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FAQs on the Mollies 1

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

Related FAQs: Mollies 2, 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, 

Black Mollies in Saltwater?  6/27/04 Hi, Hope all is going well there.   <Hi James, Pufferpunk here & all is great!> I have a 75 gallon F/O saltwater tank.  I have heard that black mollies could be acclimated to live in a saltwater aquarium.  Have you know of success stories about this?   <Yes, they can live & thrive in SW.  When acclimating from FW, I would use a drip system.  Put the fish in a bucket with the water from it's bag (ask for a larger bag) & slowly drip water through air tubing from your SW tank into it (you will have to tie a knot in the tubing).  Only raising the SG .001-.002/hour.  You may need to bale water out of the bucket, so it doesn't overflow.> Also, I have a pair of false perculas, a flame Hawkfish, a royal Gramma and a coral beauty angel.  Would the mollies fit in with these guys?   <Just make sure the mollies have smaller crevices to escape to, in case any of your fish go after them.  I have found that a heavily decorated tank can make all the difference to "smaller" fish.> Thanks for your help, James <You're welcome, enjoy the mollies!  ~PP>
Re: Black Mollies in saltwater
<Hi, MikeD here> Thank you for your help.  I have one more question please....I have read that it is best to keep mollies in groups of 1 male and at least 2 females.  (I used to keep them when I had freshwater tank).  If I just added a male, would it do OK without any more of it's kind in there?<Sure. The reason they don't suggest pairs is that males are considered "drivers", ALWAYS trying to breed with females, and if kept with just one she will often break down and become ill from the exhaustion of trying to get away from him constantly...the best mix is actually 1 male to at least 4 females> Thanks again, James<You're welcome> James Hall

More Molly Questions Good morning, A few weeks ago I wrote in about our black Molly having fry.  The fry are really big now and fun to watch.  I've put 12 of them in the 29 gallon and 15 are in the 10 gallon and doing very well. The 10 gallon has excellent readings for the ammonia, nitrate and PH and we do a 10% water change every other day.   <<What about nitrIte?>> The problem is the water reeks even after the water change.  I rinse the filter twice a week and change it after 2 weeks.  Why the smell? <<Are you overfeeding? And again, test the nitrites...and do NOT clean your filter media under tapwater that has chlorine. You are effectively killing your good bacteria every time you "clean" your filter. Bad idea. What kind of filter are you using? Rinse filter foam in old tank water, and make sure you have a BioWheel or some other form of biological filtration in the filter that you do NOT clean, in order to keep your good bacteria.>> Now the 29 gallon. Momma Molly wasn't doing so good. Checked the water and nitrate was sky high.  Did an immediate 50% water change and added some "get rid of nitrate" and it's now down to 0.25 but won't go lower. <<Do more water changes. Are you testing for nitrate, or nitrite??>> Momma still not doing too good, eyes were bulging and staying at the bottom not eating... Treated entire 29 gallon with antibacterial.. antibacterial treatment of tank stopped 2 days ago and nitrate still at 0.25.. <<Keep testing for ammonia, nitrites, AND nitrates. Antibacterial meds will kill off your nitrifying (good) bacteria and you will have even more problems.>> Then Momma got some white spots so again 30% water change and added a quick "cure ick".  First treatment yesterday.  Should I do another "cure ick" treatment today? <<What do the directions say on the package?>> Changed to the food to your suggestions of Spirulina and BTW all fish love it. This morning Momma is swimming a little bit more and back to eating although she seems a little disorientated.  I would like to transfer the 15 babies from the small tank to the large tank and put Momma and another orange female Molly that I suspect is pregnant in the small tank.  Is this a good idea? <<No>> as I think Momma is stressed enough as it is and I don't like the smell of the small tank. <<You really need to do a lot more water changes in order to get your tanks into better condition. Make sure when you do your water changes that you are adding water that is the exact same temperature as what is in the tank, and use a good dechlorinator. -Gwen>> Thanks so much for your wonderful site and all the helpful information. Monique

More Molly Questions Good morning, Thanks for the quick reply and all the help.  You guys and gals are a Godsend. Here's an update...Saturday morning I got up and one of the baby Mollies in the 29 Gallon was swimming around with a dead newborn in his mouth.  Looked around and there were about 12 dead ones.  Hubby cleaned that out and I called the pet store and they said they would take all my babies black Mollies...I kept 4 of them.  I suspect Momma had other babies but these ones didn't make it. Now Momma is ick free, no more white spots) eyes are back to normal no bulging or white film), swimming around like there is no tomorrow and eating everything in sight again from the top of the tank when I feed MODERATELY and picking at the bottom (Colorbits 2 times  a week as recommended)...She's back to following my finger around the tank and seems very happy.  She's still in the 29 gallon.  I'm running a Tetratec PF300 http://www.littlefishtank.com/Reference/reviews/display.asp?idkey=221 The nitrITRES, ammonia are excellent now. the PH is a little high 7.8 and I'm doing that test every other day.  The rest of the tank - total of 3 adult mollies, 2 neon, 4 baby black mollies and 3 tetra neon are now very happy. No live plants in there just plastic. The 10 gallon...all the babies are gone to the pet store. did a 50% water change. ran the above 3 tests and all 3 results are perfect.  In this one I'm running a TopFin for a 20 gallon.  The only fish is there is an orange Molly that I suspect is pregnant and introduced (after reading your site info on how to properly introduce) after the babies were gone. I was guilty of overfeeding and have now learned a valuable lesson.  If someone wants to keep their fish healthy and happy don't overfeed, don't introduce too many fish in the tank all at once and as this site and all the crew here recommends. buy the test kits and sample the water REGULARLY. I'll check into this BioWheel or some other form of biological filtration in the filter that you have mentioned. Learning quickly but correctly and VERY thankful for all your help. Monique   <<Dear Monique; Good to hear the momma molly is doing okay :) Your pH of 7.8 is FINE, mollies require high pH, alkaline water, the opposite of what Neons like...keeping both species generally means one is not being kept in conditions they require for long-term good health. I am so happy to hear things are on the right track for you and your fishies. Keep up the good work! :) -Gwen>>

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

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

Balloon Mollies How can you tell if a Balloon Molly is pregnant? <<Hello. I don't think that's easy to do :P Just be sure the scales of the fish are not sticking out like a pinecone, as that would indicate dropsy. Watch her closely, so that if the mother does have babies (fry) you will know her behavior for next time. Also, you might want to put some densely floating plants in the tank, so the fry have a place to hide from the adult fish, who will eat them. -Gwen>>

Black Molly Fry Good evening, You have the most informative and useful site and I want to Thank You for that. Two weeks ago our black molly had babies.  First we didn't know it was a she nor did we know she was pregnant.  She had 35 babies and we saved 31 of them. They are now alone in the 10 gallon aquarium and we bought a 29 gallon one for the adults. In that one we have 3 female mollies, 1 orange molly, 2 neon tetra and 3 glow tetra and 2 fancy tails. We do not know if she was pregnant when we bought her about 3 months ago or if the orange molly that we have in the tank is the father.  If he is, will any of the babies be orange like him or will they stay black as they are now? We have learned so much from this site and by reading almost everything you had posted on "fry" we managed to save the babies.  They are really growing fast. Again thanks for your time and hope this isn't too much of a crazy question. Monique <<Hello :) Congrats on the fry! I hope you will do some regular water changes to keep the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels under control in the fry tank? It would be a good idea. Do you have any test kits? I cannot specify enough that test kits are important, and ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate test kits should be must-haves for ALL fish tank owners. That said, it's hard to say who the father is, but if they are born black, they will probably stay that color. Just be sure the momma fish gets high quality flake food, you can give Spirulina flake, and supplement it with Tetra Colorbits for a dose of protein twice a week. -Gwen>>

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

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

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

Molly fry survival Hi there! Found your wonderful website by chance and sure it is very very informative and useful to a newbie like me! I hope you can help me with this problem I currently have. I had got 3 female mollies and 2 male platies about 5 months back and the mollies had given birth several times but this is the first time which the fry had survived beyond the 4th week. However recently the fry had stopped eating and I am quite worried. I am using a breeding net and I have been feeding it TetraMin Baby powder food ever since. Thanks for looking at this! Jon <<Dear Jon; have you tested your water lately? It would be wise of you to test for ammonia (should be zero), nitrites (zero), and nitrates (as low as possible, say 20-30ppm). How often do you do water changes? How big is the tank? Do you vacuum the gravel? Do you rinse the filter media? How many fry are in with the adults? -Gwen>> 

Companions For Mollies Hi crew, We have a 10g freshwater tank set up with three live plants and gravel, some granite rocks, heater (78 degrees usually), AquaClear filter etc. Water quality consistently excellent after spiking after about one month. For nearly three months we have had one female Dalmatian molly and two male guppies. Everyone growing and healthy, and happy except at feeding time when the molly chases the guppies away from the food. My question is what and how many others could we add? We have five Molly fry two weeks-old in the same tank but in a partitioned area, looking healthy (a number were found dead and we have given away three). My kids would like to add two aquatic frogs, a catfish, another male guppy and keep a few of the fry. Is this realistic given the size of the tank? Do you have a recommendation re. a catfish type that is compatible with mollies and molly conditions e.g.. warm with some salt in the water)? We are looking for something quite different from the other inhabitants that can have a role in cleaning the tank and (hopefully) eating tiny snails (which I currently vacuum out with water changes). Thank you! from Andrea, Carter and Elizabeth. <<Hello. Congrats on the tank :) Sounds like things are going well. I do feel the tank will be a bit overcrowded if you add the fish you are contemplating, yes. The best way to know is to test for nitrates. A good nitrate test kit will tell you if your bioload is too high. By regular testing and water changes, you should be able to keep the level stable, say at around 40ppm (for example). If you do a water change per week, but you can't keep the nitrates down at 40ppm, then you have too many animals in the tank. Keep in mind the nitrates will get higher as the fish grow...As for compatibility, some mollies can be aggressive. If the guppies start to lose tail finnage, you can probably blame the mollies. The mollies may also decide the frogs make good eating...and as to the frogs, please make sure you buy the actual Dwarf frogs, not African Clawed frogs. They are hard to tell apart when small, but the clawed frogs will have no webbing between their front toes. Clawed frogs grow quite large, the size of your fist. As for a compatible catfish...normally I would say Corydoras or Otocinclus for such a small tank, but given the mollies and salt, it's a bit harder. I believe you would be better off to add a lace catfish, (Synodontis nigriventris) if you can find one at your LFS. They are quite pretty, grow to about 2-3 inches, and swim upside down all the time. Interesting addition to a community tank. They will "hover: beneath the leaves of your plants: http://www.scotcat.com/factsheets/s_nigriventris.htm  My last bit of advice to you is...save up for a bigger tank. You appear to be a true hobbyist! :) -Gwen>> 

