FAQs on the Molly Health/Disease
Related Articles: Mollies, &
Poeciliids: Guppies, Platies,
Swordtails, Mollies by Neale Monks,
Livebearing Fishes by Bob
FAQs on Molly Disease:
Molly Disease 1,
Molly Disease 2,
Molly Disease 3,
Molly Disease 4,
Molly Disease 5,
Molly Health 6,
Molly Health 7,
Molly Health 8,
Molly Health 10,
Molly Health 11,
FAQs on Molly Disease by Category:
Nutritional (e.g. HLLE),
Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal),
Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...),
FAQs on Molly Reproduction/Breeding:
1, Molly Reproduction 2,
Molly Reproduction 3,
Older Molly Fish in crisis questions
<Dave; 11 megs of pix... Ughh mate; we ask that folks limit....>
Aloha and thanks so much for being willing to offer thoughtful advice to people
caring for animals they love.
<A hu'i hou!>
I'm writing about Hilton, the fish I've had the longest, acquired as a
centimeter-long speck of silver from an outdoor lagoon next to the ocean at the
Hilton Hawaiian Village in December 2014. I estimate she was born in early
<Oh! headed out that A Bay way next week>
Several photos, including a recent one, are attached. I suspect from research
that she is a Molly fish of some kind, considering where she was born; perhaps
you can make a concrete ID.
<Mmm; at one time this molly (non-indigenous) was considered Poecilia sphenops
Valenciennes in Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1846... now a hybrid>
She very briefly lived in a brackish water container before spending the rest of
her life, until now, in a freshwater 10 gallon tank, no salt added, with no
health problems until earlier this year, as she edged into her third year of
Early in 2017 I noticed a small white fuzzy patch on the side of her tail; soon
thereafter I spotted a similar small patch on the edge of her tail.
The "Hilton May 2" photo shows the erosion that second patch caused.
She was quarantined along with a male also acquired in the same place in May
2015, though he had no symptoms (I did this so she'd have some
company/normalcy). First she received Furan-2 for a four day treatment.
<Mmm; is the system water hard and alkaline? I'd make sure and likely add salt
per Neale (Monks) input on WWM>
When the patches disappeared, they went back to her home tank, only to have a
spot on her right side near the dorsal fin develop a small wound of some kind,
and another fuzzy spot develop on the left side of her tail. She and the male
returned to the hospital tank, and underwent an 8-day Furan-2 treatment. At that
point I decided she would live permanently in this tank so I could provide
further care if needed. While the fuzzy patches went away, they first sort of
turned blackish, the erosion on the edge of her tail slowly continued. Soon, she
developed a disinterest in eating, not
swimming away from the bottom of the tank, and at that time underwent a further
Furan-2 treatment. Poco was removed to the home tank, as he often attempts to
mate with her, and that seems to be a stressing her. Following the subsequent
Furan-2 treatment, she has continued to refuse to eat. I began researching
things to try and cure the illness and make her comfortable, and started salting
her water for the first time. It is - I assume - marine salt, since it was
bought from a fish store sometime ago, in a 3 pound bag and otherwise unmarked;
cost maybe $3-4?
<Can't tell from here>
Something like that. I started using about a teaspoon of it per gallon in her
3-gallon hospital tank and have bumped it up to about a tablespoon. She also
went through a five-day medication of Jungle Lifeguard, before another round of
Furan-2, all with her water salted. There is such conflicting information as to
the amount of salt I should put in each gallon of her water to try and heal her;
that is one thing I could use advice on.
<... See, as in read... WWM>
Bittersweet, the wound on her side has healed a great deal recently; it has no
fuzz, appears much smaller (evidenced in the May 2 shot) and there is none
elsewhere on her; the spots where there had previously been white patches on her
tail have a slight blackness to them; there are no current white fuzzy patches
visible, even with a magnifying lens.
After folks at a pet store viewed a recent video from April 22
https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=qDDl3lgi2vc , they suspected it
was a fungus and recommended API Fungus Cure, which she started yesterday, now
on day two. May 1 I shot a second video
<This issue is baseline environmental. No sense treating w/o fixing the water
I am extremely concerned at her lack of eating. It is at least three weeks.
There is a small amount of Anacharis and a moss ball in her hospital tank which
the pet store folks said was a good thing. I've attempted to coat algae pellets
(among her favorite foods) with garlic (including Garlic Guard), tried other
bottom feeder pellets, peas, frozen bloodworms, live brine shrimp... all to no
avail. Freeze dried worms are her favorite, but she won't leave the bottom.
Any suggestions you have regarding what I can or should do, I would greatly
appreciate. In two years of fishkeeping, this is the first encounter with
something like this, and I love her very much. If there is a way to save her
that I can manage, I will try. Forgive my long email.
Thanks so much and I apologize for all my apparent shortcomings as a fish
<Water quality measures please, including temperature. Bob Fenner>
Re: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions
I am so sorry about the large image file sizes. Forgive me, and am so grateful
for your help and speedy reply. God bless you guys. I will reduce sizes anytime
in the future.
<Ah, thank you>
So she is a Molly; thanks for the details. I've never seen anyone with her shape
in a pet store, or really in photos online, so it's always been sort of a
mystery, until now.
<Oh, there are quite a few species and many sports, hybrids of
Mollienesia/Poecilia... Do a quick Google search re the genera, common name>
The water is tested with Tetra test strips (I will buy an expensive liquid test
kit after reading about the strips), and they report the water is hard to very
hard, with low to moderate alkalinity 40 - 80ppm KH , at the lowest level of
nitrates and nitrites (nitrates always kept at the 0 or far left pad color, and
nitrites at zero or up to .5 or the second pad on the left, at which point I
make a water change with same-temperature pre-dechlorinated water).
<Ahh; need to improve, increase biological filtration and/or decrease the amount
of food/wastes being processed. There must be NO nitrite or ammonia present>
How could I increase the alkalinity?
<There are a few ways/means; the safest, easiest is to add a bit of baking soda
(sodium bicarbonate) to the new, change water... when you do tank
maintenance every week. Read here:
The temperature is 74 in 24 hour AC apartment. The heaters I've seen available
nearby raise the temp to a potential 78, +/- 2 degrees.
In terms of the salt level, I've read so many posts with so much detail
it's hard to find a direction for how much I should use; is 1
tablespoon per gallon appropriate to create a healing environment, or if not,
how much, preferably using teaspoons or tablespoons for measuring?
<I would JUST read, follow Neale's pc...
How long can she live without eating and what would you recommend I do next?
<Read, then act... B>
Thank you again.
Re: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions
Mahalo, Bob, so much. It can be overwhelming searching your vast material,
so those direct links are great. I got the sodium bicarbonate for raising
the KH (for her 3 gallon tank
<Do take care... such small volumes shift very easily in terms of water
that is just a dusting in a teaspoon-- Like barely anything in it,
<Pre-mix in other water... change out the water itself Dave>
Fresh photos are attached as well, just taken tonight, and low file sizes.
She is going into her fourth day of her 4-day API Fungus Cure treatment
which started Tuesday at 10am, and ends Saturday at 10am. Hilton has not
eaten since at least April 10. It has been a very upsetting time since then
so I really, really appreciate help.
What do you recommend I do after the API Fungus Cure treatment ends Saturday
morning, if she is still with us?
<I would move this fish back to a larger main/display system. Too stressful,
toxic in a small one>
If you think I should not be continuing with that or that I should be
modifying her treatment in some way now, please advise. Saturday morning,
per the Fungus Care package instructions, I will be putting in a fresh new
carbon filter cartridge, and changing at least 25% of the water, unless you
<You may need to change a good deal of the water here daily, every other
day. DO measure for ammonia>
Her 3 gallon tank has, for the past few weeks, had gradually increased salt
in the water, and I read the article by Neale, thanks again, including
measurement details to conduct the heavy (not recommended) anti-fungus
treatment; but looking at her and her case, what would you advise as a level
of salt for her water going forward from Saturday morning, in teaspoon
<Per Neale's work, some middling value to accommodate all life kept>
In the tank, there is Anacharis/elodea held down by a small metal
<Ahh! Yikes. Get rid of the lead. Pb is toxic to all; including the
a small moss ball, a Tetra filter sleeve with some substrate and a shell
from her home tank in it... and that's it. Plus the airstone cranking air
and the filter (now there are two foam filters in the carbon's place during
the treatment). Tell me if more plants, less plants is better. The tank is
bare as you can see; I baster out every object, and try to leave her food in
there for only a few minutes each time, before getting it out of there and
The areas that previously had the white fuzzy patches have now turned black;
does this reveal anything to you?
<Yes; generally a good sign... healing>
As you can see in the pics, the areas on the tail that previously had the
white fuzz have this black and there's no fuzz; also an area on her face has
gotten the black marking in just the last 24 hours, on the left side; is
that a sign of the treatment working and it is dead skin or something worse?
I imagine you've seen this before, and this reveals something to you about
the nature of what illness she has; is it a fungus or do you think
you have a diagnosis on what I am battling?
<Was, is environmental more than pathogenic. Perhaps a read here:
Since you IDed the species, do you know the lifespan?
<A few years... to a handful>
I am curious if this is a part of her being old...
<Could well be>
I'm buying the API master test kit Saturday; her test strip tonight said 40
ppm on nitrate, 0 on nitrite, 150 or hard / close to very hard color 300, 40
on total alkalinity, between the 7.8 and 8.4 on ph. Can ammonia still be
present if nitrites are 0 (pad totally white)?
Otherwise I wondered how during the day the nitrates went up so much.
<Measure the new water, change out half and check 24 hours later...>
if there's anything else, any medicine, or anything you think I should/could
buy that would help, or direction on follow-up to the Fungus Care treatment
starting Saturday morning (or a change before then), I'm so grateful for.
<Really; just improved environment... nutrition of a good deal of greens
content (I really like Spectrum pellets)...>
Honolulu Host, All Things Considered
Hawaii Public Radio
<Oh, I listen to this show/segment on KPBS here in San Diego on 89.5. Bob
Re: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions
Thanks so much, again Bob. Distilled questions/comments for easier response
A.) I will be very careful and pre-mix the sodium bicarbonate in what will be
new tank water.
B.) On returning her to her main tank, her mate and some Endler's males are in
there; they will pick at her; she is vulnerable and it will cause stress. In her
state, I don't think she could continue to heal with fish that are harassing
her; she is largely calm and secure from that where she is. I don't think she is
strong enough to take it yet. She would be a sitting duck. When she first went
into this hospital tank, she ate regularly through her first two Furan-2
treatments and was very relaxed.
After moving her mate Poco out, I briefly reintroduced him to see if it would be
positive for her, and he was a complete a-hole, trying to nip and behaving as
Mollies (and Endler's) typically do toward vulnerable fish. He was out in under
<Rats! Any way to add more decor, break up the environment... confuse the
present status quo/dynamic that might allow her return? Another system?>
C.) So in lieu of moving her, am I reading from your comments that I should
change 50% of the water Saturday morning, when I put a new carbon filter in?
<I'd only change these out every few weeks... the carbon does what it does...
and bio-filtration added/established is better>
D.) I do measurements daily as is and Saturday will have the kit, as well as the
spectrum pellets if available at the store. What else can I do to improve her
current tank environment?
<Mmm; nothing really>
E.) I will remove the plant weight. Any suggestion how to keep plants down
<Let them float is better... See WWM re Egeria/Anacharis....>
F.) On the salt levels for her, forgive me but I don't know how to employ the
"middling value to accommodate all life" thing; should she be receiving salted
water, and what amount, in teaspoons or tablespoons, should I provide per gallon
when I do the water change tomorrow/Saturday morning? I will mix it before
<A level tsp. per the system... half for half of it>
G.) Are there any other medicines, water additives or products I should buy
<None recommended. More harmful potentially than useful>
H.) Are any plants valuable for her to have in there to make it a better
environment? I have some hornwort, like the lily pad-looking plant with light
green in the left center of this stock photo; fox tail... some others I don't
know the name of, all in her main tank, which I could move to her hospital tank.
Or I could buy some at the store...
<The Elodea/Anacharis you have is ideal, as well as the Ceratophyllum mentioned>
Thanks so much Bob. I'm trying my best and am grateful for your expertise.
<Glad to have a conscientious, compassionate person on your end. Bob Fenner>
Fwd: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions 5/6/17
Sorry. Forgot to attach this stock photo I refer to in line H, Bob. Forgive me.
<Ah, no worries. B>
Re: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions
So sorry for the delay in replying; trying to work and it's a bear of a day.
<No worries Dave>
I don't think I can put her back in her home tank due to nowhere to put the
other fish that will peck at her. Right now, she is sitting on the bottom of the
hospital tank, not having eaten since at least April 10, so I just don't think
she is strong enough to be in there being harassed as opposed to recovering with
peace and security, despite the smaller space. I know it sucks, but in the 3
gallon she has no one to bother her, and I will have to try to make her
comfortable in there. I will change the water as much as you suggest each day,
1.) With that unfortunate reality in mind, relating to tomorrow morning when the
Fungus Care treatment is officially finished, what should I do for her water? I
didn't understand your comment below that said <I'd only
change these out every few weeks... the carbon does what it does... and
bio-filtration added/established is better> Does this mean don't do a 50% water
change, and stick to the directions that call for a 25% water change?
<The 25% is best>
Also, the directions say return to a fresh carbon filter. I can use a fresh one,
or the one she last had in there before the treatment, which was only a couple
weeks old. I can also add the current sponge filter to that, if
you think it would be beneficial. Again, there is also a Tetra filter cartridge
sleeve filled with substrate from her home tank sitting in there, too. Please
tell me which filter cartridge to use, and if any shells, rocks or other objects
could be beneficial for her in the 3 gallon.
<Wait another couple weeks on changing any/all>
2.) I will remove the plant weight and let the Anacharis float, plus will try to
find the entry on your site you refer to below about plants.
3.) On salt, to be clear, are you saying I should put 1 level teaspoon in of
salt for the entire 3 gallon tank, or if changing half the water, half a
teaspoon for the entire 3 gallon tank?
<One level tsp. for the entire volume; part for part>
4.) Per your advice, she will not receive further medicine but I will get the
spectrum pellets, and any other food you advise. I will continue to try enticing
her with algae pellets and the frozen bloodworms, both alternately
dipped in garlic guard (and all of it cleaned out after she ignores them).
5.) I can add the fox tail Ceratophyllum and also the lily pad-looking plant in
this attached photo, the plant in question is immediately to the right of
Hilton's head in the shot; I have plenty of that, the fox tail, and the
Anacharis. Should I add all of these to her 3 gallon?
<If there's room; yes>
Any advice on how much of them to add, should they all be allowed to float, and
should I buy any more of these or other plants at the store tomorrow, or any
better contraptions to hold them down?
<... let them float>
I could buy her a little house or cave of some kind, too, if you think it would
6.) After the initial water change (which I asked for directions on above), what
should I do each subsequent day in terms
<... weekly changes unless there are water quality issues... known from testing>
I am so sorry for all the questions. Forgive me. I value her like a child; I
have no children, and will never buy another fish or capture a wild one like I
did with her, I am so traumatized by this situation.
I cry every day about it, Bob. However, I seriously doubt she would ever have
lived this long in the Hilton Hawaiian Village lagoon. So she has had a great
life, and still is very lively. God bless you for shepherding my
dear little friend and her terrified keeper through this. You are doing a huge
service for good in this world.
<I REALLY like the anchialine ponds there and all along the Kona coast... and
the life in them.
Be of good cheer Dave; you're doing all that can be done. Bob Fenner>
Re: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions
Yesterday I got: API master freshwater test kit, New Life Spectrum Algae
Max, plastic food clips, and a small ceramic house.
Her previous carbon filter cartridge was not available, so I used a new one
(these are Tetra small carbon filter cartridges). In place of carbon filter
during treatment, there were two filter inserts; one made of material not
unlike the Tetra "bio-bag" material (which I removed), and the other a foam
one (I rinsed off in home tank water and returned to her hospital tank
filter, along with the new carbon cartridge).
I conducted a 25% water change with clean room temp dechlorinated water,
though due to coming off her four-day Fungus Cure treatment, tank water
level was slightly low, so in all, she received about 2/3 of a gallon of
this water (to her 3 gallon hospital tank).
Several hours later, I added a single teaspoon of salt, first mixed into
about 8 oz. of her tank water and slowly/widely dispersed into her tank.
She soon began moving about frantically, swimming to the top and looking
very animated or conceivably distressed, so in caution I was hurting her, I
extracted one gallon of water quickly, put in a gallon of fresh regular
dechlorinated water, and she settled down immediately and was again
completely relaxed. I keep many gallons of dechlorinated water at room
temp/same as tank temp on hand and they always get water at the same temp
they are in.
She has plants you suggested and a snippet of one other around and floating
above. Food clips, though made for holding seaweed and other vegetables at
meals, also work well to gently grasp/hold plants, so Hilton can have them
on the bottom, a nearby roof of living greenery; she loved sitting under
floating plants in her home tank. I hope you think that was a reasonable way
to remove the metal plant weights, while still keeping nice living
plants close around her down there. She never was much for logs or hiding
places, though occasionally did sit in a log, so I got a small ceramic one
at the store, both as familiar decor and a potential place for
privacy/exploration, and, it holds down another few snippets of the same
She didn't eat the food during multiple feeding attempts, but thanks for
turning me onto it. The home tank crew had it for dinner, and ate it
eagerly. Should it be refrigerated for freshness?
