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FAQs on the Mollies 2

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

Related FAQs: Mollies 1, Mollies 3, Molly Identification FAQs, Molly Behavior FAQs, Molly Compatibility FAQs, Molly Selection FAQs, Molly System FAQs, Molly Feeding FAQs, Molly Disease FAQs, Molly Reproduction FAQs, Livebearers, Guppies, Platies, SwordtailsLivebearer Identification, Livebearer Behavior, Livebearer Compatibility, Livebearer Selection, Livebearer Systems, Livebearer Feeding, Livebearer Disease, Livebearer Reproduction,

Molly help! Hello! <Hi...this is Jorie> I have 3 adult mollies (one black, one silver, and one Dalmatian) and 5 baby mollies (don't know what color!). I have a few questions for you, and hopefully you can answer them all! <I will try...> 1) My Dalmatian molly keeps chasing my silver molly around and 'tags' her sometimes. I have had the black [male] molly and the silver [female] molly for some time now, 5 or 6 months I guess, so I didn't think that the Dalmatian molly would be 'territorial' because I just got her 2 days ago! Why do you think the chasing occurs?? <Male mollies can be quite aggressive towards females (and even other males at times)...you should try to keep a 1:4 or even 1:5 ratio of males: females, if possible (i.e., if your tank size will allow). Otherwise, it has been my experience that the dominant (alpha) male will terrorize the female(s). How big is your tank? If you've got a 20 or bigger, perhaps consider adding more girl mollies to the mix?> 2) My silver molly has developed the shimmers since I brought the Dalmatian molly home and introduced them. Is she scared of the newbie?? <I'm not quite sure what you are describing here...is she visibly shaking? If so, that sounds to be a potential health issue. Have you tested the water chemistry lately? Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate measurements? Is this an established tank (has it completed the nitrogen cycle)? If you aren't familiar with what I'm talking about, please refer to some of the wonderful articles available on the site that discuss "newbie" issues such as these; also, I like to recommend a book that's great for beginners called "The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums", by David Boruchowitz. Another factor is how much cover do you have in the tank? Fake and/or live plants, as well as decorations are great for allowing fish hiding places, and will also help with your problem described in #1 above.> 3) My black molly is quite a bit smaller than the other mollies and has developed a white/grayish stripe on his 'neck' from gill to gill. What do you think this could be?? I am worried about him, he is the 'runt'!! <I too keep black mollies, and I've noticed that their gill area tends to be more noticeable than the other colored mollies' is...so long as he is breathing normally and not acting strange, I think this is just how the coloration of the black molly plays out. I was concerned when I first noticed this, but have been watching closely for many months now, and I've not seen any problems as a result. I think it's purely cosmetic.> 4) Is it really necessary to add aquarium salt to the tank? <Not a "do-or-die" thing, but will definitely be appreciated by the mollies. Aquarium salt will reduce the outbreaks of ich and other diseases. Some mollies are more fragile than others, depending on how genetically manipulated they have become (the chocolate lyretails, for instance, are particularly fragile, as I understand). I've got a batch of mollies that I planned on keeping in a freshwater community tank (no salt at all), but in reality, they kept getting ich; each time, I'd treat with hyposalinity (increasing the level of salt) in a hospital tank, only to have them succumb again once back in the FW. I've since put this batch in its own brackish tank (salinity around 1.005) and everybody is quite happy. I've got one particularly strong adult balloon male who lives in the FW tank with no problems, but long story short, if at all possibly, I do recommend salt. Do you keep your mollies with other fish? If not, you can go ahead and salt the tank according to the manufacturer's recommendation; if yes, do read up on whether or not the other inhabitants can tolerate salt, as some fish absolutely cannot.> 5) Is it ok to feed the adults FirstBites fish food? <To the best of my knowledge, that's the powdered fry food? That won't be enough nutrition for the adult molly; I've usually begun feeding my fry Hikari's Micro Pellets (step up in size from fry food) by the time they are around 9 mos. or so...I'd definitely suggest purchasing small pellets, such as the ones sold by Hikari or New Life/Spectrum (both are excellent quality) for the adults. Also, they'd certainly appreciate some frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms and Mysid shrimp every once in a while...variety for fish food is great, and they'll be very grateful to you!> 6) One of my females gave birth to the 5 babies (which I have carefully separated from the adults), is it 'normal' or ok for there to be so few? I heard that mollies can have up to 80 fry, so I naturally became concerned. I haven't seen any other babies in the tank. <A female's first few batches of fry can be very small...as she grows, so will the amount of fry she produces! Don't worry, soon enough, there will be more than you can handle, and you'll be looking for homes for them!> 7) How can you tell when a female molly has just had babies? Are there any signs? <Well, there will be teeny little fry swimming around the tank! Best way is to identify which girl is pregnant, and observe her behavior...she'll likely go and hide while giving birth (again, make sure there's enough cover in the tank to allow for this...see response to #2 above), and emerge with a smaller mid-section...> Well, I guess I'm out of questions for now. If I have any other questions, I may email you again! Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy day to hear me out'!! ~Anissa from Rockwall, Texas <Hope I've helped, Anissa! Jorie>
Re: Molly help
Hi Jorie! <Hello> Thank you so much for helping me out with my precious little mollies! I have some good news!: My silver molly no longer has the "shimmies" and I found 2 more babies, so now I have 7 babies in all! (YAY!) <Excellent news, on both fronts!> Also, I decided to clean my fish tank because I haven't thoroughly cleaned it in a while... <Mollies are pretty messy little fish, so in reality, you should be changing their water at least weekly...make sure to match the temp. and pH of the old and new water when you do this, so you don't shock anyone's system.> ...and put a heater in it (the temperature is about 75ºF now, when it was in the mid 60s before). Should I try to raise the temperature a little? <When you are dealing with just a couple of degrees, consistency is much more important that 100% precision. You could bump the heater up just a tad if you like (maybe to 76 or 78), but you really should be OK as is. I'm sure your mollies are much happier in warmer water!> I also rearranged the things I have in the tank. I'm happy to report that all of my fish seem happy now. That makes ME happy!!  <Excellent...sign of a diligent aquarist, my friend!> I should be getting a bigger tank soon, so my fish should be even more in comfort and happiness then. (I only have a 5 gallon tank right now, and my brother is giving me a 30 gallon tank...so that all the babies can live with the adults when they are big enough and all can have plenty of swim space (is this change in swim space going to be too drastic for the fish??). <Your fish will be thrilled with their new digs, I am sure. When the time comes, I would suggest using the tank water from the 5 gal. to partially-fill the new 30 gal. tank, and that will kick-start the cycling process. Just be sure you don't add too many fish at one time (your 3 plus the babies should be fine) to the new system, as it won't be fully established.> Once again, thank you very much for your help. I appreciate it a lot.  ~Anissa from Rockwall, Texas <You are most welcome, Anissa. Just keep up with weekly water changes (I'd suggest 50% - 60% in your 5 gal. tank) and your fish will be quite happy! Take care, Jorie> 

Molly help! (or, Someone Forgot to Move this One) de Bob Hello! I have 3 adult mollies (one black, one silver, and one Dalmatian) and 5 baby mollies (don't know what color!). I have a few questions for you, and hopefully you can answer them all!  1) My Dalmatian molly keeps chasing my silver molly around and 'tags' her sometimes. I have had the black [male] molly and the silver [female] molly for some time now, 5 or 6 months I guess, so I didn't think that the Dalmatian molly would be 'territorial' because I just got her 2 days ago! Why do you think the chasing occurs?? <Mmm, mainly reproductive behavior> 2) My silver molly has developed the shimmers since I brought the Dalmatian molly home and introduced them. Is she scared of the newbie?? <Good observation/description... maybe... perhaps has "caught something".> 3) My black molly is quite a bit smaller than the other mollies and has developed a white/grayish stripe on his 'neck' from gill to gill. What do you think this could be?? I am worried about him, he is the 'runt'!! <Ah... that "something" alluded to above... there are infectious and parasitic diseases of mollies in particular amongst livebearing fishes... One of the reasons for quarantining new livestock... using salt/s with them> 4) Is it really necessary to add aquarium salt to the tank? 5) Is it ok to feed the adults FirstBites fish food? <Yes to both> 6) One of my females gave birth to the 5 babies (which I have carefully separated from the adults), is it 'normal' or ok for there to be so few? <Numbers vary, yes> I heard that mollies can have up to 80 fry, so I naturally became concerned. I haven't seen any other babies in the tank.  <Larger fish, more established/well-fed... more babies> 7) How can you tell when a female molly has just had babies? Are there any signs? <Mmm, yes... their vent area will be clear... the female far more active...> Well, I guess I'm out of questions for now. If I have any other questions, I may email you again! Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy day to 'hear me out'!! ~Anissa from Rockwall, Texas <Glad to offer you our input. Unfortunately we don't have actual articles re Mollienesia (as yet), but do have an accumulation of input that we've archived here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollyfaqs.htm and the Related files (linked above), that you may find useful.  Bob Fenner>

