Darting and thrashing mollies - help!

armadillo
  • #1
HI everyone

Am having trouble with my beloved mollies! They are normally nosy little creatures, calmly swimming around to whatever takes their interest. But now, they seem to have frequent spasms. It's particularly bad for one of them. Some rub against ornaments but I see no lesions or little dots. I see no obvious parasite.

I considered increasing the salt contents (currently very low), but with my plecos, that's not really a good idea. I also do not want to crank the temperature up to 26/28, but I don't know if it will upset them more than anything else. They seem to be getting worse. I would really appreciate your suggestions/expert help, as I really do not want to loose my mollies.

Tank stats:

fish set up since = March (2007)
volume = 60l
temperature = 24
salt = 1tbl for whole tank

Water stats:

pH = 7.2
N02 = 0
N03 = between 10 and 25
GH = between 7 and 9
KH = 6

Here's my fish:
  • 3 young common plecos 2cm each
  • 1 sailfin molly male
  • 2 silver dalmatian molly females
  • 1 gold swordtail molly female
  • 1 gold dalmatian molly female
  • 1 dalmatian short-finned balloon molly female

So 6 mollies and 3 common plecos. I know, faaaar too many. Bigger tank is on its way, and we're trying to get 1 or 2 plecos re-housed. I didn't know they could grow very big and the fish store lady was even encouraging me to get more...

Oh (sorry I forgot to mention). It's started about 5 days ago.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #2
It may help determine the trouble from your observations. It sounds like Oodinium but you're not seeing yellow dots. ??? I think I would treat for parasites given the symptoms but the cause is uncertain and that would be a desperation move. You could also try feeding them these if you can find/order them:

Do you have any pics that might help with determining the cause?
 
armadillo
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thank you so much. I didn't like the idea of an all-out chemical warfare without a proper diagnostic, so medicated food = great suggestion. Also, medicated food will not screw up the whole equilibrium of my aquarium as much as water treatment will. For the future, I will definitely go and buy medicated food. I'll give them a preventive cure once in a while.

I got so worried yesterday that I started an anti-parasite water treatment anyway. Now the spasming is nowhere near as pronounced, so am hoping this is actually doing the trick.

Here's a picture of the gold molly swordtail female (P.S. you couldn't tell me whether it indeed is a female swordtail while you're at it? That's what the shop told me, but 'her' analfin looks suspiciously male to me.) This fish is the one with the worst spasms. I was also worried about the red area around her/his? gills, but I've looked at older pictures of this fish and have actually been there forever.

Thanks very much for your help.

Oh, and am discovering that my balloon molly has a severe case of attention seeking behaviour. She's great. She's always on the front of pictures whenever I try to take pictures of the other fish. She's so nosy! I have about 1.000.000 pictures of her, as she always manages to swim in the shot at the last second! Definitely one of the nicest little fish I've ever had.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #4
Her/His fins are up, but that does look like a male molly. Best of luck with them and hope they improve quickly.
 
sgould
  • #5
Looks female to me. Glad the situation is improving!
 
leafgirl115
  • #6
My mollies are also behaving like this. Its been 2 days and not improvement. I added a little salt but I also have a pelico. What are you using to treat the water?
 
leafgirl115
  • #7
I looked it up on this:
LIVEBEARER DISEASE or MOLLY DISEASE
Fish stay in one place and wiggle, wag or shimmy.
Water lacks electrolytes needed for normal metabolism.
Use START RIGHT with either MOLLY BRIGHT or SHIMMY BLOCKS
Not a disease at all but a reaction to water lacking needed electrolytes.
But what do I use to treat this? I have never seen that medication...
 
armadillo
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
HI leafgirl, thanks for the info.

I'd seen that article too, but what mine do is not really swimming in one place/shimmy. They dart about really quick. The thrash and splash. Basically like spasms. Really abrupt movements that take them darting through the tank. They also rub their fins against objects.

I am hoping it's a parasite, as that's what I've treated for in desperation. They seem better at times, but they're definitely not out of the woods.

Yours anxiously...

Oh, and, leafgirl, sorry I hadn't entirely replied. I hadn't seen your previous questions.

1/ Am using Unicell. It claims to 'treat against skin diseases caused by unicellulars and bacteria'.
2/ I have started to use salt anyway, in really small concentrations (1 tbl sp for 60l), and my plecos seem OK so far. I also cranked the temperature up to 26C now, which seems to make the plecos way less shy.

