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FAQs on the Molly Health/Disease 1

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

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

Black Mollies, White Gills - 11/14/2005 Hi y'all, <Howdy.> I'm sure you get this a lot - but... THANKS! So many times - you all have kept me from giving my fish away and turning my tank into a terrarium! <Excellent! Thank you for these kind words.> I've got an issue with two of my black lyre tailed mollies. They have what looks like white growths on their gills. The growths are not fluffy, or worm like, or little specks or anything I can find information on. It actually looks like they have these thin, tissue like white flaps that are the same shape as the gill slit - and the flap runs the full length of the gill. They really look like thin, white extensions of the gill. Otherwise, neither seems to be in any distress or unhealthy in any way. Both are swimming and eating with no problems. <Hmm.... I suspect that this is "normal".... You might want to start taking a look at the mollies in stores as well, and even photos online, to see if this seems "universal".> My tank is 35 gal, with seven black mollies (1 adult and 6 young'uns - I know the adult is female, not sure about the others yet) two black neon tetras (the remains of early aquarium problems) and one pleco (he's about 5 inches now...time to trade him in soon, I think) <Sounds quite alright.> My water qualities are good (early problems taught me that lesson) and I keep the temp and salinity up where the mollies seem to like it. (the pleco and the tetras seem not to mind, either) <Hopefully no more than a tablespoon per ten gallons or so - more could be irritating to the Plec and tetras, which hail from saltless, soft water.> Any clue what these little flaps can be? And how do I treat them? <I suspect just a normal part of the operculum. I would observe, for now, and see if you can look at others as well.> Thanks! -Rochelle <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Black Mollies, White Gills - II - 11/16/2005
Thanks - I've looked at pics - and at others in the local fish shop... I've seen a lot of silvery or white looking gills - and white or silver INSIDE the gill slit. But I've not seen anything that looks like this. These actually look like extensions, or flaps that go along the gill line and stick out from the gills by an eighth of an inch. <Is there any chance you can get an image of this?> To be honest - it looks like tiny strips of tissue paper have been wedged into the gills and there is a little flap sticking out. I don't know how better to describe it. <Actually, this is a great description; I can envision very well what you mean.> And if this sounds like "normal" OK - I'll quit worrying. <Mm, there are some different parasites of the gills.... some which would hang/extend out and be quite visible (try Googling gill and copepod), but nothing coming to mind that fits your description. I am inclined to believe that this may just be "normal", yes.> As I said - both seem to be otherwise healthy.  <In this case, I would just observe them closely as you obviously do/are.> And yes, I do keep my salinity down in a range that the pleco and tetras can tolerate. I raised the salinity very very very slowly when we first got our first molly and she immediately had fry. Oddly enough - I've had far fewer problems overall since doing it.  <It does have some good therapeutic effects - just use caution that it doesn't get too high for your other fish.> Thanks again! -Rochelle <Glad to be of service, -Sabrina>

Molly Questions Hello, <Hi there> I have 2 black male mollies and one white one. I also have about 10 other baby mollies ranging in various sizes. A couple of weeks ago my black molly showed signs of ick. I treated the tank with RidIch and it cured the fish in a couple of days, A few days later, the 2 black mollies top fin has a white line of them so I thought it might be tail rot. I treated the tank with Melafix for 4 days, then changed 25% of the water, added more salt and dechlorinator and put the carbon back in the filter. Now a few days later, one of my black mollies is shaking badly (like having a seizure) and stays on the bottom of the tank. He comes out to eat, but still shakes bad. Now my white female is also shaking badly and stays bear the heater and filter inlet. I'm going to try a 50% water change today. I tested the water and my nitrites are way high. <How high is high?> I'm hoping the 50% water change will reduce this number. I also bought some Amquel plus to reduce the nitrites. What can I do? Is there something I'm doing that causing this? Is their behavior due to water problems or a disease? Please Help!!!! Mark <You're suffering from "too much buying and treating" disease... Really, I would be careful here re these "medicines"... and revert back to just maintaining good water quality and having some salt in your water. Very likely your fish have been poisoned by the med.s... They have killed much of your biological filter obviously. I would leave off with their further use at this time. Bob Fenner>
Re: Molly Questions
Thanks for the reply. I most likely killed the biological cycle which in turn, caused my fish to get sick. <Yes> My female molly is still in the hospital tank. There is white patchy cotton looking fuzz that is on parts of her body. There is also a line of some white substance on her back tail. It has eaten out the center of her tail and is still there. Also, she swims with her head pointed down, she can't right herself. Maybe some type of swim bladder disease. <Bad signs... seek out "Mollienex" if you can find it... funny name, but a tried and true remedy/medication for what you describe> It started about an hour after putting her in the hospital tank. The medical tank has just clean water and salt with a little stress coat. A person a Petco suggested I put some Fungus Clear (Jungle) into her tank to take care of the white stuff which she thought was fungus. It there anything else I can do. She looks real sick and won't eat. <These were good suggestions, moves... see above> The fish in my main tank are doing great. The nitrites are still a little high. They are at about 3.0. Should I do another water change (what %) or add some more Amquel Plus. <The water change... now... keep ammonia and nitrite below 1.0 ppm> I know now not to overfeed and test the water weekly with water changes. <I'd test, change daily if it is getting, staying this high> I'm concerned about the female molly. I hate to see her suffer. But do not want to euthanize her until I know there is nothing else I can do. Is there a chance she'll get better? <Yes> What is the best way to euthanize the fish, if necessary? Please help. <In a bit of water, in a bag, in your freezer. Bob Fenner> Mark Stack
Re: Molly Questions
Bob, <Mark> Thanks for your response. My female molly is still the same. I was not able to find the Mollienex you talked about. Can you suggest a place where I can purchase it? <I should have looked to see if it was still made, available... not... but found same formulation under another name (same manuf.): http://www.junglelabs.com/pages/details.asp?item=NJ117> And (regardless of the 1st answer) tell me of some other medications that might work that I can buy at a local pet store? Like I said, I treated the tank with Fungus Clear (Jungle Labs) and some Melafix. I have some TriSulfa, should I use that medication as well? <I would try this if I could not quickly (a day) get the Fungus... oh, I see it below> Can I use it with the Fungus Clear and Melafix? Someone else suggested Maracyn II since my fish won't eat. Should I try this? <Just Minocycline... no I wouldn't> Please give me suggestion on exactly what medications I should use in what combo. I don't want to over-medicate. Thanks. PS. There was a clear white gel or fuzz on all the objects in the tank, including the female molly. You can see it grow on everything (clear to light white) and you can see it move with the water current. What is this? Should I do something to correct this? I cleaned all the ornaments and gravel in the tank. Thanks for your help. Mark Stack <Better, best to stay the course you're on. Bob Fenner>
Re: Molly Questions
Bob, <Mark> I called several stores in my area for the Jungle Labs fungus eliminator, no one had it. PetSmart had the same product, just for ponds, not aquariums. Can I use this pond product instead of the one you suggested? <Yes. As far as I'm aware they are identical> I stopped by another pet store today and they suggested Maracyn, since the other product wasn't available. He claims Jungle Lab products are not very good. <Most are not... mainly salt... this one is> Should I use the Maracyn in combo with either the Melafix or Fungus Clear. He suggested a 50% water change and to use The Maracyn by itself. Or should I use the fungus eliminator for Ponds with anything else (i.e. Melafix) <... Maracyn is the antibiotic Erythromycin... I would NOT use Melafix to wash a sidewalk> Please tell me what combo of products to use to correct this problem?? Thanks. Mark Stack <If it were my fish and I was starting at day one I would ONLY use non-iodized salt and assure my pH was mid 7's or higher... with baking soda. You would do well to just listen to one source and/or reason through the explanations, root knowledge of what people are relating to you. Bob Fenner>
Re: Molly Questions
Bob, <Mark> Thank you for all your help. My molly is doing better. She is swimming upright and eats once in a while. She still has some cottony growths on her one side. How long does it take for this to disappear? <A few weeks generally> The only medication I am using is the Fungus Eliminator you suggested. I've been giving it to her for 10 days now. I replace about 40% of the water between each treatment, a day long.  I use some water conditioner and a little salt. <Good> I have the water conditions ideal accept for pH, which is a little high (7.8-8.0) due to my water source.  <Mmm, this should be okay (for molly species)...> I did notice that she has some black specks in her top fin (they've been around for about 3 weeks now), what is this? <Natural coloring... not to worry> It also looks like the top of her body is darker than the rest. Should I be concerned about this? <No> My other concern is the last three days she has her back tail drooping down and to the side as she rests. It seems like it getting worse. What is causing this condition?  Is there anything else I should be doing to help her? <Not to worry> Her appetite seems to be diminishing, but who knows. How long can they be on this medication until it adversely affects their condition?  <For a very long time... months... unlike the vast majority of "medications" that are quite toxic, debilitating. Bob Fenner> Any information to help me on this matter would be greatly appreciated.  Mark Stack 

Vertical swimming mollies Hello, I hope you can help, I have read everything I can find and just don't know what is wrong. I have a 55 gal tank with 1 swordtail, 2 platies, 2 Plecos, 2 Cory cats, 1 Bala shark, 1 painted glass, 2 balloon bellied mollies, 2 black mollies, 2 silver mollies. I do a 25% water change approx every 2-3 weeks. The problem begins with the fish body becoming curved, they swim around shaped like a comma, tail pointing down, like they are dragging their tail end around. <Not good> Within days they are swimming straight but vertically, head up. Then they die within a matter of days. I have had this problem for the last 2 months approx, and have treated with PimaFix numerous times <Worthless> ...and changed water numerous times. I have had my water tested and ammonia, nitrates, ph, everything shows good and safe. Is this a bacteria or a parasite? I have lost many fish to this and have 2 that are swimming this way now. Please help!!!! <Actually very likely a microsporidean endoparasite... You might be able to cure this with the use of Flagyl/Metronidazole. Please see your LFS re this material and administer per directions on the box, inserts. Bob Fenner> 

MOLLY QUESTION Hi, <Hello> I have molly trouble and can't seem to find the right diagnosis anywhere, but I am sure you can help me . . . <Will try> My Dalmatian Molly started swimming very awkwardly and unbalanced one day, so I removed her from my aquarium and transferred her to a bowl I use as a hospital. I was sure she was going to die. However, instead she gave birth to about 80 fry (it was very exciting to watch!!!). Afterwards, of course she was exhausted, but now (5 days later) she is still not in good shape. I added some revitalizer tonic to the water, and at least she is eating now. But her body, seen from the top, looks as if it has a 'kink'. Seen from the side, the bottom part seems to hang down. <Good description... this happens at times... in aging...> She is OK in the bowl, but when I put her back in the aquarium (with a slight flow of water) she had a hard time maintaining her balance. She does not top over or so, but her back part seems paralyzed or so. The water quality (nitrite & ammonia) is fine. My female has been bothered my male molly lately, and my new addition, a female swordtail, has been pretty aggressive too. <Do you have more than one female? The sex ratios in livebearers are sometimes very important...> I hope you can give me a clue as to what is happening. Thanks so much! Paula <I would provide more plant (live or fake) cover, other female/s... and separate these fishes if they seem to be causing damage. Bob Fenner>  

Re: Urgent Molly Question Bob, <Mark> I still need some help for my female molly. She isn't doing well. Her spine seems to be in an s-shape. <Good images> Also, she swims with her head up, can't seem to put her head down to swim.

