,  -Sabrina>  

White molly circling  - 4/3/2006 <Tom> We have 11 mollies in a 20 gallon tank.  We were advised by the pet store to have 10 maximum, but one of the 11 is medium small (younger).   We also at this point have a rectangular netted cage hanging in from the top with about 40 babies in it that recently were born.... Today one of the mature white mollies began circling over and over. In one little spot she just goes round and round.  She now has positioned herself near the air bubbler and is still making these small circles.  We believe all the adult fish are females.  Is this fish feeling crowded out all of a sudden and is getting territorial or what? Thanks... (a few of this fish are a rather large size...maybe 2 or 2.5 inches.) <To be honest, I don't know that there is one "best" answer to your question. Mollies can have multiple, viable pregnancies from a single mating. If she's pregnant or, "thinks" she's pregnant, her behavior wouldn't be unusual, most particularly if she were close to giving birth. Her "circling" doesn't suggest, to me, the type of swimming behavior that we normally associate with a "stressed" fish. If she's feeling territorial, it seems to be with some other purpose since I don't infer from your post that she's "defending" her area of the tank. Tom>

Possible pregnant Dalmatian molly   - 03/26/2006 I have one female and one male Dalmatian mollies. I bought them six days ago and ever since they look like they have been mating and I'm pretty sure that she's pregnant by now since they have mated many, many times. So I was wondering if I should move her to a separate tank? <Mmm, you could... or wait a bit> I have a five and a half gallon tank that I could put her in. My 20 gallon tank that she's in now has one female fancy tail guppy, one male fancy tail guppy, one female blue moon (I think they're a type of platy), <Yes> one male blue moon (there's another female but she's pregnant and the other fish wouldn't leave her alone so I moved her to a separate tank), one female beta, two small catfish that help to keep my tank clean, and algae eater, and two high fin danios. I'm worried that if I don't move her that the male molly will keep bothering her and I don't want to wait to long to move her because I don't want to stress her out too much. <You are wise here. Best not to move Mollies too late in such circumstances> I want as many of the babies to survive as possible, so what do u suggest I do for best results?                                                          ~Kassi~ <I would go ahead with your moving plans. Bob Fenner>

Balloon Molly breeding questions  3/20/06 Hiya WWM Crew   I LOVE your site. It is such a great help! However, I am so new to owning fish it isn't funny. I bought a tank a few weeks ago and set it up (water changes, pH, salt etc) for some balloon mollies which I bought 5 days ago. I bought 6 mollies (2 males and 4 females) and 5 of them have settled in beautifully - they especially love swimming in the cascade from the filter. Unfortunately the smallest female died within a night. The thing is, I was watching them this morning and I was quite surprised to see something small and black dart away from one of my mollies as they swam through the plants in the tank. I have to admit that at first I thought that there was something wrong with my filter but on closer inspection I realize it was a molly fry  I now have 5 wee fry - 2 whitish, 1 orangey and 1 black and I am stoked... but it has made me wonder. I thought that mollies were meant to have between 20-50 fry. <Numbers vary... to a few> So this makes me think that the rest have been eaten. However, between the plants anchored to two corners, the floating plants and the rocky ornament, there is a tonne of hiding space in my tank. (it took me 45mins to be sure that I had removed all the fry from my main tank!) So I began to wonder if it is possible that my little preggy molly only had a small number of fry? <Yes> Or if not, could there be more on the way? I mean, How long does it take for a molly to have an entire batch/brood? <Sometimes a few to several hours> And finally, what are the signs of labour to look for because I would love to witness the next lot being born As I said, I am totally new to owning fish.... the last tank I had was when I was 15yrs old and contained 1 Siamese fighter So any help would be so greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance <I do hope this system is cycled. Bob Fenner>

Molly Children?   3/18/06 Hello, <Morning> I have a 33 gallon tank that has some salt in it. The ammonia and nitrites are at zero and my nitrates sit at about 25 to 30 ppm, (I confuse the two sometimes its' the one that's not as toxic that stay high,) although I just bought some live potted plants and put them in the tank ( I was told numerous times freshwater plants wouldn't take the salt well but found a site that differed and bought some anyway) <Depends on how much, what type/s of salts and species of plants> the ph is at about 7.5 and the water is hard and alkaline. I have six assorted different mollies right now, four females and two males. 1 of the males is from some fry that were born in the tank about 1 year ago and the rest are pretty young comparatively. The problem I'm having is every couple of months I find 1 or 2 fry in the tank. I catch them and separate them from the adults so they wont be eaten. When they're really small I put them in a net breeder. When they're larger I put in my tank separator as I ve found the young ones aren't strong enough to fight the current from my filter and get stuck against the side. The problem I'm having is the fry don't seem to grow past a quarter of an inch. My last one is about three months old and from what I can find on your site he (she) should be larger by now. The one I had before that stayed that size for about 5 months when I took the divider out. (I thought maybe he wasn't growing due to the small space he was in.) He lived in the tank about a month after before he got sucked into the filter ( it was just like the finding Nemo movie only with a bad ending) my sister thought maybe he wasn't getting enough food because the other fish in the tank are a bunch of little piggish and that this made him weak so he couldn't grow or fight the current. The only other issue I have is, like I mentioned before, my nitrates stay a little higher then I'd like <Yes, should be kept under 20 ppm> and I can't seem to bring them down. I have a nitrate/nitrite filter and I do regular water changes once to twice a week. any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank You. ~Raelea~ <Likely a combination of nutrition and water quality at play here. More frequent partial water changes (once a week... 10-20 percent) and more often being fed foods of higher protein content will solve this mystery/issue. As an interesting experiment re the former you might raise some of the young in "their own water/system"... You will find that the other mollies are mal-affecting the growth of the young. Bob Fenner>

