Newbies with mollies and several questions

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Letta

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Hey y'all - thanks so much for all the great help on this board! It's been a real education for my family and answered a lot of our initial questions. We set up a 29-gal tank, cycled it and added five mollies, all males. Two silver, two dalmatian and one black. They've settled in great and it's been a little over two weeks, but we need a little help that I haven't been able to find anywhere. Here are my questions:
- What do you do with a bully? Our largest fish, one of the dalmatians, is a real bully, hogging food, pushing the others away from food, harassing them, etc. I feel really bad for the others, particularly the black one, who's totally peaceful and less social than the others. Do timeouts really work or shall we try to return him to the LFS or what? It seems unfair to the others.
- Is it possible our black molly is lonely? Except for the abovementioned bullying, the two dals and the two silvers hang together a lot, and he's off by himself. (We didn't think this would matter as they were all mollies, but it seems to.) We don't want to deal with fry, that's why we got all males, but should we add another black male?
- We want to add more fish now that it's been a couple weeks, water readings are good, did one water change of about 25% this week. We had put three tablespoons of salt in. One of the silvers developed the shimmies right after we brought him home and adding the salt cured it in about 36 hours. But we did not re-salt after the water change, thinking that we want to add fish that may not tolerate the salinity. Mollies seem to be fine with lower salt levels. All other water readings are good. Info on the molly forum is very conflicting about both compatible tankmates and whether they really need salt or not. And if we keep them in salt, which makes sense after the shimmies went away, I can't figure out which tankmates will tolerate salt ... my husband wants tetras, and I'd like to get a cory cat or two. Help!
 

COBettaCouple

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Yea, sometimes you can give a bullying fish an 'attitude adjustment' by taking him out of the main tank for a while, then when you put him back in hopefully he won't feel so high & mighty. It can work, but it's a depends-on-the-fish thing i think. If it doesn't work, then he might have to be exchanged.

The black molly probably is lonely. I think they need buddies of the same type to school up usually. Sometimes you get a buddy deal like our gold twinbar and sunset fire mickey mouse platys buddying up, but mostly they like their own type most. Another black male could make him happier to have a buddy like himself.

cats can't tolerate salinity so they'd be out if your tank is salted. I'm not sure on how much it would affect tetras actually, but a tetra owner can help out there.
 

lolagurl

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in my opinion if the black one is the smallest that could be why too. if you want to get tankmates, in my opinion guppies work the best. guppies are generally peacful fish and as lon as you dont just put in one should be fine with mollies. they are th only fish so far that get along with my mollies. please update us on what you are doing.
 
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Letta

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Thanks for the help, both of you.
We added a second male black molly, and the first one seems much happier. They are hanging out together some and the first black molly is eating more assertively and socializing with the silvers more, too.
At the same time, we added two male dwarf gouramis, who are really beautiful and enough bigger than the bully dalmatian molly that he's toned down his aggression considerably. It was pretty funny to watch his "attitude adjustment" when the gouramis beat him to some flakes. We're going to give the new guys some time to settle in and then maybe add a few guppies to round out the population. Had a brief bacterial bloom after adding the three new fish and am keeping close tabs on water quality. Mollies seem to be doing fine with the salt levels at two tablespoons for the whole tank (29 gal).
Thanks a lot for the suggestions.
 

COBettaCouple

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Glad to hear it's working out. Sounds like a beautiful tank with the fish selection that you've chosen too.
 
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