The body fungus is still there, but it seems to be diminishing. 

<... and does appear to be a true fungus... most such diseases of fishes are actually bacterial> I have been giving her Fungus Eliminator from Jungle Labs for 2 weeks now. My question is what can I do to help her? Initially, it seemed that the Fungus Eliminator was helping, but the last three days she is getting worse. What could cause this? Should I treating her with an antibiotic? <Mmmm, you do have some salt in the water? I would continue with the FE product> I have Maracyn, but have not used it. The only medication I've giving her is the Fungus Eliminator. I have been running the tank with no carbon filter and have noticed the nitrites spike up to 3. When I find that, I give the tank a 50% water change. Should I start to use a carbon filter?  <Not until you want the medication gone> Should I try a different medication, such a Maroxy and Maracyn? <I would not... these will not do you any more good than the present treatment> I read somewhere that a bent spine like this could be a sign of TB, could she have this? <Very unlikely> Also, is it transmissible to humans? <This is a VERY unlikely possibility... but strictly speaking... yes, Mycobacteria are transmissible twixt humans and fishes> My kids put their hands in the tank all the time. I included picture this time to help in your diagnosis. Should I just put the fish down? <I would NOT... but continue to treat as you have done... perhaps add a bit more salt. A teaspoon more per day... for five days.> I'm just so frustrated that she was so sick, I gave her medicine and a new tank, she got much better, but not just has no energy, sits there with her tail down and her spine bent. It seems like she can't even straighten it to swim anywhere. I also have seen her shake a bit. <Not unusual> Please help on any suggestions for medicines to use, any dietary changes (currently just using flake food with some dried blood worms), any concerns for TB and sign to look for, what caused a bent spine like in the picture attached, and can she get better. My kids are attached to the fish and I'd like to save her. Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated. Mark Stack <Please don't worry re: disease transmission to your children... add the salt, and stay the course. The fish will cure or no... you are doing all that I know of to effect a cure. Bob Fenner>

Re: Urgent Molly Question Bob, There have been a few more developments since I last wrote. My fish is doing worse. She swims on her side with her spine all curved. Her eyes are popping out and there seems to be some blood in them and a visible patch of red on the top of her head. Is there anything else I can do at this point?? <Mmm, no. Nothing I would do at least. You may be at the point of considering euthanizing this animal... as it is very unlikely to recover from the bent spine...> I stopped treating her with the fungus clear 3 days ago and started to use Maracyn II. I thought it might be an internal infection that the fungus clear could not cure. She initially seemed to get better with the fungus clear, but then took a turn for the worse for about 2 weeks. That's when I decided to try the Maracyn II and discontinue use of the fungus clear. All the patchy cottony white fungus is not nowhere on her body. Is this the right course of action? She hasn't eaten in 10 days. The spine curvature seems to be permanent. What is causing her spine to bend?? Maybe she has a swim bladder problem?? <A myriad of problems my friend... from what cause/s? Perhaps an internal infection... maybe a genetic "time bomb" anomaly...> She swam with her head down when she first had the fungus, but then started to swim normally. Of course, things have changed and she swims kind of on her side with her body twisted. She now just lays on the bottom of the tank with only her side fins moving. I hate to see the fish suffer. Should I put her down?? Is there something I'm doing wrong?? Is there another medication I should be using?? Should I stop the Maracyn II treatment and go back to fungus clear? Any help to cure this fish would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Mark Stack <Mark... I would freeze this fish... in a plastic bag in a bit of water... this is painless, the most humane route to end the animals suffering. Bob Fenner>

Deceased Dalmatian Molly Hello! It's me, Walt again. I am really sorry to bother you for the hundredth time. My wife and I woke up this morning to find one of our Dalmatian mollies deceased and stuck to the filter intake. (Actually, we did not notice it right away and then all of a sudden I looked up and saw it on the intake... Don't know what to make of that.) <Me neither> As you may remember, I have had my 44 gallon pentagon up and running for about nine weeks now. I started changing five gallons of water weekly two weeks ago, as recommended. I test my water regularly, and since I added Turbostart 700 the first week, my parameters have remained stable: pH 7.8; Ammonia 0; Nitrite 0; Nitrate 20ppm; Hardness 160ppm CaCO3. I tested this morning after finding the dead fish and found the same results. I cannot figure out what happened, as she was fine last night. I have some possibilities... I started with 16 fish after adding the TurboStart. (2 Diamond tetras, 2 Beacon tetras, 2 platies, 3 pairs of differing mollies, 2 kissers, and 2 red velvet swordtails). During the first six weeks, I lost one kisser due to his aggressive brother, after which I returned the offender. Other than that, I let them be until I was sure the tank was stable. After six weeks I started adding more fish. First, I added the two Dalmatian mollies, two platies, and two Botia darios to help with the occasional snail. I noticed some very aggressive behavior following this change and I returned one of my platies and one of my mollies (both males). The next week I added two Serpae tetras and two female platies. Then last week I added two more female platies and two female swordtails to help prevent further aggression. This brings my current total to 26 small fish. I hope I do not sound ignorant by asking this, but is all this commotion the likely culprit in the death of the my molly? My tank is 24 inches deep with 480 square inches of surface area. I have a Whisper 30-60 external power filter and I use a four inch air-stone in the back corner for increased aeration. Also, the tank is well planted. I am quite comfortable with my current population, and do not intend on adding any more, but do I have too many fish already? <You're near there> Also, I noticed that some of my new fish got their tail fins nipped, I am guessing by my Serpae tetras. I believe, however, that the fin nipping has stopped now that the tetras have grown accustomed to their new mates. Will the fins repair themselves, or, should I quarantine and medicate. I should add that the victims appear very happy and healthy.  As always, thanks for putting up with my neurotic letters and thank you for all your advice. Sincerely, Walt <I wish we could "go back" and chat re your stocking plan... Know that the mix of fishes you list have quite different water quality desires, limitations... the mollies like some salt in their water... the tetras don't... and they like soft, acidic, warmer water than the platies, swords, mollies... IF all were in initially good health, the system kept stable, optimized there would not likely be problems.... but it being so new... some of them are sure to be "challenged"... even "cranky"... You obviously have a good mind and care a great deal... and all will work out fine... but do take a read on WWM, fishbase.org re specific (as in species) requirements, water chemistry... before any further purchases. Bob Fenner> 

Black molly care Hi I hope you can help me. I inherited a fish tank with black mollies in it only 5 days ago.  In the process of getting the fish tank cleaned I lost 3 of the fish. Not bad for a beginner! They all seemed to be doing well until the biggest one in the tank started to hang out the bottom and hide under one of the rocks. I believe it's a female by the shape of her anal fin. I feed them twice a day; in the beginning she came up for the food now she doesn't even do that. I wonder if she is pregnant. These poor fish were abandoned in an apartment and left to die so I took them in. I know absolutely nothing about taking care of fish but, I'm learning quickly. THANK YOU BARBARA <Please take a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm  regarding proper biological filtration... and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollyfaqs.htm  re Mollies... I suspect your new tank is simply not "cycled", and possibly that the mollies water is not to their suiting... Bob Fenner>

Sick Dalmatian molly I looked through the other questions, but didn't see anything quite like this. I was changing the water in my tank today (7 gallon) and had put my 2 Dalmatian mollies (1m, 1f) in a "goldfish bowl" while I did a partial water change in the tank. (The water in the bowl was straight from the tank.) In the bowl, I noticed the male was starting to spaz out. He would be swimming normally and then just jerk as if he was being electrocuted. I assumed it was due to the pH of the water being off (which is why I was doing the water change.)  I have since returned him to the main tank and he is now lying on the bottom of the tank, barely moving. His side fins are constantly flapping at about the same speed as if he were stationary in the tank. One of my other fish was acting this way a few weeks ago, but once I neutralized the pH, he was better. My real concern is that it appears as though the molly has a broken bottom lip. His bottom lip is bent completely down and away from his face so that his mouth is stuck open. <Yikes... sounds like it got whacked on the bowl's edge while it was zooming about> He did not eat when I fed them and it didn't look like he even attempted. I was going to pull him from the tank and see if I could bend his lip back up but I was afraid of injuring him further. Can you tell me what is happening to my poor fish? Thanks in advance! <Thank you for your clear writing... I think you are correct in that your Molly did just "flip out" with the moving, injured itself. I do hope it will self-cure... there is naught else that I would do. Bob Fenner>

Sick Mollies Ok... I just noticed the spots on two Mollies in my fish tank today. I introduced a new Molly six days ago. That one was a birthday gift for my four year old. I can't kill these fish they are his babies. I tested the ammonia, pH, and nitrates about a week ago and everything checked out ok.  I checked them today and the ammonia and pH spiked bad and the nitrates are perfect. I just did a 25% water change and put Wardley WaterCare Ick Away in my tank with a half dose of ammonia eliminator as per the pet store. I didn't realize till after I put in the ick away that it says don't use with tetras and I have two of those too.  AM I GOING TO KILL THEM? <These medications that are based with malachite green are very toxic to tetras, catfish and some loaches. You probably have introduced ich into your tank with the new molly.> The tetra's don't have spots but cant they still be affected by the Ich if the other fish have it in the same tank? < They will get it too . They are just not showing any symptoms yet.> I do have a fish bowl I could move them to but I am new to this and I just don't know... could someone please hurry and tell me what I am doing wrong, or right for that matter, to my poor fish? < You could add some carbon to the filter and that would remove it too. Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and change the filter. Once the medication is gone I would get some rid-ich II by Kordon that is especially formulated for sensitive fish. Follow the directions on the package. After treating I would add carbon to remove the medication and then add some BioSpira to get the bacteria going for the nitrification process. Go to Marineland.com and see Dr. Tim's Library for an article titled " The First Thirty Days" for info on the ammonia problems.> The infected ones also lay a lot on the bottom of the tank and only get up to say hi when I open the lid cause they are such cute friendly fish... I'd really hate to lose them :(. Please help me with any ideas. It's a ten gallon tank been running about two or three months. Total of three little mollies two little tetras and a little algae eater. Plants, rocks, etc. It has a bio filter wheel thing, do I need to do anything to that since I don't believe it has charcoal?  <Remove the BioWheel when medicating so it does not kill the good bacteria on the wheel. Store it in a damp wheel in a container with aquarium water. You can also get rid of the ich by increasing the water temp to 82 degrees for awhile. It sometimes stresses the fish so you need very good aeration.-Chuck> 

