Mollie fish has blisters or rash on back tail, lethargic and shaking?

  1. mshaughn Initiate Member

    I bought my boyfriend a fish tank for Christmas so am very new to keeping fish.

    My dalmatian mollie has not been acting like herself today. She is usually very active and follows my finger along the tank glass. She has me worried because she has been, for the most part, staying in one spot at a slightly angled up position.

    When I took a closer look this evening, I noticed her back tail is a little jagged. I looked at her tail this morning and did not notice this. Now, her back tail also looks like it has a bumpy rash and there are a couple of red spots. Her stomach has a bit of a yellow or gold tinge as well (she may naturally look like this and I've never taken close enough notice though). Her breathing seems to be fine, but she sometimes looks like she is vibrating.

    I've done a water change. Is there anything else I can do for her? Does anyone know what might be wrong?

    My tank:
    - 29 gallons with one mollie, one platy, two tiger barbs, and a rainbow fish
    (I had more barbs and another mollie, but unfortunately they have died and I didn't want to introduce more fish until I could get my ammonia level down.)
    - Running for five months
    - Temperature 78*C
    - Ammonia is just below 0.25 ppm
    - Nitrate and nitrite is zero
    - PH is 8
  2. Wendy Lubianetsky Well Known Member Member

    Welcome to the Forum. It is nice to have new people aboard.

    Unfortunately your tank is still cycling. It should read ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 20 ppm. I think your fish is still having problems with the ammonia or like you said, it could be a disease of some sort. Could we get a picture of the fish up close so we can see the issue. I am guessing though that it is the cycling tank that is getting to your fish.

    How often have you been doing water changes? How large are the water changes you are doing? Are you testing the water everyday for ammonia? I don't mean to give you the third degree, but with out a little more information it is really hard to tell you what is wrong for sure.


  3. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    Welcome to Fishlore!!!!!!!

    Sounds like you might be having a mini cycle. What test kit are you using? Are you using any other products in the tank with water changes and such?
  4. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!

    I'm guessing those tiger barbs are nipping at her tail. They are very aggressive fish and not very good in a community tank.

    It's surprising that your tank has not cycled by now. Are you sure you understand the nitrogen cycle? Many people are told incorrectly at the fish store that cycling a tank means running the filter for some set amount of time before putting in fish. That's not even close to what cycling is all about. So if you have fallen victim to bad info, please read up on the nitrogen cycle, since it is the most important think to understand when keeping fish.

    Now if you really are aware of the nitrogen cycle, have you changed out your filter cartridge? The bacteria the cycles a tank lives in the filter media and if you replace it (like the instructions tell you to do) you end up with an uncycled tank (but the filter manufacturer makes money!). So all you need to do is rinse the cartridge in some dirty tank water (never tap water. The chlorine will kill the bacteria).

    One caveat is if you have carbon inside the cartridge. The carbon only works for about 4 weeks, then gets saturated and can no longer remove impurities. But carbon is not needed, so you can slit open the cartridge and dump out the carbon. If you want to use carbon you could add loose carbon, but just be sure to change it every 4 weeks.

  5. mshaughn Initiate Member

    We do a weekly 25% water change and add Nutrafin Cycle and sometimes aquarium salt when doing so. Before adding the water we treat it with Nutrafin AquaPlus. We also change our cartridge monthly (we have a BioWheel filter).

    We test our tank's water about once a week using the API Freshwater Master Test Kit, which tests for pH, high range pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. During the first month when we lost some of our fish, we were testing the water either daily or every other day.

    In January (1 month after set-up), the ammonia in the tank peaked and dropped, followed by a peak in nitrite, and then nitrate. But the ammonia always seems to be around or below 0.25 ppm, never 0.

    I've attached a few photos of Pup. They are not very clear though.

    jdhef, we did unfortunately receive terribly inaccurate information when starting up our tank. The kit I bought for my boyfriend came with instructions that said once the tank was running fishes for 24 hours, fish could be introduced. Furthermore, the local pet store owner said that any fish along the same wall in his shop would pretty much get along. He never mentioned that tiger barbs were aggressive or needed to be in a group of six or more, that platys should be in a group of three, or that rainbow sharks could be very aggressive either.

    Unfortunately, my boyfriend and I trusted the kit's instructions and the pet store owner's advice (he said he has kept fish for 35 years). Since then, we have done our best to read up on as much about our tank, tank cycling, our fish, etc. as possible. The fish had been in the tank for about a week before we realized that 24 hours is not nearly long enough, and at the suggestion of a few people online, we added SafeStart.

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  6. mshaughn Initiate Member

    My boyfriend has come back home after talking to an employee at a nearby pet store (not the same one that gave us inaccurate information regarding our fish; this store has been recommended and the employees seem knowledgeable). She said that Pup is most likely stressed from a change in water temperature.

    Our heater is always set at 78*C, but this morning (after seeing Pup the way she was) I took a closer look. Even though the heater was set at 78*C and the sensor was green indicating the temperature was actually at 78*C, a separate thermometer we have in our tank indicated the water was actually only 72*C. In response, we increased the temperature on the heater slightly to about 80*C, which brought the temperature up to 78*C. But after an hour or so, it continued to increase to 80*C. My boyfriend then set the heater back to 78*C and after a bit the thermometer read 78*C. She said that sometimes overtime heaters can become unreliable and that we should always look to the thermometer to for a proper reading. I'm not sure why this morning the thermometer would read 72*C but now it reads 78*C when the heater was set at 78*C in both cases with a green light. It's been about two hours and the temperature seems to have steadied.

    The employee said Pup is shaking because she is stressed and that the red spots on her fin are "stress spots". She also said because the other fish can sense this, they are likely nipping at her back fin. If this is true, will she be able to recover as long as the temperature remains steady? Or is there something else I can do for her to calm her down?
  7. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    I persoanally do not think it is due to changes in water temp. I think the stress is caused by the Tiger Barbs.

    Also, you said above that you are using Cycle. Cycle contains bacteria that will convert ammonia into nitrites and nitrites into nitrates, but sadly it is a terrectrial based form of those bacterias. In the aquatic environment the bacteria dies after a week or so (that is why the directions instruct you to add it with every weekly water change...for the life of the tank). While that bacteria is alive it is busy out competing the naturally forming bacteria that you really want, so your tank never truely cycles. I'd also venture to guess that the Cycle prevented the SafeStart from working, since it took away all the ammonia the SafeStart bacteria needed.

  8. mshaughn Initiate Member

    The tiger barbs and the rainbow shark chase each other around the tank, but I have never seen them go after either our mollie or platy. Sometimes our mollie will actual chase the barbs, but that doesn't happen very often.

    I actually just started using Cycle in our tank again when Pup started acting sick. We stopped about two months ago... I don't know if that makes a difference? Should I stop using Cycle in my tank all together then or at this point will that hurt her even more? Or even try and "redo" the SafeStart, if that's possible?

    Her condition doesn't seem to have gotten any worse, but I noticed her back tail is significantly more frayed. I don't think it's fin rot, because it doesn't have the white fluffy look to it. I just think the other fish are ganging up on her and nipping at her tail. Would it be a good idea to separate her somehow or would that just cause more stress?