Pleco with Mollies - need some advice!

Discussion in 'Pleco - Plecostomus' started by Mmbrown, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. Mmbrown

    MmbrownWell Known MemberMember

    Hi everyone,
    I need some help. My boyfriend and I have a 10g freshwater tank- nitrates are a bit high but everything else is fine, we've got soft water and about 6.5 pH. For a long time we just had a bristlenose pleco and some ghost shrimp, although the ghost shrimp have recently passed. For his birthday about two weeks ago, we got my boyfriend two mollies.

    I was told (after buying them, of course) that mollies need hard, alkaline water coming from the addition of aquarium salt, but that this would really harm the pleco. I also read however that the pH of water really won't affect any fish too much unless it is extreme in one direction or the other.

    I'm not really sure what to do given the conflicting things I have been told, so I'm looking to see if you guys have some experience/advice. Would the pleco and mollies do better in this soft water, or should I make the water harder to better suit the mollies (would this hurt the pleco), or am I really looking at having to take them back?

    I wish these sort of problems presented themselves before we bought the fish - it seems that the research we do before hand never comes up with the right things. Anyway, any and all help would be very appreciated.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  2. Fall River

    Fall RiverValued MemberMember

    The mollies will adapt to the new water (hardness and Ph included) as long as they are acclimated slowly. The drip method works great. The pleco will def NOT like salt.
  3. blu3dragon619Valued MemberMember

    dont add salt if you have a pleco as it will kill it... i found out the hard way =.= 15 pleco goes in 0 came out =P but the mollies should be able to live in hard or soft water, they are adaptable

  4. bowcrazyWell Known MemberMember

    Wild caught Mollies come from the medium hard brackish slightly salt water areas of the Southern United States, Mexico and Northern South America and they do best in medium hard to hard water with some salt added and a temperature in the upper 70s to lower 80s. They will not tolerate soft or acidic water. Now having said that most Mollies you pickup in local fish stores are not wild caught but farm raised and have been raised in a wide range of water parameters. Farm raised Mollies are not as hardy as the wild caught Mollies but will accept a wider range of water parameters.

    The softness and pH is not as much a big deal with the farm raise Mollies because over generations they have been slowly acclimated to all kinds of waters. They do not require salt to be added but will fair a lot better if the salt content is in a specific gravity range around 1.014 to 1.018. They also seem to do better in warmer water in the lower 80s which helps keep ich at bay.

    On the other hand your Bristlenose Pleco comes from a soft to medium hard water area in South America around the Amazon Basin which is acidic to slightly basic and no salt at all. Salt seems to bother their skin somewhat and will stress them. The Farm raised BN will tolerate a wide range of water hardness and pH but shouldn’t be kept in brackish salty tanks.

    As far as trying to adjust your waters harness or pH I wouldn’t bother. First off a stable pH is safer and tolerated by most fish better than one that is constantly changing and the water hardness is no big deal with ether fish as long as they are not wild caught Mollies.

    My biggest concern about your set up is the 10 gallon tank. Mollies are very large waste producers and can grow to be from 4 to 5 inches long. They are not recommended to be kept in small tanks because they can foul the water quickly and sometimes become quite aggressive towards each other if not given some space. I personally don’t keep Mollies in tanks less than 30 gallons, not even the fry.
  5. OP

    MmbrownWell Known MemberMember

    Thank you guys so much for taking your time out to help me, I really appreciate it, and you're certainly making me feel much better than the person who basically told me I was screwed.

    As for the size thing... we have noticed a bit higher nitrates than normal and so I suppose it must be from the tank size. Do you think they would be alright in a 20g? I live in a dorm room right now (moving to a place off campus in August) and they won't allow you to have a tank over 20 gallons. Or perhaps do you think if, although I don't like the idea of this, we took one molly back to the store, the other would do much better being on its own?

    Sorry for all the questions, I'm a noob :p
  6. bowcrazyWell Known MemberMember

    A 20 gallon tank would be much better.
  7. Fall River

    Fall RiverValued MemberMember

    Very good info from Bowcrazy (congrats on the mag profile, good bio). Agree that a 20 gal is much better, though not ideal.
  8. bowcrazyWell Known MemberMember

    Did you read the Member Spotlight on me this month on the Magazine page?
  9. Fall River

    Fall RiverValued MemberMember

    Not to thread-jack here, but yes, I read it. Read Jeri's too, tho she wasn't as in depth as you were. lol
  10. OP

    MmbrownWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks again everyone.
    It's a learning process for sure - it seems like every time we research before buying we don't hit on the things that end up giving us the problems. But every little mishap leads to a better idea of what to look up before buying each fish.

    I'm a worrier anyway, but I can't stop worrying about these fish. I think one of the mollies may have the shimmies. Tooling around on the Internet brought me to something called Molly Bright- anyone ever used this before? Sounds interesting as it has no salt so presumably wouldn't harm the pleco. However, it says it requires a hardness of at least 50. I started looking into hardness and I don't think my tank has a hardness anywhere above 30. Is it still best for me to let the fish acclimate to how the water is naturally from the tap rather than try to alter it too much? I know a fluctuation in any water parameter would be unhealthy for them and so I'm wary to try anything that might do more harm than good.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012

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