<This is best; yes>
Test results: I did it yesterday and today. Yesterday was done a few hours
after the initial water changes and before the incident with the salt, and
were: ph 7.6, high ph between 7.8 - 8.0, ammonia .25ppm* (though keeping in
mind the tank dyed water color following the API Fungus Cure was the exact
same light fluorescent green color as the chart), nitrite 0ppm, nitrate
5.0ppm or less. Today, the test was nearly identical; the ammonia reading
has no tint of green, it is a lighter yellow than the card provided, so one
could either say it's either 0 somewhere leading to .25ppm in closest match.
It definitely is not the strong/darker yellow that the 0ppm is on the chart,
but has no tint of green. Tank water color is much less dyed green now, too.
Any advice on pulling down that ammonia or if the other numbers need to be
adjusted is appreciated.
<All good here>
Thanks so much for the guidance and forgive my errors. I also do believe she
is simply at the end of her life and nothing will get her to eat. Do you
think 2 1/2 years is normal for a fish like her?
<Is about the regular lifespan, yes>
Living in that lagoon she'd never have lived until this age, I am convinced.
They drain that thing constantly and condition it so people can swim in it,
exposing the water to who knows what with sunscreen, etc. I love her.
<Be of good life Dave. BobF>
Re: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions
Hilton passed last night. I was there, thankfully. Moments after I got home,
too, like my Mom in Heaven had her wait until I could be there. Very heavy.
Thanks for all your advice and assistance in caring for her. I'm quite grateful.
<Glad to assist you Dave>
I am trying to carefully monitor her home 10-gallon tank to prevent a fin rot /
Saprolegnia or whatever it is outbreak from occurring.
<Mmm; true fungal (many such labeled are actually bacterial) infections are
actually quite rare; mostly very challenged fishes and/or poor environments are
My Corydoras paleatus looks fine, but sometimes it's hard to tell if there is
any growth on him due to his coloration and the way light affects it, so, since
Hilton had lived in there, I have extensively cleaned it to remove decaying
organic matter and any waste, including about 50% water changes each day since
last Wednesday. Always same temp conditioned water.
Also removed some of the plants that created waste. From what I read the
Saprolegnia and fin rot can be brought on by excessive decaying organic waste,
including leaves, etc. from plants.
Stats in water are solid: high ph 7.4 - 7.8, 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrites, 10 -
20 ppm nitrates.
Any recommendations to ensure fin rot doesn't spread in there?
<Keep doing what you're doing... water changes and staying vigilant>
A big heartfelt mahalo. Sad days here. God bless you.
<Cheers my friend. BobF>
Re: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions
Thankful for your help, Bob. In terms of trying to assist in preventing
anything spreading, would 1 tablespoon of salt for this 10 gallon be
good to add for this situation, with a Corydoras paleatus, Synodontis
petricola, Otocinclus, and a beloved apple snail?
<As long as your water quality is fine, I would leave off w/ the salt
addition here. Of the fishes you list, none appreciate more salt
(combinations of metals and non-metals)>
I heard it could be beneficial in preventing any illness spreading, but
wanted to make sure it won't hurt the cats.
<... there is quite a bit to relate re "adding salt/s" issues. Again, I
would not do so... though the source water here has little dissolved
solids (including salts)... am out/up in Waikoloa presently... the ponds
about A Bay were about filled in from the storm a few years back. Am
hoping the ones near Kaloko fared better>
I am doing a 50% water change daily, room temp water (74/75) / same as
tank, all stats are solid (0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10-20 ppm nitrates,
7.4 - 8.0 ph), so would I add the salt after one of those water changes
and just do it once? Thanks. No sign of anything but some of the
Synodontis bar bells are a bright white. Also could be I never examined
them this closely too. No white fuzz or patches I can see. Thanks so
much. Be safe bro. Dave
<Maybe read Neale's short treatise here:
Cheers, Bob Fenner>
molly sick? Env., worm.... 2/22/17
Hi my name is Steve.
<Kbytes, not Megs Steve>
. I have a 37 gal tank which I started from brand new in a new hobby .. and
of course I made the rookie mistake of adding too many fish too soon…
eventually all died off due to overstocking and ammonia spikes
<Yikes; toxic; debilitating>
at the end I had a Pleco (was a real trooper through all medications etc.)
and 3 mollies 2 female and 1 male, my other fish had no real symptoms other
then swimming upside down and eventually dying. My remaining mollies were
both pregnant several times but the male was very quick at eating the fry
straight from the oven so to speak! He eventually became lethargic and I
noticed (and through research) he had Camallanus worms and
shortly after the birth of 2 litters of fry the females finally showed signs
of it as well. 30 fry were in the tank and the male and eventually the 2
females passed away, over time only 2 of the fry survived.. eventually as
well the last of my “first” fish the Pleco died of Finrot… since then I have
only added 2 baby Plecos, one I had to put in because another of my tanks
got 2 cold in the garage (supposed to be hospital tank but the heater
couldn’t keep up with weather conditions) so I put the Pleco in the 37 gal.
the tank I have left alone to see if these 2 mollies would survive or show
any sign of the Camallanus it has been 2 months now and they seem to be
doing fine other then the smaller of the 2 mollies always had a real thick
white almost cylindrical something hanging from its anus… I have been
watching it closely and it was hanging out 1/8th to ¼ of an inch from its
body and yet feces was travelling through it.
<Reads like a prolapsed colon. Search this on WWM>
No change at all until this week when I noticed the thick white was now
getting longer and curving and bunching up underneath but not falling off..
today I noticed that the center of the white stuff is red (no sign of
Camallanus) and the outer part of the white looks almost cottony. My
question is .. because I have read that Camallanus reproduce through the
feces of infected fish could this be a sign that the mature Camallanus had
died off with the last of the infected fish and could this be the natural
reproduction cycle of Camallanus as I have read it takes several months to
<Possibly; but again, this brings to my mind the poor fish's alimentary
canal protruding out of the cloaca, rotting off>
Sorry about the long winded explanation figured you should know the history
of my tank (failures) again the tank is a 37 gal , bio wheel filter, ph
7.5-8, 0 nitrites, just over 80 nitrate,
<MUCH too high. Please read here:
and the Related FAQs linked above. You need to get this below 20 ppm...
there are ways detailed here to do so>
0 ammonia, 80 degrees F, 120 kH and 120 gH, I know my nitrates are high and
I am doing a 25% water change tonight to help lower it also I am attaching a
few pics of the fish in question..
<Need to crop, spiff and then send>
couldn’t get good focus on the blob but figured it might help. Should I
remove this fish all together to stop the respreads of Camallanus to be on
the safe side or could it be the fishes natural immune system killing off
<How did you treat for the roundworms?>
Since these fry were born in the infected tank my home town supply store
said they could have an increased immunity to Camallanus.
<Mmm; no such thing as far as I'm aware>
Thank you for any advice you can send my way!
<Welcome; steady on; you appear to have a good mind, steadfastness in your
favour. Bob Fenner>
Re: molly sick? 2/23/17
Hi and thank you for the reply.. the round worms I attempted to treat using a
pig dewormer in small doses soaked into their normal flaked food.
<Likely one of the anthelminthic compounds that are used for fishes...>
. I believe it slowed the growth of the round worms in the tank to allow the
fish time to react to it (and I know this was a long shot) but eventually they
all succumbed to the very hard to get rid of round worm, having no fish in the
tank to supply the worms with a host seemed to be my only course of action and
so far it worked, yay.
<.... Please read here Re Camallanus:
As far as my molly in question if you don’t think it could be “the return of the
round worm” then I will leave him alone and hope he gets better.. doesn’t seem
to affect him, he’s swimming eating and acting normal as compared to the other
molly, I resized and cropped the photos.. hopefully these pics will help you and
others determine what is wrong with their fish.
<Mmm; mollies are easily lost... for a few reasons. Try the search tool on WWM
to review. Bob Fenner>
Mollies. Again. 2/14/17
Hi, Neale - long time, no questions! Hope you had a good holiday and that the
new year is treating you well.
<All good; thanks for asking.>
This morning we noticed that we have a silver sailfin Molly that's just lying on
the bottom or swimming lethargically, using only her pectoral fins. She doesn't
use her tail to swim at all. Her tailfin seems kind of shredded lengthwise, but
doesn't look bitten. She had gotten big, we thought she was pregnant (assuming
one of the 7 young mollies is a male),
but she seems slimmer now. We have seen any fry in the tank, though we didn't
really look (I'm only just now thinking of it).
We have another Molly, a creamsicle, that is starting to shimmy.
<Typically a stress reaction, though quite what the stress factor might be isn't
always obvious. Mollies are easily stressed by chilling, nitrate, and the wrong
water chemistry, though like all fish, non-zero ammonia and nitrite are issues
The numbers are good in the tank - ammonia and nitrite are 0, nitrate is 20.
<Sounds good, but no mention of water chemistry here. Will (re-) state the
importance of carbonate hardness to Mollies; alkaline water with a basic pH is
an essential, especially if salt is not added to the water. Tanks will acidify
between water changes, and this causes problems for Mollies in particular.
Simply doing a substantial water change or three will often help Mollies return
to their normal happy selves. Failing that, adjusting water chemistry slightly,
by the addition of sodium bicarbonate -- one teaspoon per 40 litres/10 US
gallons is a good start. Easiest approach here
is estimate size of tank, make up the correct solution for that volume, and then
add to the tank in small amounts across a few days, giving time for the fish to
adapt. Alternatively, just add the right amount of a given bucket of water (so
might easily be a quarter teaspoon for a 2.5 gallon bucket) and do your water
changes as per normal. I do prefer to keep
Mollies in low-end brackish conditions, but understand that isn't an option in
all cases. Read up on the pros/cons of this, and act accordingly. Would also
check the heater, and maybe turn it up a notch, Mollies preferring quite balmy
conditions compared with standard community tank fare; 28C/82F is not out of
line for the bigger, sailfin varieties in particular.>
Tell me what I forgot to tell you and I'll provide the info, but this is about
it, that I can see. As always, thanks so much for your help!
Tom & Maria
re: Mollies. Again. 2/14/17
The water is relatively hard, and it goes in at around pH 7.8, then the tank
adjusts up to 8.0 to 8.2 with the bubble stone and stays there. Maria changes the
water weekly at a 25% change. The numbers have all been stable NH3/4, nitrate,
nitrite, pH, etc, for months.
She's still hanging in there, but in a head up position. Could this be
<Yes, but environment is what you look at first. If you're content that the tank
is good, then sure, treat with an antibiotic. Livebearers are sometimes given to
strange "wasting" diseases after a certain length of time -- whether old age,
dietary shortcomings (do bear in mind they're herbivores in the wild), social
stress, or inbreeding is hard to say. But
colonies of livebearers frequently do well for years, but individual fish may
have substantially shorter lifespans than you might expect.>
Why would the tail separate into lengthwise strips?
<Typically physical damage, such as fighting. Do bear in mind Mollies are prone
to fighting. You could medicate as per Finrot, but keep a close eye on the fish
for evidence of squabbling. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hello and Thank You 1/24/17
I don't know... puzzled. Mollies; mysterious passings
Happy New Year.
one of my mollies has swollen, red gills on one side. the other
side looks ok. I change water weekly: ammonium, nitrite are 0. nitrate has never
been above 40ppm. what could cause this problem?
<Difficult to say. If just the one side, physical damage is certainly possible.
Fighting, failed predatory attack; getting stuck on a filter inlet; clumsy
handling by a human with a net can all damage the opercula and the gills
underneath them. If the fish is otherwise healthy (in particular: a healthy
weight, nice and active, and not showing signs of things like greyish mucous
patches on the flanks) I'd tend to leave things be. But if alongside other
maladies, might be worth using an antibiotic. Mollies can exhibit "wasting"
symptoms that typically include fin clamping; rocking from side to side ("the
Shimmies"); concave flanks as they lose weight; mucous/pale patches on their
flanks; and a general appearance of
lethargy and disinterest.>
Hi, Neale! Got a mystery for you! (maybe)...
This isn't a question about a specific fish, but rather about a
trend. We've had three male molly fish,
including the latest one (a sailfin silver), that have done the same
thing: they'll be doing well, then they start getting listless, hanging
in the water, then they start hanging vertically either head up or head
down. The fish wants to be left alone, chasing others away. Then starts
kind of drifting, unable to fight the current much, twisting and turning
with the water movement. They get skinny, then weak and then
<Does sound like one of the 'wasting diseases' whatever they might be.
Sadly all too common with farmed fish these days. Usually put
down to bacterial infection (Mycobacteria) but who knows? In practise it
often comes down to buying livebearers from a variety of sources,
euthanise any sickly ones, and breed your own generation of healthy
specimens from the survivors. I know that isn't much of a plan, but I
have found home-bred livebearers to be a lot tougher than the ones sold
in pet stores. The problem is that the wasting disease bacteria are
prevalent on fish farms, and little/no attempt is made by farmers to
improve the health of their fish.>
It's just the males. The females are doing great.
<Which is the important bit. They'll be pregnant, almost certainly, so
ensure at least some of their progeny survive, and job done!>
They've done it with fresh water and with brackish water, coolish (78°F)
and warmish (82°F).
<Quite so; while Mycobacteria infections do seem to be exacerbated by
environmental stress, once the fish is actually ailing, the simple
tweaks, like adding salt, don't usually help. On the other hand,
brackish conditions will improve the health of the survivors, making
cross-infection less of a worry, and hopefully when you're a generation
or two in, your Molly collection will be fighting-fit. To give you an
example, the big Guppy and Limia tank in my classroom go through summer
holidays (six weeks!) without food or water changes, surviving purely on
the algae in the tank (it's on a sunny windowsill, so there's a lot of
algae). These are big, hardy, active and colourful Guppies just like
they used to be. They're also a couple generations in from their
store-bought parents. I think that's the solution here: see your
store-bought Mollies as the parents of the ones you're going to keep and
Again, just the males. The sailfin silver is the third one to do this,
and he started after we salted the water and warmed it up to treat that
one female with a bump (she's fine by the way and we're getting rid of
some of the salt). I don't get it. If sail dies, that'll be it for male
<See above... yes, I agree, but once you start getting fry, keep some of
the males, and I think you'll be fine.>
Have you seen anything like this?
<Many, many times. The tragedy of the tropical fish trade is that
farmers, especially in Asia, breed to a price rather than quality.
Antibiotics and hormones are used liberally, often without anything like
veterinarian control. There's also a focus on bizarre colours and body
shapes that means there's a lot of genetic inbreeding. The result is
that many species that used to be very tough are now flimsy. Guppies,
Mollies, indeed, pretty much all the common livebearers suffer from
this. But you could just as easily mention Angelfish, Dwarf Gouramis and
Ram Cichlids. The list goes on.>
Hope you and yours are well!
<And likewise yours, Neale.>
What does this look like...
Hey, Neale. Hope the autumn is being kind to you - don't know how hot it
gets there, so fall might not be the relief to you that it is to us
after 100°F summer days...
<Well, in England autumn has been pretty mild so far (mid to high 50s in
your money) but last couple days it's been decidedly chilly.>
So we have this, now: a bump on the side of a creamsicle lyretail Molly
female. Honestly this is getting to be more trouble than it's worth.
<Ah, have I directed you to my article on Mollies before. They can be a
lot of hassle in freshwater systems. Hardier in brackish, even very
low-end brackish. The problem is, I feel, related to nitrate toxicity;
they're much less sensitive to this in situations with appreciable
sodium chloride levels. It also has to be said farmed Mollies are very
poor quality, and I have no doubt that good quality stock is just fine
in hard, clean freshwater systems -- have seen wild Mollies dozens of
miles inland while visiting Belize and Mexico, as well as seeing them
swimming around in mangroves and on offshore islands in fully marine
conditions. So they should be very adaptable. But the farmed, "pretty"
strains... well, let's just say humanity hasn't necessarily brought out
the best in their gene pool.>
We had to euthanize a male lyretail, was wasting away, just hanging, not
eating. Put him in a quarantine tank with salt, fed him algae tabs and
flakes, trying to build him up a bit, but in the end, no...
I'll attach a couple of pictures... Thanks so much, again.
<This female *might* have a bit of Finrot or fungus, both of which
affect Mollies. Medicating as per these might be worthwhile. But if you
have a quarantine tank, maintaining this/these Mollies for a few weeks
in, say, 25% seawater (8-9 grams marine or non-iodised table salt mix
per litre) might work just as well for a lot less money. If they thrive
in such conditions, that's a clue to what's up here. Mollies are
wonderful fish, very pretty, but a pain in the backside if you're
lumbered with sickly specimens from the get-go. Cheers, Neale.>
Hit the wrong button. sigh.... The bump is on her right side, just behind
the pectoral fin.
Re: What does this look like...
Thanks - we're salting the tank to 2gm/liter and bumping the temp up to
84-86°F, and we're going to keep the water brackish if the Pleco will
<Standard "Common" Plecs (Hypostomus and Pterygoplichthys species) certainly
will; ironically enough these catfish are pests in the brackish streams of
Florida! But Bristlenose Plecs (Ancistrus spp.) will be less happy.>
The bump seems smaller today, it might have just been the result of a bite
from the Pleco, who can be food aggressive.
