Mollies, Silver Hatchets and Algae Eaters; anything in common?

Je55*e

Well Known
Member
Hello, everyone. I'm thrilled to join this forum, as I'm a new freshwater fish owner of about two weeks now.
Unfortunately, one of my dear balloon mollies passed away yesterday (I've no idea why, I just found her gone), and now the other one seems to be breathing quickly and swimming quickly to stay in one spot. I wonder if any of you might know why?
I know they prefer a bit of salt in their water, but I have 2 silver hatchets and 2 algae eaters as well. Do they mind a little saltwater in the freshwater tank?
I should have done more research to see which fish were compatible before purchasing, but I adore my fish, and I really hope the ones I have stay alive.
Please help! Any assistance is appreciated.
~J*
ps: also, my surviving molly seems to often have what looks like diarrhea; a long, pale string hanging from it's behind. Is that it's normal pooping method or should I be worried?
 

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Welcome to fishlore.

The mollies will be fine without salt. does your molly have rid gills? what has she eaten lately? the poop seems to indicate an internal parasite problem. are there any white tiny worms around her gills area? what is the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate counts on your water? You might want to get her anti-parasite food at petsmart if you can.
 

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Welcome to fishlore.

The mollies will be fine without salt.  does your molly have rid gills? what has she eaten lately?  the poop seems to indicate an internal parasite problem.  are there any white tiny worms around her gills area?  what is the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate counts on your water?  You might want to get her anti-parasite food at petsmart if you can.

Thank you so much for replying! No, her gills aren't red (she is all black; not sure if that makes it harder to tell). She eats omega one natural protein formula freshwater flakes (as do the hatchets). The ammonia count is about 2.5 - 3.0, which is probably slightsly stressful (so it indicates). The box of the test kit says I should get something called marplex for the water. Is this a good brand? And do you have a brand of anti-parasite food you like? Also, should I worry about the other fish eating that food?
Thank you again!
 
If you're using the test strips, they're known to be wildly unreliable and you would want to look for a kit like:

What are you testing with? I'd like to reference the product and see if it's using a different scale because with the tests that i'm familiar with, a reading that high would be considered VERY toxic. I'd recommend doing 50% water changes daily to get that reading at least under 1.0 and preferably under .25.. ammonia poisoning is a high possibility with that much ammonia in the tank. I'd also clean the gravel well - decaying food or plant material is a likely cause of such high ammonia readings.

It sounds like your tank is cycling now. https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm is a good explanation of the cycle.

What do you treat your tap water with? I'd recommend Prime (my #1 choice) or Amquel+.

Do you have an air stone in the tank? If not, they could really use that. I'd discontinue the use of the salt - none of your fish need it and it's actually harmful to algae eaters.

- this is the medicated food that you're likely to find at petsmart. It's ok if the other fish eat some of it, it can be used as a preventative as well as a cure.

I'm not sure about marplex - i've never heard of it actually.
 
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I am testing wtih something called mardel five strip testing unit, which was recommended to me by someone at a local pet store.
I did use amquel+ just fifteen minutes ago, and also intstalled an air pump with an air stone a half hour ago.
One of my fish does have red gills; a cory cat algae eater. I am hoping that this will fix his problem.
I am not sure how to change the water. To be honest, I don't know anything about that. Should I have another tank for the fish to rest in while I change the water (if so, what kind of set-up should that have)? Should I treat the tank and rocks and false plants with something while changing the water? How often should the water be changed?
Sorry about all the questions. I'm kind of ignorant at present.
Do you have any other suggestions? You're being quite helpful. =)
~J*
 
Pet stores often recommend those strips because of the high profit they make on them as they're expensive, but they do have a notorious reputation for giving results that are often VERY far off.

to change the water, you just need to scoop out some tank water into a bucket and dump it out.. then put new water that's been treated into the tank. We change about 1/4 of the water in our tanks weekly, but you might want to change more (like 1/3 to 1/2) daily until the ammonia comes way down. You may even change more than once a day if you want -- anything that can help bring the ammonia down, but the amquel+ is going to help the fish deal with the ammonia better by locking it up.

To clean the gravel, you'll want to use a good gravel cleaner from the pet store or a turkey baster. the uneaten food and poop in the tank releases a lot of ammonia and needs to be regularly cleaned out. - this is a product with a great reputation and can also make water changes easier for you.

If you can, I'd order that cleaner, along with the API freshwater master test kit and - we add the vitachem daily to the water to help our fish get more of the vitamins they need.
 

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Pet stores often recommend those strips because of the high profit they make on them as they're expensive, but they do have a notorious reputation for giving results that are often VERY far off.

So, do you think the reading was inaccurate, then? The fish seem fairly happy, despite the high ammonia reading.

To clean the gravel, you'll want to use a good gravel cleaner from the pet store or a turkey baster. 

I have a giant syringe that I took home from work (vet's office). Would that work as well? How would I clean the rocks with that? By squirting around them?

Thanks again for your help!!!
~J*
 
So, do you think the reading was inaccurate, then? The fish seem fairly happy, despite the high ammonia reading.

I have a giant syringe that I took home from work (vet's office). Would that work as well? How would I clean the rocks with that? By squirting around them?

Thanks again for your help!!!
~J*

the results could be right on, they could be way over, way under.. it's hard to say as they are just that unreliable, unfortunately. if the fish are happy, I think a test with the apI ammonia test would reveal 1.0 or less.

A real gravel cleaner like the python would be best for cleaning your gravel. It will take a long time doing it with a big syringe or even a turkey baster.. but if the opening is big enough, it should be the same as a turkey baster really. You can stir the rocks around some to release the stuff to clean out of them. we do that, but we've got flat marbles or small smooth river rocks in our tanks and don't have to deal with gravel dust.
 
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Ok, sounds good. I think I'll check the store for that python cleaner, and if I can't find it, I will order it.
I worry so much about stressing out the fish if I were to clean their tank. Do you know any ways to reduce this?
Thanks again, you're such a great help!
~J*
 
  • #10
we have a tank that has platys and cory cats in it and they just tend to go swim over to where i'm not working when I clean their tank. If your fish show too much stress during cleaning, you can net them and put them all in a big bowl of tank water, then cover it so you don't get any jumpers and put it in a quieter, less lighted spot to help calm them.
 
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  • #11
Ok, I just cleaned out the plants and now the water looks cloudy.
I don't have anything to treat tap water with right now; should I change their water anyway, or wait until tomorrow to buy something with which to treat water? And, what is the best product to treat water for freshwater fish, do you think?
Thanks!
~J*
 

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