New baby mollies I got new mollies and a tank with a filter, [and] with a common algae eater. I think one [is] pregnant.  I have shells and dead coral and a decor item with bamboo, will that be enough for the babies? <Hopefully... though adding some live or artificial "breeding grass" would be a good idea> Do I have to get more, will the algae eater eat them? Oh my goodness this is confusing, email me back with some research please <Likely the algae eater will not harm your little mollies. Bob Fenner> 

Mollies Hi, I have questions about mollies.  I have trouble with them in my community tank.  I see them being uncomfortable and try to increase the salt in the water but they keep looking uncomfortable.  They keep "shimmying" or wagging back and forth as if they are feeling ill. <Good description... "Shimmy" is actually a name for a common symptom/disease of these livebearers in captivity> The ph level is good, around 6.8 to 7.0. <Actually, no... this is too low for mollies. Maybe take a look on fishbase.org re this genus... these marine fishes actually live in water of marine pH... the upper sevens, low eights... and the pH scale, like that for earthquakes, is a base ten logarithm...http://www.fishbase.org/NomenClature/ScientificNameSearchList.cfm?Crit1_FieldName=SYNONYMS.SynGenus&Crit1_FieldType=CHAR&Crit1_Operator=EQUAL&Crit1 _Value=mollienesia&Crit2_FieldName=SYNONYMS.SynSpecies&Crit2_FieldType=CHAR&Crit2_ Operator=contains&Crit2_Value=&group=summary&backstep=-2> I used to have a kit to test hardness and ammonia levels but one of my dogs got hold of it and managed to eat most of it before I found it! <... do be CAREFUL with these test kits... some have reagents that are quite toxic... Keep Out of Reach of Children... and PETS> But I keep ammonia eliminating crystals in my filter system.  I just put two in about 2 weeks ago.  Even after I had just put them in, the mollies were still shimmying or wagging while the other fish all seem to be healthy and were swimming normally. Is there something else I should be doing or can try doing to see if they get well?  I would appreciate any information you can give me.  Thank you very much! Sincerely, Leslie C. Wilson <Mollienesia (the scientific genus name for mollies) are VERY often lost in captivity due to this very common lack of understanding of their environmental needs... as stated, most are actually saltwater species... and your other livestock... may NOT tolerate salt... Spend some time researching what you have currently, and make a decision (as in "nothing is decided till it's done") about what sort of system you want... with the mollies, hard, alkaline, salty water... and life that likes, tolerates this.... or.... Bob Fenner>

Who's Your Daddy? Molly fry "ugly duckling" My Silver Molly, which I had in a tank for about 5 weeks, just gave birth to a small batch of fry. The Male was also a Silver Molly in the tank (whom I suspect is the daddy due to occasions of me accidentally witnessing some love making hee hee). However, of the 8 fry I have managed to roundup into a playpen, all are whitish in color accept for one. It is a very dark grey almost black color. Is he sick, or is it possible for her to give birth to an ugly duckling? (still cute to me though) Thank you for your time. Andrea <Most of the Mollies we get today have had their genes mixed so many times and ways that almost anything is possible. But be aware that Mollies can store sperm for months and use it for multiple spawns. So just because you saw them mate does not mean that he is the father. Only time will tell if the dark fry is sick or if it is genetic. BTW Mollies can usually be trusted not to take fry. Don't keep them in an enclosed breeder for more than a few day to a week if possible. Good luck. Don>

Who's Your Daddy part 2 Thank you for the info, I have the molly fry in a pen because I have a Betta in the tank too and he's been looking at them like dinner. What would be the longest I can keep them in a breeder pen? I was hoping to let them double in length before releasing them. Andrea <The biggest problem with a breeder is the lack of circulation. Also, IMO you get stronger, healthier fry when they can swim freely. So I dislike them in most cases. But with the Betta in there you may have to raise a few couch potatoes for a while. You could also add a bunch of plants as hiding places. But with the new arrivals it may be time to add that new tank you've been wanting. Don>

Pregnancies between Dalmatian mollies Hi I have a 30 gallon fish tank with a number of community fish, including three Dalmatian mollies, one is pregnant I think and I would like to no how long the fish will be pregnant for. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollyfaqs.htm  and the linked files (in blue), above. 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>

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>

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> 

Aggressive male molly question Hello.  I really enjoy reading your site and I've learned a lot from it, thanks for all the info.  I was hoping you might be able to help me with a small problem I'm having concerning my mollies: A few days ago I purchased 3 mollies (one male black molly, and two orangish colored females) to add to my tank in hopes of giving the female black molly that I have had for about 2 years some company.  More specifically, I was hoping that putting more of her own kind in there would keep her happier, or at least distract her, and tone down her aggressiveness with the glassfish and longfin danio she shares the tank with. I guess it worked in a sense, only  because now she's too busy being chased by the male molly to bother any of the other fish.  I knew that male mollies could harass females to the point of death if the male female ratio wasn't correct, which is why I got the two females also when I got him.  <Good plan... do you have enough decor... plastic or live plants et al. for the fish to get away from each other?> The people at the store thought that the male should be equally interested in any females no matter what color they were, and I agreed.  But so far, he only chases the black female and completely ignores the other two.  So is the problem indeed that he is only interested, or at least more interested in the female that is the same color as he is?  <And perhaps the same species... there are different species of mollies.> The only other thought I had was that perhaps the two orangish colored mollies could possibly really be platies.  <Interesting possibility> From pictures I can find and what I've casually observed at stores, they look quite similar in body shape (and their tanks were next to each other in the store).  Is there some physical trait that they differ in that I could look for to be sure I have mollies and not platies? <Take a look on WWM and fishbase.org and through Google for pix of both... mollies are rounder in cross-section, and have mouths that are more upturned...> I'm not sure what to do, my first thought was that I need to go buy another female black molly to keep him occupied and give the current female a break, but my tank is only 10 gal. and I probably shouldn't even have as many fish in there as I do now.  <You are wise here> She has started hiding constantly (which she had never done previously, not to mention she has displaced the poor longfin danio from his usual longtime hiding spot) and I can see spots where it looks like the male has been biting her.  I am rather attached to her, as I have had her since she was a fry (and especially since none of her siblings survived) and I would hate to see her end up dying because I put more mollies in thinking it would make her happier.  Could there be some other reason that he's only interested in her and not the other two? It couldn't be that she's somehow giving off signs that she's 'more receptive', right? <Mmm, not necessarily> As far as I know, I've never heard of anything like estrus in fish, and I guess that doesn't seem likely anyway. Other than separating him (which will be difficult because I can't afford another tank, even more so in terms of space than cost wise), I don't know what else to do.  Any answers, help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.   Thank you so much in advance,  Lea <Lea, if it were my tank, I'd trade that male back in... ASAP. Bob Fenner>