It might also come back. Who knows.
<Indeed. Good luck, Neale.>
And now, weird Molly behavior. Env. 6/17/16
Neale, I hope this finds you well.
<Likewise my reply, Tom.>
We have another problem - we have a Molly that is spending a lot of time
on the bottom. She'll occasionally sort of raise her head and shake it
back and forth and then stop and sit there for a while, until she does
<Shimmies. Quite common among Mollies, and indeed livebearers
generally, when stressed. Usually, fixing the environment will effect a
recovery. No medications as such required, but if there's
something else amiss, like odd
white patches on the body or sudden loss of weight, then treating as per
a bacterial infection is a good idea. If the only fish in the tank are
Mollies (or other livebearers) then adding salt, 2-3 gram/litre, can
help a great deal.>
She was doing that this morning then started swimming like a maniac,
sometimes stopping and wiggling. The male lyretail did that with her.
Now she's back on the bottom. Ok, Maria just opened the top to get some
water for testing and the Molly was up to the surface in a flash. Her
appetite has been... vigorous this whole time. She just acts funny when
she swims (swims into plant leaves, then backs up and swims around them)
and spends a lot of time just sitting on the bottom in out of the way
places. Poops a lot.
pH: 7.4 - 7.5
<What sort of hardness level? Mollies appreciate very hard water.>
<Still not zero! Mollies are super-sensitive to ammonia and nitrite in
Water gets 25% change weekly, but we haven't been adding bacteria to the
38 gallon tank with water changes.
We just don't know if she's even sick, just acting funny. We had one
Molly with some white spots that got lethargic and died and took another
well-loved fish with her. (We quarantined them, added some conditioner
and PimaFix for fungal infections, and the next morning the pH had
dropped from 7.4 to 5.8. Both fish died.) So we're a little skittish, I
So there's a lot of info. Any light you can shed on any of it, we'd
appreciate it. Thanks a lot!
<Hope this helps! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: And now, weird Molly behavior 6/17/16
Good info, as USUAL - thank you so much! Hardness might be a problem.
We have soft water. Would hard water be a
problem for the tetras and the platy?
<Platies will usually thrive in the same conditions as Mollies, though
Mollies do prefer more heat than Platies; Platies are optimally kept
around 22-25C/72-77F whereas Mollies are more 25-28C/77-82F sort of
beasts. But so far as water chemistry goes, both like hard, alkaline,
Tetras are predominantly soft water fish, with a few exceptions.
Generally not good companions for Mollies because of this. That said, it
will depend on your tetras. X-Ray Tetras, Black Widows, 'False'
Penguins, and Emperor Tetras will all do just fine up to 20 degrees dH,
PH 8, which is fine for Mollies. You can add baking soda, sodium
bicarbonate, to raise hardness. Do read:
Something like a half teaspoon baking soda per 20 litres/5 US gallons
would be about right. Use a test kit to check before adding any such
water to your aquarium.>
These will likely be the last mollies we get. Sheesh.
<As I've said many times, Mollies really aren't community fish and
shouldn't be sold/bought as such. They are very beautiful, yes, but
quite demanding. Kept on their own though they can look superb! Big
tanks with big groups are wonderful. Check out Liberty Mollies some
time. I saw a group of them in a single-species set up, designed with
lots of flat rocks for them to graze on. Really beautiful fish, and
patriotic too if you happen to live in a country with a red, white and
blue flag! Cheers, Neale.>
Oh, crap... 8/21/16
We got rid of the mollies. But there's still some ammonia in
the 38 gallon tank - less than 1, more than 0.5. It looks like a ghost
tank. We've lost two white skirt tetras, and now nobody is swimming.
<But no sign of Whitespot any more?>
Even the 12 neon are sitting towards the bottom in a clump, swimming a
bit, but low in the tank. The remaining white skirts just hang and our
platy is just sitting on the bottom.
<Do lower the water level a bit so there is more splashing. Is the water
moving briskly? Is the water too warm? The fish behaviour could be
related to low oxygen level. Review, and act accordingly.>
The pH is 7.2, no nitrites, a wee trace of nitrates, water is soft,
alkalinity around 80. We have added ammo lock and bacteria. I'm afraid
were going to lose the tank.
The other tank is fine, even though the ammonia has been higher. Could
our filtration be too weak? Gah!
<A typical community tank needs to have a water turnover rate around 6
times the volume of the aquarium per hour. So if you have a 38-gallon
aquarium, you'd buy a filter rated at 228 gallons/hour. You can find
this value on the filter pump or the packaging. Pretty much ignore
anything stating "suitable for tanks of 10-40 gallons" or whatever,
are really optimistic values assuming spotlessly clean filter media and
very low stocking densities of small fishes such as Neons or Guppies.
Much better to use the turnover rate. Provided you have that sort of
turnover rate, and assuming the media is appropriate (i.e., biological
filter media rather than, say, carbon), mature (over 6 weeks old) and
maintained (you don't clean the media under a hot tap) then the filter
should be adequate. Check the ammonia level of a sample of dechlorinated
tap water. If the ammonia level is identical, then the ammonia test kit
is probably picking up neutralised tap water ammonia or chloramine,
neither of which are a worry. I find nitrite test kits more useful
because they're less likely to be related to tap water, though
occasionally tap water does contain nitrite. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Oh, crap... it's ich 8/21/16
The white skirts have it. We see spots on their fins, looks like the
pics we've seen. Everything we see about all this stuff is contradictory
- one says do this, next one says do the opposite, third one says do
nothing. And thus all started with those mollies.
<Usually Whitespot gets into a tank via the addition of new fish. Once
eliminated, the aquarium is normally free from Whitespot until something
else is added from the pet store. If this was me, I'd be treating using
salt/heat, as described earlier, or else using a proprietary medication,
my personal favourite in terms of safety and value being eSHa EXIT.>
So, 38 gallon tank. Four white skirt tetras, twelve neons, one platy,
and a Pleco (algae eater). Live plants, which are replaceable. If you
can give me one suggestion, one plan of action, maybe we don't need to
turn the aquarium into a bookcase.
<See above. Assuming you don't have carbon in the filter, commercial
Whitespot medications are very effective. So is the salt/heat method if
done right (2 gram/litre of water; temperature up to 28 C). If Whitespot
is the issue here, either of these will fix it. Once that's done, your
aquarium should be parasite-free. As for the ammonia, do see my previous
email re: ammonia in tap water.>
Maria's doing multiple water changes to deal with spiky ammonia levels.
<Don't change more than, say, 10-20% per day. And if the filter is
basically functioning right and of adequate size, you should be able to
scale these back within a week to the usual 20% change per week.>
Down to 0.5 - 0.75, not zero, but low. This is supposed to be fun and
relaxing. �� Gah.
<It is fun and relaxing. Once a tank is set up properly and given
periodic water changes, fish are BY FAR the easiest and cheapest pets
around. Virtually no work. The problem is if the tank isn't quite right,
and more often than not, that's through setting it up wrong, such as
buying too many fish too soon, not getting compatible fish, etc. Still,
compared to a sick dog or cat, fish are cheap! Have you visited a vet
Sorry, and thanks.
Black molly 5/18/16
I have a black Dalmatian Mollie she is 3.5in long and 1.5in from her
belly to top fin. She is 3.5yrs old I call her Bertha she is one of my
first babies born.
She has a pea size white cotton thing coming outta her butt it
looks like..Idk what is it..for a fish we r close I taught her to come
when called by name she tries to wave hi but her fins won't let her do
she gets mad. PLEASE HELP ME SHE AINT GONNA DIE IS SHE??
<Hard to say. Photos are not at all clear. You could start by using
Epsom Salt, which has a laxative effect that can helps Mollies (and
other fish) pass obstructions in the gut. Constipation is common in
herbivorous fish like Mollies. But at the same time, there are some more
Stillbirths can cause real problems for livebearers. The dead embryos
form a silvery or off-white sac that protrudes from the vent. Really,
without surgical action, the embryos will rot, cause infections, and
kill the mother. You can't pull these embryos out without a risk of
seriously damaging the mother, so there's not a lot you can do here
short of humanely
euthanising the fish.
Similarly, Hexamita, worms and other parasitic infections of the gut can
cause problems. Hexamita is distinctive, producing a combination of
lethargy, loss of colour, stringy white faeces, and often pits on the
head and flanks. It's treated with Metronidazole. Camallanus worms are
quite common among livebearers, exhibit themselves as the tips of red
worms from the vent, and are treated using commercial anti-worm
medications (such as Prazi Pro). Would direct you to this article:
Then follow the links at the top to read more about Mollies and their
health/disease issues. Good luck, Neale.>
One day I saw that my Molly had a white line growing on the
top of its head 3/30/16
and I'm worried cause it wasn't there before. I have attached a picture
of my Molly and the white line
<Mmm; this white line looks to be some sort of physical injury...
perhaps the fish jumped or swam into something that scratched it. Is
your water hard and alkaline? Do you add a modicum of aquarium salt? IF
your water conditions are propitious and you're feeding your fishes
well, this issue will likely heal itself in time. I would not
specifically add some sort of medicine/s here, as they're more likely to
cause trouble than cure.
There is a small amount of aquarium salt in the water my water is fine, said
the lady at the pet store, the only thing that's wrong is my ammonia
<Ammonia is deadly toxic. READ here:
and the linked files above. BobF>
re: Keep Reading! 3/30/16
Would that cause my Molly's wound not to heal? Or cause it to grow?
Neale to the rescue! 3/30/16
One day I saw that my Molly had a white line growing on the top of its head
and I'm worried cause it wasn't there before. I have attached a picture of
my Molly and the white line
<Very odd. The photo isn't sharp enough or close enough to see exactly
what's going on. Is it that some of the scales are simply white? This sort
of colour change can happen and isn't a health issue as such. Or is there
something white, almost like paint, across the back of the fish? This is
very commonly seen on Black Mollies and other dark-coloured Mollies when
they produce extra mucous. This is usually what happens when they're
stressed or irritated by something, either an early bacterial infection or
exposure to the wrong environmental conditions. I'm going to direct you to
Mollies are prone to Finrot and fungal infections when kept in plain
freshwater. In brackish water they're a lot tougher, and by brackish, I'm
talking something like 5-6 gram/litre (3-4 teaspoons of marine aquarium salt
mix per US gallon). Although brackish conditions aren't essential, they
help. If that isn't an option, then do make sure the water is very hard (15+
degrees dH) and relatively warm (25-28 C) and above all else keep nitrate as
low as practical (20 mg/l or less). Naturally, ammonia and nitrite levels
should be zero. Cheers, Neale.>
There is a small amount of aquarium salt in the water my water is fine, said
the lady at the pet store, the only thing that's wrong is my ammonia is high
<I'd love to know what the "lady in the pet store" means by the word "fine"
if your water has high ammonia! Let's be clear, subjective interpretations
of water chemistry and quality are about as useful to us as you telling your
doctor that "you've got an owie on your booboo". So please, write back when
you have some actual numbers. To recap, as always with fish, and nitrite
must be zero. If they're not, then stop feeding and review the aquarium.
Non-zero ammonia and nitrite imply three things: overstocking, overfeeding,
and/or insufficient filtration. This last one is key, and you can have
insufficient filtration because the filter is too small, because you are not
maintaining it properly, or because the filter hasn't had the 6-8 weeks it
needs to mature. Review, and act accordingly. As for the other
water parameters, in freshwater conditions you need low nitrate (<20 mg/l);
high pH (7.5-8.5); and high hardness (15+ dH). In brackish conditions
Mollies are less demanding, but that will of course limit your choices of
tankmates. Nonetheless, they're commercially reared and bred in brackish
water for precisely this reason, and if you're specialising in Mollies,
adding 5-6 gram/litre marine aquarium salt mix (not tonic/aquarium salt)
will massively simplify your fishkeeping experience. Cheers, Neale.>
Would that cause my Molly's wound not to heal? Or cause it to grow?
<Dissolved ammonia is to fish what Cholera bacteria in drinking water is to
humans: deadly, and able to cause all kinds of problems. So when people say
"a trace of ammonia" is in their fish tank and think that's fine, to me
that's liking offering someone a bottle of mineral water with a "trace of
Cholera". Not nice, huh? Cheers, Neale.>
re: Just to update you on my molly.
I did take all of my fish out of the tank
temporarily into another fish tank that I have. I changed the water and
tested it one more time with master test kit, which is a drop test.
ammonia was 4.0ppm... yea that isn't a little high no wonder why my fish
were dying and my Molly wasn't healing.
My Molly apparently scratched it's head trying to get into my tiki head,
I guess she learned that she's to big for a few things haha. So now my
fish is all healed and my aquarium is back to normal, meaning having an
ammonia level of 0, I am also feeding my, now 3 fish, once every other
day and I'm also keeping a close eye on all their levels. And I'm
thankful to day that I'm not going to that petstore ever again, and I'm
also doing a lot more research into everything that I do and every fish
that I get. :)
<Not saying avoid your local pet store, but do keep an open mind, and as
the Russians say, "trust, but verify". Double check what they tell you
against a trusted book or website. Obviously this one's good, but there
are others I wholeheartedly recommended. TFH, FishChannel,
SeriouslyFish, PlanetCatfish, Loaches.com, ThePufferForum.com ... all
good sources of info and accessible to all.>
you will most definitely hear from me again this is the best help that
I've ever found.
<Thanks for the kind words. Neale.>
Aquarium question. Molly health, using WWM
I have a 55 gal. freshwater aquarium. I do 20-30% water changes each week, and
the tank is fairly heavily planted. Lately I have noticed that a few of my VERY
pregnant mollies are shimmying on the sand substrate. They are not giving birth.
Otherwise they seem to be swimming normally, eating. What can I do to help them.
<Mmm; all Molly species and hybrids require hard, alkaline water.... many only
do well with considerable sea salt in their water>
My ammonia and nitrite readings are at 0. Ph is about 6.5 instead of 7.
<Mmm; too low>
This is pretty standard (putting droplets into test tubes of aquarium water.)
Then I got a test-strip, which also tests GH and KH, which I’d never tested
before. GH and KH are almost 0.
This is too low? How do I change it? Could its be causing the problem with the
<Yes, reading, yes>
I was told to add finely ground egg-shell to raise the hardness of the water,
which I did, but I really didn’t notice any change. I was also told to add some
food grade montmorillinite clay, which I did and only got cloudy water.
Other tank mates: 12 or so Cory catfish, 1 loach, snails, 5 Danios, 4 cloud mtn.
minnows, 2 swordtails.
I would be SO APPRECIATIVE of any help.
<Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/mollies.htm
and the linked files above. Do you need help searching on WWM for Neale's
articles on water hardness?
Aquarium question /Neale
I have a 55 gal. freshwater aquarium. I do 20-30% water changes each week, and
the tank is fairly heavily planted. Lately I have noticed that a few of my VERY
pregnant mollies are shimmying on the sand substrate. They are not giving birth.
Otherwise they seem to be swimming normally, eating. What can I do to help them.
<Will direct you to some reading...
Mollies are very finicky about water chemistry. If not completely brackish water
fish per se, they certainly need high hardness and pH to do well, and in
freshwater tanks, minimal nitrate (as well as zero ammonia and nitrite).>
My ammonia and nitrite readings are at 0. Ph is about 6.5 instead of 7.
<Well, here's your problem.>
This is pretty standard (putting droplets into test tubes of aquarium water.)
Then I got a test-strip, which also tests GH and KH, which I’d never tested
before. GH and KH are almost 0. This is too low? How do I change it? Could its
be causing the problem with the mollies?
<Again, let's direct you to some reading:
Scroll down to the Rift Valley Salt Mix. Use this, about half dose if you've got
other fish in the tank that aren't livebearers. If just livebearers (Guppies,
Platies, Swordtails as well as Mollies) then feel free to use the full dose.>
I was told to add finely ground egg-shell to raise the hardness of the water,
which I did, but I really didn’t notice any change.
<Indeed; adding egg shells is fairly pointless.>
I was also told to add some food grade montmorillinite clay, which I did and
only got cloudy water. Other tank mates: 12 or so Cory catfish, 1 loach, snails,
5 Danios, 4 cloud mtn. minnows, 2 swordtails.
I would be SO APPRECIATIVE of any help.
SandraRe: Aquarium question 12/29/15
Hello Neale and Bob,
Thank you for your prompt reply. I am reading the articles.
<Glad to help.>
I am doing a 20% water change, and amongst the water I am adding will be a 5
gal. bucket as per your recommendation, namely:
Per 5 US gallons (20 litres) add the following amounts of each
* 1 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
* 1 tablespoon Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate)
* 1 teaspoon marine salt mix (sodium chloride + trace elements)
So a good plan would be to do this at every water change? ( I change weekly)
<Yes; don't change all the water at once, because suddenly changing the water
chemistry will cause entirely new problems for your aquarium. I'd also remind
you that if there are non-livebearers in the aquarium, don't
use the full dose, half the dose instead. So per 5 gallons, 0.5 teaspoons baking
soda, 0.5 tablespoon Epsom salt, etc.>
I used a test strip on my water from the tap and found that it is on the soft
<Yes; do also feel free to tweak the "recipe" as given above. Epsom salt
provides the general hardness, so using a bit less will lower the general
hardness. Baking soda provides the carbonate hardness (and raises the pH as a
bonus) so if these go too high, reduce the baking soda amount. The salt is
optional, but adds a few trace elements useful for hard water fish. Would
recommend making up a test bucket first, then repeating with different amounts
of the chemicals until you get something "just right".
