Odd Swordtail/molly Fish Behavior? Help

  1. A

    Adeline Chau Initiate Member

    Hi! My apologies since this might be a bit long! Just wanted to have as much info as possible to help you understand what’s going on!

    -As some side info: Last night I upgraded my tank size from 10g to a new 20g tank setup along with new decorations, gravel, bubble wall, etc. and let the new water circulate overnight before transferring my fish over.
    -My fish: I have 2 swordtails + baby (one orange lyretail and one dalmation looking roundtail, had them for quite some time, about a year when I first got them the fish employee told me they were supposedly one male and one female but still to this day I’m not sure since both their anal fins both seem to be both triangular? Some time later on, I found one fry that I knew had to come from the swordtail couple, unless one of the swordtails somehow mated with my one male platy? Haven’t seen any other fry besides the one and it’s grown quite a lot! About 3-4 months and starting to see tiny points on it’s tail to a lyretail forming :)! My little swordtail family is just super friendly, always letting me pet them and kissing my fingers!), a red male platy, a green glofish tetra, and 2 new additions I got when I got the 20g tank: 2 lyretail mollies (pretty sure they’re both males, one all black and one orange with bits of black), and one pleco! In the 10g tank, all of the fish (before the 2 new mollies) were all very calm and got along super well (in fact in this new 20g tank I find it kinda funny and cute most of them will move and stay together at different parts of the tank although they have all this new space to explore by themselves LOL)


    Main question/concern:
    So in general, my orange swordtail is relatively the dominate one but very relaxed and always swimming around everywhere. For some reason after I put them all into the new aquarium, the black molly would not necessarily attack my orange swordtail but would sort of tap or pick at its belly/anal fins and the swordtail didn’t seem to really care or show any signs of vulnerability because it’s relatively the one who would fight back if a fish were trying to have a go at it. In the 10g the dalmation swordtail would follow the orange one around sometimes but mostly does its own thing, and in the 20g it’s been following the orange one a lot more with the black molly but not doing the same actions the black molly is to the orange swordtail (side info on molly/dalmation swordtail alone: the black molly has been following around the dalmation swordtail but not picking at it or anything really it’s not chasing but just following it around). I did notice before transferring them over to the 20g and introducing the little community to the new mollies, they had been in a smaller temporary transfer-tank so that I could clean out the 10g and put my new 20g in place, the black molly had been doing the same tap/pick to the belly/anal fin and again the orange swordtail didn’t seem to be bothered or appeared stressed. The black molly doesn’t do it to any other fish in the tank or really bother anyone else. Also, this whole time I haven’t specifically referred to any of my swordtails as male/female whereas I’m still not sure if the fish employee knew what she was doing or identified them incorrectly since their anal fins seem to appear as female (unless the orange one changed sex from male to female although I don’t think that’s possible, correct me if I’m wrong!) so, if this is even possible and if the orange swordtail is female, it may be the black molly is trying mate with my orange swordtail? Or is the black molly trying to harass and bully it? Not sure if fish bullying is the case since my orange swordtail didn’t really show any signs of being in distress or fighting back. The behavior occurred here and there and has subsided a bit at the moment but occasionally does the same thing again. Since the transfer the orange swordtail has been swimming has been normal but just mostly at the bottom near the gravel and a lot calmer in movement (as in hasn’t really swam all over the place like it did in the 10g). All of the other fish are normal and doing well.

    Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Or am I just being crazy and paranoid over nothing? Tried searching for something like this whole tapping/picking at the belly/anal fins of another fish but not aggressively attacking it but couldn’t find anything. Please share any info or maybe eben similar/weird things that you’ve seen happen between your fish, I’d love to read them! Thanks for your time!


    Sorry for a very long post! Again, just wanted to provide as much background info to maybe help figure out what might be going on! Might be just paranoid or something but I’d rather be better safe than sorry :)
     
  2. finnipper59

    finnipper59 Well Known Member Member

    If there is no actual fighting or damage occurring then it could be an attempted mating behavior. But as I think I just read, the orange one had always been the dominant one in the past. The molly may just be trying to take over the dominant role and driving the previous dominant one into submission. Dominant fish give off a lot of pheromones that let other fish know of their dominance. As a matter of fact, I use Kordon AmQuel ( not AmQuel Plus) as my water conditioner, because it not only takes care of chlorine, chloramine, and ammonia, but it specifically says it detoxifies the pheromones produced by dominant fish. As long as no one is being injured or has stopped eating, I wouldn't worry much about it. If the one being bothered by the molly begins to isolate itself to the point where it stops eating or moving around the tank at all, then you'll know you have a bullying situation om your hands. And after saying all of this, it could just be them adjusting to the new 20 gallon environment.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    A

    Adeline Chau Initiate Member

    Thanks so much for reassurance and the info about the dominance phermones! Definitely going to check out that Kordon AmQuel water conditioner soon!