Hope your problem improves too.
 
PrayforMojo
  • #9
how is the areation in your tank? There could be toxins in the water bothering your fish.
mojo
 
leafgirl115
  • #10
I hope your fish come through...
Myn seem to be doing worce. At the begining only 5 of them were doing it now 10 are. (my tank is horibly over stocked... they keep having babys)
I added a little more salt and come botled water as my sister said it has elecrolites in it...

mojoman101 is that question for both of us? If so my water is prity good. The filter does a good job.
 
armadillo
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
HI Mojo

I was wondering about the electrolytes after reading the article leafgirl sent a link to (thanks again, for that). I initially ruled it out, as their behaviour is not strictly what's described, but I'd like to know more about it, just in case. So how would you fix the issue if indeed they were having an electrolyte problem?

To answer your question specifically (Mojo), my tank has an air stone in it and it seems pretty well aerated to me, although what do I know, am no fish!

To bring back the polemics regarding my golden molly (male or female was the question). Definitely a male. The temperature increase has brought out the rapist in him. Male mollies... What are they like! This means I now have 3 females to 2 males, instead of the planned 1 male to 4 females. This also means that the 2 males are at each other's throats and causing much unneeded stress. I'll re-stock appropriately when (if?) they're feeling better and when I receive my new, larger tank. Situation is still really touch and go.

Really hope your fish are doing better, leafgirl. I know how it feels to worry about them and not be sure what to do. Am having the exact same thing. It's really horrible.

Mine are still really worrying me, although they are slightly better - or did I get used to it and it doesn't seem so bad now? I have to go away for 2 days and trust my boyfriend to look after them. He's pretty good in general, but it's really labour intensive at the moment.

Can't wait for my new, larger tank. I think overstocking (as is my case) makes them a lot more sensitive to problems.

Thank you so much. I didn't like the idea of an all-out chemical warfare without a proper diagnostic, so medicated food = great suggestion. Also, medicated food will not screw up the whole equilibrium of my aquarium as much as water treatment will. For the future, I will definitely go and buy medicated food. I'll give them a preventive cure once in a while.

I got so worried yesterday that I started an anti-parasite water treatment anyway. Now the spasming is nowhere near as pronounced, so am hoping this is actually doing the trick.

Here's a picture of the gold molly swordtail female (P.S. you couldn't tell me whether it indeed is a female swordtail while you're at it? That's what the shop told me, but 'her' analfin looks suspiciously male to me.) This fish is the one with the worst spasms. I was also worried about the red area around her/his? gills, but I've looked at older pictures of this fish and have actually been there forever.

Thanks very much for your help.

Actually, is it safe to use medicated food as a prevention, once in a while? Or does that make harmful organisms habituated to the drugs? Should I just give the medicated food when the problem occurs? (this is a question for the future as I first want to have my tank under control with the med I"ve been using or they'll end up on a cocktail of drugs)

How are your mollies, leafgirl? Mine are still darting about, but much less frequently, and less fish seem to be doing it. I think perhaps the medication or temperature change or adding salt has worked. Also had great news: my mollies had fry! Managed to save 8 and stuck them in the quarantaine tank. I really hope yours are also on the mend.
 
leafgirl115
  • #12
They are improving but some are still acting odd. I'm glad yours are doing better
 
armadillo
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
They are improving but some are still acting odd. I'm glad yours are doing better

Great!
 
Butterfly
  • #14
armadillo Sorry I missed your post but you have been getting some good feed back. As for the medicated food- An occasional meal won't cause a problem.
Your original problem sounds a little like high Nitrates, and the red gills on our molly also. so if your still having any problems try a couple of days of partial water changes and a reduction in food. Hope that helps
Carol
 
armadillo
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
armadillo Sorry I missed your post but you have been getting some good feed back. As for the medicated food- An occasional meal won't cause a problem.
Your original problem sounds a little like high Nitrates, and the red gills on our molly also. so if your still having any problems try a couple of days of partial water changes and a reduction in food. Hope that helps
Carol

No problem. Thanks for getting back to me. I'll start by getting a hold of that medicated food (not in one fish store I've tried at least) and I'll only give if I have a mild suspicion. Grabbing the bull and all that....