Molly Fry Question Hello! I have a ten-gallon tank with two female and one male molly.  No other fish or creatures in that tank.  One of the female mollies had babies and I was not able to move her to a safer location before she gave birth.  Most of the baby fry have been attacked, killed and eaten by the Mollies, however, I do think there are a few hiding in the rocks.  At feeding time, I see them shoot up and eat then dart back into the rocks before one of the Mollies gets them.  However, I did see a few that did not make it back down the rocks and were killed.  The tank is new and I have a few plants in there growing, but they are still rather small plants.  I have a fake plant located in there to give them a hiding place until the live plants grow a bit bigger but they are not using it. What is the best way to get the Molly Fry out of the rocks and into a safer location?  Most of the time I cannot even see them, they are so small I have to look close just to see them for a second.  Would using the cleaning tube (not sure of the official name for it) hurt the fry?  The cleaning tube sucks rocks into a tube, the rocks go back down into the tank, and the debris from the tank keeps going into a bucket for cleaning so it can be tossed out. Thanks for your help. Best regards, James <<Dear James; yes, using a siphon to remove fry will work. Any piece of tubing will work. My concern is with your tank water. You say the tank is new, how new is it? Have you been testing for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates? I would highly recommend it, as ammonia at any level is quite toxic for baby fish. I would also recommend that eventually you add a couple more females for your male, once the tank has finished cycling. Otherwise your male will harass the females too much. When your females are due, placing them in a breeding trap will help, as the male cannot continue to harass the female, and you can remove the babies easier. Make sure your mollies are getting good quality foods, that the pH is relatively high, and a bit of salt won't hurt either. Mollies like hard water and will reproduce best under the conditions they prefer. It is important to keep your females healthy, stress free, and well fed. Otherwise disease and sometimes even death can occur to what seem to be perfectly healthy fish. Good luck :) -Gwen>>
Molly Fry Question II
Thank you for your reply. My tank is two months old.  I test the water every week and so far all levels are normal.  The Ph is high, around 7.8 or so.  The nitrite levels got a bit high a few days after the female molly gave birth.  After I did a 10% water change I found out why, there were many unborn fish eggs at the bottom of the tank along with a few dead baby fry.  After the cleaning, the nitrite went down to almost zero again.  When I did the cleaning, I avoided the living fry because I was concerned about the cleaning tube hurting them. Will it be ok to have four females and one male in a 10-gallon tank?  I do not want to over populate the tank.  No other fish are in the tank and I do not plan on putting any other bred of fish in that tank. Thanks again! Best regards, James <<James, good job on catching the egg problem. The tank would be overstocked with four females, but with regular weekly water changes and regular nitrAte testing you should be able to control it. If you prefer, three females instead. I just find two females will give a possibly-aggressive male too few targets, resulting in the weakest females death. If you think that he is not overly dominant, you could try the 2-1 ratio, but the first dead female will be a sign that you will need more females in there with him. Are these regular mollies, lyretail blacks, or Sailfin mollies? -Gwen>>
Re: Molly Fry Question
<Hi! Ananda here today...> They are Sailfin mollies. When I first purchased the mollies I purchased two, one was gold and the other was a Dalmatian molly. The gold molly was bigger and went after the Dalmatian molly all the time.  <Yep, establishing dominance in a small tank.> This is my first attempt with mollies, although I have raised other fish, so I was very uneducated about mollies. After a bit of research I found they were both males! No wonder they did not appear to be very happy! I then got two more mollies, both silver and both female. Shortly after those two were introduced into the tank the Dalmatian molly died. It was obvious the cause of death was not natural. Either the male got him or one of the new females did.  <Hmmm. Or, being somewhat weakened from stress, he succumbed to a nitr*te spike that happened after the others were introduced.> For the first week after I put in the two females, the male molly was extremely aggressive. He has mellowed out a lot since then. I still think I will try one more female. I normally do a water change every other week, but if I need to, I can do it every week. <Definitely plan on once a week with that stocking level.> If this goes the way I am planning I will be placing them in a bigger tank as the population grows, if I can catch the females right before they have more fry. It is hard to get the timing right and I am still not certain what to look for. I know the female fish gets bigger and I remember a dark spot on the female's body before she gave birth this last time.  <I've had Sailfins for 3 years and still have some difficulty with the timing. Typically, watch for a dark spot by the anal fin and a wider body -- so that it looks like the fish is bulging when you look at it head-on. Then when the belly "squares off", they're close. You don't want to catch them too close to the time when they're giving birth, or the stress can cause the egg expulsion you've seen.> I hope that I will be able to spot it this time so I can protect her before she has them and protect the fry after they are born. <Some floating grassy stuff in the tank will help with that. Have you given thought to what you're going to do with all those fry?> What is a good time to separate her before she gives birth? <A day or two early should be fine.> Is it possible to separate her too early once I know she is going to have fry? <Not really... just means you have another tank to maintain. And as long as you have males, and for six months afterward, she's going to be pregnant.> Also, can I separate her from the fry as soon as I know she is done?  <Yep. But make sure you have something for the fry to hide in until she's done. I've seen molly moms turn around and snap up their newly-born fry as snacks. I've used a single layer of glass marbles on the bottom of a tank, plastic wheat grass (floating upside down), and other stuff for fry hiding places.> Thanks again for all your help! Best regards, James <You're quite welcome. --Ananda> 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aggressive Molly Hi.  I hope you can help me.  I started with 3 black mollies- 2F, 1M. After about 1 week, the male began chasing and biting at the females during feeding times (only during feeding).  1F ended up dying.  I've never had this problem, past mollies have always been so peaceful.  He doesn't chase anyone else in the tank.  Any info on if this is normal?  Tank is FW 65 Gallon, nearing the end of cycling.  Thank you, Kelley. <<Kelley, sounds normal to me. Mollies can be quite aggressive, which is why we usually advise people to keep one male molly per three to four females. Remove the obviously impregnated females to a safe breeding trap, so she can have her babies in peace. Stressed females can and do, die, due to males constant harassment. Make sure your water quality is always good, keep nitrates low, and make sure the temp is always stable, 80F is fine. Add some more females, things should get better, but keep in mind that mollies are not peaceful fish. They just vary depending on their own character, some are worse than others. They are also herbivores, so try feeding them twice a day, it may help. -Gwen>>

Mollies Brackish?  4/13/-4 Hi :) <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I read your information about Mollies liking (needing?) brackish water -1T to each 5 gallons.   We've a 75 gallon with 2 female adult mollies and their 35+ fry, two Corys, two shrimp (rock and bamboo), and four C.A.E.  Our question is will the addition of salt bother the inhabitants that AREN'T mollies? <Mollies do best in salty water.  They even thrive in marine.  Your other fish won't like any salt at all.  So, either keep your mollies in FW, expecting some illness & shorter lifespans, get a 2nd tank, or return the FW fish & have a BW tank.> Thank you for your time :) Mrs.. D. Pontrelli <You're welcome ~PP>

Molly Babies I had 20 new mollies born last week. The one was dead. Then 2 days ago I lost another one, and yesterday morning found two more dead. It has been 20 years since I raised Mollies, and I can not remember if this is normal. The water is good, and all of the fish are healthy, eating and happy. The fry are in a breeding net. I also have a batch of guppies born two days after the mollies, and have not lost any of them. Are molly babies hard to keep alive?  < Not really but you have to look closely to see what's going on. Tiny fish babies are difficult to see let alone find any symptoms of disease. Check the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels of the tank. If nothing else change some water and add a tablespoon of rock salt for every 5 gallons of water to the tank and see if that helps. Mollies like salt and it helps build up a protective slim on the fish and the guppies won't mind so try that and see what happens.-Chuck>

Kill the Rabbit! I've read all the pregnant Molly posts, but I still have a question:  I have a pregnant black balloon Molly in an existing 10g freshwater tank with a few other fishes (Mollies, Platy, etc.). The tank is perhaps even overcrowded, but I'm in the process of curing that issue with additional space. A Dalmatian Lyretail follows her around and pokes at her behind, but you already know how that goes. In anticipation, I set up the maternity tank on Sunday (3/4/2004) with eco-complete wet substrate to aid in the  cycling of the tank. I'm currently running an over the side, dual filter, Whisper for 30g-60g tanks. It's working better at cleaning the mess from the substrate then the single filter Whisper (20g-40g) I had originally set up. I plan on covering the end of the tube for the filter with a screen or mesh of some sort, to keep the fry out of there. I used 5 gallons of existing tank water to kick start things. Also, I added an existing fake plant with about a 1"x1" total area of algae on it, a few flakes of food, and I'm planning on adding a few scrapes of algae to the filter tonight.  The maternity tank is perfect at pH 7.5 +, nitrite 0.0, and ammonia 0.0,  temp. 80, but I'm sure to see a spike at the peak of the cycle. Because of  the spike, I've considered holding off on moving her because of the cycling and the fact that I have live plants coming for the tank this Thursday. I don't want to stress her by adding plants in her presence. I figure I have a week to ten days before she's due, based on a 4-week period overall, but who really knows? I decided in the meantime to buy a net breeder to house her in the original tank until I can at least get the plants in, and fake lava moss to guard her young until I see that they were born. I'm also buying some OSI Spirulina and Liquifry (spelling? - fry food) to feed them. Am I thinking of everything?  < So far so good>  Also, I want to move her before the birth so I don't endanger the fry with a change in water chem. upon moving them. With  the tank not being fully cycled, will it harm one pregnant Molly, assuming I keep a super close eye on it?  < No. Keep track of the spikes and control them with water changes until everything gets cycled>  What about her young? If a tank takes 6-weeks to cycle and a Molly take 4-weeks to give birth, how does anyone get a Maternity tank up and running in time?  < Many aquarists use bare take with a sponge filter that is already cycled from another tank. Young fish will not get sucked up into the sponge and usually find something to eat on it too.> If I have to, how long should wait before transferring her in to the new tank?  < I would transfer her anytime.-Chuck>Thank you so much ? T