Write down what you did, and stick with it. As a benchmark, for a mixed
community that happens to include Mollies, something like 10-15 degrees dH
general hardness and a pH of 7.5 is about right. If you're just keeping Mollies
and other livebearers, then you can go higher, 20 degrees dH, pH 8, and you'll
see Mollies really perk up in such conditions. You can always skip everything
but the salt, and use that to create brackish conditions, which Mollies love,
but that limits your options in terms of tankmates and plants, so isn't the
obvious first choice for most folks.>
One additional question is why the ground eggshell is not appropriate, since
eggshell is calcium carbonate and calcium carbonate, according to the article,
adds to water hardness.
<Egg shell has a poor surface area to volume ratio, so dissolves too slowly to
make any meaningful changes to water chemistry. It's as you learned in school:
the finer the particles, the quicker they dissolve. It's even worse in aquaria
because over time bacteria and algae coat the eggshell, slowing down dissolving
Again, thanks for the helpful comments!
Re: Aquarium question 12/29/15
Again, thank you, SUPER HELPFUL. I am printing it out so I can save it for
One last ? regarding the eggshell. (It’s really not that I’m obsessed with this,
I just want to know.) The eggshell I’m using has been baked to make it fragile,
and then crushed to a powder in my food processor. Is that fine enough, or
should I just forget it?
<Powder is better, for sure. But it's just another random variable. Put it this
way. When you add Epsom salt and baking powder to water they dissolve quickly,
and within a few minutes you can do a water test and trust the results are
accurate. Job done. Add water conditioner, and your water is ready to use. Now,
if you add things that dissolve slowly, whether egg shells, lumps of limestone,
coral sand or whatever, you have no idea at all what affect they have on water
chemistry over the following days and weeks. If your fish are ALL true hard
water lovers, like Mollies (and other livebearers) or brackish water fish, then
for sure, you can add some of this stuff to the tank and any impact it has will
be positive. Since the rate they dissolve depends on pH, once the pH climbs up
to around 8.2, they stop dissolving, which is too high for community fish but
just fine for livebearers and brackish water species. Since your tank contains
other fish, such as Corydoras, this kind of pH level isn't what you want, so
adding stuff to the tank isn't recommended. Whereas, adding dissolving powders
to each new batch of water is fine because once done the pH stays more or less
steady at whatever it is you measured in the bucket. If you get pH 7.6, say, in
the bucket, by the time you add it to the aquarium that's about the sort of pH
it should remain at (some slight change, usually downwards, is not uncommon).
Re: Aquarium question
Neale, Thank you again. I get the eggshell picture finally.
I re-tested my water, and hardness and pH both are up to the correct levels. I
never thought to see that happen. I had even bought some kind of pH stabilizer
at the shop, but the results were minimal.
<Those liquid pH-up and pH-down potions are really best thought of us buffers.
You add them once you've adjusted the water chemistry to prevent any further
changes. Useful if you're keeping delicate fish. But there are commercial "Rift
Valley" or "cichlid" buffer salts that work a lot like the mix we've made from
Epsom salt, etc., but are ready mixed in the right amounts. So if you value
convenience, and can remember to half the dose stated on the packaging, they
should work just fine.>
A number of years ago I over-wintered a few koi in a tank in the house, an
emergency measure. Someone recommended baking soda as a way to keep the water
smelling fresher, they were so messy. I did that every week as I cleaned the
tank. But just now it dawns on me that that is why the snails which shared the
tank also had such strong shells. You see, it was some deterioration and loss of
luster on the snails’ shells now that first alerted me to the fact that the
hardness was not where it should be. My regular test kit doesn’t test for
hardness, and I only recently understood that it was a “thing.”
<Ah, yes, very definitely a thing. In fact I'd say more important than pH.
Everyone gravitates to pH when they start out: it seems so simple. pH 6 for
acidic, pH 7 for neutral, pH 8 for alkaline water conditions. All stuff you
learned in school. Hardness is complicated. Two different kinds, literally
dozens of different units, from German degrees to Clark degrees to parts per
million to milligrams per litre! But any test kit should come with a card or
leaflet that at the very least explains the units used in terms of being "soft",
"medium soft", "medium hard", "hard" and "very hard" -- or words to that effect.
For Mollies, you want "medium hard" to "very hard".>
So not just the mollies, but also the snails should be happier.
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Sick Molly's; no data, rdg. 10/7/15
I am not sure if I am in the right area but I need some help my water is 0.05
<.... is this specific gravity? If so; likely you mean 1.005. What salt/s did
you use here?>
I have mollies with some weird symptoms started out like dry looking patches and
now looks like this orange one she is the only one that looks like this they
start out like the balloon Molly and progresses there are only 3 I can see that
look like this but only the orange that looks this bad I found 2 baby's with
what looks like little holes in there head and one baby his eye was white and
pooped out I believe
<... need more data; re water quality, system, maintenance, feeding, history of
the system. Let's have you read here:
and the linked files above.... for input, and to grant you an idea of what sorts
of info. we're looking for. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Molly's 10/7/15
Sorry I am sick and not functioning on all cylinders myself it is specific
gravity and it is 1.005
<Mmm; if you had other livestock.... than shown in your pix; I might well be
raising the "saltiness" here>
I use marine salt by instant ocean
tank is over a year old and cycled I use SeaChem stability and ammonia alert
it's o it only measures free ammonia but I also checked with a ammonia tube
tester it shows zero I use a biological cascade 1000. I do 15% water changes
weekly. I test with high range ph test kit it is 7.5
Nitrite is 0 nitrate is 5.0
I have had issues with phosphates getting up between 1.0 and 2.0
<Meh; not to worry>
but use a phosphate remover, also by SeaChem. I only have 1 live moss ball
in the tank it has really good oxygenation I have 1 Plato
<Pupil of Aristotle?>
1 shrimp a few zerite snails
it's a 45 gallon corner tank and 4 adult female mollies, 6 juveniles and
honestly could not tell you how many babies my levels were fine so didn't
worry about it I want to give them away but can't till I know what's up in
this tank I got Molly's all at once never added any more snails were added
after and shrimp feed omega one twice daily micro pellets for babies or
crush the omega one in a pill crusher I do both I have city water, use aqua
safe to remove chlorine my temp is 80.2. I have used Metronidazole in the
water it was by apI twice
<Don't keep putting this in: Toxic>
48 hour intervals then I started giving mixed 1/8 tsp api to 1/2 tbs omega
one soaked in 1/2 tbs water for 30 min now I have started using life guard
<For what? What for?>
while waiting to find out if anything can be done.
<...> really <...>
I have not seen anything like the pics I have sent you, do you have any idea
what this could be I believe my mollies came with whirling disease I had the
whirled for a year I euthanized her when she finally stopped eating I kept
her in a floating baby nursery with a nylon bottom lost a lot of babies to
this disease it finally stopped I hope.
<.... wish I had a microscope nearby there.... Do you have another system
you can move just the mollies to; jack up the salinity? BobF>
Re: Sick Molly's 10/8/15
I have them in a separate quarantine tank just has the 2 mollies a baby Molly
that is twirling but has since stopped a baby with a white eye and 2 small
babies with what looks like a tiny whole in there head nothing else in this 15
gallon quarantine tank
<Do see my previous message, and Bob's; do also read:
Mollies aren't difficult to keep in (very) hard or (even slightly) brackish
water, but are endlessly delicate if kept otherwise. Sensitive to crowding,
nitrate, cold, and various other factors. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Molly's 10/9/15
Well I thought I read everything but got nothing I didn't already know
my levels are fine in everything,
<Please don't tell me this. It's no use to me. What, specifically, did you
measure? What numbers did you get? Many hobbyists think their tank is
"fine" but they're not. By "everything" do you include salinity? pH? Hardness?
but I didn't read anything that you thought it might be or what to try I am old
and have worked really hard to help them they came sick with clamped fins in
fresh water of course, I have read a lot on that site you sent a long time ago,
if you sent something that might help I must have missed, I think I am done,
euthanize the lot 9 separate tanks because of all these
babies, but they all come initially from the same tank,
<Seems a bit extreme. Let's review. Mollies are most sensitive to environmental
issues. Specifically, coldness (keep them at 25-28 C if possible); acidity (keep
them at pH 7-8.5); and hardness, most easily dealt with by keeping them in
brackish water, around a teaspoon of salt per litre (about 3-4 per US gallon)
being about right. Farmed Mollies can suffer from
some "catchy" diseases, with Camallanus worms and "Slime Disease" (also known as
Costia) being the two most difficult ones to medicate against. By contrast,
while Fungus and Whitespot do occur, as does Velvet, all these are easily
treated. But do remember to remove carbon from the filter before using
medicines. Finally, using salt often helps moderate or even eliminate diseases.>
I feel I can't find new homes till I know what's going on. So it's time to
euthanize unless I can come up with something else to try. Maybe I missed
something I will go back and look but I just saw the one message and it was hard
<Hmm... not sure this is difficult to read, and would start here:
Most fish health problems are environmental, especially where many fish are sick
at the same time. Review conditions, or at least TELL ME the values on your test
kit, and we can take it from there. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Molly's 10/10/15
I told you all the values when I started messaging you about the mollies I use
specific gravity to test their saline,1.005 I have sent numerous messages in the
past few days with pictures and gave you all the values in the tank, how I feed
what I feed and there not all sick and only this fish looks like this and I felt
was getting any info on meds or how to help so euthanized today
<May have sent this information before Colleen, but there are several of us who
help out at WWM, and I don't recall reading a message with those values. Try to
imagine what it's like for us. We get hundreds of messages a week, and simply
can't keep track of every bit of information. So when someone says they sent a
message to us last week with a piece of
information in it, that's a lot less helpful to us than resending that piece of
information in a new email. Just the way it works, Colleen, I'm afraid. We're
volunteers, we're offering a free service, and what we're trying to do is
incredibly difficult. Imagine a doctor diagnosing a human illness by email.
That's the situation here. If your fish tank was in front of us, and we could do
all the test kits immediately, that'd be great. But we aren't with you, and we
rely on you to do the tests. If you can't send test kit information to us,
you're basically asking us to figure something out with 90% of the important
information missing. I'm not exaggerating there. Water quality and water
chemistry are the two main reasons fish sicken and die. All the other reasons
These are some better close ups I am old and not feeling well so I just can't go
through all the info again I am sure if you go back and read you will find what
<Indeed you had, and with a bit of effort I've found them. pH 7.5; fine.
But no information on hardness. Let's assume it's adequate. Specific gravity
1.005 is excellent. Nitrite you say is zero, nitrate 5.0. This latter value is
very low, which is good, but I'm normally skeptical of such low nitrate values.
Why? Because most urban and suburban water supplies are well over 20 mg/l
nitrate, often 40 mg/l. Certainly in England where I am!
But if you're out in the countryside somewhere and use well water or something
with very low nitrate, then your test reading might be accurate.
Nonetheless, keep an open mind about this nitrate value. Test kits don't always
measure accurately, or may be difficult to read.>
and to be honest you guys are who ever I have been messaging with have been
snappy, the rolling eye comment because I told you I was using life guard,"
because I did not know what else to do while I was waiting for
information"!!!!!! And you asked why I was treating with life guard, then did
that eye comment thing.
<Hmm... I don't think these comments came from me. But in any case, we're
sometimes snappy because we've got a lot of sick fish questions to get through,
and it can be frustrating sometimes when we're dealing with willful ignorance --
not in your case, but does happen rather often, where people hang on to ideas
(like Bettas can live in unheated bowls) because they
prefer ignorance (and fish dying, only to be replaced a week later) from
accepting they're wrong (and spending more money). As folks who like pet fish
and turtles, what we mostly help with here, we get a bit worn down by this at
times, and it may become obvious if we're a little short at times.
Don't take it personally. If we were really mean people, we'd not be doing this
for free, and we'd have just ignored you. Judge a man by his actions rather than
his words, is what I'm saying.>
After I told you why I was using it. I am not a expert but do care about my
fish, have worked very hard to help them I have purchased more and more tanks
because of the crowding, I am just euthanizing any sick fish I see, I have tried
for a year to get a straight answer and can't so I am done,
<Sometimes there just isn't a single straight answer. Mollies are plagued with
problems in the US especially, kind of how Neons and Guppies are here in the UK.
I guess breeding a fish to a price point rather than a quality has been the
cause. But in any case, some problems are difficult to diagnose. Your fish may
well have had more than one problem, and while I
suspect the blisters (which I hadn't seen clearly before) are from exposure to
some sort of toxin, it's hard to say what. Blisters aren't normally caused by
common disease organisms, or genetics, but tend to be environmental, sometimes
mediated through a viral infection (such as Lymphocystis, which is untreatable
but not normally fatal, and often clears
up after some months, even years). Even if you think the water is 100% perfect,
it almost certainly wasn't. Copper perhaps, or something airborne like paint
fumes might have been getting into the water. It's really hard to say. On the up
side, since this isn't likely to be contagious or genetic, any healthy Mollies
should remain healthy if their environment is good. Review, as previously
discussed, and act accordingly. Think about what might have been getting into
the water, and perhaps swap your current water conditioner for something that
specifically neutralises copper, ammonia and heavy metals. Relocate the tank if
it's somewhere near a source of fumes, and perhaps use carbon in the filter (not
normally a fan) and see if that helps (will need replacing every couple of weeks
though). Carbon has the useful trait of removing certain dissolved chemicals
from the water that normal filtration does not.>
maybe you just did not get my e-mails and all the info and pics I sent you,
thank you for your time have a nice Day.
<There's no single answer here, which I'm sure is frustrating. But much to think
about. Cheers, Neale.>
Mollies dying; diag., trtmt.s f' 9/1/15
I apologize I hit send before checking my grammar and spelling, as I am
messaging from my phone...I will correct...
<Not a problem.>
Dear WWM Crew,
I noticed you had another person named Jace email you back in March of 2011 with
similar issue that has not been solved and was wondering if you have any more
insight now that some time has passed... I had 2 white mollies, 2 black mollies,
1 orange balloon sailfin molly and 1 gold panda molly in a 20 gallon cycled tank
(fish purchased approx. 1 month ago), frequent water changes done (25-40% per
wk),with regular testing, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and 5 nitrates (no spikes during
this recent time) the mollies came from brackish water so I have kept this
environment for them.
<Can you tell me how much salt you're adding? Brackish water suitable for
Mollies would be something like 5 gram/litre (0.65 oz/US gallon). That gets you
a specific gravity of 1.002 at 25 C/77 F. You can use digital scales at home to
work out how much you'd want to add per bucket. For a 3 gallon bucket for
example, that'd be 3 x 0.65 = 1.95, close enough to 2, oz per bucket. Make
sense? Once you've measured it out you can use teaspoons and see how many
teaspoons there are in that quantity of salt. It's about 5 teaspoons per 1 oz of
salt, more or less, so we're talking about 2 x 5 =10 teaspoons per 3 gallon
bucket. With me so far? Mollies will actually do even better at higher
salinities, and even doubling this amount of salt
could be worthwhile if your aquarium is just Mollies and plastic
plants/ornaments (real plants and most other fish won't be so keen).>
Anyhow, first I noticed definite Ich symptoms - as the black mollies, orange
molly and panda molly were COVERED in white dots like salt grains (couldn't
quite see any on the white mollies). I raised the temp to 86 degrees to speed up
life cycle and increased the salt in the water to 3tsp per gallon
<3 x 6 gram per US gallon... 18 gram/US gallon... 18 gram/3.8 litres... 4.7
gram/litre... yes, that should certainly kill of Whitespot and Velvet.>
when white spots disappeared to kill the ich the natural way (without meds)...
<Salt is a medication... in some situations far more harmful than, say,
Now, before the white spots disappeared, 1 white molly's tail fin just
disappeared (frayed down the body) and then back half of her body started to
look fuzzy and she just kept spiraling around tank so I euthanized her.
The next day, the 2nd white molly's mouth was swollen open & just started
crashing in to the gravel upside down, gills heaving and could not move so I
euthanized her also.
A few days later, the orange balloon molly's lips looked the same, she crashed
and died just like the white molly! So, I assumed the Ich overtook the fish
because this all occurred before the white spots fell off any of the fish and
the other fish were COVERED in salt grains so it just made sense.
<Possibly, but I'd be wondering if Velvet or even Costia is the issue here.
Costia is the old name for Ichthyobodo, and you'll see both names in aquarium
books, though Costia (or "Slime Disease") are more often seen on medications. In
any event, like Whitespot we're talking about a microscopic protozoan that
latches onto the skin of the fish and causes damage. Costia does seem to become
more lethal more quickly than Whitespot or Velvet.
Commonest symptom is the appearance of off-white patches (rather than the
discrete salt grains of Whitespot or icing sugar/golden sheen of Velvet).
