Hi all! I will try to list as many of the answers that I read that you would like about my daughter's tank, relative to the problem we're having.
Tank is new as of 12/26/10 (so about 5 1/2 weeks old), and is 20 gal
. We have had water tested at pet store several times, and all levels are good, except ammonia. That has varied over the last 2 weeks from 4.0, down (today) to .25 ppm
(those readings are with our home liquid test kit - by API I believe). We have been treating the water (last week, every day; this week, every other) with AmQuel Plus, which seems to hold the ammonia down. We have also done weekly 25% water changes (including vacuuming the gravel), and adding Tetra Aqua Safe Plus to the new water.
We have only fake plants, no live, 2 "accents" (including a clam aerator that is not being used), and an air stone set to run at mid-volume. The filter is a Marineland biowheel 150 - we have changed the filter pad x1 (just last week) and had rinsed out the old pad several times in the tank water. The heater is typically set at 78-80 degrees - with the extreme cold weather we've been having, it bounces around a bit!
My daughter initially put a Black Molly and Silver Molly in the tank - yes, we learned about cycling AFTER the fact. The Silver Molly died at 2 weeks. We thought that the Black Molly was pregnant and showed signs of giving birth - hiding under the inside of the clam, hanging out at the heater, etc. If she was, she gave birth in the clam and ate all the fry - no survivors; she is less "bloaty" now, and much more active. Should also say, we started the tank with aquarium salt to make it brackish (when we got the Molly), but have not added any add'l as we've done water changes.
This past Sunday (4 days ago) we added 2 small glo-fish. The Black Molly is not bullying them; however it does appear that they are nipping off parts of her tailfin. We noticed in the last 2 days, that the Molly is occassionally swimming vertically (head up) and appears "off balance." She is eating normally, but does seem to be swimming slower than usual. Would like to save this fish!! As of noon today, added about 6-7 tsp of the salt again (dissolved in small amount of water, temp matched to tank), as I had read this *could* help the situation.
Besides being able to save the fish, also curious to know how else we can keep ammonia levels down to a safe level without always having to treat - more frequent water changes? Thanks in advance for any info!