Molly Help  What a neat site. This place is packed with so much info...anyway, What does it look like when a molly "goes into labor"?  I have had pregnant mollies forever and cared for fry before, but I have never actually seen them give birth. I would like to try and save the majority of the fry and by the time I notice them, there are only a few left. Any info you can give would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks, Wendy in PA  <<Dear Wendy in PA; mollies don't actually go into labor, per se, they drop their fry randomly. Most times the fry are eaten even as they emerge from the poor mother.. All you can do is count...or try, in some way, to keep track of the gestation period (normally from 4 to 6 weeks) for each molly, and put her into a breeding trap when she approaches her "time". -Gwen>>

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

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

Balloon Mollies gestation II  <Hi! Ananda here...>  Thanks so much. They are amazing little creatures.  <Aye, even though they can be dumb as a box of rocks sometimes. Don't be too surprised if the male guppy starts making advances towards your female molly...saw that happening in a store the other day.>  I'm in my 50's--you would have enjoyed the expression of the 19 yr old assistant at the pet store when I asked him how a female molly could have babies without a male!  <Oh, to have been a fly on the wall! So are you going to tell him what you've found out? >:-)  --Ananda>

The case of the disappearing fry...  <Hi! Ananda here today...>  My molly was pregnant when I bought her and after about a week with me she gave birth.  <A very common occurrence with mollies.>  5 of the 9 were stillborn and unfortunately the mother died the morning after the birth.  <That's not a common occurrence... usually happens when the fish is stressed during late pregnancy or delivery, but there are other causes -- perhaps a malformed fry that would not be born, for example. If the tank is new, poor water quality during cycling is a more likely cause.>  I gave two of the fry to a friend and kept two for myself. My two have been happy and health for three weeks. I noticed that one of the two liked to hide and would bury herself under the rocks and not come out for about a day. Then, the other day both mollies disappeared, I assumed hiding under the rocks, but they have been gone for about a week. I am very new to keeping fish and am starting to get concerned. I don't think that they could possibly survive under the rocks for a week. Any ideas?  <My guess is that something else in the tank ate them, or if you have no other fish, that the fry were simply not strong enough to survive in your tank. Molly fry are especially susceptible to poor water quality, for example. --Ananda>

Balloon Mollies gestation  I have looked at the FAQ's, and can't find an answer to what is probably a much too basic a question.  <Ananda here to tell you that we all have basic questions... :-) >  I have a balloon belly molly that gave birth to 15 fry the day after I put her in a 6 gallon tank I have at work. I took the fry back to the pet store which put them in a fish nursery they had. Any way, here we are 6 weeks later and she gives birth to more fry.  <Yep, they do that.>  I have found 7. No other molly was in the tank, just 3 neon tetras and a male guppy. From what I understand, the molly can hold sperm and give birth later.  <Yup. They can hold sperm for about six months.>  My question: is this an indefinite process?  <If there are male mollies in the tank, yes. If you remove her own fry before they mature -- which can take only a few months -- she should quit having fry in another four months or so. Molly gestation time seems to vary by species -- and tank conditions! There's not a whole lot you can do to keep her from having fry, except for isolating her from male mollies for six months and more. --Ananda>

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

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

Molly Mom Mystery? (03/22/04) HI there! <Hi! Ananda the certifiable molly nut here tonight...> I witnessed my gold dust molly give birth last night! <Fun!> When I looked in there, she had a fry tail hanging from her vent area. It stayed in there for a bout a hour, and when she finally delivered it, it soon died. About thirty minutes later, her vent began protruding and she became very uncomfortable. About another ten minutes, her gravid area looked as if it may split in half! Then, babies began popping out. In the end, she had ten babies (it was her first delivery!) and also about four eggs.   <Ten fry is a little much for a first delivery. (I've had females have a single fry at the ripe old age of four months.) The one time I've seen molly eggs was with my first female molly to give birth -- I unknowingly stressed her after she'd started having fry, and she released a bunch of eggs.> Seven of the 10 fry have survived so far. I did not even know that she was pregnant! The strange thing is, all of our mollies are females, but we have three male platys. The other strange thing is, there is not ONE black fish in the 29 gallon tank, and EVERY SINGLE FRY looks the same, a white head and a black body! Seventuplets!! <Sounds like your female encountered a black molly at the store or earlier.> I also know that she probably wasn't pregnant from the pet store, because we've had her for about three months, and she hasn't had any fry, and they had the males and females separated. <Female mollies can store sperm for up to six months, so she was probably biding her time.> I guess she became pregnant when we added the male platys about five weeks ago! What do you think? <Unlikely, for the reason given above.> Maybe this will help some people with fish that are moms to be! RACHEL <That's why we're here. --Ananda>

Pot belly molly fry (03/05/04) <Hi! Ananda here this morning...> My black pot belly molly is having babies as I'm typing this. Do they lay eggs or do they birth live young? <The latter, generally, though on rare occasions, you may see a fry that is still encapsulated that has to break out of the remainder of the egg.> My male keeps attacking the babies and so far I don't see any of them moving. <Newborns often just hang out for a while before they start wandering around. Hopefully the male isn't hurting them.> I see a couple of them hidden in the leaves of the artificial plants, but they seem to be in a egg sac. What should I do? CA <Truly, there isn't much more you can do to help them. Pot-bellied mollies are highly inbred, and so the fry may have a relatively low survival rate. For the next batch, if you can figure out when the female is about to have fry, it will be easier on her and the fry if you can move the female into a maternity tank. Use a single layer of round, glass marbles as the substrate, and the fry can hide there safely out of mom's reach. If the second tank isn't a possibility, do use lots of floating and submerged plants for the fry to hide in. I've used fake wheat grass very successfully -- the leaves are so close together that the adults can't reach the fry at all. Do check out the forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk -- we have a few  pot-bellied molly fans there who will be happy to chat them up with you.  Best of luck. -- Ananda.>

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

Potbellied mollies I have 2 pot bellied mollies a male and female.........the female has looked pregnant since I got her about month ago but has had none......is there a way to tell for sure if she is or whether its just a big belly, thanks, Tazzy Dear Tazzy; Hello, do you know for sure that you have a male and a female? The male will have a gonopodium (small, pointy thing in the place of a regular fin at the rear part of his belly, towards his tail) and the female will have regular fin. Since their bellies are so round, it's hard to see how pregnant she is, but sometimes she will have a few babies without you knowing, they will hide, or get eaten if you are not around at the time of delivery. Look closely, you may see some lurking babies yet! It might be a good idea to add some java moss to your tank, this will give the babies a place to hide, and will help provide food for them to pick at. Make sure you do regular partial water changes :) -Gwen<<

Aggressive Mollie Hi, great website you have here! <Thank you, we hope that you find it informative (not to mention fun).> I have a black molly, female, who is so aggressive. I have a 46 gal. tank, everything has been going good. My chemical levels are all perfect. I also have one Silver Dollar, one Australian Rainbowfish, one Guppy male, two Guppy females, one male Swordtail, and three female Swordtails. I know my stock choice isn't so great, that was a mistake of mine. I'm new to this hobby and I've learned that I definitely need more than just one fish of all my breeds. So I'm working on adding stock. <It's good that you have learned that, researching your fish and knowing what they need to be happy definitely increases the fun you have with your fish.  Just be careful not to over stock your tank.  If you will be adding more fish, you might want to think about increasing the filtration on your tank.> In the meantime though I'm really worried about the aggressiveness of my molly. I got all my fish as babies, and the molly is about two inches now. She's really growing and the bigger she gets the meaner she gets. <That is a Mollie trait, I've never been a big fan of these fish because of that reason.  I find them to be aggressive in nature, they pester many tankmates.> And mostly it's just with my Swordtails and particularly my male Swordtail. I thought it was very odd that she seems to just pick the Swordtails to pick on. <Perhaps your "she" is a "he".  Male of the species will pick on other males for breeding rights.  The Mollie thinks that your male swordtail is a competitor and is trying to chase the other one to breed with the females.> I thought these two breeds did well together. <Yes they do.  Though it has never happened in my tank, I have been told of them cross breeding.> She is constantly chasing them. When I recently (about 3 weeks ago) added two of my female Swordtails it didn't take long before I noticed a nipped fin in one of them. Since then her fin has healed. I haven't noticed any more nipped fins except for in my male Swordtail. My molly has taken a bite out of his top fin and quite a chunk off the end of his sword. I will be moving her to a tank by herself for the time being since noticing that today. <Separating her is the best choice you can do now.  She will not stop the harassment, and it will only get worse as the fish ages.> Why does she harass him so? She chases him constantly, when of course she's not chasing the other Swordtails. <In my opinion, I think the molly is chasing the swordtails for breeding issues.> Is she mad because she doesn't have any other mollies to hang out with? What should I do with her? I hate to give her up, but I don't want her harassing anyone else I have or may get. <My opinion you should probably trade her in for something else.  She will not stop this behavior, and adding more will most likely add more headache to the problem.  I suggest you take her back to your LFS and see if you can find a Rainbow or Silver dollar to add to the tank.  At least then you know that you will be adding a fish that will be okay in the tank.  Plus it will be good to add more of the same fish to enlarge the schools.> The water conditions are favorable for her, 8.0 pH and alkaline and a little salt. So I didn't think that the water conditions were causing her aggressiveness. Thanks for all your help you can offer me. Stacie <That is the headache with Mollies, in my opinion they are very annoying fish.  My suggestion is to remove her from the tank, either give her a tank all to herself (with other mollies if you wish).  Or you can return it to the pet store and try to get a mate for one of your other fish.  Good luck -Magnus>