Mollie w/ pinecone area on tail... Hi guys, <cheers, dear!> In one of my molly tanks, one of my big males has a spot on his tail that's pinecone shaped. It's on the underside of the tail, right next to the caudal fin. Other than that, he looks okay and is acting normally. I'm going to put him into the QT, but what else do I do for him? <hmmm... is the pine cone on the soft rays or at the base but on the skin? Either way, I'm thinking a swab stain with straight iodine or Merthiolate. I suspect this needs a topical address> Thanks, Ananda <kindly, Anthony>
Re: Molly w/ pinecone area on tail...
>Molly with pinecone blister under tail... ><The swab should work within days. Reapply 2-3 times in 5 days if  >you like> Okay, swabbed him once with the iodine (2% tincture from the drugstore). Then once on Friday and once on Sunday? Just checking that you don't mean 2-3 times per day for each of the next five days.  <nope... correct on the former: once every other day is fine likely> Should I feed him any differently than usual? I have the Tetra anti-bacterial pellets if those would help. <mildly helpful but do feed it to exclusion for 11-14 days if you do> Thanks, Ananda <kindly, Anthony>
Re: Molly w/ pinecone area on tail...
Forgot to mention...I've started giving him FD plankton, too, over the last couple of days, and I should be getting FD mysis in tomorrow. The clown is in a different room from the computer, so I've seen feces only once... they were kind of whitish. Should I start him on the anti-parasite food? <actually... they really should never be whitish and as such often indicates an internal parasite. Yes... do feed medicated food to exclusion for the next 11-14 days. Seek Metronidazole> Molly with pinecone blister under tail...  ><hmmm... is the pine cone on the soft rays or at the base but on the skin? Either way, I'm thinking a swab stain with straight iodine or Merthiolate. I suspect this needs a topical address> The pinecone area is at the base of the tail. In the attached file, molly.jpg, the pinecone area is shown by the white square. (The real fish is a "green" molly, but it's easier to show an orange one.) <very nice image! Good job... if we ever get a grant here at WWM we'll have to pay you for your talents! Do swab the infected area... but consider that the beginnings of a tumor cannot be ruled out. The swab should work within days. Reapply 2-3 times in 5 days if you like> Thanks, Ananda

Bilateral Popeye/Color Change in Mollies I have a tank of marble mollies...some are babies of the originals.  A couple of days ago I noticed that one of the younger mollies had both eyes popped out similar to a telescope goldfish.  She seemed alright otherwise, but since has taken to hanging out at the top of the tank and seems to be blind, can't seem to see food too well.  Also looks thin.  I'm wondering if I have a case of mycobacteriosis.  This is scary because I read that humans can contract it from fish.  What should I do for her? <This conditions sounds like it could have been brought on by poor water quality or stress.  Is your water hard, alkaline, and slightly salty, about 1.004 on a hydrometer.  Have your water tested to be sure everything in in line.  If you are not adding salt already, frequent water changes and the addition of salt should help her. I doubt it is mycobacterium marinum... AKA Fish TB (tuberculosis), but be cautious just the same. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm  > My other problem is that a black/gold molly I have which was more black than gold has changed color so that now she is almost completely gold.  She is almost one year old.  Do mollies change color or is this some disease? <It is perfectly normal for them to change color.  Best Regards,  Gage> Thank you for you help.

Molly troubles This really isn't a question, but I'd like your comments anyway (please. lol)  Ok, a couple of months ago I bought a black molly and was told she was pregnant. I took her home and within a week or so, noticed that she had a large (pea size) swelling on the left side of her tail. It was so swollen that the scales were sticking out. So, I called the pet store near  were that the man there said that she had dropsy, there wasn't anything to do and the best thing would be to put her out of her misery, <that would have been correct at best if she actually had dropsy... but she didn't. Dropsy is a swelling of the abdominal cavity that forcibly distends the body of the fish such that scales protrude like a pine cone. It is symmetrical symptomatically... no left side tail action here. Your fish had a large parasite, or a growth of some kind> which I  did by euthanizing her with a table spoon of baking soda in a glass of water.  (weird, I know, but that was what I was told to do). <WOW! the LFS is giving out some scary advice. Ahhh... the quick humane method of euthanasia they meant to tell you was to use seltzer water (it can be used briefly as an anesthetic or longer for euthanasia). Baking soda simply shocked the fish to death... took some minutes I suspect? Seltzer water takes seconds> I was just wondering if there had been anything I could have done about her. Thanks! <definitely... get a second opinion before heeding this LFS store's advice <G>. In all seriousness though, the affliction was likely a growth... incurable, although not necessarily malignant. Best regards>

Dying Mollies Hi, All of our Mollies are dying and we are unsure why - they seem to get a hunchback in the area up near their head and they actually look sick.  We have a small tank and live in North Queensland Australia (perfect water temp without heater etc), we have 2 different types of large leafed plants in the tank (one I think is called "aluminium plant"), small filter, gravel, a large rock and an ornament.  Firstly they attacked our "peppered catfish" until it died (more than a week ago) now the mollies are dying - they have these sick characteristics for at least a day or 2 before they die - any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Sharon <It's hard to say without having more info. Have you checked your water quality (ammonia/nitrites/etc) and is this a fresh or brackish system? You say 'perfect temperature' but what is that temperature? What size tank? What filtration? How many fish? What other species? Ronni>
Re: Dying Mollies
Water quality checked, Temp is 28oC.   <OK, this is a bit warm. It really should be kept down around 26C, you can lower it by placing a small fan so it's blowing on it.> Tank is 35cm long, 19cm high, 23cm wide.  Other species is 1 pregnant female guppy.  Number of fish left 3 out of about 14. <This converts to only a 4 gallon tank so it should have no more than 2-3 Mollies in it, 14 fish is WAY too many. I think this is your cause right here. Always remember, the basic rule is one inch of adult fish size per gallon of water. Mollies reach just over 2' each, Guppies around 1' each, and depending on the catfish you had, these can be between 3' and several feet. With as many fish as you had, you really should have had them in a 29 gallon tank. With what's left, you are just about right for your current tank. Do test your ammonia and nitrites though, I would think these are going to be quite high and will require some water changes to get them back down to 0ppm.> Filter sits in corner of tank filled with white fluffy stuff (thought you would like the technical name for that).   <Sounds good to me. I use that white fluffy stuff too. :o)> Husband assures me correct size for tank size etc. etc. etc.   But he can't tell me why they are dying and looking so peculiar.   <Nope, hubby is wrong.> What is brackish system.  Our tank is filled with tap water with water conditioner in it.   Husband very particular everything measured exact!   <A brackish tank is a tank that is between freshwater and saltwater. Mollies like brackish water and do best in it. Guppies also do fine in water with some salt. But because these are used to fresh water, if you do change the tank to brackish be sure to do it very slowly, over a several week period so you don't shock the remaining fish.> Just had a thought which may shed some light on it for you - fish (except guppy and dead catfish) came from friend's garden pond BUT other fish from the same pond were put in the tank at preschool and these are all living very happily in the classroom. <Generally this would raise some concerns but since the fish in the other tank are doing fine I do think your problem is coming from the over crowding which probably caused high ammonia and nitrites.> Thanks for your time. <You're welcome! Ronni>

Ich and Black Mollies (04/03/03) Hi, <Hi! Ananda here tonight; the mollies are in the other room...> I recently got 6 black mollies.  In a few days one female had gotten a spot near its top fin.  It became more pronounced and I even noticed its gills became shiny.  I decided to "cull" the ill fish as to protect the others.   <That probably wasn't necessary... it is very easy to treat mollies with ich. Just add salt to their water: - siphon off about a gallon or so of tank water, depending on the size of the tank - add the salt -- maybe 1/4-1/2 cup of marine salt, depending on the size of the tank - mix well - slowly pour salty water into tank The reason this works is that parasites are much less tolerant of changes in salinity than your mollies.> I want to transfer the rest to my main tank but worry they may bring the illness with them. Is it contagious? <It is. But it is easily eradicated from a quarantine tank.> I have been putting in half the recommended dose of Formalin at night and the rest of the fish show no signs (yet).  How long should I leave them there to make sure it will not infect the main tank? <Ich has a life cycle of about a month. I would wait a minimum of two or three weeks after the last signs of ich are gone.> I have Platy fry in the main tank in a nursery and would like to transfer them to the smaller tank where the mollies are.  The fry are about a week old.  Will they be affected by the trace Formalin or the traces of Ick that may be in the smaller tank? <Quite possibly. But if you can salt the smaller tank, you can avoid the problem. Platies are also amenable to salt, though I don't believe they can tolerate as much salt as the black mollies, who can even be kept in full marine tanks.> Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you in advance for your prompt response. Kevin <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Paralyzed Molly My molly fish (looks like a Dalmatian...black and white spots) is having trouble swimming. It looks like his tail is paralyzed, so he only moves his "front fins" to swim. Is this a sickness? Is there anything I can do? Thank you -Julie <This could be the result of a disease (such as swim bladder disease) or an injury, it's hard to say for sure. Isolate the fish and try treating it with Epsom salts. Ronni>