It's more difficult to treat than Whitespot, though some medications will treat
both. Brackish water works well against it though, as do 2-20 minute seawater
dips (35 gram/litre). Mollies tolerate seawater dips extremely well, so this is
a useful approach. I'm mentioning Costia here because it's a bit of plague among
Mollies, notoriously obvious on Black Mollies because of their colour, often as
greyish patches on the face and flanks.>
So after a couple days of raising the heat slowly, the white spots all
disappeared and I started the salt treatment (to kill the free floating Ich),
when all of the sudden (now this is when it gets exactly the same as the email
you received in 2011 that I found on your site from Jace that had no resolution
or real answer) the 2 black mollies started hanging around the filter intake and
the heater near the surface (but not gasping), with their tails down as if their
tails were paralyzed (drooping) and if they swam under the waterfall from the
<This is the famous "Shimmies" when Mollies are stressed and unable to swim
properly. It's called the Shimmies because initially the Mollies rock from side
to side as they tread water, as if shimmying.>
they were forced into somersaults uncontrollably but then would buoy back up to
the surface, tail down again. I also noticed their bowel movements were a long,
clearish-white hair-like string (with intermittent white beads every so often).
<Interesting. Copious white faeces indicate excess mucous in the gut, which in
turn often points towards parasitic infections, most notoriously, Hexamita.>
The next day, one black molly started crashing nose down into the gravel and
could not swim or right itself (just as the white ones!) He stopped breathing
and I noticed its anus was extremely white. Now the other black molly is still
hanging near the surface with her tail down, obviously about to suffer the same
fate! The only other one left is the gold panda molly and she seems fine! Again
no parameters changed drastically ever during this time, and the only
identifiable problem I saw was the Ich, but, as I said, it cleared up before
these last 2 started crashing and they started displaying these unidentifiable
symptoms that even your site said were strange (back in 2011)...so, I'm
wondering if anyone has any ideas?
Any new knowledge on this? Could it be Ich AND something else?
<Easily. Whitespot/Ick is pretty much ubiquitous, but it's so easy to treat in
its early stages it shouldn't ever be lethal. But it's also easy for fish to
pick up other infections, and among livebearing fish, Camallanus worms, Hexamita
infections, and something called Tetrahymena are all worth thinking about.
Hexamita is treated by using Metronidazole, and is discussed elsewhere on WWM;
use the Google search facility on the top of each page and you shouldn't have
any trouble finding out about Metronidazole (often used alongside an
antibiotic). Now, Tetrahymena is something less widely discussed. It is
sometimes known as Guppy Disease.
Superficially similar to Whitespot in terms of symptoms but far more immediately
lethal. To save me rewriting a bunch of stuff about this disease, let me direct
you to a piece about this disease I wrote over at FishChannel:
The bottom line is that there are no effective cures, though a combination of
anti-protozoan medication (Metronidazole for example) alongside elevated
salinity (the higher, the better) may help.>
I forgot to mention all the fish were purchased together and introduced to the
cycled tank at the same time (which I would never do again obviously!)
But I am very curious what this is and what to do now? I don't want to proceed
ignorantly and subject any more fish to whatever this issue was!
Please help as I cannot bear to lose any more or have to euthanize; I am an avid
animal lover and it's breaking my heart!!
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Mollies dying 9/2/15
Thank you so much, I will look into all of this information!
<Glad to help and good luck. Neale.>
sick molly sucked into syphon
I'm so sad as I sucked my molly into my syphon for a second only on Saturday,
but enough to cause real problems for her.
She turned red in her head area which has now gone back to normal but...she's
been head downwards in the hospital tank ever since - can't seem to right
herself. Tries to eat but not sure if she's managing.
Not sure if to euthanise her as she surely can't stay like this - I'm surprised
she's still alive after 2 days. Hate to think she's suffering jay
<Fishes are very resilient; capable of healing from tremendous injuries. I would
not give up hope.
Re: sick molly sucked into syphon
so.......THANK YOU! for your advice! I left her in her hospital tank and very
very nearly ended her days but every time I came close, she seemed to perk up a
little. After 2 weeks she was still unbalanced but loving her food so I risked
putting her bank into the tank. She's swimming around now like nothing ever
happened! Thank goodness I waited...
I don't know how to post on your site, but if a fish every gets sucked into a
syphon and seems at death's door, just to say that yes they can recover!
<Thank you for your upbeat report. Bob Fenner>
balloon molly with growth
I have a Dalmatian balloon molly with a growth behind its right fin.
<Ahh; see this in your pix...>
looks like a solid mass, grayish green in color, consistently growing. I would
say it has doubled in the past few weeks. Please see attached picture. I would
appreciate any insight.
<Such growths are more and more common... tumorous; from various supposed
causes... Narrowed genetic bottlenecking from so-much inbreeding,
hybridising... perhaps water quality, nutritional input. Naught to do re
treatments other than improving the environment and foods/feeding. Bob
Re: balloon molly with growth
So basically she is going to die....and there isn't much I can do to help?
<Mmm; perhaps not die soon; but nothing that I'm aware of... other than
experimental surgery, medicine use>
If I am understanding your last sentence correctly, you are saying there isn't
much that can be done in regard to treatments for the condition.
However, I can monitor water quality and nutritional input....? Are there better
fish foods than others?
<Yes; please see WWM re Molly feeding. BobF>
molly fish; hlth. 4/27/15
my molly fish acting strange, head in the gravel and other fish swimming
around her is that sign of sickness or labor?
<Sickness. Sounds like "the Shimmies", which is almost always caused by
an environment problem. Mollies are demanding fish, and delicate if kept in
Once you're done, it should be obvious what you'd doing wrong. Fix it, and your
Molly stands a good chance of recovering. Just for once, it's nice to have an
easy problem to diagnose at WWM! Cheers, Neale.>
Sudden Molly Death 2/16/15
Good evening WWM Crew!
I'm perplexed by the sudden death of one of my silver mollies, and by
sudden, I mean within the time frame of me eating dinner. Prior to
dinner she appeared to be just fine, and when I went to look in on the
tank afterwards (approximately 25-minutes), I observed her lying dead in
Some background info: 20 gallon long tank, pH about 7.5,
chlorine/chloramine 0,KH 120, GH 300, Ammonia 0, NO2 0, NO3 <5, temp
81.7 F. These parameters were measured just after I notice the dead
<All sound fine. As always, mention must be made of the fact Mollies are
generally hardier in tanks with a little salt added, even though they're
not strictly brackish water fish. Your low nitrate levels are good
though, and probably key to success when keeping them in freshwater
The aquarium is planted, but I do not use any fertilizers or CO2. There
is one other female silver molly and a male leopard-skin guppy in the
All three fish were introduced together to the newly cycled tank on
01/17/15 and have been doing great, eating well, and showing no signs of
distress or sickness. The two mollies were growing well. The one that
suddenly died was a tad bit larger and was at the top of the pecking
order in the tank. She was showing more and more signs of pregnancy and
I was looking forward to a birth of fry any day (I even have another 20g
long cycled and empty, set up just for the eventual fry).
The mollies and guppy were fed a pinch of tropical flake food this
morning, and about 2 hours before the death I had blanched a baby
spinach leaf and attached it to a feeding clip inside the tank where all
3 fish were voraciously nibbling away at it.
I have been feeding them a broad variety of foods, from tropical fish
flakes, Spectrum Spirulina sinking pellets, peas, cucumber, zucchini,
spinach, carrots, and one every 2-weeks or so some frozen brine shrimp
as a treat.
Lying around the dead molly when I found her was 5-6 short lengths of
bright green feces, presumably from stuffing herself with spinach. Did
she somehow over feed herself to death? Is that possible?
<No more so than for any other animal.>
The other molly and guppy appear just fine, though a bit skittish with
the sudden absence of the alpha female.
I performed a dissection on the dead molly, and she was indeed pregnant
with what looked to be healthy fry and full belly of spinach. There were
no unusual signs of illness.
<Sometimes problems with the embryos or actually giving birth can kill
livebearers. Not common, but does happen. On the other hand, such fish
usually show unusual amounts of bloating as the embryos decay, or else a
prolapse around the vent.>
I've never raised mollies before and was hoping to learn of the species
by raising some fry. Is this type of sudden molly death unheard of? Or,
more likely, something I overlooked or did wrong?
<For now, I'd tip this towards "bad luck" but would still keep an open
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
<Hmm... do read:
Thems is my thoughts!>
pop eye molly? 12/4/14
Hi all, sorry to bother you guys again. My roommate just got her tank
and moved her fish from mine to hers so I'm back down to six fish in my
tank. (with her fish there were eight fish and her two were several
inches long) I came back from vacation and found two of my fish dead. I
wasn't totally surprised since at the time the tank was very
overcrowded and it was the smaller fish that had died. Well the
issue was that the water was all yellowish brown from the fish being
dead for a while in the tank (that what the pet store said) so I
bought some clear water solution to help.
<... poor. CHANGE a good deal (like a quarter) of the water out every
other day until it clears>
I treated the tank twice and afterwards the two fish were removed and
put into another tank. One of my fish i believe is depressed as he and
the male sailfin were pretty good buddies. I was feeding my fish this
morning and I noticed that my female sailfin molly has her left eye
bulging out slightly, just enough to notice and make her look weird.
What can I do to help her?
<The above; water quality improvement, not "drops"... which will do
nothing to improve it>
Also what can I do about my male's "depression" as he sits on the bottom
since we moved the other fish.
<The exact same. READ on WWM re Molly Systems. Bob Fenner>
Re: pop eye molly? 12/4/14
Hi again. I just got back from class and my sailfin molly female (the
one with both eyes slightly bulging) was sitting on the bottom. After a
few minutes she got up and swam around and went right back to laying on
the bottom. I just did a 50% water change and added some aquarium salt.
Is there anything else I can do to help with the eye bulging or will it
go away on its own. I feel really bad for her. I plan on getting the
water tested tomorrow to see what all the levels are. Another question
is what is the best way to transport fish?
<Covered on WWM...>
I'm moving back home from college next week and I'm not sure how to move
my fish. It is a 2 hour drive.
<Perhaps a bit of Epsom... see WWM re. BobF>
URGENT MOLLY HELP
I wrote to you guys the other day about my Sailfin female having PopEye
on Wednesday. On Thursday I noticed that he eyes were back to normal (a
very tiny amount of bulging but almost undetectable. Only noticed as she
was right next to my Dalmatian molly male.) Today however, I noticed her
eye was popping out again and her other eye had started to.
<When both eyes "pop" it's almost always some sort of
environmental shortcoming. As always with Mollies, review the
key basics: test carbonate hardness and pH (water needs to be hard and
alkaline); test for nitrite or ammonia (water quality needs to be good);
test for nitrate (this should be as low as practical). How much salt are
you adding? With Mollies, brackish water is the ideal in the sense they
tend to be much hardier and more resistant than in freshwater. To stress
a point made many times here:
Mollies are not easy community fish, and can't be thrown into a planted
tank or a regular community tank alongside soft water fish. They need
very specific conditions. There's no medicine for Pop-eye as such, but
the addition of Epsom Salt to the water (1 to 3 teaspoons per 5
gallons/20 litres) plus raising the temperature a couple of degrees can
effect a cure provided the stress factors in the environment are fixed.
Note that Platies will tolerate brackish water well (not less than 5-6
gram marine salt mix/litre in this situation) but soft water fish and
most plants will not.
As I say though, you should only choose Mollies for tanks where you have
the option of adding salt if needs be, and it sounds like you do.>
It got worse over the day so I put her in a small hospital/transport
tank for several hours. Her eyes went back down quite a bit so I put her
Now all my fish are attacking her. My male molly and female balloon
molly are chasing her everywhere along with my female bumblebee platy.
<Mollies are not sociable fish when kept in very small groups; often
much better in large tanks and large numbers. Not a suitable species for
tanks smaller than, realistically, 30 gallons, unless you keep just a
Sailfin Mollies in particular can get huge (15 cm/6 inches) under ideal
conditions in the wild and not less than 10 cm/4 inches in aquaria, so
anything less than 30 gallons is clearly unsuitable.>
I can't keep her in the "hospital" tank as it is really just a small
animal carrier. She is now hiding in the barrel that I have which she
has never gone in before. I'm worried about her. What can I do to help.
I really like her as I was hoping to use her to start a small breeding
operation (2 females and one male) of Sailfins. This is the picture of
the hospital tank and her hiding from the others.
<Meantime do read:
And follow the links to Molly Disease and Molly System FAQs; the
problems you are experiencing are very common and easily prevented.
URGENT MOLLY HELP.... the reading?
I wrote to you guys the other day about my Sailfin female having PopEye
on Wednesday. On Thursday I noticed that he eyes were back to normal (a
very tiny amount of bulging but almost undetectable.
<Excellent. As stated in my previous reply, environment is both the
cause and cure of Pop-eye in such situations.>
Only noticed as she was right next to my Dalmatian molly male.) Today
however, I noticed her eye was popping out again and her other eye had
started to. It got worse over the day so I put her in a small
hospital/transport tank for several hours. Her eyes went back down quite
a bit so I put her back. Now all my fish are attacking her. My male
molly and female balloon molly are chasing her everywhere along with my
female bumblebee platy. I can't keep her in the "hospital" tank as it is
really just a small animal carrier. She is now hiding in the barrel that
I have which she has never gone in before. I'm worried about her. What
can I do to help. I really like her as I was hoping to use her to start
a small breeding operation (2 females and one male) of Sailfins. This is
the picture of the hospital tank and her hiding from the others.
<Do read the other email. Write back if you need help.
Re: URGENT MOLLY HELP... not what WWM is
Thanks . I'm going to get the water tested today. I will be moving home on
Friday (i live in a dorm) so I think a fresh start on the water will be
good for her. I do plan on getting a larger aquarium for these guys as I
want to put my Betta in the 10 gallon so he will be happier. I do have
aquarium salt in the tank currently and it does seem to help.
<For sure. "Aquarium salt" isn't the same thing as marine aquarium salt, and
as/when you've finished the existing package of salt would be a good time to
switch. Won't much affect cost, but marine aquarium salt raises not just
salinity but hardness, pH and buffering capacity too -- all big plusses for
the Molly aquarium.>
Thanks so much for all your guys help and for putting up with crazy me. As
this is my first time with an aquarium I tend to freak out when things go
<Nothing wrong with being concerned.>
Here is a picture of my tank.
(three fish aren't in here as they are camera shy)I also got my water
tested and figured out the problem. Ammonia - 0.25 mg/l
<That's your problem right there. Ammonia above 0 is toxic, and Mollies are
ammonia-sensitive in freshwater tanks.>
Nitrite - 10.0 mg/L
<Lethal! I'm guessing you mean 1 mg/l since 10 mg/l would kill most fish
within hours. Together with non-zero ammonia, non-zero nitrite suggests
overstocking, overfeeding and/or under-filtration. Review, and act
accordingly. Short term: stop feeding, do daily water changes, and check
the filter is working/appropriate to this aquarium in terms of size,
Nitrate - 60-80 mg/L
pH - 8.4
Alkalinity - 300 mg/L
Chlorine/Chloramine 0 mg/L
<All fine. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: URGENT MOLLY HELP chatting, chatting...
The pet store said it was at ten she was surprised and told me to do a
<A water change is an understatement! At 10 mg/l nitrite, you'd have to
remove the fish to a bucket, change all the water, then reintroduce the
fish. Alternatively, change 50% now, 50% after an hour, and 50% after
another hour. This really is lethal. Meantime, do not feed the fish until
ammonia and nitrite are 0. Seriously. No food. Even two weeks without food
won't harm them, but further exposure to non-zero ammonia and nitrite will.>
She also gave me a product to help with the levels
<Do understand no chemical will magically make water safe from ammonia and
nitrite. There is really only one "bottle" you must use. This is water
conditioner. In your situation, the only other product you might consider is
a bottle of filter bacteria (such as Tetra SafeStart). These products are
very hit-and-miss in terms of working. Sometimes they help, something they
don't. But they're cheap and worth a shot in a crisis. Otherwise, the only
way to eliminate ammonia and nitrite from your fish tank is a working
filter. Find out why yours isn't working. Is the tank newly set up? Is the
filter big enough for your tank/number of fish? Do you have the right media
in the filter? (As a hint, carbon is useless while sponges and ceramic
noodles are essential.) Is the flow rate normal or slow because the filter
is clogged? Is there enough oxygen for the bacteria? Is the tank
overstocked? Are the fish overfed? Is there a corpse somewhere rotting away?
Various possibilities. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: URGENT MOLLY HELP... 12/8/14
Hi again. I figured out some of my mollies weird behavior. I put her in the
hospital tank as she was acting weird and this morning I found babies. She
was acting normal. I also did several large water changes yesterday and
changed my filter.
<Sounds like you're making progress. Good luck! Neale.>
Re: URGENT MOLLY HELP 12/8/14
I tested the water and the nitrite and nitrate levels are down now.
<Cool. Keep nitrite at zero, and nitrate as low as practical (below 20 mg/l
ideally). Don't feed the fish if nitrite or ammonia aren't zero; do water
Thanks for your help.
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: URGENT MOLLY HELP 12/8/14
Hi Neale. A new problem emerged which has happened before. My balloon molly has
done this before but it seems worse. She used to occasionally swim with her head
facing down and she has been doing it all day and can't seem to right herself.