Mollies, To Salt or Not To Salt I am in the process of setting up my new aquarium, a 25 gallon Eclipse and I was to have Mollies. After reading many, many articles on-line, I still have one major question- Brackish or Freshwater????  Most of the articles recommend adding salt, however I ran across this article by Kevin Yates, "The Great Molly Myth" which totally shattered my previous beliefs about mollies. So salt or no salt??? Thanks for reading. Marion Allen Brevard, NC >>Hello Marion. I believe mollies should be kept in water with a high pH, around 7.8, and medium to high alkalinity. Salt can be added, a tablespoon per 3 gallons of water, give or take. The exact amount doesn't matter, what DOES matter is pH, and water quality. Especially with black mollies, who should also be kept in warmer temps, around 80-82F. Make sure you test your water regularly for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate readings. Keep the nitrate level low, say around 40ppm. Feed them a varied diet, including both vegetable and protein based foods. Keep a ratio of one male per three-four females. Give the females plenty of hiding spaces, like plants, for example, so they get a chance to rest and not be harassed by the male. They can be aggressive, so make sure not to overcrowd them. A 25g can safely handle around 10 mollies, with once-a-week partial water changes. Sailfin mollies will grow to around 4 inches, so understock those.-Gwen

Baby molly's disappearance I had five 1/4 inch mollies in a hanging net breeder by themselves. Over the past 1 mo, 2 died that I know of. One is bigger and the rest of them. The other day, a smaller disappeared. No corpse to be found. Since no adult fish gets into the net breeder, could a sibling have eaten him up???  <Yes, larger mollies have been known to eat small young. Also, mollies will pick at the bodies of dead fish, so, perhaps the fish didn't eat them when it was alive but nibbled it right up after it had passed on. When I bred mollies I found it best to set up a second tank with lots of (plastic) plants so that it offered hiding areas. It worked well until I felt they were large enough to go back into the display tank with the other adults. -Magnus>

Sick mollies (1/5/04) Hi Gang, I am hoping to reach Ananda. <I'm here... just happened to be online and saw the email in the box.> I recently posted a question on the web chat and now I cannot get to that page for some reason. <Likely a forum error...those happen occasionally. Do let me know if you can't access it now; I have it open in another window: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=3&thread=15355 > Ananda, the name I used was ilovesailfins. I do have salt added to my 55 gallon. I use 1 tablespoon per gallon of water, but I am using salt for freshwater should I change to marine salt, if so what kind? <Hmmm. That's not much salt at all... I think whether you should switch to marine salt depends on what your water hardness is, and what other fish you have in the tank.> If I do need to change to marine salt, how do I do this with freshwater salt already added in?   <I would do it slowly, via water changes. Just add salted water in when you take water out during a water change.> I do not have anything to correctly measure the salt content, what do I need to get? <The easiest thing to use is an Aquarium Systems or Marineland hydrometer. They are the only plastic hydrometers that read low levels of salt.> My one older sail fine is not doing so good. She is not eating and is having problems swimming.  She is also loosing weight.  She was really a robust fish, not she is starting to appear hollow bellied. She also seems to be breathing a little faster than normal now. I also noticed that her fish droppings appear to be clear mucus.  I really am in the dark with this problem. My other molly is still eating, but she also appears to be loosing weight. <Sounds like an internal parasite. You want to look for a food laced with Metronidazole, or make your own. You can mix Metronidazole powder with frozen/thawed food and re-freeze it for use later. There are a couple of companies that sell Metronidazole; Aquatronics has Hex-a-Mit in capsules, and Seachem sells the powder in a vial. The Metronidazole can be added to the water in a hospital tank, but is *far* more effective for this problem if it's added to food.> I tested the water again today and the only change was the nitrates.  They are around 10.   <Shouldn't be a problem. I've had mollies in water with more nitrates than that.> I think they went up because I added Paragon II to the water thinking the mollies may have wasting away disease or maybe some kind of internal parasite.   <Oh, wunderbar, that's got Metronidazole in it already, and Furazolidone and neomycin sulfate to deal with bacteria in case that's what it is.... Keep using the stuff.> I am going to do another water change tonight, how much do you think I should change.  I normally do about 20 percent. <Follow the directions on the Paragon II package.> The only change made to this tank is adding some real plants.  I added some java fern plants and some anacharis.  I did go over the plants to make sure no snails were attached and also rinsed them really well. Do you think this is the problem? Did the plants bring in something? <It's possible. I try to quarantine all new plants if I get them from a fish store.> Here are the water test results ammonia 0 ph 7.4 nitrites 0 nitrates 10 KH 71.6 (I think I did the math right) GH 100-200 ppm <Hokay, I don't think you need to switch to marine salt...what else is in the tank?> Thank you all for the help.  I am addicted to your site.  I have to read it every day. Cindy <Goodness knows, there are worse addictions. :) Thanks! And do check the forums, too...  --Ananda>

Sick Mollies II (1/5/04) Hi Ananda, <Hi again...> Wow what a fast reply.  Thank you so much for your time. <I was probably online shortly after your email came in...> I didn't tell you about the other fish in our tank. We have 2 brick swordtail, 1 male one female 3 Platies, 1 male 2 females 2 cat fish, one albino, one panda 1 very large sword, not sure of the sex. Could be female turning into a male. <There's a fair bit of debate about that possibility... there are no proven cases of a viable female (i.e., one who's had fry) turning into a viable male (i.e., one who's sired fry). More likely, it's a case of the fishy hormones getting away from what's normal for a female, and thus the fish shows some traits usually found in males. I had one female swordtail (who'd had fry) develop a sword a couple of millimeters long, but that's as far as it went.> 2 males sail fins, one is very young, 5 months, I know because he is one of my babies 5 female sail fins, various ages 3 females 4-5 months old and 2 grown females. I forgot to tell you thought that my older female had babies about 2 weeks ago,  she only ever has around 5 and not all the same day. She seemed to be fine after having her babies, but soon started to slow down. <I wonder if perhaps she has more than that and the rest get munched... having fry is definitely stressful for the fish.> I will continue with the Paragon II and hope the mollies will pull out of this. <Me, too... The Sailfins are my favorite mollies.> Thank you again. Cindy PS I was in Chicago this past September and I had to see the Shedds's Aquarium.  Wow it was really a wonderful day. <Yup, definitely a fun thing to do in the city. --Ananda>

Molly chums? (1/15/04) <Hi! Ananda here today...> We've had a tank for years and years... a few weeks ago we got three mollies....two males and a female.   <It's generally better to get multiple females per male, so that each female gets a bit of a break from the males' attentions.> One of the males is acting very "spazzy"  (my son has named him Spaz!) He never seems to sit still, he is always kind of jerking back and forth. <My mollies are almost always moving, but the jerking back and forth isn't a healthy thing. I occasionally see that in mollies that are in one of the freshwater tanks. My usual way of dealing with that is moving the affected fish into the light-brackish tank. If you are running these in a strictly freshwater tank, you might consider adding just a bit of salt (on the order of 1 tablespoon per 10 gallons).> He is very chummy with the female molly....they are now hanging down in the bottom back of the tank together.... I was wondering, is this some sort of mating ritual???   <Not one that I've seen. "Anytime the lights are on, anyplace in the tank" seems to be the motto of the males I've got. The one ritual I do see is that the males will raise their sailfin and swim in circles around the female, as if to say "Look at my pretty fin! I'm so gorgeous! You really do want to have my fry, don't you?"> ...or is something wrong with this guy?? ....desire or disease?? HA!   <Mollies really need hard water and a pH above 7.2, or a brackish system, if they're going to thrive. (Even in my planted tank, my pH is around 7.8 and the hardness is around 12.) If your water is too acidic or too soft, you might consider a brackish tank for them.> Thank you!  ~Wendy and Levi <You're welcome. --Ananda>
Re: Molly chums (01/15/04)
Thank you Ananda!   Sometimes all it takes for a problem to fix itself is address it....! <Yup, seems like that's the way it works sometimes.> This morning when we woke up, he was back to normal.....we've decided to still call him Spaz though! Thanks for your fast response!  Look forward to visiting your site some more!  ~Wen <Cool. Check out the forums, too: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk ... often, you can get a faster response on the forum, because we don't have to wait for email transit time! --Ananda>

Makin' 'em Go Salty >hi, >>Hello. >I have read in books that you can change the molly from freshwater to salt water and I would like to try that but none of the books said how big the container you drip the water in should be so how big of a container would I need to drop the water at one drop per second and if you have any other ways to convert them pleas tell me.   thank you, Joey                                          >>Wowee!  Can you really say all that in one breath?  The size of the container is only important if you plan on keeping them there, Joey.  If we're only talking a couple of mollies, then a large bowl (a gallon or two) is fine.  They'll appreciate it if you go ahead and add a small air stone for aeration, too.. just don't make it too vigorous or they'll be bashed around (or, you'll get the toilet bowl effect on 'em).  Do be sure to do this over a few hours, and WATCH  their scales!  This is really important, because that's your best sign that you're going too fast - if their scales begin to stick out like a pinecone, you know you're going too fast for them and need to add fresh water again and slow down the saltwater additions.   Marina
Makin' 'em go Salty - Thanks..
>thank you Marina and I will try it and also yes I can say all that in one breath >>Wow, you've got me gasping for breath here.. ;)  Have fun!  Lots of species actually do better in a brackish/salt environment.  Marina