FW environmental disease >Hi my names Cora I've been doing tanks for years and until recently I've never had any trouble.   >>Hello Cora, Marina here. >A lady contacted me because I take in unwanted fish.  Due to her moving from Ohio to Maryland she needed a home for her fish (black mollies).  She told me to come get tank and all so I did.  Needless to say when I got there the water was black! >>Ack!  (And uh oh.) >I felt bad for the fish caught them drained the tank and loaded it all up into my car and brought it home.  I gave that tank a good cleaning no chemicals used of course and used water from my 55 gallon tank that had just had a partial water change the night before. >>Personal experience: mistake #1.  (Groaning, because I learned my mistake with a customer's fish.) >I let the fish float for 15 minutes and then released them.  Needless to say a little while later I notice the fish were starting to act really funny.  I checked the temperature it was a little high so I lowered it the water then started to get a milky white. >>Free floating bacteria found plenty of nutrients--new tank syndrome. >And the fish were still acting funny and 2 died.  I pulled the fish from that tank and floated them in my 55 gallon released them and they did fine. >>I wouldn't have done that, but you saved the rest.  My concern is the very real risk to your well-established tank by introducing the new fishes with no quarantine whatsoever, coming out of a foul-looking (but apparently healthy) tank. >I left them in the 55 over night and by morning the other tank had turned clear (no chemicals were used at any point of my set up ) so I put in 2 clown loaches and a few mollies needless to say they started to fly through the tank and act as though they were going to die I immediately put them back into my 55 and now they are fine but the other tank is milky white again.  Can you give me any ideas as to what might be going on?  I've worked in pet shops and have had tanks for years and never experienced anything to this effect.  Any information would be greatly appreciated!   Totally Confused,    Cora                                                                 >>Again, this sounds like new tank syndrome, though it usually takes a few hours for the bacteria to get a good foothold.  You never mentioned the size of this new tank, and I cannot recommend adding so many fish so quickly unless we're talking about a 75 gallon or larger set up.  At this point you MUST remove everything from the tank and fill it with water, then add bleach at a ratio of 1Cup/5 gallons.  Let it sit like this a few hours, then drain and allow to dry.  I would do this with everything that was associated with that tank as well.  If you're very worried about the tank, do this procedure twice, and then when ready to set it up again start with feeder gups first.  Beyond that it's difficult to say what to do, I'm assuming you know to match temperature and pH when transferring fishes, and to never introduce water from one system into another.  I hope this has helped answer your questions.  Best of luck with your new wards, Marina 
Re: Help!!!!!!
>Hi Marina >>Hello Cora. >Thanks for responding to my e-mail I did as you suggested and the fish are doing great the tank is only a 20 high so dividing the fish up was needed.  Needless to say I now have 3 tanks set up for fish lol but who cares I love them and enjoy watching them more than the TV. >>Indeed.  Did you know that you can actually acclimate the mollies to full saltwater?  Glad to hear they're doing well, too.  Marina

Sick molly's Hi! One of my black mollies seems to be dying. 2 days ago she was lying on her side trying to swim and gasping for breath.<would check your water parameters ASAP...many diseases are caused by deteriorating water quality> Yesterday she was swimming upright. I have isolated her. Today she is flopping again. I did have an ich problem about 3 weeks ago and thought it started again as she and another black molly were rubbing themselves against rocks.<If the fish are constantly rubbing against rocks then there is a good possibility they have parasites> I am treating them again for ich. By the way, this molly that is flopping around I received on May 09. Is she dying? Please help!!!! Thank you.<well from your email I can't really tell if she is dying or not, I would just keep excellent water quality and hopefully your treatments that you are using work against ICH. I will enclose some links that should help you out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/ichfaqs.htm good luck with your molly's IanB>
Poor Black Molly
Thank Ian for your reply. My black molly did seem to be getting better. Was Swimming normally. Removed her from quarantine but 2 days later she was back to flopping around . That's when I noticed that she seemed to have lost some of her scales from her belly to the end of her tail in a straight line. Anyway I quarantined her again and hoped for the best. She was suffering too much anyway. She died Monday morning. All for the best I guess. Thank you. Ramona <Sorry to hear of the molly's death Ramona, I guess we all learn the hard-way so-to-speak. Well before you get more fish I would have the quarantine aquarium up and running and would check all water parameters in the main aquarium, Good luck my friend, IanB>

Mollies W/Ich 11/04/03  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  First, let me say WOW! what a great web-site. I have learned so much since finding your site. Thank you!  <Thanks for the compliment!>  My question is, how old do baby mollies need to be before you can treat them for ich? The fry are about 1 week and 3 days. There are 13 of them in a 5 gallon tank. I removed them from the main tank because I noticed ich on the mother and 1 guppy. In the main tank are 1 molly (used to be 2, another female lost her after birth), 3 guppies (1 male, 2 female).   So far my method in the fry tank has been to keep the water temp at 80 F.  Keep the tank lights off and put in 1 Tablespoon of salt. That seemed to help, most of the white spots are gone, but a couple of the fry still have 1 or 2 spots.  <I personally don't use any meds for the treatment of ich. I would think newborn fish would not fair well w/any kind of meds. Here is the info I have printed on ich at my puffer website. The same goes for any fish.  If some morning you get up and it looks like someone has salted the body, fins, and gills of your fish, you are looking at "Ich", sometimes called ick, or white spot disease. "Ich" is a protozoan parasite with the scientific name of Ichthyophthirius multifilius. It is the largest of the ciliated protozoans. It is easily introduced into your tank by new fish or equipment or plants that have been moved from one tank to another. A quarantine tank is the best way to prevent introducing this parasite into your display tank. If you see ich on your fish they should be treated immediately. In heavily stocked tanks it can cause massive death rates within a very short period of time. Some symptoms before white spots appear may include flashing, clamped fins, weakness, loss of appetite, and decreased activity. In the case of heavy gill infestations, you may not see evidence of white spots, but may find your fish breathing heavily at the surface of your tank. Secondary bacterial and respiration difficulties may result, so keep an eye out for complications in addition to the ich infection.   The best way to prevent ich, as I stated above, is to quarantine all incoming fish. A minimum of three weeks in quarantine (in my opinion) is the best way to go. When kept at 76 to 83 degrees, incoming fish that have been exposed to ich may show symptoms within the first 3 days. However, at cooler temperatures, ich outbreaks may take longer to show up because of its lengthened life cycle. Water temperature has a tremendous effect on how fast the life cycle of ich is completed. At water temperatures of 75 to 79 degrees F, the life cycle is completed in about 48 to 72 hours. In water temperatures below 75, it takes much longer for the parasite to complete its life cycle.  LIFE CYCLE: There are three phases to the life cycle of this protozoan. Ich is susceptible to treatment at only one stage of its life cycle, so knowing the life cycle is important.  ADULT PHASE: the parasite attaches itself under the mucus layer of the skin or gills, causing irritation and the appearance of small white spots. As the parasite matures, it feeds on blood and skin cells. After some time, the parasite breaks through the mucus layer and falls to the bottom of the aquarium.  CYST PHASE: after falling to the bottom of the aquarium, the adult cyst bursts and divides into numerous daughter cells called tomites.  FREE SWIMMING PHASE: after the cyst phase, the free swimming tomites search for a host. If a host fish is not found within 2 to 3 days, the parasite dies. Once a host is found the whole cycle begins again. These three phases take about 28 days at 70 degrees F but only 3 days at 80 degrees F. For this reason it is recommended that the aquarium water be raised to between 80-86 degrees F. for the duration of the treatment. If the fish can stand it, raise the temperature to 86 degrees. Raising the aquarium temperature in this manner will shorten the length of time between the cyst phase and the free swimming tomite stage. It is during the free swimming tomite stage that chemical treatment is effective in killing the parasite. During this time, whatever you use for treatment should be supplemented with daily or every other day water changes and gravel vacuuming to remove as many adult cysts and free swimming tomites as possible.  TREATMENTS:  Before starting treatment you should do at least a 25% to 30% water change and vacuuming of your tank.  I do not like to use meds w/my puffers, except in a heavy infestation.  One tablespoon of salt per 5 gals. of aquarium water, gradually raising the temperature to 86 degrees F. This is good if you have to treat BW fish who actually like salt as part of their aquarium habitat. Continue with this for a period of 21 days. Adding back 1 Tablespoon of salt for every 5 gals of aquarium water that you remove during water changes. One thing to remember with high temperatures is that you should run an additional air stone to oxygenate the water. There is less dissolved oxygen available in warm water than there is in water at cooler temperatures.>  Thank you so much for your time, Jen  <You're welcome & good luck. It sounds like your mollies are on their way to being healthy, well cared for little fishies! -- Pufferpunk>

Upside-down Molly I have a Molly which has been with the tank since it was cycled 15 months ago. Nothing has changed recently with tank parameters. <What are your readings for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH?> (120lts, live plants and ferns, around 30 mostly small fish.  External filtration and a powerhead on gravel filter)  Recently she has struggled to submerge herself, and has spent quite some time inverted. <Sounds like she's constipated/gassy, or has sustained damage to her swimbladder.> As my two male guppies have been pestering her, I've removed her to a small (3ltr) tank, keeping it shaded and aerated. (not ideal)   <Perhaps not ideal, but certainly far better to keep her separate than to have the other fish pestering her.  Definitely keep her separate until she recovers.> I suspect it's likely just air in abdomen, as I have no other mollies in tank (no males for at least 8mths.)   <I'd recommend adding Epsom salt at a rate o f one tablespoon per ten gallons (uh, that comes down to about one-third of a teaspoon for her 3 liter [0.79 gallon] tank) and try feeding her foods of high roughage content, like a bit of frozen (thawed) pea (remove the shell) or daphnia, to help her pass any blockage.> I have had a problem with excess algae (the black hairy stuff) which is now being controlled by a "Cleanwater" pouch in the filter. Could she be eating the algae?   <It's possible, but that shouldn't be a problem, algae is a good fish food.> She looks just as she normally does. (too darn fat!)   <Hopefully she's just blocked up.> Would appreciate any insight.  Dave <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Upside-down Molly, Continued I have many tetras, hence pH @ 6.5 (Waterlife buffers), ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates could be better but have always been between 20 & 30 ppm. <Could be better, could be worse.  Adding some hardy vascular plants (or more, if you have plants already) will help with both the nitrate issue and the algae issue.> Water is 10% changed weekly due to this. Working on phosphate control (algae) hoping nitrates will fall too! <Plants are your friends in the algae battle.> I soften our very hard water with JBL Aquatrop. <I'm afraid I'm not familiar with this or other products you've mentioned; I assume this is a regional difference.> These figures are all as they have been for many months. I have no other "unexpected" deaths in several months.  Thanks for the advise on the Epsom salts. Have already been feeding blood worm and daphnia as it inspires her a little. (I'll find some peas for her) <I'd skip the bloodworms for now, and do please be *very* sparing in feeding her.> Thanks for your time,  Dave <Sure thing.  Hopefully this is a simple case of constipation.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Upside-down Molly II
Just an update: Molly (Pixie) has been in hospital tank for 10 days now. She has got proficient at swimming inverted, and still has reasonable spirit.   <Ahh, always a good sign!> Have been watching for any evacuations (constipation) but have seen none.   <Is she pooing at all?> Her diet is now daphnia and peas, and is swimming in your prescribed dose of Epsom salts.   <Good - you can re-dose the Epsom salt after water change.> Any new ideas welcomed. <Well, I'd keep her going as is for now; if in a few weeks she has not improved, I'd suspect that she sustained some injury to her swim bladder, and may not be able to recover.  As long as she's eating and does not seem to be suffering, she should be able to live a decent (albeit upside-down) life.  I do hope all goes well for you and her.  -Sabrina> Best wishes,  Dave

