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roobaloo roobaloo
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  • Posted on: 6/3 12:11
Extremely Distressed/sick Molly #1
I’m absolutely desperate for help. I inherited a 30l Classic Biorb tank in autumn from friends of the family who were leaving the country. I fully admit I’m clueless, initially doing everything as I was instructed...

The tank contains:
2 x Swordtails (both male)
1 x female molly
1 x Red Base Tetra
1 x Pleco

It originally had 2 more but they died shortly after transit.

So my very steep learning curve has taught me there’s too many fish & unsuitable fish for a horrible tank.

The molly seemed fine, she has always been a very friendly fish - rushing to the front of the tank to greet people etc. until she got ich 4 weeks ago. Rushed to the local aquarium shop for help, treated the tank with Waterlife Protozin White Spot & Fungus (removed carbon from filter & increased water temp) The spots went away but the molly wasn’t ok. She flinches suddenly and dramatically... so from a normal swimming position she snaps so her tail comes down and her nose points up and she darts forward. On occasion she’ll seem to struggle to swim - she’ll go to swim down and it’s like her tail sweeps her away in the current and she ends up flopping over. She rights herself and swims on. She spends large periods at the bottom of the tank.

She isn’t bloated or thin. She is still interested in food and will interact at the side of the tank. She has no spots/wounds/external signs. Her fins aren’t clamped.

I have tested the water and I have a significant problem with Nitrates. I can only put this down to a long period of poor cleaning practice and overfeeding because the instructions I was given were greatly different to what I have learned in the past few months. I have since been working really hard to reduce it (I’ve tried small daily water changes up to 20% and recently tried weekly large changes of 50-75% most recent was yesterday) I removed every item from the tank and cleaned it all from waste. I have live plants. This morning I still had a reading of 100ppm (JBL Pro Aquatest 7 in 1 strips) Tap water is measuring around 25ppm so I appreciate I can’t eliminate it but how do I get it below 50?! I’ve seen various product that say they absorb nitrate but they seem to go into filters...and I have no idea how it applies to a biorb. I really really hate biorb.

Is this what is hurting the molly? I stopped feeding for 3 days, then fed very small amount of peas (despite not being bloated I was getting worried about constipation/swim bladder) but still no change.

The only other factor is one of the swordtails. When the molly got sick, he started to harass her. Tracking her down and charging at her. They feed side by side with no drama, but once the meal is over he’s back to being a thug to her. Before she got sick, if he even squared up at her, she’d put him in his place. Now I leave the tank light off as this seems to calm him down.
Would this be the issue? Local store have offered to take him for me. It’s sad as he’s a lovely fish and before she got sick, the worst he did was act bolshy.

Other notes - I started using API aquarium salt and NitrateMinus (though only on week 1 and apparently it can take “a few weeks”)

I have spent the weeks reading guidance and forums trying to figure out what is wrong and I’m at my limit, everything conflicts. Use salt, don’t use salt. Turn temp up, turn temp down. Try various treatments to cover all bases, don’t try various treatments as you can make problems worse. Do large regular water changes to quickly manage nitrates, don’t do large changes as the drop in nitrates can shock the fish. I have long Covid on top of all this so I am utterly exhausted.

Any suggestions? What am I doing wrong or missing?
playsander playsander
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  • Posted on: 6/3 15:25
Re: Extremely Distressed/sick Molly #2
The pleco is probably outclassing the nitrate eating bactiera in your filter. They are very messy fish. What kind of plec is it? If it is not a BNP (bristle nose plec) it will sertainly outgrow that tank very very fast.

Your molly is displaying what is known as "flashing" and as such is telling us that she is very ill. Your nitrates are massive and are almost definitly the cause of this. The molly is being poisoned by the waste products from it and the other fish, not being consumed by the bacteria in your filter.

Not ideal I know but if you could find another home for the plec it would be a start.
fcmf fcmf
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  • Posted on: 6/3 16:09
Re: Extremely Distressed/sick Molly #3
Can only reply briefly (due to long-term health condition myself):
* Seems like you're doing everything right under the difficult circumstances.
* I would definitely take the LFS up on their offer of taking in the swordtails. By having the bullying swordtail re-homed to the LFS, at least that gives the molly a *chance* at potential recuperation. Alternative = an additional tank to put the molly into to give her peace. (That worked well for one of my elderly fish.)
* Not convinced the molly behaviour is 'flashing' - wonder if the fish are elderly as my own elderly fish started odd 'plunging'/seizure-like behaviour and loss of control of swimbladder in the current as their bodily organs started to fail.
* For nitrates, regular, daily water changes of ~50% likely required - you should be able to get it <45 if tapwater 25. Should help the situation considerably.
* Maybe consider new tank instead of the Bi-Orb - rectangular shape is best for swimming room.
* If not sure of type of plec, post a photo - and we'll help ID.
roobaloo roobaloo
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  • Posted on: 6/3 16:16
Re: Extremely Distressed/sick Molly #4
Quote:

playsander wrote:
The pleco is probably outclassing the nitrate eating bactiera in your filter. They are very messy fish. What kind of plec is it? If it is not a BNP (bristle nose plec) it will sertainly outgrow that tank very very fast.

Your molly is displaying what is known as "flashing" and as such is telling us that she is very ill. Your nitrates are massive and are almost definitly the cause of this. The molly is being poisoned by the waste products from it and the other fish, not being consumed by the bacteria in your filter.

Not ideal I know but if you could find another home for the plec it would be a start.


Oh my goodness! Not once have the aquarium shop flagged the Pleco, I had no idea!! Because of the spherical shape warping the bowl, I rarely see it but a quick Google... I think it’s a common Pleco (and yes, I just saw how big they can grow) This is a nightmare.
playsander playsander
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  • Posted on: 6/3 16:28
Re: Extremely Distressed/sick Molly #5
Could you post a photo of your plec please?
roobaloo roobaloo
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  • Posted on: 6/3 16:41
Re: Extremely Distressed/sick Molly #6
I hope it attached correctly. Lucky timing - it just appeared from out the plants!
(Sorry it’s upside down!!)

Attach file:



jpeg  23838_6043b0b145b9a.jpeg (105.26 KB)
23838_6043b0b145b9a.jpeg 640X480 px
playsander playsander
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  • Posted on: 6/3 16:45
Re: Extremely Distressed/sick Molly #7
That looks like a common plec to me. Would your local fish store be willing to take it?


edit

That is 100% a common plec & they can easily grow the length of your arm.
roobaloo roobaloo
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  • Posted on: 6/3 16:48
Re: Extremely Distressed/sick Molly #8
I’ll have to give them a call and beg them to. They volunteered to take the swordtail so hopefully they’ll be willing.
playsander playsander
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Re: Extremely Distressed/sick Molly #9
if they have a big display tank they will take it, its a free big display fish for them
playsander playsander
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  • Posted on: 6/3 16:53
Re: Extremely Distressed/sick Molly #10
Quote:

fcmf wrote:
Maybe consider new tank instead of the Bi-Orb - rectangular shape is best for swimming room.



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