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Old 04-06-2006, 07:19 PM   #1
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problems with Mollies and sailfins

We've recently setup a new 30G tank and have been having a lot of problems with black mollies and sailfins.

It started with the black mollies. I have now lost two, and it looks like a third is on its way. They always start start to shimmy, then a dark grey patch starts near the tail, then to stay on the bottom, and then to die. My orange sailfins have so far seemed immune to the problems but one has now started to shimmy.

The guppies in the tank have been fine, but have recently taken to flashing against plants and rocks. I have started increasing the temperature on the aquarium and have added and extra 2 tbsps of aquarium salt to the water.

Although the aquarium is new, the water readings seem fine except for water hardness (fairly soft). According to the teststrips that I have the only thing out of whack is the hardness.

Has anyone else suffered anything similar and found a way out?
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:49 PM   #2
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I have had periods of time in which it seems that I have a rash of fungus in mollies. It may be a fungus in your tank that is attacking your fish. What are your water parameter readings exactly? I do believe that sometimes the test strips can be somewhat inaccurate. How long exactly have you had the tank set up and how long after did you add fish? Sorry for all the questions but to rule out ammonia poisioning or nitrite poisioning these are important questions. I would do a 50% pwc to see if that offers any immediate relief for the fish.
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Old 04-06-2006, 09:46 PM   #3
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Also, do you know if the LFS you get them from houses the mollies in a brackish evironment? Unlikely, but should be ruled out.

Its been my experience that mollies are very suseptible to columnaris as well. Do they ever get any whiteness around their mouths? The white/grey patch you speak of could indicate columnaris also.

Zagz is correct in asking for water parameters as well. They are important, especially in new tanks.
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Old 04-07-2006, 10:24 AM   #4
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I checked the water again last night. OK, here is what I got:

Nitrate = 0
Nitrite = 0
Hardness = 50
Alkalinity = 0
pH = 6.8
ammonia = 0.25

I put in Melafix last night, and one of the mollies died during the night but the other one has made a surprising comeback. He is actively swimming about and feeding now, but still a bit timid.

As for Devilishturtles question, the sailfin male has a trace of white at the mouth, but I think that is because he has been swimming non-stop up and down against the glass. I think that his behaviour may be due to an extremely aggressive black molly that I have. She has taken to bullying everyone else and he hasn't been trying to mate with the others.
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Old 04-07-2006, 12:48 PM   #5
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It appears your tank isn't cycled yet. Keep doing regular water changes, the goal is ammonia 0ppm, nitrites 0ppm and nitrates at least 5ppm. I would keep your ammonia below .25 if at all possible. The fungus can occur from stress from the cycle.
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Old 04-07-2006, 12:56 PM   #6
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I have a liquid that is supposed to add beneficial bacterial to the water, in order to improve the ammonia nitrates ratio. Should I add a bit more, or just leave everything alone?
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Old 04-07-2006, 10:58 PM   #7
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The liquid you are referring to is it Biospira? If it doesn't require refrigeration then it will not help your cycle. Live bacteria is the only thing that will help the cycle. Just keep up on water changes and you will be fine. I would add some melafix to the tank and not raise the temp any more than it is now.
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Old 04-08-2006, 01:15 AM   #8
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I would have to agree, your new tank is not cycled. And since you are cycling with fish, you will need to be doing PWC's daily or every other day for the next few weeks minimum, probably longer, til the tank is cycled. Most supposed bacteria products like Cycle are useless. Bio Spira is about the only product that works, but occasionally there will be a bag of dead bacteria. Also, the Bio Spira needs to be kept refrigerated til put in the tank. So that means keeping it in an ice chest with some ice til you get home from where you buy it, then place it directly into either your tank or your refrigerator til it's time to put into the tank. It is recommended that the ammonia doesn't get above 1ppm, but my preference is .5ppm or less, and others even lower. However you go, when the level starts getting closer to 1ppm, your fish will start feeling the effects quite fast. So my recommendation, 50% PWC's daily til you see 0ppm ammonia, and 0ppm nitrite. And keep Nitrate below 20ppm afterwards with PWC's.
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Old 04-09-2006, 08:45 AM   #9
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You also mention that you have soft water. You may need to buffer your water for the mollies as they like hard water. I'll also agree that your tank is still cycling and biospria would be a good choice to use. Other products on the shelves are a big waste of money.
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Old 04-09-2006, 08:59 PM   #10
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OK, I did a 10% waterchange yesterday and one today. I'll keep trying to change 10% per day in the hopes that it works. I'm just a little worried that the frequent water changes will not give the bacteria enough time to establish themselves. I don't have enough buckets to remove and treat enough water to do 50% water changes.