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

Guppy tail mollies: fertile? Hi Ananda, <Hi again!> Wow!  Where do you live? <Chicago area.> I haven't seen any snow for several years and I miss it!   Consider yourself lucky (if you can stand the extra work it creates!) <The snow here is minimal compared to what I grew up with in northeastern Minnesota!> I'm really writing to answer the question about the two female Mollie's ages.  They were fully matured when I purchased them so I don't really know their true age.  I got them at Pet Smart, so maybe that would give you some idea of their ages.  They look like they came from the same parents because they both have extra long tails (not lyre tails).  Maybe that can tell you something about their genealogy too.  I was attracted to them because of their unusually long tails, almost like male guppies!    <I bet you have the so-called "guppy tail mollies". I've seen those only once, and they were quite expensive. I've been trying to find out more about the genetics of them, but they're so new on the market, it seems no one is talking about that yet. As yours are both balloon-bellied and guppy-tailed, it's possible they're sterile -- I know the balloon-bellied mollies are highly inbred, and I suspect the same is true of the guppy-tailed.> One of the females is also having "the shimmies."  Is that because of the parasites?   <Could be. Usually, thought, when I see my mollies shimmy, I take that as a sign their tank needs some more salt. I have ridiculously hard water, so I can keep the mollies in a freshwater tank, but I've seen that a few individuals are prone to shimmying or pop-eye unless they are in a brackish tank. I imagine you might see that sort of thing more frequently in the highly-bred varieties you have.> What causes the parasites to come from "nowhere" like that.  I mean, I didn't buy new fish with ich on them or at least I didn't notice any. <That last bit is the key -- you didn't notice it, but it was quite possibly there. Ich has multiple stages in its life cycle, one of which is invisible. And here's a question -- did you let any of the water from the fish store into your tanks? If you did, that's definitely something to avoid in the future.> Thanks again, Leslie <You're quite welcome! --Ananda>

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

"Cross-breeding" mollies? (12/16/03) I have a pot bellied molly male in a 10 gal tank with two large female "regular" mollies.  Can they interbreed?   <Yup.> I've heard both that they can't and that they can.  I'm very curious to know the facts.     <Biologically, they are either the same or very similar species, depending on which "regular" mollies you have. I suspect the reason you've heard they can't is that the pot-bellied (aka balloon-bellied) molly females may have trouble carrying fry sired by a standard molly, possibly resulting in the death of the female. I have heard reports of this, but, since I prefer the standard mollies, have never seen it.> My little balloon molly is really cute.  He's jet black and I love to watch him.  I'd enjoy seeing him breed with a black female balloon molly, but haven't seen one at all.  Looked for quite awhile.  Can you help?  (I'm mainly interested in the inter-breeding question). <To find a female balloon molly, do check the web and look for more fish stores near you. You might also look for fish clubs -- if there is a freshwater fish club in your area, perhaps someone there has molly fry they do not wish to keep. Speaking of which -- what are your plans for all the molly fry you are likely to end up with? This is something you should figure out *now*, before you find yourself swamped with hundreds of fry...which, with two females, could happen in only a few months. Do please drop on by the forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk and the balloon molly fans will be thrilled! --Ananda> Molly twisting in the water? (12/01/03) I have just bought a female molly and she is now twisting in the water. Can you explain why? <Hmmm. We've just had a discussion on this on the forums. Please read here: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=31&thread=14537  ...If the behavior described there does not match what you're seeing, please do post or write back and we'll do some more research. --Ananda>

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

- Sailfin Mollie to Saltwater - Anthony et al while Bob is away, First off mates, this site, as I have told Bob before, is truly amazing and a help to both the animals in our care and those of us lucky enough to enjoy a small slice of the underwater world in our homes. My question is what would the crew recommend the process to take Sailfin mollies from lightly brackish (1.010 or thereabouts) to full NSW, I've got some 1 months olds from a breeding tank that I would like to move to a nano reef that has been set up for a year or so (refugia=pods =coral growth, thanks to WWM for that).  I am going to place about three of the gold x silver Sailfin crosses in my small QT tank, how much salinity move per day and over what period might make this move successful. <A couple of thousandths a day - say from 1.000 to 1.002, and perhaps even slower if you want to be extra careful.> I figure that 2-3 weeks might be a good transition time and a good QT (figure it would lower chance of stress-induced ich from the change). <Well... freshwater ich and saltwater ich are two different protozoans so you wouldn't have to worry about introducing one to the other. The change to saltwater will kill the freshwater ich.>  Once again thanks to all that WWM does, An appreciative friend, Joe <Cheers, J -- >

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

Puffers, molly fry, and more (10/28/03) [previous message] """Actually I'd stay longer to say more, but my mollies have just started to shoot out fry and I have to catch them and separate them before they can eat anymore.   <Well, now we know that you don't have a pair of males! :-) > I don't know what you people do to catch fry, but I'll be damned if there is anything better than a turkey baster for catching those little things, lol. <*blink* Three years of keeping mollies and catching molly fry, and that never even occurred to me...I use a couple of nets.> Robert *Turkey basting the baby mollies* <Truly, some excellent ideas come from people who are do not know what they are 'supposed' to do. Thanks for the idea! --Ananda>""" [/end previous message] I must admit, after seeing that response, I bust a kidney laughing. <Which is about what I did when I read about the turkey baster! :-) > To be honest, those two I had WERE males, since I was confusing the caudal fin with the anal fin. <Ah, gotcha.> My biology knowledge from back in the high school days is escaping me. <Quick! Go chase it, catch it, and tie it down! ;-) > The mollies were actually female silvers, hand picked since I could see that they were pregnant. <The only way to be sure you're getting mollies that really are female, as opposed to largish immature males...> They are all in the 55 now, but I'm still one female short. Honestly when I noticed the fish looking like they were in a feeding frenzy, I took a closer look at them swimming after fry. Whilst I sat there looking at all the fry hiding in corners and tight spaces, I couldn't figure out how to get them out to save them. There lying against the side of the aquarium was the turkey baster, which I had used to suck up sand to make decorative waves amongst on the bottom of the aquarium earlier. <Uh-hunh, playing in the tank again, hmmm?> You could just imagine the eyebrow lift as the thought struck my mind. o.O So taking the baster I just stuck it in the corner and *thoop*, three fry in a single shot. (Great minds at work... turkey basting fish). I got about 15 of them into the separator chamber and left them in there, since I had to go to class. Sadly though, somehow the chamber was dislodged from the side and had drifted under the power filter flow by time I got back. <Doh!> The chamber was knocked under, and by time I got back I only found 4 still alive and hiding. So they were moved over to the 10 gallon where the puffer and the gobies still reside, although they leave the fry alone. The pufferfish seems more interested with scrounging around for food, although he won't touch a snail on the ground if it's not crushed first. He is still too small to pick them off the wall so the only way of getting him to eat them are to crush the snails and drop them right in front of his face or let them float on the surface. He's getting about one or two snails a day before breakfast and dinner. <Sounds good for a spoiled little puff. :) > Ok, now I have looked at the spotted green pufferfish on fishbase, and something seems wrong between looking at the online ones and the one I have. You won't be able to tell by the pictures but mine looks like he has more of a beak or extension of his jaw area, instead of a regular slope. He looks more like a ball (hence the name Meatball) than the footballish look, and the kicker is he basically NEVER fans out his caudal fin. <Mine don't, either.> He only does it when he's completely stopped in the water, and that is a very rare occasion in itself. He always keeps it squinched when he uses it like a rudder. <Yep, sounds familiar!> Ok, here are the pictures, although they probably wont help as much. <You've got a healthy-looking Tetraodon nigroviridis in your tank. --Ananda>

M Hi Crew! I have a 12-gallon tank with four mollies and a Betta. Up till recently, I have had to clean the algae off of the decorations in the tank periodically to keep it looking clean.  The mollies nibbled at the algae but weren't very effective.  Then, recently (as in within the past 3 weeks) I stopped having to clean the algae off at all because they have been chowing down on it! <Well, it's nice your maid service has finally started working!> Is it ok for my mollies to eat so much algae? <They know what's good for them.> They still eat the same amount of flakes and bloodworms that I have been feeding them, only now they are also eating tons of algae so their little bellies look round. <Your fish sound nice & healthy!> Does this mean their food was lacking in something, or that I wasn't feeding them enough, or just that they like algae? (They just needed some veggies.> Thanks for helping me! <You're welcome--Pufferpunk>

- Acclimating Mollies to Saltwater - Hi. <Hello to you...> I sent an email before but didn't get an answer. <Many apologies.> I was wondering if you could help me with acclimating a mono to saltwater. <Ok.> My boyfriend has a 37 gal freshwater setup that includes 3 convicts, an ugly red parrot cichlid and a Monodactylus argenteus.  They look very crowded, especially as it is a higher tank as opposed to wider.  I would like to move the mono to my 55 gal reef tank.  Right now I have about 40 lbs of live rock, some mushrooms, a coral beauty angel, a purple Firefish, a scooter blenny, a yellow clown goby and a white banded cleaner shrimp.  The mono is rather large (at least compared to my fish).  We bought him about 3 years ago.  He was freshwater when we bought him and I wouldn't even consider the water he's in now brackish.  Would it be possible to put him in my tank eventually? <Sure.> Would this be too stressful? <Not if you take things slowly, although mollies can move from fresh to salt quicker than they can go from salt to fresh.> I have a 10 gallon that I could use to acclimate him in.  Is this too small? <It's a little on the small side but will likely work fine for the amount of time the acclimation will take.> If it can be done. how slowly do I have to increase salinity? <A couple of thousandths a day - say from 1.000 to 1.002, and perhaps even slower if you want to be extra careful.> Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.  Thank you. Nicole <Cheers, J -- >