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

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 

Sick Mollies Hi there, <Hello Sam> Please help me, my mollies are sick.  I have an 18 UK gallon tank with 6 female and 2 adolescent males.  Ammonia and nitrite test at 0, nitrates currently 20ppm, doing a 25% water change tomorrow morning and adding aquarium salt at 1 rounded tablespoon per 2.5 UK Gallons. Usually do water change once a week, but have done it twice a week these last 2 weeks. <So far, so good> Tank fully cycled at least 2 weeks ago with 3 goldfish and the 2 males (goldfish now in new tank and doing fine). <Hope the use of the Goldfish didn't leave "any problems" (disease) behind... happens frequently> I didn't quarantine my females but they have been fine until now (added them 2 weeks ago).  After a week I noticed some babies, only one of which that I can see is left, but I think they were born prematurely.  Last night one of the females was hanging slightly, wobbling very slightly from side to side, but look like she was swimming on the spot (strolling, not energetically), isolating herself either at the bottom of the tank or by the filter.  Her fins were also clamped.  I did see one of the females produce a long, very fine white poo that looked almost like a filament.  I treated with Sterazin and put her in a net breeder to isolate her, because the other fish were starting to bully her. <Mmm> Since this evening, another female has begun to do the same thing, so I have put her in the net breeder too, but I am worried that the others will get sick too.  The other fishies are looking like they are going to develop the same, but it is late and they could be winding down for the night! I have increased the temp to 82 degrees from 79, but I don't know what else to do - any suggestions? <Do check your water's pH... and raise it... with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)... a teaspoon per ten gallons daily... till it is at least 7.5. Bob Fenner> Thanks so much, on behalf of me and my fishies. Sam in the UK

Re: Sick Mollies Hi there, <Hello again> Thanks for getting back to me. <Welcome> Checked my PH today - it was 7.8, which is usual, did the 25% water change yesterday, water good today (Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5). <Mmm, this water quality is fine for your mollies> No disease left from the goldies, they were upgraded to a 35G, and doing nicely. <Ah, so they were pets (good to hear/read), not transient "feeders" used to cycle your new system> The two females have been released back into the main tank, the others aren't bothering them, but they don't really seem any better.  They are eating, but the rest of the time they are hanging around at the surface by the filter, fins clamped and wobbling slightly.  I am putting the 2nd dose of Sterazin in this evening, is there anything else I can do?  Any idea what the problem is? <May be that your system is "just" new, the mollies "just" acclimating to it... There are proprietary and home-remedies that one could try... brass and copper scrubbing pads for instance... but I am rather conservative in urging their use here... as stated, there may be very little actually "wrong" that is correctable, and more to be lost by over-reacting. I would stay the course you have described so well, and hope the fish rally. Bob Fenner> Thanks very much Sam

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

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

Moved Mollies I have recently been forced to move my fish from their vastly spacious 55 gallon tank in to a slightly crowded, but not too bad, 10 gallon (Mom moved out of state and had to bring them to the dorm). I only have 2 black mollies that are of birthing age (and 4 fry), one of which I believe is pregnant (second time). She's been sitting at the bottom of the tank, not eating, and sort of wiggling. There's not many places to hide in there (yet) and she's been protecting her space against the other mollies. But now just runs away if they bother her too much and settles somewhere else. She's been doing this for about 3 days. I'm kinda worried. What should I do? <If your mollies are in freshwater, try adding some salt. They do much better in brackish to near full salt conditions. This may be the cause of the shimmying. Also, how long since the move? If the 10 gallon is not cycled, that could also be a cause. Do water changes to correct. Make sure you replace the salt at the same concentration. I also suggest you test your water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Read here on cycling. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm Don>

Black mollies Reading you site and very helpful.  I have a black molly who I think is about to have fry. She is very big around, her scales are sticking out and today she started hiding out at the bottom of the aquarium. Can I put her in a breeder trap to try and save some of the fry? And also when should I expect the fry to be born?  >Hard telling when they will be born.  Yes, I would put her in a breeder trap< James

Good Golly, Molly questions Hi. <Hello> I have a 20 gallon tank. 6 weeks ago I bought 6 balloon mollies (2 male, 4 female) and a Plecostomus. I have been reading everything I can find about my new little friends but I am still so confused! <Mmm, why?>   1.. Three days ago we noticed that we have a baby! But there's only 1. How many babies are generally born at a time? <One at a time... but typically several over a period of hours... may be that they are hiding, perhaps consumed>   2.. Our baby is silver, long and thin, and about 1/2 inch long. He seems kind of big, how big are the babies at birth? <Quite small... maybe an eighth of an inch in length and very thin>   3.. Do the babies change color as they mature? <Yes>   4.. One site said the babies rarely live longer than four weeks. Is this true? <Mmm, would have to define rarely... some definitely/obviously do live longer...>   5.. I just cleaned my tank with a siphon and noticed A LOT of little white ball looking things (it looked like sand). Could these have been eggs? <Doubtful... most likely this is just accumulated waste, food...>   6.. If my females prematurely lose their eggs can they ever reproduce again? <Yes>   7.. What is dropsy? <A disease condition of edema... swelling brought on by fluid leaving cells, filling intercellular space... resultant from a few conditions in turn. Some microbial, others environmental>   8.. I read that my females will get some kind of red spot on their abdomens when they are about to have babies. Can you elaborate on this... <If you look closely at the vent area (near the rear edge of the anal fin), this area can appear reddish due to stretching... during and right before parturition>   9.. How long of a labor do mollies experience? <A few to several hours>   10.. What are some other signs of labor? <Hiding, a lack of feeding, hanging out at the surface>   11.. Some sites recommended separating expectant mothers then the babies. How do I go about doing this? <Mmm, not a good idea actually to move female livebearers that are close to giving birth... too easily damaged, abort... but to move well in advance, either to less-crowded quarters, breeding traps/nets, or systems that have a good deal of fine plant cover (e.g. Myriophyllum) or plastic substitute>   12.. One of my males is very aggressive and constantly breeding one of my females (and ignoring the other three females) and the other just hides on the top of the tank. Do mollies tend to have one dominate male per tank? <Yes. Good observations>   13.. Do the females have to be "in season" for the males to breed them? <Mmm, to some extent, yes... but are easily so>   14.. Some of my females have long clear strands hanging off them since I cleaned the tank. Are they miscarrying? <Not likely... this is excrement>   15.. What are the correct levels of nitrates,<10, 20 ppm or les> nitrites <Zip, zero> hardness <280 plus dH>, alkalinity <100 ppm plus>, and pH for balloon mollies <7.2-7.8>? I desperately want to provide quality care for my mollies. Please help. Sincerely, Melissa <Bob Fenner>

Mollies and banjos Hi guys, First of all I really love your site, I have learned so much. Anyway, to my question, I have a 55 gallon setup with 7 mollies (not sure of sexes but I asked for mostly females), 2 banjo cats, and 1 Cory cat. The tank is pure FW right now and the mollies don't seem to want to breed. I have read on the site that adding salt, raising the pH, and keeping the temp. around 80 would get them going. I know the Cory would be ok but I am worried about my banjo's, I read that they like a lower than 7 pH, I love the little guys and I don't really wanna get rid of them. Would having the pH around 7.8 hurt them? What about the salt? I would love for my mollies to start having fry. Any help would be appreciated. <Hi Jason, Jorie here.  How long have you had this setup? My guess is that as long as you indeed have some mixture of males and female mollies, they are breeding, and the fry are simply being eaten.  Happens all the time.  Couple of things you can do to try and save the babies: provide lots of plant cover, esp. floating plants (either fake or real...not sure what your tank is like), set up a separate birthing tank and QT one or two of the females for a while, until you see fry.  Unless you are a serious hard-core fish breeder, I wouldn't suggest monkeying around with the pH, temp., etc.  I've got a 44 gal. community FW tank that includes mollies and I keep it at 78 degrees, pH of around 7.5, pure FW, no salt, and these guys are *constantly* having babies! Nothing can stop them, it seems! You could add a bit of aquarium salt as per the container's directions, as that would only help improve the overall health of everybody in there.  Just be patient and make sure to provide lots of hiding places for the fry...my hunch is you just aren't seeing the babies, but they are indeed being born!> Thanks, Jason Young <You're welcome. Jorie>