Today was a depressing day. One of the orange sailfin mollies looks on her death-bed. She was healthy on Friday evening: very fat and very pregnant. She started showing signs of giving birth, so I was expecting to see at least one fry survive the night. On Saturday there were no fry to be seen but she had zero belly. It seems that the birth might have stressed her too much. Now she is totally lethargic and sitting on the bottom of the aquarium and hiding at the base of plants or other decorations. Everyone else seems fine but her. The problems with the black mollies have gone away and they are doing fantastic, but not her. It's got me worried because some of the other mollies are also very pregnant.
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Old 04-09-2006, 09:22 PM   #11
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You don't need more buckets, 1 is enough. Just remove up to 50% of the water, fill the bucket, add a little dechlor, and dump in tank. Just get the temp close, doesn't need to be perfect. That's how I did it with my 55G before I got my python. You can also just put in enough dechlor in the tank for treating the whole tank, and then fill the bucket and put in the tank til it's full.
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Old 04-10-2006, 12:03 AM   #12
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The only bucket that I could find, that could be easily stored, was a 3 gallon one. So, tonight we changed 20% of the water (two separate 3G changes). We'll try to do the same tomorrow.

Won't frequent waterchanges deplete any free-floating bacteria in the tank?
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Old 04-10-2006, 12:46 AM   #13
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It will deplete free floating bacteria yes and slow the cycle down a bit. But the bacteria attaches itself to the substrate and ornaments and filter media. The only way to cycle with fish is to keep up on water changes.
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Old 04-10-2006, 07:43 AM   #14
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^agreed. Even though water changes may slow the cycle the most important part is keeping the fish healthy throught the process. It's a double edged sword.
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Old 04-12-2006, 01:39 AM   #15
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Instead of the usual 10% pwc, today I did a 30%. Now the tetras have lost a little colour. One of the additives that I used on the tapwater would remove any nitrate, nitrite, or ammonia from the water, and the other was to remove chlorine. Well, I tested my tapwater and there were no nitrates, nitrites or ammonia. So, there really isn't any need to use that additive. This 30% change I just put in a little aquarium salt and treated for chlorine. It shouldn't need anything else, should it? Just keep doing the changes until there is a substantial bacterial colony in the tank.
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Old 04-12-2006, 06:41 AM   #16
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I wouldn't use the product that removes ammonia , you run the risk of starving your good bacteria. A simple water conditioner that removes chlorine and cloramanes (sp) will work just fine. The only time I recommend using products that remove ammonia are in a hospital tank that is not cycled.
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Old 04-12-2006, 06:53 AM   #17
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Exactly what I was told at Big Als! That's probably what I had been doing.

The tetras are fine now, perhaps even better than before the water change. I guess I am starting to suffer from lfs (lost fish syndrome). It has become official, our little black molly fry, Charley, has officially become part of the ammonia cycle of the tank. He had been fine for a while, hiding in the plants, but had become more adventurous now that he had reached about 3-4mm in length. The only fish large enough to be guilty of the deed is the male. Grrrrr. Like it wasn't bad enough losing fish to this cycling.

Funny thing is that I didn't notice that much of a difference on the test strips for Nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia after doing the 30% change. Guess I'll try another 30% tonight.
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