- Acclimating Mollies to Saltwater, Doh! - J- Thanks so much for responding. <My pleasure.> I just wanted to make sure though -- I'm talking about a mono (Monodactylus argenteus) - not mollies. <Oh, I am so silly... my apologies.> Does what you wrote still apply? <Sure, in fact you can go a little faster if you want. These fish are actually saltwater fish.> Again, thanks for your time. Nicole <Cheers, J -- >

Molly fry Hey guys, <Hi Cindy and John, Sabrina here with you today> Just like to say you site is very informative.  I have spent many hours reading on different subjects and love the fact I am learning a wealth of information. <Wonderful to hear!  Please continue to learn and enjoy!> We have about 130 sail fin molly babies <Holy mackerel.... er, well, *not* mackerels, but wow, all the same.  'Lotta babies.> and we are wondering are what age can we determine male or female.  I have read several different articles and there is no one age.   <Well, this is due partly to the fact that there are a lot of contributing factors in the growth of the fry: food and frequency of feeding, water quality, temperature, etc., so it's not very easy to give you a good, definitive answer.  Now, to make things worse, there are occasionally (perhaps even often) late developing males, which for many months may look, even act like females, then suddenly grow male features (Sailfin, gonopodium).  These late bloomers might be identifiable by some display of mild aggression to other very obviously male mollies.> Our oldest baby is 3 1/2 months old and appears to be female. The next group of babies are 2 months and also  appear to be female. the youngest group is just 2 weeks old and growing very fast.  The mothers of the babies are the large Sailfin variety. <As you start to see males develop in your first few batches, it'll help you get a feel for it for following broods.> One female mom is chocolate chip, orange with brown all over, and the other mother is silver.  Both females are a little over 3 inches long.  The babies are in 2 five gallons tanks, we will be moving them to the 20 gallon tank within a week.   Our tanks are all exactly the same conditions: Ph 7.5 Nitrates 0 ammonia 00 GH & KH  6 <All sounds good - do please test for nitrite as well, as it is toxic to fish.> Thank you for the wonderful website.  We check your site almost everyday.  Cindy & John <And thank you for the kind words - glad to hear it.  -Sabrina>

Balloon molly fry deaths Hello there.  I'm not sure if you can help me.   <Hi Sarah, we'll sure try!> I have a female balloon molly which had 6 babies just over 9 weeks ago.  They have all survived up until they were about 8 weeks old (about a week ago), then the smallest one of them started swimming in circles and it died during the night.  Since then, over the last week or so, three more have died.  I didn't actually notice any of the others behaving oddly.  I have now only got two babies left.  Do you know what could have killed them and are the two survivors likely to die as well?  Thanks very much for your help in advance,  Sarah. <Well, first and foremost, check your water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH).  I would imagine that the likeliest cause of the fry's illness is related to water quality.  If you see any ammonia or nitrite register on your tests, do water changes immediately to correct it.  Balloon mollies are a little more sensitive than other mollies, due to selective inbreeding, and baby balloon mollies, of course, are more sensitive than adults, so anything out of whack in water quality will really harm them.  Another thing to think about, if you haven't already, is adding salt to the molly tank.  Now, since I don't know what other fish you're keeping with the mollies, the best I can suggest to you is to add one to two tablespoons of salt per ten gallons of tank water; most freshwater fish will appreciate this.  Use salt designed for saltwater aquariums.  Mollies can certainly take (and appreciate) a LOT more salt than that, and even thrive in full-blown saltwater aquariums.  To find out more, especially about mollies in brackish water, I'd recommend dropping by our forum, http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/index.jsp .  Hoping for the best for you and your remaining baby balloons,  -Sabrina>

Balloon molly fry deaths - part two The other fish that we have got are four mollies, four silver tips, five Neons, one Siamese fighter, two balloon mollies, two upside down cats and one Plecostomus. <What size tank is this?  Also, just to give you fair warning - it is certainly not unheard of for upside-down cats to snack on small fish, like silvertip and neon tetras, and also to become rather aggressive, when they get bigger....> We actually clean the tank out every other week, changing about a third of the water and cleaning the filter.   <Great.> When we put the new water in, we add fresh start (2 pipettes per 9 litres of water) and tonic salts (half a one teaspoon per 18 litres of water).  We have also got a little kit to test the nitrite/nitrate, which we do very two or three weeks and it is always ok. <Is this a liquid reagent kit, or one of the test 'strip' dipstick-type things?> The other thing you suggested was to check the ammonia, how do you do that? <Test kits are available, probably can find one at your local fish store.  Try to get a kit with liquid reagent instead of the test 'strip' type.> Also just so that you know the babies are actually in a floating tank in the main tank and none of the fish in the main tank have died which is why we thought it was probably a disease or some sort of infection. <If none of the adult fish are sick, I'd be more inclined to think it wasn't a bacterial/parasitic infection, but it is certainly possible.> Do you still think it could be something to do with the water quality? <Yes, absolutely.  I think this is by far the likeliest.  Baby fish are far, far more sensitive than adult fish.  Ammonia and nitrite must be kept at zero, anything above that will be toxic to the fish, and deadly to the (more sensitive) fry.  Maintaining excellent water quality is very important with baby fish.  Don't worry, mollies are very prolific, and you'll probably have a new batch soon.  Good luck!!  -Sabrina> From Sarah.

Black Molly HI guys, <Hi! Ananda and Sabrina tag-teaming on this one... > I have a few questions regarding black molly care. Since the tank is going to be based around them, can you give me their basic water requirements, including salt levels in the aquarium? I have read anywhere from 1 tsp. per gallon to 1 tsp. per 5 gallons... there doesn't really seem to be any consistency about the information I have read. <A: That's partly because mollies can tolerate anything from freshwater to saltwater. You want plants, so you are probably going to want to use the really low end of brackish -- no more than 1.002. That's the specific gravity reading,  and a much better way of measuring salt levels than "teaspoons per gallon". To measure specific gravity at low levels, you need a SeaTest hydrometer -- and yes, it needs to be that specific brand. Other plastic hydrometers are designed for marine use and don't measure the low levels. The glass thermometer-hydrometers are usually calibrated to 60 degrees, so you'd need a chart to convert that to the correct value based on your tank temperature. The SeaTest hydrometer is already calibrated to 76 degrees, so you shouldn't need a chart.> Also, if I were to add other fish to the tank in the future, what would make appropriate tankmates for them, from their natural habitat that is? <A: It depends, somewhat, on precisely which species of molly you get. Most commonly-available molly species show up in black morphs. And it's just about impossible to tell Poecilia velifera from P. latipinna, though you can usually tell them from P. sphenops. You may want to track down a book on freshwater fishes of the southeastern U.S. Finding some of the other fish native to that area is going to be difficult unless you can go on a collecting trip. Only a few are available -- and sporadically at that -- in pet stores. I believe the least killifish is one you might find. <<S: comment: the 'least killifish' is a tiny livebearer, not really a killifish - Heterandria formosa is their Latin name.>> The Florida Flagfish is another. Those are difficult to find, and you want to make sure you get at least one female for every male. Otherwise, the male will go after the females and get quite grouchy. He may even antagonize the males, nipping their fins, until he shows that he's the tank boss.> <<S: Others you might think about could be: variegated Platies (Xiphophorus variegatus), swordtails, (Xiphophorus sp.), Mosquitofish (Gambusia sp.), (even guppies ('feeder' type, if you're going for the whole 'natural' look).  Of them, the swordtails will do best with the mollies, by far.  All of these fish can tolerate light brackish conditions.  Beware mixing Platies and swordtails, as they will interbreed.  If you go high brackish, one fish to consider would be possibly the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus aculeatus).  They'll take a wide range of salinity, too.>> Lastly, could you also tell me plants that are from their natural habitat as well? <A: There are a few plants that will tolerate brackish water, and fewer of them that are available are from the same area that the molly is native to. The Florida mangrove is one such species, and can tolerate a much higher specific gravity than most other plants. Bacopa is found where mollies are found, but I'm not certain how much salinity it can tolerate.  <<S: B. caroliniana, native to central America, may possibly tolerate low salinity, say, 1.002-ishSG, and is a pretty tough plant.  B. rotundifolia is native to the southern US, but is not hardy at all, compared to B. caroliniana.>> The last time I did some research on this, I looked into estuarine biotopes and plants in Florida and Louisiana.> <<S:  And mollies can be found all the way on down the coast and inland into central America, and even in southern California/northern Mexico and places along that coast and inland.  Mollies are pretty widespread.  Some specific plants to play with: Vallisneria spiralis and V. americana (north American natives) will both tolerate lo brackish conditions well; Egeria densa, a US (now worldwide) native, might even tolerate low brackish; hornwort (Ceratophyllum sp.) is distributed pretty much worldwide, so that's in; Echinodorus tenellus 'pygmy' or 'chain' sword (N. and S. America).  Just some starter ideas.  Any good plant book that tells plant species origins will definitely help you here, as well.  A lot is going to depend on how strict you want your biotope to be -- if that's what you're aiming for.  There are definitely some ideas for brackish plants if you choose to break away from the biotope idea.>> Thank you very much. <<Always a pleasure.  Wow, we got long winded.  -Ananda and Sabrina>>