<Assuming she's otherwise healthy, constipation could be the problem here.
A common problem where deformed herbivorous fish are concerned. Read here:
Treatment involves Epsom salt and plant-based foods.>
She also hasn't eaten even when i put her in the hospital tank. I'm thinking its
swim bladder disease but not sure how to treat it. (everything I'm reading says
to feed her peas or have a vet x-ray her ((not going to happen)))
<There's no such thing as "Swim bladder disease" any more than a broken leg is a
disease. It's a description of a set of symptoms including the inability to
orient themselves properly. Constipation is the commonest cause. But Dropsy
(associated with raised, "pine cone"-looking scales) and some bacterial
infections (alongside disinterest in food, lethargy) can cause similar symptoms.
Poecilia velifera Parasite or Bac. Concern
Greetings Crew, I've recently purchased(2 weeks ago) a few Sailfin
I have them in 40g breeder quarantine tank filtered by a small aquaponic
grow bed(7 gal), homemade interior filter and air stone. One female has
a large stomach with no gravid spotting and does have a very slight
prolapse in rectum.
<Mmm; perhaps a bit of Epsom Salt>
This fish is mostly clear(in coloration) and I've noticed a black, some
what blotchy pigment spreading under skin. It started behind gill plate,
down toward stomach and slowly progressing backward. The fish seems
healthy aside from conditions mentioned, feeding well, active, etc. No
other fish are showing symptoms.
<What other fish/es (species) are present? The water is hard,
alkaline... salt/s present?>
The other females have delivered fry except for this one. I'm
considering treating for parasites and/or bacterial infect.
<Mmm; dangerous to just add medicines w/o knowing specifically what
I have Metronidazole
<Toxic... just one dose. See WWM re>
on hand and was considering using it. I also have Furan and PraziPro. I
do have access to Oxytetracycline, if need be. Which would you
suggest, if any at all?
<Again; none w/o better knowledge of cause/etiology here>
My water supply is "hard"
and I do add marine salt.
<Ah; good... IF your other life can/will tolerate it>
Do you think I could omit the salt without any negative consequences?
<Can't say w/o knowing more... the other life present mostly>
Thanks for the great site. Aloha Brandon
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Poecilia velifera Parasite or Bac. Concern
Thanks for reply Bob. These fish are quarantining in a tank just
containing 4 female and 2 males sailfin Mollies.
<Ahh, thank goodness>
Really haven't noticed aggression towards any fish. The fish in question
seems to be the most dominant fish in tank. Soon to be added to a larger
school of strictly Sailfins. My water hardness hovers around 75mg/liter,
ph of 8.3.
<Ahh; about what ours is>
What would be the best way to ID an internal protozoan infestation on a
<Sampling... and microscopic examination. A bit of this is gone over...
Thanks for the help. Have a great weekend. Aloha Brandon
<And you, BobF>
Poecilia velifera Head Standing/Whirling
Greetings WetWebMedia Crew,
I've recently purchased four sailfin molly (1male, 3female) labeled
Poecilia velifera, mostly harlequin in color, farm raised in SE Asia, in
hopes of adding some new blood to my school. Initially they were put in
cycled 20g quarantine tank with about half strength sea water (tetra
marine salt). With in a few days a gravid looking female started
swimming head down a bit. I separated her into 10g fry tank(I use for
smaller livebearers, a bit small for this fish) increased salinity to
3/4 sea water with marine/Epsom salt filtered only by over sized sponge
filter and ample Java moss.
<75% seawater salinity and Java Moss growing? Doesn't sound likely. Do
you have a hydrometer handy? A specific gravity of 1.003-1.005 is AMPLE
for Mollies, and should be tolerated by the Moss well.>
I do keep nitrate below 5 in all tanks by water changes. After 48 hours
she was head standing, bouncing off bottom and ornaments. What was
interesting was she continued to graze on algae, as she was inverted.
With in 24 hours she was head standing but whirling also. She does
appear to have a slightly scabby look between eyes on topside. The other
fish look to be lethargic also. I'm hoping its not whirling disease.
These tanks run warm around 79F. What are your thoughts? Thanks as
always for the great
site. Aloha Brandon
<It's possible they've reacted badly to something in transit and injured
their swim bladders, or they're constipated, or indeed as you suggest,
they may have a disease of some sort. Really hard to say. Shimmying and
other sorts of odd swimming behaviours are common in livebearers when
exposed to poor conditions. Assuming your aquarium is well maintained,
this may be one of those "wait and see" situations. If the fish is/are
feeding, there's hope. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Poecilia velifera Head Standing/Whirling
Thanks for the reply back Neale. As far as my Java Moss it was growing
in pure fresh water, until about 48hrs ago, I then added the salt in
hopes of combating possible parasites and/or bloat. I do have a couple
hygrometers but didn't use in this case just measured salt. The Moss
looks good at this point and I'll do a water change in couple days(or as
<Glad to help. I just find it hard to believe you have ~26 gram salt per
litre water, which is what 75% seawater would be. That salinity would
surely kill Java Moss off in a few days. Review, and act accordingly. SG
1.003, which is about 5-6 gram/litre at 25 C, is more than enough to
optimise health for Mollies. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Poecilia velifera Head Standing/Whirling
Sorry I meant hydrometer, not hygrometer(wrong hobby) in my earlier
message. I don't dose all my tanks that heavy, but it is a 5g(fry tank).
So didn't add up to much(marine/Epsom salt). I will check when I get
<Real good. Neale.>
Re: Poecilia velifera Head Standing/Whirling
Another correction 10g fry tank, low blood sugar is getting to me.
<Ah, I see! Neale.>
injured molly 2/6/14
Yesterday one of our balloon belly mollies got stuck behind a plastic
breeding tank I think she got a little bit squished she is pregnant and
had something coming out of her rear end. By the time my husband found
her she was barely breathing, I immediately placed her in a bowl of
water from the tank i added in marine salt
<Do review the needs of Mollies, here:
The addition of marine salt on a regular basis is an excellent idea, if
not completely essential. Using salt to medicate fish is not a silver
bullet though, or even helpful on many occasions; see here:
Have a read before using salt randomly; can do more harm than good.>
and some hydrogen peroxide 3%
<Why???? Sounds a terrible idea to me. Hydrogen peroxide is a bleach,
and having that on the poor fish's gills! Yikes!!!>
she started swimming around shortly after and her color started
returning. I left her in there for about 20 min.s then put her back in
her tank but she is obviously injured she sometimes can’t fight the
current or goes nose down in the tank, she is having difficulty
swimming. What else can I do for her so she can recover? Is she even
going to recover?
<Do read about optimal conditions for Mollies; clearly these will be
necessary for speedy recovery.>
our tank conditions are almost perfect, no ammonia or nitrites and good
nitrates, we have live plants in the main tank.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Male molly seems 'lonely' 1/21/14
I have a community tank with various fish but mainly mollies and
Our largest female gave birth but died after a month. The male seemed to
be pining for her, he kept low in the tank, started losing his colour
and hid underneath the filter.
<Do read, here:
Almost certainly your "unhappy" Molly is responding to some other stress
factor, perhaps environmental if water quality isn't spot-on (nitrate
levels need to be below 20 mg/l in freshwater) or the water isn't hard
enough (the harder the better, 15+ degrees dH hardness, pH 7.5-8.5).>
This morning he was just lying on the bottom of the tank and eventually
died. Could this be a disease in our tank or does this happen with males
that have mated with a female for a long time? (We have had them
together for more than a year and they used to swim together all the
<Mollies do not need company, and form no bonds whatsoever with each
Male Mollies are aggressive towards one another, and will attempt to
mate with any/all females that pass close to them. They can be very
persistent, and this can/does stress unreceptive (i.e., pregnant)
females, potentially causing miscarriages and even the death of the
female. Mollies are best kept in large groups with females outnumbering
males by at least two to one; failing that, just keep virgin females.>
Thank you for your help,
<Most welcome, Neale.>
My Dalmatian Molly; sys., hlth.
I got a 36gallon tank for Christmas. I filled it with filtered water
<What do you mean by "filtered water"? Did you buy drinking water from a
grocery store? Do you know the hardness and pH of this water? Do
understand that tap water, if treated with water conditioner, is best
for most tropical fish because it is inexpensive and you can afford to
do large, frequent water changes (25% a week is a good target). While
drinking water might sound a better idea, it's expensive, and "good"
water that isn't changed very often won't help the fish in the long
term. One last issue is water chemistry. Mollies (and Guppies, and
indeed most other livebearers) need hard, alkaline water. If you keep
them in soft water, they'll quickly sicken and die. If all else fails,
add salt to the water. A good target here is 3-6 grams per litre (about
0.4-0.8 oz per US gallon, roughly 2-4 teaspoons per US gallon). Marine
aquarium salt is ideal and inexpensive in the quantities required --
you'll find even a small box will last many months.>
and let it sit for 2-3 days with the filter and heater running and ever
since it has remained at 76 degrees.
<Do understand that running the filter without fish in the tank does
nothing to mature the aquarium. It's a good idea in the sense it shows
you the aquarium is set up properly and isn't leaking, but other than
that, it's pointless. The filter won't mature until you add fish.
Unfortunately for you, Mollies are extremely bad fish for maturing new
freshwater aquaria. Oddly enough they are very hardy in brackish and
marine aquaria, and historically were often used to mature such tanks.
But in plain freshwater tanks they very, very quickly sicken when
exposed to non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels.>
Saturday I bought 3 fish. A blue guppy a yellow guppy and a Dalmatian
lyre tail Molly. I don't want any babies so I got all males.
<Do understand these will fight. Mollies are not sociable, and males
especially so. Females are a better bet for a quiet aquarium, and even
if they are pregnant, they'll eventually run out of babies and your tank
will become a baby-free zone. Remove unwanted fry as necessary, and your
local pet shop will probably take them. If you leave them in the tank,
they're actually a good insurance policy for the future, bearing in mind
not all your original fish might survive, and over the years, having
younger fish to replace older ones is useful and economical.>
And they said add only 2-3 fish at a time.
<Yes. But Mollies are such bad fish for maturing tanks, even this won't
guarantee success. Do note that adding salt as instructed above will
turn the aquarium slightly brackish, dramatically increasing your odds
of success (in brief, salt slightly detoxifies nitrite, and the hardness
in marine aquarium mix further helps Mollies maintain better health.>
Well when I got them home I let the bag sit in the tank for a little bit
before I put the fish in. Once I did so they seemed happy. Well a little
while later I noticed the Molly was breathing really hard and I figured
he was stressed.
<Correct observation. Did you do an ammonia or nitrite test? When you
cycle an aquarium, first ammonia goes up and then comes down to zero
within a couple weeks. A few days after the ammonia goes up, nitrite
starts to go up as well. Eventually it comes down, usually within 3-4
weeks, by which time the aquarium is now cycled.>
He hasn't died yet but this morning I found my yellow guppy kept
swimming to the top.
<Likewise, modern fancy Guppies are extremely sensitive delicate fish.>
He looked like he was trying to get some air then he would stop moving,
turn upside down and sink to the bottom.
<Classic stress behaviour.>
He kept doing this and I noticed even when he was swimming back to the
top his gills weren't moving they were just like sticking out. I took
advantage that he kept swimming to the top and caught him in a bag. I
let some water flow into the bag along with him and after about 15
minutes he wasn't "coming back to life" anymore and trying to get air.
He was the calmest of them all and the most active I'm not sure what
<Easy: you added sensitive fish to a non-cycled aquarium. While some
fish are tough enough to go through this, with care on your part,
Mollies and Guppies are not (at least, not in freshwater conditions).>
Now onto the story about the Molly... He really isn't social at all and
sometimes his tail end (is that posterior end?) would be bent sideways
and he would tread water like that for a minute or a couple minutes.
<This behaviour is called "Shimmying" and it's a neurological symptom
often seen with Mollies and Guppies when stressed. It fixes itself if
I don't know what to do
<Get a nitrite test kit (not a nitrate test kit, they're different). Do
a test. If nitrite isn't zero, don't feed the fish, and do a 20-30%
water changes (ideally, adding salt to each batch of new water as
mentioned above). Regardless, do water changes every day for the first
Thereafter you might get away with changes every 2-3 days depending on
the nitrite level. Expect all this hassle for the first 3-4 weeks until
nitrite stays resolutely at zero for 2 or 3 days in succession. During
this first 3-4 weeks from the time you add the first fish, feed
extremely sparingly, a tiny amount (a 2-3 mm crumb per fish, say) and
only every 2-3 days. Don't worry about fish starving. Isn't going to
happen. Takes weeks! But ammonia and nitrite can kill fish within a day.
Use your nitrite test kit regularly, every day or two.>
I don't know if something is wrong or what but I don't want it to die.
I don't notice him eating very much either.
<See above; not a problem. Will eat when conditions improve.>
I haven't had fish for several years but I thought I'd give it another
shot. I'm extremely novice, I've never had more than a 5 gallon sponge
bob square pants tank with a Betta in it until now.
<Hope this helps, Brooke. Do read:
Follow especially the links on that second article re: Molly disease;
almost always caused by the environment, and what applies to Mollies
largely applies to Guppies too. Cheers, Neale.>
Flashing molly. Env., using WWM
I have a 2 month old 29 gallon tank cycled for 3
weeks with CaribSea media containing bacteria.
(fish food added to feed bacteria).
Added 4 neons,
<Stop: Mollies and Neons (tetras) are not compatible... water quality
nor temperament wise. See WWM re both, all species>
after 2 weeks 3 lyre tail Dalmatian mollies, 4 more neons and 2 Corydoras.
Only learned now the need for brackish water for
mollies which I can't address because of the other
fish in the tank.
My question is that I see the mollies flashing
<Likely the water quality issue you've just mentioned. Again,
just search, read on WWM re their systems... NEED hard, alkaline,
cooler, often salty water>
usually against plants especially the pregnant one. If I
watch for 30 minutes it will flash 1-2 times. I see
nothing on their bodies that looks like
Ich and they seem active and happy,
feeding, playing grazing on plants. I started treatment with
<Stop again: The real issue here won't be solved by pouring in
"medicines"... The environment has to be fixed>
clear following directions for 2 days now. Still nothing
on their skin that I can see (they are mostly
white) or on the other fish.
Raised temp to 80. Still look active and healthy to
me. Is this flashing possibly just normal behavior? I
saw the Corydoras do it 2 times, never the
<... Read on! Use the search tool, on every page on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Re: Flashing molly. 9/13/13
I am sorry , I should have mentioned that i have checked the water
quality couple of times these past week. No nitrates or nitrite,
chlorine, pH 7.2, total alkalinity 80 (moderate), hardness 75ppm.
<Good; and no ammonia I take it. BobF>
Re: Flashing molly.
The neons and mollies just ignore each other to my eye.
<... they'll soon be dead if not accommodated. READ where you've been
Re: Flashing molly.
So this behavior is not "normal". It indicates something?
<Read, don't write. B>
Re: Flashing molly.
I have read and read for 1 week now. It is because of reading I started
the medication. What should I read on WWM. Thank you for your help.
and the linked files above
Re: Flashing molly. 9/13/13
my test doesn't have ammonia
Molly problems, rdg., using WWM
Hi, I was wondering if you could try to help me. I had seven mollies,
two males (one adult, the other was about 9 months old) two females,
both adult and three fry. They were originally in a twenty litre tank.
<Much too small a volume for Mollienesia>
I bought a new 50 litre tank
and I got the new tank up and running, placed some gravel into the
filter from the old tank for the good bacteria, got the ph level to the
same ad the old one and transferred them. I then set about taking the ph
down to where it should be slowly so as not to put the fish into shock.
It was at 7.6 and I took it down to 7.2 over a fortnight. My adult male
was the first to die about a week after this. He started gasping by the
top of the tank.
I noticed white growth near his gills and treated for fungus. When that
didn't work I treated for gill flukes as I noticed blood near his gills
and at the base of his body. Nothing worked and he died. Next month, one
of the female mollies became very emaciated and couldn't swim properly.
I assumed swim bladder
<... no such thing>
as she was head down and bobbing with a bent spine. I fed her peas but
she still died. Today I noticed my other male (who is by now 1 year old)
very skinny and not swimming. He kept getting caught in the filter and
was too weak to swim away. I took a sample of water to the pet store and
the test were fine. Ammonia, chlorine, nitrates all good. He gave me
some good bacteria to put in the tank but wasn't able to help me with
what was wrong.
My other female is doing ok, looking plump still and the babies seem to
be doing great as well. I have no idea what's wrong and I'd really like
to get some different fish to got in the tank but I can't while they are
dying mysteriously. Thoughts? - Sinead
<... Please read here:
and the linked files above; esp. the Molly Disease FAQs files. Bob
Black Molly keeps sinking 1/3/13
Hi, I know this may be redundant, but I have a female black molly who
has been in the tank for two weeks. The tank mates are 1 large
female Dalmatian molly whom I've had for a year, three black skirt
tetras and one lone Danio. I am using the API test kit and it
always reads zero, except a couple of times two months ago when the
nitrates were red. It is a 29 gallon tank and the LFS said it
be understocked and not cycling.