Re: Molly Children?  - 03/22/06 Hey Crew, Thanks for the info, I'll try doing slightly larger water changes. (the ones I've been doing are about 12-15%.) I don't really have the extra room to put the fry in their own environment, my land lord won't allow another aquarium. How large of a tank would they need to be in when their newborn? <... the bigger the better... At least a ten gallon...> My boyfriend may let me set up a tank at his place. One of the females is pregnant again so I'm going to put her in a net breeder today or tomorrow, I figure she's due at the end of the week, is that too soon? <Not too soon> Will she be okay in that small of a space for a while if I'm wrong and she doesn't give birth for a week or so? <Yes, likely so> I'll try using a food with more protein. Right now they're eating a mixture of flakes and dried blood worms. What else would you suggest? <Posted... on WWM> And is frozen better then dried or does it not make a difference? <Frozen/defrosted is generally better, but both will do> Thanks for your time, I really appreciate the help and advice. Oh, and out of curiosity, I couldn't find any articles about mollies, just the FAQ's. <Unfortunately, at this time this is all we have... Will post yours if you want to pen it> It may be I just can't find them and A point in the right direction would be useful. ~Raelea~ <Perhaps the library... Bob Fenner>

Greetings From Texas Mollies   3/16/06      Hi Guys,                     I'm a new Mollie mom and I have read a lot of your posts and have found your site VERY informative!  I bought 6 Mollies from PetSmart, 2 black females, 2 Dalmatians (1 male and 1 female) and 2 silver (1 male and 1 female).  After reading several sites about mollies and found out how many babies they can have I researched how to tell the sexes apart. I have the 4 female and one algae eater <Keep your eye on this last...> in a 10 gallon tank and I have the 2 males in a 5 gallon tank.  Do I too many in either tank? <Not yet...> On March the 6th my husband and I found 2 black baby mollies! We were shocked and worried about if the adults would eat them. So I went out and got a breeder's net, the mesh kind, and put what I thought was the mommy black molly and the 2 babies in the net hoping she would have more.  She did not and I moved her out of the net.  I made powder out of the flake food I have been feeding them to feed the fry. <Good>   Today I'm sad to say one of the baby fry died. Both fry were large and eating well.  The temperature in my tank went down to about 70 degrees because I didn't set the heater right. Could the temperature going down to that degree have killed the fry?   <Might have contributed, yes> The temperature was gradually  lowering when I turned off the light. Also today I have noticed both of my black mollies having around the bottom and not moving a lot.  The one that was the most sluggish I put in the breeder's net because I was concerned that she was ill.  Could she be close to delivering another batch of fry? <Possibly> Her belly is very swollen and she really didn't want to eat today.  I still have the baby fry in the breeder's net and the adult seems to not have any interest in it but there are some plastic plants in the net it can hide in. Should I take the baby out? <I would not, unless it was more than mouth-size> He's only a 8 days old.  I changed 20% of the water a few days ago and I did it again today. How often should I change their water? <Posted... on WWM> I know these are a lot of questions and I really appreciate any feed back you could give me.  Like I said I'm a new Mollie mom and I should have asked at PetSmart how often these fish breed and other questions but I didn't so now I'm learning how to take care of these pretty and interesting fish.  If you could give me any pointers I'd be very grateful.  Thank you for your time! Thanks again, Stephanie Hoffman <Do take a read over the FW maintenance and Mollies sections posted on WWM. Bob Fenner> Molly and babies help  - 03/13/2006 We have two adult Black Tail Mollies and a orange colored one.  We also have 6 black tail babies that are apprx 5 to 6 weeks old.  I noticed this afternoon that they have a white cotton like look to them.  What can we do that is safe for the babies?   <Light dosages of some medications... likely salt addition> We did a 25% water change, the water levels prior and after all looked fine. <Numbers please... not a mind reader... or much of one> We do not have salt in there and after reading it see that maybe we should add some. <Depends on the other livestock mainly> How much do we add per gallon? <Posted on WWM...> Any other suggestions for treating them?  These are my kids fish and we are all pretty attached to the babies, my son has named all of them!  Please help.      Cyndi <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner...>