Molly twisting in the water? (12/01/03) I have just bought a female molly and she is now twisting in the water. Can you explain why? <Hmmm. We've just had a discussion on this on the forums. Please read here: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=31&thread=14537  ...If the behavior described there does not match what you're seeing, please do post or write back and we'll do some more research. --Ananda>

Spiraling Mollies (12/18/03) <Hi! Ananda here, with more mollies than I can count upstairs...(fry, anyone?)> About a month ago one of our white Sailfin mollies began spiraling in the tank. <Uh-oh. Sounds like whirling disease.> This  particular one was about 3 months old, and had no obvious indication of injury or diseases. The water chemistry was all within proper ranges (Ammonia 0; Nitrite 0; Nitrate <20), and the only subject in the 29 gal. tank to act this way, out of about a dozen tankmates, all mollies. I tried a quarantine tank treatment with Nitrofurazone, but after two days of endless spiraling, I euthanized the poor thing. This evening, another molly started the same behavior; this time it's out of my 55 gal. tank, and it's a black/gold hybrid, again about 3 months old. I haven't found these symptoms listed in a search of your site, and don't know quite what to think. Could this be some sort of parasite problem? <It's caused by a myxosporidian parasite (Myxosoma cerebralis). It's more of a problem with trout and salmon in the western states, but it does hit livebearers on occasion. I've had two mollies get this. Unfortunately, it's not treatable; there's a fair bit of research being done on this disease, but as yet, it's always fatal. Sorry. Do read up on euthanizing fish with clove oil if you are using another euthanization method. Check both the WWM site and the forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk for more info.> I've had a couple swords and platys that had swim bladder trouble in the past, but they didn't act this way; constantly corkscrewing through the water, stopping only if they get wedged somewhere. <Yep, that's whirling disease.> I've got about a dozen month old babies that I was going to move from their quarantine tank, but don't want to release them into an environment that may be unhealthy. <The mollies that I had did not transmit the disease to the other fish in the tank, but I am not certain how this parasite spreads. You might want to tear down the tank and disinfect stuff to be on the safe side.> Any thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks in advance, Jess <Wish I had better news for you. --Ananda>

"Big lip" on mollies (12/24/03) <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I just started up an aquarium and two of the mollies that I started with have gotten a "big" upper lip that stops them from eating.  One has died and I am trying to save the other. The upper lip looks really thick and turned up.   Thanks for any help. <This is not something I've seen before, but there are a couple of things I suspect. One, if the tank was not cycled before the mollies were added, the ammonia and nitrite from the cycle probably hastened the fish's demise. The other possibility is some sort of infection or parasite  that the mollies had before you got them. You might try Kanacyn or Spectrogram, but without more information about this, it's difficult to diagnose. --Ananda>

Sick mollies (1/5/04) Hi Gang, I am hoping to reach Ananda. <I'm here... just happened to be online and saw the email in the box.> I recently posted a question on the web chat and now I cannot get to that page for some reason. <Likely a forum error...those happen occasionally. Do let me know if you can't access it now; I have it open in another window: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=3&thread=15355 > Ananda, the name I used was ilovesailfins. I do have salt added to my 55 gallon. I use 1 tablespoon per gallon of water, but I am using salt for freshwater should I change to marine salt, if so what kind? <Hmmm. That's not much salt at all... I think whether you should switch to marine salt depends on what your water hardness is, and what other fish you have in the tank.> If I do need to change to marine salt, how do I do this with freshwater salt already added in?   <I would do it slowly, via water changes. Just add salted water in when you take water out during a water change.> I do not have anything to correctly measure the salt content, what do I need to get? <The easiest thing to use is an Aquarium Systems or Marineland hydrometer. They are the only plastic hydrometers that read low levels of salt.> My one older sail fine is not doing so good. She is not eating and is having problems swimming.  She is also loosing weight.  She was really a robust fish, not she is starting to appear hollow bellied. She also seems to be breathing a little faster than normal now. I also noticed that her fish droppings appear to be clear mucus.  I really am in the dark with this problem. My other molly is still eating, but she also appears to be loosing weight. <Sounds like an internal parasite. You want to look for a food laced with Metronidazole, or make your own. You can mix Metronidazole powder with frozen/thawed food and re-freeze it for use later. There are a couple of companies that sell Metronidazole; Aquatronics has Hex-a-Mit in capsules, and Seachem sells the powder in a vial. The Metronidazole can be added to the water in a hospital tank, but is *far* more effective for this problem if it's added to food.> I tested the water again today and the only change was the nitrates.  They are around 10.   <Shouldn't be a problem. I've had mollies in water with more nitrates than that.> I think they went up because I added Paragon II to the water thinking the mollies may have wasting away disease or maybe some kind of internal parasite.   <Oh, wunderbar, that's got Metronidazole in it already, and Furazolidone and neomycin sulfate to deal with bacteria in case that's what it is.... Keep using the stuff.> I am going to do another water change tonight, how much do you think I should change.  I normally do about 20 percent. <Follow the directions on the Paragon II package.> The only change made to this tank is adding some real plants.  I added some java fern plants and some anacharis.  I did go over the plants to make sure no snails were attached and also rinsed them really well. Do you think this is the problem? Did the plants bring in something? <It's possible. I try to quarantine all new plants if I get them from a fish store.> Here are the water test results ammonia 0 ph 7.4 nitrites 0 nitrates 10 KH 71.6 (I think I did the math right) GH 100-200 ppm <Hokay, I don't think you need to switch to marine salt...what else is in the tank?> Thank you all for the help.  I am addicted to your site.  I have to read it every day. Cindy <Goodness knows, there are worse addictions. :) Thanks! And do check the forums, too...  --Ananda>
Sick Mollies II (1/5/04)
Hi Ananda, <Hi again...> Wow what a fast reply.  Thank you so much for your time. <I was probably online shortly after your email came in...> I didn't tell you about the other fish in our tank. We have 2 brick swordtail, 1 male one female 3 Platies, 1 male 2 females 2 cat fish, one albino, one panda 1 very large sword, not sure of the sex. Could be female turning into a male. <There's a fair bit of debate about that possibility... there are no proven cases of a viable female (i.e., one who's had fry) turning into a viable male (i.e., one who's sired fry). More likely, it's a case of the fishy hormones getting away from what's normal for a female, and thus the fish shows some traits usually found in males. I had one female swordtail (who'd had fry) develop a sword a couple of millimeters long, but that's as far as it went.> 2 males sail fins, one is very young, 5 months, I know because he is one of my babies 5 female sail fins, various ages 3 females 4-5 months old and 2 grown females. I forgot to tell you thought that my older female had babies about 2 weeks ago,  she only ever has around 5 and not all the same day. She seemed to be fine after having her babies, but soon started to slow down. <I wonder if perhaps she has more than that and the rest get munched... having fry is definitely stressful for the fish.> I will continue with the Paragon II and hope the mollies will pull out of this. <Me, too... The Sailfins are my favorite mollies.> Thank you again. Cindy PS I was in Chicago this past September and I had to see the Shedds's Aquarium.  Wow it was really a wonderful day. <Yup, definitely a fun thing to do in the city. --Ananda>

Sailfin Molly Illness (02/27/04) Please, help me determine a possible cause of illness in my Sailfin mollies. <Ananda here to help try, with Sabrina helping out...> I have a 55 gallon tank that is brackish.  The contents of the tank are 2 Gourami, 2 red-eye tetra, 4 black Neons, 3 black-skirt tetra, 3 lemon tetra, 2 adult red velvet Platies, 1 Plecostomus, 1 rainbow shark, 4 adult silver mollies, 1 adult Dalmatian molly (lyre-tail) and approx. 15 molly fry. <Uh... the only fish in that whole list that are brackish are the mollies. Platies can tolerate some salt. But the rest of them should not have any salt at all, except perhaps a "tonic" dosage of about 1 tbsp of salt per 10 gallons of tank water. (Which doesn't qualify regarding making the tank brackish.) What's your specific gravity?> All parameters of the tank are stable, all other fish are healthy....except the adult Dalmatian molly.  I have had a total of 4 (including this one) Dalmatian mollies in the past 6 months and at least 2 of them have suffered similar fates.  It starts with patchy loss of scales/color, fins become translucent and there is progressive weight loss.  They still eat and swim normally.  The first one that developed this illness had me so concerned about cross-contamination and looked so pitiful, that I euthanized him.  The first time I've had to do that!  Then the other adult Dalmatian started developing the same symptoms.  None of the other fish in the tank show any signs of illness, and are breeding well.  I'm concerned about fish T.B. <Sabrina and I agree that it does sound like mycobacteriosis.> That is why I didn't want the first sick fish to die in the tank. I read the other fish ingesting the dead sick fish is sometimes the way it is transmitted. <I have read the same thing. You were wise to remove the affected fish from the tank.> This is a very slowly progressing process.  It takes weeks or months before they reach the full extent of the illness.  What is the lifespan of a molly?   <About four years.> Could these fish just be old? <Most mollies I've seen at stores are 6-10 months old.> Why don't any of the other fish display symptoms of illness?   <Mycobacteriosis, aka fish TB, is a funky thing. You can have fish that are infected that display *no* symptoms. Meanwhile, other fish exhibit slowly degenerating health. Sometimes, things progress fairly quickly. And the list of possible symptoms is staggering.> I have treated the tank in the past with antibiotics, Methylene blue or malachite green, and MelaFix.  I can't figure out if it is a parasite or other disease, why it takes so long for it to affect the fish and why other fish aren't simultaneously ill.  What should I do? Debbie Bronson <The best thing to do is try to prevent any more fish from becoming sick. The way to do that is to maintain impeccable water quality; a UV sterilizer *may* help. For you, always wear long-sleeved aquatic gloves while working in the tank and see your physician if you develop any funky bumps on your hands/arms (and do mention the possibility of TB to the physician). The one possibility Sabrina's read about that may possibly cure the disease is Kanamycin, administered in food. However, this does not always work, and can be expensive to boot. If you have fish that exhibit symptoms, it is best to remove them from the main tank. Then, you can either keep them in isolation (possibly attempting to treat them), or euthanize them (I use clove oil; do a search both on the WWM site and at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk for more info). I wish I had better news for you. Fortunately, even though your mollies may be affected, the rest of your fish seem healthy, and you could raise the fry in a different tank. --Ananda>
Sailfin Molly Illness - II - 03/01/04
Thank you so much for your response to my mail.   <Sabrina responding this time, with Ananda shouting from the sidelines.> My error on calling the tank "brackish", I add about 1-2 tbsp. per 10 gallon. <This of course is fine for your freshwater pals.> Since your e-mail, I have euthanized my adult molly that was displaying symptoms. <So sorry to hear that you had to make such a choice; I know it is difficult.> My question now is, are the other tank fish ill as well?   <It is quite possible, if you are dealing with mycobacteriosis; however, they may never exhibit symptoms - or they may all fall ill with it.  The best you can do is to fortify their diet with vitamins, perhaps using a product like Kent's Freshwater Zoe or something like Selcon or Zoe marketed for saltwater use.  Other than that, just keep their tank in tip-top shape.> Will they one by one display symptoms?   <Possible, as above.> Or is it possible that the disease wasn't transmitted?   <Also possible.  Mycobacteria are thought to be perhaps ever-present, and stressed or immunodepressed fish may contract the disease; it is virtually impossible to eliminate this from your tank - likewise, you could not have prevented it, and it's probably floatin' around in my tanks, and certainly in my mucky ponds, and probably most of your friends' tanks, and so forth - healthy fish are the preventative.> Should I assume, at the very least, that the molly fry are infected?   <Again, possible.  Fortify diet with vitamin supplements.  Say, you can even use (human) baby vitamins for soaking fish food (thanks, Gage, for that tip!).> I use a water ionizing system for all water changes, and the tank is impeccable.  I've had multiple broods of mollies, and the red velvets have produced once.  I have to watch the gourami's since they can't resist an "all you can eat fish buffet" of small fry, but I usually put a tank divider in place and sequester the babies until they are of adequate size.   <Sounds good.> I'll look into the Kanamycin just in case.   <While one of my books (Tropical Fishlopaedia, by Bailey and Burgess) suggests Kanamycin, another far more comprehensive text I have (Aquariology: The Science of Fish Health Management, by Dr. Gratzek, et al) suggests Minocycline or Rifampicin used at 0.3 percent in food, treatment to continue for at least three weeks, to be marginally effective....  I do not know how likely it is that any of these treatments may do good - I am under the impression that Minocycline treats only gram-negative bacteria, whereas Mycobacteria is gram-positive.  To be quite honest, I would not treat; I would remove fish if they show signs of illness, and continue upholding excellent fish health and tank maintenance - and do start adding vitamins to your fish foods.  Er, and as Ananda mentioned, wear gloves in your tank.  Or at the very least, wash thoroughly with an antibacterial soap when you mess around in a tank, and if you have cuts on your hands, well, wear gloves.  All aquarists should do so - though, I admit, I am lax in doing so.  'Course, I'll probably find some funky bumps on my fingers, some day....  Wear gloves.> Your team is the greatest.  Deb <Thank you very much for the kind words, Deb.  Wishing the best for you and your fishes,  -Sabrina>

