2 month old aquarium, mollies suddenly dying

  1. c

    csettler New Member Member

    Hi, I have a 10 gallon tank with a filter, heater, synthetic plants, gravel. It cycled for about 2 weeks prior to adding any fish (clear, then very cloudy for 3-4 days then beautifully clear again). Added 3 mollies (what I think were 2 females and a male). Fish did great for about 6 weeks. We did have cloudy tank issues with very high nitrates and nitrites ( 200 ppm and 10.0ppm respectively). On the advice of the PetStore did an 80% water change, added some prime and Special Blend. Have been doing 20-30% water changes subsequently still adding the prime and Special Blend. The cloudiness is gone, and the nitrates and nitrites are well under control (0-20ppm and 0.-.5pmm respectively). Water is76 degrees, 150-300 grains hardness, 180 KH (ppm) alkalinity and pH around 7.5-7.8. All three mollies were doing great up until about 5 days ago. I had noticed 2 weeks ago that the smallest female seemed to have trouble swimming level. It was like her tail was lighter than the font of her body and she had to work at swimming level. She also always seemed the "runt" of the school, eating the leftovers and rarely feeding from the top. 5 days ago, we found her sucked up to the filter. But then, the other female, who displayed none of the same characteristics and ate at the top with the male was found sucked up to the filter as well (fine that morning, and by dinner time she was dead). After the first fish died, we changed about 30-40% of the water. No spike any any levels was noted. The remaining sole male seems to be eating and swimming normally. He is quite active, makes me think he's looking for his friends. He also seems to have a voracious appetite. We feed him twice daily, but on the rare occasion he get's fed more than that (due to lack of communication), he still eats everything in less than 2 minutes. He's contstantly picking at the plants and rocks too. My husband also noticed 2 small fry hiding in the tank last nite, so obviously at some point, one of the females had babies. We never saw them until last night, so I suspect they were mostly either eaten or sucked up during a water change. Lastly, in the last 2 weeks, some brownish algae?? has begun to develop on the tips of the plants, the gravel, rocks and a very little bit on the sides around the bottom of the tank. Help, I am at a loss, as we seem to solve one issue (like the nitrate/nitrite) only to trade them for another issue. Suggestions on getting rid of the algae, what to do with the poor lonely remaining molly (I know he's a schooling fish, but I don't really want the baby issues - perhaps could I get a different kind of molly - mine's all black, or a platy or two?? And finally, and general advice on non schooling fish would be helpful. At this point, I'm considering getting a small algae eater (not a plecostemus, as they grow too big) and/or a snail. Help!!! Thanks so much! Christina
     
  2. m

    michael68 Valued Member Member

    The live bearers are great fish but they have babies and sometimes the birth mother dies and sometimes she doesnt.The tank ends up over populated like my tank.I want to get rid of the live bearers and babies but the wife and kids dont.If it was up to me for a 10 gallon tank i would get lots of live plants, school of about 7 tetras probably black skirts or neons and maybe a dwarf gourami.
     
  3. Z

    Zia Valued Member Member

    Sorry about your Molly problem. I lost 4 myself in December as I was trying to figure out fishkeeping.

    I suspect -- from your lack of ammonia readings -- that you're using test strips. Am I correct? These are notoriously inaccurate. What you really need is the API master test kit. A little pricey, yes, but you'll get 100s of readings from it, and it's much more accurate. Plus, it allows you to measure ammonia.

    You say your tank was cycled after 2 weeks. How did you know this? A cycled tank is ammonia 0, nitrite 0, and nitrate <40. What was your ammonia source?

    I'd start by ditching the strips and getting the master test kit. Once you know what your readings are, you'll probably need to be on a daily cycle of adding prime and changing water until your readings really are 0, 0, <40. That can take upwards of 6 weeks. I wouldn't add any more fish until your tank is really cycled.

    Sorry about your fishies. The learning curve is so hard. :(