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

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

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

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

Raising Mollies HI. In reference to your response, there was one bit of info in particular which I found interesting/important. You said keeping the newborn fry in the breeder was  "almost sure death"---Why? My reasoning is that w/all the fry in one locale it would assure (that when fed) all would receive some food & would also cut down on tank pollution as a result of having to spread the food throughout the tank to make sure all the fry eat because when occupying a tank they tend to spread out making feedings larger because all the various areas of the tank need to have the fry food (drops) dropped in to them. Perhaps my line of reasoning is off. Please let me know. Also, I felt that w/all the newborns in one location I'd be much better equipped to monitor a head count to see if there is any unusual death rate because once released from the breeding trap it's difficult to keep track of them & if there's a big die-off one might find out too late. Another ?-you mentioned something about moving the newborn to my 10g & moving the adults (in the 10g) to my 20g. Would this move prove stressful to the newborns & if so what's the smoothest way to achieve such a move? Thanks for all your help & support. I'm determined to have these newborns reach a ripe old age. RIC V---aka-"THE MOLLY MAN" (MM) <Most breeders are too small and enclosed to give good circulation. Ammonia can build up very quickly. The ten gallon is a great size to use as a grow out tank. It will give everyone plenty of room to swim and grow strong. Baby Mollies are big enough to take crushed up flake food. They will quickly learn to search for it when you feed. The drops work fine, but add a lot of waste to the water. I suggest switching them to flake as soon as possible. A ten is small enough to clean with a gravel vac in a few minutes to get rid of waste and leftovers. About moving them. If the breeder is floating in the ten now, and has at least some vents, you can just release them. If in the twenty, bag them with their current water and float it in the ten. Add a little water from the ten every 15 minutes or so. In an hour, release them. If you're checking pH and they match, just float for 15 minutes and release. Don>  

Molly Fry Hello & Happy Holidays! I know you must get asked this question a thousand times but here comes 1001 (I couldn't find the answer amongst other WWM letters). What is the best way to care for & raise black molly babies?? I have 2 tanks, 1=10g, 1=20g with the only difference being the ones in the 20g are in a baby breeder & the ones in the 10g are with the general population (3 adults). Both tanks are black molly only tanks. All were born today! Please give as much info as possible i.e.- how much & what to feed, frequency & amt of water changes & all other info pertaining to their survival. I'm striving to not have any newborns die. Give it to me w/everything you got. I'll do any & all work necessary. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise. RIC V. <If all the adults will fit in the 20 I'd move them and use the 10 to grow the fry. If that's not possible, I guess I'd add lots of plants like Java Moss plus a floating plant and let nature take its course. Mollies are not that bad when it comes to eating the fry. Guppies and Swords are worst, IMO,E. But they will take some if they get a chance and are hungry. Don't keep the fry in the breeder. Almost sure death. Feeding baby mollies is pretty simple. They are born large enough to take crushed up flake. Baby brine shrimp are a great first food if you want to hatch some. Feed small amounts 3 to 4 times a day for fry. Check the water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Make sure ammonia and nitrite are at zero. Nitrates below 20ppm. Do water changes to correct. If you over feed, that may be daily. Over feeding fry is not a bad thing, as long as you get out any uneaten food and waste and do enough water changes to keep the water pristine. Good luck with them. Don>   

My Mollies aren't giving birth... Hello, I have a question that I haven't been able to find an answer for anywhere online--hopefully you can help me. :) I have a 35 gallon tank that has been operating for seven months. It contains: 6 Black Mollies (2 boys and 4 girls) 4 Zebra Danios 5 Neons 3 Lamp-eyed tetras (not sure which kind exactly) 1 Algae eater (plecostomus [sp]) The water temperature is at 79 degrees, and the water quality is good (except for a significant amount of waterborne algae, which I am attempting to correct by adding live plants [I have 2 sword plants and 2 money-wort plants in there now]). There are also fake plants and a sculpture-thing for fish to hide in and around. The tank incurs 20% water changes every week, and the filter is a biological carbon filter that gets new carbon every other week. I feed the fish twice daily with tropical flake food, and I vary their diet by adding a spear of zucchini once a week, and feeding them dried blood worms about every other day in addition to the flake food. My problem is: all four of my girl mollies are pregnant (they are swelled to the point of looking square from the back). They are healthy in all other regards and the males only bother them a minimum amount. However, I've had these Mollies for 5 months, and they seem to remain pregnant without giving birth. They may be re-absorbing the fry, but it seems unlikely since their size remains relatively constant (although I do have trouble telling one female from the other, and some are slightly slimmer than others). They don't have any signs of parasites that I can tell, their scales, mouth, fins and eyes all appear very normal and healthy, and their waste is properly firm and reddish-brown. What's the deal with the perpetually pregnant Mollies? <Hi Missy...sounds like you are doing everything according to specification...based on what you're telling me, I really can't think of anything to alter.  I've got two thoughts with regard to the mollies: 1) perhaps they are giving birth and the danios (or other fish) are quickly munching up the fry?  I have only, on very rare occasion, seen any molly fry in my 44 gal. FW community tank, as I've got 3 boesemanni rainbows that I'm sure gladly eat them as soon as they are birthed; 2) are your mollies the "balloon" hybrid variety? I've got many of these, and in all honesty, it's pretty tricky to say when they are and aren't pregnant.  I greatly suspect the girls are indeed getting pregnant, because, well, that's what mollies do!, but maybe if you have the rounder-bodied mollies, that's why the size of the girls is remaining fairly constant, as you put it.  If you really want to raise the fry, try setting up a small species only tank for a few mollies...soon enough, you'll have more babies than you know what to do with!> I do not currently add any salt to the water since I'm not sure how the other fish would react (would it hurt the other fish, by the way?). <Your plants would not appreciate salt.  In my community tank, I keep it pure FW; I've recently set up a brackish (BW) 29 gal. molly tank, complete with a pair of knight gobies to control the fry population.  In all honesty, whether or not your mollies would appreciate, or even need, some salt depends on what specific type of mollies you have; the chocolate lyretails, for instance, are very fragile and I understand do not do at all well in pure FW.  This is also true of my black mollies...whenever they are left in complete FW, they tend to develop ich.  That's pretty much the reason I set up the BW tank.  On the other hand, if you've got standard plain, ol' mollies, they are very hardy and should be just fine without salt.  You'll be able to tell...if you are constantly seeing ich outbreaks, likely your fish are asking you to raise the salinity.> I also didn't intend on moving the Mollies to another tank to give birth...would either of these things help? Is it possible that my Mollies are giving birth and I'm not knowing about it? Are they stressed or sick? What can I do to help them with a successful pregnancy ending with fry? <As I mentioned above, try a small molly-specific tank (trust me, just one female in a tank alone will yield tons of fry given a few months time!  Just try not to move an overly-pregnant fish, as that can indeed cause undue stress and create problems with birth.> Thanks for your help, Missy <You're welcome.  Good luck! And, if all else fails, if you live anywhere near Chicago, I'd be more than happy to give you oodles and oodles of molly fry!! Jorie>

Sick Molly Hi. Problem-- I have a 10 gal f/w tank w/5 adult B mollies & approx 20 newborns (still in fry saver). 1 of the f appears to have developed a drooping rear. In other words it's as if her tail & rear is hanging down almost @ times giving her a slight boomerang look. Last week I had another f w/same condition only worse & unfortunately I had to euthanize her. Tank has been running w/fish approx 3 1/2 weeks (still cycling---I know, bad move to start moving so fast--I'm impatient @ times), is sufficiently salted, temp=78. Other fish seem ok including f who just gave birth although all appear not as active as they should be-- a chronic problem which I guess is attributed to the cycling still going on. Please let me know what this condition is & what are it's ramifications     as I am concerned about an epidemic especially w/the newborns. What type of ailment is this? < Probably one of two things, genetic or conditioning, even a combination of both. I would separate the females from the males and feed the females well until they are in top notch condition. Only then would I add the best male. After the females give birth then I would separate the female once again and see if the condition can be helped with some live food and TLC. If not then it could be genetic and I would recommend getting some newer and hopefully stronger breeding stock.> Is it contagious? < Don't think so.>   What action should I take? < Try my recommendations and see what happens.-Chuck>  This has me bewildered.   Thanks for your help.  I greatly appreciate you being here for us newbies. Thanks--Ric V

