First fish death ever...questions - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-20-2010, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy First fish death ever...questions

Well my 29g planted has been up and running for 3 months now. I had my first fish death this morning.
Woke up and found my female dalmation molly dead on the gravel under one of my plants:(
All other fish seem very healthy, energetic, and also they all ate normally this morning.

Did a water test

ph 7.2

nitRITE 0

ammonia 0

nitRATE less than 5.0 but definatly not 0

I have never had a nitRATE reading above zero in the 3 months the tank has been up. I change my water every week. Is the elevated nitRATE the reason why I lost a fish?
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-20-2010, 08:24 AM
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I highly doubt a nitrate reading of .5ppm played a contributing factor to your molly's death. I have a running nitrate of about i doubt that is it...

what other inhabitants are in your tank?
have you changed anything drastic recently?

“The space between the tears we cry is the laughter that keeps us coming back for more...."-- Dave Matthews
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-20-2010, 08:44 AM Thread Starter
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NOPE haven't changed a thing. 7 neons. male dalmation molly, 5 guppies, 2 albino corys and 1 small CPO
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-20-2010, 09:07 AM
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Water is too soft for Mollies who seem to do poorly in the long run ,with p/H values much less than 7.5 and do much better with p/H between 7.6 and 8.0 and temps between 82 to 84 degrees F.
Platies would be more comfortable with your parameters.
Were it mollies I wanted to keep, I might consider setting up a molly only tank using a half cup of crushed coral per twenty gal in the filter to increase the alkalinity or perhaps one of the mineral salts sold for cichlid tanks to do same.
I say a molly only tank ,because although mollies would find the hard warm water suitable,,other community fish may not.
Mollies can live four or five years but seldom reach adult size due in large part to being kept in water that does not lend itself to their longterm survival.
Don't take my word for it though ,google info on water parameters for tropical mollies and do as you may.
They just don't seem to last long in anything other than rock hard ,warm,water.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-20-2010, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks 1077 had I know that ahead of time I wouldn't have gotten the mollies and subjected them to unsuitable water. The LFS I got them from said they would be fine in my community tank with my water parameters. But as Ive learned and read on TFK the LFS cannot really be trusted.
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-20-2010, 09:50 AM
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great point by 1077....I didn't consider the waters softness....

“The space between the tears we cry is the laughter that keeps us coming back for more...."-- Dave Matthews
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-20-2010, 09:53 AM
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I second 1077, mollies in my experience do best on their own. They make a lovely display, a group of black mollies (or the others) in a 20-30g tank planted with Vallisneria (corkscrew), pebble-type of substrate, with the water moderately hard and basic (pH high 7's) is very impressive. A nice Central American stream setup.

Perhaps your store will take back the remaining mollies; with neons I would not raise hardness or pH.

And I second Johnny, nitrate at 5 is not going to cause problems for fish. Most consider 20 ppm or lower the normal nitrate range, and while many fish can go above this it is preferable to keep nitrates below 20 ppm. Plants will do this, nitrates in a well-planted tank are rarely above 10 ppm and often zero, or if no plants then regular weekly partial water changes do the trick, provided you don't have nitrate in your tap water.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-20-2010, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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thanks as always guys :)
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