Dalmatian mollies born on Thanksgiving ... beh. - 2/28/2006 We had an exciting Thanksgiving afternoon as we watched a female Dalmatian Molly give birth to 46 young.  Fortunately we had a baby tank to insert that we had had for years.  Slowly but surely many of them died off, but we are left with 18 as of today, with an additional 8 given to my son.  Recently we took them out of the two baby fish insert tanks and put a divider into our 10 gallon aquarium.  We hope to give some away once they get bigger.  Right now they are about the size of a neon.  How many days/months does it take for the fry to become full-sized? <Mmm, variable... depending on how often, what is fed, water changes and more... but 2-4 months or so> We are feeding them "Fry Bites" and also some betta  floating pellets (just started that recently, they seem to like them). Water tests - we don't do those.  Guess we should be looking into that....  Other fish in the 10 gallon tank - 2 black mollies, 1 male, 1 unknown, presume it's a male, 1 orange molly (I think), 2 zebras, 3 algae eaters, and two neons. Thanks if you can answer my question. <Glad to offer my input. Bob Fenner>

Molly standing on it's head - 2/28/2006 A couple of days ago I noticed one of my orange pot bellied molly's was hanging out on the bottom the tank standing on it's head.   <Not good> It's been doing this non-stop all day today, it won't eat, and a couple times I thought it was dead but it's little gills are still moving.  I have other fish in there and they seem fine.  I check my water chemicals faithfully and they are all just fine. <Numbers please> I've had this fish for 3 months or so.  I've checked all over the internet and can't seem to find anything that pertains to fish standing on their heads.  I know it's sick but I don't know with what or what to do for it.  Can you help me please? Thank you, Robyn <A few possibilities here... likely internal... perhaps "gut blockage" (not enough greens...), or maybe a case of decomposing, non-passed young or reproductive products (gas causing the disorientation), and the usual (for Mollienesia species) improper environment. You know this fish, these fishes tend to brackish, marine? Do only prosper in hard, alkaline water with appreciable salt content... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollysysfaqs.htm Note the mentions of salt not being useful for all life... Bob Fenner> Re: molly standing on it's head  - 3/1/2006 Thank you so much for your help.  My fish ended up dying and I think you are right about it possibly being internal.  I have 2 other mollies, 6 tetras, 1 gourami and the sucker fish.  Should I be worried about them catching something?  So far they all seem fine. <I would not be inclined to actually "treat" this system. Bob Fenner>

Hello! Do mollies breed with platies or sword tail ?   2/23/06    <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/livebearfaqs.htm Crosses between platies and swords are common...>    Do i send you picture of my aquarium to show you and get some tips about the arrangement and setting of the items to keep my fish happy?    <Maybe>   Thanks a lot   I love you guys <First comes knowledge, than trust, then possibly love. Bob Fenner>

Molly mating behavior  - 2/21/2006 Hi there. <Hello> Can you please describe for me the mating behaviors of mollies?  I suspect mine are mating and was hoping you could verify. Thanks a bunch. Laura <Mmm, a bit of a dance with male/s pursuing females from behind, the side, and flicking their intromittent organs (modified anal fins called gonopodia) toward the vent areas of the female/s. Bob Fenner> Gotta leave unexpectedly, have brand new fry  - 2/21/2006 My silver lyre tail molly released 52 babies yesterday. (WOW!) My husband called to tell me we have to leave town for a week. At least 5 days. Is there anything I can do to keep the fry fed? <Mmm, could use a "feeding block" (commercial product), automatic (battery operated) feeder), risk just leaving a chunk of par-boiled/microwaved vegetable in place...> I live in a rural town without a pet store for 80 miles. A while back I bought a 10 day vacation feeder, just in case. Will the fry nibble on this?? <Yes> I have flake food and frozen blood worms on hand. My 55 gallon tank consists of 6 Zebra Danios, 1 Swordtail, 6 Rasbora, 1 dragon fish, <This may suffer, or eat other fishes> 1 pleco, 2 silver lyre tails, and 1 Dalmatian molly. A week ago I took out the live plants and replaced them with plastic. (They were just so messy, will try potted plants next time...) <Live plants would really help here> It has been running for 3 months. The PH is at an 8 (I believe this is too high for these fish...) but everything else is where it should be. Also, the new mom has a reddish patch on the side of her abdomen. Is that normal? <Not atypical> She is swimming around and eating fine. Well, now that I look at her she is at the top of the tank sucking air... Any help would be appreciated!! Thank you, Ryann <Bob Fenner>