<Unlikely. After a couple of months, unless you were steam-cleaning the
filter media or something like that, the biological filter should be
adequately matured for the livestock you have. By definition, the filter
becomes sufficient mature for the fish in your aquarium. Add more fish,
and more bacteria will colonise the filter media because there's more
for them to "eat". Remove some of the fish, and some of the bacteria
will die back from "starvation".>
The black skirt tetra started off pooping giant red strings and then
<Do review Camallanus; it's a common nematode infection. The symptoms
are obvious: red worms wriggling from the anus. Otherwise parasitic
infections (like Hexamita, treated with Flagyl) can cause excess mucous
to be produced, resulting in long, stringy faeces, and if you feed
colour-enhancing (i.e., red) foods, then faeces will be red.>
It's tail started to droop down. I was afraid of swim bladder but
hoped it was just constipation as it had thin white strings hanging.
I fed it peas and for the last few days and it's tail fin was normal and
it seems perfectly fine. It always eats robustly.
This morning I woke up to find the Dalmatian molly "propping" the black
molly up. If I wasn't so worried, it would be truly comical.
The Dalmatian literally was hauling the black molly around, bent over so
she could support the black molly's weight. I haven't seen either
molly poop after the initial round of peas and fed them peas last night.
I did a 30-40 percent water change and now the black molly's tail goes
up, except when she is sinking down. When she is near the ground,
her tail is straight and looks normal.
Now I don't know if the black molly is constipated or is still having
swim bladder issues. I am not going to feed them anything for the
next two days (I feel badly for the tetras and Danio) to see if that
works. I don't want to buy an antibiotic as I've tried that before
for a deceased tetra who had PopEye and it did not get caught in time.
The water temperature is almost 82, and all the fish seem to adapt to
the higher temps. I'm trying to keep parasites from growing.
Frustrated fish lover constantly on death watch…Victoria
<Do please read here:
Mollies are difficult to keep at the best of times, and have a notorious
reputation for being disease-prone when kept in average freshwater
aquaria. As you've seen, you can have one specimen that seems fine for
months, while another in the same tank is nothing but trouble, lurching
from one disease to the next. Typically it's the environment that's the
problem, but Fungus, Finrot and Camallanus worm infections are common
too. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Black Molly keeps sinking 1/3/13
Neale, thank you and I should have re-read what I wrote.
The black molly was the one with the red poop, the tetras are fine.
After the red stopped, the white started and when the first round of
peas started, she had some color. Now there is no poop at
all. Should I try another round of peas?
<If you want; won't do any harm. But do read those pages I linked in the
last e-mail; Mollies are prone to Camallanus worms (especially in the
US, it seems) and in freshwater tanks they are only variably healthy. If
you can move them into at least slightly brackish water (2-3 gram/litre
is ample) they do much more reliably better. As much as people would
like to use Mollies as community tropical fish, they're not, and they
really do need quite careful maintenance to do well in freshwater. Low
nitrates and high hardness are crucial. By contrast, in brackish and
saltwater tanks (yes, saltwater tanks) they are very robust.>
Also, I'm using a tetra whisper filter and the "bristle things" that are
supposed to colonize the bacteria are filled with gunk that looks like
stuff the charcoal should have stopped.
<Do remember to remove charcoal/carbon while medicating.>
Would that prevent bacteria from growing?
<No idea. Not sure what you're talking about; perhaps a photo of the
"bristle things" would help. But in general terms, short of misuse of
medication or careless over-cleaning of the filter media, biological
filters are pretty hardy and difficult to damage.>
Thank you again so much. I have been a fan of your site since I
started this crazy hobby of fishkeeping.
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>
Very distressed silvertail molly
Hello, I'm hoping that you can help me. My daughter has a silver tail
molly that is very sick. She has a 10 gallon tank with 1 female black
molly (very pregnant!), 1 older large female Dalmatian molly, and 1 male
silver tail molly. The females seem fine; the male, however is very
sick. About 3 days ago he started to experience spasm-like contortions
in his body and he sort of floats with his head upward; like an
underwater buoy. His pelvic fins (on the bottom?) are either closed up
or chewed up or something. They look like they are missing pieces. He is
able to swim horizontally, but sometimes he appears to be very
exhausted. He seems to be gasping at times, but I'm not sure if I'm
imagining this because I know something is not right. He is still eating
some but he seems to need to rest a lot. For the most part he is staying
away from the others. My daughter loves this fish and it is just gut
wrenching to watch him and do nothing! (Sorry about the lack of correct
terminology, we are just learning.)
<Hello Faith. Can you help me to help you by reading here first:
Most problems with Mollies are environmental -- wrong size tank, wrong
water chemistry, wrong number of males to females, wrong number of
Mollies for the size of tank being used. Look to see what you're doing
different to my suggestions, and that's likely the problem here. The
fact one Molly is sicker than others is not at all unusual; genetics
works like that, with some specimens being weaker or more sensitive than
others. Cheers, Neale.>
Re Sick Silvertail 11/8/12
I will take a look. Thank you so much for your help!
<Real good. Cheers, Neale.>
Orange Molly under observation tremors after eating
Thanks for this great site and the solution of the problems discussed
here in detail. 5 months before when we started our new fish aquarium we
ended up losing some 5-6 fishes but then came across this site. This
site helped us a lot in maintaining and treating our aquarium. We learnt
so much from this site that we were actually able to save our black lyre
tail Molly from dropsy. That day it seemed that he is going to die as it
was swimming heads-up vertically. Today he is perfectly fine and is the
most notorious fish in our tank :).
Well, this time it's something new and we are not able to find a
We have a orange male Molly and some 4 days ago we noticed that at times
it is getting vertical under the flow of the filter water current. We
also noticed that there is mix of white and red (color of the food )
color poop. Since the white color proportion was more and also he was
getting vertical at times - we decided to treat him with Copper Safe and
Maracyn 2. Today is its 5th day of the treatment. Meanwhile we fed him
peas for two days along with the medication and then started giving him
normal flakes. Till yesterday it seemed that things are going fine and
that we will be able to put him back in the Aquarium soon. Yesterday -we
noticed that as soon as we gave him flakes - it did finish it and then
started scratching against the wall. At times it also shook its body as
something is bothering him from inside. Since it was its 4th day
medication, we were still calm but today again the same thing happened.
We did give him less flakes compared to yesterday's amount , yet it
behaved the same way. There are no other signs of any problem. He swims
perfectly well and eats like anything.
Any suggestion as to what went wrong and then should we really continue
putting him under medication. Since its going to be the 5th day - we are
worried about him.
Note - he is already in a hospital tank and we are changing 50% of the
water everyday and putting up fresh medication as per the mentioned
Thanks a lot in advance
<Hmm… do start by reading here:
And then have a peruse of this page, plus the subsequent Molly Disease
There's something called "the Shimmies" that affects the way Mollies
swim. It's said to be neurological, but caused by some shortcoming in
the environment. Switching Mollies from a freshwater to a brackish water
aquarium may (often does) make all the difference. If that happens with
your Molly, then problem solved, and like some (though not all) Mollies,
this chap will do better, stay healthier in brackish water. Start by
raising the salinity in your hospital tank to 5 grammes marine aquarium
salt mix per litre of water; that's about SG 1.003 if you happen to have
a hydrometer. Of course brackish water won't be tolerated by most
community fish, but since Mollies aren't community fish anyway, and best
kept among their own kind, this rarely poses a problem to the serious
fishkeeper. By testing the effect of salinity in a hospital tank though,
you can see if this'll be the cure before changing the salinity in the
main aquarium. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Orange Molly under observation tremors after eating
Thanks for the prompt reply - we are already using API Aquarium Salt for
the Freshwater Fish (again all thanks to WWM) .
<Can we please be clear here -- "aquarium salt" is NOT marine aquarium
salt, and it is NOT AS GOOD as using marine aquarium salt! When you buy
aquarium salt, what you're getting is overpriced cooking salt without
the added iodine (basically, Kosher salt).>
We use 1 table spoon of this salt per 5 Gallons of water.
<Not enough to make this brackish. How to put this? SG 1.002 is 5
grammes/litre, 0.65 oz/US gallon. One US gallon is about 3.75 litres, so
we're talking 3.75 x 5 grammes = 18.75 grammes per US gallon. With me so
far? (Might want to check my maths!) There is roughly 6 grammes of salt
per level teaspoon (check your own spoons using kitchen scales), and 3
teaspoons per level tablespoon, so 18.75 grammes is roughly 3
tablespoons of salt PER US GALLON. In other words, you're dosing
one-third as much as would make a difference.>
We have a 20 gallon tank.
<Too small for Mollies. Besides the fact they are big, active fish, the
males are aggressive bullies.>
We have put some 1/4 tablespoon of salt in the Hospital Tank too which
is a 2 Gallon box/tank.
<Not a long term solution… unlikely to live more than a few days in a
tank this tiny.>
Now, should we use Marine Aquarium salt in place of Freshwater Fish salt
<For now, don't worry; use the freshwater salt you have, but up the
dosage as described above.>
or should we increase the salt amount in the Hospital tank? We don't
have a hydrometer with us.
<Do see above for how to produce useful concentrations.>
And should we continue putting him in Hospital tank ?Is that OK ?
<I would make the main aquarium more salty. You have just Mollies in
unhappy molly 8/2/12
Hi there, I have a few molly fish in my tank but one has been causing
some concern. She is a female and has never given birth, however she is
very fat, she isn’t a balloon molly. She just seems to get bigger, I do
have 1 male in the tank and he has mated her, but she doesn’t have a
gravid spot and like I say has never had fry. She does hide most of the
day, but in evening swims about fine. Could she have unfertilized eggs
in her? She always seems to look swollen and sometimes open a little,
but has been that way for several months. She isn’t constipated either.
Any advice is most welcoming. Thank you. Michelle
<Do need some more information than what you've given here. How big is
the aquarium? How many Mollies (and other fish) in there? What is the
water chemistry? Do you add marine aquarium salt mix or aquarium salt or
neither? What's the water quality (nitrite at minimum, and ammonia and
nitrate levels are useful too)? In the meantime, have a read here:
Most problems with Mollies are environmental, so it's important you
check these factors first. Cheers, Neale.>|
Re: unhappy molly 8/2/12
Hi that's for your response.
I have a 30 gallon tank, with 2 female Molly babies 1 adult male plus
the adult female.
<Ah now, do recall the need for (at least) twice as many females than
3 male guppies, 3 Platies and 1 platy baby and 3 Corydoras.
<Corydoras don't really belong with Mollies; if you're adding enough
salt to help the Mollies, you'll be stressing the Corydoras.>
GH was 60, kH 80,
<Much too soft.>
ph 7.0, NO2 0, NO3 0. I add aquarium salt.
<Clearly not enough. In soft water -- which you have -- use marine
aquarium salt (not "aquarium salt" or "tonic salt") at a dose of around
5-6 grammes per litre of water. Alternatively, if you plan to keep the
Corydoras, you need to harden the water considerably. Read here,
and use the Rift Valley salt mix at about one-half the dose stated there
for Rift Valley cichlids.>
I do 30% water change weekly.
<Sounds good. But the Molly likely has Dropsy or some other
stress-related problem. Read where you've been sent, and the relevant
linked pages, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: unhappy molly 8/4/12
Thanks for quick response. I have treated for dropsy anti internal
bacteria after 1 of my coras swelled up and unfortunately died.
<So-called "Anti-Internal Bacteria" medicines sold in the UK are almost
always useless. Unfortunately for the aquarist, you really do need a
combination of exceptionally good care together with antibiotics to
effect a cure; in the UK, that means a trip to the vet.>
The Molly has been this size for many months and doesn't look swollen
like the Cora did, she does often scrape her belly on bottom and side of
tank though. Also to change to marine salt do I need to change water
completely or just switch gradually with each water change?
<Are you keeping the Corydoras? You can't add marine aquarium salt to
the tank if you're keeping Corydoras. Let me try to keep things simple
Soft water is water with a low hardness -- i.e., few dissolved minerals.
In the UK that tends to be the sort of water you get in places like the
Scottish Highlands and the West Country. Adding plain "tonic" salt to
the water doesn't harden it as such, but if you use enough, it can
offset the problem enough for Mollies and Guppies to thrive. But adding
tonic salt, and even more so adding marine aquarium salt (which is
better because it *does* harden the water) will stress your Corydoras.
If you must keep Corydoras with Mollies, read the article about water
chemistry, review what you need to make Rift Valley salt mix (it's
super-cheap: Epsom salt, baking soda and marine aquarium salt mix) and
works very well. In the short term, you could substitute the marine
aquarium salt mix with the tonic salt you have. Literally, pennies per
water change. The Epsom salt raises the general hardness (which needs to
be about 15 degrees dH) andy the baking soda raises the general hardness
(which needs to be about 5 degrees KH) so together these raise the
mineral content of the water. The recipe is per 20 litres I think; half
the amounts for what you're trying to do, and it should work just fine.>
Does my molly have Ich? 7/21/12
I bought this molly a couple of days back. It's being housed in
a 10 gallon tank.
<Much too small.>
I noticed that it's not all black. There is this patch which shines gold
when a light is shone onto it. Is this natural coloration or does it
look like Ich? The nitrate and ammonia levels are normal and the
temperature is around 30 degrees.
<I believe this is normal, metallic colouration seen on some varieties.
Seems to be the actual scales are iridescent, rather than silvery
Meantime, do read:
Pregnant Dalmatian Molly will not settle down! Troubles from
too-small worlds 6/28/12
Hello, it is me again. This time I have a new problem. I bought a pair
of Dalmatian mollies at PetSmart yesterday. I didn't discover until I
got home with them that at some point, the ten gallon tank I was going
to put all my "kids" except Grace, (the pregnant one) into.
<Mollies need more room than this... for a few reasons. Do read here:
and the linked files above>
So, instead of putting all of them in the ten gallon, (except Grace), I
wound up having to put all of them in the Rubbermaid container I've used
for when I clean tanks since I got my platys. Grace went into the
fishbowl until I could get the smaller tank cleaned out. She seemed to
get very depressed all by herself, (very lethargic, barely moved), so I
put Black Sam, the other molly, in. This seemed to make her happier. So
I cleaned my small tank, (I think its a five gallon), and put the
mollies in it, along with a fake grass mat in case Grace went into
labor. The rest of my aquatic kids had to stay in the Rubbermaid, (also
about five gallon). They didn't seem all that thrilled, so this morning,
I moved the three platys in with the mollies to try and even things out.
I also ordered a new ten gallon tank.
<... too small>
Everything seemed fine when I came home early from classes to check on
everyone and try and work out an arrangement that suited everyone. Put
my two loaches in their own container with their cave and most of the
fake plastic plants from their tank and an algae wafer. Put the ADFs in
the Rubbermaid with the modified lid to let air and light in and keep
then in as well.
Mollies and platys were getting along, so I left them where they were. I
also fed them lunch. Shortly after feeding, I noticed all of them
"racing" around the top of the tank. I looked up this behavior and found
that it was possibly caused by an ammonia spike.
<Maybe... and/or low DO, high CO2>
I started doing partial water changes, and they would work for a bit, then
they would start the "race" again. I have since done eight partial water
changes, removed the male molly and the male platy to the fish bowl,
(male Molly is still any, but not in the same way),
leaving only the females in the tank with Grace. I fed them a very light
dinner, which the female platys ate some, but Grace wanted nothing to do
with, and Grace isn't skimming the top quite as much, but she's still
very any. Oh, and I have added aquarium salt, (very small amounts) to
about four of the jugs of water I've used for water changes to try and
ease her obvious stress. I'm going to do one more gravel vac and partial
water change, and as much as I hope Grace will calm, I don't think she
will. I'd put her in the bowl with the male Molly, but for one, the
grass mat won't fit, and for two, he was chasing her around a lot when
all the fish were in the five gallon. So was my male platy. My female
platys seem content to do their own thing. But Grace just will not calm
down! Please help. Thanks.
<... So... what you/they really need is a larger (20 plus gallons)
stable, biologically-filtered system. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pregnant Dalmatian Molly will not settle down!
Hello, Bob. I went back to PetSmart today and picked up hose for my
bubbler. This seems to have made Grace a bit happier, (also got Stress
Coat+ and Stress Zyme+ for her) and split the air hose between the five
gallon and the fishbowl the boys are in. I was hoping this would
help with the O2 issue.
<Should... but not the accumulation of toxic metabolites>
Now my male in the bowl is going nuts... Seems he doesn't want bubbles...
But as to the 20 gallon tank, I can't afford one at this time.
Perhaps next month, since I get paid monthly.
<I might return the new/er fishes till then>
Most of the "housing" situations I have now are temporary, since my old
ten gallon died. I'll certainly look into a bigger tank when I have the
money though! I don't want my kids unhappy! Thanks.
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
sick orange molly? 6/20/12
I have an orange molly that has become a drab orange and has developed a
large scaly swelling behind its head. It seems to be active and is
eating, but the swelling is getting larger, appears very rough, and has
become a light brownish color. Any ideas what this might be? Other
mollies in the tank appear healthy with good color.