Molly sensitivity and cycling I'm cycling an additional 15 Gal. aquarium (have established 55 gal.,3 10 gal., and a 5 gal already) and put in a couple platys, 2 adult Mollies (white Lyretails) and a couple half grown white mollies to aid in starting the cycling. <There is an alternative to subjecting the fish to harmful ammonia and nitrite spikes - do a google search on 'fishless cycling' - also, since you have pre-existing tanks, you've got a major help - just take some gunky filter media from an established tank and put it in with the filter on the new tank.  A bit of gravel from an established tank would help, as well.> After 21 days now, the mollies appear suddenly stressed. The adult female was found dead last night, The adult male was in obvious trouble, and the two young mollies appear humped back, with swimming & breathing problems. <Very likely all a result of the cycle, I would think.  Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH test results at the time would have given more insight, perhaps> I give them a dip in an antibiotic solution, then put them in a quarantine tank. The adult male seems to be recovering, the small ones are still questionable. The platys seem to be doing fine, although I treated the 15 gal. tank with the antibiotic (contains Nitrofurazone) before I checked the ammonia and nitrite levels. <A good med choice.  Especially if it is ammonia/nitrite poisoning.> The treated water shows a trace of ammonia, and barely registers nitrite & nitrate (probably skewed by the medication). <Any ammonia whatsoever is bad.  Any nitrite whatsoever is bad, as well.  Both are quite toxic to fish, and will cause gill damage.> Are mollies more sensitive to nitrite, etc. than the platys? Any other suggestions? <Some fish are more sensitive than others, to be sure.  Some of the molly strains are particularly inbred and weaker than other strains.  Another point about mollies - they do much better in brackish or full saltwater conditions than in fresh.  In freshwater, they prefer hard, alkaline water to remain in the best of health.  In any case, water changes will be your best ally right now.  Do plenty of water changes, get those ammonia/nitrite readings to zero  -Sabrina> Thank you. Jess

Mystery Molly Dad <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have another question about a different type of fish, I got a silver molly about three weeks ago along with a dragon goby and there the only two fish I have in this 10 gallon tank, for now at least, and some how my molly had babies a little while ago and she hasn't been with another molly for three weeks. How did this happen? <Well, your molly was pregnant when you got her. Molly gestation is about a month. And once she's been impregnated, she can stay that way for up to six months, despite having no contact with a male during that time. When mollies mate, the female stores the milt for future broods. --Ananda>

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

Re: Help!!!!!! >Hi Marina >>Hello Cora. >Thanks for responding to my e-mail I did as you suggested and the fish are doing great the tank is only a 20 high so dividing the fish up was needed.  Needless to say I now have 3 tanks set up for fish lol but who cares I love them and enjoy watching them more than the TV. >>Indeed.  Did you know that you can actually acclimate the mollies to full saltwater?  Glad to hear they're doing well, too.  Marina

Sick molly's Hi! One of my black mollies seems to be dying. 2 days ago she was lying on her side trying to swim and gasping for breath.<would check your water parameters ASAP...many diseases are caused by deteriorating water quality> Yesterday she was swimming upright. I have isolated her. Today she is flopping again. I did have an ich problem about 3 weeks ago and thought it started again as she and another black molly were rubbing themselves against rocks.<If the fish are constantly rubbing against rocks then there is a good possibility they have parasites> I am treating them again for ich. By the way, this molly that is flopping around I received on May 09. Is she dying? Please help!!!! Thank you.<well from your email I can't really tell if she is dying or not, I would just keep excellent water quality and hopefully your treatments that you are using work against ICH. I will enclose some links that should help you out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/ichfaqs.htm good luck with your molly's IanB>

Poor Black Molly Thank Ian for you reply. My black molly did seem to be getting better. Was Swimming normally. Removed her from quarantine but 2 days later she was back to flopping around . That's when I noticed that she seemed to have lost some of her scales from her belly to the end of her tail in a straight line. Anyway I quarantined her again and hoped for the best. She was suffering too much anyway. She died Monday morning. All for the best I guess. Thank you. Ramona <Sorry to hear of the molly's death Ramona, I guess we all learn the hard-way so-to-speak. Well before you get more fish I would have the quarantine aquarium up and running and would check all water parameters in the main aquarium, Good luck my friend, IanB>

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

Mollies acting odd! Hi, just got a 29 gal kit March 7th, and currently have 12 mollies (Gold Dust and Marble), and 3 young Albino Corydoras.  I'm having water quality problems.  I think my ammonia test isn't working (it's the water tube test, not the strips) because when I use it, I show NO ammonia, but when I have my water samples tested at Petco (they use the strips), then they show ammonia! <Very possible, this happens once in a while. It sounds as if you may be overfeeding the fish. After this amount of time your biological filter should be established and the ammonia and nitrites should stay at 0. Cut back on the amount and/or frequency of your feedings and it should help.> I also was having a nitrite spike and had high pH, which Petco people told me to bring down.  So, I've been doing water changes over the last few days and have finally brought my nitrites down to 1.0ppm (they were at 5.0ppm).   <Ouch! Even 1.0 is still quite high and it's a wonder any of the fish are still alive after 5.0!> I also treated each bucket of new water with Stress Coat, Water Conditioner, and pH balancer (my tap water was off the charts when I tested it...must be 8.0+).   <Just make sure that the water in the tank stays at the lowered pH, sometimes it will spike back up.> MY PROBLEM IS...my mollies are acting weird, MANY are hanging around the surface moving their mouths a lot, they're not moving and swimming around like usual, and some will swim in place, others will sit on the bottom and move only every now and then. <Sounds like they are uncomfortable with the ammonia and nitrites. These are common symptoms of poor water.> Some still swim around, but only a few. I noticed 1 molly jump around on a rock, rubbing his body on it a few times. <This could be the beginnings of ick or just a reaction to the ammonia and nitrites.> I found 1 molly dead this morning, checked his gills and they're nice and pink, no parasites, or weird markings on him.   <Probably a reaction to the nitrites then.> My Corys act fine.  And there is about 3 tsp.s of aquarium salt in the tank.  My nitrites are at 1.0ppm, nitrates 0ppm, ammonia=??? (need a new test kit, I'm still showing no amm.), but my pH is 6.8 which is a drop from 7.0 an hour ago!!!!  Is this the problem?   <pH will fluctuate a little throughout the day so I wouldn't be concerned about this.> Have I over treated my water in trying to decrease the danger to my fish?  I don't know what to do, they are clearly stressed!  They still eat, but I don't know how to help them.  I don't want to damage my biological filter by doing ANOTHER water change, but should I? <For now, just keep up with the water changes and bring the ammonia and nitrites down to a consistent 0. I don't think you over-treated the new water although you could probably get by without adding the Stress Coat. Small water changes aren't going to damage your bio filter, they're actually going to help it.> And should I use something to INCREASE my pH now that it is falling?   <Nope, they are adapted to the lower pH now and raising it would cause more problems.> Aren't mollies supposed to be in water with a higher pH?   <Yes, a little higher than what yours is. They do best in a pH of 7.5 to 8.2. You can bring this up by not treating your newly added water with as much of the pH reducer but the pH level needs to be brought up slowly or it can cause even more problems.> What am I doing wrong?--fish_puppy <Do some reading at http://www.wetwebmedia.com and at http://www.fishbase.org to find out more about your fish but I really think the main problem is overfeeding. Ronni>

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

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

Dead Molly babies :( Dear Crew: <Hi! Ananda here tonight, with more mollies than I can shake a stick at....> A few days ago I realized my freshwater Black Molly was pregnant. I took her out of my community tank and put her in a plastic breeding container in a 10 gallon tank. I purposely left the bottom plate of the breeding container out, so the babies, when born, could fall through the slats and into the tank. (This has worked successfully for me previously.) <I dislike those breeding containers.> Anyhow, after 3 days of her being isolated, I woke up today and found 15 dead babies in the tank, all with extended sacs on their bodies. <Most likely a sign of premature birth. The female was probably stressed from being in the too-small breeding container, and birthed the fry before they were viable in the water column.> As of now, two have survived, but they are struggling to swim. <If you have any significant current in the tank, reduce it to near-zero if you wish to keep these fry.> I have checked the PH (about 7.4), ammonia and nitrite levels in the tank (both 0). What could have caused the quick death (possibly stillborn) of these babies?   <Noted above... I just wrote a bunch of stuff about breeding/raising mollies for saltwater. Most of it is applicable to freshwater and brackish mollies. Check out the ongoing discussion: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=91&thread=8500> Thanks for your help! Larry <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Are my Mollies breeding? Hi, I am new to Mollies... I have a 5 ½ gallon tank with a whisper over the side of the tank filter.  I have 2 small fake plants and a cave type thing.   The temperature is set at 78-80 degrees.  The pH level is steady at 7.6 (I can't get it any lower, no matter how hard I try). <Your pH is OK. It's better to have it a bit high and stable than constantly fluctuating.> In this tank I stock 2 marble mollies and a marble Sailfin molly.  When I purchased them I didn't think to ask what their genders were.    <The males will have a pointed anal fin; the females will have fan shaped anal fins. This is the best way to tell with any livebearers.> Since putting them in the tank, I've noticed that the Sailfin, which I believe is a male, is interested in one of the others.  I believe it is female, thought not sure.  What he is doing is, going over, seemingly, "sniffing" her under belly and poking his anal fin at her... Are they mating?  I am not sure.  If so, and she is pregnant, how long is their gestational period? What do you suggest I do after she gives birth?  I am planning to bring them to the pet store, but how should I transport them? <Yes, they are probably breeding. The gestation period should be around 30 days. After the fry are born they will need lots of places to hide so the parents don't eat them. Plants work great for this. You will need to feed them powdered food. You can make this by crushing some flake or pellet food into a fine powder. Your LFS probably won't take them until they are larger and recognizable as mollies so you are most likely going to need a grow out tank. To keep them in until they are large enough to take in. Once they are grown, you can transport them in a bucket, Ziploc baggie, or anything else that isn't going to spill.> The 3rd molly seems to be a loner, is this because he/she feels left out?  I have also observed that he/she seems to be "waddling" through the water until another fish goes near it, then it darts and seems to be moving okay. Do you suggest I get tat one a mate?  I do plan on upgrading to a 10 gallon tank soon.  Please let me know ASAP.  Thanks, Jamie <With any livebearer you should ideally have one male for every two or three females. This one isn't feeling left out though, it just doesn't feel like mingling. You're welcome! Ronni>
Re: Are my Mollies breeding?
Thank you so much for your help.  I appreciate it.   <You're very welcome> By the way, as far as bringing fry into the pet store, I go to PetSmart and they have a nursery in the back for fry.  They will raise them from the time they are born.  I think that's a good  thing to know for other people out there.  You may want to check with your local PetSmart before bringing them though. <That's good to know. We don't have a PetSmart in my area yet (they're building one this year), the closest one is 120 miles away so I'm not very familiar with their practices. Thanks for the info.> My antisocial Molly, seems to be a little better now then she was before, but the male has no interest in her.  Is that normal?   <Sometimes this happens so it's nothing to worry about.> Is there a time when they are fertile and not fertile?   <Nope, livebearers seem to always be fertile.> Like I said I am new, so I am not sure what to expect.  Thanks again. Jamie <Just do lots of reading and you'll do fine. Ronni>