It does sound like nitrate poisoning on many accounts, which would be great as there's straight (read non-chemical) ways of dealing with that. Would make sense considering how dirty mollies are (in their potential for garbage creation, that is) and how many I have in my 15G. Buuuuut, my nitrate readings were reasonable (25 to admittedly sometimes 50).

I don't know what seems to be solving it, but it seems better. I have increased temperature, added some salt, added an airstone and continued with milde parasite medication. All I know is it's been a good educative experience and I now know they like warmer, harder and slightly salty water with plenty of oxygen. I think I'll keep these conditions.

They are still slightly itchy, but nothing like it was.

Am continuing with the regular but small (30%) water changes ('cos I enjoy it!) and will do their parasite treatment for a full week. After that, I'll gradually decrease the temperature back to 24C (now 26C) as the male is really acting up in higher temperatures!

OK things seem better. Am not as worried as I was.

Went on a week-end away and couldn't change the water for 3 days. Doesn't seem to have made them better or worse, so I'll start reducing the frequency of water changes to give my plecos some peace.

Stopped medicating for parasites as recommended treament = one week.

Continuing with 1 teaspoon of salt per Gallon (very small, for my plecos), and temperature back down to 24C (which has calmed the male molly down, thankfully).

Now impatiently waiting for my larger tank to give my male more females, my females more hiding spots, and for cleaner water. Hoping they all make it until then.

Oh dear. Am worried about my mollies again. They're really thrashing/spasming. One of them is starting to get popeye. I just don't know what's wrong with them. I don't want to remove their decorations as they've pretty much had the problem since, well, 2 weeks ago. Can't remember for my life if that's when I put in the bit of wood. Could the driftwood be poisoning them? I have boiled it/rinsed it like a million times, and no more dye was coming out.

Changing the water actually seems to make them worse. I religiously check the temperature of the water I put back in, make sure I don't change too much water (20%), don't pour it back in like a brute, checked the pH of the water and it is very similar to the main tank's. I - of course - condition the water before putting it back in. I also tested the water for copper and iron and zilch, nada, nothing. Am really at a loss here.

Checked a lot of fish disease book and they're all pointing at poisoning, but with what?
 
leafgirl115
  • #16
Were did you get the wood from? Could be minerals on it seeping into the water?

Start adding more salt. And lots of waterchanges again... Very odd.
 
armadillo
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
Well am worried about more water changes, as it seems to make them worse. But my tank is so overcrowded that I can't stay too long (no more than 3 days) without vaccuuming the gravel or the nitrates are creeping up to the 50's. Nitrates are about 10 to 25 now - they vary. But their gills look perfect (no purpleness). I read that if it is toxins that's wrong with them, then it will take a while to noticed an improvement after I remove the source of toxins.

Could it be my tap water?
 
leafgirl115
  • #18
Maby why don't you get it tested?
 
armadillo
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
What do I test? I mean what toxins should I look out for? My chemical home kit only tests for iron and copper, and that was next to 0.
 
leafgirl115
  • #20
Were I am Super pet will test your water for free. Do any of your LFS offer that?
 
COBettaCouple
  • #21
Were I am Super pet will test your water for free. Do any of your LFS offer that?

I think petco will, but they only use the strips and it's not real likely that you'll get someone who really knows about water chemistry.

armadillo - If your water conditioner (like Prime) removes the heavy metals, then you'd just need to test for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.. that's all we test for. what do you treat your water with now?
 
armadillo
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
Thanks, BettaCouple. I treat the water with Tetra AquaSafe. We only seem to get Tetra or Sera products here. I think they're German products (all the insructions are in German! Really annoying).
 
armadillo
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
Were I am Super pet will test your water for free. Do any of your LFS offer that?

Thanks Leafgirl. A local store does that for me too. I could bring a water sample out of curiosity as it's for free anyway. Good idea.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #24
Thanks, BettaCouple. I treat the water with Tetra AquaSafe. We only seem to get Tetra or Sera products here. I think they're German products (all the insructions are in German! Really annoying).

I used the tetra aquasafe before switching to prime and it took care of the heavy metals. it's a pretty good product and unless they're putting something really exotic in the water there, you most likely don't have to worry about the metals in the treated tap water.
 
armadillo
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
Well it is in Holland. Could there be cannabis in there?

Good to hear that AquaSafe will take care of metals.