Molly Ready to Pop Hello, I have a 35 gallon aquarium with two black mollies (1 male, 1 female), 1 harlequin rasbora and 3 tetras. My question is this. Female molly is EXTREMELY pregnant. In her last pregnancy, she had a few fry and one got stuck, which I removed with tweezers. This time around, I have had her isolated in a floating fish breeder set up so that the fry can be safe when born. She poops, but only in spider-web diameter strings, with the odd regular diameter peace.  She is bulging but lively. Her midsection is turning white (I assume from being stretched; it's NOT Ich). I did about at 75%-80% water change one week ago and have Epsom salts at about 1tsp per 3 or 4 gallons to try to open the birth canal, but no luck so far. I'm feeding her Nutrafin Max flakes, and I have the temperature at around 75 degrees. I haven't tested for ammonia, etc. My question is: is this extreme building normal, or should I be worried? Is there anything I can do to help her along? Thanks for any help, Derek <Hi Derek, Don here. Of course it's impossible for me to be sure, but your description is not of a normal pregnancy. Try feeding her a shelled pea. If she's constipated that may help. Raising the temp to 78 or 80 would not hurt. You say you have Epsom salt in the water. What about aquarium salt? Mollies are brackish fish. They need salt to stay healthy. It may be the reason she's not dropping. It could also be an internal infection. Especially if the poop is white. Or damage to the birth canal from the last pregnancy. No way to be 100% sure at this point. But the salt, pea and higher temp will give her the best chance. And PLEASE get a test kit. They save lives>

Black Molly Tank Hello. I really find your site very informative. <Great...me too! I'm always learning new things from WWM!>         Tank info- I currently have a 10 gallon tank only inhabited by mollies (4F-2M). They have been in the tank for 2 weeks with no apparent diseases. Tank registers w/trace amounts of ammonia & nitrites for which I've added something called "CYCLE" & subsequently "AMQUEL+" which now prohibits me from testing with my current kit because readings will be false. <OK, what's done is done, but I do not recommend adding products to attempt to rid the water of harmful toxins such as ammonia, nitrites and/or nitrates.  Truly the only safe way to improve water condition is to do water changes.  I would suggest you do a large (75% water change) ASAP and stop using the additives you've mentioned.  (Note: The only additive you will need is something to remove chlorine if you are using straight tap water...not sure if that's what Amquel+ is for - I've always used a product called ChlorOut.  Just look for the term "dechlorinator").> The ph is 7.4-7.6 & the water is hard. I initially used bottled water to start-up the tank & until just recently started using tap water for water changes, prior water changes were w/bottled water. <Bottled water is missing essential elements that fish need, so it's good that you switched to tap water.  Again, do use a dechlorinator to remove chlorine from the water, but that's about all you should need.  If you plan on keeping a molly only tank, your fish would probably also appreciate a bit of aquarium salt...mollies can actually live in full saltwater, but bringing the salinity up to just 1.002 or 1.003 will drastically improve their health in many cases.> Temp=80 deg & there is 1tbls of aquarium salt per gal. <Ah ha! You've already done the salt-thing! Good deal.  I don't like measuring by teaspoons, though; I would suggest you invest in a plastic box-type hydrometer to measure salinity. They are relatively inexpensive ($5-7) and readily available.  Also, I'd consider dropping the temp. down a few degrees...80 is pretty warm for mollies.> Problems---I don't really find the fish up to par. They don't appear as active as they should  be & at times when I check on them in the morning I find 1-2 of them resting on the tank bottom but when I put on the light all come to the top in search of food.      <I think once you drop the temp. a little and rid the water of all the toxins, your fish will perk right up.  Solutions such as "Cycle" really promote a false sense of security, in my opinion, and you are much better off without them, but keeping up with regular water changes in place.  Mollies are messy fish, so I'd suggest doing 50% water changes 2x per week, once the tank is fully cycled. Also, consider adding on a supplemental sponge filter or two to help control the water parameters.> And here's the strange problem-No females appear to be pregnant! The males are larger, I don't know if this means anything. <Give them time, it will happen (far too frequently).  If there are toxins in the water, this may be inhibiting their desire to breed. Also the majority seem to have clamped fins most of the time although there is one dominating F who is never clamped. <Sounds like a water quality issue to me.> Your response & help are most appreciated. As I am new to this how will I know if/when you respond? Will I have to check the site or will you let me know in another form? <I'm sending this e-mail back to you, but it will also be posted in the Daily FAQ's> I've also set up a new 20 gallon tank, just started running yesterday (w/no fish yet) & as I have not put any chemicals or treatments in it, if you have the time, I'd appreciate any        input you might have as to start up an exclusive Molly tank.                        <Sounds like you are headed in the right direction, but just substitute regular water changes for the chemicals you mentioned before.  Once your 10 gal. is completely cycled (meaning ammonia, nitrite and nitrate all read "zero" on the test kit you have), I'd suggest taking 50% of the water out of that tank and putting it into the new tank.  Also, you many want to invest in some bioballs, through them in the 10 gal., then in maybe a month or so (once everything is fully cycled and stable in the smaller tank), move them to the larger tank.  This will help "kick start" your new cycle in the 20 gal.  Then, start slowly by adding one or two mollies to the new tank, and check the water's parameters very regularly.  I'd suggest you pick up a book by a fellow named David E. Boruchowitz called "The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums"...it very nicely spells out the basics in a user-friendly format, in my opinion.  (Note: don't take his advice on livestock stocking as the gospel, though, as he tends to put too many fish in too small of tanks, in my opinion. Otherwise, I like the book very much and even started my own first aquarium with its help!) Thanks so much for your time--Ric V---   <Hope I helped.  Let me know if you have any follow up questions, Ric, and good luck! Jorie>

Gold Dust Mollies A few weeks ago I bought some gold dust mollies from the pet store...and for a while they were doing fine. I had 1 male and 4 females. <Hi Sam, this is Jorie.  Couple of questions...how big is the tank you introduced the fish to and how many other fish were in it? Was the tank newly setup or had it cycled?> I added some proper ph 6.7 to the tank and within 24 hours I had 2 gold dust baby mollies which I put in a separate breeder container in the same tank and they have been doing fine for a week. <I'm not sure what type of fish you have, but am curious as to why you added the "Proper pH 6.7" to the tank.  What was the pH reading prior to adding this? In general, I think the less additives you introduce to the water the better (with exceptions on a case by case basis, of course). It is generally much more important to keep the water's pH stable than to exactly match what the fish textbooks say are optimum conditions for a particular breed of fish. Again, depending on what all type of fish you have we can settle on a happy middle ground.> In the meantime I have lost two of my mollies.. one female and one male gold dust molly. so the past few days I have been doing a 30 percent water change and I am also using crystal clear once a day starting today. <Sorry to hear you lost the fish.  Water changes are absolutely the best thing. Do you have any sort of water test kit? If so, have you tested for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? My hunch is that you perhaps added too many fish too quickly, and the toxins produced by the fish waste added up to quickly. I'm not sure what the product "Crystal Clear" is, but with regular water changes, good filtration and general good husbandry I would suspect it isn't necessary.  Are you using regular tap water to fill the tank or something else? Tap water should be fine, just be sure to use a product like "ChlorOut" to remove the chlorine. Or, in the alternative, you can use de-ionized or reverse-osmosis filtered water (chlorine would be removed through the filtration process).  Just stay away from bottled water, as that lacks many essential elements fish need for optimum health.> In my 10 gallon tank I have the following fish...4 blue danios.. 3 blind cave fish, one common Plecos algae eater. and the 3 female adult gold dust mollies left along with the two babies.. <Whoa, Nelly! That's a lot of fish for a relatively small tank, my friend! Blue danios reach around 4" when they are fully grown, and I personally think they should be kept in nothing smaller than a 29 gal. aquarium. As for the Pleco, that "little" critter will eventually become 12-18" long - def. too big for your tank!! I think 3 female mollies and 1 male in your 10 gal. would be perfect...I'm hoping you have somewhere else to house the other fish, or friends/family/pet store who can take the others? I definitely think you lost your mollies due to poor water conditions...way too many fish producing lots and lots of waste.> Please tell me I am doing the right thing with the 30 percent water change on a daily basis for 21 days? <You are definitely doing a good thing with the water changes.  Do invest in a test kit to measure ammonia, nitrite and nitrates (all should be at zero; these are listed in decreasing order of toxicity to fish) Once you get these levels under control, I'd suggest a schedule of 50% water changes twice per week if you are planning to keep all the fish you have now (which I do not recommend). Sam Las Vegas.. <Hope I helped, Sam.  Please do consider lightening your fish load as soon as possible. Jorie>

re: Gold Dust Mollies Click on this link to view a digital photo I took of my fishtank which is a ten gallon tank. You can see how clean it is. And how happy they all seem to look. Even my Pleco. Sam re: Gold Dust Mollies http://groups.msn.com/BowmanCompany/veriousotherphotos.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=334 <Thanks for sharing. Don>