Molly Growth  I have an orange molly fish that developed what looks like a 'growth' coming out of her face, below her eye - like a big orangey bubble - is it a hematoma from a cut or bite? She seems to eat and swim okay but the growth is getting bigger. What is it and does it need treatment? Thanks.  ><<Hello; is the bubble clear? or whitish? If it's whitish, it may simply be lymphocystis, a non-curable disease that usually clears up on its own. If it's clear, like a blister, then it could be an air bubble, due to oversaturation of oxygen and/or other gases in your tank water. I'm sorry I cannot be more specific, since it's impossible to know if this particular bubble is due to your current water, or previous water that the fish was exposed to. Previous exposure should not be an ongoing problem, like I said, unless the bubble ruptures. But if this bubble has recently occurred while the fish was in your tank, you must make sure your water is not oversaturated, because exposure to such water can kill fish, as the gasses will pass into the fishes bloodstream. Make sure your water-change water is well circulated to remove excess gasses before you use it for water changes.  You can try putting it into a bucket and using a simple airstone to aerate the water for a few hours before you use it. The bubble on its face is not a problem unless it ruptures, since it could then become infected with fungus if your water quality isn't good. Also, make sure your tank has enough circulation. The surface of the water should move, but without being a Jacuzzi..:) If need be, you can add a powerhead for more water movement. -Gwen>> 
Molly Growth II 
Thanks for the quick reply, it is a bubble molly and the 'bubble' is more like an opaque growth - like a tumor coming out of the side of her face - almost the size of 3 of her eyes - do you think it is a 'scar' from a bite or an infection growing out of her body? Thx.  <<Hiya, it sounds a bit like a benign tumor, or even lymphocystis, a viral infection that should go away on its own, with good water and low stress levels. Keep an eye on it, and let me know if it changes, grows, discolors, or spreads. Make sure there is no fungus! -Gwen>>

Spinning balloon molly  <Hi! Ananda the molly nut here today..>  I've had this particular balloon molly for close to 7 months. She has mated w. a platy male.  <*sigh* Those livebearers....>  She had 4 babies  <Unusual, but not totally unheard-of.>  and after this birth she started swimming with her head toward the bottom of the tank and her tail up. Now she's starting to spin some at the bottom of the tank.  <Check your water quality... sometimes, this is a symptom of poor water conditions, such as high nitrite levels.>  I put her in a 3gal tank by herself.  <Good plan.>  Is there anything that can be done for her?  <If she's spinning like a top, spinning to exhaustion, it may well be whirling disease. In that case, there is not much that can be done. Do check the WetWebMedia site for more information about this disease and its symptoms, so you can get a better idea if that's what it is.>  Thank you! Patty  <Wish I had better news for you. --Ananda>

Mystery molly deaths (03/31/04)  <Hi! Ananda here today...>  I'm hoping you can help me figure out what is killing my mollies. They are slowly dying out one or two at a time. Here are the symptoms: the fish spend several days or longer on the bottom of the tank, they do not seem to be able to make it to the top to even eat after a few days, they display a shimmying behavior, some of them appear swollen in the abdomen but not like with dropsy, sometimes they will lie on their side for awhile before returning to sitting on their belly at the bottom, a few have displayed a few white growths but some have not.  <I sometimes see mollies shimmy when their water isn't good. Regarding the white growths -- where do they appear on the fish? Can you be more specific in describing them?  My nitrites and ammonia are zero. I have trouble controlling my nitrates because my tap  water has them as well but I maintain them around 40.  <Ouch. I would suggest looking into a different water source.>  I put a tablespoon of salt for every 10 gallons of water. My pH is around 7.5 and the water is hard. My temperature is around 77F. My water is clear and does not stink. It is a 29 gallon tank that is well planted and has 2 platys, 4 guppies, 7 adult mollies and several babies, and 2 dwarf Pufferfish.  <That's a bit overstocked... any chance you could get a second tank?>  I have an undergravel filter.  <I bet you've got something decaying underneath there. I'd pull the thing and switch to a different type of filtration. Undergravel filters work best if there are *no* dead spots, and the plants are probably creating dead spots galore.>  I've had the tank set up with fish for six months.  Thanks for your help  Amber  <Get the undergravel filter out of there, vacuum the gunk out of your gravel, switch filtration methods, and see if your nitrates drop... that will help every fish in the tank. I'm still concerned about the white stuff on the mollies; it's possible that's something else entirely. --Ananda>

More Molly Troubles  I'm hoping you can help me figure out what is killing my mollies. They are slowly dying out one or two at a time. Here are the symptoms: the fish spend several days or longer on the bottom of the tank, they do not seem to be able to make it to the top to even eat after a few days, they display a shimmying behavior, some of them appear swollen in the abdomen but not like with dropsy, sometimes they will lie on their side for awhile before returning to sitting on their belly at the bottom, a few have displayed a few white growths but some have not. My nitrites and ammonia are zero. I have trouble controlling my nitrates because my tap water has them as well but I maintain them around 40. I put a tablespoon of salt for every 10 gallons of water. My pH is around 7.5 and the water is hard. My temperature is around 77F. My water is clear and does not stink. It is a 29 gallon tank that is well planted and has 2 platys, 4 guppies, 7 adult mollies and several babies, and 2 dwarf pufferfish. I have an undergravel filter. I've had the tank set up with fish for six months. Thanks for your help, Amber  <<Hey Amber; what are you feeding them? Is there a lot of algae in the tank for them to feed on? It sounds like internal bacterial infection, but whether or not it is being caused by their diet is hard for me to tell. You need to make sure they get a good quality algae based food. Best if provided with actual algae. You can cultivate it quite easily by setting up a small lamp with a Gro-bulb over a bucket with a few inches of old tank water and some smooth, round rocks. They will have algae on them in no time. You can keep rotating the rocks into your molly tank on a regular basis, and the fish will always have fresh algae without you have to worry about your glass getting dirty :) The algae will help to prevent the intestinal blockage that leads to infection. Also, temperature...try raising your temperature to 80F. Keep it stable, of course. And you may raise the salinity, but do so gradually. Go for one tablespoon per 5 gallons of water. I would prefer to advise one tablespoon per gallon, but your live plants might begin to rebel at that level.. :) One last thing, for the mollies that are already ill, you can treat by feeding medicated food, and hope that their internal infections are not too far advanced. -Gwen>>

Sick Molly My molly has something funny happening to its eyes and mouth. The eyes look like they are about five sizes bigger and are white and the mouth looks like I guess it has cold sore. What is it and what can I do. Shannon <<Shannon, you need to treat your fish with an antibacterial medication. It sounds like advanced Popeye and mouth rot. Chances are, this fish will die before you can treat him properly, though. Sorry. If the fish was new, like a few days in your tank, maybe you can get the store to replace him for you. If not, you need to test your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate and do water changes accordingly. -Gwen>>