<Hello Deborah. Do have a read of this article:
Then click on the links at the top to the pages on Molly health and
disease. Mollies are sensitive fish, some would say disease-prone, but
most problems come down to environmental shortcomings. They're very
particular about water chemistry and water quality, and throwing them
into busy, mixed fish communities rarely ends well. Cheers, Neale.>
Betta? Or Platy? Identification Help Needed on Sick Fish
I managed to stumble across your site while searching for info on
I was researching platys because someone had suggested that the new fish
I bought might be on. Or a swordtail.
<Mmm, appears to be a Mollienesia species to me>
I originally got it from Meijer's on Monday (went in for Neosporin, came
out with a fish), and thought it was a female Betta. She seemed
to have Ich
<Does appear so>
and was in a community tank so I bought the poor thing and decided to see
if I could fix her up. She had (has) clamped fins, along with (what I'm
fairly certain is) Ich. I thought she was just an ugly Betta, but I
noticed that she has an attached dorsal fin (she unclamped it a few days
ago) that's longer than her single ventral fin (found that a couple of
days ago too), and instead of two long/narrow ventral fins between the
gills like a Betta, she's got a pair of rounded fins in front of the
single ventral fin (just found them yesterday). Her lateral fins are
narrow, and her body attaching to her tail is rather long and thin. Her
tail (when she opens it), doesn't seem quite as rounded as a normal
female Betta's. Her eyes seem larger than a normal Betta's, and her
mouth seems to open up wider and can go into an "O" shape that I've
never really seen on a Betta before.
She's black and her fins are clear, and she's been sitting in medicated
water so I could barely see her, let alone photograph her. I decided to
toss her into a small Betta cup to at least get some photos for
identification from my Betta forum, so they aren't the best photos but
you ought to be able to get a decent view of her overall shape and fin
I'd love it if you have any suggestions as to what kind of fish she is.
I'm not really a fish person, so specific care info on that particular
species would be great. (I got a Betta to be buddies with my ACFrog and
it just kind of expanded from there).
Here's the link to the photos:
I'll attach a couple of the best photos too, so you can get the larger
I'd appreciate any suggestions that you have.
<Mmm, Mollies need cooler temp., hard, alkaline and brackish water
generally... may not be environmentally compatible w/ your frog and
Please read here:
and the linked files above... Do write back if it's not clear to you the
paths to keep and treat this fish. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta? Or Platy? Identification Help Needed on Sick Fish
Thank you so much for the quick response.
Ok, so just to be clear, my fish is definitely not a Betta, correct?
It's not a platy, and is almost certainly some type of molly?
Any particular attribute that makes you think it's a molly?
(I forgot to mention that the fish beats its lateral fins alternately, not
simultaneously when it swims, like my Bettas do).
Salt/pH isn't an issue: we have well water so the pH is usually 7.5,
which stinks for the frogs/Bettas, but should be great for a molly. I
usually add aquarium salt to my tanks anyway. I'm not sure how tolerant
my Bettas (and lonely feeder guppy) are of salt, but so far they're
doing fine with the salt I add to their tanks currently. I'll look that
Any idea on what particular type my molly is?
<Mmm, not really, no>
I know most are hybrids, though. (And also is it a female?
And any idea on what size it will get to?
<Likely 2-2.5 inches overall>
It's normal Betta size right now).
Do you think there will be a problem with my Bettas eating veggies
intended for the molly?
I know greens act as fiber for the Bettas.
I know now that mollies need large tanks. My Betta tank is about 10gal
(2 calm female Bettas and a teeny feeder guppy I couldn't bring myself
to feed to my frogs). I figure I'll start her off in there and see how
The frog tank is a 20gal, but they're big enough to eat her now.
<Ah yes. Xenopus are voracious piscivores>
Depending on how fast she grows, I could always throw her in there with
<Mmm, no, not likely prudent>
They mostly hang out around the bottom of the tank. (Both tanks are long
I'm really not prepared for a fish that requires that much space. I
thought I was buying an injured Betta, not an awkward molly.
Just a few questions on transferring: I figure I'll keep the fish alone
until a few days after she appears healthy. But how do I transfer the
fish into her new tank? Won't the bacteria/parasites still be floating
in the water?
I don't want to ruin my healthy tanks.
Thank you so much for your help! It's so difficult to find someone who
can answer all the questions I have correctly (lol, I don't even bother
asking most of the people in pet stores), and who is also willing to do
<Mmm, cheers. BobF>
Creamsicle Lyretail Molly Trouble and a salt question.
Livestock of differing water quality needs tog.
Hello! Thank you for such an informative site. I have spent
hours and hours reading the wealth of knowledge it provides...yet I
still feel unsure about my situation. I apologize in advance for
possible info-overload, but I'd rather err on the side of too much than
not enough. My FIL gifted my 2 year-old daughter a 20 gallon
aquarium for her birthday (at my suggestion; I was excited about it
also, as well as willing to put forth the effort it requires). At
the time, my idea of keeping fish included water, a bowl, and some
fish...little did I know! Since then, 3 months ago, we have
acquired: 3 Neon Tetras (unsure of sex),
<Mmm, these really need different water quality than the livebearers
you're keeping... soft/er, more tropical...>
1 male Albino Bushy Nose Pleco, 1 male Lemon Cobra Guppy, 3 male
Harlequin Sailfin Mollies, 1 female Creamsicle Lyretail Molly, 1 female
Dalmatian Lyretail Molly, 1 male Mickey Mouse Platy, 1 male Sunburst
Wagtail Platy, 1 female Red Platy (just died), 2 African Dwarf Frogs,
and a single Ghost Shrimp who has survived this
whole time, amazingly enough! I also have two varieties of live
plants: Hygrophila and Cyperus;
<Cyperus? A sedge? Is this emersed?>
both have done really well. Just this week, I began half-dosing
the tank with Aqueon Plant Food (10mL/20 g). In the beginning we
lost a black Platy, and I didn't think twice about it at the time; I
thought that fish just died...ce la vie. I don't remember it
having any spots/fungus/weird behavior indicating any of the issues
listed on the Disease Troubleshooting page; however, I also did not know
that it is best to quarantine new fish.
We introduced 3 batches of fish within one week of getting the
tank set up.
Fast forward to present. This past weekend we were out of town for
two days to come back and discover a tiny red female platy...obviously,
the Red Platy had had babies, and we didn't even know she was pregnant.
Having the three females in there was a mistake; we wanted to only have
males (is this even a good idea?).
The reason being, I did not want to have to deal with off-loading baby
fish...repeatedly. Plus, I'm kind of half and half on how I feel
about just letting the females have babies and it being a free for all
for snack time. *bag over head* ...not sure how the experts
feel on this?
<A mix as well>
Yesterday, the female Red Platy died. She had been sitting on the
bottom of the tank, and I read and read and researched and couldn't come
to a conclusion as to why she was doing this. I ran out
immediately and got a water test kit (yep, learned that I needed one of
those 3 months too late).
Today I tested the water before and after the cleaning/gravel suction; I
replace 25% of the water once a week.
I add 10mL of Aqueon Water Conditioner each time I do this. These
readings after I changed the water: GH 30, KH 120-180, pH 7.5-8.0, NO2
0, NO3 20.
<Keep Nitrate no higher>
The temp is always about 78 degrees F; today was the same. I don't
keep a fish heater in the tank, as we live in Arizona and I keep the
house pretty warm...free heat! These readings weren't much
different from the before reading...the only difference being
the NO3, which was 40 before the cleaning.
According to the test directions, my GH is too high.
<Mmm, I wouldn't likely "fool with it/this">
I didn't see the recommended solution
<Blending in some water (RO likely) w/ less mineral content>
to that at my local pet store, however (API Electro-Right). Also, is
the pH okay, or does it need to come down a bit? It seems fine for
some of the fish, and too high for the others.
<Is high for the Neons, but not for all else>
I have since learned from all my reading that I have overstocked, and
that I have mixed Mollies with other types of fish, when they should be
by themselves. I also have learned that by not having enough
females to males, I was creating problems with chasing them to death;
I'm still not sure why the female Red Platy died. All of the fish
chase each other in there; they always have (the guppy, especially,
likes to chase the big Lyretails). I never see them nipping,
though. I do not plan on restocking as fish die, and I hope to
create a happy, safe environment for the ones I have...as best I can.
I have also learned that the frogs prefer to be alone, but these
actually don't bother each other (seemingly).
The problem I'm having with the female Creamsicle Lyretail Molly is that
she has started floating upright, midtank, in the water.
She looks, occasionally, like she is shivering.
<The metabolite concentration... as "windowed" by your NO3
testing/results... poisoned by their own wastes. Very common>
I have noticed that on her pectoral and caudal fins, which are fairly
transparent, she has these whitish looking spots. They are fairly
bigger than grains of salt, leading me to believe it's not Ick,
<Maybe... though could "just be body mucus clumps"... reaction to water
and they aren't in clusters...just a handful all together. She seems
to swim fine when she isn't doing the vertical-hover-shiver thing, and
she eats normally. I noticed this morning that she has some bumps
on her head...also fairly bigger than grains of salt. There's
nothing on her body that looks different or "wrong"...no white specs or
anything. I went to the store today with the knowledge from this
site and hoped to have the "fish specialist" at my local pet store help
me, but that turned out to be a fail. I did end up spending a good
hour perusing the medicines, and ended up coming home with Tetra
Lifeguard All-In-One Treatment, but I'm unsure if it what I should put
in my tank...?
Any ideas on what could be bothering her?
<The environment... Please read here:
and the linked files above if still unclear>
I just worry (now that I know better) about something infiltrating the
whole tank and hurting more fish. I know (now) that mollies do much
better in a brackish environment.
My other question about that is, can I introduce marine salt, considering
the other cohabitants and plants?
<... Mmm, best for you to spend the time "looking up" such
information... the Neons "don't like" salts... neither Hymenochirus...
the livebearers are fine w/ a modicum...>
If so, do I introduce it slowly, or just go all-in and follow the
directions on the box of API Aquarium Salt...which says 1 rounded
tablespoon per 5 gallons of water (so 4 rounded tablespoons)?
<... you'll need to investigate, likely move the non-salt livestock
elsewhere ahead of the addition>
Because I do have an overstocked tank, would more hiding places be
Currently, I have a piece of driftwood (fake) that takes up the length and
height of the tank (but is narrow) to provide some good shelter, as well
as the two types of plants I have now (the Cyperus, of which, has set
out about a dozen runners that have sprouted up quite nicely, so I
bunched them all in the same corner) and a small pirate ship (at my
daughter's request...*smile*). My idea was to add some plants to
grow on the surface of the tank; would this be good?
<Yes; a/my fave Ceratopteris...>
If so, what kind would you recommend based on my current tank environment?
I do thank you for your time.
<You have two great requisite traits for being successful (not just w/
pet fish); a curious mind and desire to improve situations... Read a bit
and do write back if you are unsure of a plan... to separate (have two
systems) and modify water quality to suit the life in your charge. Bob
Pregnant Molly 4/25/12
Hi, my name is Alejandro.
On March 2nd I sent you a mail about a black molly fish which I bought
and I thought was (or is) pregnant because she was having some
territorial issues and I could notice that she was larger than the other
female mollies. The thing is that today is April 24th and the molly just
keeps getting bigger and bigger.
<I can see from the photos. But please, don't send 10 MB of photos next
time! Resize them down to 500 KB each!>
I think that by now she should had given birth.
Now I'm not completely sure if she is pregnant
<If she is with a male, or has been in the last 6 months, YES, she is
pregnant. But she may be getting bigger for another reason as well.>
or if she could be having some sort of problem. I have her with some
tetras and another female molly but no male mollies.
<Tetras and Mollies don't mix. Mollies need hard, alkaline water
-- preferably slightly brackish. Such water is wrong for tetras.
Bloating and dropsy (oedema) are common when Mollies are kept in the
wrong water, especially soft water. On top of this, she has a
deformed spine (like the "balloon molly") which makes her look an odd
I attached a couple of pictures of the molly. Please tell me if she
could be pregnant or sick. Thank you.
Molly tail down... 4/23/12
WWM, I need help. I have some sick female Silver Lyre-tail Mollies
(found a female one 'crashed' at bottom of tank this morning). I suspect
the other 2 will not be far behind. Molly #1 has been hiding, shaking
and shimmying since she had babies about a month ago. Since she never
comes out of hiding I have only recently noticed her tail is drooping
down (like her rear-end is paralyzed), there is a curve or kink in her
spine so that tail is curled to side and fins are clamped. Also her eyes
look 'fluorescent' blue with same coloring on top of body. Molly # 2 has
had buoyancy issues for about 2-3 days with keeping her tail down and
head up, today this seems better but she is swollen, clamped fins.
Molly #3 died with a swollen stomach, all 3 have(had) high-arched back
(hump?) and low appetite. Gave all 3 a salt dip in similar water
parameters of 1 gallon + 1 tbsp of Epsom salt for 5 minutes and placed
back in tank yesterday. Today gave an additional dip to the 2 remaining
only for 10 minutes. Have seen them scratch a couple of times here or
there, but not constantly or even every day. Parasites? TB? Fungus?
Lack of electrolytes?
<Likely the last... plus exposure to metabolites... Most common causes
of Molly demise>
Help :( Also, in my 'baby' tank (20 g tank dedicated to the Fry of
all the parent fish) the white mollies swim vertically (head up). They
CAN swim normally, but at times they don't; they move forward (like
belly forward) just straight up and down as if they were constantly
swimming against a glass wall. What is this???
Details of our tank: 30 g with 11 total of guppies (2 females, 1 male),
platies (2 males-1 that can't breed, long story, 3 females) and 3
mollies (2 females, 1 male). Also have about a dozen (can't keep track)
babies that have stayed hidden and recently came out because they seem
to be too big to be eaten (parents don't chase them or anything) they
could be anywhere from a week-2 weeks old so I don't see the need to
move them now. We do 30% weekly water changes and keep a 78-79 degree
temp and ph of about 7.6. Don't know the rest of the parameters
but get it tested at the LFS and we are told it is 'fine.'
<Of no use... need to know specifics... esp. nitrogenous/Nitrate
Keep aquarium salt (or canning salt when we are out of the
<Sea salt (marine) is what you want>
at rate of 1 tbsp per 10 gallons. Also, recently learned about
adding baking soda (yesterday) and added 3 tbsp of baking soda diluted
in tank water over about 30 minutes. I know that Mollies
are harder than guppies and platies to keep but is this a species
problem or something else going on?
<Most all mollies kept in captivity nowayears have troubles... really
need to be kept in large brackish to marine settings>
Do I need to set up a 3rd tank and keep my mollies in their own tank
from now on?
Sorry, I am not able to send pics (they are not clear) or video
(Silverlight is dumb).
<Please read here:
and the linked Molly Disease FAQs files above... all will be revealed.
Re: Molly tail down 4/28/14
Thank you so much for your quick and reliable responses to all of my
questions! I am really not sure if my 2 female Mollies are on the mend
or not. We are taking everything 1 day at a time. However, the 20 gallon
tank, that I mentioned in my previous email that houses several batches
of fry, is giving me cause for concern. The latest batch of fry that we
added are 10 day old guppies. Several of them seem to have
'bent' tails and 1 of them has an extremely bent tail and is swimming
around in circles,
<Bad... might be congenitally (genetically) troubled... could be due to
nutritional deficiency, even some aspects of water quality>
being carried wherever the water takes it. It will then rest on the
bottom a minute and then start again. Also, this fry has a very black
tail, back, and head with a silver belly which is very different from
the other fry and parents. Is this whirling disease?
I've read about it on your sight <site> but wasn't sure if fry this young
could get this disease.
Details of the tank: 20 gallons with a mixture of probably 50 fry:
guppies, Platies, mollies. Ages range from 10 days old to about 3 weeks.
We do about a 20% weekly water change and keep a 78-79 degree temp and
ph of about 7.6.
Don't know the rest of the parameters but get it tested at the LFS and
we are told it is 'fine.'
<Past time to have/use your own test kits>
We are still working on getting the proper testing strips.
<See WWM re... inferior technology>
Keep aquarium salt (or canning salt when we are out of the other,
and we are also working on getting Marine salt as well as looking into
Kent Iodine) at rate of 1 tbsp per 5 gallons (not 10). Also, added
baking soda at rate of 1 tbsp per 10 gallons.
Thanks for all advise! -Amelia
<Not advice; just what I/we might do given similar and supposed
circumstances. Bob Fenner>
mollie with slime disease? No searching, reading... as too usual
Hi there, I was wondering if you could help me please. I have a black mollie
that appears to be sick.
From what is have read around, I think it may be some sort of slime
disease, but I am not sure. I've added a picture to try and show you. At his
sides, about half way down, his scales seem to have turned a greyish colour.
He has also started to move his whole body side to side yet stays on the
spot, and rub himself against the gravel. The tank is 180 litres and
has about 40 small fish such as neons,
minnows, rasoboras, 1 bristlenose plec and a couple of apple snails. It has
been set up and running for about 5 months. I've cleaned the tank as i
thought it may have been water quality, ammonia is 0, nitrite 0, ph 7.8,
nitrate i think is under 40 but the api test is difficult to tell
the difference between 40 and 80.
<Way too high>
I've thought about adding salt but im not sure how suitable this is for
the other fish and snails.
<The Neons, snails, no; not compatible>
should I try something like anti slime and velvet medication?
<Of no use w/o improving the environment.>
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>