Re: Gold Dust Mollies You have answered all of my questions.. also thank you for letting me know about not using the bottled water for one of my kids in his tank has been using bottled water.  He will be happy to know this is not good but to use tap water which I have been doing.. I have also learned in the past year and a half that I need to make the tap water coming out of the sink the same temperature as the tank. <Yes, this is a good idea.  You don't want to shock the fishes' systems.> I lost a lot of fish when I first started with changing the water etc.. and also I will do a 50 % water change twice a week...that will make my life easier... <Twice per week is just my best guess; really, you need to invest in a test kit to measure at a minimum ammonia, nitrite and nitrates (ideally all should be at zero).  Once you've been taking water measurements long enough, changing filter media, etc. long enough, you'll get a regular schedule that works best for your tanks!> Plus I have a decent water filter pump with a sponge and with charcoal so it helps in keeping the water clear.. I am going to try and keep them all together for they seem to be recovering well... <Just keep in mind that mollies are very messy fish...you need to "pick up" after them (i.e., suction out their poop!) pretty regularly!> ...the two baby gold dust mollies are doing just fine now on week two. <Great news...hope they grow to be big and strong!> I also feed my algae fish those algae tablets that you just drop into the bottom of the tank.. he seems to like them as well as the mollies for some unknown reason.. <Mollies are omnivores and do appreciate some veggies in their diets.> ...but they are all doing well since I have been doing the water change.. and when I have some extra money .. I will get that "ChlorOut" <It isn't very expensive at all.  Keep in mind this isn't a luxury item, but a necessity...chlorine is not good at all for fish!> Thank you. so much for taking time to read my e-mail and giving me the answers I needed. again thanks a bunch Sam Las Vegas, NV <I'm very glad to have helped, Sam.  Best of luck to you and yours, Jorie.>

Balloon molly We recently introduced 2 balloon mollies into my daughter's 10 gallon tank. <Hello, this is Jorie.  Couple of questions...how many other fish were in the tank and how long had the tank been setup? I'm trying to determine if too many fish were added too quickly, causing a buildup of toxins like ammonia, nitrite and/or nitrate, all which are poisonous to fish.> The male died  about 2 weeks after we bought them and the female seems to be fine. <What kind of water change schedule do you have this tank on? Hopefully you are changing around 50% every week (just a rough guestimate without knowing what all you have in the tank) to keep the water clean and toxin-free.> My question is, we have guppies in her tank and the female balloon molly bites the tail off the other fish.  Is this normal, and if not what should be do? <I keep balloon mollies, too, and I've seen some of them  be quite aggressive sometimes.  It seems to really depend on the individual fish.  If this behavior continues, you will have to separate the two types of fish - perhaps keep the 10 gal. a "guppies only" tank, and invest in a bigger tank for the mollies? Another thought: is there sufficient cover (i.e., hiding places) in the 10 gal.? Perhaps the molly felt too "out in the open"?> For now, we have put the balloon molly in the tank that my son has that has swords, platies and guppies, but at least the are bigger fish. <This is a fine combination, so long as you haven't overstocked your son's tank.  How big is that one and how many of each fish are in it?> Please let me know what we can do the fix this problem. <Hope I've helped...Jorie>

Molly mix... not mixing hey guys <Hi...Jorie here...> I have a molly question.  I just purchased a female Dalmatian molly to breed with my male fancy molly but he doesn't seem to be interested in her when I am around.  She, though, does keep rubbing and clinging to him...all he cares about is staring out of the sides of the tank.  Will they mate or is he sterile? <First off, are you sure of the sex of both fish? Secondly, how big is this tank and how long has it been setup? Have you tested the water parameters (i.e., ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels), as if the water quality is less than good, he may just not be "in the mood". Third, are there plants and/or other decoration to make the fish feel more comfortable and less stressed-out? All of these are my initial thoughts; we can go from there. As a side note, it's usually a good idea to keep mollies in a 3:1or 4:1 female: male ratio...once your boy decides he's ready, he'll likely be driving the girl crazy!> thanks <You're welcome. Let me know about the above and I'll try my best to help! Jorie>

Male Molly Behavior Hi - I have had two male mollies in an outdoor water garden that consists of a large faux terracotta pot (maybe 25 or 30 gallons), a spitter fountain, and several water plants in containers stacked on bricks.  I have had the Dalmatian molly for 16 months and an orange speckled "fancy" one for a few months. Last year, when it got below 70 degrees, I brought the whole water garden into the garage and put an aquarium heater in the pot.  The Dalmatian did fine and was back out in the yard again this summer.  His companion made it through the winter in the garage but died within a couple weeks of being brought outside this spring.  So after mistakenly buying a pregnant female and having babies (gave them to a good home), I finally got the orange male that I have now. I guess I am embarrassed to say that I never monitored the water.  I would clean out the pot every few weeks with a complete water change and had snails to keep the algae down.  Here in Dallas, the sun would evaporate quite a lot, so I would add about a gallon of water a day.  In the winter, I never changed the water - just added water to keep up with the splashing from the spitter fountain. Once again it is time to bring them in for the winter.  However, this time I thought I would splurge and get them a real tank and set them up in the kitchen.  I got a so-called complete, 5 gallon hexagonal tank with a pump and biofilter system included.  It's been a couple days now and the orange one is running the Dalmatian ragged.  He is constantly harassing him by nosing at his anal fin area.  In the water garden, there were places for the fish to hide (usually in the brick holes) so I never really noticed harassment.  Now that they are in closer quarters, there is nowhere to hide. Is 5 gallons too small for two male mollies?  Is this harassment temporary while they adjust to new surroundings?  Should I get something for the Dalmatian to hide in?  Maybe I should just put them back in the water garden in the garage for the winter. Sorry to ramble so long and be so ignorant, but I'm really a gardener that thought having fish would be a neat addition to my water garden.  I was going to get goldfish but the pet store said that it would be too hot for them in the container and suggested tropical fish.  I never thought that I would actually have fish that lived this long (or have babies).  The mollies really have been trouble free and apparently quite tolerant of my ignorance about how to properly care for them, especially when I read about all those nasty diseases on your forum.  I guess I have some beginner's luck, but don't want to press my luck. Thanks in advance for your guidance. < Male mollies are very competitive for territories because they want to attract females and chase other males away. Try some floating plants and lower the water temp to the mid 70's. The lower water temp may reduce their metabolism and thus the mollies desire to spawn. If that doesn't work then a larger tank may be needed.-Chuck> FlowerFreak

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

Pregnant Molly - Isolation?? Hi I found your site to be quite helpful but could not find the answer to my question which seems to be so simple...here it goes... I had 2 silver and 1 black molly and 2 platys.   Four days after I bought my mollies, I noticed I suddenly had 3 fry's swimming around my tank - wasn't really sure who had the babies.  Next night got home and 1 of my silver mollies were dead and had something sticking out of it's tummy opening.   Anyway now 3 weeks after having the mollies my other silver molly is now very and obviously pregnant.  I did not want to isolate her as the floating breeding trap is so small, however my black molly is always very aggressive towards her and I am afraid it will cause her stress.  So I removed her today and transferred her in the floating breeding tank however she seems to be more stressed in the isolation tank and is swimming as if she is trying to break out of this tiny space - honestly don't blame her.   Now I am afraid that I am only causing her more stress....but don't really want to take her out as I want her to have her fry in peace....another problem is I really am not sure how far along she is but she is getting really big - Please Please Help as I do not one to lose my other Silver Molly. < Try and keep the tank dark until she gives birth. You are right to be concerned about her being stressed. You might have to cover the tank if it is in a high traffic area.-Chuck> Thanks so much and looking forward to your reply, Celeste