Mystery molly deaths (03/31/04) <Hi! Ananda here today...> I'm hoping you can help me figure out what is killing my mollies.  They are slowly dying out one or two at a time. Here are the symptoms: the fish spend several days or longer on the bottom of the tank, they do not seem to be able to make it to the top to even eat after a few days, they display a shimmying behavior, some of them appear swollen in the abdomen but not like with dropsy, sometimes they will lie on their side for awhile before returning to sitting on their belly at the bottom, a few have displayed a few white growths but some have not.  <I sometimes see mollies shimmy when their water isn't good. Regarding the white growths -- where do they appear on the fish? Can you be more specific in describing them?> My nitrites and ammonia are zero. I have trouble controlling my nitrates because my tap water has them as well but I maintain them around 40. <Ouch. I would suggest looking into a different water source.> I put a tablespoon of salt for every 10 gallons of water. My pH is around 7.5 and the water is hard.  My temperature is around 77F.  My water is clear and does not stink. It is a 29 gallon tank that is well planted and has 2 platys, 4 guppies, 7 adult mollies and several babies, and 2 dwarf pufferfish. <That's a bit overstocked... any chance you could get a second tank?> I have an undergravel filter.  <I bet you've got something decaying underneath there. I'd pull the thing and switch to a different type of filtration. Undergravel filters work best if there are *no* dead spots, and the plants are probably creating dead spots galore.> I've had the tank set up with fish for six months.   Thanks for your help Amber <Get the undergravel filter out of there, vacuum the gunk out of your gravel, switch filtration methods, and see if your nitrates drop... that will help every fish in the tank. I'm still concerned about the white stuff on the mollies; it's possible that's something else entirely. --Ananda> 
Mystery Molly Deaths
Thanks for replying so quickly!  I'm at my wit's end.  The white spots are not like fungus growth or anything like that.  It's more like the fish are getting mottled.  It does not really look like any kind of growth but more like they are actually changing color or fading.  Some of the lighter fish will show red streaks under the skin.  I had an all black molly but when he finally died, he was speckled white all over his belly.  He actually did have a growth that seemed to be growing from under his scales at the top of his head and it did look like it might be fungus but he had no other signs of it and none of the other fish show it either.  I've seen tail rot fungus and ich fungus.  On your other advice, I don't have a lot of money.  Any recommendations on filtration, and on keeping my nitrates down?  I tried using a couple of gallons of bottled water the last time I changed the water but it did not seem to have an appreciable difference.  I do have a reverse osmosis system under the kitchen sink which we use for drinking water but I do not think it will produce enough to use in water changes.  I can't buy a water filtration system for the tank.  Could I somehow collect rainwater?  I have a BioWheel on my 55 gallon tank and have the same nitrate trouble with that tank but the fish in there seem fine.  In fact, my angels keep laying eggs but the catfish keep eating them when the lights go out!  Would it help if I removed all the plants and decorations and just had a gravel bottom?  Would the undergravel filter work better then?  I just planted up the tank a short time ago because I was hoping the increased plant life would keep the nitrates lower.  I also noticed today that one of my mollies has a growth under the skin on one side of his tail.  Could all of these things be caused by the high nitrates?!   Thanks, Amber >>Dear Amber, sorry for taking so long to reply. I agree with the info Ananda gave you, it would be a good idea to remove the undergravel filter. I've just seen too many problems due to their use. Or, improper use. Undergravel should be cleaned every couple of months, otherwise the substrate becomes anoxic and starts to cause water quality problems. Especially with plants to complicate things. BTW, many people prefer to run their undergravels with reverse flow powerheads, which prevents gunk from being drawn into the gravel. You can find lots of internet articles and FAQs on proper u.g. use and cleaning. But I would recommend buying yourself an Aquaclear HOB or a Penguin with a bio-wheel to replace your undergravel filter. You will need to treat your fish, and re-cycle the tank, but you have not much choice anyways, at this point. SO, for now, you need to clean up the tank. The best way to clean an undergravel tank is to drain 50% of the water into a large Rubbermaid bin, add an air stone and transfer the fish and the heater over. THEN clean the tank. If you try to clean the tank while the fish are still in it, they could die. Remove the plants gently, try not to damage root systems, and place them in another bucket with a bit of water, or rinse them beneath the tap and put them directly into the Rubbermaid with the fish. Then remove the gravel and u.g. plates. Remove the rest of the water and pour it down a drain. Rinse the gravel well under tap water, scrub the inside glass with a sponge (obviously, do not use anything but clean water to do this). The tank should now be completely empty. Replace the cleaned gravel. Now refill 50% of the tank with tap water, at the proper temperature. Add dechlorinator, and transfer the fish and their water back into the tank. Make sure the pH and temp are the same, if not, acclimate them like you would when bringing home new fish. I do not see a problem with your tap water. You are not keeping a reef here, so it should be fine to use. Your problem stems from not enough water changes and overcrowding, and an undergravel filter that hasn't been cleaned properly. Now you are now ready to treat the fish. Your fish do sound sick, it sounds like it could be velvet, a parasite like ich, only smaller, complicated by a bacterial infection, possibly Columnaris. I would treat the tank with a broad-spectrum antibiotic for the secondary infection, and an anti-parasitic medication to kill the parasites. Remove your carbon, keep the temp around 82. Make sure the tank is well aerated! Treat with the antibiotic and anti-parasitic according to package instructions. If you have more questions, ask us :) Do not worry about transferring any of your good filter bacteria, since the antibiotics will kill off nitrifying bacteria anyways. As I mentioned, you will need to re-cycle this tank. To sum up. First, go buy yourself a new filter. While you are at your LFS, ask them specifically for a broad spectrum antibiotic, like Super Sulfa, and for an antiparasitic medication, like Quick Cure. Follow directions. Buy some test kits, ammonia, nitrite, nitrates. Keep the water parameters stable. IF you can, buy an ammonia removing resin, like Amrid. This will help keep the levels low so your fish don't die, and the test kit will tell you when to do water changes. Ammonia resins will give false readings, though. Don't panic :) It's very important to keep the ammonia and nitrites low while you medicate fish. The test kits will help you do that. I realize you don't have much money, but sometimes it requires money if you want to fix problems. I'm sure you are much more aware of potential problems at this point, and can spot them coming now. Remember, regular, partial water changes help will keep the ammonia levels down, and help keep your fish as healthy as possible. There can still be things that go wrong, but at least you are on the right track. Keep reading! Best wishes, Gwen>>

Bubbly Molly Hi, I have two female sailfin mollies that have a clear bubble-like swelling below their tails. The picture I've included (I hope the quality is okay) is of the molly that has had this problem developing the longest-about two months. They are in a 210 gallon brackish tank (about 1.0012 sg) with good water parameters. While they are still eating and interacting with the 8 other mollies fine, they are having more and more problems swimming. Have you ever seen or heard of anything like this? The LFS's I've talked to don't seem to have a clue and I can't find anything remotely similar on the web. I've been told to just "wait and see," but that is getting increasingly difficult to do. Thanks, Scott <<Dear Scott; it's hard to say. What are you feeding them? It could be swelling of the intestine due to blockage. Mollies are herbivores and require a good deal of vegetable matter. If their intestines become blocked, perhaps the resulting fluid build up is causing this. The other thing I can think of is gas bubble disease, normally caused by previous exposure to oversaturation of gasses in the water column. However, since it is still growing, it could be happening now, though normally other fish would be expected to show the same bubble symptoms if this is a current problem. Lastly, it could be intestinal worms. If the fish dies, you can always slice open the body cavity and take a look. Worms that size would be quite visible to the naked eye. But I think I prefer my first idea...not enough roughage in their diets. Try some Epsom salts in the tank water, and make sure you are feeding foods with a high fiber content. -Gwen>>

Sailfin Molly Swelling II Hello again, Gwen, thank you for getting back to me so quickly and with the multiple ideas. You asked what I have been feeding them. They are mainly on a diet of TetraMin  Tropical Flakes with frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp every other day or so (I also have 5 Columbian Shark Catfish in the tank). I'm switching them over to my "hospital" tank and will start them on romaine lettuce and spinach with a tablespoon of Epsom salts per 5 gallons. Does this sound about right? What are some other "high fibre" foods I can feed them and how often do I need to redose with the Epsom salts? Also, a couple of things I didn't mention in my first email, these two fish were tank mates when I purchased them (along with two others that are fine), I have seen both of them eliminating waste (what do you call it when a fish poops?) and as this swelling has progressed they have changed from a medium orange color to a very light orange on their backs and head to almost a whitish on their bellies and tails. Finally, not knowing if it may be worms or not, is there anyway to treat for that--just in case? Thank you for your help, I'm very new to this (less than a year) and never thought I could get so emotionally involved with these little guys. Thanks again, Scott <<Scott, there are de-wormers out there, you just need to find what's available in your area. Levamisole is the generally hi-tech fave, but you can also buy products like Pepso for Internal infections and use it with success. Sorry for the slow response, I'm under the weather lately. The veggies you mention should do the job just fine :) You can also buy at your LFS some prepared seaweed, you should find it in the saltwater fish section. -Gwen>>

Odd Balloon MollyI don't know what's wrong with my balloon molly!  I'm a complete and utter novice, as new to fish-keeping as you can get. <Well, we are here to help!> We bought 5 bm's about 2 weeks ago; one of them was considerably fatter than the rest, and always had a tendency to hide really tight in a corner behind the filter and the heater.  We thought she was just a bit odd. <most balloon mollies can be referred to as "odd".  But, that does seem unlike the normally outgoing fish.> But this morning, we found her jammed upside down between the filter and the glass of the tank; now she's pottering around the tank looking really disoriented (although "confused" seems to be normal for these beasts) but her belly is so distended that her scales are all sticking out. <That is not a good thing.  When the scales are sticking out it means that their body is stretched beyond what it should be.  This condition is often referred to as Dropsy, which occurs when the fish itself has swelling of the internal organs.  Either by parasites or water parameters not being correct.  most likely when you purchased this fish it already was on it's way towards developing dropsy.> What's wrong with her?  What can I do to make her happier?   <Sadly there isn't much to do with dropsy.  1 out of maybe 20 cases can be cured with anti-biotics if caught early.  Sadly it's something that most fish never recover from.  I myself recently lost a 10 year old goldfish from this, and I did everything I could to help it.> I'm equally as concerned for my other fish (six black Neons and a blue widow). <The best course of action would be to set up another tank so that you can separate the fish and attempt to medicate it. Check your local fish shop to see what medications they have that will help with Dropsy. But I definitely would suggest you remove this fish from the others!  The only other course of action would be to euthanize the fish.> Regards, Melinda < I do hope the fish gets better.  -Magnus.>

Sailfin molly disease? Please, help me determine a possible cause of illness in my Sailfin mollies.   <Ananda here to try...> I have a 55 gallon tank that is brackish.  The contents of the tank are 2 Gourami, 2 red-eye tetra, 4 black Neons, 3 black-skirt tetra, 3 lemon tetra, 2 adult red velvet platies, 1 plecostomus, 1 rainbow shark, 4 adult silver mollies, 1 adult Dalmatian molly (lyre-tail) and approx. 15 molly fry.   <Uh... aside from the mollies, none of those fish are brackish. The Neons and tetras, especially, will not survive in a brackish tank. The fact that they're still healthy tells me that you may be adding some salt to the tank, but it doesn't yet qualify as brackish. What's the specific gravity in the tank?? All parameters of the tank are stable, all other fish are healthy....except the adult Dalmatian molly.  I have had a total of 4 (including this one) Dalmatian mollies in the past 6 months and at least 2 of them have suffered similar fates. It starts with patchy loss of scales/color and progresses to weight loss until their ultimate demise. They still eat and swim normally. The first one that developed this illness had me so concerned about cross-contamination and looked so pitiful, that I euthanized him. The first time I've had to do that! <My condolences... not an easy task.> Then the other adult Dalmatian started developing the same symptoms. None of the other fish in the tank show any signs of illness, and are breeding well. I'm concerned about fish T.B.   <Yup, me too.> That is why I didn't want the first sick fish to die in the tank. I read the other fish ingesting the dead sick fish is sometimes the way it is transmitted. <That is one way, yes.> This is a very slowly progressing process. It takes weeks or months before they reach the full extent of the illness. What is the lifespan of a molly? <About four years.> Could these fish just be old?  Why don't any of the other fish display symptoms of illness? <If it is mycobacteriosis, know that some individuals may show symptoms while others appear completely healthy. You can help keep the disease at bay by keeping the water parameters pristine: no ammonia or nitrites, and nitrates very low (10 or less).> I have treated the tank in the past with antibiotics, Methylene blue or malachite green, and MelaFix. <None of the ones you mention are known to help with mycobacteriosis. The one thing that may help is Kanamycin. However, the treatment course is long and expensive.> I can't figure out if it is a parasite or other disease, why it takes so long for it to affect the fish and why other fish aren't simultaneously ill.  What should I do?   <Keep the water quality excellent. You might consider setting up a truly brackish tank for the mollies. I find they do better in brackish conditions (i.e., with a measurable specific gravity), or at least in very hard, alkaline water -- the opposite of the more acidic, soft water conditions that your tetras will prefer. --Ananda>