Re: Gotta leave unexpectedly, have brand new fry   2/26/06 Hi. I just wanted to thank you for your reply. Everyone survived my little trip; including the entire fry. I left the vacation feeder in the tank and the day before I left fed them a very hearty meal. Thank you for the tips!! Ryann <Ah, congratulations on your success. 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>

Pregnant molly?   2/10/06 Hello...  I LOVE your website.  I'm a new aquarium owner (my 6 & 7 year old sons wanted one) and I've been successful so far.  Anyway, my son wanted 2 black mollies from the female tank.  We've had them for 2 weeks and the larger of the 2 seems to be getting quite a belly on her.  Could she be pregnant?   <Almost assuredly yes> She was "skinny" when we got her.  What's the normal gestation for a molly? <Posted> Just in case, I've already purchased a breeding box (net covered frame with fake greenery) to keep the mother in and remove her after she gives birth.  How can I tell if she is pregnant? <Is... I would move her sooner than later...> Also, are Mollies naturally social fish? <Some individuals...> The smaller of the 2 "cuddles" my finger if I put it in the water...that is, it acts like a cat does when it rubs on your legs.  It is so cute! Thank you for your time and patience, Krista <Please read over the postings on WWM re Mollies... you may want to add salt... Bob Fenner> Molly Fish repro.   1/31/06 I have a 20 gallon aquarium, I purchased 2 platies and 1 molly, the molly must have been pregnant because I now have 18 healthy fry...here is my question...How many fish will I be able to house in an aquarium this size?   <Not this many indefinitely... I would give some of the young away in a month or two>        I am new at this aquarium thing (this is my first one) I bought it because my daughter wanted one...I thought that it would be nice to have a small yet well decorated tank to enjoy...but now with all these babies I feel like I will have to buy a larger tank, and then eventually they will keep reproducing and I will end up having a fish tank in every room of the house...   I am being OVERRAN with fish... HELP!!! :-)      Thank You For Your Time,          Erin Wolfe <"Spread the wealth", fun. Bob Fenner>

Balloon Molly Breeding 1/23/06 I'm looking for some help or information concerning our orange balloon bellied mollies.  We are somewhat novices but try very hard to take care of our fish...well; my husband does all the work!  In any event, our mommy gave birth on two occasions last fall and we have 2 mollies that are doing so well.  The mother just passed this evening...we're not exactly sure what happened but I suspect she came down with dropsy.  I'm trying to figure out what sex the babies are...I've read on the site how to do that.  What I'm wondering now is...if I have a male and a female...how old do they have to be to be mature enough to have their own fry?  I would say one may have been born sometime around Sept. and the other maybe in October near Halloween time perhaps? Thanks so much! -Shereen <The Molly fry should be sexually mature at around 4-5 months old.  Molly's prefer saltier water so you should be adding at least 1 teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon.  For more information on caring for and breeding these fish please see the following URLs.  Best Regards, Gage http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=3226&genusname=Poecilia&speciesname=latipinna http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollyreprofaqs.htm  >

Molly had babies & doesn't look right   1/4/06 Hi,     I had a 10 gallon tank, and just moved up to a 37 gallon tank. It has only been running about a week now. It is planted with several types of plants and moss, some rocks and wood. I had 3 small tetras and a Dalmatian balloon molly, and another orange fish that I have no clue about. Well I thought my molly looked pregnant and I was right. She started having babies today. I was able to capture the little guys and put them in a breeder box. I believe she is still popping them out, because all of a sudden there will be another outside the breeder box looking to get in with his kin. She also dropped a few eggs.     The problem is I know the tank is new and I had made the PH 7. My water is very hard normally. I didn't know Mollies liked it like that. <Ah, yes. They do> So, now my molly has like this red stuff sticking out, and she has pooped out of it, and also some yellow/green stuff came out with the poop. It looks like she blew out her colon, if you can imagine that one. My 10 gallon tank is still running, and has some live plants and a pleco in it, also a castle. There is just regular gravel, and I had added a little salt and didn't fix the pH. That tank has 0 nitrite, and the nitrates read safe, but not 0. That tank is over 6 months old. Should I put the babies in there with the mother? <Mmm, not for a while... a few weeks... let them grow a bit, "harden", that is, become accustomed/acclimated to where they are now> Will that stuff go back inside the mother or is she going to die? <Will likely re-grow... akin to the "afterbirth" of humans> Do Plecos' eat baby mollies? <Not generally, no> I am giving him back to the store, because I don't want a fish that gets to be a foot long.     I tried to get some pictures, but they are too blurry. Susan McDonagh <Thanks for writing. Bob Fenner>

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