Molly ratio's in a small community tank - questions Hello, I've been reading over the site and have found it to be very interesting and informative, and I have several questions that I was hoping you could help me out with, so here goes: I have a 10 gallon tank that has been set up for about a year and a half now which currently houses a female black molly, a glassfish, and a longfin danio.  I was considering adding a few more fish, and my first choice would be to add more mollies.  I have read that it is best to keep mollies in 'harem' type setups with several females per male, but I am also concerned that if I added enough fish to obtain a proper male to female ratio I may end up overcrowding the tank (I was told up to 8 fish for a 10 gal., but I don't know how close to the truth that is...).  At what minimum number of females per male can I assume the molly I have now won't be at risk of being harassed to the point of death or illness by the male (she has become my  favorite, and part of my intention in adding more mollies would be to make her 'happier', so I'd rather not risk it)? I have heard 2 females to 1 male as a minimum, but this still sounds risky to me. If my tank is too small to safely add both a male and the proper number of females, what about adding one or two more female mollies?  Would they be aggressive with each other, happier to have a 'friend', or just indifferent to each others presence? Speaking of aggressive behavior, my molly had always been very peaceful and kept to herself  in most of the little over a year time that I've had her, but recently I notice her harassing the other fish now and then. Would adding more mollies possibly stop the aggressiveness towards the other fish, or is it likely that the other mollies would also be aggressive with the other two fish and just make matters worse for them? Once again speaking out of aggressive behavior, I was wondering if communities of fish ever designate a 'pecking order', so to speak, as other animals in group and community settings sometimes do.  Although I've never heard anything to this effect and it seems especially unlikely in a tank with several different kinds of fish, I've noticed in the past that when the most aggressive fish in the tank dies, it seems that soon afterwards one of the formerly peaceful fish soon assumes the role of the aggressor.   Just out of curiosity, does this indeed have something to do with dominance roles and ranking, or is it just a coincidence? Also, out of curiosity, what is the likelihood that the mollies would breed if both genders are present in the tank (the molly I currently have was the only survivor out of 16 fry and the mother, who gave birth only a few hours after I had purchased her.  Although the babies are quite cute, I'd feel bad if I ended up with more of them only to have almost all of them die again!)? Lastly, if there is no way I can safely add more mollies to the mix, are there any other fish I could safely add?  Maybe more longfin danios or glassfish, or a different species all together?  Or would adding anything else just be a bad idea no matter what? Thank you in advance for any answers or advice you can give me! --Lea < Your tank is small so making sure that everyone gets along can be somewhat tricky. If you want more mollies then by all means get more mollies. The tank holding capacity is determined by a few factors like (How many fish? How big are the fish? How much water goes through the filter per hour? How often do you do water changes? How much water do you change? Etc...)First lets determine how many fish you could keep in you 10 gallon assuming that everyone gets along just fine. Your filter should turn the tank over at least 30 to 50 gallons an hour. The ammonia and nitrites should always be zero and the nitrates should not exceed 25 ppm. If the water gets above 25 ppm before you do your next water change then you have too many fish and the nitrates will build up so you need to do bigger water changes or change the water more often. Now for them all getting along. A male molly always want to breed. So he is always going to be pressuring the female to breed. If you have more than one female then his attentions will be divided between the two. Obviously when there are more females his attentions will be divided between all of them and then none of them will be stressed to any great degree. You could lower the water temperature down to 77 F . Then there will not be as much demand for then to breed.-Chuck>

My Molly Is Miscarrying Her Babies!! Yes, my female black molly is miscarrying her babies, and  unfortunately she's been doing this for about 2 weeks now and she  continues to miscarry them. At first she miscarry about 8 of them and now  she is pushing one out a day and like I said she's been doing this  behaviour for 2 week start weeks is this a normal activity when a molly  miscarriage her batch? < No not really.> If not, what do I do for her if anything? I do have  her isolated in what they a hospital tank. I have breeding and raising  fish and fry for more than a year now and this is the first time I have  encounter such an activity of this nature. Thanks-so-much, Renee Lambert,  Cool Website < Try cooling the water down to the lower 70's and add a tablespoon of rock salt per 5 gallons of water. Add some floating plants so she will feel comfortable and not stressed. Keep the lights off too. If after all this then it may be a generic trait.-Chuck>

My Molly Is Miscarrying Her Babies!! I have one other question, if you don't mind, what is the best temperature for all molly fishes, breeding and non-breeding ones? Right now I have the tanks set at 80 F, is this too high or not and if so should I drop it down or up a degree or so? Thanks-so-much, Renee Lambert < At 80 degrees F your fish are most likely in their optimum temperature range for breeding and over all health. If you don't want them to breed or are concerned about them wanting to breed to much and stressing out the females then it could be dropped as low as 76 degrees without any problems.-Chuck> Re: My Molly Is Miscarrying Her Babies!! Thanks-so-much for that input, I really do appreciate it very much. I do however have one other question, how soon  should I place her back in the community tank with the other Mollies? < After she is done giving birth I would wait a couple of days for her to regain her strength.> I also recently purchased a female molly that is pregnant and she looks so big that she looks like she is about to burst so I put her in a tank by herself as soon as I got her home, I have the temperature at around 80 F, is this too high for her and is that why she hasn't pushed out her babies? < The temperature sounds good. Keep her well fed so she won't eat the babies.-Chuck>

Molly Babes I have a ten gallon tank with six tetra Neons and three mollies. I got two girls and a boy to hopefully get babies. The boy seems aggressive. Should I get a third female or will they need a bigger tank for that? Thank you -Jessie <<Hello Jessie :) Yes, the males are aggressive. You should keep an eye on him, you might need to buy another female or two if he harasses the ones already in the tank too much.  Also, mollies require a high pH and hard water, and neon tetras require the opposite, they need a low pH and soft water. All in all, not the best mix of fishes.  You should test your pH and hardness, and use this to decide what to keep: You may want to remove some of the Neons and replace them with more female mollies, OR, remove the mollies and replace them with more Neons. -Gwen>>

-Livebearers doing their thing- Hi!  I am having a small crisis in my tank and it is stressing both me  and my fish out! <Oh my, hope we can help.> a few months ago I brought home 2 lemon tetras, a sunset  platy, a Dalmatian molly, and two small frogs to my ten gallon tank.   Well, it seemed my molly was pregnant and gave birth to sixteen babies about a  few weeks after I brought her home. (I also had a black molly in the beginning,  but he only lasted about a week).  I put the fry in a net and kept them  there for sometime before letting them out.  Only nine have survived up  until today.  Well, it seems my molly fish is pregnant again... <Promiscuous little critters aren't they.> now I have  all these small mollies living in my small 10-gallon tank and the pregnant molly  is starting to beat up my platy... not only that, but my two tetras seemed to  have turned on each other and stopped getting along.  I have two fish that  hide constantly, two bullies that beat them up (one who is pregnant) and nine  little mollies running around in my tank.  I don't know what to do with all  these fish and I don't have the money or space to get another aquarium  started.  I just want my happy community back!  Will the pet  store take some fish? <That would depend on the policy of the store in question although most will.> Any other suggestions? <Unless you want to make a hobby of breeding these guys, setting up another tank is only a temporary solution since this will continue through generations of mollies. My advice: If you want mollies, make sure they're all the same sex, so they can't horse around. Thinning out this population, followed by a good water change and re-arrangement of the decorations should fix everything up. -Kevin.> Anything you can offer  is much appreciated. -Nicole Is she sleeping? Hello, I have a 10 gallon freshwater tank with 1 balloon molly, 1 marbled molly, one red wag platy, and about 10 fry that are 4 days old separated into a breeder net.  When I woke up this morning, my balloon molly was face down, tail up into the rocks just swaying there.  I took the net to see if she was just sleeping and she swam away.  But when I looked back 10 minutes later, she is just laying at the bottom.  Her fins aren't moving but her mouth is.  What is going on with her? Thank you so much! <<Hello. Please test your water, and let me know the results for: ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. Thank you. -Gwen>>