Re: Mollie fry (replacement for brine shrimp) Hi, I am Rahul from Bangalore, India. <Greetings from NW Montana!> My marble Sailfin Mollie has littered approx 55 fries. Problem is that we don't get brine shrimps at the pet shops here. Is there an alternative? <You can use powdered regular food rather than brine shrimp and it's much better for the fry. To make it just crush up some of your regular food into a fine powder. You might also be able to buy a product called Liquifry for livebearers but in all honesty, my fish have always grown the best on powdered food.> I am feeding frozen Tubifex worms currently, is it ok? <You'd be better off to use powdered regular food or Liquifry> I have placed them separately in a clay pot and this seems to have boosted their growth. <As long as their water doesn't get fouled you should be fine.> Hoping for a reply soon. Rahul <Congrats! Ronni>

Baby Fry I have what a I hope is a very basic question.  I have a molly that just gave birth to 30 some odd fry this morning.  I am in need of some assistance in what to feed them.   <Take your normal flake or pellet food and crush it up into a fine powder for the babies. There are commercial fry foods on the market but the powdered normal food works just as well.> I got the basics off the site but my biggest concern is that we are going away for the weekend and I don't know what to do for the time that we are gone.  Can I leave extra food on the bottom of the tank and they will just eat it?   <Absolutely do not leave extra food in the tank. This will rot and pollute your water in a matter of hours. Although it's not really recommended for fry, if you're only going to be gone for a couple of days your fish will do fine with no food during this time. Just feed them a normal amount right before you leave and again immediately upon your return and they'll be OK. Alternately, if you are having someone check on your house for you while you're gone you can pre-measure the food into little cups (Dixie cups work well) and set them by the tank. This way, the person checking on your house can just walk over and dump one pre-measured feeding into the tank. This is what I do when I travel.> Also can you recommend a good weekend feeder for the big Mollies and Platies. <There are the weekend food tablets but these can and often do pollute your tank. There are also automatic feeders but before using these they need to be tested to make sure they don't malfunction and overfeed your fish. I can't really recommend any certain one because I don't have first hand experience with any of them.> Thanks in advance -- Joy <You're welcome! Ronni>

Moving Baby Mollies Hi to all <Hello!> I have my other tank set up for my baby mollies.  I was very careful when moving but they died within the hour.  I'm wondering is it to stressful to move the babies?   <Moving fish is always slightly stressful but doesn't usually result in death. There may have been something different with the water in the new tank, pH, temperature, etc that resulted in the loss.> Should I move the adults to the new tank or will I just kill them to? This has really made me gun-shy. I don't want to kill anymore fish. Thanks Again, Amy <If you move them, make sure to acclimate them to the new tank slowly. This will help prevent losses. You're welcome! Ronni>

How do I tell if my Molly is a male or female? Hello to all at WWM, <Hello to you!> I have a crazy question. <Can't be as crazy as some of the ones my kids come up with'¦> We bought 2 marbled mollies and were told that one was male and the other female.  Then while paying someone in line behind us said we had 2 females. How do I tell the difference (possibly with visual aid?). I read all through the FAQ's about the differences but I really need a picture they all look the same to me and I can't seem to get a clear image in my head about what the males look like vs. the females. Any help would be most appreciated. <Well, I don't have a picture to send you but if you look closely at their anal fins you can tell by the shape. The anal fin on a female will be shaped much like a fan. On a male it will be thin and pointed. This is the surest way to tell on livebearers.> Thanks in advance for any help offered. Amy <You're welcome! Ronni>

Odd molly behavior in a small tank <Ananda the molly nut ... or is that molly bolt? ... here today...> I have a 5 gallon aquarium with a platy and two guppies. I recently added a black & white molly. <You are going to need a bigger tank Real Soon Now.> (I know they interact well with platy's, and the assistant at the pet store assured me he would be fine with the guppies.) <Should be fine.> Nonetheless, I was very cautious in adjusting the molly to its new environment. For the first few days, everything seemed fine. However, he has started swimming incessantly in circles, <He needs more space to swim.> while the other fish seem to "hide" in the corner. <I think I'd hide, too; the molly is the most aggressive fish of your bunch.> This seems to be a bit active for a molly. I change the water frequently, checking temperature & pH levels & all that stuff. <Good to hear!> The only things I could think of that might cause a difference in behavior would be tank-size to fish ratio. I think 4 fish in a 5-gallon tank may be pushing it. <More than pushing it in this case. Due to the size of the fish, your tank is now overstocked.> The other is that the molly appears to be slow in adjusting eating habits. I've fed the others routinely for months, once at 8 am and once at 8 pm. <Sounds good.> The molly just doesn't seem to have caught on yet, he's the last one to start eating, <Weird. But, as you say, could be an adjustment issue. Or it could be because he feels crowded.> and often eats off the bottom. <Normal.> I'm sure that though he is my biggest fish, he is not consuming as much as the others. <Hmmm. You should be feeding them a flake with a decent amount of Spirulina; mollies are plant-eaters by nature. Mine will eat just about anything I give them, but I think the OSI Spirulina flake is their favorite. They like to nibble at sinking algae tabs, too.> Any other suggestion you could make would be greatly appreciated. <Get a bigger tank and a good power filter if you don't already have one. Keep your current tank for quarantine/hospital purposes. And enjoy your new fish!> Thanks, Stephanie McLeod <You're very welcome. --Ananda>

New Aquarium--New Birth I set up a new aquarium about 9 days ago, and bought fish to put in it 3 days ago. Not understanding the issues (though I've been reading since), I bought 3 balloon mollies and 3 neon tetras (from what I read, about the worst choices for a new aquarium). 1 neon has died; one of the mollies gave birth to 11 fry, all of which are still living, on Friday, January 2003. I've change 25% of the water each day since Saturday. I only have a 10 gallon tank. <<okay>> My plan is to give the babies back to the pet store when they're grown. <<definitely a good idea>> What else should I do? Ph is staying at about 7.5, but the nitrogen is, at the low count, 1.5 and has been up to 3, when one of the neon died. Now that I'm here, what should I do? <<Keep up the water changes. Sounds like you're doing a great job of it. Once your nitrites/ammonia drop some then decrease either the amount or frequency of your water changes. - Get or make some very fine food for the Molly fry. There are some liquid ones on the market that can be found in most LFS or you can generally mail order a very fine pellet type food. But the easiest way is to make your own by crushing up flake or pellet food (whichever you have) into a very fine powder. - You might also want to return the Neons to your LFS and wait until your tank is completely cycled before trying them again. Neons tend to be pretty sensitive fish and you will most likely lose your remaining two if you keep them.>> Thanks for any advice. Margaret <<You're very welcome. Ronni>>

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

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

Is "She" A "She"? (Good Golly Miss/Mr. Molly!) We have a black molly that seems to be pregnant (very fat) but we would like to know how we can be sure. She is all black except on her belly underneath in front of anal fin it seems to be white. <Females will not have the modified anal fin that males possess (known as a "gonopodium"), and females simply have...anal fins.> And what signs should we look for to tell when she is going to deliver? <A very pregnant female will generally display an extremely swollen belly, and in many cases, a slight swelling under the gill plates will indicate that delivery is near.> Thank you <And thanks for stopping by! Regards, Scott F.>

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

Water Flow and Mollies I have read THOUSANDS of pages and researched everything I possibly can and have yet to find answers to the following questions. I am sure it's out there somewhere, but it is probably the last page on the internet. I have a 72 gallon freshwater aquarium with mollies, a few guppies and Gouramis. <A bit of a strange mix because of the aggressive tendencies of the Gouramis.> I have a Fluval 404, a Fluval 204 and a Magnum Pro with the 2 BioWheels going. I have 5 albino mollies that don't seem all that happy. They don't seem sick necessarily either. I think it has something to do with the water flow. I try to adjust the outflows so that the water hits the front corners of the tank and arcs down towards the center. This seemed to make them happy but I am not so sure any more. How should I direct the water flow for my tank? <I would do as you have described above.> Above the water line with lots of agitation? Below the water line with a bit of a current? Should the two Fluval outputs face each other from opposite back corners? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaghh! I am also wondering if the size of air bubbles would have any significance. <Really Mollies are going to be much more "concerned" with their water quality; pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, salt content, and temperature.> One more, are their special needs for albino mollies that I need to know about? All of my other mollies seem totally happy. <Your albino forms maybe a weaker variety, but still I think if there is something wrong it is not circulation. Your Fluvals are rated for 340 and 180 gph respectively and the H.O.T. Magnum Pro no more than 250 gph. That is a total of 770 gph for a 72 gallon tank, just about right.> Oh well, I hope you can help me or send me in the right direction. Any information you can give me that I could really study and learn more about fish behavior would be great too. <There is much to peruse on www.WetWebMedia.com> Thanks so much, Amanda Best <Have a nice night! -Steven Pro>

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