BW Tank? 6/5/04 <Hi Eric, Pufferpunk here. Sorry I took so long to get back to you.> Please, help me determine a possible cause of illness in my Sailfin mollies. I have a 55 gallon tank that is brackish. The contents of the tank are 2 Gourami, 2 red-eye tetra, 4 black Neons, 3 black-skirt tetra, 3 lemon tetra, 2 adult red velvet platies, 1 plecostomus, 1 rainbow shark, 4 adult silver mollies, 1 adult Dalmatian molly (lyre-tail) and approx. 15 molly fry.  <Oh my goodness! The only fish in your tank that would appreciate any salt, will be the mollies. All your other fish come from soft water, which is the opposite of BW. How much salt is in there? Just adding some salt to your tank, does not make it a brackish tank. Read about BW here: http://www.aquarticles.com/articles/management/Pearce_Brackish.2.html  & http://badmanstropicalfish.com/brackish/brackish.html .> All parameters of the tank are stable, all other fish are healthy....except the adult Dalmatian molly. I have had a total of 4 (including this one) Dalmatian mollies in the past 6 months and at least 2 of them have suffered similar fates. It starts with patchy loss of scales/color and progresses to weight loss until their ultimate demise. They still eat and swim normally. The first one that developed this illness had me so concerned about cross-contamination and looked so pitiful, that I euthanized him. The first time I've had to do that! Then the other adult Dalmatian started developing the same symptoms. None of the other fish in the tank show any signs of illness, and are breeding well. I'm concerned about fish T.B. That is why I didn't want the first sick fish to die in the tank. I read the other fish ingesting the dead sick fish is sometimes the way it is transmitted. This is a very slowly progressing process. It takes weeks or months before they reach the full extent of the illness. What is the lifespan of a molly? Could these fish just be old? Why don't any of the other fish display symptoms of illness? I have treated the tank in the past with antibiotics, Methylene blue or malachite green, and MelaFix. I can't figure out if it is a parasite or other disease, why it takes so long for it to affect the fish and why other fish aren't simultaneously ill. What should I do?  <This does not resemble the symptoms of TB. Generally, with TB their spine would be bent. It could be a bacterial infection. The stock you have, may have a congenital problem with their immune systems if none of your other mollies are getting it. As far as eating normally & loosing weight, this is a symptom of internal parasites, which isn't very common in tank-bred fish. You can read up on diseases here: http://www.fishdoc.co.uk/disease/clinicalsigns.htm  & http://www.fishyfarmacy.com/ . Always quarantine your sick fish, so you don't have to treat the whole tank, disturbing the biological filtration in the main tank. Also, this prevents spreading diseases further to the rest of the tank. You need to consider if you want BW fish or FW fish & only keep one kind. Keeping either in less than optimum conditions, can compromise their immune systems. ~PP>> 

Molly Troubles Dear WetWebMedia crew, Please help!!!  I have some funky disease in my tank that MelaFix didn't help, and am unsure what to do, here are the facts about my tank.... freshwater tank, community tropical fish tank size- 85 gallons filtration system- emperor 400 water quality- just tested a few minutes ago and have been testing throughout the sickness and the water quality has been and is perfect, the ph has been and is between a 7.4 and a 7.8. tank temperature -hovers around 80 degrees Also, I have been putting the proper amount of salt in the tank, and continue to add more according to my water changes.  For instance I just did a partial change [about 10 gallons] and added the amount of salt for 10 gallons so as to keep the salt level where it belongs, since my fish are somewhat brackish. types of fish- mollies [who are what my question is about] about 25, none fully grown but about 7 old enough to be sexually active, some medium sized babies and some tiny babies. platys- seem to be doing fine,7 adults about 5? babies [sooo cute].  1 ghost catfish- gone, but I think my red clawed crab ate him. 1 red clawed crab- seems to be doing fine. 1 Pleco- probably about 7 or 8 inches long, seems to be doing just fine. 7 silver hatchet fish -all doing fine. 4 female guppies -doing fine.  I had a gorgeous fan tail male guppy but he died.  One morning I looked and he was missing about the back 1/4 of his tail, I came and looked again around lunch time and his tail was almost completely gone and by evening I couldn't find him, it took me several days to find his remains.  He was with me for almost a month when this happened so I think he is part of my question of what is wrong with my tank.  I had two female guppy's die, one from shimmy [but she was new from the pet store, so I think that was something from their tank] and one seemed to die for no apparent reason after she had her babies, maybe she died from birthing? There are currently around 10, heck maybe even 15 guppy babies in my tank, the little boogers are hard to count, and sometimes when really small hard to see. 2 live plants -anacharis, thriving and doing well.  java fern -kind of a weird plant [due to our crab liking to eat at the roots???] but seems to be doing well, many daughter ferns growing on the originals from the store. I have had this tank running for about 3 months now.  I started with a TON of mollies given to me by my Aunt.  I gave a BUNCH of them to a local fish store and kept about 30.  Now my mollies are dying like flies from a strange ailment that I have been unable to diagnose even after my Aunt and I extensively read your website.  Since I was unable to diagnose I tried MelaFix.  I used the recommended amount for the medicine to water ratio in my tank, and removed my carbons before using the medicine.  I treated every other day [due to concern about the babies, I did not treat every day] for a total of four? treatments.  I then gave a partial tank change [about 10-12] gallons yesterday.  Oh, and on an unrelated note, we found the tiniest snail in our tank [I have NO idea how it got there].  I do not want snails so I got rid of it.  So, my problems seem to be strictly with the molly fish and the strange quick death of my male guppy.  I had some molly fish die the way he did as well.  I do not think that the red clawed crab has caused this much carnage, I think he has only eaten maybe 3 fish total in the month he has been in our tank.  The mollies are getting a very strange white spot on them and depending on where it starts it turns into a rot and their bodies literally rot slowly away.  But that is only some of them, others are getting the white spot and then it grows and then it turns pink?  Maybe like their color leaves and now I can see part of their body with no pigment?  I am not sure.  Still others just up and die and others lose their tail fin and then swim around seemingly fine just with no back fin.  Since there are so many of similar size I am having a very difficult time seeing if any specific ones are getting well.  This seems like so many different things and I guess I got it from PetSmart somehow b/c the molly fish have been with me from the beginning and they were fine.  I have not been using a tank to put my new fish before introducing them into my tank, but I plan on doing that in the future, I am sure that would have prevented this craziness.  I look at my fish tank a lot, I am a stay at home mom and like to sit in there by it and read and watch the fish so they are fairly closely monitored. Basically my molly fish are very sick, they get a white spot and then it grows and has several different results.  Please help!!!! < You may have a couple of things going on. Sounds like your tank is in good shape so the problem is with the fish. Two things could be going on. The first is a protozoan infection. Treat the tank with rid -ich as per the directions on the bottle. Take the carbon out of the filter and put the BioWheels in a wet container for a few days while you are medicating. If after three days there is still a problem then it may be bacterial and I would treat with Furanace as per the directions on the package. Both of these medications will turn your water green so your live plants may not make it through the medicating process. These medications are affected by organics in the water so a 30% water change before medicating is recommended. To be perfectly accurate you would need to do a slide smear of the side of your fish and look at them under a microscope for a proper and precise diagnoses. I know for many aquarists it is not practical so I recommend these "shotgun" techniques based on the symptoms described. When adding any medication to an established tank you need to watch for ammonia spikes because the "good" bacteria that break down the fish waste will be affected. Your question brings out the importance of a quarantine tank. -Chuck> Sincerely, Sarah Hall

Black Molly Hello, I have a black molly, just recently purchased, and it has one big white and yellowish spot on the top of its head.  It also stays in a back bottom corner of the tank and doesn't eat.  I looked at many of the articles, but they described tiny white spots called ick.  Is this the same thing? < Could be. Treat with rid-ich. If it clears up in three days then it was a protozoa infection. If there is no improvement then I would treat with Furanace for bacterial infections. Follow the directions on the bottle/package. Watch for ammonia spikes because these medications may affect the bacteria that break down fish wastes.-Chuck>

Molly care Gwen, I asked a few questions about a week ago about my catfish with Ick. They ended up dying. But instead, I went and brought 4 Mollies. For some reason, two days after I purchased them, there are little baby fish running around (basically just hatched). How do I keep my tank clean and how do I save them? Do I need to leave the tank alone for a while? Should I but the fish into another tank? I am new at this. The full grown Mollies are just running crazy all over the top of the water. Are they trying to get fresh air? Because they are not hungry. Respond as soon as possible to let me know how to save these cute little creatures.  Thank you,  Debbie <<Hello Debbie; I hope you did a 100% water change before you added these new fish to an ich-infested tank? If not, I recommend doing a 50% water change now that the fish are in the tank, and adding some aquarium salt, approximately one teaspoon per gallon. You can buy aquarium salt at your Local Fish Store. Also, you need to get your water tested at your LFS, or buy yourself some test kits. Your mollies are going crazy probably due to either high ammonia or nitrite readings. PLEASE get some test kits! In the meantime, try to do regular water changes, start with a 50% change today. You can use a siphon to clean the gravel, again, find this at your LFS. Mollies prefer hard, alkaline water and a high pH. If your tapwater pH is low, you can add crushed coral sand to your gravel to make the pH higher. Again, found at your LFS. Feed your mollies a basic diet of Spirulina flake (you can crush the flake for the fry to eat) interspersed with some frozen brine shrimp and/or bloodworms every now and then, and make sure you do those water changes! -Gwen>>

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