Black Molly I have 2 black Mollies, 1 male, 1 female, the female is fine but the male over the last few days has started acting a little strange, the back half of this body just hangs and he does all his swimming with his fins, also the top of his back body is turning a whitish colour.  I thought it was the lack of salt and the last couple of nights I've been giving him a salt bath but he hasn't improved.  Is there anything else you can recommend please. Thanks, Taryn <<Dear Taryn, do you know your pH and hardness? Mollies prefer alkaline water with a pretty high pH. If pH and hardness are too low, they can develop spinal deformities, like your "bent back" problem. To raise the pH and alkalinity, you can add some crushed coral to your substrate and/or put some into a filter bag inside your filter. Either way works. Test your pH to see how much it goes up, you may need to add more if the amount you use isn't enough. In the meantime, how often do you do water changes? You do not mention your water parameters at all, and this information is important. Please test for ammonia, (should be zero), nitrites (should be zero) and nitrates, (should be kept between 20-40ppm with regular water changes). To rectify the whitish body problem, you will require an antibiotic. Unfortunately, it might be Columnaris, which is one bacterial infection that is notoriously difficult to treat. It can affect and kill within 24-36 hours. I have not found a treatment to combat this problem, even the best antibiotics may only save 3 or 4 fish out of an entire tank full that is affected. At any rate, I cannot tell without seeing the fish, so we will just have to hope it is another bacteria, and you will need to go to your LFS and ask them for an antibiotic to treat a bacterial skin infection. PLEASE follow the instructions closely! And remember, good water quality is 80% of the cure. Test your water regularly. -Gwen>> Baby Mollies Hi <Hi Joey, MacL here with you today.> I have 32 baby black mollies. <Awww isn't it wonderful>  I was wondering how long it would take them to reach a size that would not put them in danger if I moved them with their parents. <They need to be bigger than their parents can open their mouths.> Also I have them in a 15 quart plastic container with about 4 inches of water in it and java moss and Cabomba is in it too. Is this enough to support them and for how long. <It should be for a while if it doesn't get too cold but you will need to do partial water changes. You can get those little in tank containers to keep them safe while in the tank. Good luck, MacL>   love Joey Molly help I have 3 mollies 2 females and 1 male my male mollies shows no interest in my 2 female mollies and I've had them for about 1 week and I'm wanting to breed them but I need to know if I need to get another male or what because I'm thinking this male is a dud and I have one more question is it safe to have guppies, platys, and mollies in the same tank because every thing I have read says that mollies aren't tank mates with guppies but my mollies get along with my guppies but my guppies seem to eat more for some reason they are pigs. < I would make sure that the mollies are settled in before adding any new fish. Give them a couple more weeks, make sure the water temp is around 80 degrees F and that the fish are well fed and that the water is clean. They like some salt in the water too. Mollies get up to 4 inches and that is a little too big to be put in with other live bearers.-Chuck> thanks for your time Josh

Molly Breeding I just bought a Dalmatian female and male black molly. And I was wandering if they would breed together? <<Yes, they will. Good luck :) -Gwen>>

Black molly babies long parturition... <Hi Pat, sorry about the delay in answering your question. I think the bandits ran off with the boss> I have two black mollies. The had babies 4 days ago. Then they had them again yesterday. Then again today? Is this common? How often to they have babies? <That's an interesting question.  In my experience they only have them over a period of 24 hours but theoretically they could have them over the period of a couple of days or even weeks.  The way I understand it a female stores sperm and can then have babies over a period of time. MacL>

Molly "Shimmy" - 08/05/2004 I didn't see this q&a posted. <Well then, bring it on!> Ok, here's the deal: my female black molly is doing this side to side dance thing; she has been doing it actively for 2 days now. <I have seen this behavior.  From what I can tell, this typically happens only when there is either something IN the water that shouldn't be (ammonia, nitrite, etc.), or something NOT in the water that SHOULD be (especially with mollies, a bit of salt is quite desirable). She still eats well and her tank is very clean.   <Are you testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?  This is crucial; as clean as a tank looks, it may be very, very "dirty" - only test results will let you know this.  How clean a tank *looks* is often irrelevant.  Please test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and do water changes if ammonia or nitrite is above *zero* or if nitrate is above 20ppm.  Be sure to use a water conditioner that removes chlorine and chloramine.> Is this possibly a mating dance? <No.  It is an abnormal behavior, and indicates illness.> I'm worried she might put a hole in her dancing shoes (so to speak-lol). <Understood.  If your water tests okay, AND dependant upon her tankmates, I would add marine aquarium salt to the tank, and slowly (over several days) bring up the salinity in the tank to a specific gravity of about 1.002-1.003 (use a hygrometer to be able to tell the specific gravity - make sure it will test that LOW, though - some hygrometers will not even indicate salinities that low).  Take care NOT to do this if any of the molly's tankmates are not salt tolerant.  Even just one or two tablespoons of aquarium salt per ten gallons will be of great benefit to the molly.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Pregnant Molly Hello. <Hi Becki, MacL here with you tonight.> I have a red molly/guppy <Molly, guppy, or perhaps its a swordtail or platy?> and I have noticed that it (I don't know the sex for sure) has gotten a little bigger around the waist line. <It could indeed be that it is pregnant but also could be that its eating a lot.> I have never seen a pregnant fish before and I was wondering what one looks like. <Live bearers get rounded bellies and then a black area appears in the belly area before the tail.> Thanks- Becki

Should I separate the molly fry from adult molly and guppy? Hi, I just bought a pregnant molly and few other guppies. Although they seem to be living in harmony now, I'm worried about the baby mollies that would be born really soon. Should I separate them from the adult molly and guppies? Is it necessary to get fry food for them? Please reply ASAP. Thanks! Justine <<Justine, for future reference, please send all emails with the proper capitalization and punctuation. Saves me from having to re-type your words. Thanks. For babies, yes, you can separate them, otherwise they will be eaten by the adults. -Gwen>>

Black Molly Babies Hi Bob, <<Or Gwen :)>> I recently (January) started a small 10 gallon tank at my office. I had four black mollies.  By two weeks before Memorial Day, I was left with only one molly. Now I know nothing about these fish and was disappointed when each one died. I was not going to try anymore. I came back from the memorial day weekend holiday and found tiny dots moving around the back of my tank in the plastic plants.  After close examination, I realized that these were baby fish. I had left a weekend feeder in the tank so the mother had not eaten any that I could tell. (by the way, she eats constantly).  So now these babies get to be about 3/4 of an inch long and I realize that I have to take them and place them in a larger tank.  I started a 55 gal tank at my house. (It was an old one I used for salt water 10 yrs ago)  I brought 4 home first when the water seemed right. When the 4 survived after 6 days, I decided to bring home most of the others. I brought 12 more home and left 5 with the mother.  Everyone was happy ( I did lose a total of 4 babies). Mommy continued to get fatter and fatter and fatter. She ate and ate and ate. Just this Monday, I went into my office and found that over the weekend she had another at least 30 babies. I am confused.  How could she have more kids with no dad.  She had at least 21 with the first batch and a little over a month later, she had another approximately 30. Is this possible and will the 55 gal be big enough for all of them?  I feel really lucky and feel very responsible for them.  I want them to be happy. Will they breed like rabbits? Thanks for any help you can give. New Foster Mom, Tracey <<Yes, a 55g should do, just keep your nitrates low, around 20-40ppm, and things should be fine. As for how she could have more babies with no dad...all female livebearers have the ability to store sperm, it's quite normal. They are herbivores and need a high fibre diet, but the females do need protein...to build all those babies with :), so make sure your mollies are getting good food. High quality stuff like Tetra Colorbits interspersed with a good Spirulina flake, some occasional bloodworms, glassworms, and other frozen foods should keep your mollies in top shape. They also prefer alkaline water with a high pH. There are lots of good websites to find info on mollies.-Gwen>>

Molly fry with an algae eater? Hello, <Hi! Ananda here this morning...> 2 of my Balloon Mollies gave birth today so I now have a total of about 20 fry.  I have the fry in a 10 gal tank set up just for them. <Please do "over"-filter this tank with a sponge filter rated for at least double the tank volume... frequent feedings = lots of waste.> I was wondering if I could put a algae eater in this tank also or will it eat the fry? <I would be cautious in this regard. If you have algae, it's likely a sign of high nitrates, and fry are more susceptible to poor water quality. You need to change water pretty frequently in a fry tank (think 25% weekly, if not more often, depending on how efficient your filtration is). Also, fry will nibble on some algae. The other concern is the type of "algae eater" you're considering. Some, like the fish commonly called the Chinese algae eater, are okay at eating algae as juveniles, but prefer more meaty fare as adults -- and that meaty fare might extend to sleeping fry. Also, several algae-eating fish will get too big for a 10 gallon tank. IF your tank parameters are not conducive to algae -- nitrates less than 10, phosphates less than 1 -- I might consider something small, IF you also have room too keep it when it has outgrown the tank. Otherwise, manual removal coupled with frequent water changes is probably your best route of action.> Thanks, Robyn <Welcome to molly-world...where they make more...and more...and more.... Do come and visit our freshwater forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk !!  --Ananda>

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

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