Do you use Prime as regular conditionner? I was only going to use it for my cycling tanks, to help detoxify ammonia/ammonium/nitrite. But it does sound like a very good all round product. If I can sort out a regular supply, I might make it my regular conditionner. Everyone seems to swear by it on this forum.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #26
yes, I use it for our regular conditioner. It's nice, just a drop of it really does a gallon jug. I like to add novaqua+ also, but that's just my personal preference to add the echinicea and vitamins to the treated water.
 
armadillo
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
OK, mollies seem muuuuch better since boyfriend dropped massive doses of general spectrum medication - doesn't even say WHAT medication on the box. Grrr! I'd asked him not to do it, but obviously his instinct was right. Also, in my 6 day absence, there was no water change. Am starting to suspect that they are all the better for it. Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Nitrates 10.

I guess removing the 3 plecos and 1 male molly to another tank has also drastically helped with the overstocking situation, hence less need to change the water as often.
 
leafgirl115
  • #28
armadillo I'm so happy your fish are doing better now.
wish myn were. They are no longer thrashing thankfully but they are one by one dead... one every week.
 
armadillo
  • Thread Starter
  • #29
Oh noooo. I am so sorry, leafgirl. That is really sad. Is there anything else we can do to help do you think? Do you know what's wrong with them? I am really sorry, leafgirl.
 
leafgirl115
  • #30
I have no idea what's wrong. I think my platies I got say 2-3 months ago brough something in. But its odd kus they did not show any sings till a few weeks ago. All of the platies are gone that I got. And 1 or 2 mollies. The water is now very cloudy even though I doa water change 2 times a week.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #31
OK, mollies seem muuuuch better since boyfriend dropped massive doses of general spectrum medication - doesn't even say WHAT medication on the box. Grrr! I'd asked him not to do it, but obviously his instinct was right. Also, in my 6 day absence, there was no water change. Am starting to suspect that they are all the better for it. Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Nitrates 10.

I guess removing the 3 plecos and 1 male molly to another tank has also drastically helped with the overstocking situation, hence less need to change the water as often.

did it change the water color any? was it a tablet or powder or liquid? does it even list ingredients?
 
COBettaCouple
  • #32
I have no idea what's wrong. I think my platies I got say 2-3 months ago brough something in. But its odd kus they did not show any sings till a few weeks ago. All of the platies are gone that I got. And 1 or 2 mollies. The water is now very cloudy even though I doa water change 2 times a week.

would it be possible for you to use a net and put your remaining fish in a bowl of clean treated tap water (one that was big enough and could be covered)? I'd do a complete water change and cleaning on their tank.
 
leafgirl115
  • #33
No I can't do that unfortunately. To many fish and no net big enough for my pelico. But today I did take out 75% of the tank water and did a huge cleen of the tank. trimed the plants. and picked up my ornaments. There were peicec of plan under then in big pials so maby that had something to do with the cloudy water. Its still cloudy right now but that kus I moved stuff around. I hope tomorow it will have shown some progress. I have no idea what was wron with the fish... there was nothign on the out side. Maby a paricite? But there was not scratching..
 
COBettaCouple
  • #34
No I can't do that unfortunately. To many fish and no net big enough for my pelico. But today I did take out 75% of the tank water and did a huge cleen of the tank. trimed the plants. and picked up my ornaments. There were peicec of plan under then in big pials so maby that had something to do with the cloudy water. Its still cloudy right now but that kus I moved stuff around. I hope tomorow it will have shown some progress. I have no idea what was wron with the fish... there was nothign on the out side. Maby a paricite? But there was not scratching..

It could have been some sort of internal bacteria or infection but hard to be sure at this point.
 
leafgirl115
  • #35
Is that contagous?
 
COBettaCouple
  • #36
Is that contagous?

It's possible, but without knowing the exact cause it's more likely to think that whatever the problem was isn't contagious. Things usually are caused or brought on by water conditions or something in the water.
 
leafgirl115
  • #37
Well no more died. Thank fully. Just sold 18 yesterday so tank is at a better number lol.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #38
Well no more died. Thank fully. Just sold 18 yesterday so tank is at a better number lol.

Great! It's good to hear no more died.
 
armadillo
  • Thread Starter
  • #39
That's great news, Leafgirl.
 
leafgirl115
  • #40
Thanks guys.
 

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